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July 2, 1998

Paul Azinger


Q. Clear round, four birdies, you must like this. You must like it here?

PAUL AZINGER: Actually, since they've changed the course, I've played kind of lousy here. I don't think -- The old course, you know, I begged them not to change it. I think they did the right thing. It's a lot better now than it was. It's a lot harder, much more demanding and it's pretty formidable coming in to try to pull it off down the stretch. It's not easy here, not that it was easy before. It was always hard to finish here. 15, 16, and 17 were always tricky, but now I think it's more tricky. It's a lot harder than it used to be. But I get a lot of crowd support.

Q. Certainly a good history here.

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, good history.

Q. You were saying since the layoff, the back deal hasn't bothered you, got through the Open, okay, and everything?

PAUL AZINGER: I hurt my back after, right during Hilton Head. After the third day's round, didn't touch a club for 30 days, 50 days, didn't play a round till the Wednesday Pro-Am at Westchester. It didn't affect my confidence, but I was a little rusty. I was on the wrong side of that draw there at Westchester. There was a big difference in the draw, and I still made the cut, shot 67 the last day, and went to the Masters -- excuse me, to the U.S. Open and really was rusty there even. I hit it decent, not great, hit it lousy on Saturday, but chipped terrible. If I were to chip decent there, you know, it would have made a difference, you know, a huge difference. But I didn't. Part of it was rust. I've been saying all along I feel my confidence is better. It's higher because I'm chipping and putting better. I did chip lousy there. 65 was a nice way to finish, though.

Q. You took time off since then?

PAUL AZINGER: After the U.S. Open I went straight to the Keys and fished for five days, stood on the bow of a boat probably ten hours a day for five days. And I hit balls, I hit about 25 balls on Sunday, played 18 holes on Monday and Tuesday, flew in and got rained out; but actually got to do an a clinic for Callaway and played the Wednesday Pro-Am.

Q. Was it firm enough this afternoon? This morning it was really soft still from the rain and all that.

PAUL AZINGER: It's firming up.

Q. Yeah?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah. The greens held big ballparks. I played with two guys, really spent. They weren't sucking the balls back. Some of the greens were firmer than others.

Q. Another question? Could you just run through, take us through --

PAUL AZINGER: I started on the back nine. I hit a three-wood on 12 into the fairway bunker on the left, hit a seven iron probably 18 feet, made that. I hit driver pitching wedge on 14 down the hill 10 feet for birdie, and 15 I pulled it into the water, got it up and down for par, made about a four footer and 16. I hit seven iron in there about six, seven feet, something like that, didn't make another birdie until number two. I drove it about 50 yards from the hole and hit a good little sand wedge about eight feet, just a couple short ones coming in for birdie. I ended up making about a ten footer for par in the last hole for two putt from off the fringe. I didn't drive it great. I'm going to hit a few tee shots on the driving range, see if I can hit the fairway.

Q. Anything else? Go ahead and go to the range. We appreciate it.

PAUL AZINGER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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