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April 26, 1998

Bob Estes


LEE PATTERSON: I guess best you can if you can share your thoughts with us after today.

BOB ESTES: That was fairly frustrating, but also it was very frustrating and very promising at the same time because even though I didn't finish the job, I wouldn't say that it was really my nerves that got me. Just kind of thinking back over the round just like -- well, if we want to get specific, like on the last hole, I got fooled on the first putt. I hit a good tee shot. The approach into the green is where I had to hit it, coming from the right side of the fairway, so I was just making sure I could hit myself a putt at it. And, the wind was blowing straight down the green, straight-down-wind-putt it was -- it was fairly level and I already had it in my head that it was going to be a very fast putt. And, I should have been a little more aware of how green that green was. Some of the greens were very green and slow and sticky and some of them were kind of crusty and fast. All of them were a little bit bumpy. But, I had it right on line for the most part, but it just never really rolled. It just never took off. Like I said, I had it in my head it was going to be a fast putt; one that if it went past the hole, it could get away from. I'd make sure I 2-putted and got into a playoff because it was a little bit too long; one to really gun at because I had probably somewhere between 30 and 40 feet; usually just try and get those up around the hole and 2-putt and move on. Then the second putt, I had it red right center inside the hole, and I was waiting for it to break right in the middle. As soon as I hit it, I knew I made it. Then right in front of the hole, it looked like it veered to the right. I kind of would like to see the replay; see what it looked like. Hopefully had the worm-cam. I mean, as soon as I hit it, I knew I made it - inside the hole; had it just going just to the left; looked like it went the other way.

Q. Is that your first 3-putt of the week?

BOB ESTES: No, I had plenty of 3-putts. The putter that I was using this week, I just got it on Tuesday and so that was just kind of an experiment for the week. And, I am sure I will still spend some time putting with it. I don't know what I will end up putting with or what is going to be the best putter for me. But, I will spend time with that putter and probably some others. Some of the putts with this heal-shafted putter, the toe was going to open up a little bit more on the take-away, but that almost helps my stroke because sometimes I get it going a little bit too outside and -- and pulling some putts. So, it could be that that putter is maybe good for me on the longer putts, but maybe not quite as good on the shorter putts - I am not for sure. Even, as I say, I hit plenty of good short putts and I felt like even the putt on 17 was a very good putt. But halfway between the ball and where I started and the hole, looked like it hit something and kind of kicked left. There weren't too many smooth putts out there. It was kind of like I was saying yesterday, I mean, sometimes I definitely should have been closer to the hole and I shouldn't have left myself those 4-, 5-, and 6- footers. But, still, that is one of the things that I do best: Is get the ball up-and-down and convert the short putts. I have been putting the short putts good all year and I hit a lot of good ones this week that just wouldn't stay on line. So -- but not that you really are blaming the greens for a lot of that because it rained so much and when the greens get that soft, they are going -- you are going to have spike marks; you are going to have a lot of those depressions from guys walking on them as well. So, yeah, I just -- the later you play when the greens are soft, the tougher it is to make putts.

Q. I imagine you consider this week, generally speaking, a pretty good positive for you generally based on the way you have been playing the last six weeks having made Top-10 several times?

BOB ESTES: Yeah, I mean, of course I wanted to win the golf tournament. I thought for sure it was mine. I really didn't doubt coming down on those last four holes that I was going to win the tournament because I was hitting it too good and, you know, putting was pretty good also. I made a few good putts. Just, you know, golf is just a game you just -- fraction of inches and that is kind of the way the little chip shot was on 17, if that ball comes out just fractionally harder or hits just a little bit firmer on the green, I mean, it might roll in the hole because it was right on line; just stopped about four to five feet short, so.... You know, then the putt on No. 12. I would be -- I hit what I thought was -- it is -- (watching TV monitor) This is the way it should have been or we feel like it should have been, you know, a lot sooner than now, but Verplank has had his injuries problems and Trevor has struggled at times. I had my elbow and equipment troubles over the last four years, so, I think this is the way we always dreamed it would be when we were winning tournaments in college and amateur golf - although, Verplank won most of them. Didn't surprise me at all when he made that putt on the last hole because he is tough. He has got so many -- even though he struggled the last few years, he has got so many good memories of tournaments that he has won going back to when he was seven or eight years old or younger. So, yeah didn't surprise me at all when he made that putt.

Q. If he had been injured and maybe by now he would have had 10 or 12 or 15 wins, didn't he have that kind of talent coming out of college?

BOB ESTES: No, Verplank, when he was an amateur, he might have been, you know, I think he was probably one of the Top-10 players in the world his last year of college. I mean, he should have had -- if he would have been able to sustain his momentum, and maybe it was because maybe the injuries were a result of practicing too much, I don't know, maybe it was just a bit too much; he was so dedicated; wanted to win so badly, that he -- maybe he spent too much time hitting balls. But, no, Verplank would have, I think, done at least what Tiger has done or will do if he would have been able to stay healthy and maybe didn't try to change his game necessarily to hit the ball harder. You could always find clubs that help you hit the ball harder, but I am pretty sure that is what I heard that he tried to do one of his first years or two as a professional. I can talk a lot about Verplank.

Q. How about Trevor, do you know him well?

BOB ESTES: Trevor, I know him real well. Yeah, Trevor, he won his share of tournaments in college also. I believe he was the first team All-American, at least one of those years at Lamar. Yeah, he was definitely considered one of the best players, you know, when we were going through school. I think he was in the -- I think he was three years ahead of me. I think he was a senior when I was a freshman and Verplank was a junior when I was a freshman.

Q. Definitely all at school at the same time, at one point?


Q. Have you always been this composed or, you know, able to handle what I am sure is a profound disappointment?

BOB ESTES: Yes. And I will stay that way too. When I start winning tournaments, it will just make it that much better. Remember, it wasn't that long ago when I was playing with a baseball grip just trying to survive. I was just trying to get myself exempt going into 1998. And, it has been amazing the progress I have made in the last four months. I have had so much confidence when I was out there playing today and really -- I mean, I made a good par-putt on 14, but I really couldn't quite get anything to go right from No. 12 on. Ended up with a really funny lie on No. 12. Then I ripped a 3-wood right down the center of the green on 13 and the ball kicked straight right in the bunker. Then I hit a good birdie putt, lipped it out. 15, hit that putt a little bit weak. 16, I thought I hit a good wedge shot out of the right rough and the wind just -- I mean, it went from just hardly blowing 'til just a huge gust and knocked that ball down in the bunker. But, like I was saying earlier in the week, these aren't my best conditions. I am usually going to have the most success when the course is playing really firm and fast. Part of that is because I am a die putter; I am not a real bold putter. I like to get the ball on line and have it just kind of creep in the hole and that is usually why I do good on the really difficult golf courses with firm, fast greens. And, these were slower and bumpier and you need to really jam it in the hole at times and that is just not really my style when it comes to putting.

Q. How much more fun was it for you today just to be in the hunt? You talked about it used to be a lot of anxiety. What was it like there today?

BOB ESTES: It felt so much better. Like I said, I knew I was going to win; not just -- I finished par par and it is mine. Or, at least, I am in a playoff. But, yeah, before, been nice to make that birdie putt on 15 and get it to 14 and then number -- 17 where the pin was, it is just so typical of PGA TOUR golf because if you want to get it on that top tier, you pretty much have to fly it all the way back there. And, if you do that, you better be bringing it in high or else it is going to go over the green. So, just there is not many places where you can really just kind of release the ball back to the flag. We just don't see that much out here. I was trying to hit a high cutting 3-iron because I knew I needed to get it back on that back tier and I ended up about pin-high over the right, but, still, I would have rather been hitting a 4-iron and landing it, you know, 30, 40 feet below the hole. But, I knew if I had to get on the top tier, I had to fly it up on the second half of the green. I haven't been playing too many fades. Now I am hitting it much straighter and really turning it over a little bit. I was trying to hit a high-cut 3-iron and I still should have gotten the ball up-and-down, but it would have been more fun to hit the shot that I have been working on for the last four months.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?

End of FastScripts....

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