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July 10, 2003

Andy North


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Andy North, you have played some very fine golf since the first round of the Senior Open. You posted a Top-10 finish, came back off a bad round. What's the difference in your game? Why are you playing better all of a sudden?

ANDY NORTH: I've really played poorly all year long, and starting at the PGA Seniors in Philadelphia, I made a couple of swing thought changes, nothing dramatic. Just things you're always working on, and actually hit the ball very well that for the most part. Started driving the ball better.

I've driven the ball just awful for 3 1/2 years or whatever I've played out here. I just didn't putt very well there. Then I went to Grand Rapids and hit the ball relatively well there, also, after the U.S. Open and didn't putt particularly well there. Then I continued hitting it pretty well at the Senior Open and started to make a few putts here and there.

It's just when you struggle for a long time, when you start hitting a little bit better, it is fun to come to the golf course, because you actually think that you might have a chance to do something positive, instead of just trying to figure out how you can get it around and not embarrass yourself or shoot some horrible score. It's such a different frame of mind and a different feeling when you're playing that you're not just grinding just to make pars on every hole, where every shot, you're giving it such a full effort that by the end of the day, you're so worn out. The last few weeks it's been enjoyable to go out and play and then look forward to coming off the next day.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Can you elaborate on the swing thoughts?

ANDY NORTH: Nothing dramatic. It was funny that Tom Watson and I did an event in the Washington D.C. area, must have been the Tuesday after Kansas City, to raise money for Bruce Edwards, and we did a clinic for these players. Just as it happens so often, you sort of simplify the swing thoughts for these amateurs, and all of a sudden, it's like, yeah, the light went on a little bit.

I feel like I've been moving all over it and I all of a sudden have been able to stay over the ball and turn a little bit better, and then get back underneath it at impact. And all of a sudden I'm starting to hit some pretty good shots again. It's not like something in a book that you can improve your score 50 shots. It's one of those things we are all going about and going through and we just happened to hit home more solidly than they sometimes do. I've actually kept that same thought for four or five weeks now, and that's important, too. Too often you try something one day and it doesn't work, you try something the next day and it doesn't work, you try something different the next day and it doesn't work, and all of the sudden you get so caught up in swing thoughts versus just going out trying and play golf. Finally I feel like I can go out and play golf again.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Just take us through your round.

ANDY NORTH: I had a decent birdie chance at the hole and missed it.

Parred 2.

Made about a 15-footer for a birdie at 3.

Then hit in the right front bunker at 4 and had a really difficult shot and hit a pretty good bunker shot, and then missed about a 6-footer. So I made bogey at 4.

I missed a makeable birdie at 5.

6, I made probably a 12 or 15-footer.

Had another probably 12-footer at 7 I didn't make.

Made probably an 18-footer at 8.

Then I drove it, hit a poor drive at 9 and put it in the left fairway bunker, which is not the place you want to be at 9. Didn't even get a yardage for my caddie and went in there. Just took the club I could get out, make sure I got up over the lip and I just killed a 9-iron about 150 yards and got it just on the front of the green and made it. That was one of those holes that you go from just trying to figure out some way to get it out of the bunker and get it around the green. I didn't think I could get to the green. I thought if I could get it up five or six yards short of the green out of this bunker, I would hit a really good shot. I absolutely killed one and it got on the front and made it and made a birdie, about 60 feet. So that really turned that hole around.

Parred 10.

Hit a 9-iron about a foot from the hole at 11.

Parred 12. Had a reasonable chance there.

Hit a poor drive at 13 in the rough and just chopped it down the fairway. Hit a 9-iron about five, six feet there for birdie. Made that one.

14, hit good shots and made par.

15, hit a 6-iron about eight feet, nine feet from the hole and made that one.

Then hit it in the right front-hand bunker with an 8-iron at 16 from the dead middle of the fairway, just pushed it a little bit. Didn't have a good lie in the bunker at all and just managed to make bogey. I got it on the fringe and chipped down to six feet and made bogey.

17, I had probably 15 feed and I lipped out.

Then 18, hit a couple of good shots about 30 feet from the hole and 2-putted.

So a pretty solid round. I made two bogeys, basically the two greens I missed out of bunkers and shouldn't have made one of them, so I was real pleased. I hit a lot of good, solid shots. Missed a few fairways, but it happened to be on the right holes where you could get away with it.

Q. Is it harder to critique your own game than someone else's?

ANDY NORTH: No, sometimes it's much easier. If anything, I think you're probably harder on yourself sometimes than you need to be. I think if you ask most of the television guy they would say they are probably harder on themselves than the other guys that they are watching.

But the golf course is in -- I'm sure you've already heard this. It's in absolutely fantastic conditions. And with the rain, the greens are soft enough, we are going to see a lot of good scores. Today there's some wind out there that played havoc at times, and still there's going to be a ton of players 69 and better, which is pretty good on this course.

End of FastScripts....

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