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February 16, 2011

Corey Pavin


COLIN MURRAY: Thanks for joining us here in the interview room at the Northern Trust Open. Obviously your record here speaks for itself. If you could just give us a few opening thoughts on being back at Riviera and then we'll open it up to questions.
COREY PAVIN: Sure. It's always great to come back here. Obviously have some good memories here. Obviously grew up in this area, too. I don't know if this will be my last LA or Northern Trust Open. It could be. But it's nice to be back here again. We have a home real close to here so it's nice to be in my own bed and fall out and be almost at the front door here at Riviera.
It's a pleasure to play here again. The course is in great condition. Hopefully the weather will be good. I think the forecast got better here in the last few minutes I heard. If that can happen, it would be very nice.

Q. Last I saw you, you were heading off to the Ryder Cup. Kind of fill us in on post-Ryder Cup thoughts on just in general what happened.
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think we finished second at the Ryder Cup. But it was a great experience. It was a wonderful thing to do. It was something I'll never forget. I'm glad I did it. It was something that was a great honor to do, and I think the next captain, Davis, will do a great job. A good man for it.
But since the Ryder Cup, I've played -- I think I ended with four Champions events last year, and after playing Schwab Cup, basically went home for a couple months. I think I only left town twice for very short little visits. So it was nice to be home and relax and kind of -- last year was a lot happening, so it was nice to just recharge the batteries and just stay at home and hang with Lisa and Alexis and just do almost nothing for about a month, golf-wise anyway. It was fantastic.

Q. First off, do you have an eye injury or eye something going on?
COREY PAVIN: What do you mean? (Laughter.)
Yeah, right before I went to bed last night my eye started bugging me. I think I've got a little pinkeye or conjunctivitis or whatever it's called, so I got some drops for it. It must look worse than it is because everybody keeps saying something. Yeah, I'll just get some drops in it and try to leave it alone, but it'll be okay.

Q. I guess what you're saying, this could be your last. I guess just going through the week and playing, will this be sort of -- will you go down memory lane a little bit at certain holes, or what would be the most memorable thing, if, in fact, this is your last one?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, I just thought about it when I came up here, but playing on the Champions Tour mostly, I think I'll only play about four events on the regular TOUR this year. I played nine last year, and I don't see myself playing a whole lot next year on the regular TOUR.
I don't think about it that way when I'm playing. I'll just go out there and play and do the best I can, and hopefully contend if I can. The course is playing really long with the rain, but I'll just go out there and play the best I can, and when it's done, I'll see how I feel.
But I've played every Northern Trust Open except one, I think, since I've been on TOUR, I believe. I don't even know, is this my 28th here? Who knows? '84 was my first year. Does this make 28?

Q. You skipped one?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, so this would be 27th. It's neat. I think Northern Trust has done a great job with getting this tournament back where I think it should be, and Jerry West needs to be commended a lot for that. He's done a lot in the community in the Los Angeles and southern California area for that. I think the fields here are getting better and better. We're playing on a premier golf course in the United States, and this should be one of the premier events on TOUR, and it's getting there. There's a lot of good work being done for that.

Q. Not only are you 50 --

Q. I'm talking about last year, 50, and have Ryder Cup captaincy all year long and still finished 123rd on the Money List. How did that happen, and do you take any pride out of that?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, you know, I'm pretty good at separating, compartmentalizing things when I'm out there. So when I'm playing golf, I'm playing golf. When I had Ryder Cup stuff to do, I did that. Obviously I had some help with Ryder Cup, a lot of people doing things. So I was able to practice and work and get out there, and when it was time to stop playing, I stopped after Traditions tournament in Oregon, so I had about two months where I didn't play at all getting ready for the matches themselves.
So I knew when it was time to stop and really focus on the team, on the pairings and the picks and all that stuff. So I had 45 days last year in the middle of the year where I didn't touch a club, which is really unusual. I don't think I've ever done that before. So when I came back after the Ryder Cup to play, it took me a couple weeks to kind of get my swing back.
But you know, that's what I needed to do, so I took care of it that way.

Q. What else do you plan on playing this year on the regular TOUR?
COREY PAVIN: I'm going to play Colonial, THE PLAYERS, and Hartford.

Q. What do you offer to Davis after your experience?
COREY PAVIN: You know, one of the reasons I had -- I asked Davis to be an assistant was because I thought he was going to be the next captain. It just seemed like the logical choice for the next one, so I wanted him to experience what it was like to be over there and do some of the -- be on the other side of the fence, so to speak.
So I think he saw a lot and he paid attention. We talked a lot before the Ryder Cup, and we've talked since. I told him any time he wants to call me and talk to me about anything, or he asked if I could call, and I said he was allowed 20 calls and I was going to charge him after that. Whatever he needs, if he wants to call me, that's fine, and if not, that's fine, too. It's quite a process. There's a lot to do for him between now and the Ryder Cup itself. But next year will be the busy year for him.
But there's a lot of planning to do this year, so he'll be busy. But I know his wife Robin is pretty good at organizing things, as well, so they'll make a good team.

Q. You were in contention last year at the other Hogan's Alley in Fort Worth. Do you think that you might be able to get yourself in contention here this week, and what are some of the shots that you hit during your heyday here that maybe aren't the same as they were then?
COREY PAVIN: That's a long question.

Q. I'm sorry.
COREY PAVIN: Yes, I think I can be in contention here. I have to play well. Like I said, the course is playing long, and I always like it when it's playing a little faster here. But I played my second nine today when it stopped raining and the weather got a little bit better, and I made four or five birdies on the front nine, so that was encouraging, so I know I can do that out here.
But you know, I have to play well. It's not something I can go play okay here and contend. I need to really play nicely. I played well at Colonial last year, and Hartford I played nicely obviously, and lost in a playoff there.
But I feel like I can win. I wouldn't be here if I didn't or have a chance to contend anyway. But I do need to get out there and play some of my better golf to contend, that's for sure.

Q. And what are some of the shots maybe that you once were able to hit here that are no longer there because of the changes to the golf course?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, well, obviously there are some holes that are a little bit longer. You look at No. 12, that hole is probably, I don't know, have to look at the yardage, but it might be 60 yards longer than it was before, 70. So that's a long hole.
There's a couple holes like that. They've lengthened 15 a little bit. The greens are different. 8 is a totally different hole than it used to be. So there's been changes.
But the bottom line out here is you need to keep the ball in play. There's not much rough this year, so it's not as critical, but greens are a little bit bigger than they used to be. But you have to hit some very controlled shots on this golf course. It's not a basher's golf course per se, so there's a lot of shot-making out there, a lot of quality and that, and you'd better chip the ball well because you're going to miss some greens out here, definitely.

Q. When you've played a lot at a certain course, you remember shots you've hit over the years I imagine, right?
COREY PAVIN: Oh, absolutely, hopefully just the good ones.

Q. As many good memories as you have here, I'm sure you've got some baggage around this place, too. What does your mind do when you go to certain holes? Do you remember the bad just as much as the good?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, that's unfortunate about us. Everybody remembers the bad shots. But I try to forget them or at least kind of look at it as a challenge to overcome a bad memory of a shot.
But this course I have so many good memories, and for the most part, I kind of forget about the bad ones, and once in a while it kind of flashes in my mind. One thing we are reasonably good at is for getting the bad shots, or I'm pretty good at it. But they do come up. You think about them, and for me it just makes me focus a little harder on what I'm doing and concentrate a little bit more to push those bad thoughts out of my head.

Q. How would you critique your first year on the Champions Tour? You obviously played well but didn't have a lot to show for it wins-wise.
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, I think it's -- I think when you look at the whole picture, what was going on last year, I feel like if you're going to grade me, I'd grade myself probably like about a B. I had a couple opportunities to win, and I played well in those events, and Bernhard beat me one and Freddie beat me one. Those guys played well and I played okay, and I just didn't win. I would have liked to have won last year. That's kind of the hole in last year out there for me. But hopefully this year I can get out there and get not only one win but hopefully a couple.
But it's hard out there. It's pretty competitive. Every week it seems like you have to shoot 6-, 7-under every round to win, and that's not easy to do. It doesn't matter what courses we're playing.
The majors are the ones that I really look at as great opportunities for me because they're usually on harder courses, and 1-, 2-, 3-under is a really good score on those courses. I had a chance to win the Senior Open last year, and Bernhard just nipped me by one. But those are the tournaments I think are my best opportunities out there.

Q. Special day today with a caddie I understand. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, a guy named Johnny caddied for me, and I can't even tell you his last name, but he's a naval officer, he flies helicopters, and he came out on No. 10 to caddie the one hole, and I said, "Hey, you want to stay out all day?" And he said, "Sure, I'd love to." So he caddied for me all day today, and we talked all the way around and talked about he was deployed in Bahrain and other things and all the stuff he gets to do and fly helicopters. Really nice young man, and he's been in the service 11 years.
It's fun; it just happened that he could go the rest of the way. One happy guy was Eric, my caddie, because he didn't have to carry the clubs all day. But it's fun to do stuff like that. I'm sure you probably know I've been over to Iraq a couple times and had a great experience over there with the troops. It's just nice when there's that -- people are aware. People are so much more aware of the military now, and I think it's fabulous.

Q. What happened the one year you missed here?
COREY PAVIN: My second son was born.

Q. So?
COREY PAVIN: Am I supposed to respond to that? That's why I missed. I thought it was a reasonable reason to miss. Apparently you don't.

Q. I never said that.
COREY PAVIN: No, that's why I missed that year.

Q. What year was that?
COREY PAVIN: See, trick question. 1993.

Q. Can you give us an idea of exactly how close you are, maybe how many stoplights you have to drive through to get here, and how much of an advantage is that? Two stoplights, so less than --
COREY PAVIN: Four stop signs.

Q. Wow. Do you have guys planning to come stay with you this week? Obviously this is one of those courses that's hard to get in and out of.
COREY PAVIN: No, I don't really have any friends so they don't want to stay with me. No, we actually have a full house this week; all the bedrooms are taken. I don't have anyone from the TOUR staying with us this week. The house isn't that big just to be honest.

Q. How easy does it make your life this week? You know what the traffic is like around here getting in and out of this course.
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, when we didn't have a place here we stayed down in Santa Monica because it's easier to get here from there. Obviously going east is a little tricky, going that direction at night. But it's nice. It's nice to be that close. But sometimes when you stay at home is when you're always late. It seems like whenever I'm home it's hard to get to the golf course right on my normal schedule because I'm used to being in a hotel and doing it that way. But it's great to be home.
You know, all the traveling that we do, the more time we can be at home and with the family is pretty good stuff. We're talking about great memories here, and it's just nice to be close here.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about expanding the Ryder Cup to over four days. Would you be opposed to that or do you like that compact --
COREY PAVIN: I'd love to see it four days and play some more matches I think would be great. If you could play five matches each session, I mean, you can -- the way they do the Presidents Cup is pretty nice. I think the players like it a lot more because they get to play. When you have to sit eight guys down every session, it's hard. That's a lot of guys to sit down, and you're sitting down a third of your team.
What you were saying earlier, it was different because when we played all 12 guys and trying to catch up and they changed the format, you didn't have that fun part where the guys and the wives and the caddies and everybody is standing around watching guys play. You only really had that on Monday afternoon on the singles. I think -- it seemed like every day, I can't remember, but I think we had matches carrying over and it was dark when everybody finished and we were rushing. That was a thing I missed a lot. It's really fun when you have everybody watching.
But I'd be all for expanding it to four days and adding maybe four matches or something like that. I think it would be great. The players would be probably all for it, and I'm sure all the captains would be for it, too, because it would make captains' jobs a lot easier only sitting down maybe two players and maybe none a day or two.

Q. You had a successful career, and would you mind sharing some of your secrets to success with us?
COREY PAVIN: Well, that's why they're secrets, right? I don't know, I just -- I've always felt like I've worked reasonably hard at it and just been fairly mentally tough, I think, and grinded it out a lot. That's kind of my style. I don't know if that's a big secret or anything.
I just have kind of -- I just was born with the mentality of never to give up and to keep at it and to keep playing hard no matter what's going on. I learned early on that even if I'm not playing well and I'm going to miss a cut to keep playing hard because you never know what you might find the last few holes on Friday even though you might be going home because that may help you the next week. Things like that are important.
I just have a never-say-die kind of attitude, try to. I'll be playing on Friday even if I'm missing a cut, or might. I think, gosh, maybe if I can hole a shot from the fairway and finish birdie-birdie after that. So I never really give up on that until maybe it's mathematically impossible for me. That's stuff I think is really important and to keep good attitudes and things like that.
I've had times in my career where I've had some low points with my game going through slumps. I just had a belief in myself that I'd always come back out of it, just a deep-seeded belief that I would. We all have our doubts, but most of the time I feel pretty good about it and come through those.

Q. And say you're in a slump and playing a round, and it's really tight, and you've got to keep your focus. What do you do to stay in the moment?
COREY PAVIN: Say that again?

Q. During a round what do you do to keep your focus and stay in the moment?
COREY PAVIN: Probably just years of training for doing it. I never try to get ahead of myself. It's a human -- it's human nature to get ahead of yourself, but you just have to be aware of it and realize you're thinking about a final result on the last hole and just say, stop it, you can't do that. I think we all know what maybe a shot may mean even on the 18th hole or 72nd hole. You may know what the shot might mean for the result of the tournament, but you have to go through your routine. I think just over time, or at least I have come to the point where I've said, look, it's all about routine and doing it, and later on you can reflect on what that meant.

Q. You talked in general about obviously you have a lot of good memories here, but can you talk about a couple specific things?
COREY PAVIN: Well, obviously when I won is pretty good stuff. '94, '95 was the years I won here, and '95 was pretty cool because it was kind of Freddie and myself pretty much ahead of everybody, and it was just the two of us kind of going at each other. I was lucky enough to win by two that day.
But even that, I remember Freddie on 18 hit it about 20 feet left of the hole, and I had a two-shot lead, and it kind of forced me to make a par. I ended up close for a par, and if I hadn't, he could have chipped in or whatever, he was so close.
So I remember that, and that was the second one, which was very cool to win twice here.
I remember playing in '85 in the last group with Lanny and Hal. I think Lanny won by seven, I think, something like that. But I remember he played great, and we got up on 18 and Lanny hit a drive, and I didn't think it was going to get up the hill, it was so low, and it hit that little knob and just barely went over on top, and we were all kind of laughing about it, and he just knocked a 3-wood on the green no problem and two-putted. Stuff like that. It's been a long time.
I played here as an amateur twice. This is the first time I played in a professional event. As an amateur, I qualified at Hillcrest back when -- do they have amateur qualifying still? Is there two that get in? I think it was four back then.
Anyway, I think -- what year was that, '79? I think I played in '79 and '81 as an amateur, I believe, or '82, so this was the first event I ever played as a pro -- first PGA TOUR event ever when I was an amateur. So there's a lot of cool stuff for me here.
I like this golf course a lot, and anything I can do to help this tournament in the future, I will. Jerry has asked me to help a little bit, and whatever I can do to help Jerry with the tournament and the community, I will.

Q. In '79 was the field smaller? Was it not 144 or whatever? Was it a smaller field with a smaller cut?
COREY PAVIN: Good question. I don't know. You'd have to check on it. It could have been 132, but back then I didn't really think about that stuff at all.

Q. It just looked like before 1980 the fields were smaller.
COLIN MURRAY: I can check on that and see what it was.

Q. I did check on it, but it's just odd, there's like five people cut before 1980, and I'm wondering if the cut was longer and they didn't keep it, but I don't think so, so that's why I was asking the question, since you were there.
COREY PAVIN: I thought it was 70 and ties if that's what you're asking. It could have been 60. But I don't know. Tough one.

Q. What's the single greatest shot you've hit here in your mind?
COREY PAVIN: The single greatest shot I've hit here? (Scratches head.) Hmm. That's a hard question. I think probably the shot I'm the happiest with, I think, would be in '95 on 18, my second shot. I had about a -- I can't remember if it was a 2-iron or a 3-iron, which I actually carried in my bag back then. But my second shot I knew I needed to hit a good shot to kind of cinch up the tournament, and I hit a really good long iron in the back right corner of the green. I knew if I hit a poor shot there, that would have opened the door for Freddie to have a chance. So that was probably the best clutch shot I hit here.
COLIN MURRAY: Corey, thanks for your time, and good luck this week.

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