home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 30, 1999

Mark O'Meara


JAMES CRAMER: We have Mark O'Meara with us. 64 today for a 10-under par. Mark, maybe if we could get a general comment about how you played today and go over your birdies.

MARK O'MEARA: Fortunately, I kept the ball -- I drove the ball reasonably well, and I kept the ball in play today. I hit a lot of greens. And I putted well. Yesterday was the best I've putted all year long, and today I putted well again to where if I didn't make them, I felt good over my putter and I hit good putts that went right over the edge of the hole. So it was nice to get off to a good start on the back side. You know, birdie a couple holes quick and birdie a couple holes coming home. So overall, I'm pleased to be 10-under par, and you know, with an opportunity to try to go out this week and play well and see what happens. I started on 10, to my first birdie came at No. 12. I actually drove it in the right fairway bunker down there and hit an 8-iron to about pin-high just off the edge of the green, probably 18 feet and made it. And I was just trying to 2-putt, but I hit a good putt and it went in. The par 5, I hit a driver; 6-iron lay-up. Pitching wedge to about maybe 10 feet. Made that for birdie. The 15th hole, I hit a 4-iron off the tee to lay up. Sand wedge to about eight feet, birdie. 17, 1-iron off the tee. 6-iron to about 16 feet. Birdie. No. 2, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and a sand wedge to about five feet. Birdie. The bogey on No. 5, I didn't hit a very good 3-iron shot to the right bunker. Hit my bunker shot to about 16, 18 feet. Not a very good bunker shot. 2-putted for bogey. And the next par 5, I hit a driver; 4-iron lay-up. Sand wedge to about 16 feet. Made that for birdie. And then No. 9, I hit a 1-iron off the tee. 8-iron, pulled it left of the green; not a very good shot. And I was probably, maybe 25, 30 feet from the hole; sand wedge pitch shot and chipped it in. So that was a nice way to end the round.

Q. Al Geiberger on the hole before had that same shot but used his putter. Got his close and made the 4. Your decision was sand wedge right when you started?

MARK O'MEARA: No, I thought about putter. But Brent Geiberger -- Al is playing this week at Utah. Al probably would have putted it, too, though. You get older, you tend to putt it. You know, to be honest with you, I thought about putting it. But the problem was I had a lot of grass between me and a severe upslope that banked opposite of the way it was going to go when it got on the green. Now, if the grass wasn't so lush, I would have putted it. But, I felt like, you know, I had a pretty good lie. And I am a pro, even though pros can mess up. I felt, you know what, I've got to chip this because I've got to take the bank out of play. And the pin was off the green enough to where if I hit a good pitch shot, I was going to chip it close and make my par; and that was my game plan, and I hit a good chip and it went in. I guess I'll have to take 3 unless I sign for the wrong score, but I didn't do that. A lot of times I would putt it, though. I would putt it more times than I would chip it, for sure.

Q. In your estimation is the back nine playing quite a bit easier?

MARK O'MEARA: I don't think so. You know, if you ask me, I think that there's more trouble on the back side than there is on the front side. But the back side, without the wind blowing, then guys tend to yield -- can get some shots going at it. Sure, you have a couple short holes out there, but 10 is not an easy hole. 13, if you hit a good drive, the par 5, if you hit a good drive, you can knock it on in 2 there, but there is trouble on the hole. And the next hole is playing short, driver, and we're hitting 9-irons 8-irons wedges. 14 -- 15, guys tend to go for the green. My game plan is that I have to hit an absolute perfect drive to putt it on the green. So I'll just lay back and use a sand wedge time in and time out, and I feel like I'm going to get it up-and-down. At the end of the week, I'll make more birdies or play the hole and get a better score doing it the conservative way than being too aggressive.

Q. Were conditions similar today?

MARK O'MEARA: It's going to be a little muggier today. It's going to be tougher with the heat this afternoon. But without the breeze, guys are going to shoot some good scores. I know 11-under is leading now, but I wouldn't be surprised if somebody turns in a lower score than that this afternoon. Only because without much wind and the greens are receptive. The greens are putting very nice. They are a nice speed. With the way these guys play out here, it's not unusual to see somebody shoot 7- or 8-under par.

Q. After what you did last year, are there different feelings for you on the golf course now?

MARK O'MEARA: That's a good question. I don't feel like I'm out to prove anything when I go out and play now. I feel like what happened last year was a dream year. But I feel like throughout my career, I've been a very consistent player. I've had little bit of ups and downs. But when you look at the PGA TOUR Media Guide Book and how many times I've finished in the Top 30, as many times as I've traveled around the world and played here too, this is my 14th event in the U.S., but I've traveled around the globe quite a bit already. And needless to say, I'm trying to capitalize on what happened last year. But I feel like when I'm out there playing, there's times where I stand over shots, like all of us, I don't know where they are going sometimes. That's not a fun feeling, and lately my confidence hasn't been that great. So, you know, what happened in the past doesn't really have an effect on what I'm feeling right now. What I feel now is that I'm starting to putt better. That frees me up a little bit more. That gives me a little bit more confidence. But it is nice to know that the fans out there watched TV last year, they saw me make the putt on 18 and win the Masters. They saw the Open Championship, the British Open. I think that sticks in a lot of people's minds. And I think when I travel or when I'm out in public, the recognizable factor comes into play more, for sure.

Q. Did you tailor anything this year for the Ryder Cup?

MARK O'MEARA: The Ryder Cup is a very special event and I wouldn't -- I can't sit up here and tell you I don't want to play on the team, because I do want to play on the team. But I also want to make a living. And when opportunities at 42 years of age come about overseas, I'm going to take full advantage of those. Now, if it was between playing every single week -- if I was close to making the Ryder Cup team, if I was on the borderline, I would play next week. I would have played a lot more in the U.S. But because I had a little bit of a cushion, I decided to take care of some of the opportunities; secure my future financially. Anybody as a business person would do the same thing, and if you don't, you're not very smart.

Q. How rewarding has it been financially?

MARK O'MEARA: Pretty rewarding, especially at 42. Let's face it, I don't draw galleries like Tiger Woods and Greg Norman and some of those guys. I sat down last year and played a lot around the world and had a great year. I put a game plan together with my manager. I said: Look, this is what I want to do. Now is my time to shine a little bit. I'm not 27. I'm not 32. I don't need to worry about burning myself out. I need to think about trying to capitalize on what happened last year. I'm trying to do that. If somebody sits in the media room and says: You should not have done that; my banker says I should do that, my wife says I should do that. I'm 42, I'm not a kid. I'm going to play this year and next year, and then I'm going to back off and do more things with my family. I may not play that much after next year. I might back down really a lot; curtail it back.

Q. How is this team shaping up experience-wise with others you've been on?

MARK O'MEARA: I think Ben is going to do a wonderful job. I know there's a lot of controversy going on about this and that and the money. Put all that aside, you know, the players that play on our team that are on the team right now are pretty darned good players. Experience factor, sure, Tiger has only played one Ryder Cup; David Duval has never played in the Ryder Cup. But I think David is a composed player and he'll handle it fine. Justin Leonard, Davis Love, Jeff Maggert. I don't know who else is on the list -- myself. But I like our team and I like our chances. You can never put the European team aside because of the way they have performed the last four or five Ryder Cups. They have really played well. There's always pressure on the American side, but I'll go into the Ryder Cup hopefully playing well. I talked to Crenshaw on the phone this week. I told him I'd give him a 110 percent. I can't guarantee I'm going to be playing well. No one knows that. But when I get there, I'll do whatever it takes for us to bring the Ryder Cup back to America.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK O'MEARA: I think it's a wonderful venue to have the Ryder Cup on. The City of Boston is very excited about hosting the Ryder Cup. I just hope the golf course is set up where the guys can go play. The rough didn't need to be this deep (indicating two feet.) I think people want to see the players go out and win holes with birdies, not win holes with bogeys.

Q. Do you have a sense of how many guys are going to show up 30th or 29th, the day that Crenshaw has calmed?

MARK O'MEARA: I think most of the guys are. Unfortunately, I had made a commitment eight months ago to not be there that day, unfortunately. First of all, he hadn't even made that date, and now he has made that date; and a couple guys are not going to be able to make it because of prior commitments. But I'm going to go and play there before the Ryder Cup. I have an idea what the date is, but I don't know for sure yet. But I'll definitely go play Brookline before the Ryder Cup.

Q. Do you think there will be good representation?

MARK O'MEARA: Yes, there will be.

Q. Winning the two majors, and now you talk about you struggle on the --

MARK O'MEARA: Well, that's what I said at the U.S. Open. I mean, how many people have made 650 this year?

Q. Has the decision to go worldwide, has that affected your play?

MARK O'MEARA: I don't think so. Towards the end of the year last year, I wasn't putting as well. And even though I won the Skins Game and I made some clutch putts, I just -- my game has been a little bit iffy. And I've been working hard on some things in my golf swing and trying to get my ball rolling better. And for some reason, at the British Open, I didn't putt great, but I saw some signs of starting to putt better. And then Monday and Tuesday of the British Open, I was in Helsinki, Finland doing an exhibition. I was in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday. That was -- all of a sudden, I watched the Open Championship, like a lot of you did on TV, and I was watching Jean Van de Velde make his putts and it looked like he was rolling great. I was watching Tiger rolling the ball great, staying steady. I said: I need to stay more steady over it, just roll it and stay steady over it. And all of the sudden at the exhibition, I started making putts and played well on those two days. It gave me a little bit of hope coming into this event that maybe I was going to start putting a little bit better, and sure enough, that's what's transpired. I hope that I can stick with that and just get out there and play solid on the weekend here.

Q. What do you expect from Medinah?

MARK O'MEARA: I expect it to be pretty tough. This year, the majors have been very tough. The Masters was set up pretty fairly, I thought. I thought Pinehurst was really well done. I mean, it was difficult, but I thought it was a nice venue for the U.S. Open. I thought Carnoustie was a very tough, demanding golf course, without what happened to it. And I didn't make any critical remarks about it when I was in Europe and I said: Listen, they asked me why I didn't play any good. The course is tough the weather is tough. The great thing about the British Open is that the course has never been manipulated. And times have changed to where back 20 years ago there was no irrigation system at all on a links golf course, and then they put the irrigation system on the tees that was one thing. Now, they have irrigation down the fairways. You just don't get grass like that without helping it along. And that, to me, that doesn't need to be done at the British Open. It's different maybe in America because we don't get the wind and stuff. But I would hope that the R&A kind of maybe learned it's lesson, because I don't think the players -- you never see the players complain. They might complain about the weather being bad, but they have never once really complained about a golf course being manufactured, and that's not what links is about. Links is about playing like the members play. And if that's the way the members want to play their course, they had better have plenty of golf balls because they are going to lose a lot.

Q. Is Medinah manufactured?

MARK O'MEARA: I don't think so. I think Medinah will play similar to the way it played in the U.S. Open. You have to look at players who have played well of late. The thing is, the game has changed. In the last ten years, it's a power game, but it's a power game with touch. Day in and day out, when I go out and play with Tiger and David Duval and these guys are hitting 40 by me, not only are they hitting it 40 and 60 yards by me, they are hitting it straight and they have got a great touch to go along. 8 times out of 10, they are going to beat me. There's times where I'll be able to beat them. But these young players are fearless. You know, I would not be surprised to see a young player, powerful player, maybe a couple of European players, Lee Westwood, some of the names that have played well, Colin Montgomerie, that have yet to break through and win a major championship, will play well at Medinah.

Q. I think each guy that's going to play Monday night, you're friends with both of them; is that fair to say?

MARK O'MEARA: Monday night?

Q. The Match Play?

MARK O'MEARA: I'm good friends with both of them. Absolutely.

Q. Are you going to watch it, and who do you think will win?

MARK O'MEARA: I'll watch it. You know, we played in Ireland together. We all were over together, David and I, and Tiger and Payne and Lee Janzen, Stuart Appleby. I think David was winning the money there in Ireland. But the way Tiger is playing right now it's hard to bet against him. If I had to be a betting man, I would probably put my money on Tiger. But that's not to say that I don't think David Duval has got a great chance. I think it's going to be interesting. It will be fun. But at end of the day, in my book, they are both -- you cans to up a coin who is No. 1 and No. 2. They are both playing about the same. They are both wonderful players. Whether David wins or Tiger wins, in my mind, that doesn't necessarily mean, okay, that guy is No. 1. Because there's a lot of other good players alongside besides those two guys, but it will be fun to watch.

Q. Some people are laying a little bit of blame on Van de Velde's for what happened. What do you expect from your caddie, and do you think the caddie should take some responsibility?

MARK O'MEARA: I don't think so. I think the caddie plays a very important role in a player's success. I'm not denying that. Jerry caddied for me a long time. We had a lot of success together. We went our separate ways, and now he's caddying for Sergio Garcia; he's got a very good bag. Myself, because Jean Van de Velde has never been there before, and he's only won one tournament on the European TOUR, I think that you need somebody that can talk to you to convince you to think about what you're doing before you do it. And when I watched the drama, as all of you were watching the drama, I know what I would have done. And I would have taken out a 1-iron or 2-iron. I'd have hammered it down the left side. And if I was in the rough, because the rough wasn't that bad on the left side, hit a 9-iron down the fairway, 8-iron short of the burn. Take out your wedge; hit it left of the hole 25 feet, and just do whatever you have to do to get it in the hole in 3-putts. So I think that that hurt him a little bit. It didn't look like I was rushing out there. He took his time. But I think he just made some poor decisions. There's no question about it. He didn't say that he didn't want to play chicken. That might be fine, but I think Jack Nicklaus would have teed off with a 1-iron; not a driver. And he got lucky with his drive. The drive was the mistake, pulling the drive off the tee. But then he got lucky. And it seems like that's when you need your caddie to just say: Hey, look we got a great break. Now, let's just hit a 9-iron over here to the left; play it smart. I heard that he thought he only had a two-shot lead. That is true. You need to have somebody to talk to out there. I don't know if they were conversing back and forth. But at the end of the day, it's the player that hits the shots, not the caddie. It's the player who is going to stand on the 18th green and hold up the Claret Jug that wins.

Q. Duval told us a couple of days ago that he would have expected his caddie to punch him in the nose, and would have been upset if he hadn't done that after the first mistake, I guess?

MARK O'MEARA: You do that with somebody that does have experience. Van de Velde didn't have experience in that situation. His caddie did not have any experience in that situation. My caddie is new; he's learning. But I have enough experience that I know what I would have done in that situation. Let me stand on 18th tee with a three-shot lead; I'll find a way to get the job done.

Q. Is this the trend, the changes in caddies?

MARK O'MEARA: That's been going on since the beginning of time. What's changed is the prize money has gone on. A player making a lot of money on the PGA TOUR -- you guys write about it. You guys write about it. You guys talk to the caddies. The caddies talk to you. You know, my feeling is that I'd prefer my caddie not talk to the media. If he wants -- if the media wants to talk to my caddie about what club I hit, that's fine. But when it comes to my decision-making on the course, that's my -- that's my call. Not my caddie's call. And I'm the player. Like I said, I was the one that shot on the 18th hole at Augusta and put it on the green, not Jerry. My name is on the trophy. I'm the one that has the green jacket, not my caddie. I'm not trying to put anything against the caddie, but my feeling is that times always change and there's reasons to make changes. But these guys do work very, very hard, and they are very well compensated for a guy who works 24 to 27 weeks out of the year.

Q. Is more expected now?

MARK O'MEARA: I think so. A high-profile player, a big-name player expects a caddie to represent himself in the same manner as that player does, if not better. You are with a caddie like you would be if you were a boss hiring an employee. You would expect him to follow certain guidelines, and if they didn't then, you have to dismiss them.

Q. You said after next year you may not play that much more. Is it because you feel fulfilled with your golf game right now?

MARK O'MEARA: You know, it gets tougher. It has been tough throughout times of my career of being on the road. I e-mailed my wife earlier this week, and I told her: You know, sometimes your heart is just not in it. I've got a 12- and nine-year-old at home. I've done well financially. I've traveled a lot. I've been away from my family a lot. It's one of those love-hate relationships. My life for the last 19 years is traveling around the world playing professional golf,, in and out of hotel rooms, away from my family. When I go home it's such a unique experience, as you get older it's tougher and tougher to leave home. So my feeling is I've got some game plan in the back of my mind that I'm 42 now; play a lot overseas; play in America; try to do the best I can. Next year, play a full schedule again and then the following year, 2001, maybe just back off and -- not necessarily like Bruce Lietzke -- but I probably won't travel as much overseas. I'll probably play a smaller schedule, 20 tournaments, maybe 15 tournaments. If I want to take a month off and go snowskiing at my place in Park City, or I want to spend the whole summer up there for seven weeks, I'll do it and not worry about: I've got to make the top 30 off I've got to win the tournament or I've got to do this I've got to do that. I've had a great career I'm very lucky and I'm very blessed and I'm very thankful.

Q. (inaudible)?

MARK O'MEARA: I watched my little guy play little league this weekend down at Disney. I got to watch three or four games, but I had to leave and come up here. I didn't get to watch the last two games; that was disappointing. But that's something you've got to sacrifice. That's the area people don't get to see. Sure, guys are making more money on the TOUR. But guys out here you talk about David Duval making 3 million, the guy deserves 3 million. The guy has won the money. No one gave it to him. The prize money is going up, but guys play very hard, and there's a lot of sacrifices that need to be made, too. Relative to any other sport. These guys started the beginning of the year at zero. So it's a great game, and you know, the media has helped it a lot. You guys and gals have helped it a lot to push it along. We appreciate that. I played the first 9 holes the other day here -- and it's funny how golf is sometimes. I told my caddie, because he's new and he's all fired up and excited and I said: I understand. That's great, I know, Robert, you're really happy, but I've been doing this for 19 years. I don't feel like playing. I don't know why. I'm not hitting good. I'm not putting good. It's just not that much fun. But then I started putting good and that opens up the doors, the flood gates.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297