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May 29, 2011

David Eger


KELLY ELBIN: David Eger, the runner-up in the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. David's 67 was the low score in the final round here at Valhalla Golf Club. David, comments on the day and coming up a little bit short, especially with those opportunities that you had at 18 in regulation and in the playoff.
DAVID EGER: Well, it was a difficult day. The wind blew pretty good out there, probably 15 miles an hour constant.
It's a difficult enough course without wind. But it did dry out some today, not that the ball was rolling significant distances from where it hit, but I thought the golf course played closer today and the PGA should be satisfied with how things went today. Kerry put some tees up on the second and fourth holes and it was up all week on number seven, the other par-5 on the front.
Anyway, I thought it was going to take 11 to win and I guess that would have been good enough to win. I knew the putt on -- I was watching the board, I was surprised that players were not playing better than they were when I made the turn. And when I looked there and suddenly I'm in the lead, on the back nine, I was a little surprised, but I knew that I needed to make four at 18 I thought to have a chance at a playoff, because if you play that hole reasonably well, you're going to usually have a pretty good chance to make a four there. Which I did, but I didn't convert. I hit a terrible putt there.
But I hit some nice putts today and I didn't think 10-under would win. I thought that the number was going to be 12 or 13. So I'm pleased. I went out there and played a good solid round of golf, I did make a bogey late in the round which kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but then I came back and birdied 17, I just failed to birdie 18 both times I played it. So that's it.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Open it up for questions.

Q. Would you go through 18, both times you played it today, with the clubs and yardages that you had.
DAVID EGER: Sure. First time in regulation I hit a good drive right down the middle of the fairway, very similar to where Watson drove it in the playoff. And I had, I want to say I had 227 to carry the bunker. And like 239 or something to the hole.
But I had mud on the ball. Big glob of mud on the bottom of the ball that I could see. So I couldn't get the ball lifted up.
I hit a 18 degree hybrid and it came to rest in a great position, about where Tom was again in the playoff. And I hit a pretty good bunker shot, maybe, obviously I hit it too hard, it went by about four or five feet.
I tried to play a straight putt and I just dead yanked it. Bad putt.
Second time around with the honor I tried to hit the same shot down at the left bunker and cut it a little bit to the right and it didn't cut. And I hit it so well it went through the fairway and Saturday up, came to rest about 12 or 18 inches from the lip of the bunker in the grass and I had to stand about a foot or so below the ball.
I had no choice but to play the second shot the way I did with a 6-iron up to about I think I had right at 100 yards to the hole. 95 to a hundred yards to the hole. And I hit a pretty good third shot up there about, I don't know, 10 or 12 feet. And I thought I hit a really good putt.
It just was not good enough.

Q. You spent most of your adult life as a golf administrator and here you are today, you lost in a playoff for the oldest Senior Major.
DAVID EGER: Pretty remarkable.

Q. What is that like to have had those two things in your life?
DAVID EGER: Well, I've been very lucky. I worked for both the PGA TOUR and the United States Golf Association and jobs that I can't tell you how many people have applied or have wanted the jobs that I've had with those organizations. And I still got to play amateur golf during those positions.
When I turned 48 or so I decided, well, I might as well get in shape and try the at that time it's called the Senior Tour. And I got lucky and qualified and I've been out here for 10 years now. So just like Dana Quigley or Allen Doyle or Jay Siegel or even John Harris, it's the ultimate mulligan in life for a golfer to be able to come out here and play and play reasonably well at times and compete with the likes of Tom Watson and Hale Irwin and wonderful great players who I watched from a golf cart for years and years win tournaments and championships. It's not a bad feeling. I'm comfortable in my own skin.

Q. As an administrator and above were you ever around Watson?
DAVID EGER: Oh, yeah, I was around all of them.

Q. What's that specifically like?
DAVID EGER: Well, I think, I think that -- the big -- a big turn in Tom's life, I thought, I was working for the TOUR, I had left the USGA and came back with the TOUR. And in '96 he won the Memorial tournament. And he had gone through quite a dry spell there.
And that sort of propelled him on to great things here in his 50s and now 61 years old.
But, no, I've watched -- I didn't watch much of Palmer, I watched a lot of Trevino, Watson, Irwin, a lot of great players from a golf cart. And I got to really appreciate just how good they were and they still are.

Q. You mentioned that this is the ultimate mulligan in life.
DAVID EGER: It's like a second marriage.

Q. Very good. Looking back on the week, other than I'm assuming the putt on 18 would be the mulligan you would want to take, that one aside, looking back on the four rounds, if you had a mulligan where would you have taken it?
DAVID EGER: Oh, geez. You know, I played pretty well yesterday, but I couldn't, it didn't -- the score was good, but it was all short game. There was -- I had so much mud on my ball yesterday, I drove the ball pretty well, maybe missed three fairways or so. But every time I was in the fairway there was so much mud on it I hit these squirrely looking second shots and I think I got about everyone of them up-and-down.
But gosh, I would like to have another, not that it is my favorite hole by any means, but I would like to have another go at the 6th hole. I made two 4s and two fives, which Mark Brooks earlier in the week said that's about normal, that's what you should expect out of the hole. But I was disappointed in a couple of the bogeys that I made there.
You look at the course, the 72 holes, there's going to be, usually there's going to be a minimum of 10 if not 20 strokes that a player can think about that he wasted.
So today I only really wasted one, one and a half strokes. The bogey on 16 from the middle of the fairway where I kind of tried to chip a 6-iron and pulled it. And then at 18 with the putt. But all in all, it's, I had a good week, considering I started out with 74.

Q. As you said, for your self and guys like Dana and Allen Doyle, the Champions Tour is one thing. What do you think as a long time observer of golf as well as a player for a Tom Watson whose done all he's done to win this championship on the Senior Tour at age 61? How do you put that in perspective?
DAVID EGER: Well I think that Tom and Hale are freaks. And I say that in a complimentary way. I call Hale 45. That's what he's got, that's the numerals he has on his golf ball. And I knew Tom was 60 and I asked him walking off the 18th tee there in the playoff how old he was, and he told me 61. And we added up to, what? Whatever that is, 120 years together combined.
But it's amazing. Tom is playing, as I said earlier, Tom hasn't played well this year until this week and suddenly, bam, it clicked on. I don't know what he does out there in Kansas City, or wherever, Hawaii or wherever in the world he goes, but whatever he does, it's been the right formula for 11 years out here.
I wish he played more. I understand why, he has other priorities and whatnot, but both Tom and Hale are unbelievable golfers and people and athletes. They're really attribute to their profession.

Q. You said earlier that you thought 12 or 13 would win, because of that did you think that you had a chance going into the final round?
DAVID EGER: No. You know, when I got out here or when I walked outside the hotel this morning and the wind was blowing pretty good, it was from the same direction though that it's blown all week. There are a lot of difficult shots.
If you're a little bit off on some drives here and you get the ball in the rough, you can't even get the ball on the green then. But I was very shocked. I didn't look at aboard on the front nine. And when I parred 12, I looked at the board and said, whoa, you know, there it is. And I parred 13 and 14 and birdied 15 and looked at the board again and said, oh, all right. And I just wanted to stay in the moment and hit the shots one at a time, as the old saying goes, and there's nothing more true in golf than stay within the moment and hit one shot at a time. Don't get ahead of yourself. Don't start memorizing a speech walking up the 18th hole, even with a two stroke lead.

Q. We went early in the week from chamber of commerce weather to the rain delay on Thursday and then Friday was pretty cold and then today it was like a steam bath out there. How difficult was this week both physically and mentally with just the change in the weather conditions and all that?
DAVID EGER: I was originally scheduled to play at 7:50 on Thursday and I got to play at 9:30 or something like that. But, 9:20. And then we got suspended because of bad weather again when I was on the 11th hole and got back out and finished my round. Didn't tee off the second round until 3:15, when it was cool, I wore a sweater all day.
So I actually got to play 18 each day. Not as difficult as some who had to play as many as 30 or 31 holes, I understand.
But today I really got zapped on energy. About the 12th or 13th hole. I couldn't get, I couldn't towel off and get cooled off. I was hydrated plenty, but luckily we sat on the 14th tee up in the shade for about five minutes waiting on the group to finish the green. And I sat down in the shade and took a wet towel and just towelled off and sort of got a second wind or a little bit of wind to play the last few holes.
But it was very difficult out there. It's a hard walking course to begin with. Because it seems like you walk down off every green and up to every tee. And there's some pretty good walks within the course itself between some greens antes.
So it's a tough walk on somebody that's in great shape. Much less me.
KELLY ELBIN: David Eger, runner you up in the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Thank you.

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