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June 20, 2003

Briny Baird


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Current leader in the clubhouse, Briny Baird, thanks for joining us. Second round 69, a little bit of an up-and-down round but you've still got the lead as of this afternoon.

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, it was definitely an up-and-down round. I got off to a great start right out of the gate. I hit just a mediocre 5-iron to about 30 feet on the first hole and made the putt, just tried to cozy it on down there. Obviously a good start. Seemed like 2s on the first hole, yesterday on 10 and then today on 1.

Second hole, same thing. Just solid. Hit a drive right down the middle, hit a 9-iron perfect and rolled the putt in, great start and thinking, "Wow, here we go, same as yesterday."

Went to the next hole and fanned a 3-wood to the right, chipped out. Hit an okay, not a real good wedge up there and it spun and it caught the slope and it kept spinning and it rolled off the green. Putted from off the green and then putted -- ended up 3-putting from there so made 6.

So now I'm back to even, which actually at the time I wasn't happy, but I wasn't, like -- wasn't as upset as you would think after making double. I'm thinking, all right -- it's the equivalent of going par, par, par. Play mind games with yourself out there sometimes, it makes you feel a little bit better after making a double.

After the double I hit a solid 3-wood on the next hole and a 7-iron to about 15 feet and poured that putt right into the center. At the time that was pretty big.

Followed that up with a terrible bogey. Went for the green, hit a perfect drive. Went for the green on the par 5 and just ended up making a -- I actually one putted for a 6.

8, I played 8 good. I hit 3-wood right down the middle. I hit 4-iron. The hole played long today. I hit 4-iron about 30 feet right of the pin, pretty good shot. Misjudged the speed a little bit and left myself a really tough four-foot putt. It broke probably about three or four inches and missed the putt. Hit a decent putt; so, you know what can you do.

On 9, I hit a really good 8-iron in there for my third shot. I laid way back, trying to make sure I hit the fairway on my layup and hit a great 8-iron in there to about three or four feet. Made the putt.

10, decided not to go for ten. Just didn't really -- it didn't feel good with driver. Laid up, hit 5-wood and had about 65 yards and hit it in about five feet and made the putt.

12, I actually lost my ball out to the right in the rough. It was just off the fairway. It was casual water so it didn't matter that I had lost the ball. It's because you can't lose the ball in casual water. A spotter down there saw it go in there. The official said, "No, this is what you can do." I ended up being able to drop it in the first cut but it didn't really matter because I still couldn't go for the green and almost made par.

14, I hit a real solid 8-iron long and had a really, really difficult putt. It's pretty quick, it breaks a lot, about a foot to the right real fast. Another one just trying to lag it on down there and like they say, "Give luck a chance." It's the kind of putt that can really get away from you real quick. Hit a pretty solid putt and it went in.

17, 3-wood right down the middle, 9-iron to about three feet behind the hole. It sucked back about six feet so I only had about three feet, but coming straight up the hill so it was a really easy putt. That was it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk about the conditions. Watching some of the players, it seems like the ball is spinning too much.

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, the spinning is a huge factor on a lot of these pins. It's hard to get the ball close on some of these pins. They are two or three yards on top of these ridges and spinning so much that you cannot throw it far enough behind it to where it actually does start coming back it's going to come off a ridge and it's not a little ridge, it's usually a 25 -, 30-foot difference it's going to make, so it puts a premium on being able to hit your short irons real short. Sand wedge,70 yards, which we are not used to doing and an 8-iron from 130 yards which is normally a little 9-iron. Anything you can do to take the spin off the ball, it's probably what's making the golf course play so difficult right now in my opinion. That and the rough.

Q. Talk about getting out another day without facing bad weather?

BRINY BAIRD: I can't believe it. Every night I look on the computer and all it says is it's going to rain. It doesn't say "torrential rain" and doesn't say it's going to blow. It just says "rain." We've gone two days, I probably could have worn a straw hat both days and the weather forecasters are telling me I can't. So I've got a beef with them.

Q. Yesterday you talked about not being used to having the lead; today you are two rounds in and you have the lead?

BRINY BAIRD: I've had it after 36 rounds, before, not the first round. I didn't feel comfortable yesterday so now I'm back in my comfort zone.

Q. What's the mentality?

BRINY BAIRD: Just knowing that there's two more rounds. You can do one of two things: Either go out there and try to play really hard or start doing a rain dance.

Q. Talk about what it's like it look behind on the leaderboard and see names like Tiger and Retief Goosen and Shigeki and all those names?

BRINY BAIRD: It makes you feel good that you know that you are playing better than them after two days, but again it's only two days. These guys don't shoot these unbelievable numbers every time they play. They could be playing just mediocre golf right now or they could be playing great golf and just not making any putts or not scoring well.

There's such a long way to go, obviously as far as drawing on experience, the names that you just mentioned and all of these big names, they have a lot more experience to draw on. You have to start somewhere. Next year, I could be sitting here and I could be a big name if I run off the rest of this year and have a great year and have a great start to next year, you could be asking some other young guy, you know, you have Baird, Woods, chasing. So you have to start somewhere.

Hopefully this is the week where I start making a name for myself.

Q. You mentioned the mind games that you can kind of play on yourself, especially after making a double. Is there potential and was there potential to play yourself out of contention just by what's gone on in your own head?

BRINY BAIRD: Definitely. Like I said, when I made that double and made birdie on the next hole, that came at a great time. You don't want to -- the hole that I made birdie on was No. 4. 4 is not a real easy hole. It's a difficult second, difficult tee shot -- difficult second shot up a hill. You don't suddenly want to get over par when the day before you were nothing but under par it seemed like on every hole. There's some big putts.

It's only the halfway point but there were some key moments out there in the round today where this would not have been a good time to have missed a putt or this would have been a really bad time to have missed a green or a fairway at certain times in the round.

It seemed like that happened a lot today where I had some down holes, but then bounced back and had some great holes.

Q. Some guys say after going real low it's hard the next day; have you ever had a problem with that? You seemed to play pretty well again today.

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, I played well today. I thought about it maybe once last night that, I wondered -- I don't know if the reason why it's hard to go -- it's hard to go low two days in a row for the simple fact that you don't get all of the good breaks again. Otherwise, 63 would not be low if guys always backed up 63 with 63. So the 63 would not stand out if people were doing it all the time, doing it back-to-back days. It's hard to happen.

Yesterday I got some really fortunate breaks and I don't feel like I played any different today. Yet, what, six shots difference in the score. I can count back some shots out there that I had definitely left some shots out there today, four or five shots, but those are the kind of breaks that I got yesterday and I didn't take advantage of them today.

Q. When you say that, you know, maybe a year from now guys will be saying Baird --

BRINY BAIRD: Hoping. Hoping. I don't want to be misquoted.

Q. Is that really the only way to think on this tour; that you kind of have to play with that level of confidence and go into every tournament with that level of confidence, because it obviously can have a reverse effect?

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, you have to be careful. I think people asked me what were my goals set at the beginning of the year, whether it's this year or last year. The thing you have to be careful with when you set goals -- the only year when I set goals was in '99, my rookie year and it's pretty devastating. And it wasn't set goals, like some people set goals, like they write down on paper: "I'd like to have six Top-10s, one win ." I never said anything like that.

I thought when I came out here I would do considerably better than I did. My expectations were huge my rookie year out here. I made $114,000 and I think I made eight or nine cuts. It would have been -- even that much worse had I written goals down because I would not have attained any of them. My best finish, I think I finished 20th or maybe even 29th. It wasn't real good.

Yeah, you have to be careful as far as setting goals, how that's going to happen. The way I play, I tend to just go out, play, you see how you're playing, I know how I've played in the past and I see progression every year. As long as I keep seeing progression then I'm going to go from a guy who didn't keep his card to a guy who kept his card to a guy who kept his card real easy to a guy who is now maybe getting used to being until the media room.

Q. Got your card back?

BRINY BAIRD: I went back and played the Nationwide Tour and finished fourth on that list. So, that's a pretty big improvement.

End of FastScripts....

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