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January 10, 2003

Bob Estes


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Bob, for joining us for a few minutes. Great round again today. Another 66. Great position going into the weekend. Make a couple comments about your round today then we'll go into some questions.

BOB ESTES: Today was pretty much like yesterday. I probably didn't hit it quite as good as I did yesterday. Actually I went back over yesterday's rounds, hit all 18 greens, two par 5's, like hitting 20 greens. Today I didn't hit it quite as well. I think I missed a couple greens, didn't get all the par 5s. Yesterday I birdied all the par 5s.

The turning point today in that round was the 7th hole. The wind was left to right and in. I hit it right on No. 7. The marshal thought that my ball was in the hazard. We were looking for it in the hazard. Somebody spotted a ball about 20 yards further down in the rough. That was my ball. I hit a 5-iron on the right side of the green, then I made about a 60-foot sidewinder that probably would have gone about 15 feet past if it wouldn't have hit the hole. Anyway...

I could have made six or seven on that hole, ended up making a three. That was kind of the turning point in the round today.


Q. You've won three times over the last couple years, as much as anybody outside of Tiger and Phil. When people talk about the top players on TOUR, do you feel like you're overshadowed by some of the guys?

BOB ESTES: Maybe a little bit. Part of that, too, is I haven't played well enough in the biggest tournaments. I mean, I've had Top 10s in major championships and I have played well in the past in majors. Recently maybe not quite as well as I needed to to really be considered maybe one of the elite.

You know, like last year, I finished 26 on the Money List. I think sometimes people pay too much attention to where you finish on the Money List as opposed to how many tournaments you win, maybe what your world ranking is. Most of last year my world ranking was, you know, right around 13, anywhere from 13 to 17 or 18.

But, no, I'm not too worried about it because I know I still have to get better. I'm working towards that. You know, maybe I am, maybe I'm not. Just kind of depends on how you look at it, I guess.

Q. Was there any particular time or anything in particular that turned your game around over the last couple years, brought you into the winner's circle?

BOB ESTES: Here we go again. There's just so many things. I wish everybody knew already. I went to the 10-finger grip May of 2000 at Colonial. I won Memphis about a month later. I played that way the entire way. I still made little changes throughout the course of that time. But I've got a bunch of good people helping me. Started seeing a chiropractor about three years ago, a trainer about two and a half years ago, sports psychologist, new teacher.

So I've got a nice team, you know, that's really working together to try to see just how goody can get. But I had to get healthy first, then I had to get in better shape, and then I had to make some changes to improve my golf game.

Q. At this point, is there anything you're focusing on now, during the off-season, what off-season there is, to try to take it to the next level?

BOB ESTES: No. Actually that's going to start maybe a little bit more next week. I guess after THE TOUR Championship, I had three weeks off, then I played in Sun City, which Ernie won also, and then played the Target tournament in California the very next week, then I had three weeks off, and that was really hectic because you're leading up to Christmas, I was training virtually every day with my trainer, mostly at home.

Then just last week I was just starting to practice and play a little bit to get ready for this tournament. Actually, I'm not playing the next four weeks. I'm not playing again until the Buick Invitational. I'm going to spend more time working on my game, working on a set of clubs. The set I have now is pretty close to what I'll be playing with. But I'll be building a brand-new set of clubs, like I said, similar to what I've got now, but just a different set, doing more training also with my trainer.

Part of that is because I played those two tournaments during the middle of my off-season.

I usually don't play in November, December. I usually like those eight or so weeks to do my own thing, train, really get ready for the beginning of the year. But this time my off-season is kind of split up into sections, so my year probably will really begin at San Diego, the West Coast. I'll still end up playing four of the first eight tournaments, but I kind of answered your question, maybe not exactly.

But, yeah, there's a few things that I still want to try and I want to have a little bit of time before I play tournaments again. Then my teacher and I will be spending some time together in the next four weeks leading up to San Diego. But I don't want to really get into any specifics.

Q. If the wind picks up tomorrow like is expected, will you do anything different than what you did the past two days?

BOB ESTES: Hit the ball a little lower tomorrow than I have the last two days (smiling).

Q. That's it?

BOB ESTES: You have to think more. Actually, guys who play here a bunch, we have more of an advantage if it does blow. If it's calm, it's almost like playing in Palm Springs. Actually, some more wind would make it a lot better for somebody like me or Ernie or whoever, that has played here a number of times. It can totally change what you hit off the tee, how you plan approach shots, things like that.

But, yeah, for the most part you just have to play a little smarter. You can't free wheel it as much when the wind starts blowing because you will get a lot of crosswind shots, you have to keep the ball down, keep it out of the wind, keep it in play, because it can get away from you.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Bob, for joining us.

End of FastScripts....

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