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June 8, 2003

Rory Sabbatini


JOE CHEMYCZ: 3-under 68. We welcome Rory Sabbatini, our tournament leader at 11-under-par 68 today. Talk a little bit about the start of the day and how you played.

RORY SABBATINI: You know, overall, I'm very happy with the way I played. It's always good to shoot under par. But I left a lot of shots out there, so I was disappointed to do that. But you know, I managed to pretty much do what I was trying to, put the balls in the fairways and greens and get the job done from there.

Q. Is the golf course different today after the rain yesterday or not?

RORY SABBATINI: I think it was a little softer again. It just started to dry out and maybe firm up a little bit, but the rains yesterday definitely softened the course up again. Considering the weather they did have, the course is actually in amazing shape.

Q. You said you left a few out there. Was it one club that let you down at a certain point?

RORY SABBATINI: No, I just made a couple of mental mistakes out there and I ended up making a couple of bad swings. But it's going to happen. Unfortunately, I let it happen a little too frequently out there today, so I have to go out there tomorrow and work on that.

Q. Did it feel a little strange out there, being it's Sunday, but not the final round, and you didn't play the day before? Was there a weird feel out on the course?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, it was definitely different being out there on a Sunday. You know, half the time most of us can't remember what day of the week it is because you're constantly going. It was definitely -- you could notice the atmosphere out there being a Sunday atmosphere and still knowing you had another 18 to go tomorrow. So it's definitely a lot different out there today.

Q. You had a hard-breaking finish there at the last hole. Is that a case of just thinking the round is already over and taking the next shot for granted?

RORY SABBATINI: No. I hit a very good first putt. I was very aggressive with it. I hit a lot of aggressive putts out there today. I just had a bad read on the second putt. I fooled myself into thinking it was going to do one thing and it did another.

Q. Talk about going into tomorrow as the leader. And the field, even though there is a little bit of bunching at the top, there is five or six guys at 7-under, so still a lot of guys eligible for tomorrow.

RORY SABBATINI: The situation being that 62, 63 is out there, it's definitely possible. So there's no room for complacency out there or getting ahead of yourself and thinking it's a match-play situation, because it isn't. I have got to go out there and do the job tomorrow and I'm going to have to play well. And if I do that then I'm sure there's a good chance I'll win.

Q. Can you talk about growing up and playing as a youngster? Was Player one of your idols? Did he have any influence on you at all? Growing up, who did you like?

RORY SABBATINI: Not to insult Gary Player, but he was a little before my time even. I grew up watching a lot of the European Tour. We didn't get a lot of the American Tour until I was in my mid teens. But growing up, I pretty much idolized Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer.

Q. Everybody comes in and says that you are an aggressive player. Is that something -- I mean, you admired Seve obviously, or was that just your nature?

RORY SABBATINI: I think it's always been my nature to be an aggressive player because I'm a competitor. I want to go out and win. To win you have to hit the balls at the flag, get it close and make birdie. That's been in some situations a downfall for me. I've done a lot of work on my course management to make myself be aggressive, but in a defensive manner. You know, you just kind of pick your opportunities to go at flags. You know, if the situation is out there that you can do it, fine; if it's not, being able to back off and play to the center of the green and even in some situations play away from the flag.

Q. You look at the last five weeks that you played out here, you've had a sort of mixed bag on Sunday. It's been a bit of a struggle. Is there any particular thing that caused that. You've had a really nice start?

RORY SABBATINI: I wouldn't say there's really been any situations that I'm upset about or I feel badly about out there. I've gone out there every Sunday and I've played the best I can. Unfortunately, it just hasn't been there. Situation being, it's going to happen. That's part of the learning process, going out there and struggling through it. And that's kind of the cycle I've been in, and trying to struggle through that situation of being close but not being able to do it. You know, I'm going to go out there tomorrow and stick to the game plan I've used all week and maybe that will carry on through and do the job for me.

Q. (Inaudible)

RORY SABBATINI: I've done a lot of relying on my 3-wood out there. The course, even though it's playing long, I'm still hitting my 3-wood long enough and I'm very active with it. I'm putting it in the fairways and giving myself a lot of opportunities to go out and make birdies. I'm going for rely on putting the balls in the fairways and putting it on the greens and going from there.

Q. We all know how hard it is to win the first time on this tour, but there are people that say it's almost as hard to win the second time.

RORY SABBATINI: I disagree. I think it's harder the second time. For the simple reason, you know you've won, but mentally you're saying, okay, I've done this, let's go do it again. And in some sense you're putting more pressure on yourself. It's very rarely that someone is going to go out there and win their first one and then start having strings of wins. Unless your Tiger, of course. It's not a situation that every week you go out there and you can go out and win, because everybody is playing in the field every week can do that. It's a situation where the margin of talent out here is pretty much consistent throughout the field. It's not like you have your real high-end players that are so far ahead and then you have got your guys that are struggling to maintain their card and there's a huge gab. That gap between struggling to maintain your card and being successful out here is a very fine line.

Q. Maybe in that regard, does it help you're playing with a guy who is almost in the same spot you are in, in terms of your career in Europe. He won once several years ago, and hasn't won since. Does that make it easier or harder to play with a guy like that, in the same spot?

RORY SABBATINI: I don't think it makes it necessarily easier or harder. The situation being, I'm going out and playing with Nicklaus tomorrow. He's a great guy. He's a competitor, too. He's very talented and he's showing it. There's a reason he's playing on the Ryder Cup team, because he has the ability to play well. You know, the situation being, I'm going out there tomorrow, do my job, he's going to do his job, and we're going to have fun on the way.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your birdies, if you would, starting with 3.

RORY SABBATINI: 3-iron to about three feet. Made the putt.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Bogey at 7.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit driver off the tee, hit 6-iron on the green and 3-putted.

JOE CHEMYCZ: From how far?


JOE CHEMYCZ: Birdie at 9.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit a 7-iron to about 12 feet, made the putt.


RORY SABBATINI: Hit a 3-wood off the tee. Hit a 5-iron to about 10 feet. Made the putt.


RORY SABBATINI: Hit 5-wood off the tee, hit an L-wedge to about 15 feet. Made the putt.


RORY SABBATINI: 3-wood off the tee, hit a wedge to about 3 and a half feet. Made the putt.

JOE CHEMYCZ: And then the bogey at 18.

RORY SABBATINI: That was a nice little 3-wood off the tee, 8-iron to about 35 feet, 40 feet, and 3-putted.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Thank you. Play well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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