June 17, 1999
PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA
LES UNGER: The number 67 seems to be popular today. You are the fourth guy to come in
PAUL GOYDOS: I'm sure somebody is going to come in a little better by the end of the
day, and it's a good start.
LES UNGER: It's your feeling somebody is going to go lower.
PAUL GOYDOS: I would think so. I was probably the first group to get to play all 18
holes without it raining. I think this morning at 6 o'clock, I imagine it was raining good
this morning. Now the golf course is soft, without having to deal with the elements. And I
think for at least today someone is going to come in lower.
LES UNGER: I checked the book with your record, and this is the 9th round in the 60s in
the last 15 rounds you played. You're on a pretty good roll.
PAUL GOYDOS: But I played lousy at home. Yeah, I've been playing pretty good. The Texas
experience was good at the Byron Nelson Colonial. They tend to come in bunches for me. The
schedule is working out for me, maybe, this year.
LES UNGER: Could you take your score card, please, and ignore the straight out pars,
but tell us about all the other holes.
PAUL GOYDOS: Well, I started out No. 3, and I had a nice little 3-iron and a 9-iron
about 12, 15 feet, made that putt for birdie. That was my third straight. No. 11 made a
bogey on 11, just hit kind of a weak drive and then a weaker 4-iron and then a bad bunker
shot. And then I 2-putted from about 35 feet. It was a bogey, and deservedly so. Then I
came back on No. 12, which is nice. The Tour has something new called bounce back, and I
guess I get a point for that. I hit driver, 5-iron about 15 feet and made that putt. It's
always nice, in these tournaments, if you start going the wrong way, especially in an Open
course, it was nice to kind of right it immediately, and get back on track. Then we got to
14, I actually drove the ball in the left fairway bunker and had a pretty good lie and hit
a 6-iron, and I kind of pushed it about 20 feet and rolled up about two feet from the
hole, managed to squeeze that one in. Made a nice little 15-footer on 16 for par. 17 I hit
a 5-iron and I made that to get to 3-under. I was pretty good from about 8- to 12-foot
range with the putter all day. The golf course was in immaculate condition. The water on
the greens slowed them down now to where they're at a pace where you feel like you can
make a lot of putts.
Q. How many times did you play before Thursday? Did you play every day?
PAUL GOYDOS: I played Monday, and the golf course was much firmer that day. And I
played about 13 or 14 holes Tuesday, and I also played yesterday. I played every day. I
didn't really practice as much. I figured this golf course, after playing Monday, was one
you needed to be on and take a look at, and you've got to practice those shots that you
get on the greens. It's kind of hard to practice the shots on the course and it's just not
the same. You tend to spend some time on the course and get to know it.
Q. How much different is the course today than it was previously?
PAUL GOYDOS: I think it's a lot different than Monday when we hadn't had as much rain.
The greens were a lot firmer, and this little drizzly stuff we've had for 72 hours, has
softened it up to where you can actually fly the ball on some of the greens and it stays
on them, for me. I imagine for guys that have a lot of spin, like Tiger's stuff, they have
to worry about spinning them off the greens, but it's not as wet as I thought it would be,
considering how much rain, and now I think we're probably pretty much close to done with
the rain. The sun comes out for 20 minutes and it's going to be pretty firm.
Q. So how much of an advantage was it to play those three days, was it a real big
PAUL GOYDOS: As opposed to playing none?
PAUL GOYDOS: I think it would be one of the tougher places to compete as an Open
without practicing here. There's three or four or five shots here where you have to be
careful not to hit it in the wrong place or you're done, and it's just a different style.
I think it's a bump-and-run golf course to me, anyway, I did a lot of that, just trying to
land it around the front of the greens and get them up in the middle of the greens and
hope you can make par.
Q. You mentioned that you made several 8-, 12-footer for par. Were you down in the
chipping areas on those holes and had to get up-and-down?
PAUL GOYDOS: Well, a couple of times that and a couple of times after driving it in the
rough and having maybe 30 yards short of the green or just short of a green, I was in the
chipping areas a couple of times. But most of my mistakes were short, and I think that's
my strategy on the golf course and see what happens. There's just certain chipping areas
where you have to roll it, and it did a pretty good job of that.
PAUL GOYDOS: I missed another ball on the right of the green, which normally would have
been in the hay and I got that one up-and-down. And then 2 was just short of the green.
Yeah, I probably only went for one. The rest were short of the green. I was in the bunker
on 11 and I didn't get it up-and-down. Everything else was pretty much short of the green.
Q. Refresh me if you would about the story about when you were a teacher and there was
a shooting or something in your classroom?
PAUL GOYDOS: There was a stabbing. I was substitute teaching in Long Beach at this one
school and I had been there three or four or five times, I don't know how many times I had
subbed this one teacher's class, and one of the kids got accosted by gang members. They'd
been accosted a number of times and got fed up with it. And this particular guy, the guy's
buddy -- these were 7th or 8th grade -- these kids beating up on them were 19 or 20. He
got tired of it and stabbed one of them, "You're not taking my lunch money
today." The kid was all panicky. I think it was self-defense, but it's got to be a
tough way to grow up, knowing the kid around the corner wants to take what you have.
Q. I wondered if what happened at Columbine and other places this year had special
interest or special empathy for you having been in that area?
PAUL GOYDOS: I have children. I think that's probably hit me more than anything is that
99.9 percent of those kids in those instances were just going to school, taking history
class or whatever and all hell broke loose. It could easily have been my kids. I think
that's where it hit me more than actually being involved. What I went through is just a
function of being in an area where there's gangs and crime, and what I got more out of
that is how lucky I was to be able to play golf for a living. These kids are struggling
every day with crime and what have you. The Columbine and those type of instances are just
sad. The fact that it happened in a school to me, it could as easily have happened at
K-Mart with the same results. I didn't put those two together.
LES UNGER: To put this in context, how many years ago was this?
PAUL GOYDOS: I was teaching late, late '80s and early '90s, maybe '89 through '92.
Q. I think it was David Duval who said that a course like this brings a lot of players
into the mix with a chance to win. How does that course set up for you compared to other
PAUL GOYDOS: You know, I'm a firm believer that if you're playing well, every course
kind of sets up for you. If you're playing bad, none of them do. This one is very
appealing to my eyes. I think they've done a wonderful job of setting it up and letting
the course play the way it should play. The fairways are maybe a touch wider than you'd
normally see, the rough may be a touch lighter than you'd normally see, but that's all.
There's a grand design; if the guys get aggressive out of the rough, and hitting the
chipping areas and who knows what's going to happen. I think the longer hitters normally
are hitting irons off the tees, and their length is not going to be a big advantage this
week, might gain that advantage back. Next year who knows, but this year I think Tiger's
30-yard or 40-yard or 50-yard advantage off the tee, might actually do him some good here.
They still have to hit it straight. I think that's also more a function of how soft it is
now. Once it firms up, and the ball would roll 20, 30, 40 yards in the fairway, that will
Q. What did you think was the toughest hole out there today?
PAUL GOYDOS: The toughest hole? 11.
PAUL GOYDOS: 5 is probably the hardest hole. It's a demanding tee shot, and the green
is an uphill shot to the green. It's just a difficult hole. It wouldn't surprise me if
that was the most difficult hole today.
Q. Paul, after you won a couple of years ago, did you think that winning again was
going to be easier and have you gotten frustrated by not being able to back that up?
PAUL GOYDOS: No, not really. I didn't think it would be easier. If anything it's gotten
harder out here to win with the depth and what have you each year. It's more and more
difficult. No, I'm more frustrated with -- winning and losing, I've had a couple of
seconds. A lot of times you get 10 or 12 guys that play well enough to win, and you just
handle the situation, get the right bounce here and there can mean the difference. I get
more frustrated with just not improving and not playing well. Winning, hopefully, will
take care of itself with improvement, with doing my work, with committing myself to
getting better. I think if that happens and I continue to improve, winning will take care
Q. Do you think under the condition that the courses are in in terms of the rough being
lower and the chipping areas and such like that, do you think it's going to stay this
packed throughout the weekend?
PAUL GOYDOS: I think it might if it stays soft. If it firms up, which is probably what
will happen, because I think we're done with the rain pretty much, the firmer the golf
course gets, the more the guys who are playing well will separate themselves. Good golf
courses tend to separate the guys who are playing great from the guys who are playing
good, and the guys who are playing good from the guys who are playing average. And
eventually that's going to happen here.
Q. What were the circumstances that led you to go into substitute teaching?
PAUL GOYDOS: Money.
Q. There's big money in that?
PAUL GOYDOS: Bigger money than working in a pro shop. The way I looked at it is at that
point in time, if you're not on Tour your only goal is to be on Tour, and the Q-School is
in October, November or December, so if you don't have your Tour card, January, February,
March and April, and maybe even into May are pretty useless, in my opinion. Might as well
go out, earn some money, kind of get myself away from the game and then be as fresh as I
could through the summer, where I'm peaking in October or November. It's a nice way to
kind of get away from playing golf and experiencing different things, different people,
different atmospheres. My wife was a teacher, she said, "Why don't you do this?"
I passed the test, and they actually hired me. That's more amazing than anything. But at
least it was an experience that I learned a lot from.
Q. What were you teaching?
PAUL GOYDOS: Generally middle school, high school mathematics, sciences, a lot of PE.
It is, in a sense, glorified baby-sitting, but you learn a lot. I grew up in a nice
middle-class neighborhood and played golf for a living, and I taught in a lot of
inner-city schools, and in a sense to me you get a lot of good kids down there who grow up
in a rotten environment and who get labeled. And that opened my eyes to the harshness of
how life really is as opposed to the guys who play golf for a living. And it may have made
me work a little harder. I've gotten an opportunity -- I didn't know at that time I was
good enough to necessarily play out here, but at least I've got an opportunity to play
golf for a living. Let's make sure we take advantage of it. There's a lot of people who
don't have nearly the opportunity that I have.
Q. Did you teach Poly?
PAUL GOYDOS: I taught a lot at Poly and Jordan some, Wilson some, some middle schools,
Stevenson, which is where I ran into the incident. But wherever they would take me. I
tried kindergarten once, and that was a mess. Those kids were way too tough.
Q. The Masters, the U.S. Open have been almost without exception the a very elite group
of players. The PGA Championship has been open to a wider number of players. The courses
seem to be equally difficult. Why is it that a U.S. Open seems to be so difficult for a
typical Tour player whereas maybe the PGA is not?
PAUL GOYDOS: I'd say the biggest difference is the time of year they play. I think the
U.S. Open date, the golf courses they can do more with them. They can make them firmer.
They can make them faster. You can make them more difficult in that sense, while the PGA
is kind of stuck with a date in August. And in August, generally the golf courses you
can't get as firm, you can't get as fast, so they may be a little more like a typical Tour
event than the U.S. Open is going to be. That could be a function of that. You might be
asking the wrong guy. I've never competed in either one. I think that's got to be a factor
in it. The PGA can't get their golf course to the brink of extinction like you can in the
U.S. Open with the conditions, just because of the weather. I'm sure Medina would be a
similar situation. It's going to be hot in Chicago in August, if they get the greens as
firm and fast as they'd like them here, they probably would die. But I'm just guessing.
LES UNGER: Good luck.
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