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


February 23, 1999

Mark O'Meara


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you for spending sometime with us. Maybe just a couple impressions about the week, heading into the week, then we will entertain questions.

MARK O'MEARA: Well, needless to say, I think it is a unique tournament. You have got the top 64 players in the world. Obviously Jumbo is not here, but the top 65 players in the world, minus 1, and I think that that in itself is a unique atmosphere, beause usually when you have that situation. You are talking about a major championship and talking about mental play. This week we are talking about Match Play; so I think there is a lot of excitement in the air, a lot of buzz in the air, and players matched up against who, who is in one bracket, what is the possibilities down the road, what could happen; upsets, all these things, you know, in my opinion, there is going to be some great matches and there is going to be some matches that possibly could be, you know, upsets. But I don't know how you can really call it "upset," because the guys are in the top 64 are all good players. Sure, there is a ranking, but it is not quite the same as what it would be in the NCAA championship field of the top 64 teams. Here you know, No. 62 or 64 is still a very, very fine player; so you know, it is going to be a week that you have to have a lot of patience out there and just try to hang in there.

Q. Seeing that you have talked about the excitement and everything else, is this the next major?

MARK O'MEARA: No. I don't -- you know, you have got your four major championships right now, and if anything, you would have thought that THE PLAYERS Championship would have possibly become the next major championship. These world events are definitely important, I think, to all the players, because you always want to play against the best players and you definitely have them here. It is difficult to say that you are going to all of a sudden add a fifth major championship. It hasn't happened at this point, and I am not so sure that it will ever happen. Okay, that was great, thanks. Any other questions?

Q. Could you talk about what you think about the Nick Faldo/Tiger Woods matchup?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, you know, Tiger has been playing some tremendous golf the last few weeks. We realize that he won; he finished second last week. Nick has definitely been struggling, but Nick is a tremendous competitor and has had a tremendous record in the game of golf.

Q. Is also a very good Match Play player?

MARK O'MEARA: Once again, you know, in this format anything is possible. I don't think you can take any player or any opponent for granted out there. You have got to go out there and play hard from the time you tee it up 'til the time you finish off your match, win, lose or draw. I would think that Tiger has little bit of the advantage with him. He has got the confidence and he has been playing well, but, you know, I guess Nick is going to go out there probably feeling like he has nothing to lose, just try to go out there and play the best that he can. I can't really speak for him; so, I would never count out Nick Faldo.

Q. You have beaten Tiger Woods in Match Play situations. What does Nick Faldo have to do?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I think Nick's got to eliminate mistakes. He can't make many bogeys and hope that Tiger makes some mistakes out there or might get a little frustrated or impatient. But I don't see -- I play with Tiger, and he is swinging pretty darn good. He is putting well, and has done so in the last couple of weeks. He is a good Match Play player. He is going to play well here. I personally always rather play the best player, you know, and when I won the World Match Play, I had beat Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh. I beat Tiger Woods; so if you are going to win, I think you'd rather win against the best, and I know Nick is probably looking forward to his match tomorrow.

Q. What do you do differently to play Match Play versus stroke-play mentally?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I think probably in Match Play there is times when you can -- the risk reward is a little bit greater. You take more chances much more so than you would in metal play. You try to play the golf course. You try to put the ball in the fairway and play smart shots and try to eliminate a bogey and try to make pars and birdies, but yet you also keep your eye on your opponent, too. He might -- what he does might change what you might do on your second shot. That is where it changes, I think, a little bit.

Q. You are here a little later this season than normally. Is the golf course much different?

MARK O'MEARA: It is in the best shape I have ever seen it. Fairways are really nice. Golf course is still playing long, and they have got a lot more rough. The rough is deeper now than what it is when we have been here in early in the year. The against are little firmer to. So I imagine the course will play a little tougher by what I see a little bit, because when it is soft the ball stays in the fairway more. It maybe plays a little bit longer, but yet the greens are more receptive to holding second shot and they are easy to chip the ball around the greens. Once again, the rough is definitely deeper now than when we were here earlier in the year.

Q. What are your thoughts about the method of determining who is No. 1, No. 2, the whole ranking -- are players understanding it all?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I think they are -- it is a difficult system. Nothing is perfect in this world. I think the system that the way it is set right now is -- they have really tried to work hard to make it correct, and I think it is correct. David and Tiger are right there together; and Tiger you know, the way he has played the last couple of weeks has helped his cause out a little bit, but I wouldn't be that surprised if David keeps playing the way he is, he will end up going by Tiger. That is good. You have get to have some kind ranking system. Once again, nothing is absolutely perfect of. I think they have tried to minimize it down to two years, as opposed to three years, and the weight of the U.S. Tour might have a little bit more weight than some of the other Tours, because you have got bigger depth of quality players in the field. But the European Tour is very strong too. So it is just difficult to say this is the perfect way, but yet, up to this time, there is no better way that has been discovered to rank the players; so, I see no problem with the ranking system.

Q. Everybody that qualifies for Valderama will go (inaudible)?

MARK O'MEARA: Yeah, I would think most of the players are going to go to Valderama, but I haven't really talked to hem. That's pretty far away. I am just worried about the next month or two. I would imagine most all the players will go to Valderama.

Q. Having won here before, and with the different format, how do you see your strategy changing as well as you know this course?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I think my strategy my standpoint on my game is if I drive the ball reasonably well and keep it in the fairway, you know, kind of boils down to putting. And my strategy in Match Play is always to try to play somewhat aggressive, but smart. Try to play smart out there and try to -- if I get down, try not to get too depressed about it, just try to hang in there because I can rattle off three birdies in a row or my opponent might make some bogeys in a row. So it is never really over 'til it is over. I think you have got to remain patient out there and just try to stay focused on what you need to do. You still have to kind of keep track of what is going on with your opponent, but yet you can't just play your opponent only. You still have to play somewhat of the golf course.

Q. What is your schedule like for the next couple of weeks?

MARK O'MEARA: I am skiing next week up at Park City Deer Valley where I have a place. I was just skiing this last weekend up there; so I left my car at the Salt Lake airport. Hopefully, I will go all the way to Sunday, and if I don't, as soon as whenever, you know, I get knocked out, I will be back in Salt Lake and I will be up there skiing with my family next week. Then I am going to play the Honda Classic in Ft. Lauderdale, then I will play the Bay Hill Classic, and the Players Championship at Sawgrass and then The Masters. Then I don't know about the rest of the year.

Q. Do you think this tournament and the West Coast Swing has adverse effect on the --

MARK O'MEARA: Is it is always difficult going from one coast to another. But still there a lot of players that live on the East Coast and enjoy Doral and enjoying playing at Doral. I don't think -- every tournament we seem to go to there is always going to be this question, why isn't this field better. This is probably one of the most best scenarios when you have got the top 64 players, but they will have a strong field next week at Doral. Sure, some of the players aren't going to play, but there won't a lot of players that play well at Doral will show up. Players that don't play very well at Doral won't show up, but it is a big purse.

Q. (inaudible).

MARK O'MEARA: I am 42, so, I have been doing this a long time. My schedule -- usually when I lived in the West Coast I played a lot on the West Coast. Since I have moved to the East Coast I have played less on the West Coast, but I have always like today play on the West Coast because I always tended to get off to a good start. But I mean, two weeks ago I was in Dubai, which normally I wouldn't play that early in the year overseas somewhere, but because of what happened last year, create some opportunities, you know I am taking advantage of those opportunities. But it is nice to be here and I -- I think it is a great time because the weather should be good this time of year in San Diego.

Q. Does the world event in your mind compare to The Masters and the majors, or do they have a long ways to go to catch up?

MARK O'MEARA: I think they do. The Masters, the British Open, the PGA and U.S. Open have got tremendous history behind them. You know, starting way back when. These World Championships are just another, I think, way to promote the game of golf and to promote a lot of the best players getting together and playing. But not to take away from anything else, you have got to always look that there is more golfers in the world now than what there was 10 to 15 years ago and a lot more pros that are of really better quality; so the competition is much keener, in other words, and it is very difficult to dominate. You know, players play well for a while then they struggle for a while. That is just part of the game, but I think they have been a good addition. And regards to whether they will be the next major championships, you know, I don't know that. I mean, once again, I think the Players Championship probably has one of the strongest fields of the whole year, and that is not a major championship.

Q. Have you been back to Augusta?

MARK O'MEARA: I have not. There is a possibility of me getting up there when the TOUR is back on the East Coast for one day; so if I do, you know, I will be the first one to give you a report on what I see. I know they have made it is a little longer; so that doesn't behoove me the best, you know, I need to have them make it shorter for me.

Q. What will your memories of Augusta a year later and what are your feelings about Duval and Couples watching?

MARK O'MEARA: My feelings of Augusta were that when I went into the tournament my expectations were pretty low. I necessarily wasn't playing that great, and what I took out of my win, there was that, you know, once again I just kind of hung in there and didn't hit the ball probably the best that I can hit it at that event. But I hit some good shots when I needed to. And when I had the opportunity to close the door and win the event I did it. As to my to David or Fred, you know, David Duval, it won't be long before he wins his first major championship. The kid is a helluva player. He has got all the tools. It will happen. Freddie, it was an asset for me to play with Fred because Fred probably hit it the ball a little better than I did in the final round, but his relaxed attitude, and that we are friends playing together, definitely helped me in my situation there.

Q. Do you see this sort of rivalry kind of brewing between David and Tiger?

MARK O'MEARA: That has been discussed quite a bit in the press over the last two or three months, and there is no question that right now those two, but you can't forget Ernie Els, you can't forget a Justin Leonard, you can't forget a Colin Montgomerie or Phil Mickelson. Some of these are young talented players. They are also in that mix too. But, sure, I mean, David has been good for Tiger and Tiger has pushed a lot of the other young players to improve their games, and so it is really a good thing for the game of golf. But I won't just single out just those two guys.

Q. Do the three of you practice together this morning?


Q. What are they like out there compared together?

MARK O'MEARA: Actually, it was pretty neat because I saw David last night and he told me that Tiger had asked him if he wanted to play a practice round I knew we would all play together; so I think that they are friends and they'd like to be closer friends in my opinion.

Q. Did you have a match?

MARK O'MEARA: No. Tiger quit after 10. He was tired -- no, I don't know. I don't know. (laughter). He played 10 holes with us then he decided he was going to go practice with Butch. David is hitting the ball well, and I played with Stuart Appleby, too, so it was enjoyable. I mean, I could be hitting the ball better. I think Stuart can be hitting the ball better but it was a practice round; so, hopefully hit her good tomorrow.

Q. No. 1 one of your goals?

MARK O'MEARA: I would like to say that I would cherish the moment to No. 1 ranked player in the world, but I am not losing any sleep over the fact that I am not No. 1. As long as I am No. 1 in my wife's heart and children's heart, you know, I will be all right.

Q. Are you?

MARK O'MEARA: I don't know. Sometimes I think I am. You know, the lifestyle that my family lives, I better be No. 1 in their heart. Thanks.

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