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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP


July 19, 2013


Mark Rypien


STATELINE, NEVADA

THE MODERATOR:  Great first round.  What a front nine.  You started on the back nine, but you scored a lot of points on the front, three birdies and an eagle and played pretty solid on the back.  Take us through your round.
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Eight of nine greens, the front side.¬† Birdied 1.¬† ‑‑ birdied 10.¬† Had four foot for birdie for 11, missed it.¬† And the only green I missed the front side was 12 and bogeyed there and made a nice putt at 14 for about 25feet.
I had a good chance at 15, hit about 235, 240‑yard hybrid at 16 to about eight feet made it for eagle.¬† Had another good 15‑footer at 17 for‑‑ just missed, and then had‑‑ for me 18's always a tough hole because I play my little left‑to‑right cutter.¬† This golf course left‑to‑right plays pretty good most of the time, but a couple of the holes you need to hit a little bit of draw.¬† Actually got left side of the fairway only 64 to the hole, hit a 9‑iron and it caught the top of the trees.¬† It would have been on the back part of the green and came in front and I putted from there and hit it close and made birdie.
Shot a 32 to the front.  19 points, which was pretty good.  I don't think I've ever come anything over 15 in nine holes here, and then made eight pars the backside.  Missed a couple of greens.  Couldn't get up and down on 8.
Probably the worst swing‑‑ pretty easy day to play golf.¬† There wasn't a lot of wind.¬† Hit 15 of 18 greens.¬† Had a chip at‑‑ the worse place you could miss it at No. 8 with a back pin is long.¬† Missed it long almost on 9 tee box.¬† Hit a good chip to get it to the green.¬† I knew it wasn't going to be anywhere close.¬† Almost made it for par.
That was my only blemish on my backside which was the front side.

Q.¬† As we look back through history, obviously go back to 1990 the inaugural year of the American Century Championship, you won it back then.¬† Eight top ten finishes in years since.¬† In a 10‑to‑1 odds at Harveys to start this thing off, pretty good after day one?
MARK RYPIEN:  A lot of those top 10s have been in the last five years.
I wouldn't say I'm like a great bottle of wine where I get better with age, but I think I learned a little bit more about my golf game.
I got a chance to play a little bit more.  My foundation allows that to raise money.  We do a lot of golf events.  And I reciprocate a lot so I get to play a lot of golf during the year.
So that's nice.  I do play golf for four months.  When November hits I shut the clubs down.  November, December, January, February, and I don't pick a club up until March.
I get a little bit of disadvantage.¬† Some of these guys that play year‑round but I figure there's a little bit of life other than just golf.
And we're a celebrity tour not a golf tour and here to have fun and hit some good golf shots, some bad ones and more importantly get our families out here and to really just take advantage of the beauty of being in South Lake Tahoe and the golf course and the functions and meet new people.
So very blessed and very thankful that each year I can come back.¬† And I thought my ten‑year exemption had run out and after I won in'90, but I really enjoy coming out here.¬† The Wednesdays‑‑ Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are just as important to me as playing well on the weekend, because we need our sponsors and we need people to have a good time.¬† We need to entertain them and I think we do most of the guys out here do a real good job at that and really appreciate their chance to come out here and pair take in this.
It's always good to be in the hunt.  And this year will be no exception.  Look forward to the challenge.  It was nice to see Lucas play well.  It's a new face.  We all know he's got a great golf swing.
He's probably got a much better golf swing than most of the guys out here.  I think he's just finally, his nerves were settling in and his visits he keeps coming back, getting better and better.  So nice to see him play well.  Nice to play with him tomorrow and Chris had it going for a while there, too, and made double I think on 8.  So it was good.

Q.  Is it that simple that in your 30s you didn't compete here at all.  Now in your 40s, a second place last year, a bunch of top 10s, is it just playing more or is there more to it?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Hit more in my 30s and, come out here and golf was the last thing, two, three, four in the morning with your buddies and‑‑ or with the family on the beach and golf was like the sidebar.¬† Now you get a little more competitive, you get a little bit older.¬† You see some of the younger guys out there.
I think it's just a competitive thing.  And in order to do so, you gotta know when to throttle it down, know when to say no at the casinos, even if it's four in the morning, you're up four, 5,000 bucks or down four or $5,000.
Just to kind of refocus on being competitive here.  I've kind of set my jaw at that, and so far so good.

Q.¬† Obviously with a 19‑point front nine, you've got a two‑point lead right now.¬† Do you kind of feel like you left something out there as well?
MARK RYPIEN:  Yeah, you do, because I had a real good chance at, on my back nine, real good chance at like 15feet, at 10, which was No. 1.
I had about 20feet at 2.  I hit a poor second shot at 3.  My par 5, tried to cut it around, went straight, went into the really tall grass there.
Made a real good chip for four feet grass and got it onto the green about 15, 20feet.  Didn't have a great opportunity.  The par 5s you look to take advantage of them.
And then hit it in the bunker on my drive, which I never do.¬† It's left and I play it left‑to‑right and I aim at that bunker.¬† For some reason hit one straight there.¬† Had a 15‑footer for birdie there.¬† And six feet for birdie at 5 on the par 3 hit a real good shot and hit the edge of the hole.¬† Had about a 15‑footer at 6.
Missed the green at 7, chipped to about eight feet, made the putt, and then hit the worst shot I had all day, hit a real good drive at 8, and it caught the branches of a tree.¬† Hit a nice left‑to‑right.¬† You aim at that tree and hit it and hope it slides.¬† It caught the tree and knocked it down.¬† I was a little longer than I normally would have been if I got by the tree, I think 150 to the hole.
I hit a wedge‑‑ a wedge at that hole, with the back hole there, you don't want to be long, and I know wedge I'm not going to fly it over the green but my mind said:¬† You know what, hit this a little harder.¬† I slid on it and kind of hit a, skulled it a little bit and knocked it over the green and made bogey.
Other than that hit a good drive at 8‑‑ or 9.¬† Hit 7‑iron about 15feet below the hole.¬† So it's not easy to make a lot of putts out here.
Early on, if you can get the putter rolling, which the greens are so good this year, they're better than they've ever been, but it's always hard to make putts in the afternoon because that poana grows just a little bit and the ball goes a little bit.¬† To get it on line is difficult.¬† I was able to manage to get putts earl on, shot four on the front side and get a pretty good score up there early.¬† And I kind of, wouldn't say limped home, but didn't really, it was kind of‑‑ not very exciting back nine.¬† But good.
If I had 8 and 8, 16 to open up, I'd be happy.  I had seven last year came back with 25 the next day.  So it was good.

Q.  People see eight pars for nine holes to finish up.  Did you get conservative, I mean in the back of your mind?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† No, I never‑‑ I was in the bunker from 235, 240 and I took hybrid out on 4.¬† I was in the right rough and had to hit a little slider out there and just kind of came over the top on it on 3.¬† I hit about 40‑yard slice, but that's my ball flight.
So none of them were layups where I'm playing conservative.  I'm still shooting for knock them on 2.  Probably wasn't the brightest thing to do at 4.  But hit a hybrid and kind of hit it a little fat and hit it short and hit a pretty good chip to about 10 feet.
I stayed aggressive and I went driver.  I didn't go irons, and I think that's going to be my philosophy all week.  I'll take driver out every hole, even No. 15, I'll hit driver there and I shoved it a little light.  Got in the trees but I had an opening.  So I'll still do that again tomorrow.

Q.  With a 27, do you see a number in mind that you might need to get to win this thing?
MARK RYPIEN:  I think like 's probably going to be the number this year.  If the wind lays low, I think it will be like or above that's going to win.  Last year it was kind of an anomaly, 66.  I think it was probably the lowest winning score in a while.  I'm not sure, is that right?

Q.  Yes.
MARK RYPIEN:¬† I think like is, you gotta get in the 70s to win this thing.¬† So if I get another good day tomorrow, 20, 20 or above and finish off with something in the 20s, mid‑20s the last day and post a number, I think that's got a chance.¬† But, again, it's so fun to be competitive again and get the competitive juices flowing and it will be nice to tee off at the end and just go out and play solid again.

Q.  We had one of our young players Steph Curry at 22.  What do you think about what it takes to go from a full basketball season like he's coming from, a month ago, into a tournament like this?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† You know, unlike baseball players, basketball players probably aren't allowed to use their sticks on the road.¬† Pitchers, Maddox, Smoltz, and if they aren't in the rotation, they've got their golf clubs, they're playing year‑round.¬† So their transition, when they finally end up retiring and coming into this, they play pretty much year‑round.
I don't think Steph Curry really touched a club much if at all maybe for some charitable events during the season they had when they had an off day.  So I can recall when we won the Super Bowl I got a sponsor's exemption to play in the Kemper Open.  I went on a little bit of a speaking tour and did everything and anything but golf.
And then figure I'm athletic enough, I'm going to tee it up with the pros and go out there and make the cut.
I shot 79‑90.¬† But I'd only played like four or five times prior to coming into the Kemper Open. ¬†That wasn't very smart.¬† Anyway, I think all those things kind of play into it.¬† I think Steph Curry, the more he gets out here and plays, the more comfortable he gets.
How did he do today?

Q.  22.
MARK RYPIEN:  22 minus?

Q.  22 points.  Tied for fourth?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Steph Curry got 22 points?¬† Holy smokes.¬† Where has my head been?¬† Wow, that's even more impressive.¬† That's fantastic!¬† That's great for him.¬† To come off the basketball‑‑ maybe he does take his clubs, now that I'm thinking about it.¬† If not he's a great athlete.¬† Because that's pretty impressive that he can get 22 points just coming off an NBA season like a month ago.
Awesome, that's great.  Steph Curry, that would be good.  I would love to play with him in the final group on Sunday.  That would be fun.

Q.  What would it mean to win this again for you 24 years apart, 23 years apart?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† For us senior citizens, once you hit that 50, there's goals you put in your life.¬† In our golfing arena, what I look at, it would be‑‑ again this is no comparison to the PGA TOUR, but it would be like Nicklaus winning at 46 the Masters or Tom Watson almost winning a couple of two or three years ago we're all glued to the television at the British Open.¬† Freddie Couples almost winning Masters things like that.¬† It's a goal of mine, pretty good accomplishment with the young players and good players coming up and competing.
So that will be‑‑ as I say for me, in comparison to our tour, that's what it would feel like.

Q.  After winning the inaugural event, how do you see the field, your competition here, has changed over the years?
MARK RYPIEN:  Well, we had Smokey Robinson.  We had Frankie Avalon and we had Tommy Dreesen.  And I felt good against those fellows.  Nothing against them.  I love them, listen to all their music and their humor, what they brought to the world of entertainment.
But the field, when Jim Karvellas started this many moons ago, it was probably 15, 20 guys that had an opportunity to compete and go out there and have a chance to win this.  And the others were just out here for a lot of fun.  Guys were marking the ball, picking it up and marking it.  It's come a long ways.  There's a lot of legitimacy to this event each and every year, both from the players and entertainment standpoint.
So I think that's why there's a great mix.  And Jon Miller and his staff deserve a lot of credit for finding that mix of golfers and entertainer and all of us together, you must understand we're not a golfing tour we're an entertainment tour we like to go out and play golf.

Q.  How much did you win the first year?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† 75.¬† Still got my big old check that I put in myback‑‑ I drove down with my brother and a friend in a van, we had that thing out the side of the van.¬† How do I cash this thing?¬† Going to Washington Trust Bank and cash this.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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