February 26, 2003
ADAM SCOTT: It's a bit of a different format. And I've been struggling with my putting a little bit, and this format gives me a chance to be a bit more aggressive. It doesn't matter so much if I miss them, because you can pick them up or whatever. So you can be a bit more aggressive with the putting.
Q. Refresh my memory. You faired how well last year here?
ADAM SCOTT: Second round. I lost to Brad Faxon.
Q. Do you have very much experience in match play?
ADAM SCOTT: Not a lot, really. I played a bit as an amateur, a bit as an amateur over here in the US Amateurs. I played a couple of World Match Plays over here. But my record is not that great. My best was a semifinal at the Pub Links last year.
Q. Do you look all the way through at the brackets to see who you might play?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't know who I play tomorrow. I haven't seen a bracket yet. I'm more worried about getting my game in shape.
Q. Can you talk about the round, how it went, what the flow of the match was?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it was more about who was going to make the least mistakes, rather than make the good shots. We played terrible, honestly. It was pretty ornery. A lot of bogeys on the first nine holes, and I played pretty solid that last seven holes or six holes, whatever it was, and made a few birdies. But really we're a bit scrappy out there.
Q. What was the turning point for you, which hole?
ADAM SCOTT: It was really the par-3 -- it's now the 12th. I hit a pretty good shot in there, then I missed a short putt for par, which was on -- he missed it. Then I birdied the next hole. I was 2-up, and then though I lost the next, I 3-putted that, I came back, Bernard 3-putted the next, and I birdied the next. I was feeling good about my game.
I had 3, 3-putts as well.
ROCCO MEDIATE: I'm just a little hurting right now. I just couldn't quite move good. And I gutted it around. I had some really good moments, and then some just crap moments. It was just hilarious, actually. I was driving my caddy up the wall. I said, "I'm not trying to do it, I swear." It was one of those matches, where we said I've got to learn from this match. By rights I should have lost. I was 2-up, I was 1-up, I was 1-down, I was back to 2-up. I made a 25-foot par-putt on the 15th hole to stay 1-up. It was pathetic.
Q. Was that the big moment, though?
ROCCO MEDIATE: Yeah, that was big. Being 2-up with four to go, if I can just sneak the next one in I've got him. And I just made a big mistake. ^ I missed injured a 9-iron, and came back off the green and made a horrible chip. I had a feeling on the putt. Pete says, "You're not going to look at it?" I said no. And it just fell in. Those were moments in the match.
Q. You would have been mad if you didn't make it?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I deserved 5. I certainly didn't deserve 4.
Q. That was 15?
ROCCO MEDIATE: That was -- yeah.
Q. What do you think of this new format?
ROCCO MEDIATE: I like it here because you've got a par-5, not for me today, but it's reachable, and could be exciting. 16 is a fairly exciting hole. 17 now is so long. And 17, I'm 2-up with 2 to play, standing in the right rough, and I have to go under the branch. I hit it thin, catches the lip of the bunker and goes over. He's in the bunker, and I'm thinking he's probably going to make 5. If I get up on the green, around the green, and it's over. And I couldn't do it. It was pathetic.
Q. You talked about hurting a little bit. Is your back --
ROCCO MEDIATE: It's just my hip. It's normal things. My back is fine, but when I woke up I was like -- it's cold. I got through. I know how to play that way. It wasn't pretty. There was no prettiness involved. I had a few good stretches where I was looking pretty good. And then it went away and then it came back. But that's match play. He won a couple of holes, where you're thinking is someone watching -- I kind of expect it in a match, like on 10, I hit it on the front of the green, I hit it in the right rough, he hits it in the right bunker. I've got a good shot here. He hits it out about 8 feet, I putt it by about 6 feet. He missed, I miss, I lose. That's the beauty of match play. It was weird. It was really, really weird.
Q. Just talk about winning your first match today.
ALEX CEJKA: It's very exciting against Monty. You never know. He's a world class player. He didn't really strike the ball as good as he can normally. I've played many times with him, and today the driver was a little bit in the rough. And when you're in the rough here, it's brutal. It's basically a bogey. And I was just sticking to the plan, try as good as I can, try to hit a lot of fairways. My driving was not too good, but my putting improved.
I had a lot of long putts that I put very close, or just shaving the edge. And somehow I end up 1-up, 2-up, and he didn't really make so much pressure, you know, on me. So it was good.
Q. Did having played on the European Tour and playing with him many times or at least in the same tournaments with him many times, was that easier to play him versus maybe an American that -- you're playing for the first time, because of his reputation as a match player?
ALEX CEJKA: In match play, you never know. In match play, 18 holes you can beat anybody. You can lose to anybody. So it's very tough. But I just stick to it and I was a little bit lucky, and some breaks, when I missed my tee shots, and he didn't really hit the ball as solid as he normally is.
Q. As far as the golf course, it's playing long, I would assume?
ALEX CEJKA: It's playing very long, and the rough is so brutal. It's unbelievable.
Q. You played well, though?
ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, I'm very happy.
Q. Just a couple of comments about today.
JIM FURYK: Well, I'm playing a friend of mine, and a neighbor, Len Mattiace. So I've had that happen twice, now, I had two guys from -- I've had that happen twice now in four years, where I played a neighbor, so it's kind of awkward. But neither Len nor I played that well today. We were both over par, and I finished up the match real good. And he had a 3-putt on the way in, and that was kind of the difference. So it's kind of nice to skate through a match when you don't really play your best, but I know I'm going to have to play some better golf to keep going.
Q. Who was the match with you had a couple of years ago --
JIM FURYK: Rocco Mediate.
Q. What year?
JIM FURYK: A couple of years ago.
Q. Did you win?
JIM FURYK: Yes.
Q. Do you know who you play tomorrow?
JIM FURYK: Beem and Lowery are coming down the last hole. Beem just made a pretty long putt on 17 to extend the match.
SCOTT HOCH: Today I played good. I'm working on a lot of things. My game is not good right now. Last week my game was not good. In fact, I went to Scotty Cameron yesterday. I was bad last week putting, and he helped me. Kept flying everything past the hole over there and had to make six eight-footers coming back. With all the rain we've had, I can't believe how fast the greens were. Tom had a tough time, too. He kept knocking them by.
Q. This is a good place to work on your game. You can go places you might not go in stroke-play this week with what you're doing?
SCOTT HOCH: True, you can. But I wouldn't count on it. Tom didn't play as well last week. But a couple of weeks ago he played really well for a second. He's been playing better. And this is his last tournament. He's taking off until his baby is born, I believe. So he's really anxious to keep it going, because he's going to be taking a lot of time off now.
I made two killer pars in the round where he knows he has the hole won. 10, I make a 20-footer for par -- excuse me, 1. They messed me up by changing it. He was in the middle of the green on 9 in two, and had to chip out. I had a terrible lie. And I had like a 7-iron to the green. And I made par, and he 3-putts.
Q. How long was the putt?
SCOTT HOCH: 15 feet.
Q. That's a killer.
SCOTT HOCH: On 8, I had just given him that hole. He kind of gave me this one. So we returned the gifts pretty good.
And then I played well on the front side. The first nine I had some bad drives. The second nine I played well.
Q. What did you hit over here on this par-3, that used to be seven?
SCOTT HOCH: I hit a 6-iron. I thought it was going to be close, but it went past the hole. I made that with a birdie.
Q. How far past were you on 15?
SCOTT HOCH: 20 feet.
Q. Looked like you were upset. It hit and -- you hit it and it landed?
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, my caddy said that's what you get for getting good help. He said 5-iron, and I hit a 6.
Q. Talk about your round and how you played.
NICK PRICE: I played really well today. After not playing well on Sunday, I spent the last two days on the practice tee with David Ledbetter, and I think I've got some things sorted out. I hit a lot of good par shots today.
Q. Is there anything in particular that was going well for you today? Your putting, your driving?
NICK PRICE: I hit my irons beautifully today. I hit a lot of good iron shots and I putted nicely. I think I made four birdies, and just good, solid play today. It was nice to turn it around from Sunday.
Q. You were 4-up on four occasions, most recently on 12, but what happened?
JUSTIN LEONARD: I was looking for my ball an awful lot. I hit a couple of good shots and made a couple of good putts. I've been on the other side of that before, four down and get it back on 18. I've definitely got some work to do this afternoon.
Q. When you struggle and you win and you advance, does it matter how you play?
JUSTIN LEONARD: The only way it really matters is in your confidence. I was able to kind of get it around today for a little while, but there towards the end I really had to struggle. So hopefully through a few hours at the range this afternoon, I'll be able to get more confidence going into tomorrow.
Q. Everybody thinks back to 1999 and what happened in the Ryder Cup. Do you talk about it at all?
JUSTIN LEONARD: We joked about playing again last year. But I think if I did bring it up it would almost look as if I was trying to needle him. We're good friends. It's water under the bridge. We have plenty to joke about other than last year's match.
ROBERT ALLENBY: I could have holed a few more putts. If I could have holed a few more putts, I would have won 6 to 5. Match play is a funny game.
Q. What was the big one that you won?
ROBERT ALLENBY: The big one was 16. I tried to hit it in the middle of the fairway, after winning the previous holes, and then that took me back to 2-up. I hit it in the right rough, a crappy lie. He hits it short in the middle of the fairway, leaving him a tough shot. And then I hit it under the back left edge and he ended up making five, and I made four, and it was a huge turnaround.
We both played pretty good. But I played well enough to win by a lot more. I played solid. I was never in trouble or anything like that. Match play is so different than stroke play, you can't compare the two.
Q. Do you enjoy it?
ROBERT ALLENBY: I enjoy it because you only get to play it maybe once a year.
Q. Talk about your round today and how you played.
JEFF SLUMAN: Well, I played all right. Nothing spectacular, but the golf course played very difficult today. And you need to keep the ball in play and not make any bogeys. And I was fortunate that Michael missed a few putts, which he would probably make on a regular basis.
Q. Exactly where was the turning point?
JEFF SLUMAN: He was 1-up, he birdied 15, and I kind of hit in no-man's land on my second shot on 17 --
Q. Wait a second --
JEFF SLUMAN: Oh, 17 -- No. 8.
Q. He's 1-up after 8?
JEFF SLUMAN: And then I made about a 30-footer for birdie and he missed about a 15-footer. Then he drove it bad on 18. On 9, I knocked it on, so I win the hole with par. And he missed a short putt, maybe three feet on 10 for par, and all of a sudden I'm 2-up.
And I really hadn't made birdies, but I'm hitting the ball on the fairway and hitting it on the green. So he just struggled with the putter and drove it in the water on 4 -- or 13. And then all of a sudden I just stuck it in there on 14, and, I don't know, about three feet.
Q. You won your first match. Does it feel good to get that first one off your back and get in the groove?
JEFF SLUMAN: Yeah, you get an understanding of how the golf course is playing. And it's certainly going to be better than sitting in a coach-class seat flying to Chicago. So you're in pretty good condition to go out and play tomorrow, because you know how the golf course is playing.
Every match gets tougher and tougher, and I've got Robert Allenby, who is one heck of a player, and I'm going to have to play my A game to have a chance to beat him.
Q. Could you make a couple of comments about your round today.
K.J. CHOI: Fred is a good player. And me, I hit the driver very well. My irons were under very good control. But putting was a little bit luckier today. I need more practice with my putting.
Q. You hit a pretty good putt there on 18?
K.J. CHOI: Yeah, very good putt.
Q. You play Tiger tomorrow?
K.J. CHOI: I will love to play with Tiger tomorrow, and I'm very proud. Good question in tomorrow. Tomorrow it's very important to hit it in the fairway. I hit my driver and irons very well today, more practice for tomorrow will make a very exciting time.
NICLAS FASTH: We both played half scruffy, not really bad, but it certainly wasn't -- I mean great play for many of us overall. Obviously a few shots here and there. The score was not like 5-under or anything like that. None of us could really get anything going. I was just a little more steady today. He didn't putt very well, not that I holed a lot, but he missed a few short ones. I was given one or two surprising holes. But obviously I gave him some, as well. It was close and exciting, but not this brilliant play you hope for
Q. How about the course?
NICLAS FASTH: It's longer. The rough is much more severe and the cut is close to the edge. You will miss a few greens. You'll have a few chip shots out of the rough.
Q. Anything particularly brutal, like Charles had?
NICLAS FASTH: He had a severely bad lie, because usually he could get to the green with a wedge.
Q. Was that as good a shot as he could make from there?
NICLAS FASTH: I have no idea how it was.
Q. Looked like he had to muscle it out.
NICLAS FASTH: He had a really bad lie. I was surprised when I saw him swing that hard.
Q. Do you know what your schedule is for tomorrow, then?
NICLAS FASTH: No.
Q. Anything you know about Nick?
NICLAS FASTH: He's obviously one of the great players, and it's probably going to be tough.
JAY HAAS: The rough is chip-out-type rough, and with it being so rough and windy, I wasn't going to reach these greens if I was in the rough. I've been working on my driver, and I kind of hit on something, and I started driving the ball better, and that was the key for me.
JAY HAAS: At the Bob Hope I drove the ball beautifully. And last week I wasn't so great with the driver. Hopefully this little trend will continue.
Q. How were you feeling coming into match play? It had been a while.
JAY HAAS: Yeah, the Ryder Cup, and it's a totally different animal. You just don't get enough of it. It's like you're leading the tournament, I was 3-up with five to play. I felt like I was three strokes ahead with five to play. And actually I was trying to eliminate No. 9, because I figured he would birdie No. 9. And I was hopefully not going to give him 9. But, yeah, you just have to -- I don't know, we were joking earlier, I was. You really can't have a game plan.
Q. Did you enjoy it?
JAY HAAS: Obviously, yeah. I guess I didn't have great expectations coming in here, just because I was going to be pretty much the underdog in every match.
Q. Were you looking at this, before --
JAY HAAS: I guess I thought it was going to take the whole year to play my way into some of these all-star matches. I was surprised I jumped as much as I did. It's fun to be included in this, and being in a select field. Hopefully this won't be my last one.
Q. Can you win an event like this?
JAY HAAS: I think anyone can. You look at what's happened in the past, with the different seeds that have done really well. I think of some of the football playoffs, and how the different scenarios happened, and I guess my advice to myself is to win the next hole. The first hole tomorrow, I'm going to try to win that hole. I can't really -- I'm going to try to stick with that and I've been enjoying some of the Sports Center. I love it, it's great. But I couldn't tell you which bracket I'm in. But I know I was playing Retief, and I had my work cut out for me.
Q. Congratulations. How did you play today?
PHIL MICKELSON: We struggled a little bit today. We struggled on the greens towards the end. If it were a stroke-play tournament, we would both be quite a ways back. But it's match play and we start even tomorrow.
Q. He missed that putt on 17, were things getting pretty intense?
PHIL MICKELSON: We had made a number of mistakes throughout the round. And we struggled with the speeds on the greens. I haven't seen the greens this fast, ever. They're just lightning. And with the contours, they're really coming out. We've been rolling them 5, 6 feet by. They're not easy to make this late in the day, being the last group.
It wasn't he made one big mistake. Certainly his 3-putt on 16 and 17 cost him, as my 3-putt on 16 cost me, but again, we start fresh tomorrow, and I'll go and see if I can fix what went wrong on the greens.
Q. What is your fix, putting?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just speed. I felt like I was putting really well. I made a number of short ones early in the round. And my speed got off, I started rolling them quite a ways back. And I had a chance on 11 to get 2-up with a 15-footer for eagle and I ended up 3-putting and losing the hole. And that didn't help coming in.
Q. How was the course playability-wise, as far as the wetness?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was perfect. I can't believe what the maintenance crew did here. The fairways were -- there was not that much standing water at all, if any. And the rivers and the lakes were back to normal size. They did an amazing job.
Q. A little tougher than last year?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly the course is playing tougher than it's ever played, because we have different tee boxes. We had a lot of wind today, cool air. And we also had lightning fast greens, which we really haven't had here, when the Tournament of Champions was held here, and even in the first couple of match-play championships.
Q. What did you have distance-wise?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had 78 to the hole, I had 58 front. And I just got a new 3-wood two days ago. And it's a hot 3-wood, and I knew I could get there and I caught it flush and flew it about 68, 70. So I was very pleased with that.
Q. Being 1-up, did that play into your decision at
PHIL MICKELSON: You've seen me play. Come on.
Q. I was going to ask you that. Is it more difficult to decide when you're going to be aggressive or play more conservative in this format?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly there are times, and there were times I played it to the middle of the greens, just trying to make pars. The last hole there was plenty of room left, plenty of room right, to get up-and-down if I missed that 3-wood.
Q. How satisfying was that last shot there?
PHIL MICKELSON: It felt good, because I really -- I think I only made one birdie today, and to finish with that birdie on 18 was a nice way to finish.
Q. Can you talk about the swing of emotions, winning 16, winning 17, and then losing the hole on 18 to go the extra holes?
ERNIE ELS: That's match play. I made some good swings, myself, and 16 was a big turning point. And that putt for Phil was really quick there, and he hit it past the hole and it opened the door. He played 17, he made a 5 there, and I hit it stiff. I didn't hit a great shot to 18, but I didn't make a major mistake. He just made a putt on 18.
Q. What did you hit there on 18 on your second shot?
ERNIE ELS: I hit 3-wood from 245. I swung a little too hard and came over it a little bit, pulled it left. I was trying to get it on the green.
Q. On your third shot, short was better than long?
ERNIE ELS: I didn't have much of a lie. I was trying to get it up on the green, obviously. The bunker shot wasn't too bad. I'm a pretty good bunker player (laughter.)
Q. Are you playing in Dubai?
ERNIE ELS: I'm going to speak to the guys tonight and see what happens, watch CNN, see what goes on. I would love to go. It's one of my favorite tournaments.
Q. What were you thinking there on 18, going for it with the lead?
ERNIE ELS: Well, I had 245 to the front. If you don't go for it, I don't know (laughter.) 245, I can get there. I have to hit it pretty good into the breeze, but I can get there.
Q. You've won four times already in this calendar year, and all of a sudden it's over this week.
ERNIE ELS: Next week is another week. I haven't had much luck on this golf course. The golf course is great. It suits my game this year for the first time, but I just don't have any luck here. Sometimes you need a bit of luck, and I haven't had any today. Last three years I haven't had any luck.
Q. If not Dubai, Doral?
ERNIE ELS: Yes. Yesterday was 50/50, I was leaning towards not going. Now I see they may start bombing the place on the 14th, so now I'm scared that if I get there and it kicks off, how do I get out of there? That's my concern. I'd love to go.
Q. When are you going to decide?
ERNIE ELS: I've got tomorrow -- I have until Friday, basically either commit to Doral on Friday or play Dubai.
Q. Have you consulted with anybody, like in the government about it?
ERNIE ELS: They've talked to some people, especially people over there. And over there they seem to say, come on over, it's great, have a great time (laughter.) But, you know -- I have some time to decide now (laughter.) I have two days to decide. It's my decision to go or not.
Q. Are you paying attention to what other players are doing?
ERNIE ELS: No, it's more important to feel like I'm going to be safe, myself.
Q. Are most of the people working off the same type of information?
ERNIE ELS: Yes, I think so. We're talking to different governments.
Q. Phil doesn't play very fast. Does that affect your rhythm?
ERNIE ELS: No, it was fine. The front nine was slow, anyway. It doesn't affect me at all. I struck the ball well today. I putted well. I felt good. I just didn't get the ball close enough to the holes today. I thought I was playing pretty decent golf. Him making that putt on 18 shocks you a little bit. I knew he was going to make it. I shouldn't have even looked. And he hit a beautiful 6-iron in here (on the par-3).
Q. What are you going to do now?
ERNIE ELS: I have some -- I'm going to go down to South Florida, take some good time off, get away from poa annua, see what happens. I'd love to go to Dubai, but if it's unsafe, I'm not going to go. We'll make our mind up in the next couple of days.
Q. What did you say to the guy that was walking behind you on that last bunker shot?
ERNIE ELS: I didn't really have much chance to make it anyway, but you don't want a guy walking in your back swing on that shot.
End of FastScripts....