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June 12, 2011

Mark Wiebe


THE MODERATOR: Mark, congratulations on your third career victory on the Champions Tour, first since the 2008 Cap Cana Championship. You end a victory drought of 77 appearances and claim your second title in North Carolina. You won the 2007 SAS Championship in your first start on the circuit.
So congratulations. It was an exciting day and exciting week. You and James battling it out, and there was a little bit of a delay. Maybe just a few general comments on winning after the long drought and then take us through the day.
MARK WIEBE: Well, I didn't know it had been 77 tournaments. That was kind of a bummer to know. I'm tickled to have busted that drought, first of all. My gosh, the course was just in excellent shape. It's too bad the weather came in right when we were done.
I had a great group today, I will tell you. Mark O'Meara and Chip Beck. And Chip played just outstanding golf today, just outstanding.
When we were done and he congratulated me and I congratulated him, I said, "Bud, I just made one more putt than you did today." That was the only difference from our rounds. He hit the ball great.
Mark played well too. He couldn't get the ball in the hole there. We all just hung out at 17 and 16-under. I really think the group chemistry we had, and just I know those guys, have known them for a long time. We had a nice group today. We had so many birdies the first six or seven holes that I thought somebody was going to shoot 50-something, because it was just an onslaught.
But I will say I feel for James. I'm sorry -- I'm tickled to have won this tournament, first of all. I'm beside myself I'm so happy. I'm sorry for James that that's the way it happened for him.
He played great this week. He shot a 62 to qualify to get into this tournament. Played great throughout the week. Sometimes you just think it was going to be his week just because of what he did to get in and all the work he had to do and the scores he had to shoot. I just happened to be on the good luck side of it this time.
But I'm really happy with the win, I have to tell you. Winning is great. Winning is great. Winning a tournament that you really like is greater, and I really like this tournament. I really like what they do for us here is fantastic.
They come and get us in Charlotte, so we don't have any chores to do this week. It's just a great atmosphere. Jim and the staff do such a great job so I'm doubly happy to have won at a tournament that I really do enjoy and respect.
THE MODERATOR: Before we go to questions, just sort of take us down the stretch maybe starting at 15. You went six holes there without a birdie. People were birdieing right and left all over the place. We set a record for most birdies in a Champions Tour event.
MARK WIEBE: That's incredible.
THE MODERATOR: Take us through 15 on and through the playoff.
MARK WIEBE: So 15 is the par-3, right?
MARK WIEBE: Okay, so 15 today I hit a 9-iron. I'm thinking that was around 20 feet-ish. I really wanted to be pin high and have a level putt, and I did. I was left of the hole and made that putt. I parred 16. Had a great two-putt at 17.
THE MODERATOR: You know Funk's posted at 18 at that point?
MARK WIEBE: I saw Fred was 18 I think around the 15th hole or so, I think. I saw that he was in at 18, and I kind of knew what I had to do if I wanted to get better than 18. Then I parred 16 and 17 and I birdied 18.
I didn't hit my driver very well there. I was straight, but I didn't really catch it. I had to lay-up, and laid up to a perfect yardage and hit a great 60-degree sand wedge to 6 or 7 feet, I guess, about. I thought that was really a hard putt to make there. That was just kind of a tough putt to make. I was just a little unsure of the break.
Then the playoff, the first playoff hole I talked to my son, actually, during the delay. He said that putt was better than the regulation putt. I said it wasn't as hard. The one in regulation was a lot harder, I thought, because it was down and right to left. And the one when James and I were in the playoff, it was uphill and left to right. But it was great, a great putt by James right on top of that.
THE MODERATOR: About how far?
MARK WIEBE: My putt was -- let me see -- I was probably 12 feet or so and he was just inside of me. So he was 11 and a half feet, I guess, if I was 12.
Of course then the delay came after that. We went back out, and it's tough after sitting around for however long that was. I didn't do a very good job. I hit it in the trap. I hit a great bunker shot out with a 5-iron to 141. This is where, Brad, my caddie did a great job. It was his first win in caddying, too.
THE MODERATOR: E-g-g-e is how you spell his last name?
MARK WIEBE: Yeah. But he noticed that the air was a little heavier and the ball wasn't falling as far. So I got to hit a little late iron. I hit a shot in there 10 feet, just inside of 10 feet about.
James hit his bunker shot out and made his par putt. I really thought I made that putt. It was probably the best putt I hit today, actually, and didn't make it.
We went to the par-3, and I was a long way away, 40 feet maybe. James was probably 25 feet. I hit mine by the hole and he hit his by the hole. It's tough to stop and start your engines back up again, but it was the same for both of us. So it was a struggle for us. Unfortunately, he missed his, and fortunately for me I made mine.

Q. The delay, did it bother you guys at all? Were you just kind of sitting around talking? What was going through your mind there?
MARK WIEBE: I was trying to reschedule a flight, so I was on the phone with United, actually. Then I talked to my son. We were just kind of sitting around though. We were both in the same area. We talked for a while about how we played today. I told him what a great week it's been and whatever happens.
He's a great guy. James Mason is a great guy, I will tell you. And he's a damn good golfer. We all hear of Tom Watson and Nick Price and these also are great golfers. But James is really a good player, really a good player, as he proved this week with his scores.
But we just kind of hung out and just talked. It was nice to be with somebody that I enjoy talking to. I think we're good friends, and we were both trying to win. We were happy for whoever didn't or whoever did.

Q. Are you thinking about buying property in North Carolina now? Two of your three wins have come here in the state.
MARK WIEBE: Yeah, I don't get it. If I was to pick and somebody said you're going to win, where do you think it's going to be, I would pick the west coast, probably. I grew up out there.
The funny thing is when I won on TOUR it was Anheuser Busch in Virginia, that's east. Quad Cities was the only one that was even remotely west, and that's in Iowa or Illinois right in that area there.
I don't know. I have to tell you, both the tournaments that I've won here are great. The people, I like the people. I feel comfortable, just like being here.
I will tell you it was a little hot this week. That was tough. I mean, man, it was hot. But like I said, I'm being redundant here, but I really like playing well where I like the tournaments. I really like it. It means more. That's not saying I don't like a bunch of tournaments. I just really like the effort that goes into this event. They just do a fantastic job here.

Q. This Hall of Fame thing, I guess, Hall of Famers are supposed to win. Is that how that works?
MARK WIEBE: I've got to tell you this has been a real bug in my ear for a while. I felt terrible to not go, honestly. But I was committed here, and I told them -- some of the guys on the committee -- I just can't go. I'm committed to play in Hickory, and I'm playing a tournament.

Q. Good choice.
MARK WIEBE: You know, I didn't have to win for me to feel that was a good choice. I mean, it was tough, believe me, because I want to be there. That is a great honor to have, first of all, to be elected into the golf Hall of Fame in Colorado, especially. But I work for a living. This is what I do too.
But it was a back and forth thing. I never thought about not coming. I just didn't know how to say it in a nice way. Why didn't you have the dinner on a Monday? That's what I wanted to say. I never said that.
But my son's going to be there, and I have a buddy that is emceeing it, so they have something to talk about. That's good, right?

Q. Can you talk about playing in a tournament that was record setting birdies? Have you played in a tournament like this where every day everybody was kind of on fire out there?
MARK WIEBE: It was a huge old-fashioned shootout today, wasn't it? How many guys were within -- there had to be 25 guys that could win this tournament. I'm guessing. I don't know.
I usually don't come out on the good end of that. For me, usually when I play well, it is a lower, not as many under par score. The tournaments that I've won have been I think 14 -- no, sorry. SAS I did go -- maybe it is North Carolina, really.
I don't know. I was low there, but I play well when the winners are around 10 to 12, 13 under. That's where I feel like I have a good chance, never on a shootout. It's not my game. I'm not long. I don't make a lot of eagles. But my wedges are nice, and I'm putting good.
You know, you just kind of hold on to your hats. After that front nine, especially that we just got off to such a hot start that I thought, wow, we're in the thick of this right now.
But I didn't know if the group behind us got off to a hot start or the groups in front of us because we were so bunched in there. So who knew.
We couldn't even pick a winning score. Sometimes you go well, if you get to so many under, you've probably got a chance. There was no way you could pick that. I don't know how many 8-unders or 9-under just in the first round. And there were a couple of low rounds yesterday, a couple of 8-unders. So I'm thinking is it like first one to 30 wins, you know? What's going to happen on this deal?

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