February 16, 2001
LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Great round today.
TOM PERNICE: Thank you.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Why don't you just start out with a couple of quick comments on your round, and then we'll go into a couple of questions.
TOM PERNICE: I think basically, it was a pretty solid round. It wasn't anything spectacular I don't think. The conditions were awfully good again today, so it was to the point where 6-under was barely keeping pace. It was good to have a good round and keep me halfway in the hunt. I haven't seen what anybody else is doing, but I'm sure there are going to be some pretty low scores. Got off to a slow start, didn't make a birdie the first four or five holes, but ended up making a birdie at 5, 8 and 9 and that helped. And we had about a 40-minute wait at the turn. We were the first group off. I made a bogey on No. 10, about 20 feet off the hole just a foot off the green, so I kind of gave one away there, it felt like. Had some chances to make some birdies and then I birdied 17, which was a good shot, a 2-iron into the wind I hit in there, birdie to three feet and, 18 I was just off the left edge of the green there, not too far and I didn't make birdie. 17 was a bonus.
Q. Tom, that 40-minute wait that you had at the turn and the bogey, how frustrating was that at that time?
TOM PERNICE: We were the first group off, and we played in under two hours or about an hour and 55 minutes, so I expected to see one or two groups there. It was no big deal. I just came down in the locker room and sat down and watched TV. You expect it, almost.
Q. What did you watch?
TOM PERNICE: CNBC, watching to see that the market was taking a nose dive.
Q. The scores here are always low, but this year, we've had Calcavecchia shooting 60, Davis Love shooting 63 at Pebble Beach, a pretty good golf course. You've been on the Tour for a while, and you see guys 17 -, 18-, 19-, 20-under, are you amazed and is this fun or would you rather have guys -- or a tournament where par was more important?
TOM PERNICE: Personally, I don't mind it at all. I think that -- I think we as the PGA TOUR make a mistake in trying to set up THE PLAYERS Championship too difficult and try to dictate the score. I think you should setup the golf course properly and let the conditions and the abilities of the player speak for themselves. Every other sport they want the athlete to shine, and in this sport they want to penalize you. If you're playing too good they want to build new tees, build the rough and narrow the fairways. I don't mind it. Coming in, you know that you have to shoot low scores; it's fair. The greens are right in front of you in perfect conditions and it's a fair test. I think that's more important than trying to devise a way to trick up a golf course to where even par is the number. I really disagree with the way THE PLAYERS Championship has been setup the last couple of years and it is getting to be a little more radical than the USGA in the U.S. Open, almost. No, I don't think it's bad at all.
Q. Did you make the trip over the mountain on Monday or Sunday night did you have to battle any snow?
TOM PERNICE: I stayed home on Monday and drove over here on Tuesday afternoon and played at Indian Wells. I went around. I've done that before. I took 215 around to the 60 to the 10.
Q. How much out of the way is that for you?
TOM PERNICE: It's really not that much farther from Murrieta. It's probably about the same time, especially with the snow up there it's probably faster.
Q. How is your daughter doing and is there any progress in her condition?
TOM PERNICE: She's doing about the same. Brooke is going to be 6 in a couple weeks. The acupuncture has kind of stabilized. She's legally blind and has not really progressed that much. But she's in school now, going full-time, and she's ahead of everybody in her class, reading and writing braille at the age of 5 1/2. She's doing great, but I appreciate you asking.
Q. How much of a challenge -- you have to play the Tour and now you have to deal with that full-time?
TOM PERNICE: It's not really anything that you deal with, any other child, just a matter of being on the road and missing your family. I mean, that's the hardest part. But we don't look at her any differently than our oldest daughter, Kristen. She's doing great, and she doesn't know anything is much different from her than anybody else.
Q. I remember -- of course you finished second to Phil in the seven-month delayed AT&T, but you spoke about how important it was to get the money, to get that high finish, and it would ease your life. Could you go into that a little more, and was that basically the -- you know, one of the highlight tournaments of your career?
TOM PERNICE: Oh, I think that allowed me -- it gave me some satisfaction that I knew that I could compete up there when I get in the hunt. And then I went on the next year and won at the Buick. I think that was a major stepping stone for me, coming down the stretch and having an opportunity. I just felt that that was a positive for my career, and then to go onto the Buick and play well, and to win there, I think obviously the seven-month delay at Pebble probably was a stepping stone to really turn my career in the right direction.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Could you quickly go through your birdies and bogeys?
TOM PERNICE: I birdied 5. I hit a little 9-iron about 15 feet and made birdie. 8, the par 5, I hit two good shots right in front of the green about five yards off the green and pitched up about four feet and made birdie. 9, I hit a sand wedge about 12 feet and made birdie. 11, I hit a wedge about three feet and made birdie. 13, the par 5, I hit two good shots right in front of the green. Pitched up about 15 to 12 feet and made birdie. 14, sand wedge, 30 feet. Made the putt. 17, I hit a 2-iron about three feet.
JOAN Vt ALEXANDER: We appreciate your time, and play well tomorrow.
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