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July 25, 1998

Raymond Floyd


LES UNGER: With the score of today, would you be -- would you have expected to sit here at the end with the same lead you had this morning?

RAYMOND FLOYD: I don't know that I would have ever thought of that, but after the fact and to reflect on it, I would say no. I wouldn't expect to have a 3-shot lead shooting 73. But, the golf course is very difficult. It is playing very difficult. I think today the wind blew harder than any of the other rounds. I think that was a part of it. I had trouble with the speed of the greens. My line was good, but I didn't putt very well. I made one huge putt for a par at the 4th hole, and other than that, I made absolutely nothing. So from that respect, I'd like to think that had I putted a little bit better, I'd come in here with a pretty decent size lead. But I tell you, I am thrilled to be here and in this position. I have endured. I have gone through this and I have had damage control and I have played quite well. I have driven the ball beautifully. I have put the ball in the majority of the fairways which is allowing me to hit greens and make and a lot of pars. For tomorrow, my plan is the same. I have not come here, any round, looking to shoot a particular score. I am trying to play smart. I have a game plan that I put forth in practice. I am trying to stay dedicated to the game plan. And I think if I can go out and hit the ball solid and hit fairways and greens, I may be successful come tomorrow -- tomorrow night.

LES UNGER: Review the birdie.

RAYMOND FLOYD: I almost made a 2 at the 3rd hole and it went by about, I guess, five or six feet. I made that. That was my long putt of the day.

LES UNGER: How about the three others?

RAYMOND FLOYD: Three other --

LES UNGER: Bogeys.

RAYMOND FLOYD: I bogeyed the 2nd. I hit a terrible drive, but I was out in that other fairway, again, the old practice fairway and I hit a beautiful 5-iron across there about 35 feet past the hole and left it short coming down the hill and then I had a really hard second putt from about six feet hard-breaking. So I 3-putted for bogey. Then at the 3rd, I made the birdie with a driver and 7-iron. And then I made an unbelievable save at the next hole. I hit a 3-wood and pulled it in the -- I mean, if somebody hadn't been there, you'd never find the ball. And I took as hard a swing as I could take with a sand wedge and put it about, I guess, I was 50 or 60 feet and made that putt for par. And I went through a whole bunch of 2-putting for a whole long time. And then at the 14th, I hit what I thought was a good shot off the tee that came up short and I was just in the fringe of the green and chipped the ball. And when I chipped it, I thought I might have made it. And, that was the only shot that I got past the hole all day. It went through about six feet and I missed that. Then at the 18th I hit a driver and 7-iron. It went to the back probably 40 feet and I hit a good solid putt. And at the halfway point going down there I said: Boy, I might have made this. And the ball ended six feet short. I missed that. So that was my lone birdie. My save with a long putt and my three bogeys.

Q. What about the save on 12, was that as menacing as it looked?

RAYMOND FLOYD: No, 12 was incredible. I hit a bad, bad second shot. I had 8-iron in there, and you cannot miss that pin. Any short pin on that green, you cannot go in the right bunker because it just races down in and away. I hit a bunker shot that I can pull off maybe 1 in 15. I hit the shot that gave me a chance, and, fortunately, I pulled it off. Believe me, I could have taken ten balls down in there and if I could have put it 10 to 15 feet, I would have been happy with the shot.

Q. Raymond, no one is putting any pressure on you. Are you able to stay with your game plan no matter what, if nobody puts any pressure on you?

RAYMOND FLOYD: It doesn't matter if I get passed on the third hole tomorrow, if somebody starts eagle, birdie, birdie or whatever, I have to continue playing the way I have played. I can't do anything any differently. This golf course will not allow it. So I need to be persistent and stay with what has given me success thus far.

Q. You said before that golf is not your top priority anymore. How important is it and how much would winning this tournament be at this stage to you?

RAYMOND FLOYD: Well, it is the ultimate at this level. You don't seem to believe me because you keep asking me this question week-in and week-out. But, my place in the game is not going to change if I win tomorrow or I don't. Ray Floyd is not going to be any different. And, there are other things in my life now that are way, way, way ahead of my golf game. I love to perform well. And Majors are the things that kind of stimulate me. It is not the every day-in-and-out-week golf tournament each and every week. I have been doing that for 36 years. But the ultimate at this level is a US Open, a Senior U.S. Open, so I would like to win it.

Q. You said this golf course will not allow it. You mean, you can't really attack this golf course?

RAYMOND FLOYD: With the setup, you have to think U.S. Open setup. Pin placements play a great deal -- a great part of that. And where the pins are set, just in the little nooks and crannies of little slopes, really, you don't have an opportunity to make a lot of putts with hard, fast greens, unless you can be lucky enough to have everything in the funnel, so to speak. Perfect example today, the 6th hole, I hit a shot in there that I couldn't be more thrilled about. I guess I was eight feet, but I was just past the flag. I putted three foot of break from eight feet and missed it three feet low. The 2nd hole, when I left it short coming down the hill, I left it a little short from about six feet. I played a foot of break and missed the putt to the right five or six inches. So the pin placements are a part of that. It is not only the kikuyu grass and it is not only the length of the golf course. It is not any one factor. But the golf course is set up for an Open Championship. So all factions are difficult. So that is why I say the golf course, it is very difficult to make it yield. Yes, a player can go out there and if he is lucky - and I don't care how good you play - you have got to be lucky to have your 6-, or 8-footer coming right up the fall-line. If you can do that, then somebody can go out there and shoot a low number.

Q. This game plan that you have been speaking of, did you formulate that after you came here and practice, the three rounds or did you know coming in how you would have to play?

RAYMOND FLOYD: No. My game plan is not such a big to do. Really, it is just -- I write down on a little 3 X 5 card the way I elect to play a golf hole. Now, circumstances can change that if the wind -- like I might say, this hole is a 3-wood. Well, if the wind direction changes, then a 3-wood is not enough, so I'd take a driver. But I take my aiming points, and I kind of figure out what is a good score on this hole and after playing 18 holes here in practice, I said par is -- every note I have is: Par is a good score on this hole. So you can see that you might be dejected when you come off of two good shots or a good shot on a par 3 and you miss a 6- or an 8-footer. But still the thought is, if I can make par on any hole out here, that is a good score. So that is -- it is not a big, detailed philosophical writing that I am not capable of doing. It is just a little golfer trying to think how he can best perform around here.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like playing with Roy Vucinich today, since he is not accustomed to being in that last group in such a Major tournament?

RAYMOND FLOYD: I thought he was very fun to play with. He was a nice guy, very cordial to play with. And I was impressed. I was very impressed. Often, as you all know, you get someone in that position and they don't handle it well. But I was very impressed with his game and he hung in there. And the backside, he didn't drive the ball very well at all. The backside -- and he kept putting scores up. That is impressive when a player is capable of doing that. And it will be nice to see him play well tomorrow.

Q. Considering that not too many people are putting up red numbers at all, how comfortable are you with the 3-stroke lead? How many people are going to make that much of a charge at you?

RAYMOND FLOYD: Well, I am as comfortable with a 3-stroke lead as I would be with a 2-, 1-, or tied or 1-, 2-, 3- behind. Because any of those positions will allow you an opportunity to win, if you would. I think a lot of you that have been around through the years, I have said that my goal is to give myself an opportunity. If I have a chance, that is what I am playing for. I am trying to win. And if I can have that opportunity, that is what it is all about. I love to play the game and I love to win. And to have the opportunity, is what it is all about. So I have the opportunity, but realistically, if I were 3- or 4- behind, I would feel pretty much the same way because I would have the opportunity there as well. Probably doesn't answer your question, but --

Q. No, that's fine.


Q. You said you had trouble with the speed of the greens. Mostly you recall leaving them short. Did it play differently? Any reason for that?

RAYMOND FLOYD: I can't believe that the pace of the greens could have been any different. My caddie kept saying the greens are slower. But, it is hard for me to imagine that they were cut any differently or they weren't rolled or at the same thing. So, I don't know if it was where I putted from, but my line was excellent. I just did not have enough pace. I would have made a bunch of putts if I would have had six inches to a foot on my putts more speed.

LES UNGER: Anyone else? Go get'em.


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