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June 8, 2003

Niclas Fasth


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Niclas to the interview area. 4-under 67 today. 10-under for the tournament. Just talk a little bit about your day today and how you played.

NICLAS FASTH: I played a really really solid round of golf today. I was very happy with pretty much every aspect of my game. I hit most fairways, hit almost every green. Five birdies I think it was. It could have been a lot more. The wind was really hard out there today. There was very little wind so you would think it was nothing, but it changed direction all the time. So it was hard getting close to the pin. It was a lot easier yesterday. It was the same direction all the time. But it happened quite a few times today, it came up short or long, on the green, a good shot, but not close enough. The greens are not that easy, so you're not going to roll in a lot of long ones.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Did the rain yesterday change the complexion of the golf course, or was it still pretty much the same as the first couple days.

NICLAS FASTH: It was pretty much the same. It was amazing. You expected it to be really really wet and soft today and it wasn't. It was quite playable. No problems with the fairways. No big problems with the greens. They did a fantastic job, and the course is good. I'm sure they would have liked it to be harder and firmer.

Q. What is it going to take for you tomorrow to get this done tomorrow?

NICLAS FASTH: Usually pretty good playing, usually a good score. I don't expect to get anything for free out there tomorrow. There are quite a few guys that can still win this, probably a five-, six-under score will have a really really good chance. And I obviously have the game for that. It's a matter of whether the game is there fully tomorrow. I feel very confident about the game, anyway. I know I can handle the pressure if it comes down the line and it's close. You still have to go out there and play really well. You're not going to win unless you play really well. It very rarely happens that the victory is given to you.

Q. How much did the Ryder Cup help in terms of you dealing with pressure and being able to deal with that kind of intensity?

NICLAS FASTH: I've been there before and I know I can do it. I've been working on that for 15, 17 years. It's really helped me a lot throughout my career. Although in the last few years I've been playing the really big events, but it still helped me a lot along the way. The Ryder Cup, it was more like I knew I could handle it when I came to the Ryder Cup. I could play flat out and give a good go at it and not hold back because of nerves or anything. Nothing has changed after the Ryder Cup. It was a great experience, though.

Q. With Monday finishes you never know what kind of crowds you're going to get. If, let's say, the leaders are going out and more people are following maybe a Freddy Funk or -- if whoever is here is following like Freddy Funk or Rich Beem, guys who people know from the local area, will that make it easier for yourself or Rory?

NICLAS FASTH: Well, I can't speak for Rory, but I don't think it will make a whole lot of difference for me. I don't think so. I couldn't speak for him of course. I don't know.

Q. You were playing very well. You hit the first 12 greens you played today, and then it looked like it was starting to come apart on 13. What happened?

NICLAS FASTH: The first tee shot all day I missed really. That's one shot. My third shot, I have to guess it was the wind because I hit the ball so good it actually -- I actually -- anyway, I hit it really solid out of the rough and I hit it perfect, I thought, and I airmailed the green with a soft wedge. I was talking to my caddy about it, but I pitched 11 yards longer than I wanted to. And I hit it perfect, so it must have been the wind that changed direction or something. Anyhow, it came as a surprise. It's hard to make it up and down from there. I kept playing well from there on in. It was really only one bad shot, and that was the tee shot.

Q. Don't take this question the wrong way. You seem extremely confident for somebody who hasn't had a lot of successes on either tour in terms of wins. Where does that come from?

NICLAS FASTH: I mean, I'm not confident in the sense that I think I'm definitely going to win it tomorrow. I haven't won a big event yet, so it will take a lot for me to win, I'm sure. That's what I said at the start here. It usually takes a good performance in one way or another to actually win it in the end. To finish second or third, it takes a good tournament. But to win it takes more, I think anyway.

Why am I confident? I'm just happy how the game went. In my own evaluation, the main reason I haven't won is that the game has been good, but not good enough to win the big ones. Whether I'll win tomorrow, I don't have a clue, but the game is getting there. So I have the game to win. And I'm obviously playing well now and feel pretty good about things. So I will have a good chance tomorrow, I'm sure. It's not because I'm confident I'll win tomorrow. I don't know.

Q. What you said about being confident to win and nothing is going to be given to you, can you talk a little bit about playing with Rory tomorrow and what kind of player he is to be playing with him?

NICLAS FASTH: Well, I've only played with him a couple of times, so I couldn't really tell you what kind of player he is. He hits it pretty long, and he's quite aggressive, which can pay on these receptive greens. I'm sure he can make a lot of birdies. Playing with him, I played good when I played with him the last time, which was the Nissan Open earlier this year. I don't know him really well, but we talk when we meet.

Q. It seems bizarre that two guys that are from absolutely nowhere, even remotely close to here, coming all the way over here and finishing where you guys are going to probably finish in the tournament. It obviously goes on every week out here, but does it seem more different to you because -- does this place seem alien to you in any way? The people? The crowd?

NICLAS FASTH: I've played quite a few events over here. This is like most of them. I mean, I don't know exactly about Rory, but he's ranked probably in the top 50 in the world. I am. I have been for two years. It wouldn't be a huge shock if we won a tournament, would it, whether it's U.S. Tour, South African Tour or European Tour. We should have a chance a lot of weeks we play. I'm not saying it's happening that way, but it shouldn't be a huge shock.

Q. Take us through your birdies, if you would, starting at 2.

NICLAS FASTH: On the second hole, I hit it close, three feet, with a pitching wedge.

The third hole with a good 3-iron up to -- I don't know feet. It would have been eight yards, maybe. I knocked it in obviously.

I hit it really close again on 4 with a 7-iron up to -- I can't remember was it one or two feet -- probably one.

10, pitching wedge, too long really. It was probably 20 feet, maybe less. I knocked it in downhill, good putt.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Bogey on 13.

NICLAS FASTH: It came with me airmailing the green with a small pitching wedge.

JOE CHEMYCZ: And you birdied 14.

NICLAS FASTH: I misjudged the wedge, the lob wedge and knocked it in from way out. It must have been maybe 27 feet. It wasn't really a bad shot.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Niclas, thank you. Play well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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