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


October 23, 1996

Mark O'Meara


LEE PATTERSON: Any questions you might have for Mr. O'Meara today?

Q. Mark, the Vardon Trophy race, were you surprised yesterday that -- because of the change with the British Open numbers?

MARK O'MEARA: I'm never surprised. I saw the USA Today and I saw that Tom was leading now. And I think that's fine. If they're going to count it as official money, why not count it in the Vardon Trophy, too. I didn't realize it wasn't counted. So now I see that he's leading and I'm second or third.

Q. By a tenth of a stroke?

MARK O'MEARA: I knew coming in if I had a good tournament this week here in Tulsa that I'd have an opportunity to win that

Vardon Trophy, and that would be very special to me, because consistency is kind of what I've always thrived on. And I think that that shows a sign of a player who's played pretty consistently all year long.

Q. A lot of fans think "money list, money list, money list." Is that more important to players?

MARK O'MEARA: I think the players, deep down inside, realize how important that category is. Players look at that category. They look at the greens in regulation, and they look at putting and the money list. The money list always gets the most attention, but Player-of-the-Year honors is a great achievement to have. And you're looking at a guy like Phil Mickelson who probably has a pretty good lock on it, but you never know. That can change at that event, relative to what a couple of other players are close to and do this week, if they happen to win this week, that could change. That's that, and I think the Vardon Trophy, yes, are important amongst the players.

Q. You and Tom are paired together for the first two days; aren't you?

MARK O'MEARA: We are the first day. They go off the money list and then they go by score.

Q. He said he's going to be on his worse behavior with you?

MARK O'MEARA: He drilled me last week in the World Matchplay. I didn't particularly play that great that week against Tom. I played relatively decent, but I didn't make any putts. I like Tulsa. I enjoy this golf course. Last year I think I finished 13th or 10th or 11th, somewhere around that area. Once again, consistency, playing at eight of the last ten TOUR Championships is kind of a special thing for me. So every time I'm here that's special. This year has been special. To win the amount of money, to win the two tournaments I did, to play the way we did at the Presidents Cup and the Dunhill Cup, it's been a tremendous year for Mark O'Meara. To play well here would be icing on the top of the cake.

Q. How different does the course play today than yesterday?

MARK O'MEARA: There's a little more grass on the fairways. The greens are in beautiful condition. They're not quite the same speed as they were last year. They're holding a little bit better because of the moisture that's happened on Sunday and Monday and obviously yesterday a little bit, too. Not as much wind. If the wind picks up, dries the course out, it's going to play a little tougher. But right now I would say the golf course is playing a little easier than it did last year.

Q. Are you going to see some other par scores?

MARK O'MEARA: I think if you have a day like this tomorrow, you're going to see under par scores. And what the weekend does, they're calling for rain. If it gets windy before the storm or the storm comes and it's nasty, once again, I think anything under par is going to be good.

Q. You mentioned Player-of-the-Year race, if you win this tournament and the Vardon Cup, would you be --

MARK O'MEARA: If I won this week and won the Vardon Trophy, I think it would be close. But you're looking at Phil who's won four events. I don't know if I would go by him on the list. What's first place, here? 540? He'd have to finish last. I don't see that happening. That kind of went out the window, kind of the money list a little bit in the way when Phil won at the World Series. I haven't played in the U.S., besides the Presidents Cup since Canada. I was overseas for a couple of weeks. I took a couple of weeks off. When he all of a sudden got a $400,000 lead, I just said, hey, look, I'm not conceding it, but the guy's made $1.6 million, that's something to be said for a fantastic year. So my goal would be to try to go out this week and try to play well and try to win the Championship. That would be a great honor for me.

Q. Talk about what a great year it's been, where does

St. Andrews rank a few weeks ago?

MARK O'MEARA: I think it ranks right up there. I've played on three other Dunhill Cup teams. I thought I only played two, but someone advised me this was my fourth time when I was over there. We never won the years I was on the team. We lost in the finals a couple of times, and this team was neat because I got to know Steve Stricker a little bit better and I got to know Phil a little bit better. And we had a warm relationship amongst the three of us. All three of us played extremely well. I think I was 15 under par for the week, for five rounds that I played. Phil was 10-under par for the five rounds he played and Steve was 10-under par for the five rounds he played. So the three of us were combined 35 under par for five matches, which, around the old course, is pretty special. And to win was even more special.

Q. The one round?

MARK O'MEARA: The one round, the first round where I had 8-under after nine holes, eight birdies in a row. When you start making birdies you don't take time to think, "gosh, I just birdied six holes or seven." They were going in from everywhere. And it was a lot of team. And Constantino Rocco was down on the green with his hat off and he was throwing it, and Norman was walking off of 10, he says it looks like you need some help, and maybe the two of us can tag team and take this kid on, he's going crazy on you. That was kind of fun. I knew what was going on out there. 10-under after 12, good chance to break the course record. I had the wind helping me coming home, and it just didn't happen. A little bit unfortunate on the luck on 17, I didn't hit that bad a shot. It could have stayed up, it teetered, and it chose not to, so a lot of the Scottish fans were probably a little bit pleased that it rolled down on the dirt road, because nobody likes to see the old course beat up like that.

Q. Mark, you played with Tiger today. With his being in the spotlight as much as he is now, what does that do to other players in terms of maybe getting them to lift it up another level, because you want to be back there?

MARK O'MEARA: I think that will -- the majority of the players realize that Tiger has been good for the game. He's been good for the PGA TOUR. And I would say the majority of the players -- it's the same situation when John Daly won the PGA Championship, he was tossed into the limelight. But I think these players saw it coming. He knew Tiger had these qualities. They realized he was going to be a winner on the PGA TOUR; not necessarily did we realize he was going to win so fast and do so well so quickly. But he's a phenomenon in sports, he's kind of it right now, in all of sports, not just golf. He's kind of probably the most special thing that's happened to anything in the whole worldwide of sports included. And I think the players, if anything, would use that as a motivating tool to try to increase their game and keep bringing it up a notch to let everybody know, hey, we've got some other great quality players out here, too. But I don't think there's a lot of animosity amongst the players. I think most players have been pretty receptive towards Tiger.

Q. Positive motivation?

MARK O'MEARA: I think so. Use it in a positive way. I do. But I realize he's 20 and I'm going to be 40 next January. He's still a kid, and I'm an old man, relatively speaking. But he's a good guy, and I like him and I would consider him a friend.

Q. Playing with him today, is there anything in particular that stood out about him, his personality, his game, that you really liked that you hadn't noticed before?

MARK O'MEARA: No, I've played with him before. To be honest with you, I've played with him at home. I've played with him when he was 16. He's come a long way since he was 16. He was obviously very good then, too. The kid's got good mechanics. He conducts himself very well out there. He's got it all. And that's why you do what he's done. And especially with the amount of pressure that's been applied, the expectations on Tiger Woods are astronomical. And so far he's kind of lived up to expectations, which, to me, is a credit to he and his family.

Q. Don't you even live in the same housing development? And if you do, can you talk about that? Do you have a relationship with him that way?

MARK O'MEARA: We do. I tried to explain to Tiger, why doesn't he move over to my house and I'll move to his townhouse. I can downgrade and he can move up. We spent some time fishing and out in the water and playing golf. And I would just -- as a player who's been on the TOUR for 16 years who has experienced quite a different array of events in my lifetime, I just try to talk to him and try to maybe not really coach him. I'm not coaching him on the standpoint of his golf swing or anything else. I would just try to let him know kind of what might be coming on and what to look for in the future and this and that and realizing that he needs to be happy. No matter how many tournaments you win or how much money you make, or all the stuff, if you're not happy, none of the other stuff really matters. And you've got to understand, his position is, sure, everybody will say Tiger Woods has done this, and Tiger Woods is making this amount of money, but he has to give up a lot, too. He's given up a lot of his privacy. There's pluses and minuses on both ends of the scale in anything you do. I'm glad he's my neighbor. We have other celebrities that are living in that development that are good friends, and it's fun to go out and play golf with him.

Q. Mark, is there anyone in particular in this field, including yourself, if you feel like it, that is particularly hot right now or particularly plays well on this course?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I think you have to look at players who have played here before. Corey has done well here, PGA, did well here last year. I think you've got to look at a guy who can really manage themself well out there, that's what it's going to take. There's been some good players that haven't done so well around this golf course. I think the guy who manages himself well and putts well is the guy that's going to get the job done this week.

Q. What do you have after this, the rest of the year?

MARK O'MEARA: Well, I'm home actually for a couple of days next week and then I'm in Japan for the Masters there the following week. And then I'm at the Shark Shootout in Los Angeles the next week playing with Curtis. And then I come home and then I play Sun City, and then I'm done December 2nd. So the last couple of weeks being in Europe and now here I'll be a pretty busy, pretty much October, November, those two months I'll be very busy and then I'll take some time off in December.

Q. Where does this year rank on your all-time list of the best year you've had, where is it on Mark O'Meara's list?

MARK O'MEARA: I would definitely put it as probably the best year I've played on the PGA TOUR. And it's nice to know that at 39 years old I still feel like I've got many good years ahead of me, still. I think the maturity factor is better. I enjoy competition this year. I enjoyed competing and trying to win the events, such as the Presidents Cup, playing the way I played, winning five matches, helping my teammates out, especially the way I've played on previous Ryder Cups. It was a lot of fun, and to go over and team up with Davis and Steve at Dunhill, win that, and bring that back to the United States. There's no question that it's been a super year for Mark O'Meara.

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