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May 24, 2002

Harrison Frazar


JOHN BUSH: Harrison, we with like to thank you for coming in media center. Congratulations on a good round out there. Can you give us some general thoughts on your round?

HARRISON FRAZAR: I didn't really know what to expect on the end of the day because I played so poorly the past couple weeks. But yesterday I felt like I made some positive strides on my golf swing and tempo, confidence-wise. To be quite honest with you, I thought I could go either way. I felt like I could -- I was worried that if I would have hit a few shots poorly getting off the bat, then it might kind of steamroll into something that I wouldn't like. But I hit some good shots at the beginning. I had some pretty good opportunities the first couple holes. Made a real good putt on number 1 for par. Made a good putt on number 3 for birdie. So that kind of calmed me down and got me into the right theme of the game. And from that point on, I just focused on trying to get the ball in the fairway off the tee and then taking my chances on where I could get them from there.

JOHN BUSH: Questions?

Q. Did you see this coming? Had there been some improvement? You struggled, I know, five of the last six, can you tell us?

HARRISON FRAZAR: Yeah, I played horribly. Pretty much since THE PLAYERS Championship. And you can even count Greensboro as making a cut. It was so bad. But there are some other factors that go into it, but five or six months ago I had hip surgery. So I ended up having to take three or four months off. January 5th was, or January 4th, I think was the first round at the Bob Hope or maybe that was -- well, whatever it was, the first day of the Bob Hope, I didn't start hitting balls until about three days before the tournament. I had to do, in January, February, March, the same thing that most guys are doing at the end of the season or the off-season as far as trying to get some tempo, some timing, work on their golf swings, get their equipment right, things like that. So I have -- I feel like a month and a half ago I got an idea finally about what I was trying to do and it just takes awhile to get it kind of going in the right direction. So to answer your question, no, I didn't see it coming. But at the same time I didn't see playing bad either.

Q. Did you say hip surgery?


Q. What was --

HARRISON FRAZAR: On my right hip. I had a torn labrum. It's a going to be called the Norman surgery here pretty soon. But it's the same thing all those guys have had. And I went in to see Doctor Mark Philippon in Florida. I guess it was the week before the PGA. He said, "All of our tests show that you've got one tear in your labrum. Come in you'll be back in six, seven, eight weeks." And I went in, after the PGA it was so bad I could barely walk down the fairway. So I decided to go in and get it done.

I woke up from the surgery, the first thing he told me was, "We had to do a little bit more than one tear. " Because I had more things wrong in there than he was expecting. I had a couple of tears. I had to have some chondroplasty, which is where they drill holes in the bone and shatter it to try to get it to grow back. And I had a torn ligament. So there were some other things in there. It just takes awhile for something like that, no matter how non-invasive it is or the technique is, it still take as awhile to get your strength.

Q. How do you suppose that happens --

HARRISON FRAZAR: I have no idea.

Q. -- being so young?

HARRISON FRAZAR: I have no idea. I think it has a lot to do with what kind of physical condition you're in, as well as whether or not you're genetically loose-jointed, and I'm not in great shape, I'm not in bad shape either. But I do have loose joints. So as much torque and as much pressure as I put on my hips in the swing, as far as turning them through and a lot of weight transfers time and time again I think that hip was moving in there enough that it finally gave way.

Q. Norman had a webcast of his hip surgery. Did you think about that?

HARRISON FRAZAR: No. No. I didn't know anything about going into it. I was under the impression that he was just going to put a little camera in and fix it and I'll walk out of there. And I was knocked out for about three hours and had the tube down my throat and the whole deal. There was probably 18 to 20 surgeons in there watching him do it. And trying to learn his method. He's so advanced in the technology that he has -- they all want to learn it. I did go home the next day. But I was on crutches for about two and -a-half, three weeks. And it was a hard road.

Q. Is it totally normal?

HARRISON FRAZAR: No, I'm not normal yet, no.

Q. How long does that take?

HARRISON FRAZAR: Oh, they -- well, probably about a year. It's kind of the estimate that people are giving. There have been some guys that have been longer, some guys have been faster. Jeff Gallagher is still struggling with his, I think Craig Barlow is still hurting with his some. But Peter Jacobson is still struggling a little bit with his, but then Norman I think is pain-free and I think Jesper -- did Jesper have a problem with one of his hips yesterday? Or some time, he had surgery done on one hip and he might have to have it done on the other hip. So as far as I know the hip he had the surgery on is has been fine.

Q. That was August or September?

HARRISON FRAZAR: August 28th is when I had the surgery.

Q. Talk about your experience here two years ago leading, and then having to play with Tiger there in the third round. Those memories?

HARRISON FRAZAR: I've tried to block that out of my mind for the last two years, sorry. It cost me thousands of dollars in psychological help.

(Laughter.) That day was a, it probably might have been the most humbling thing I've ever gone through in my life. I felt like I was pretty good and pretty much at the top of my game at the time. And tying are made me feel, made me feel ridiculous out there to be honest with you. He was so good at that time. And I've still, I still will go over when people ask me what the best nine holes of golf is that I've ever seen, I'll still tell them it's that front nine that he played on that day. I think he shot 30 and he lipped out twice. So on that front nine. And he hit shots that I've never seen anybody hit. But that wasn't the part that hurt me so bad. What hurt me so bad is that I let it get in my way. And I let it alter the way that I felt about myself and my game. So the mistake that I made was not learning from that quick enough. I let it fester for a couple of months and then it started to develop some bad habits. But the last, you know, six months or a year I've tried to get back to doing what I was doing.

Tiger has shown that he's human. And to use -- he is beatable. Whether or not it comes at a time when I'm playing well, or not, I don't know. But it was hard. That was a hard day to handle. Shooting whatever I shot on the back nine, I think I shot 43, and with big crowds and on TV, that was a humbling experience. I don't think anything worse than that could ever happen.

Q. What were the mistakes that you needed to learn?

HARRISON FRAZAR: I think that the mistake that I needed to learn was that don't watch him play. For one. I played with Jay Haas and Franklin Langham the last two days and I know them both very well they're nice guys but I didn't, I watched, out of a respect for what they were trying to do, but I didn't, I wasn't watching how they did everything. The trouble that people get into with Tiger is not only watching what he does, but how he does it. People are trying to learn from him, I think. And the lesson I should have learned is not paying attention to him out there while I'm playing with him. And at the same time I should have realized that. Yeah, I made a mistake and didn't play well and it happens and let's move on.

Q. Do you think there was another part too that said, "My God, he's this good, I've got to do this to catch him," instead of staying within your on game?

HARRISON FRAZAR: I don't think it was a matter of me feeling like I needed to do this, I think it was a matter of if he's going to stay that good, I will not be able to beat him. Because I couldn't -- as good as he was at that time, I don't think I could beat him. Now, everything is left up to chance. But when I say beat him, I'm talking about an on a permanent week-to-week basis. Anything can happen on one round or one tournament. But if he would have continued the level of play that he had that summer, I just don't see -- the only person that's going to beat him is himself.

Q. You had some other years where you did pretty well here Thursday, Friday and not as good on the weekend. Any thoughts about that?

HARRISON FRAZAR: Well, the first time here was my rookie year and I had just come off of playing, this was about my 7th tournament in a row. I wasn't expecting to get in and I just played well at the Nelson and Colonial and I was, to be honest with you, exhausted. But I think that's about the only other time I played real well. That and the time with Tiger. That was that in 2000, yeah, wow.

Q. You laughed about spending thousands and thousands on psychological help. Do you have a somebody you go to for that end of the game and what did he tell you or he or she tell you?

HARRISON FRAZAR: Oh, you know, I do have somebody that I talk to. I don't utilize them as much as I should. I think that, to be honest with you, I think that that experience for me was so bad that I almost didn't want to talk to anybody about it. Because it was so humiliating and so bad. And I just wanted to try to forget it and that didn't work. People were reaching out and people were trying to talk to me about it and trying to help me. Justin was one of them. And some of the other guys that I know at home and my friends out here that pat me on the butt and say, "Hey, don't worry about it." But that's not quite that easy. So he didn't -- nobody really said anything profound. It just is one of those learning experiences that hopefully you're smart enough to learn from it. And I wasn't. And, but now I think I have.

Q. When you said -- please don't be offended, when you said thousands of dollars in psychological help, we all sort of laughed. Were we supposed to have laughed?

HARRISON FRAZAR: Sure. Yeah. It's a joke.


Q. I just wanted to make sure.

HARRISON FRAZAR: Even if it wasn't a joke you can laugh.

(Laughter.) Hopefully I would be secure enough for you to laugh if I mentioned it. No, it did cause some, there was some real issues that go along with getting beat like that. It caused some insecurity and some doubts about your own ability. And I didn't seek professional help and I wasn't laying out on a sofa somewhere, but it was -- I felt like I needed sometime away. And needed to kind of regroup and I went fishing the next week and kind of came back and tried to put on a front and act like nothing was wrong. But I don't think I was the same the rest of that year.

Q. You said Greensboro was sort of a fluke or not a fluke, you just forget it kind of thing. What about Bay Hill? Was that a fluke or --

HARRISON FRAZAR: No, Bay Hill I played good. Same kind of thing, I guess. I had gone in it feeling like I was pretty close but not really understanding why I wasn't getting anything out of it. And Bay Hill, the golf course was set up absolutely perfect for me. And the greens were as hard as this table, and you had to hit the ball high. Otherwise it wasn't like it was an advantage, it was the only way to play. Otherwise, if you didn't hit it in high, you couldn't hold the green. So I don't think I played tremendously well, I think it just set up well for me that week. But Greensboro, when I say it was kind of a fluke I made the cut I think the first day, I hit five greens and had 21 putts, something like that and shot 2-under. And it was because of that round that I was able to make the cut. But I think I shot 150- something on the weekend. So I wasn't playing very well I just had a good putting round that helped me make the cut.

Q. You've had experience of doing like a different kind of job from this. Even the low points of this, are they better than that real-world experience?

HARRISON FRAZAR: No. No. The lows in golf are low. The lows are unbelievably low. We don't have anybody else to lean on. There's nobody else to blame. There's nobody else to pick up the slack if we're not having a good day. And it's not like you can just say, "I don't feel right here, guy, bring in a sub." You're out there, and there's people watching. And when you can't hit the broadside of a barn, and you got 20 handicapper sitting in the crowd saying to myself, "Man, I can do that." It hurts and it's hard. But the flipside of that is, that when I'm at home I'm at home. I don't have to go to an office I can spend as much time with my wife and little boy as I want. The better I play, the more time I get to spend with them. And the high is when you do play well, when you hear people rooting for you and cheering for you and genuinely pulling for you, that, that part is much better than the highs of the business world.

Q. You won't be playing with Tiger tomorrow. But aside from him aside, how do you think you cope now days just with being in the lead kind of position of the weekend pressure?

HARRISON FRAZAR: To be quite honest with you I just don't think that anything worse than some of the things that I've been through on the golf course could happen again. So it's not a worth it for me to go out there and try to be somebody that I'm not. Or try to play a game that somebody else thinks that I should play just because all of a sudden I'm playing in the last two or three groups. That wouldn't make any sense. So I think I finally reached a point that the only way that I'm going to play good is to play the way I want to play it. And if it works, it works. If it doesn't I'll strap my spikes on next week just like everybody else and try again.

Q. Can you talk about your friendship with Justin Leonard and how you guys kind of feed off each other over the years.

HARRISON FRAZAR: Well Justin and I have always been good friends and we have always been extremely competitive with each other. And we push each other. I think not so much in encouragement and words that we say, but just -- I'm not trying to give myself any credit, but I saw that he was playing out there and I bet that that has something to do with him seeing my name on the board. It's the same way when I see his name on the board I want to try to get up there with him. It's, we're always pulling for each other, there's no question, but at the same time we want to beat each other's brains out. So we went through a period of time there where I think that there was an, I don't know what it was, it was something unspoken, but we weren't communicating as well as two friends should. But right now our relationship is great. We spend a lot of time practicing together, we travel together, our wives are friends and I think that everything is really good in his world right now. And as far as mine goes, I think it's pretty good right now too. So we're able to lean on each other just a little bit more. And talk about a few things that maybe we wouldn't have in the past.

JOHN BUSH: Couple more questions.

Q. Supposed to get some rain this weekend and the course might change a little bit. I'm wondering, Verplank said today that he would prefer it obviously to remain dry. But the guys that are playing good now are going to play good regardless of what the conditions change to. Two years ago when you were playing well I think it was softer and you were playing just shoot it at the flag and it was sticking.

HARRISON FRAZAR: I don't remember.

Q. Okay. You blocked it out.

HARRISON FRAZAR: Honestly, I blocked it out. I remember having a jacket on one day, so.

Q. Straight jacket?

HARRISON FRAZAR: No, it should have been, yes.

Q. Do you have a preference for this weekend?

HARRISON FRAZAR: If I hit it like I did today I would want it to blow and stay hard. That's something that somebody out there asked me outside that Tiger wants it to stay hard and fast. Well of course he does. The better players and the ones that are playing well want it to be hard and fast because then that eliminates half the field that are going to catch them. If you're not hitting it great you would rather it be soft and then you can ride on your putter some and still attack it. But if the wind starts blowing and the fairways get bouncy it becomes much more difficult to get the ball in the fairway and you got to be more precise. So I don't really have a preference either way. I feel like I'm putting well enough that I can contend and I can bail myself out of anything right now I feel like with my putter. And if I wake up tomorrow morning and it's windy, just hit a few extra tee balls on the range. Try to get it solid.

Q. Fewer guys to beat then if it stays this way?

HARRISON FRAZAR: I believe so, yes.

JOHN BUSH: Can you go through your card for us real quick starting with your birdie on number three.

HARRISON FRAZAR: Sure. Yeah. Number three I hit a 3-iron off the tee and then hit a pitching wedge to about 15 feet.

Number six, I hit a good drive. I struggled with the driver the last couple weeks. More than anything else. And that was a hole that I stood up and just finally made the good swing that I knew I could make. And I just absolutely just roasted it. And I can't really remember what club I hit in. But I think I hit just a smooth 9-iron. Into that hole. And hit it about eight feet below the hole. And I think that driver swing really kind of spurred the rest of the round on. Because it gave me confidence in other things I've been working on that are working. So that was a big moment and then for me to hit a good iron shot and hit a good putt.

Next hole I hit a good drive again. And I was thinking about going for it. I had 265 to the front. But I felt a little bit of wind turning into me and decided to lay it up and lay it up with a 5-iron and hit a lob wedge in there about 12 feet.

Number eight I hit an 8-iron about a foot from the hole.

10 I hit a drive down the right center. I hit a kind of a punch cut 7-iron. A little bit right of the hole to about 30 feet. Made that.

12, I hit an about a three quarter 7-iron about six feet.

14 I had a 3-iron down the right side of the fairway. Then hit a 9-iron about 12 feet directly behind the hole. Maybe a little bit left. And I had a putt kind of down the hill that was fast. I knew it was going to be fast from watching people play in the past and I hit putts there before, but so I don't know what it was, but I think that seeing guys on TV the putt doesn't look like it's going to break very much and I was looking at about a cup. But I thought I remember seeing this putt before break a bunch. So I played it about a cup and a half, two cups out and it rolled right in the center.

15, got up on 15 tee and there was about a -- we had about a 15 minute wait to hit the shot. So I didn't feel like standing up there and hitting driver off that tee. So I decided to hit a 3-wood down the left side. I didn't hit it very good but still got it to about 245 to the front. And hit a 3-wood in that front left bunker. And blasted it out from there to about eight inches.

Only bogey was on 18. Yeah. I, this is buying into that -- well I'll I hit a four wood in the fairway and I had 166 to the hole. Which is the exact same yardage I had on the hole before. And I told my caddy I said, I think I need to smooth a 7 and he said, you want to take out long. Obviously you don't want to miss anything long on that pin. But he said I think you kind of got your juices flowing, your adrenaline is going, you can get that eight. And I don't, I don't buy into that really. I don't know if I can hit the ball any harder just because I'm excited about where I am. So I didn't really believe what he was telling me and just tried to make the big hard golf swing with an 8-iron and just made the poorest swing of the day. And blocked it out to the right side of that green and I really couldn't putt it at the hole. I would have had to have putted up through the fringe and maybe even into some of the rough to have a chance to get it anywhere close. But I hit a pretty good putt and got it about eight feet and lipped out on the par putt.

JOHN BUSH: Okay. Harrison, appreciate you coming by. Thank you very much.


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