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August 19, 1999

Mark O'Meara


LEE PATTERSON: Couple of thoughts today, then we will open it up for questions.

MARK O'MEARA: I played pretty well. I started on 10 and hit a nice tee shot. Made par. But 11, I got up with an 8-iron, hit it about, I don't know, eight inches; made birdie there. Had some chances on 12, 13 -- just put some nice strokes on it. Didn't make any birdies. Then on 15, I hit 3-wood just in the left rough. I hit a 9-iron to about six, eight inches. So most people can handle those. Even you guys. Maybe you guys might not be able to. So made birdie there. That got me to plus 4. I think a big turnaround was the next hole, the par 3 on No. 16. I hit it in the left bunker; hit a pretty bad shot. Tough bunker shot. Blasted it just off the back edge. I was probably twelve feet from the hole, but I was just off the edge of the green. Chipped it in with 9-iron for par. Then 17, I hit a good, pretty good drive, 4-iron just off the back left, chipped it to about eight inches. That was birdie. No. 18, I hit a good drive, 8-iron to about twelve feet behind the hole. Made that for birdie. Then 1, 2, 3, had some chances; didn't make it. 4, the par 3, I hit a 5-iron right of the hole pin-high to about 45 feet. Had a pretty tough putt up the hill, slope breaking. Just one of those ones you want to 2-putt; I made it. Then good save on 7, par 3. Plugged it under the lip of the, bunker blasted out to about, I don't know, 6, 7 feet. Made it for par. No. 8, drove it in the left side of the fairway. I don't know, I guess I thought I was somebody I wasn't. I was trying to go for the green with a 2-iron. That was a pretty stupid play. Anyways, pulled it left up on the hillside. Take relief from the cart path. And I had a downhill, sidehill lie that restricted backswing, to hit it underneath the tree, the big tree is left of the green, into the bank. Pin was up on the front. And I don't know how I did it, but I hit a bump-and-run 7-iron to about six feet. It was an awesome shot. Made birdie, so I had it going. Then on 9, I was committed to trying to get a good drive down the fairway, and aimed it kind of left center, trying to cut one. I blocked it in the water, dropped it back, hit it on the green. 2-putted for bogey.

Q. Didn't you tell Jimmy Vickers you didn't plug this course very well?

MARK O'MEARA: There has been times what I have never had any -- I have had some good scores at times. But I have never-- I mean, I love it. Don't get me wrong. We get treated better here than any other Tour stop for sure. But there has been times where I have driven the ball great for two days. I just, for some reason, I don't read the greens as well. And I am not going to lie that that course is really built for somebody that can hit it a long way. Most courses are, but this course especially, because you look back on like, let's say, for example on No. 5 today, I hit a pretty good drive. I am back there trying to hit a 2-iron to that green, and Vijay is hitting 8-iron. Doesn't take a brain specialist to figure out who is going to beat who in the long run, even though I did make par there and Vijay made bogey. But I think my ball flight has gotten higher. Used to be a lower hitter of the ball. And the higher you hit it, the better chance you have around Castle Pines, because there are a lot of carries that you need to carry the ball. And it's got to come in a little softer, so I am doing better at that. That is kind of why I wanted to come back and see this year if I could do better.

Q. You did.

MARK O'MEARA: Well, so far.

Q. Are the greens tough to read because of the mountains?

MARK O'MEARA: The greens are, they are really putting pretty nicely. Some of greens have been resurfaced. Couple of greens have been changed since I have played here. So they are a little bit -- you got to be careful of the speed. Some of them are just a little bit different in speed but I have always found it a little bit difficult. You have to realize that you are on the side of a sloping, kind of a terrain mountain and it does come into play. So yeah, at times it could be a little tricky for sure.

Q. You just for all the reasons you just enumerated about the course, do you -- while you might be in contention, do you realistically think you can win?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I think I can win any tournament when I am playing good coming down the stretch. I think I hopefully put the point at the bottom of the exclamation last year by winning The Masters and the British Open in the fashion that I did. So it is difficult to win on the PGA TOUR it is not as quite as easy as Tiger is making it look, but he is a very, very talented player. All those other things I would hope that if I had a chance on Sunday that, yeah, that is what I would like to do for sure. When I come to a tournament my game plan is to try to play well, try to get into contention; then hopefully, you know, come Sunday I can pull off the right shots or make the right putts and have a chance to win.

Q. Being so close to Tiger how do you compare the zone he seems to be in right now compared to the zone he was in previously because he just acts like his game is so much better?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, he is better. I have tried to tell you guys that before he started winning four tournaments this year or five tournaments, he is a better golfer. He is stronger physically. He is better mentally. His swing is technically extremely good. His putting is phenomenal right now because he is drilling me every time we have putting contests, so I liked it better when he didn't putt as good, personally, he was a lot more fun. So I just think his all around game when you look at Medinah last week, the four par 5s, three of them around 580, he is knocking it on all the greens in 2. I mean, why shouldn't he win there? I mean, he is that good. I felt confident that he would win on Sunday. I know he made it interesting coming down the stretch but still he won the golf tournament, so I don't -- sometimes they don't realize how you win; just whether you win or not. I just think his all around game has improved.

Q. Are there still things that when you guys go out and have your little friendly games that he does that still kind of you go, "whoa" at a little bit?

MARK O'MEARA: No. I mean, I think any player, professional golfer, really enjoys seeing talent and when I play with Tiger at home or I play practice rounds with him in major events he just -- I just know how good he is. He is that good. Nothing phases me anymore with him. I have always been very impressed.

Q. Where do you stand on the Sergio sprint down 16 at Medinah; you like that kind of stuff?

MARK O'MEARA: I do. I like Sergio. I think that he is really a fine young man. I have played a practice round with him at Lancome in France last year when he was still an amateur. He is definitely very special. Whether he plays to the same ability as a Tiger Woods, you know it is going to take time and only time will tell, but so far he is off to a tremendous start. It is good for golf. It is good to see youthism like that out there and the excitement that he was showing. I asked him, how did you hit that shot. You weren't looking at it, your eyes were closed. He said: All I was trying to do was make sure the ball didn't hit the tree and ricochet and hit me. Yeah, I think it was pretty neat. Just goes to show you that he is a still a kid.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?

Q. Commenting on the two captains picks, what could they bring to this squad in terms of experience?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, Tom Lehman has been playing some tremendous golf in the last month and a half. He has got a lot of experience. I think he is -- major championship winner; former Player-of-the-Year. He loves competition. I think that that was a wise selection. I think Steve Pate is a good choice and the reason I say that is because nothing against Lee Janzen and Bob Estes and Fred Couples, Steve played in the 1991 team, he was injured while we were driving to the gala ball. Never really had an opportunity to compete. I mean, he played one match. He kind of hobbled around out there, but it was an unfortunate thing. This year Steve has played some tremendous golf. I like the choices, I really do. I am glad he is on the team.

End of FastScripts....

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