May 7, 2003
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'd like to welcome Steve Flesch, winner of last week's HP Classic of New Orleans. Why don't we start off with a few comments on how it feels to have your first win on the PGA TOUR.
STEVE FLESCH: It was pretty much everything I thought it would be. I got tremendous reception from everybody, not that I didn't expect it, because everybody I know, all the guys out here are such good guys. But, you know, everybody said it was long overdue, well done, and it just makes me feel good.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk a little about the final round, you shot a 7-under 65, coming from seven strokes behind.
STEVE FLESCH: That's pretty much the only chance I had because without the wind, scoring was going to be low and I would have probably had to shoot 10-under to have a chance. But I played well all week and got off to such a quick round on Sunday.
Q. What are your impressions of this golf course?
STEVE FLESCH: Ive only played seven holes. I didn't play Monday at all. I wanted to let Sunday soak in a little bit. But yesterday I went out and played about noon and we got that rain, and the practice round was going slow, so I only got to hit my tee ball and it shot over the pin and we got that downpour obviously. I'm hoping that I get to play in the Pro-Am today. I start on the back nine, so I know I'll get to play at least that nine.
Yeah, this is the type of course that I think everybody on TOUR looks forward to playing. I wish we played more courses like this, old style, appears to be U.S. Open-esque, if you will. They grew the rough longer and like USGA does, firmed up the greens.
But it's going to be a great week. I can guarantee the cut won't be 5-under. It just, like I said, I think it plays to a tee and I would love to come to a place like this every week.
Q. Can you talk about last week on Sunday, is that kind of comeback is good for golf where a guy can come from seven back? It doesn't happen that often. Can you talk about how good that is for the TOUR itself?
STEVE FLESCH: Yeah, I think, like I say, without wind, it would have just been another shootout on Sunday and anybody who wasn't within two or three wouldn't have had a chance. Some of the par 5s, not that they were not challenging, but they were all reachable. You know, the course is just playing so short because it was so firm and obviously there were a gazillion birdies like you saw.
The fact that if you -- I actually hear that more and more from some of the public and some friends at home that they like this. Yeah, they like to see us play well, but they don't like seeing everybody play well. They don't like seeing that you have to go out and shoot 5- and 6-under par to hold your position in the golf tournament. Not that they want us to go play like an Open where everybody is hacking out of the rough and making bogeys and doubles, but they like to see where a birdie can actually mean something late in the tournament.
Coming from seven back, I never really thought Sunday morning that I was going to be able to do that. I thought, yeah, I had a chance at it. But I think from the television and the public's viewing perspective, it does make it more exciting than if it's just two guys playing the entire 18 holes and nobody else is in contention.
Q. -- inaudible -- kids with left-handed swings ?
STEVE FLESCH: Every once in awhile I'll see somebody off in the distance after I hit a shot kind of emulating, I guess they are left-handed, and they saw something I did that they are trying to do, but I don't see an emulated swing so much. I see them trying to come up with a unique left-handed comment.
Q. What's the best one you've heard?
STEVE FLESCH: I don't know. They are all horrible. The wrong side of the ball and all that stuff; hang in there for the lefties. I appreciate them, but, I mean, we hear those every day. It wears you out.
Q. Does swinging right-handed seem as totally off the wall to you as left-handed does to us? Do you swing both ways?
STEVE FLESCH: I'm not going to say I swing both ways. (Laughter.) I can actually probably break -- I mean, I'll be generous. I can probably break 90, 95, right-handed. I get a little suspect chipping because I get a little steep and I chunk it. Bunkers are not good for me there.
But I can hit it probably 260 right-handed with a driver. Hey, I've seen some of my cohorts try to hit my left-handed clubs and it isn't pretty. They would look better with a garden hose in their hand or something. It's been ugly.
I can see where it would be very awkward.
Q. Will you play the Byron Nelson next week, and what are your thoughts on Annika Sorenstam playing in the Colonial?
STEVE FLESCH: Well, I don't think I'll play next week at the Byron Nelson, but I'm going to go down more the media fiasco at Colonial. There again, it's another traditional golf course that I just love to play. I wouldn't miss that one.
My thoughts are, I hope she plays well, because if she doesn't, I think it's going to reflect poorly on the LPGA. Not only will they say Annika shouldn't have played, but they are going to say -- it's going to further the gap between men and women on the golf course. I just hope she doesn't go down there and play poorly and people say she never should have played or whatever because I think it will reflect poorly.
But I think she has a legitimate chance to make the cut. I hear everybody saying, "Oh, the golf course is 7,100." I mean, it doesn't play that because the fairways, the ball runs a long way. She's averaging 280 off the tee this year. I saw that I think a couple nights ago on the Golf Channel. That's plenty long to play at Colonial. Corey Pavin has won there a few times, Billy Ray Brown has won there; they hit it further than Annika. But there are a lot of 2-irons and 3-woods off par 4s there.
The biggest difficulty I think is getting to the pin placements for her because they are tucked behind bunkers and the greens are firm. So, it will be tough, but you know what, she's the No. 1 player in the world. That's for a reason. As she gets in contention, she has a good chance there. If she gets in contention, she knows how to play under the gun.
So, more power to her. I hope she plays well.
End of FastScripts....