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June 21, 2011

Scott Verplank


MARK STEVENS: Okay. We'd like to welcome Scott Verplank into the media center here at The Travelers Championship. Scott, currently No. 82 in the FedExCup standing, and as has been the case here, seems like a lot of injuries you're battling through, Scott. Talk a little bit about your health.
SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah. It's kind of a broken record really.
I'm fine. I've been battling this left wrist problem for about a year. But I'm just kind of haven't been able to play very much this year, but that's fine. I'm kind of getting up there in age, so I don't mind being home quite as much.
But I'm really looking forward to coming back here. I love this golf course. I've done very well around here and had a lot of good rounds, so I'm excited to be here this week.
MARK STEVENS: Including two straight Top 10s here. Talk a little bit about the playoff loss, your thoughts on that last year.
SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, you know, it was kind of a -- you know, it was weird kind of how everybody finished off. You know, I played very well, made two eagles on the back nine, and all of a sudden I'm playing up 17 and 18 thinking if I could birdie one of those two, then I'd have a really good shot at a playoff. Well, you know, if I would have birdied either one of them, I could have actually outright won. And I had two good looks at it.
But you know, and then coming in I can't remember exactly, but guys kind of -- I think Bubba did something on 17, bogeyed or doubled 17, and then you know, it just kind of -- it worked out where 14-under was the number. And you know, I was really happy to even have a shot, to be honest with you. At the beginning of the day I would have never thought that I had a chance.
MARK STEVENS: All right. We'll go into questions.

Q. Scott, your wrist specifically, have they diagnosed what it is? Is it tendonitis?
SCOTT VERPLANK: No. It's more kind of arthritic. Yeah, just kind of a dull arthritic pain. You know, it's just one of those deals getting old, I guess. You know, I take plenty of painkillers.
You know, my biggest problem with it is I haven't been able to be consistent. I've been able to play some weeks and feel okay and I've played some other weeks and just been terrible, had to withdraw a couple times. Played really good for the one week in Houston, and I felt really good. The problem there was I just kind of ran out of gas because I hadn't been able to play, and I just kind of felt like I lost a little strength in my left arm.
But if I could -- I mean I'm doing a lot of things good, so it's just kind of pacing myself. But you know, it's not anything different than anybody else that's playing out here that's been out here a long time. Everybody has something they're dealing with, so I just put my head down and go.

Q. Where does the bumbled bunker shot on 15 rank in the pantheon of Scott Verplank shots?
SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, it was very timely. You know what, that was a -- like I said, I was just -- I really didn't think I had a chance to win, even at that point. I can't remember what the scores were, but they were still several more under par than I was. And you expect guys to make birdies coming down, you know, the last three or four holes. Obviously 17 anything can happen, but the other holes if you hit good shots, you should have good chances.
But I do remember that I was disappointed that I was there after my tee shot because that was not a good place to be. It was just I hit a great shot, and it was just lucky enough it went in because I sat there on the tee and watched the guy in the same bunker take two to get on the green. Maybe I think he chunked it, rolled back, and then chunked it and rolled back. So I'm standing over there in that bunker going, I know I don't want to do that.
But it was kind of an all-or-nothing shot. I had a little small probably one square foot area that I could land the ball in and get it around the hole, and it was perfect. I probably wouldn't be able to do it again. I could probably throw a hundred balls down and might get lucky -- especially to get one to roll in just like -- I mean it was like a perfect putt. So it was pretty once -- one out of a hundred maybe at best.

Q. The degree of difficulty was quite high.
SCOTT VERPLANK: To me it was quite high. Maybe to somebody else it wouldn't have been, but it was not really the best spot to be, being shortsided in the bunker with the green running away from you. But as it turned out, you know, that's kind of what's interesting about golf, you never know what's going to happen.

Q. The best shot you could hit under the circumstances?
SCOTT VERPLANK: Oh, yeah. I would guess so. You know what, I would also -- thinking of last year, I would also say that the like eight-foot birdie putt I made on the first playoff hole was probably more clutch than the bunker shot.
Like I said, I was just trying to play and see how low I could shoot and see where it got me. But then I knew that, you know, Bubba had hit it up there a couple inches, and I knew I had to make it to keep going. So that actually -- to me that was probably a more clutch shot than the bunker shot.

Q. Speaking of the 15th hole, Scott, assuming you're not going to play to that bunker and hole out every round, how would you tactically approach that? We're doing a live ad and we just want some comments about that.
SCOTT VERPLANK: I think it's a great hole because anything can happen. You can make 2; you can make 5 or 6. And any time you have one of those kind of holes coming down the stretch, I think that's one thing that makes this tournament pretty exciting.
You know, if there's a bunch of guys with a chance, the last four holes here are really great finishing holes because lots of different things can happen.
You know what, 15, it's a pretty good yardage for me. And normally I hit it pretty straight, so you know, I might try to favor -- obviously I was trying to favor left of the pin on 15 the last round, and I pushed it. I actually hit it right of the pin and it hit on the upslope of the green and kicked to the right. So I needed to have it about -- I thought I needed it about five yards left of that so you can kind of be going back up the hill. But if the pin's on the left, you can miss it over there to the right and be fine.

Q. What about the 17th hole? That's a lot longer. Talk about the tee shot especially. Is that a driver hole in a tough situation?
SCOTT VERPLANK: You know what, it just depends on the conditions. I've hit driver there; I've hit irons there. I normally hit 3-wood, I think.
You just have to be specific. Pick out a target and hit it at it. You know, you just -- because it's an elevated tee hitting down, I think it, you know, it brings a little more -- brings a little more variable into play. But I think it's a really neat hole, to be honest with you. You gotta get up there and hit a nice shot. And then if you hit a good tee shot, then it's somewhat of a birdie hole.
MARK STEVENS: Anything else? All right. Scott, we appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.

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