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May 30, 2002

Bob Estes


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Bob Estes. 6-under, 65 today, Bob. No bogeys today. Let's go through the score card. You started on the backside with a birdie on the par-3, 11.

BOB ESTES: See if I remember what I hit. I hit an 8-iron about 18 feet behind the hole.


BOB ESTES: 14, I hit 3-iron into the fairway, sand wedge back to the hole about two feet and made that for birdie.


BOB ESTES: 3-wood off the tee. I think that was a 9-iron, kind of the center of the green, pin-high, made about a 20 -, 25-footer.


BOB ESTES: 3-wood in the right edge of the rough. 6-iron, pin-high left about 35 feet, made that one.

No. 6, I hit my tee shot left, left of the rough, and 7-iron out to the fairway. Had 102 to the hole, hit sand wedge about 15 feet behind the hole and made it.


BOB ESTES: Driver, 6-iron about ten feet behind the hole and made it.

TODD BUDNICK: Looks like the putter didn't work for you today.

BOB ESTES: A lot of the good putts didn't go in. No 3-putts, a couple of good lag putts. I hadn't been putting well at the Colonial and I was working on that, so my putting was a lot more solid today. Hit the ball about as good and putted better.

TODD BUDNICK: Tell us about today. A lot of players have said the rough seems to be higher, getting to that time of year when the rough is thicker.

BOB ESTES: I noticed in the Pro Am that the rough is high and dense. You can still get some good lies or get -- where you can get the club on the ball and get it on the green, or you can drop some really bad lies where you don't have much of a chance. Definitely it's up. It's definitely a challenge. You certainly want to be in the fairway as opposed to scoring out of the rough.

Q. Seemed like by the time you started you'd seen Langham score 8-under, tying the course record. Does that have any affect where you say I'm 8 behind or 7 behind before I even hit the first shot?

BOB ESTES: What helped was the four round tournament. If it was one round or two rounds, you had a lot less time to catch up, it would be a big deal. But a lot of guys like me at Colonial that led at the first round and were nowhere to be seen on Sunday. That happens. We don't worry about it. What you realize is you come out on the afternoon on Thursday, and even if somebody shot a low round Thursday morning, you're going to play 36 holes before they tee it up for their second round. So you can easily catch up to that and surpass it, if you've got 36 holes to at least shoot 8-under, in this instance.

Q. With so much emphasis on the Majors by the media, and maybe by the players, as well, I'm wondering, is it impossible to block out Bethpage or are you thinking about it already? Is it a good thing to think about it two weeks before you actually play there?

BOB ESTES: Yeah, I guess I'm thinking about it, but I'm also trying to win the Kemper Open. So I'm mainly trying to get my golf game in better shape. I've been hitting it pretty good for the most part, I could hit better, but my putting hasn't been where I wanted it, so I'm working on that really hard. I'm trying to just improve, whether it's for this week or next week or next year. I'm not too concerned with the U.S. Open. As far as how I'm doing my schedule, I am, because I like to play two weeks before a major, and take the week off before a major, so I'm not playing next week at the Buick Classic.

I want to be on my own schedule so I can do what I feel like I need to do leading up to the tournament. So I'll have next week off and I'll fly Saturday to New York and I'll be on the golf course Sunday and get a good round in before all the people show up. And I can get a lot of good stuff in Sunday, but that way I can be on my own schedule. But, no, I'm just trying to play good this week, first of all.

Q. Last year when you won at FedEx, it was a combination of things. You were playing well but you had changes to equipment, and then you went ahead and won again the second time. What were your expectations coming into this year, and have you met them at all?

BOB ESTES: No. I'm kind of behind where I thought I would be right now. But as I found out earlier this year -- actually, some of the things that I've changed for the good and a couple of things that I was experimenting with didn't work out, but that's usually the way it goes, anyway. I expected to play a little better earlier in the year, but I haven't putted well enough for the most part. I haven't even looked at my stats. And my ball-striking is -- I'm probably hitting it in more fairways, more greens. I think I'm up in greens in regulation, but my putting isn't very good. For the most part that's what held me back, even though I've been hovering around 40th on the money list for the last couple of months. I hope to maybe have won a tournament by now.

But most of the golf courses that really tend to suit my game and conditions are in the summer and fall. There are a lot of tournaments that I -- like THE PLAYERS Championship, I'm getting a little tired. But there's some others -- for the most part in the springtime it's wet. And I hate playing in wet conditions for the most part. And we're probably going to get this again here after it rains tomorrow, whenever it's going to rain. It might be pretty wet on Saturday.

But it still could be a really, really good year. I'm ahead where I was at this point last year, and I'm definitely a much better player. That's why I'm not quite as concerned about it as I could be. But the summer and fall could be really, really good.

Q. Assuming we don't get any rain two weeks from now, assuming you haven't been to Bethpage, do you think that's going to fit in a course you could play very well on?

BOB ESTES: I think so, because I heard that it's not just brutally long at the fairway. I think there's plenty of holes where you're not hitting driver off the tee, not that I've heard that much or read that much about it yet. I'm focusing on the Kemper Open. But I have read a little in golf magazines and heard some. But one thing I heard, too, was the greens were relatively slack, except for maybe one or two of them, and that's what I kind of grew up on as well. I'm looking forward to that as well. And it sounds like you're going to have an opportunity to -- if you've got a good short game to get the ball up-and-down with the greens being relatively flat like that. And that's one of the things I do best. That's why I played well at a lot of the majors in the past.

Q. Continuing with the U.S. Open theme, my apologies, we have one of the quieter U.S. Open defending Champions than we've had in a long time with Retief Goosen. What do you think of him? Have you ever been paired with him and what do you think of his game?

BOB ESTES: You see guys playing on television or practice rounds, but obviously he's gotten better in the last couple of years, real calm and cool like Ernie. Yeah, that's the kind of personality that tends to win U.S. opens as opposed to maybe The Masters or the PGA when it's not quite as -- not like a U.S. Open set up. But, yeah, Retief is obviously a great player and really playing well. But I don't know him that well, him having spent most of his career on the European Tour and me over here. We know each other and we're cordial, but I really don't know him that well.

Q. How do you anticipate the rest of the week unfolding for you after the fast start? Do you think you'll be more aggressive, think you'll sit back and see how it unfolds? How do you anticipate the next three days?

BOB ESTES: I feel like I know how to play this course for the most part. I didn't play an overly aggressive round and still shot 6-under. Sometimes playing too aggressively can send you the other direction. Trying to drive the green on 14 or going for the green on 6, there's going to be a lot of bogeys and double bogeys made by guys trying to make eagle. But, no, I'm hitting fairways and hitting greens, and if I keep rolling it the way I did today I should keep shooting some low scores.

End of FastScripts....

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