March 23, 2001
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
LEE PATTERSON: All right, Paul. Maybe just a couple thoughts about how you are heading into the weekend and then we'll open it up for questions.
PAUL AZINGER: I'm trying to think who is here that didn't already hear it. (Laughs ). Well, I thought it played a little bit harder today than it did yesterday, and I didn't hit it quite as good, but I managed to get a good score out of it. The wind was -- you know, I think we were just talking about it on the seventh or eighth hole today; the wind started to kick up. So even though we were probably on the good side of the field, I felt like it played a little harder this afternoon than it did at any point yesterday. I was not quite as sharp. I missed a few fairways, but all in all, I did a good job of scoring. My short game was really good and I putted really well. So, you know, I'm in pretty good shape.
Q. Through the years, you guys have always said that sometimes after a great round like you had yesterday, it is really, really hard to follow it up with another great round. So can I assume that you are pleased with the 2-under par round today and also with your position?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, yeah. I mean, it just played a little harder. I didn't hit it quite as good. It is hard to follow-up that kind of ball-striking round. Yesterday was one of those things that -- I'll never forget that ball-striking round. If I could have another couple more rounds like that this week, I'll be in great shape. Today, I had a few miscues. I really only made one mental mistake, and I did have to chip out on the sixth hole, but I managed to make a par. I missed the fairway to the right on No. 1 and was not able to get to the green. But, you know, it's just -- I didn't expect to hit it like I did yesterday. You know, I just wanted to think any way I had to think to get the ball to the hole.
Q. What was that club you put back in your bag twice before going to the ninth green and what did you finally hit?
PAUL AZINGER: I hit 9-iron. I had 114 yards. I had the pitching wedge out, you know, and the wind was gusting. I still could have gotten the pitching wedge there. I could have played a different kind of shot. So I kind of hemmed and hawed and decided to hit the 9-iron down. I hit it really easy and got a good dredge out of it, and it turned out to be the right one. I apologized to my partners for taking so long.
Q. Outside you talked about changing your state of mind in the most recent years. How do you do that?
PAUL AZINGER: Are you going to write about it or can we keep it a secret? (Laughter.)
Q. Depends on how good of an answer it is.
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I think that -- I probably went for probably three or four years. I feel like, you know, there's three things that can cause to you play really lousy: It could be your equipment, it could be your state of mind or you could just be really playing lousy. I changed my equipment. And it was probably an improvement, but I was still playing lousy. So the next step, really, was my state of mind. So I actually hooked up with Bob Rotella and worked with him. I realized I was maybe going through the motions a little too much; going to these tournaments out of a sense of obligation rather than being committed. So I decided to be more prepared before I left town to go to all of these tournaments, and that's maybe about it. I'm going more maybe with a purpose. I played really solid golf all of last year. Even when I played my best back in the late 80s and early 90s, I would still miss six or seven cuts a year, and I only missed a cut one time last year, which is pretty good. So I've just gotten a lot more consistent and going to each tournament with more of a purpose maybe.
Q. I'm confused, which is not usual, but you said that you didn't expect to hit the ball as well as you did yesterday. I know you had a good round, but why would you not come out and say --?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I don't know that I said that. Did I clearly say that? Is that the court stenographer, Steve, or is that you? Because if that's you, we all know.
Q. You said "I didn't expect to hit it like I did yesterday."
PAUL AZINGER: Well, yesterday was like an anomaly. That's how good I hit it. Hogan, I mean, how many times did Hogan come off the course totally satisfied? Probably never by his standard. But for me yesterday, was just a great day. I don't know what else to say. I don't know what you're looking for. What are you looking for?
Q. I'm just surprised that if you play really well that you could come the second day and you would not feel that you would play as well.
PAUL AZINGER: Are you saying today I didn't expect to hit it? Well, I'm just saying yesterday was like an incredible day. You just know that you are going to have to think anyway -- the reality is that day-in, day-out -- you change every day out here. Everything changes. The weather conditions, the way you slept, the time that you have to get up to go tee off. You know, just one of those things where you just go out there and think any way you have to think to get the ball in the hole. I was very confident starting the day. I expected to play well. Let's just say this: I was prepared maybe to hit it not quite as well because yesterday was pretty special for me.
Q. Once again, what about your position now heading into the weekend? A little change in the mental attitude or are you thinking, "Well, there are certain holes out here that I can charge if I have to," or same pace of play for you?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I think it doesn't really matter where you are after two days or after three; it's where you are after four days. That's what really matters. So I'll try to do everything the same, but I don't want to share too much because Scott Hoch just walked in the room. I don't want to give him any information.
Q. How have you changed since you won the PGA?
PAUL AZINGER: I've grown up a bit. I've been through quite a bit since then. But I would say that physically I'm a bigger man. I weigh 190 pounds instead of 165. I'm in a little better shape. I really should be just as confident.
Q. Has your game changed at all, how you play the game?
PAUL AZINGER: Not really. I probably know a little more about it. Probably a little better chipper and putter than I was. Probably a little better than I was, really. But I'm older. Old age with bad technique. Bad combination. (Laughs).
LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you take us through your birdies real quick.
PAUL AZINGER: Started on the back nine. No. 11, I was just short of the green in two, between the two bunkers and pitched it about ten feet. I bogeyed No. 1. I hit it in the right-hand rough and could not reach the green. I hit it in the bunker, but it didn't get up-and-down. 2-putted for birdie from 35 feet on No. 2. I hit 7-iron on No. 3. I would say 25 feet there, 30 feet. 8, I hit it in the left-hand bunker with no chance. I made a bogey there. 9, I hit -- we talked about. I hit a 9-iron a foot.
End of FastScripts....