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March 1, 2002

Briny Baird


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: I'd like to welcome current leader in the clubhouse Briny Baird. He shot a 66 today and is 9-under for the tournament. Briny, if you could get us started a little bit with your round today and maybe just a little few thoughts on your play in general so far this year.

BRINY BAIRD: The round today was virtually flawless. I hit it real solid off the tee. Hit a lot of greens and made six putts. It was that simple. I think I may have had 1-putt from maybe about three -- two and a half, three feet for par. That was about it. Missed one short one on 15 from probably about four feet for birdie. Other than that it was a solid round. The way I have played so far this year has been I had one good event, I finished third at the Bob Hope, very -- played pretty solid there, real good final round, 64. For the most part this year I haven't hit it all that solid. I have made cuts, made some money, but that was about it just haven't really hit it real solid. Went and got a lesson last week last few days before the tournament started, I guess Saturday, Sunday from my teacher Mike Adams down in Palm Beach, we worked on some things and got to swinging the club a little bit better. But as any golfer knows when you get a lesson it is sometimes hard to perform immediately because you are not going to see any results because you are working on something, it is not real natural, it is kind of a contrived swing. So coming into this week I knew I was hitting it pretty solid but it is hard to know how it is going to work. And a big hole for me was today was 18, 18 was playing as tough a hole as you could ever imagine playing. You got water left. You know if you hit it right you are laying up, so to put it in the fairway is unbelievably important. I hit a real good drive, real solid 4-iron to a tough pin, if you miss fairway it is bogey; if you miss the green it is bogey. It is almost a guarantee. It is going to be very hard to get up-and-down from anywhere. I hit it in the fairway on the green. That was -- for me that was huge, for the simple fact that I am not swinging at it the way I want to swing at it with the confidence that I want. The golf ball is going right where I want it to go, but it's more mechanical than it is natural. The more holes I play the better it's probably going to feel and should hopefully get better. I don't know if the results are going to get better but the confidence will.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Real quick go over your six birdies today. Started out with a birdie on No. 3.

BRINY BAIRD: Yes, hit it right down the middle, hit it about eight feet, good solid putt broke a little right-to-left. Solid hole.

Went to No. 6, 6 I hit it in the fairway, missed the green by probably about four feet. It was off-fringe shaved down perfectly. Putted it from the fringe from probably about 25 feet, made it.

No. 10, 3-wood, 3-wood, just left the green, chipped it to about a foot. Made that putt.

Went to 12, 3-wood off the tee, laid up -- you can't reach that hole anyway so I hit 3-wood trying to take the left bunker out of play. 280 to that bunker, can't reach it with a 3-wood. 3-iron, 8-iron to about 3, four feet made that.

14 I hit a real good drive, sand wedge in, hit sand wedge to about six feet, made that.

And 16 hit real good 3-wood had 70 yards to the hole, hit it about 15, 17 feet, somewhere in there, and good putt.


Q. How was the wind blowing when you started?

BRINY BAIRD: A little less than it is right now. If it is blowing 25 now it's probably blowing 15. It picked up throughout the course of the round.

Q. How good is a birdie on 3?

BRINY BAIRD: Birdie on 3 was very good. (Laughs) hit it -- it's a lot like 18, if you hit it in the left bunker it's going to be a very tough way to make par. If you hit it right, you are in the water. I am playing with a guy in my group, Chamblee, he makes a 7 on the hole, he's playing real solid. You knew going into that hole, I thought about the hole when I was on the range this morning how tough 3 is going to be playing because the direction of the wind is playing. It was playing short now, it was playing longer. Real big drive and still had 7-iron in. It's tough up around the green. So the birdie there was definitely was something that got me going after not birdieing one or two, two relatively easy homes.

Q. With this wind as it is, do you expect that 9 to stand up at the end of the day?

BRINY BAIRD: If I was going to place a bet, I'd probably say my chances are good that it will. But someone else can shoot 6-under just like I did. It's amazing on this Tour, not only depth of the Tour but the scores that guys can shoot. Here I am sitting, probably nobody has ever heard of me, you shoot 6-under on a day like today, you know there's plenty of guys that are here that can do the same thing. Someone who shot 5-under yesterday shoots 5-under this afternoon, there's 10. If I had to bet, I'd say yes it is probably going stand up or be tied, but you never know.

Q. I think from Miami did you pause on the 18th hole and look at the big leaderboard with your name on top?

BRINY BAIRD: Only after I was on the green.

Q. Did it mean anything to you?

BRINY BAIRD: Oh yeah, not even just because it is Miami, because you look up and you see a little PGA TOUR sign you realize you are playing on the PGA TOUR and you are in the lead. Any time you are in the lead of any tournament, it is great, far less the PGA TOUR event. Yeah, I didn't sit back and scratch my head and say, Wow, man, I am leading the Tour event, but I thought, this is nice. This is what you play for and this is where you want to be. Now let's see what we can do from here. But --

To answer your question, more specifically, it means more to be in Miami doing this.

Q. I know you live down here, did you also grow up around here?

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, I grew up in Miami. I live up in Jupiter now, I grew up in Miami, lived down here my whole life.

Q. Chris DiMarco was in here yesterday, he obviously didn't grow up here but has been here since college and he found it a little tough to play, putting more pressure on himself amongst family and friends. What is your take on that; are you more at ease in Florida?

BRINY BAIRD: Oh, much more at ease. He's a Florida Gator so you really can't count on much of what he says.

No, it's fun playing down here. I see people I haven't seen in forever. I saw three people walking off the 18th green who I hadn't even -- two of them I hadn't seen since high school and it is just, you know, to tell you the truth, I didn't know if someone could have told me that they weren't even alive anymore I wouldn't have known. We weren't that good of friends but to suddenly see them and to see the excitement in their eyes, wow, great playing, keep it going, it is great. I love it.

Q. You remember their name?

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, the one guy I did Bill Murray. Hard to forget that name (laughs).

Q. You said you were working on your game the last couple of days before you came down here. But has your putting been pretty consistent through the year so far?

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, putting has been pretty good; didn't putt all that well yesterday 'til the end I made four birdies in a row end of the round yesterday, before that I hit it pretty good yesterday. Throughout the course of year putting has been a little more solid man the ball-striking. The ball-striking has just been a little shaky, and we're going to straighten that out and hopefully hit it the way we normally do.

Q. How often did you go to this tournament as a kid?

BRINY BAIRD: I came out here, I watched Norman shoot 62 with an eagle, 1, which may have been 10 in the playoff. I know he made eagle. I know he shot 62 and then made eagle, it was No. 1. I watched him whole back nine, he shot 30 and eagled and I am thinking to myself how can you be 8-under through 10 holes. The 10 holes I watched him play he played 8-under, I said, that's not possible. I came out here and carried the standard bearer sign one year when I was probably fourteen or fifteen so I know what -- I watched the kid walk around today and the kid couldn't have been more than twelve years old, thirteen years poor kid, that sign is blowing all over the place. I am thinking to myself I did the same thing and when he picked -- he obviously hasn't done it very often not only because he is young, but to get stuck with our group, it's not a group that you would be like, oh, yeah, Briny Baird, Elder, Chamblee, you won't get excited about that group. I did the same thing. There's a pecking order how many years you have been here, it's seniority, then you get to pick -- you look for obviously the biggest name you can find and take that group. So obviously he hasn't done that very often. But he got lucky.

Q. Who did you carry for?

BRINY BAIRD: I picked Dick Mast because it was out of the only guys that I knew the name, I don't remember who the other two guys were in that group but I remember Dick Mast was in the group and I played with him a couple of times in '99 and probably last year too on the BUY.COM TOUR.

Q. Did you say something to him?

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, I have told him before he probably doesn't remember but, yeah, I definitely said something to him one day.

Q. Give the kid a ball?


Q. What did you get back then like a curb net or --

BRINY BAIRD: Probably.

Q. Spalding Dot?

BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, it was a while ago, 384 (laughs).

Q. Second place finisher in the John Deere last year. What do you take out of that that you can apply this week or maybe you applied since?

BRINY BAIRD: The ability to almost close a tournament. I did everything I could at the time. I played some really solid golf towards the end of John Deere to put myself in a position to win the tournament. Could have easily won the golf tournament. David Gossett obviously played one shot better. I couldn't have done much more. I birdied my second the last hole, made a real good par on the last hole, after hitting it in the fairway bunker. So for the most -- that was first time I was even close to being in the hunt of a tournament, and I played well. I shot 66, 66 on the weekend. I couldn't have played too much better. I take a lot away from that event.

End of FastScripts....

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