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June 18, 1999

David Duval


LES UNGER: Well, David, thank you for joining us again. Early in the round you got 5-under real quick, and I wonder if you had a feeling then that you were just going to keep going.

DAVID DUVAL: I haven't played a lot of U.S. Opens, but I played enough to realize that I wasn't. So, no, I didn't. I was just glad to be there. And as much as anything it offered a few mistakes at that point.

LES UNGER: Is your overall feeling positive of the day.

DAVID DUVAL: Very positive, considering it was a lot more difficult. I didn't play quite as well, and I still managed to shoot even par, so I'm very pleased.

LES UNGER: What would you consider better, the best, whatever, of your birdie putts today, of your situations there?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't know. I don't judge them that way. They just are what they are, you know. I made some nice birdie putts, but I probably missed some other putts that I should have made. It all balances out.

LES UNGER: Take us through your round, and again we don't need details on the routine 4s, pars.

DAVID DUVAL: 2nd hole I hit 7-iron about 30 feet right of the hole and made that. The 5th hole I hit a 6-iron about 30 feet below the hole and to the left and made that. The 6th hole I hit 3-iron into one of the right bunkers, hit out over the green, chipped up to 5 feet and missed. The 7th hole I hit a 9-iron to about three feet. The 8th hole I hit 7-iron to about 12, 14 feet. The 9th hole I hit it in the front bunker on the left with a 6-iron and 2-putted from, I don't know, 40 feet. The 11th hole I hit it in the front bunker, hit it out to 20 feet and missed. The 16th hole I left it real short of the green, chipped to 30 feet and 2-putted. 17 I hit a 7-iron about 10 or 12 feet.

Q. This round was a little more stressful than yesterday's round; was it conditions, everything drying out, the wind, the sun, the second round of the Open? What might have led to that extra stress?

DAVID DUVAL: I think more than anything the wind just made it that much more difficult. And then although I felt like I drove pretty well, it seemed like each time I got to the fairway I didn't have a 9-iron or 8-iron in my hand, I was in between them. Seemed like I had a lot of those shots today. When you combine hitting a lot of knock downs and three-quarter shots with that wind into these greens, you're going to make some mistakes and make some shots you would have preferred not to hit. I think that combination is why I've got so many squares and circles on my printout here.

Q. David, is your sand game as good as you'd like it to be? Seemed like all three times you got in the sand today you did make bogey.

DAVID DUVAL: Yeah, well, I think it can always be better, but at the same time the bunkers here are pretty thick and fluffy, and it makes them difficult to rake. And so you seemingly don't get particularly nice lies when you're in them, and a couple of lies that weren't the greatest, and some stances, I wasn't just standing level. And that combination, I just hit bad shots.

Q. Considering the conditions of the course today, was it fun out there?

DAVID DUVAL: It was fun when you execute a shot and got it on the green. Yeah, it was. I did enjoy playing today. I like the golf course and so it's fun to be out there and today presented a lot of new challenges.

Q. David, will you use the experience of winning the Players this year as others have used winning Majors to help them in other Majors?

DAVID DUVAL: Probably. Not maybe as much consciously, but just having played under very harsh conditions and being such a good field that it can't hurt me. It can only help me.

Q. What, if anything, suits you best about this course? Perhaps the emphasis on iron play?

DAVID DUVAL: I think exactly that. I think the course seems to set up well for me, at least I like how it sets up, and it demands you're hitting good iron shots. If I'm playing well, I tend to do that, so it's a good combination.

Q. Is there anything about it that inherently does not play to your strengths?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't think so, really. I like it. When I walked around Monday it just really looked good to me. I don't know if you've heard a player say when they get out there certain holes seem to fit their eyes well, how they see things. It seems to do that, a lot of them on this golf course.

Q. David, if I may, I know you're in a U.S. Open mindset now, and as you think back -- a two part question, if I might -- first of all, I knew that you feel or do you feel that fast start you got knew would help you later on. And secondly, are you pleased with your position where you are after an up-and-down round, which really was a good round?

DAVID DUVAL: I'm sorry. I missed the first question. (Laughter.)

Q. I said I know you're in a U.S. Open mindset and when you got off to your fast start in the first round that I'm sure you knew that it would hold you in good stead throughout, because you had that attitude now; and secondly, are you pleased with your position now?

DAVID DUVAL: I'm sorry. I missed the first one again. But I'm very pleased with my position, yes. (Laughter.) You can only hope to be close to the lead come the weekend, and I'm going to be there.

Q. Does this golf course wipe you out more than any golf course, or is it the U.S. Open?

DAVID DUVAL: I think it's the U.S. Open as much as anything, because you have to be very sharp throughout the day. You have to really be concentrating, and there's not one little hole that is a setup anywhere. So I think it's just the combination of the tournament itself, and the typical setups.

Q. I guess tomorrow you're obviously going to be playing late, and you'll have the opportunity to see people come back to you, is that hard to deal with? You're not going out to attack, maybe?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, that's pretty much my gameplan, you know. I think it kind of goes to what I said yesterday where I just try to make pars, because like I did today and like I'm sure every other player in the field did, they made mistakes. And if I could make the fewest, I think considering the position I'm in, I'll have a good opportunity come Sunday afternoon.

Q. Any adjustments that you make the next few days with the course playing a little faster?

DAVID DUVAL: Not really. I don't think so. I think it's still the same approach. Even though the greens are a little softer, you still had to be conscious of making sure you got it into the level pars.

Q. David, Jose Maria broke his hand, punched the wall out of frustration. What's the angriest, since you turned professional, the angriest that you've ever done?

DAVID DUVAL: I think I've snapped a club back at the hotel room. No, I think maybe I had a putter about three years ago where I grabbed one end and grabbed the other end and just broke it, like that (indicating). Maybe that's the angriest thing. But that was at the hotel room. I was frustrated. It was the putter, it just wasn't working (laughter.)

LES UNGER: You never got angry at somebody who asked a bad question, did you?

DAVID DUVAL: No, I ask bad ones, and I give bad ones, so why should I? (Laughter.)

Q. David, a lot has been said about players that have excelled in other tournaments and have not won the major tournament. You seem to have the mindset to sort of grind it out, play the patient game in the tournament. Halfway, how do you feel? And how do you think you're suited mentally-wise for this event?

DAVID DUVAL: I think I'm suited for it because I'm patient, and I feel like I'm efficient at what this tournament demands, which is hitting the ball in the fairway and knocking it on greens. I enjoy that mindset and I enjoy that type of event. And I enjoy what it does to you as a player, how it makes you a little goofy at times. I think that's the beauty of this golf tournament.

Q. Is it any more pressure for you knowing that you haven't won it?

DAVID DUVAL: No, I don't think so. You can say I should have so far or you could say I should very soon, but that's not going to help me either way. So we only have that opportunity four times a year, and you better be playing well when those weeks come around or you're not going to have any opportunities. So to feel like I have to any time right now or this week, I just don't think that way.

Q. On that double bogey, how close was that ball, the bunker shot, to stopping before it went over the hill? And was that pin borderline a little bit?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't think I ever really expected it to stop, did I, Bob? You were right there, weren't you? Mr. Ryan?

Q. Yes, I was.

DAVID DUVAL: I never expected it. I thought there was a chance before I hit the shot. But when it came out where it did I knew where it was going. And I'm not going to sit here and tell you that's not part of the place I was hoping to hit it. I certainly wanted to hit it up next to the hole and make par, but I was making sure I hit it there in error, as opposed to getting an opportunity to try it again from that same spot.

Q. I realize this is only the second day of the tournament, but did you feel any sense of competition with Phil, with the lead sometimes going back and forth, and with the way you both were playing today?

DAVID DUVAL: Not really. No, not at all, actually. I felt like if I could just keep hanging out where I was, everything would kind of sort itself out. And today was not a day to be concerned about those type of things.

Q. David, you lead the Tour in the bounce back statistics. When something like that happens like the double bogey, do you put it out of your mind or tell yourself you have to do something good like you did on the next holes, 7 and 8?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't know what the bounce back statistic is, but I think the reason that I tend to keep going fine after those type of things is because I certainly care, but I don't when it's done, because there's nothing else I can do. I've got to play 7 now, and it presents its own challenges and it's just a progression. I just made a 5 on a hole, and that's just one of 18 scores I'm going to have for the day.

Q. David, looking to Sunday's final round, two of the last four holes are par-3s, does that make it easier, harder, how does that affect you?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't know if it matters either way. I think the 15th is certainly probably one of the more difficult holes on the course. 17 is not as much. I don't know. The only thing I can say is that when it comes Sunday, a par on 15 is going to be very valuable, as well as 16. 17 is going to give you -- you have more of an opportunity to make a birdie on. And the 18th, it is a difficult hole, but if you hit a good drive, you can access a lot of different things.

Q. Mr. Duval, you've had a chance to play all the great courses in the world. We're at Pinehurst, and how do you rate this course in regards to those and with you being the No. 1 player in the world today?

DAVID DUVAL: I said after I played the first practice round that as a player I can't give you my favorite course. I don't have one favorite golf course, but this is certainly, when I mention playing Pebble Beach or Cypress Point or Augusta or here, it's going to be one of the few I mention.

Q. Bob alluded to this a little bit, this is the U.S. Open and I know most Americans would love to see a Mickelson, Duval battle down the stretch. What would you think about it?

DAVID DUVAL: I would love to be part of a battle. It's kind of like they talk about different rivalries. As long as I'm part of the rivalry, I'm all for them, you know (laughter.) But I just hope I'm in that position.

Q. You saw the course play relatively easy yesterday. It's toughened up considerably today. What, in your mind, do you expect on the weekend?

DAVID DUVAL: I would think that you're going to see players start backing up in general, at the same time I haven't looked at the computer. I don't know who is where and all of that. It looks to me, thinking that the greens are just going to continue to get harder and faster, that they're going to get it back to -- I think even par is still going to be a real nice position to be in come Sunday about 7 o'clock. And if you're at one or two over, you might not be too bad off either.

Q. David, I know you said that there wasn't a competitive factor between you and Phil, but the fact that both of you were playing well, could you feed off of each other in that sense in the two opening rounds?

DAVID DUVAL: I think in general it is better to be playing with somebody who's playing well than with somebody who's playing poorly, but I think at the same time that's part of being professional is not letting outside stuff bother you or influence what you're doing. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. I don't know if there is -- it's tough. I think it's tough for he and I to feed off of each other at the same time, because we tend to play differently. He tends to get up-and-down a lot, a lot more than I do, at least. I try not to be in positions of having to get up-and-down. But I guess the scores themselves, when a couple of players are playing well, especially Carlos was playing good yesterday, it makes a better game generally throughout the group.

Q. David, just as a follow-up to an earlier question and one of your answers, I'm looking for a good answer this time (laughter.) You said as a player this kind of golf makes you a little goofy. How does David Duval get a little goofy on the golf course?

DAVID DUVAL: I think that what happens is as many times as you might play this golf course and realize that you pick a hole, you could pick any hole it seems like out here, but you might have a 9-iron or pitching wedge in your hand, I just think that overall egos, they just kind of override, and even though you're looking away from the flags, you just kind of start shuffling towards it. And I think that's what you have to battle a lot. And I think at the same time you hit some shots, you execute like you want to and feel like you hit where you want to, and all of a sudden you're 30 yards off the green. So I think it's things like that.

Q. David, Corey said a couple of interesting things. He said yesterday the course was playing about as easy as he's ever seen a U.S. Open course to play. He also said we get a little bit of wind, get tougher conditions, you might have it where nobody breaks par here. Do you agree?

DAVID DUVAL: I'm just trying to think back of the first rounds I've played in Opens. To answer the second one, I agree. I don't know, at least as far as the boards are concerned, Phil told me on 18th green, I looked back around, I don't remember what hole it was, he said the only score I see that's under par, at least on the board, is Payne Stewart, he's the only player under par on the board. We were guessing there were people that shot four or five over, but I agree that especially as the greens get harder you're not going to see scores -- you won't see them. And if you do, it might be at 1 under. As far as the first thing, I have a hard time remembering exactly, but those are the most receptive I've ever seen greens. There's nothing they can do about it, the USGA, but I think in general, if we were at a different place, say, we played Olympic or Pebble and we had very soft greens like that without the wind, I think the score would have been lower. I think you would have seen a 6 or 7 under at another course. But I think with everything here, it got tough.

Q. Could you just talk about your approach to No. 5, and why you think you've been relatively successful there whereas the rest of the field was really struggling?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, the only reason I could give you is that I've hit it on the fairway and knocked it on the green. It's not much of an answer, but that's what I'm trying to do. And I have a certain target I have picked out behind the green that I'm aiming at regardless of whether the pin is there or not. So I have very definite places I'm looking, and I think going into the hole, I already know where I'm going to hit the ball, so I don't think about anything else, at least try to hit it there.

Q. David, did you find any of the pin positions questionable today, and if so, could you elaborate on that?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't really prescribe to that. I haven't played -- a questionable pin to me is something that you putt up to it, it turns around and comes back to you. It keeps coming around. Any pin that was questionable out there, you could hit 30 foot away from it and 2-putt. I don't think there were any questionable pins, and I don't think there are such things.

Q. Could you speak a little more about the wind and its effect today?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, it made club selection much more difficult. You had to compensate for it to make sure your ball was blown into the spots you were trying to land on greens. You had to control trajectories a little more, you had to be concerned about that more so, just a combination, I think.

Q. Was your wait at No. 6 a problem, as far as rhythm goes, and was slow play a problem during the day?

DAVID DUVAL: No. We waited a lot longer on 5 and I made birdie. The problem on 6 was I made a real bad shot off the tee. In general, you know in the Open that the afternoon, your afternoon round the first two days is going to be slow. It's going to be slower and harder and tougher, and that's just the way it is.

Q. David, knowing your confidence and ability, and we all know your confidence and ability and expect you to win this golf tournament in the near future, who do you predict will finish second behind you this year?

DAVID DUVAL: You know, I really don't care (laughter.) As long as I finish up top, it doesn't bother me. I guess if I had to choose, strictly because on the 6th tee Phil and I were talking about Ryder Cup, I'd choose him. He said he was like 13th in points, and he would want some points, and he said because of the new baby he was only going to play the Majors, and I guess because of that I'd choose him. I really don't care.

End of FastScripts....

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