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January 23, 2000

Rory Sabbatini


LEE PATTERSON: I know you said something when you walked in here, you might want to repeat that. But even though you're disappointed, I know you learned a lot today. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about that, and then we'll open it up for questions.

RORY SABBATINI: It's not a situation where I feel like I lost the tournament or anything to that regard. Jesper played exceptionally well. He played well under the gun and shot 5-under. You know, that's just solid playing out here. Unfortunately, he got the better of me today, but the more opportunities I have, the less times it will happen.

Q. Do you feel like you lost it on the back nine, basically?

RORY SABBATINI: It's not that I lost it. It's just there were a few distractions going on out there; so I lost a little bit of concentration and got my focus a little lost. I hit a few errant shots, and then you start playing in back of your mind "What's going on?" You're doing this, you're doing that, and your mind just starts overworking. So it's not that I lost it. You know, for how I played on the back nine, I think I won the tournament, because I don't even know if I hit too many greens on the back side. I was just grinding out there, and, you know, the positive aspect is that I managed to stay in it, even when I wasn't at my best.

Q. Could you talk about how you were feeling after that birdie on 9 -- and when you felt your swing leaving you on the back, or when did you feel like you were grinding on the back?

RORY SABBATINI: Obviously, I came off with great momentum after 9, after making that birdie. And I got to 10, and I hit a little bit of an errant second shot, and it's going to happen. You can't hit everything as expected the whole day. And I got up there and, unfortunately, there were a few distractions going on around the green, which made it tough, and I lost concentration and hit a bad chip shot.

Q. What kind of distractions?

RORY SABBATINI: Unfortunately, there was a marshal who decided he was going to play soccer with my golf ball. We had to keep pulling him away from my golf ball. He almost stepped on it twice. I don't know if he realized it was there, but it was very unnecessary for him to walk right there. It just took me out of my train of thought.

Q. What hole was that?

RORY SABBATINI: That was on 10. And you know, from there, it kind of played on my mind.

Q. Is that something that you learn for the next tournament that you play?

RORY SABBATINI: I tell you something, it's a great preparation for Phoenix next week (Laughter.)

Q. How many holes did it take to get that out of your mind?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, it was pretty much out of my mind by the next hole, but unfortunately, that wasn't playing on my mind. It just pulled me out of my focus. So it took me probably two holes to regain that focus, and unfortunately, it was a costly two holes.

Q. Could you talk about how you played 18, and when did you know that Parnevik had made his putt, his birdie putt?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, you're standing out there in the fairway, we had a pretty good view of what was going on. And we saw him make his birdie, so we knew we needed to make a birdie to tie. I had a very -- I hit a good drive, it just went five yards too far left. You know, it was a situation where if I had had a fraction bit more lie, I would have had a better go at the green. But it was just too dicey, and I tried to lay up and I guess I laid up a little too well. And, you know, it happens. It's sad, but it happens.

Q. You missed a lot of shots left coming in, was that --?

RORY SABBATINI: Once again, I got out of my focus area that I was in. Those are things that I've been working on, and it allowed the error that I've been correcting to creep back in. And unfortunately, once it gets back in, it's just -- it's hard to say, "Okay, this is exactly what it is." You're out there on the golf course and -- my caddie is not standing behind me and watching me hit golf balls and seeing me, picking things up. He just has to say, "You hit a bad shot; let's go on."

Q. Is that just coming over the top or getting a little quick?

RORY SABBATINI: A little quick at the top. My transaction from my backswing to my downswing just got a little too quick on me, so it just allowed for a little bit of body movement and everything for me to get outside my swing plane.

Q. Your second shot on 18, what club was that and how far do you think the birdie putt, or attempt was, on 18?

RORY SABBATINI: My second shot, I tried to just pitch it out with a wedge, and my birdie putt was probably 25 feet.

Q. Could you describe your thoughts after you hit the sand wedge to give yourself a chance?

RORY SABBATINI: I was very happy with my third shot, considering what I had facing me, and you know, it was almost a situation, once I had hit my second shot there, it was -- birdie was almost out of the picture completely, and I was just trying to recover for the par. And, you know, I had a great shot from there and allowed myself the opportunity to still make the birdie. So these things -- they occur, but hopefully, less frequently in the future.

Q. How early in your round were you aware that Jesper was making a strong move?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, I don't even think I looked up at a scoreboard until I got to, it was probably 8 green, the par 5, and realized that I was tied with him facing a birdie putt.

Q. Third shot at 18, sand wedge from 110?

RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, I had 114 to the hole. Just hit a great lie. You know, actually, I got exceptionally lucky with my second shot in the way that it finished where it did. Just a foot further right; it's unplayable. Two yards further; I can't go over the trees.

Q. It looked like you had a lot left, second shots, on 10 and 11. Did you do something differently than you had been doing on the first 9 holes?

RORY SABBATINI: When I played the course the other day, we used almost exactly the same game plan we used when we played this course on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it may be -- some people may view it as a short course, but there's a couple holes that really demand your respect, and you have to play more conservatively. It's not really a choice as to -- I did it anything differently. It was just my choice in what I felt would be most efficient for me.

Q. Have you had problems in the past with losing focus and being distracted and had a hard time getting over it?

RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, it's been one of my downfalls, and we've been -- my instructor and I have been working on this to try and basically get myself into what people can refer to as, "The zone," and ways to trigger myself to getting into the zone, so it's -- we've basically been working on this for about three weeks. It's not a set thing, and it's just a matter of time before I get used to it and you just accept it.

Q. Who is your instructor?

RORY SABBATINI: Dean Ryemouth.

Q. What does he have you do? What kind of exercises?

RORY SABBATINI: It's just basically when you get on the range, you know a lot of people just go through the monotonous thing of hitting golf balls and you're not really focusing on what you're doing. What we try and do every time we're on the range, every single shot we hit on the range, it's just like a competition situation, of standing there and, you know, focusing on what you're doing, focusing on what your principles are, and not worrying about where the ball goes, but making sure you accomplish your principles. It's just -- that's the thing that's been hard for me, because I've generally been a person who -- I just get up and pull the trigger, and off I go. But it's now the situation when I'm playing shots on the course. I can catch my thoughts starting to drift; so, it's up to me to then back off and refocus and basically get in focus with what I'm doing.

End of FastScripts….

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