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November 4, 2010

Tom Pernice, Jr.


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Tom Pernice, Junior. Eight straight Top 10s on the Champions Tour and making your first appearance in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Opened with 6-under, 65 today. No bogeys.
Couple general comments about the round and take us through your birdies.
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Well, it wasn't my best ball-striking today. It was a little sloppy off the tee. I missed six fairways. Any time you miss the fairways here you're a little bit on the defense.
You can say I didn't have many putts, but I chipped the ball absolutely beautifully today when I missed the greens and gave myself plenty of putts inside of six feet for par and made those obviously. I made one long putt for par from about 12 or 15 feet on 15, I think. That really kept the round going.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Tell us about your birdies.
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Um, obviously a good start. Hit a pitching wedge in on the first hole about oh, 12, 15 feet, and made that for birdie.
And then 2 I drove it just into the rough. Wasn't a bad tee shot, but I got 5-iron in there just probably 35 feet, and made it for birdie. Really a nice start to the day.
Just struggled a little bit through 4, 5, and 6, and got the ball up and down from just off the edge of the green.
Then on 9 I hit it in the left bunker because I drove it in the rough. Got it up and down out of the left bunker and made about an eight-footer for birdie.
And then 2 [sic], hit two good shots right in front of the green and pitched up and made about a six-footer for birdie.
Had a good chance for birdie at 11. Hit a 6-iron right behind the hole probably about 15 feet and just lipped it out.
I made up for it on the next hole and made about a 40- or 45-footer on 12, so that was a bonus.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: What did you hit in there?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: I hit a 6-iron. I caught it a little bit heavy and it came up on the front part of the green, so I had 40 or 50 feet there and made a birdie. That was a bonus.
And then 16 I hit a wedge about six feet for birdie.
I made a nice up and down on 18. I drove it just into the left rough by about a yard. I hit a good second shot out of the rough, but it went just through the green into the rough and didn't have a lot of green and chipped it about five and a half feet and made it for par.
So good finish. It was a little bit sloppy at times, but it was a really good day chipping. Holed a lot of nice four- and six-footers for par when I needed to.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: All right. Questions.

Q. Just looking at your playing schedule this year, why is the PGA Tour still so alluring to you? And what does it say about the year you've had when you're in the event and you've only played nine, te events?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Um, you know, at the beginning of the year my goal was to continue to play on the regular tour. I felt that my game was good enough to still compete out there. I just checked my stats. I was down at the Titleist Performance Institute last week. I took last week off and worked with Greg Rose, and we looked at my stats.
You know, my scoring average on Thursday and Friday, I'm ranked 13th on the Tour. Ball-striking, I think I'm, you know, top 30 in driving accuracy and eighth or ninth in greens in regulation.
So the only thing that's really alluring out there is I'm like 180th or 190th in final round scoring. So that could've cost me two or three million dollars. Who knows?
So I just felt that my game was still good enough to compete out there, and that's what I wanted to do. When I wasn't able to play and compete out there, I came over here. I'm fortunate to have that opportunity, and have played well out here.
So, you know, if my game is good enough, I still want to play with the best players in the world. I love the competition and the challenge. That's kind of my goal.

Q. When you come out here then for ten times, would this year have lived up to your expectations?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Yeah, you know, I played great out here. I put myself in contention a bunch and had a lot of opportunities. It hasn't panned out yet this year, but I'm fortunate enough last year when I played my only event at (indiscernible) making a 35-footer on the last to win.
I'm happy that I put myself in position and gave myself a lot of chances on Sundays here. No matter where you're playing golf, I think that's what you need to do. I've shot some good rounds on Sunday; just hasn't been good enough at times.
I'm very happy with my performance out here and the opportunities that I've had to win. Hasn't happened yet, but if you keep playing well and you play well on Sundays, it's going to happen.

Q. Knowing you would have ball in hand today in the fairways, expectation that the scores would be low and you would have to put up a good round?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Um, well, you know, it's perfect weather; the greens are phenomenal. If you drive the ball in the fairway, yeah, you got some chances. Like I said, I felt fortunate today because I missed some fairways and I didn't have that option on several holes.
And, you know, it's a struggle from then. The rough is thick enough and it's enough of a demanding course you really want to be in the fairways. Like I said, it was a little bit of a struggle. I've been driving the ball well and it wasn't quite as good today.
Some days that's the way. My chipping and putting really held up today and got me in with a good round. Ball in hand obviously helps. But, you know, the fairways are a little bit iffy. So if you didn't play ball in hand, then maybe you're not rewarding the guy that is hitting it in the fairways.
So it's tough call. The greens are absolutely spectacular with the amount of rounds that they get. They have a lot of shade here at this golf course, and I think that has an issue with some warmth and stuff in the fairways. They're obviously trying to do their best.
As far as the fantastic design and layout, I mean, Harding Park is spectacular.

Q. Earlier in the week players talked about how difficult they expected it to be. The scores seemed pretty low. Is that mostly because the ball is in hand, or is it the weather?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Well, I think that that helps, but the weather sure doesn't hurt either. You get some fog and some drizzle running in here and the course plays a lot longer and ball doe doesn't go as far. You know, it's not going to be as easy, and we may get that on Saturday and Sunday.
We had ideal scoring conditions today with ball in hand. We've had four days of unbelievable weather here for the San Francisco area. What was it, five to ten miles an hour? That's not too bad here in the Bay Area. Yeah, that's why you're seeing good scoring, yea.

Q. Does the outcome of this year either here or on the regular tour affect what you will do next year?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: No. I mean, you know, I'm hoping to go to Disney next week after we're done here and have a good week there. If I play well enough there, I can stay in the top 125, and that'll allow me to play where I want to and when I need to out there.
I just feel as long as my game can go out there and I feel like I can compete on the highest level, that's where I would like to be and that's where I want be. At some point that could be the case. I don't know if it's next year or five years from now.
I like the challenge and I like to work hard. I've got a team around me with Tim Hardy and Jim, my short game coach, and Greg Rose has helped me a lot down at the Titleist Performance Institute.
I just feel that as long as my game is still able to be able to compete, I want to play against Phil and Tiger and Villegas and those guys. I'm going to try to do it as long as I can.

Q. Seems like better than anyone you would be qualified to talk about the differences between the tours and what it takes to succeed.
TOM PERNICE, JR.: You know, I'm asked that all the time. To me, the glaring difference is there is no cut out here and there is a cut on the regular tour. I mean, you can be 6 or 7 shots off the lead after two days and be right on the cut line. You know, and out here you don't have but a couple tournaments and the majors where you have a cut. To me, just in generality, I think that makes a huge difference.
But, you know, once you're inside the ropes I think the game is still the game: you still need to hit it in the fairway, and to have your best opportunity you need to hit good, quality iron shots and hole putts. The game is not that much different out there or here now.
Granted, there are a lot of courses out there that are bigger and longer and tougher. But, you know, if you drive the ball fairway, you can hit 4- and 5- and 6-irons as opposed to 7- and 8-irons and still compete if your putting and wedges are good.
I don't know if there's anything major, other than you don't have a cut out here and there you do. You know, there are some courses that are extremely difficult out there, but you still play well out there. I wish I had an answer. I don't know.
So I played okay out there this year on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays; I haven't done very well on Sunday. That's the thing that I need to work on and will work on in the off-season. It's been the opposite out here.

Q. How old do you feel?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: I don't feel 51, that's for sure. When I'm out there on the regular tour, I try to hang with the some of the young guys. I like to hang out with Charley Hoffman and Ben Crane and the guys in their late 20s, early 30s.
I don't feel that I'm 50 still . I remember the days when Corey and I were together just down the road here at UCLA. Seems like the other day.

Q. Just one last one about (indiscernible) is that about the most? And another one next week. At what point do you reach maximum overload?
TOM PERNICE, JR.: You know, I don't know. I had to play a lot there in the latter and middle part of the year on the regular tour because I missed the school last year by a shot.
So I was in the 126-150 category. I felt that I needed to play when I got in, so I played a stretch up there. I think I played 11 out of 12 weeks, so I had a pretty tough schedule out there.
But I knew it was probably going to be that way, so I tried to rest when I could throughout that stretch and not hit a lot of balls and just tried to rest when I could and tried to get through it.
I took last week off just for that reason, even though San Antonio is one of my favorite golf courses when we used to play. If I played Oak Hill and this week and Disney, that would have been six or seven in a row.
I felt rested here. Like I said, I had a good week at home. We had a nice day or so when I went down to the Titleist Performance Institute. Got on video and sharpened up my putting a little bit. It's been a good week.
TOM PERNICE, JR.: Thanks, guys.

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