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September 1, 2005

Brad Faxon


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Brad Faxon, champion of the 2005 Buick Championship last week, your eighth career victory, talk about a New Englander winning in Connecticut and coming to a tournament in Boston, it must have been quite a week for you.

BRAD FAXON: It has, and all I can say is thank God this tournament starts tomorrow because I haven't stopped. Finally slept more than three hours last night. But I enjoyed that and I expect that this week. My wife and I are pretty involved here with the tournament, with the Deutsche Bank, the Tour wives have a big charity night tonight, fundraiser, auction. Seth Law and his family, we're friendly. And just being back in New England in really what I would consider this is my home tournament; and last week is the fifth major, this is the major, right.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk a little about you got to play golf with Theo Epstein on Monday.

BRAD FAXON: Was that golf? Well, from Sunday night, you obviously do all of the press stuff, go in, a couple of parties, meet Buick people, meet the volunteers, and then drove home, mailbox was full, of retrieving phone calls, calling people back and party at home.

Monday morning, an early morning with Theo and the Sox. We started that last year a bunch of money raised for the Red Sox Foundation, $200,000, and I played with Theo. He's been a guy around here that's as popular as anybody, especially after last year, and he had one hand on the Blackberry and one hand on the club and didn't know which one to touch first. Yesterday was the big waiver deadline, so it was exciting.

Then somehow got invited to throw out the first pitch, which I threw the highest lowball and got it over the plate. And unfortunately it got rained out, but it's been a great week. Obviously the rain kind of dampened things up a little bit on Tuesday, but cleared out of here nicely and looks like a perfect weekend.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's revisit Sunday. A 61 had to be one of the most remarkable round in your career, have you had time to think about it now, no bogeys, nine birdies that day?

BRAD FAXON: Ten birdies, the playoff. Actually Tiger Woods walked by me in the locker room yesterday, and when he comes over to say that was low shooting, that's a compliment. I think anybody appreciates when any other player goes low like that, I'm sure Tjaart doesn't appreciate it as much as some of us. But you have to respect good scores like that. You don't know why it happens a lot of times and you just go with it. 126 on a weekend is always going to move you up a little bit.

Q. Two weeks you've been in New England, is it a little bit more relaxing than a typical week on TOUR not having to catch a flight anywhere; were you anticipating a reception like this?

BRAD FAXON: We know that. We're charging all around the place. We live about 40 minutes away, so it's not bad, I'm not complaining at all, but relaxing not be a word I would put in the Top 10 for this week.

Q. I know you want to do well at any tournament you're in, but especially this week at the Deutsche Bank, considering the advise you gave in terms of the course changes a couple of years ago, how important is it for to you do really well in terms of leaderboard and leaders for this weekend?

BRAD FAXON: Well, it's extra meaningful because it's home week. I think it would be that way, whatever course we played in New England, makes it more so because I've been involved here since the course opened, really. I know the players are much happier than where the course was a couple of years ago.

The course is in phenomenal shape, I think these greens are as good or better than any greens we putt on all year long. And we needed a little bit of rain. I don't think we needed five inches of rain, but I think the course is going to play fantastic. The weather is going to be great.

I know last year was neat because everybody knows that when you're a Rhode Islander or a Massachusetts guy, they kind of pull for you a little extra hard, and I'm sure after last week it's going to be even a little bit more vocal.

So it's nice to get that once in awhile. You get a little taste for what maybe some of the big guys feel like every time they play. It adds a little bit of pressure but it also makes you feel good.

Q. I was wondering if after winning last week, will you have less pressure to play well this week or more?

BRAD FAXON: That's a good question. My track record after winning a tournament is abysmal. I don't know why. I don't know what the track record is but it's not good.

So I didn't start the week last week thinking about putting pressure on myself because I was close to home, and I don't want to do that this week. But I want to be prepared. I've got to find some downtime tonight after the Pro Am to turn the phone off and relax a little bit. I'll be ready. I'll be nervous tomorrow. I know I'll be nervous. I haven't stopped smiling. I'm excited to be here. I think the win makes it great, but even though even if I didn't win, I think I would be just as juiced as I am right now.

Q. Have you looked at tapes of what your swing was like before the knee injury and what it's like now, or what do you think the difference is?

BRAD FAXON: I haven't looked at tapes and I haven't seen anything really since Hartford, I saw one or two highlights. You know, it's probably very subtle changes. I don't think since I hurt my knee, I don't think my knee has been a factor in my swing that I know of. Maybe it's slowed down rotational speed a little bit, but when I'm out on the course, I don't think about it at all. It's not an issue. Sometimes when I'm just hanging around and you're not thinking about much, it's an issue. But kind of proves that I can at least play with it hurt. I don't think I want to do that the rest of my life.

Q. Just talk about your injury and how it has come in play, because the last three months for you have been pretty strong, and talk about your game and how you see it going.

BRAD FAXON: Well, that's a good question. I had a very inconsistent year probably right before June. I think the Memorial Tournament is where I at least started to get my act together a little bit. Tried to simplify things a little swing wise, not think about 100 things and narrowed it down for 50; that's been good for me.

Honestly I think I'm hitting the ball better. I told everybody last week that I went down to Bob Rotella's last week and sat on his couch for a while; that helped. There are certain tournaments I seem to play well at a lot or often, like Westchester, like the British Open, like tournaments in this area. I think I just get my head ready to just play golf and not worry about how to hit the ball or how to swing the club. I just kind of get in the hole. And whether I like it or not, that's always going to be the strength of my game. I'm never going to hit it far like Tiger. I'm never going to hit it straight like Fred. So I think if I can be happy with my own game, I'll be a lot better player.

Q. Is there a different mindset when Tiger is in the field in terms of how you look at the leaderboard, in terms of how strategy evolves over the whole weekend?

BRAD FAXON: You know, I'd be lying if I said that players don't think about where he is or what he's doing. I certainly feel like the veteran players don't change anything or do anything different because he's here or there. I mean, I certainly think you can tell when he's out there, the crowd buzz and everything, expectations. It's really too bad that Vijay and John had to pull out, because those are two guys that have obviously played very well and could have played very well here.

But, you know, would I have reacted differently if Tiger was in the field last week, if that's what you're asking me; I hope not. If I'm on the first tee tomorrow thinking about what he's doing, I'm in big trouble. That's not to say that some guys don't and it doesn't affect them.

Q. Speaking of Tiger, you've just had a busy week, can you imagine what life it like for him week in and week out? I mean, would you want that?

BRAD FAXON: Well, I'm sure me winning the Buick Championship doesn't even give me any idea what it's like for him all the time. And, I don't know, I'd like to try it. I could get used to it. But I can imagine the demands on him and his time are difficult. I mean, he's a different generation than me. He's 15 years younger than I am, and he can get away if he has to. Isleworth is a great place for him, a nice gated community and he's got his boat and stuff like that. I'm sure he's doing just fine. But I can imagine he can't make a lot of people happy sometimes, because you've got to say no, and the more popular you are, the more people you're going to tick off.

Q. How difficult, when Davis came this week, are you a big salesman for the tournament or is it more the tournament goes out, how much pushing

BRAD FAXON: I was pushing him, I have to say that. I don't know that I had any influence on Davis's choice to play here. He played well at the PGA like we know. He's a member of the Presidents Cup team, which is in a few weeks. So if he's picking and choosing tournaments or courses to play, you know, school is back in, his kids are back in school, I'm sure he's trying to figure out, I want to stay closer to home than further away and playing a course that I like. I really think the better players want to play in tournaments that have better fields, and when you know that Tiger and Vijay are committed and the list of top players we have here, I think that would be a big decision for him, as well.

Q. When will you make your decision on whether to have surgery?

BRAD FAXON: That's a good question. We've had that discussion last three days in a row. My plan was before Hartford to have surgery two weeks from now, and now I don't know what to do. I'm thinking about it a lot. There's a bunch of options. I could stick with the same plan. I could do it later in the year; I could do it a year from now. There's ifs about every one.

Next year is a Ryder Cup year. The later I wait this year to have it, the more it pushes me into next year. You know, moving up to 28th on the Money List gets me in a prime position to be exempt for all of the majors next year. Obviously to get into tournaments like the World Golf Championships in San Francisco, THE TOUR Championship, the Kapalua tournament. I haven't played in Kapalua in a few years, so a member of my family wants to go there pretty bad.

Q. I just wanted to follow up on that a little bit, because is it pain, is it weakness?

BRAD FAXON: It's more pain than anything. Sitting here, I know that something is not right with my knee. But like I said, on the course it's out of my mind. It hurts kind of lining up putts. I favor the left side a lot. I know my left side doesn't like that. It's not a weakness. I think I've tried to keep rehabbing or prehabbing to keep it strong.

Q. With everything you have going on around you and family and friends and as almost sort of the ambassador for this tournament and whatnot, do you feel like when you tee it up tomorrow, when you get out there and start playing golf, you are able to let go of all that, or does it take a little bit of is there a process of letting go of that?

BRAD FAXON: Yeah, that should begin, you know, ideally yesterday. That's why I'm happy tomorrow is the first round.

So, you're right, I don't want to be out on the first tee just I don't want my head flying around the place. I've got to make sure I'm ready to play, because, you know, in today's day and age on the PGA TOUR, you don't want to be giving rounds away. It's hard to come back now. Everybody is shooting good rounds early. I hate to say it's hard to come back from seven shots back, but it doesn't happen too often.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Brad, and good luck every week.

End of FastScripts.

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