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July 16, 2005

Jose Maria Olazabal


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Jose Maria Olazabal, 68 today for a score of 206, 10 under, leading in the clubhouse.

You must be very happy after that score today in your position after three rounds?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Yes, I'm really happy. Well, what can I say? I'm enjoying the tournament a lot. I've had three great days on the golf course and I'm really enjoying myself this week.

Q. It seemed like you were letting your emotions out a couple of times, celebrating some of your putts, which might be a little unusual for you. Is that just the mood you're in this week?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Yeah, maybe, that might be, more relaxed maybe, yeah. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Okay.

Q. Were you slightly more relaxed today because you weren't playing in the same sort of company as yesterday?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: No, I was very relaxed yesterday, too, playing with Tiger and Robert. I've always said that I have no problems playing with Tiger. It might be harder if you're playing in the States in the sense that crowds there are louder. Once Tiger has played the hole everybody moves and leaves and things like that, but that's not the case over here. That's why I think the crowds at The Open are best.

Q. You may have said this already. I just wondered about your celebration yesterday. Was that a tribute to Rocca or Tiger or anything like that?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: No, it just came like that, not a tribute to anybody.

Q. Have you ever gotten that excited, demonstratively excited on the golf course?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I get that excited when I play practice rounds with my friends, yes.

Q. Can I just follow up with you? You're saying that you're more relaxed this week, and nothing wrong with that. Is it because you got in or

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Maybe because how I got in, obviously. I played the qualifying at Sunnydale and didn't make it over there. At that time I thought the only chance I had for me to get in The Open would be finishing being the best player at the Scottish Open, otherwise not qualify for The Open. So I thought at that time the chances were very slim. And The R&A made a phone call to the office and said I was first reserve and I got in.

Obviously it's a bonus to be here. Just being at St. Andrews, also. I do have a lot of respect for the golf course, for the tradition, for what it means, and just being able to be part of it this year is wonderful.

Q. Can a man even with your experience stay as relaxed in contention the last day?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, obviously I'm not going to be as relaxed as I am right now if I'm leading the event teeing off 17, that's for sure. But I'll try to have as much fun as possible. I'm not saying I'm going to be relaxed, because there is always tension and pressure on the golf course. You try to do well. You try to score well. But at the end of the day if you can manage to enjoy what you're doing, even though the score might not be the one you want, that's a great step forward.

Q. Is there an element in that relaxation going back ten years and your physical condition ten years ago. You might never have been here, if you look at it that way. So you've got a lot to be thankful for anyway, haven't you?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: And I am. I've never said I'm not.

Q. No, but you know what I mean.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I've always said that those years were the toughest years in my life. I was watching golf on TV and thinking that I would never play golf again. I managed to win a major after that. I truly believe I'm a privileged person, very fortunate one. I do what I love the most, even though sometimes I get upset on the golf course. I'm really happy with what I do.

Q. Have you worked out a lot lately? I heard some of that. Are you in better physical shape, stronger, something you try to do?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I workout in the wintertime, yes.

Q. You seem a little bigger, a little stronger?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: On the shoulder side or the tummy side (laughter)?

Q. Shoulder.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: If it's on the shoulder side we're doing okay.

Q. Is that a conscious effort to get a little stronger?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Yes, last year I made a decision I was trying to exercise a little bit harder trying to gain a little bit of distance because nowadays I'm not saying distance is everything, but if you're able to hit it long enough with a little bit of control the golf course is a little easier.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I never checked that. But I know I'm a little longer than last year.

Q. What was your affliction called, your illness?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, actually they didn't get it right to start with. They thought it was rheumatoid arthritis and actually it was a problem in my lower back, a couple of joints were a little close to each other and it was affecting the nerves that run through the legs. I had a lot of physiotherapy and that was it. It was just a problem with the disks in the lower back.

Q. You seem to be driving much better, are you?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I did today pretty well. Well, at the start of the year I drove the ball much better than I used to do. I struggled the last four or five events, didn't hit the ball well. But I started hitting a few good shots early in the week this week and I've tried to feed from that feeling.

Q. Who helped you?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Just myself. Nobody was there on the driving range.

Q. Should you get to the 18th and sink the winning putt tomorrow, will yesterday's celebration seem a little bit quiet?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I'm not going to go that far again.

Q. Not going to go that far again?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: No, I'm not going to go that far again.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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