April 23, 1998
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
BRAD FAXON: When we started, it was cold and wet. It was nice to get a break this morning, getting an hour delay. It was nasty early. It would have been hard to play. I played in the Pro Am yesterday in the afternoon, played 18 holes. It was as bad as it was Sunday a year ago. But it did clear up. It wasn't windy. We could put the ball in our hands if you hit it in the fairway. So, with the scores out there, you can make some birdies. I made a lot of birdies today; made seven. Putted well; got up and down a lot when I needed to. So it was a good round. Scrambled in a couple of places. Hit some great shots in spots and made a lot of putts. A good start.
Q. Having been in this situation last year with conditions fairly similar -- except that it was not falling on you -- did that help?
BRAD FAXON: It did. Playing yesterday, getting used to the fact that the ball wasn't going as far -- especially early -- and, you know, the greens aren't too quick where you can lose control. So, I was happy. I played well.
Q. How about this course and you? You evidently --
BRAD FAXON: It is a course that makes you hear different shots. You have got to shape some shots around there. I think it is a visual golf course and when you have had success somewhere, it helps down the line. And, last year definitely helps.
Q. Feel like you are due here?
BRAD FAXON: Do I feel like I am due?
BRAD FAXON: Yeah, I am sure there are 150 guys that don't think I am due. But, I don't know. I don't know what makes, you know -- If you think you are due, I don't know if that helps or hurts you. But, certainly, I played well last year, got some incentive to play well again.
Q. If you all had not been able to pick the ball up today, what kind of difference?
BRAD FAXON: If you couldn't have picked it up today?
Q. Yes, if you couldn't have --
BRAD FAXON: Gosh, you know, there are some spots in the fairways that were just so wet that we would have been taking a lot of drops. Scoring wouldn't be as good. You know, there are some spots in the fairways that are a little bit patchy. So it would have definitely made a difference. It makes a big difference, you know, when you can put a ball in a nice lie and hit 8- or 7-iron into the green and, you know, the greens stop. Big difference.
Q. Will they be able to play it down tomorrow, you think?
BRAD FAXON: I don't think so. I would be very surprised if they played down tomorrow. And, you know, it has to get sunny fast. It has to get windy. You have got to get the mowers down there. And there are certain fairways that aren't good enough. I don't know how well this course drains. It doesn't look like it drains that great. I am not sure. There is a lot of new drainage out there, too.
Q. You should know. You have seen it at its worst.
BRAD FAXON: It was pretty wet the last few days.
Q. On 6, you required a ruling; is that right?
BRAD FAXON: Well, yeah, I was in a one of those new drainage ditches. My relief from the first drain ditch, but me in another ditch, and we weren't sure whether they were considered one or two; it was unusual. Slugger, he had to think about it a couple of times and the guy is so good with decisions, that I knew that one had to be extra special there. Doesn't take him very long to figure out what to do very often.
Q. How many times did you get out of the fairway today and did it cost you any time?
BRAD FAXON: I drove it a little funny on the first 9 that we played and it cost me a shot. I don't know. I got up-and-down a couple of times, so it was hard to say. But definitely on a couple of holes, right in the rough, I couldn't advance it far. I made pars instead of having a chance for birdie. You don't want to hit it in this rough, I can guarantee you that.
Q. 16 green and 17 the grass is different --
BRAD FAXON: 16 is what?
Q. 16 green and 17 green has a different roughs compared to other holes. If so, how different do you feel?
BRAD FAXON: Different? What, different grass?
BRAD FAXON: See, I am so bad, I don't even know that. It didn't affect me at all. I don't know.
LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you go over the birdies.
BRAD FAXON: Starting with 12, 6-iron 30, 35 feet. One of those putts had a lot of break. It went in the -- it was something you don't expect to make. It was a nice start. I almost holed a 6-iron for a third shot on 13. I got lucky with my tee shot. I hit it in the left rough and just barely got it over the lake and whipped out a 7-iron. And key to the round today was 14. I hit a wedge from about -- I hit it in the right bunker; didn't hit a very far out. Hit about 125 yards for my third shot. Hit a wedge about 5 feed made that for par. Hit a wedge third shot to 15 about 15 feet, made that. Parred around for a while. No. 2, I made a birdie. Hit a great lob shot over the bunker to about a foot. 3 I hit 4-iron second shot to 20 feet. I bogeyed 5. I 3-putted from 8, ten feet just off the front of the green: Bogeyed 4, some other, with a 7-iron. 5 I hit 6-iron to five feet. 6 -- 7 hit a 9-iron to two feet. Bogeyed 8 I hit it over the green with a 3-iron, missed about a 7-foot foot. And parred 9.
Q. And almost birdied 9?
BRAD FAXON: Yeah, I kind of hit a little patch of grass that bumped the ball a little off-line, but I hit a good putt there and I had a good spot to putt from. That was my only 5 on the card there.
Q. The par 5s are the ones usually reachable. Are they 3-shot holes today?
BRAD FAXON: You can reach 2 today; which is usually the only one I can reach. I can't really reach 9 unless it is downwind. And 13, I never know how to play that hole. You can if you keep it up top, you have a long second shot, but it is too wet for me to get it on that green in 2, I think. And then 15, forget it.
Q. How much better can this round have been for you today?
BRAD FAXON: Well, I could have birdied -- I bogeyed 8 and I could have birdied 9 so like to say I could have been a shot or 2 better, but made some beautiful shots for par around some nice wedges, so the "could-have, should-have would-have game," so it was pretty good. 67 was a pretty good score for the way I hit it.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
BRAD FAXON: Thank you.
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