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February 22, 2002

Paul Azinger


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you Paul for joining us. Appreciate your time in the media center. Great match today, 20 holes. Why don't you make comment on your match and we'll go into some questions.

PAUL AZINGER: I played Niclas Fasth. He played just great, I thought, all day. I felt like the match was always out of hand, you know. Sometimes you feel like you have a match in hand, and today he just played so good. He made every putt he had to make. You know, I got hot at the very end and he wasn't so far ahead that I could not catch him. I kind of got too far out in front of Davis yesterday. When he got hot, it was a little too late. But today it was not too late for me because I was only 2-down.

I beat a kid who is playing pretty well. I didn't know he was long off the tee, he has a great short game. He hit into six or seven bunkers and got up-and-down every single time except the last hole. He's a very good player.

Q. I think you had a big birdie early, about 40 feet?

PAUL AZINGER: No. 4, I made a long putt for birdie.

Q. You almost made a 50-footer after that, didn't you?

PAUL AZINGER: I almost made a 50-footer. I hung it on the lip there and he followed up with a birdie there on 5 so, he squashed me like a bug a little bit. He played great today, he really did. He bogeyed 10. He made a mistake on 10. I had already hit it over the green in the tall stuff and he followed me right over the green into the bunker and he missed about a 4- or 5-footer there and that hurt.

I returned the favor on 14 unfortunately for me, I missed a very short putt there, about a 3-footer.

But these greens are that way. You're going to miss some short putts on these greens. It's tricky. But then he made another bogey on 15. I had a terrible tee shot to the right and he hit it in the bunker, knocked it over the green which is another bad mistake because I had already missed the green to the left and looked like I had a really tough par and he made bogey there and he made about a seven or eight footer for par which I think was the beginning of the momentum shift. I hit a great shot on 16 and made the birdie.

On 17, I chipped in and the way he was putting, he only had five feet on 17 and I knew he was going to make it in there. My chip-in there was gigantic. He could have ended it on 18 but he missed from about eight or nine feet.

Q. What happened on the first hole?

PAUL AZINGER: The first playoff hole, my friends were out there and they said my ball, at one point, was an inch from the hole and landed just short, skipped up like that and then sucked back to about 15 feet and he hit it on the top of the bunker skipped forward to about three feet. I made it and he made it. We both made it.

So, that was a great putt for me. That was the match, really. Gave me a chance to go to the next hole. I hit a fairway wood on the green, I had 239 to the hole and I hit it pin-high and he hit it in the left land bunker blasted out about six feet past and he had a really tough putt coming back. I just rolled it up there two feet and he missed it and I made it and that was it.

Q. Are you liking this tournament and the format more and more, the longer it goes?

PAUL AZINGER: Well, obviously, everybody still sticking around is liking it okay.

I think that the guys that are here, are here for a reason. They are here because they are playing really decent golf. You know, you can't just be a good match-play player. You have to be playing well to play well in match-play. If you're playing poorly -- a couple of years ago I didn't play very good at all and it doesn't matter how good of a match-play player people think I am or whatever, you can't win.

I know there are only eight guys left and I know that I'm hitting nicely and I'm putting it good and doing everything that I need to be doing. Could I very easily have been beaten today by Niclas Fasth?

It would not have changed the way I felt about how I was playing, but I could have run into the wrong guy, too. Today he ran into the wrong guy because he is playing great and I barely edged him out.

We were both about 4- or 5-under par. It was a shame for somebody to lose.

Q. How dangerous do you think you are right now?

PAUL AZINGER: You know, I'm not -- no predictions on how dangerous I am. I'm hitting it good this week and that's why I'm still sticking around. I'm hitting all of my irons pretty solid. So, you know, we'll see. I didn't hit any good wedge shots today. I could not get it close to my wedges. I don't think I hit a wedge within 15 feet all day. Wedge or sand wedge.

Q. When you won here in 1990, how does that help you, knowing the course and having won here?

PAUL AZINGER: Well, do I know the greens pretty well. I have some confidence on the greens because I did win the tournament here in 90. I'm comfortable on most of the tees.

Usually, if you win a tournament at a golf course, you're comfortable on the tee botches normally. It's hard to win someplace where you're not comfortable. There's some good tournaments that I play year-in and year-out and I'm totally uncomfortable on the tee boxes and I hate that. But there's nothing you can do, you've got to go.

Q. Scott McCarron said that you gave him some advice on his match with Sergio today. Are you going to stop giving advice in a day or two?

PAUL AZINGER: We're in different brackets; I told him -- I really like him and I felt really bad for him last week. I told him, "I said we both make it to the finals and you can be my enemy for a three hours." Actually, it will be longer than that if we are in the finals.

Today with Sergio, I just told him that Sergio, he's doing the re-gripping and waggling and it can unnerve you a little bit, I'm sure. I'm sure the crowd was really going to be on Sergio's side today and I just told Scotty to just be kind of wrapped up in what he was doing today. Nothing that he didn't already know.

Q. And he appreciated it, apparently.

PAUL AZINGER: I was happy for him. He had a tough match against Monty the first day and he did a nice job of hanging in there. And Mike Weir played him tough, for a guy to lose the way he lost, I'm sure he was disappointed, but it says a little bit about his moxie for him to come out and play well again the following week.

Q. Did you grab the wrong suitcase to head for Hawaii this week?

PAUL AZINGER: The Tommy Bahama folks wants me to sport more print. So I started getting these big things in extra large. I have to put a shirt underneath them; so they don't stick. They are not really golf attire. It looks a little Hawaii, but a little more trendy than Hawaii.

Q. Are you surprised he missed the putt on 18?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, I thought I lost. I was surprised. He played it on the right lip. I knew that putt was like a right-center because when I missed mine, I walked down and around below the hole to get to my ball, or eventually I got that way and I didn't look at his putt; and I thought it's on the right-center, but he told me he played it on the right lip. Might have hit it just a little hard.

Q. What does it say when a couple 42-year-olds, you and Tom Lehman, are still around?

PAUL AZINGER: I think the older you get in golf, if you're still healthy, physically fit, the older you get, the better you are. That's the great thing about our sport. You get old in any other sport, except maybe chess, you get worse. Maybe poker. (Laughter.)

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Paul.

End of FastScripts....

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