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February 23, 2002

Paul Azinger


Q. Talk about the 18th hole.

PAUL AZINGER: Well, I played 34 holes and all you want to talk about is the last one? (Laughs.)

I didn't hit too many bad shots today. I did hit a bad shot there. I think as much as anything, I probably just made a mental mistake with him over there on the first cut on the left side, he had no shot, really.

I played good. I don't have any regrets. It was a bit of a mistake there. I should have made sure I came up a little bit short and came out to the right. I played aggressive all week. I hit my irons great. I think probably the toughest thing is going to be playing tomorrow. But he played good. He's a proud player and he's got his confidence up. I think he might play good tomorrow, too.

Q. Did you give Scott any advice at the beginning of the week to bounce back from the disappointment last week?

PAUL AZINGER: I just tried to encourage him about not losing his desire to get in position, because the hard thing about being in contention like that is that that thousands of people are watching you and if you blow it, thousands of people usually criticize you. I said, "You have to be willing to get back in contention." I told him that you've got to love the fact that you had an opportunity and you've got to love it every time you do.

I think I encouraged him a little bit, but he's giving me too much credit. I did give him some advice with the Sergio match; I told him he likes to re-grip a lot and I just told him not to get wrapped up in what he's doing. So, he gave me a little more credit than I deserve.

Q. Played another tight match for you today. You played the most pros out of anyone here this week and every match went down to the wire. Did you have to go out of your way to make sure your focus was still there?

PAUL AZINGER: I was not even tired. We were talking on 17, I wasn't even one bit nervous, not at teeing off, not at any point or over any putt. I felt very comfortable all week. I was very confident. He made a great putt to beat me. Whether or not I could have made par remains to be seen; we'll never know. But I did make a mistake there letting him off the hook.

I had 140 and it was playing about 145, 146, something like that. It was a perfect 9-iron. I just felt confident, but I think to re-think that shot, it would have been wise to just kick it out there to the right a little bit and let him try to play a shot. Instead, I tried to play the shot and I didn't have to at that point. So, I'll think about that one a little bit.

In match-play, you've really got to think about what your opponent is doing, where he is. I've done a great job all week thinking that way. On the last hole, I was wrapped up in what I was doing and what I could pull off there. I forgot his situation was not good over there. I completely let him off the hook and then he capitalized by making a beautiful putt.

So, hats off to him.

Q. Was it fun out there playing with him?

PAUL AZINGER: I wasn't thinking about fun. I wasn't thinking about him. I was just trying to play my own game. We were cordial to each other, but it wasn't a social gathering of the two of us or anything like that.

A lot was at stake today. Let's face it, a lot was at stake. We both played great.

Q. How much did this mean to you and your play?

PAUL AZINGER: It's not over yet. I've got to play golf tomorrow, so the week is not over for me. I have no idea what the money breakdown is. I have no idea if I won my match today, how much I have guaranteed tomorrow. I knew I had a chance to win $1 million, but I had no idea. I didn't know what I was playing for today, monetarily. I had no idea. I had a chance if I won that match that I could play for the million bucks. I played great. Somebody just told me I was like 8- or 9-under par in the 34 holes I played today, but it wasn't good enough.

Q. You said on TV this would be a great golf event tomorrow even if you're not a Tiger fan.

PAUL AZINGER: Well, the thing is, it's so easy, especially around -- like the general public -- actually, it's not the general public.

I just said, if you're a Tiger fan, you're probably not going to watch -- Jerry Van Sickle said it best: "If you're a golf fan, you'll watch." I mean, when a million dollars is up for grabs, I don't care who is playing, I want to see who is going to pull it all together and who is going to pull it off. I wish it was me. I thought I would have a chance to get there.

Q. Can you talk about tomorrow and the motivation going in?

PAUL AZINGER: I'm just going to try to focus and do the best I can. I don't know what else to say.

Q. This is your first match-play work since Curtis tabbed you back in August; so, good to get your chops sharpened?

PAUL AZINGER: September is a long ways away. You don't know how you are going to be swinging and playing. As far as being a match-play player -- if you're playing good, you're a good match-play player. If you're not playing good, you're not a good match-play player. I mean, I'll stick to that as long as I live.

I think maybe I know how to think in match-play and I didn't think very well on the last shot of tournament, but you do have to think a little differently. But you have to play well. And I'm playing great and hopefully I'll hit it great tomorrow and hit it great at Doral next week.

Q. Seemed like the ball-striking was real solid for you all day and all week.

PAUL AZINGER: The course is just getting more and more difficult, so it was harder and harder to score.

I only made one bogey today on all of the 34 holes I played and only made one bogey yesterday. I didn't make a lot of bogeys. If it was a medal-play tournament, I might be a run away right now, I don't know.

Q. What is the difference between making a mistake on 18 and the confidence to pull that shot off?

PAUL AZINGER: It's a fine line, but I think with him sitting there, if I had to do it all over again, I would have just thought about his situation, not just my situation. I was just thinking of my situation: Perfect yardage, perfect position for me, swinging perfect. Just made that little mistake.

Q. What was the mistake? I know you missed to your left --?

PAUL AZINGER: I just pulled it. It wasn't short. It had to be pin-high, but it was just like a yank.

All week long, I had occasion of pulling my ball if I didn't get my weight back on my heels a little bit. I thought I was perfect at address. I even thought about it; so I don't think that was a problem. Just a little quick, a little excited.

Disappointing. Just a bad match-play mistake. That's all it was. You've got to go out to the right when he's sitting over there where he was. But looking back, I think I made a mistake.

End of FastScripts....

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