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January 7, 1999

Steve Pate


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple quick thoughts about your round, then we'll get some questions.

STEVE PATE: Quick thoughts. Course played strangely for here without any wind. I imagine for the guys that haven't been here before, it played a lot easier. I'd just as soon see the trade winds blow because that's the why I'm used it. Not going to play real difficult without the wind. The course is probably in the best shape I've ever seen it. There are some low scores to be had. Dead calm and the course in good shape, you can go ahead and make some birdies. Obviously, I wasn't the only one who did.


Q. What is it with you and this course?

STEVE PATE: I have no idea.

Q. It's good?

STEVE PATE: It's good, yes (laughter). I wish I knew.

Q. Is there any other course that you play like this on a consistent basis?

STEVE PATE: Torrey Pines I kind of do the same thing, I play well virtually all the time.

Q. Any similarities?

STEVE PATE: Actually, the only one I can think of is the greens. You get putts with amazing amounts of break. The course I grew up on was like that. It's not as foreign to me to have five-footers you have to play outside the hole as it is to a lot of other people. That's probably about the only thing I can think of.

Q. You always laugh when you make those putts?

STEVE PATE: When they're that far away, yeah (laughter). It's only about 80 feet.

Q. How far you figure 18 was?


Q. 17.

STEVE PATE: About 70, 80 feet.

Q. Let's go with 80. If it lips out it's 70. 80 feet this much (indicating)?

STEVE PATE: Only about six sideways (laughter).

Q. Just trying to lag that?

STEVE PATE: Yeah, just trying to get it in the general vicinity. Actually, strangely enough, thought I might make it. I just had a pretty good feeling over it. I knew it was going to be close. I was kind of shocked when it went in. Wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

Q. You had one of those strange feelings over the putt that, "Hey, this could go in"?

STEVE PATE: I've had that putt before, knew pretty much what it did. One of the advantages of playing here a lot.

Q. What do you like about this place that keeps you coming back all these years?

STEVE PATE: It's a long list. It's been basically my family vacation for 12 years. Why wouldn't you want to come spend a week on Maui in November? What's not to like?

Q. Your family came out with you again this year?

STEVE PATE: They're here this year, yes.

Q. You do this twice a year now?

STEVE PATE: I hope so. That would be nice. This one, unfortunately, isn't quite the vacation that November is.

Q. Feel like the start of the year?

STEVE PATE: Haven't had done anything in two months. Played twice in two months. Didn't do anything in between those tournaments. This definitely feels like the start of the year.

Q. You moved back to southern California?


Q. You were living in Florida for a while, weren't you?

STEVE PATE: For about five or six years. That's been probably five years ago, we moved back to California.

Q. A comforting feeling, even though most of the guys hardly had an off-season, you had one basically, yet coming back to a familiar place.

STEVE PATE: It is nice. Then living in California, I played social golf two or three times a week. It's not like my clubs completely gathered rust. It's nice to live in a place where you can do that. Didn't do any practicing. Played a little bit of social golf in there, so I didn't get completely out of touch so I could come back here. Feel quite comfortable.

Q. When we talk about age and golf, when you first started on Tour, what were the peak years of golf? Now that you're in your later 30s, have those peak years changed?

STEVE PATE: I think so. Peak years when I started seemed to be 30 to 40. A lot of guys were doing really well mid to late 30's. I think they're getting younger and not lasting as long.

Q. When is the last time you played in this tournament?


Q. You think peak years are getting younger now for a player, the average age?

STEVE PATE: I think so. And I don't think they're lasting as long. I don't think you see guys having ten-year peaks anymore. Part of it's because we're getting better athletes playing. Guys come out of college prepared to play. Now you have this AGGA. When I played college golf, it was a pretty good training ground. Now you have something comparable to that in the junior level. Tournament tough by the time they get out here.

Q. You say they're not staying at their peak as long. Do you think they're burning out or there's more good young golfers coming out?

STEVE PATE: I think there's more good players, period.

Q. Starting to get some good guys 40 and up.

STEVE PATE: Look at Mark O'Meara last year. Not that it doesn't happen. I don't think it's the norm that it once was.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you go through the other birdies quick.

STEVE PATE: Birdied the 1st hole. Hit a drive -- thought I hit a 3-iron. Hit it to the back fringe. I looked down, it was actually a 2-iron (laughter). Made about a 45-footer. It was a good way to start. Good start to the year. I birdied the fourth hole. Hit a 3-wood, 9-iron about 15 feet. Made it. Birdied fifth hole, driver, 3-wood on the green, 60 feet, 2-putted. Birdied the 6th hole. Drove the fairway bunker. Hit a 9-iron about two feet from there. Birdied the ninth hole. Hit a 3-wood and a 5-iron, sand wedge, about two feet. Birdied 10. 3-wood, pitching wedge about two feet. 13, hit 2-iron, 7-iron, about 30 feet past the hole, 3-putted. Birdied 13 -- 14, excuse me. Hit 2-iron, sand wedge, about seven feet, made it. Birdied 17, hit a driver, 4-iron about 80 feet.

Q. Did Al just make a mistake?

STEVE PATE: No. Al had nothing to do with it. He wanted me to hit a 2-iron. I wanted to hit a 3-iron. I thought I grabbed it.

Q. You grabbed it yourself?

STEVE PATE: I looked at the 3 and -- when I hit it to the back fringe, I looked down at it. "It wasn't a 3."

Q. And you didn't get mad?

STEVE PATE: Why (laughter)?

Q. Straight over the flag?

STEVE PATE: Yeah. Went up pretty much. 15 feet left of the flag. If it would have landed short, it would have funneled right down. Problem was, it flew to the hole. Wasn't supposed to.

Q. You were way past the flag, a 3-iron would have been the right club?



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