home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 24, 1999

Paul Azinger


LEE PATTERSON: A couple of comments about your match, then we will entertain questions.

PAUL AZINGER: Well, neither one of us really played that great. I think I was lucky to catch him. After he won, he might have had a little bit of a let-down. He wasn't that sharp. I played with him the first two days last week and he was real sharp. And, you know, just one of those things, he wasn't on his game really and I was able to slip in there.


Q. What is the difference in intensity level in a match like this, as opposed to a normal Thursday of a first round of a regular Tour event?

PAUL AZINGER: Well, I don't know. I had a couple of clubs that I considered switching to during the practice round yesterday and then I thought about it. It is not like a, you know, a regular event where you can get away with one day of slapping it around and getting used to a club. So I hesitated and I just really at the very end I said, No, I am not switching, I will go back to what I know works or what I know, you know -- at least I know what the shaft is going to do under pressure - talking about woods mostly. There is more of a finality to this whole thing, you know, when you tee it up the first day than there is at another tournament. There is so much at stake here if you play well. It is a funny feeling, though, because you really oftentimes cannot control your destiny because what an individual does, can send you packing. And that is not the case on Tour normally, it is usually what you do that keeps you around or sends you packing. At a tournament like this, it is not always up to you. You might, you know, I was -- I don't know, you can be 5-under after 10 holes and one behind, you know? That bodes pretty well at any metal play.

Q. Ryder Cup, at least you know you are going to have three days today to play -- (inaudible)

PAUL AZINGER: It is a relief for me. I missed the cut last week. I didn't want to play one match and then go to Doral next week. There is a little anxiety to not get knocked out the first day. I had an enviable position, I think, even though I was playing this great player, I really had everything to gain and nothing to lose because of expectations. And I really -- I wasn't nervous today or anything like that. Only time I was really nervous was he had about a 15-footer on the last hole from the collar to tie me. But I really just kind of went into today with an everything-to-gain-attitude and it paid off.

Q. Last week you saw him the first two days and he played pretty well. You actually hit a couple of hooks, I noticed.

PAUL AZINGER: I actually hit it great last week. I hit two bad hooks off the tee and I hit 3 fat, short irons, but I putted absolutely awful. It was so bad, and I hit it as good as Ernie did and maybe even a little better the first two days, and he was 12 shots or better than me. He probably had 15 fewer putts than I did. I really -- maybe not that many, but it was, you know, disheartening to play that way, and he commented even today how well I hit it last week while we were playing. I got nothing out of it. But I putted much better today, real steady.

Q. When could you tell today that he was not on his game?

PAUL AZINGER: I think around the 10th hole you know, he knocked it No. 9 in 2. No. 8 he missed a wedge way to the right. It was on the green, but he didn't hit it in there five feet like he did last week. And then on 10, he hit driver; I hit 3-wood; and I hit 7-iron in there about eight feet, ten feet left of the hole, and the pin is in that back left corner. He hit it way to the right. It rolled a little long, and he actually got a bad break. It stopped on kind of the slope, but I birdied it anyway. I thought -- at that point I thought, you know, he is just not sharp. He is not as sharp as he was last week, and we, really, the last -- I'd say the last five holes, both of us were pretty sloppy.

Q. Ernie Els, No. 7 is out. Colin Montgomerie, No. 6 is out. If this were the NCAA tournament, we'd be talking incredible upsets. How much do the fans dwell on the rankings?

PAUL AZINGER: Well, probably more than the players because the players all know the rankings are pretty silly. I don't want to like go on a crusade to be the guy who is anti-the-rankings, but it is -- obviously, it's got its problems. This isn't tennis, you know, where if a 6-seed gets beaten by another 60th seed, it is a big shock. Golf is different one day to the next. Every player is different one day to the next. Billy Ray Brown was ranked 26th in the word and gave Tiger Woods all he could handle. He could have gotten him. Golf is a different sport, and that is why ranking golfers is not really a great idea to exempt them to tournaments, in my opinion. There should be another criteria. It should be a performance-based criteria, in my opinion, not a point system that nobody understands. One thing about our Tour that I think the general public really appreciates is we are perceived as a bunch of guys who really earn what we make. We make a 4-footer on the last hole to finish third by ourselves, or you know, if you miss it, you are tied for third with six guys, there is a lot of money in that. Announcers usually haven't figured out -- if you can't win, then there is no prestige to play for. We play for cash. But there are consequences. It is a monetary consequence in that situation. But at the end of the year there is consequences if you perform well the last day and you get in the top-30 in the money list, it gets you in the majors. If you are 31st on the money list going into the last week of the year. If you make a putt on the last hole of the U.S. Open to finish in the top 15, you know what you are trying to do. Same with The Masters and the PGA you got to finish top 8 there. But there, the pressure is obvious and even talked about on the air, but when you have got a point system that no one clearly understands, you don't know how you acquire points. I just I think it is different. I think the guys ought to have 4-footer and 5-footer to choke off to either get in or just miss this tournament, and it is not that way. So, in my opinion, a ranking system when you see No. 5 and 6 or 6 and 7 get beat, doesn't really mean that much. It is golf. It is not tennis.

Q. You were sort of one of the lucky ones to get it all the way to 18 - I wouldn't say lucky, but I mean, you were one of the ones --

PAUL AZINGER: I'd say lucky.

Q. Just talk about making it, I mean, all the way down into the wire today.

PAUL AZINGER: He was never ahead. I was either 1-up or even. We were 1-up or even, 1-up or even three or four different occasions. I was just up in the air all day. I felt like I had the upper hand and was letting it get away and he just wasn't capitalizing on me, and he parred 15 and we were tied on, you know, the last -- going the last three. I asked Judy Rankin and apparently it is like only the first or second match that made it past the 16th hole. So, I don't know the bleechers were dead-empty on 17 and 16; there was not a soul back there. There were people following us, though, that were into the match.

Q. Were there a good chance to make it 2-up at any time?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, there was chances, yeah. It was an interesting match. I mean, I really felt like I should have been up more than I was and I am sure he probably felt like he should have been ahead. It was -- I wasn't like the best golf ever, but it was probably pretty exciting for those that hung around and watched it.

Q. 18, he put it in the right rough, you are -- obviously you drive it in the fairway; you got a big advantage. Did you have to kind of gear down before that drive or was it just like --

PAUL AZINGER: I didn't drive it that great and I hit a decent drive on 17 although; it was kind of hooking it. I said to my caddie: You know, I felt like it was supposed to feel. Got -- on 18 got on the same address position and just pounded it. When he hit it in the rough, I had felt like if I could get this in the fairway, it is going to be huge. I knew the pin was in line with the bunker where he was; he must have caught a terrible lie because he barely got it over the ditch. I didn't hit a very good 9-iron in there and had to 2-putt from the collar.

Q. How would your mindset be different if it was metal play today? You said you didn't hit it well. After a round like that, you may be frustrated maybe in the middle of attacking it. Now you have won a match; it still gives you confidence; doesn't it?

PAUL AZINGER: It does give me confidence, you know, because I made a couple of nice putts today and Match Play is kind of -- there is like that instant gratification. I mean, every time you do hole a putt, it is to win a hole, or, you know, there is all kinds of little victories all throughout the day and you make putts to tie the hole. I mean, every little shot and putt is kind of key and so even though, you know, might not have scored that great, it was nice to perform in spots.

Q. What did you think of that last putt? Did you think he made it?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, walked over to my caddie, I said: You know, I learned a long time ago talking to Tom Watson, you are supposed to think he is going to make this putt because, you know, I remember Watson, I asked him, I don't know, probably 1985 or 1986 or 1987, something like that, about that time, Turnberry in '77, Watson hit it in there about three or four feet with a one-shot lead and Nicklaus hit it way on the right side of the green and Jack made about a 50-footer and Watson had to make that little 4-footer to win the tournament. I said: Man, Tom, how did you ever make that putt? He said: I knew he was going to make the 50-footer, I mean, you have heard this a million times. He said he prepared himself to make it. I walked over and said: You know, I am supposed to know that he is going to make this right. I thought it was in. I thought because I took my eye off the ball when it got halfway and I just watched him, and he started stepping it and it just ran out of gas. It literally -- it broke four inches right -- the last six inches. Didn't you see it?

Q. Yes.

PAUL AZINGER: It was in.

Q. I thought it was in, too.

PAUL AZINGER: He did. He took that step; I was like, uh-oh.

Q. His third shot, did he have a rotten lie down there because he ran that thing?

PAUL AZINGER: That was a hard shot. Just a hard shot. Greens were kind of springy. It was a hard shot.

Q. A lot of people compare this with the brackets like in an NCAA tournament, people like to look ahead. Do you look at your bracket at all or like to know who you play tomorrow?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, I know that much. (laughs). I have no idea right now if I were to get by tomorrow who would be the next go around.

Q. Syracuse?

PAUL AZINGER: Syracuse? (laughs).

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297