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June 15, 1994

Seve Ballesteros


LES UNGER: Okay. We will get going here with Seve Ballesteros who I just learned; I am sure others knew, finished here fourth in 1983 and maybe you want to look back at that a little bit before we get into how things are today.

SEVE BALLESTEROS: 1983, that was a long time ago. Yeah, I remember when I was here. I remember I played well when I was Masters champion. I was leading after three rounds and all I can remember was that the fairways were really narrow, and I remember hitting a lot of 1-irons from the tee. In fact, I recall hitting 42 times 1-iron throughout the tournament. I also remember how fast and how hard the greens were, so it is a pretty tough course.

LES UNGER: Has anything changed?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: The only thing I see is that some of the bunkers -- the lips of the bunkers, they are raised a little bit more high than they used to be. Everything else is very much set up the same way.

LES UNGER: Questions.

Q. Seve, is the golf course harder this year than it was in 1983?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: It wasn't that difficult for the first three rounds in 1983. I think I was one under par after three rounds, but it is hard. The way the USGA sets up the golf course, it is always tough and very difficult, so it is hard for everybody. This golf course is playing really hard and the greens are going to determine who is going to win the championship game because they are really difficult greens.

Q. Seve, will you use your 1-iron as much or will you change your plan and maybe use a driver or something else a little bit more?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Pretty much the same like I did the last time, yeah, trying to be in the short grass as much as I can.

Q. Seve, how is the rough compared from '83 and now?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Pretty much the same. Pretty much the same.

Q. How is it going with Mac O'Grady with your golf swing?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: It is getting better. I have been working with Mac a month and a half right now and it is slowly, but the golf game is going up, slowly, but it is going up, so it is getting better.

Q. Seve, how pleased were you to receive the special exemption into the Open?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Well, for me, I have to say that it is really a great honor to be here playing the U.S. Open because the U.S. Open is a great championship and I am very grateful to receive the invitation from the USGA and I am very happy to be here.

Q. The work that you do with the O'Grady, does that take you back to the way you used to swing the club; are you trying to create a new swing?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Well, what we are working on is a few different things, but definitely we are not trying to change the swing. We are trying to change some specific parts on the swing that would allow me to be more consistent, so I am very happy with that. He really knows the game very much, and the best thing, as I said before, Mac is -- he is also a player, so he knows the feeling. There are some other teachers out there that they are telling you what to do, but they never played the game at the top level like Mac has done in the past, so it is more credibility there to Mac.

Q. Have you made any adjustments in your putting or have you prepared your putting in any special way for this week?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: No. Just I am trying to just working on the tempo and just trying to figure out the speed on the greens, that is all.

Q. Jack and Arnold both said yesterday they were the fastest greens in a major championship that they have ever seen; would you agree to that?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Very much so, yeah. No question, because if we go back to Augusta, Augusta greens, they -- the greens are really fast, but mainly because of all the slopes. Over here, the greens are a little bit more flat, but it is still -- the speed is unbelievable.

LES UNGER: Any other questions?

Q. Will the tremendous success that Spain is having in the international supporting world help your confidence in this tournament? They won the French Open. They are in the finals of the World Cup. Do you think that will help your game here and give you some confidence?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Yeah, and also they won THE MASTERS too! Yeah, that really gives everybody a hope and inspiration, so that is something that is good for Spain. It is a lot of credibility there to our country and a big publicity, so I am very pleased to see that.

LES UNGER: I think that was the most quotable quote of the week.

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Some people, they have a short memory, you know, you have to refresh their own memory.

Q. Seve, could you kind of assess the state of your game and your chances here?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: As I say before, my game is progressively going up, slowly, but it is going up and it is a matter of confidence and you know, and how I will play this week is a question because, you know, playing at the U.S. Open courses has always been difficult for me because of the narrow fairways and that really has been hurting me over the years, but you never know if I can be able to hit the fairways in a high percentage, I may manage to myself to play good this way.

Q. Do you expect to see a lot of bump and run golf being played this week because the greens will hold a lot of shots?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Here? How? How do you do that? How do you get bump and run from the rough? Never seen that before in my life.

Q. Seve, you finished in the '87 Open at San Francisco, I think, like fourth maybe?


Q. You have proven that you can play these U.S. Open courses; isn't that correct? How does this compare to say, the Olympic club?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Well, it is different golf courses. In one way it is an old fashioned golf course too, but the Olympic, is much more -- the length of the course was longer, I think, and different type of greens, but I did play very well there and I did have a good chance. I have two chances to win at the Olympic and here in Oakmont. That is the only two chances that I have. You know, hopefully I can put myself in the position one more, two times more to win and maybe I get lucky, who knows?

Q. How big a factor is the heat going to be this week?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Yeah, it is tough to play in this heat. The humidity is very high and it is really hard to concentrate. But I guess it is the same for everybody, and I will-- all you have to do is drink as much fluid as you can, and just try to keep up the best we can.

Q. What is your feeling now on the exemptions that were given to Nelson and Palmer and Miller?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: It is nice to have them over here playing. I think it is good for the game and it is good. I feel good.

Q. Seve, is Oakmont the hardest golf course you have ever played?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Yeah, it is very hard golf course. It is hard to tell if it is the hardest, but definitely it is one of the most difficult courses, no question. Especially the greens, very tough greens.

LES UNGER: We thank you for coming. We wish you a good luck.


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