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May 24, 2003

Rory Sabbatini


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Like to welcome Rory Sabbatini to the interview room. Rory another solid round today, 67. Kenny Perry is doing his best to run away with the tournament, but you're in the next best position. If we could start with some opening comments about your round. It looks like you're doing some good scrambling out there looking at some of your stats.

RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, I was a little more successful at putting the ball in the fairways and putting the ball on the greens. And when I did miss the greens I kind of put myself in position that it was fairly easy to get up-and-down. I made a couple mental mistakes out there. Other than that, played really solid golf and am really happy with the way I played.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: With a deficit like that to make up what's your mindset tomorrow? Obviously you're going to have to go low probably to get in there somewhere, depending upon how Kenny plays, but what's your mindset going in with a 7 or 8 shot deficit?

RORY SABBATINI: Tomorrow will hold what it holds. Kenny's a great golfer. He's a solid golfer. He's been out here for a long time. He's really experienced. And I think catching him is going to be a really tough thing to do. I'm pretty sure the way he's playing he's not looking at going out there and trying to maintain. I'm pretty sure he's going out there and looking to even perform better and pose a better score.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Take some questions.

Q. Rory, can you talk about obviously you were just one group in front of him, can you talk about the how hard this course played and what a 60 is really worth out here today?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, the course has dried out quite a bit progressively over the week and it's playing a little faster today. But still you got some greens that are pretty soft out there. So can you attack the flags. Put it this way: 61, 60, anything under par on this golf course is always a good score. But to go out there and post a number like he's posting today is just unbelievable regardless of the conditions. It's still Colonial Country Club, it's still a tough golf course. You still got to hit the shots and make the putts. And he's doing that. Basically he's having a day out there that doesn't come along very often. You go out and everything just falls into place. But it's just unbelievably good scoring out there.

Q. If you got a few breaks here and there with the putts there and do you think, hey, my gap going in to tomorrow could be four to five shots possibly?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, you can always look at your tournament and go, gee, if I hadn't done this, if I had done this, unfortunately that's not how golf works. You have to kind of take what you've got. And yesterday kind of set me back. That could be the big difference. You can take anything away from how Kenny's playing. To put three numbers out there like he has, that's just unbelievable. If he keeps getting better each day I don't know what's going to do tomorrow. We might have to get a Mr. 58 on his hat.

Q. I don't know if you were looking at the leaderboard, but as you're seeing just the birdies going up and up, does it even as you're shooting a 67, does it feel like you're working uphill?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, I got off to a pretty good start there by eagleing the first hole. And I thought okay, here we go. That really puts me back to level with him now. Now we'll go to work. And I got to the fifth hole and I looked at the score board when I got to the green there and I just kind of went, "Wow". All the work I thought I had done the first five holes was just obliterated by he was doing.

Q. Career-wise, can you remember being in the position that you are right now in relation to Kenny Perry that you've had to chase down someone like that and where was it and what happened?

RORY SABBATINI: I've only ever had this situation once before and that was in college and actually in NCAA championships and it was with Tiger. And I was nine shots behind him going into the final round. And lost to him by three.

Q. One thing though too I noticed when I was following you around today, your tee shots seemed like you were really blasting it down the fairways. Has that always been a plus for you? Have you been working on it a lot here recently?

RORY SABBATINI: When I first got out on TOUR and college I was always a person that basically hit the ball as hard as I could. And I had a pretty good power game out there. And over the years I've done a swing change with Dean Reinmuth and going through that and progressively changing my swing to try and make it more consistent I lost a lot of that power. And basically over the last year we have been trying to gear that back up. And then switching to Nike and using their driver and their fairway woods, and then also using the new ball, it just, that alone produced a lot of, a lot more yardage out there for me. But the thing I'm happy with is the fact that I found something that's consistently straight for me and consistently gives me the distance I want.

Q. Will you go into the final round thinking of shooting a particular number or will you just go out and try and play the best golf you can and whatever happens, happens?

RORY SABBATINI: I'm probably just going to do what I do every day when I go out to the golf course. Just go out there and get loosened up and ready to go. And then once you get out there you don't really go out there looking for any particular number. You kind of go into it with the mind frame of, let's go do a few warm-up laps here, make a few pars in a row, a few good shots, a few good swings. And then the thing that Tiger has become so good at, is he's very much in the mind frame that he can do that and he knows that at any given point in a round he's going to have a session where just everything is going to fall into place. And he just goes gray crazy out there and starts making birdies and eagles. And basically you have to be patient enough to just let that happen. And if you go out there trying to force a number, and things don't get off to the right start, you just put added pressure on yourself.

Q. What did you shoot the day you were chasing down Tiger in the NCAA's?

RORY SABBATINI: I shot 75. And I will note that was the last time Tiger ever shot a 80.


Q. Because of how your season has been so far I think you made a little over $200,000 this year, is that correct, about?


Q. Are you going to be spending more time, because of how far you are behind Kenny Perry, looking at Kenny Perry and trying to catch him or are you going to be spending more time looking at the leaderboard and seeing where the guys just behind you are?

RORY SABBATINI: I'm unfortunately a person that is a competitor. And I don't like to lose any time, in anything I do. I'm going to go out there tomorrow and I'm going to go out there and try and play as well as I can and who know, maybe catch him. Maybe a miracle will happen and I'll go out and shoot 50. Which I don't see happening on this course, but anything is possible out there. This is a course that you make one little mistake and suddenly it can lead into a big snowball affect. I don't see Kenny doing that, but if it did happen, you got to make sure you also are in a position to go and do that. And if you start focusing on where you are and start focusing on the dollar signs and things like that, you're out there for the wrong reason.

Q. Were there any particular putts right before you birdied nine were there any putts there from like 6 to 8 where you're sitting going, oh, geez, I should have got that one. That was a birdie putt easily I should have made it?

RORY SABBATINI: Well I had a couple opportunities in the round to make putts. I was putting nicely. I was hitting good putts and I just misread one or two and just putts didn't fall in. But that's going to happen. And I'll just try to be patient out there. And when I got to nine and had that putt it was a putt that I looked at and there was no hiding the line. So I knew the line. I just had to get up and execute it. I built up enough confidence in my putter during the round to know that I could hit the putt solidly.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll go over your scorecard. Start out with an eagle on number one.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit driver off the tee, first cut of left rough. Hit a 4-iron to about 12 feet on the fringe left of the flag and made the putt.

Number 9, I hit 3-wood off the tee, then hit a 9-iron to about 12 feet.

14, hit 3-wood off the tee, and then hit a 7-iron to about 15 feet.

Bogey on 15, hit 5-wood off the tee, hit a wedge left into the like and chipped it up and made the putt.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Any more questions? Rory Sabbatini, thank you. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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