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November 3, 2001

Bob Estes


TODD BUDNICK: I would like to welcome Bob Estes to the pressroom today. Bob, I didn't see your final score, so help me out there.


TODD BUDNICK: 65, 6-under, 65 today. Ran off four birdies in a row, four through seven. Let's go through those.

BOB ESTES: Okay. I'm still having a little trouble sometimes remembering the holes myself. It's a great course, but some of the holes are kind of like the same somewhat. So I know I parred the first three holes, and starting with number four, the par three, okay, I hit a four iron about 20 feet just past the flag and to the right. And I had a downhill right-to-left putt and knocked it right in the middle. Got my family all fired up. The Par-5 number five, decent drive in the left side of the fairway. Hit a three iron on the green and 3-putted from about 50 feet. Number six, I hung my drive out into the right rough, but had a decent lie. Hit a nine iron about 10 feet and made it. Number seven I hit a real good drive down the left side, another 9-iron about five to six feet and made it. I really didn't realize I made four in a row until I checked my card after the round. You get so into it out there. Number nine, really good drive. The best drive I hit all day, probably, and just had a four iron in. Tiger probably hit a seven, but whatever. He's in another league. Four iron, it was good for me. So I hit a four iron to the center of the green and 3-putted from about 40, 45 feet. 13, a driver in the first cut of rough on the right. And then hit a five wood on the green again about 40, 45 feet short of the hole. Left the first putt about four feet short, but I made that one. That was kind of sad. Probably the best iron shot I hit all day was the seven iron that -- I took a little off a seven iron, I had 157 to the hole. We thought the wind was into us a touch and so I kind of smoothed a 7-iron and it flew, I guess, over the green into the back fringe or first cut of rough and hopped into the bunker. And then didn't hit a very good bunker shot and then had about an eight-footer for par, which I just knew I was going to make, and I lipped it out. I hit a good putt, I just misread it. 17, hit a good tee shot down the right center and I pretty much had the same shot as I had into number 14. So I hit a seven iron. I thought it was actually -- the green is kind of deceiving. I thought I was in there about five or six feet, but I was actually about 18 feet short, so I had a downhill right-to-left putt and knocked that one right in the middle.

TODD BUDNICK: Well, other than the bogey on 14, a wonderful day. Put yourself into contention for tomorrow. Can you give us some comments on the day, the round, itself.

BOB ESTES: Like Kelly Tilghman was talking to me about outside, she said "This is kind of like Canada", with Verplank leading and I'm just a few shots back. And so I was just happy to hit some more quality golf shots today. I didn't hit it really very good the first two days. I don't know how I shot the rounds I did the first two days. I just been playing like that for so long that I'm kind of used to it. And I just keep grinding it it out and shoot the best score you can. That's what's funny, I hit the ball better today, shooting 65, than I did yesterday shooting 66. But anyway, yeah. Craig and I been working on my set-up. It got a little bit off maybe, maybe even into last week, even though I played good last week, and especially early this week. You get to thinking too much with my set-up and so it got off. I was hitting all kinds of funny shots the last couple days. I figured something kind of gets to the point sometimes when you try and try and try, and then finally you realize you just need to kind of back off a little bit and just kind of relax and just fall into your set-up and just let it go. So that's what I did on the range this morning. And it felt so much more comfortable. The club was a lot better at the top. So I had more control and confidence while I was swinging the golf club today. But I'm going to go out there and hit some balls because I got a little work to do to get it where I really am comfortable.

Q. The club and distance on 18, where you almost eagled?

BOB ESTES: I had 164 to the hole. Hit an 8-iron, but the wind was going almost straight downwind. I landed about where I was trying to. I was trying to land it about 157. A full 8-iron is about 150. And I just missed it, I guess.

Q. Did you think it was going in or did you kind of know it wasn't?

BOB ESTES: I was just listening to the crowd. I can't see where that pin is. It slopes away back there in the back part of that green. And so I just have to listen to the crowd and I was waiting for the big roar and it never came.

Q. The way things have been going for you, do you think you're probably the guy who's least happy about this season ending?

BOB ESTES: That's another yes/no answer. It's been pretty intense the last few months. I haven't played every week, and that actually has been part of my success is taking those weeks off, and, really, being ready to play when it's time to play. I'm looking forward to the off-season. I mean, I'm looking forward to some time away. I don't think a lot of people realize just how much it takes out of us mentally, in particular. You know your nervous system has to have time to recover, as well. So I'm looking forward to a couple of months off. It's like the last three to four weeks, I mean, because things have been pretty intense and my schedule has been a little bit erratic. I haven't been sleeping enough, actually, the last three or four months, so I haven't felt as good and as sharp as at maybe other times during the year. But it worked out in Vegas, and I wasn't up late gambling. I'm just saying that. I had too much on the line. Going into Vegas I was just trying to make sure that I at least stayed in the top 30 so I could come play in this tournament.

Q. Talk about pretty intense the last few weeks, tomorrow probably is going to be pretty intense with a lot of guys right there. Probably having to shoot a low number, don't you think?

BOB ESTES: Yeah, it will be. But I think with what I've already gone through the last few weeks, winning Vegas, trying to at least end the top 30, if not move into the top 20 and get myself exempt for next year's Open, and then the Price Waterhouse Fall Finish thing, as well. That's why I was glad that I put that away last week, so I wouldn't have to think about it this week. So I get a big check on Monday no matter what I shoot tomorrow. So I'm way ahead of the other guys.

Q. How do you explain playing the best golf of your life when you're not sleeping well, you're tired?

BOB ESTES: Well, I'm still getting some sleep. I'm just saying that not quite as much. I keep getting a little further behind. Maybe I'm just adjusting to that. I don't know. But I'm -- when I won Memphis, I played 36 holes in the U.S. Open qualifier on Tuesday and I was just still kind feeling it; not so much physically, it's more mentally just kind of stale, a little bit, just mentally tired. Went out and shot 61 that first round. 10-under par. And kind of the same thing in Vegas. Going to the last two days, that being a Pro-Am format, and then it blew as hard as it did on Friday, and I was on the toughest course, the Canyons course, and I put so much into that round, when I came out to warm up on Saturday, mentally I was just not refreshed and not really as sharp. So I don't know. I don't know if I figured something out or not. But I would hate to tee it up that mentally exhausted all the time. Anyway, it's worked for me somehow, so I can't explain it.

Q. What does it mean to you to win the Fall Finish? Is it an indication that you can play like that all the time?

BOB ESTES: Um-hum. Yeah. I'm looking forward to the beginning of next year. I've only -- obviously, I started playing better the week of Memphis, in particular. And then even more so since I started working with Craig Koy, and during the International in August, so a lot of people have come up to me in the last few weeks or month, or whatever, and they said "Great year, you're having a great year." And I haven't said it hardly ever, but what I want to say is, really, it's only a half a year. I didn't play that good the first five months of the year. I was way back on the Money List. So, really, this is just in the last five months, and maybe even more specifically, in the last six tournaments or so. So I'm looking forward to starting the year not feeling like I'm lost. I've learned so much this year and I had so many people help me out that will continue to help me if I pay them real well. And then next year maybe I'll play good from start to finish and really see how good I can get.

Q. Having come back to win this year already fairly recently, does that give you confidence going into tomorrow knowing you can post that final round low score?


Q. In these conditions?

BOB ESTES: The first two tournaments that I won, obviously, we talked about that. I led from start to finish. But that was something I never had done before. And it's not just that I shot that one low round on Sunday to come back and win in Las Vegas, but I been shooting lower and lower scores ever since Thursday of Memphis. So now I'm making more putts and my ball-striking has been better, for the most part, I am able to shoot those lower scores. And one thing thing I guess I forget to mention sometimes, too, is the Pro V1 golf ball, we talk so much about this. And not thatit has made me by any means, but it has shortened some of the courses, but you still have to hit the shots and you still got to make those putts. Yeah, I kind of got sidetracked there a little bit. I think I answered your question.

Q. You do have confidence going in, knowing you can do it?

BOB ESTES: Yeah. So having done it Sunday in Vegas, I mean, with two or three or four other guys at least right there. And just to keep making birdies, yeah. I've done it recently. So I know I can do it again. It doesn't mean that I'm going to do it tomorrow. I would rather be leading as opposed to two or three or four shots back. But at least I know I can shoot the low score to come from behind and maybe pull it off.

Q. Is it tough to stay focused playing with Tiger after he putts and you still have to putt out and all these people are going to the next teebox?

BOB ESTES: Somewhat. But the more you do that and the more you play when there are thousands and thousands of people around, you just kind of get used to it. And actually, I'm able to get more focused. Sometimes if there's fewer people there, it's more of a distraction as opposed to just having masses of people. I think sometimes you may notice one person moving behind the green if there aren't many people around, but whereas there could be 20 or 30 or 50 people moving but if there's two thousand people around that green, then it's not as noticeable. So, hopefully, that kind of makes sense. When there's that many people watching and you really want to perform well, I'm able to get more focused and shut some of that stuff out and just get it done.

Q. On that same line, you not being able to hit as far as somebody like Tiger Woods does, how do you keep that in your mind?

BOB ESTES: Until next year.

Q. How do you keep yourself from going, man, I need to try and squeeze a little more out? How do you stay within your own game?

BOB ESTES: Well, if he was hitting in the fairway every time, that might be a little tougher to do. But knowing that, especially on a course this difficult with Bermuda rough and you need to be in the fairway more so than way, way down there, yeah, I was just -- like I said, I didn't hit the ball very well the first couple of days and I was just so excited to know that I had a better chance of driving it better and hitting some better iron shots today. I'm pretty good about staying within myself, for the most part. I could go at it harder, but that usually doesn't help me.

Q. Is there a certain key that -- some kind of mental thought you keep in your mind that people -- like lay people like us could use when we take it to the course and we get ahead, we get against some guy who just blows it past us?

BOB ESTES: I don't really know how to answer that for sure, except that you just kind of have to maybe instinctively have that feel for your golf swing, maybe don't even watch the other guy hit. I mean, I watch Tiger hit because I love watching him swing, but I don't have to worry about swinging at it that hard, really, because I can't. But maybe -- like I said, maybe next year, as I get stronger and more powerful. But, yeah, the main thing is maybe a good practice swing with the tempo you want to hit your shot at.

TODD BUDNICK: Well, speaking of the Fall Finish, presented by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, we have Robert Dale Morgan with the PGA Tour. I think he has something he would like to present to you.


ROBERT DALE MORGAN: This year's Fall Finish presented by PriceWaterhouseCoopers consisted of 10 events. And with five top-10 finishes along with a victory at the Invsys Classic in Las Vegas, Bob Estes is our Fall Finish, presented by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, champion. And it is our pleasure to give you that big check that you spoke about, $500,000. Our runner-up will get $300,000 and our third place will get $200,000, all thanks to our sponsor, PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It is great to give that check, but we also have a trophy for you here, and it's great to bring that all together for a good Longhorn here in the great State of Texas, and so we're glad that you've continued to play well this week, but you've done a great job over the last couple of months, and here to present the trophy for the Fall Finish presented by PriceWaterhouseCoopers is a partner with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Mr. Al Bledsoe.

MR. BLEDSOE: Bob, I'm delighted, on behalf of the partners and employees of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, to present you with this year's champion's trophy, and I'm particularly proud that a fellow Texan has won this year. Congratulations.

BOB ESTES: Thanks.

End of FastScripts....

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