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March 6, 2004

Mark O'Meara


MARK O'MEARA: Paul played well. He managed himself well out there. You have to be patient out there today. The greens were obviously firmer and faster.

Today, for me, I just fried to hang in there and rattled off three birdies on the back side that got me back close to the lead which was nice. And the birdie on 16, taking lead, and it looked like I might make birdie on the last hole and he had not a tough chip, but it's not easy when it's dark. But he chipped it in. I chipped one in early on the day on 7. Those are the things that you have to do to win golf tournaments and for me I'm just thankful to be in this position and be tied for the lead after 54 holes. It's been a while, so good out there tomorrow and see if I can't play even better and drive the ball better.

GORDON SIMPSON: Does it feel good being up there.

MARK O'MEARA: I was relaxed out there. I could have drove the ball a little bit better. I think it's important to put the ball in the fairway especially when the greens get firmer and faster.

It's hard to be aggressive when you're playing out of the rough. You have to take the birdies when they come and when they are not there just play for the smart par. Par is not a bad score and hopefully you can rattle off a few birdies.

Q. When was the last time you won, do you remember?

MARK O'MEARA: I won the Skin Games two years ago Palm Springs. Last time I won a tournament, an official event was the '98 British Open and I won the '98 World Match Play and beat Tiger Woods at Wentworth, but officially it was the British Open '98. So it's been a while.

GORDON SIMPSON: Do you find that you're a hard act to follow?

MARK O'MEARA: Certainly when you come off of two major championships Player of the Year, 41 years of age, I certainly took advantage of the major championships that I won and I went overseas a lot which I've always done throughout my career and I've enjoyed it very much. In '98 when I won both majors, I could tell I wasn't hitting it the way I wanted to hit it. Even though I won two majors, I'm not complaining, I hit it good at the right time; but guys are pretty honest with themselves and they know when they are on their game and off their game. I'm not on my game, by any means.

But I'm playing pretty well and I'm putting pretty well and I'm getting a few shots when I need to get them and hopefully don't waste too many shots this week. I think that's what given me a chance to come out tomorrow and hopefully play well and have a chance to win.

Q. When was the last time you finished ahead of Tiger at a tournament?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, probably at Masters I finished eighth. I beat him at probably the Masters last year.

Q. When is the last time you went into the lead in the last round?

MARK O'MEARA: I don't know. It's been a while. A long time since I've been to the press room. It was nice yesterday. Gordon had to show me how to get here. I talked so much yesterday; you never know when I'm going to get back again. I don't know when the last time I had a 54 hole lead or tied for the lead, I don't know.

Q. Where Tiger six back are you worried about him?

MARK O'MEARA: No. I can't focus on Tiger Woods. I know he's not playing the way he wants to right now. Certainly, I wouldn't put it past him to come out and make a run tomorrow. That's his style. I expect him to. But my concern really I've been doing this for a long time I worry about myself. I'm not afraid of Tiger Woods. I know what Tiger Woods is capable of. He's a great player and a great friend and he's the greatest player in my opinion. If he comes out and shoots I think he's going to have to shoot a pretty low score tomorrow because I know Paul is playing well and I'm not playing too bad. So there's other players we can't just worry about Paul and I.

There's some other fine players and Brian Davis is playing well he won earlier this year. So you've just got to go out there and do the best you can. I'm going to have to play well tomorrow to win.

Q. When you flew over earlier in the week, was Tiger saying he felt tired and you were saying you felt good? What was the discussion as you approached the tournament?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, Tiger came in from California and I came in commercial. I didn't get to fly TWA, Tiger Woods Airways. I didn't get to see Tiger until I saw him on Tuesday to congratulate him on his victory last week. Obviously, we knew he was playing pretty well. Just won $1.2 million and I missed the last two kits. I'm 200th in the World Rankings and he's No. 1.

So there's no denying, you know, he's here and I'm like way over there. I don't think Tiger Woods is too scared of me.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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