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June 15, 1999

David Duval


LES UNGER: Good afternoon. And to all those folks who are watching us on The Golf Channel, we welcome them as well. We're delighted to have David Duval here. The first question is to please tell us how his very valuable hands are right now.

DAVID DUVAL: I guess I can get that out of the way quickly. They seem to be fine. I played this morning, and didn't really have any problems with it. It's probably valid to ask me tomorrow; although, I might not want to answer anymore. Seems like all I've been talking about. Seems like they're okay, and I didn't have any problems playing with them.

LES UNGER: Must have been frustrating after the wonderful start, four victories, and a lot of success, and then all of a sudden this accident.

DAVID DUVAL: No. Not frustrating at all, because it hasn't hampered anything, it hasn't prevented me from playing, and it doesn't seem like it's going to prevent me from performing as I would like this week. So it wasn't exactly the greatest of timing, but it looks like it's going to be okay.

LES UNGER: Tell us, since you just played, your evaluation and thoughts about the golf course.

DAVID DUVAL: Well, I'm more than pleased with it. We get asked a lot about if we had to name one course as our best course, our favorite course. Nobody can seem to do that. They can make a list of four or five, and I guess the best way is to answer it, that this will probably be added to that list. I think it's wonderful.

LES UNGER: We'll entertain questions, please, and wait for the microphone.

Q. You don't recognize me, but I know your father well, and we actually played golf when you were in college up in Ponte Vedra. And I wrote a column saying you would be the next Jack Nicklaus. So a lot of people kind of think I know something, but I don't. I'm with the local radio station, and also a cartoonist. You've lost a lot of weight since I've seen you. They say you're healthy. But let me ask you, with the advent of rain, how is it going to change your chances? We've heard that guys like you, the long hitters, would have an advantage. Would it be a disadvantage if it rains?

DAVID DUVAL: No. I don't really understand -- I know what you're asking, but if it rains, all that does to the long players is gives them more advantage, not less, because we carry the ball farther. And the people who hit it shorter tend to rely on more roll, and they're not going to get the run-out like they would normally; whereas, we're going to carry it still 280 yards.

Q. The talk about Tiger seems to have escalated even more in the past few weeks. Is that something you think about at all or care much about at all, or do you just go out and try to win no matter who is contending with you?

DAVID DUVAL: I think about it because I'm asked about it. I don't see how it's escalating, because nothing has changed since two months ago. We haven't come off face-to-face on a tournament on Sunday. I don't understand how it could have gotten bigger or changed, but I don't think about it, no.

Q. You said the course is wonderful and you're pleased with it. The question is why; what do you like so much about it?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, first, off I think it suits me well. It seems to set up for me well. But I think at the same time, it's nice to have -- playing in U.S. Opens present new challenges, as opposed to what we're typically used to. I think it's going to demand the players to think a lot more and be very, very precise with their approach shots and the greens.

Q. Dave, you're hitting a lot of extra little wedge shots from behind 18. What are sort of the variables that you're looking at as far as around the green? Do you do that little 5-wood thing? How comfortable are you putting through that stuff? Bump-and-run, what all options are you kicking around?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, I think your options are a 3-wood type play, like you see some players doing. I think you have an option of putting. I think there's an option of using -- what -- I don't use a 3-wood, but it's the same type shot. I use a 2- or 3-iron; it's the same premise. And I think the other option is chipping the ball, carrying it onto the green. But into those slopes, kind of lifting it into the slope and letting it kill it and bounce up then. I don't see an option of using 6- or 7-irons to bump it through the grass. Those are the options I see.

Q. What do you see is the degree of difficulty in the rough?

DAVID DUVAL: I think what you're going to see, assuming it stays a similar height as it is now, is it gives the players kind of a false sense of security that you can advance it onto the green. And it looks to me the reasoning is to try to get players to go ahead and try to hit some shots that will run into greens, because that's when you can get in more trouble, as opposed to if you just have 180 yards to the green, and you knock it out 100 yards and you have an 80-yard sand wedge, and you knock it on and make a four or five. Whereas, if you hit some shots out of it, you might catch the flyers that really go a long ways off line or a long ways over the greens, and I think that's when you're bringing bogeys, and maybe a double bogey, into play.

Q. Now that you've played Pinehurst, would you project a possible winning score? The second question is what does the No. 1 player in the world do, apart from preparing for Pinehurst? I mean prior to that, what part of your game needs any special attention?

DAVID DUVAL: At this moment?

Q. Yes.

DAVID DUVAL: I stand by what I always say. I always think you can putt and chip better and hit your wedges better; so that's what I continually work on.

Q. Do you have a score?


Q. I think we've all heard the teapot story, but can you take us from the start through the burn incident?

DAVID DUVAL: You know, if you want to hear the long version -- is everybody familiar with those little, single-pack things of coffee, like tea bags? Same thing, basically. Well, I moved a week ago, two weeks ago; so in my old house, I would get a little pot with water and boil the water and pick it up; pour it into the coffee cup and put the bag in and make a single cup. And I was doing the same thing; however, I guess at the old, house it was one of those smooth, kind of like glass-top electric ranges. And this one is a gas range, and I did the same thing. Didn't even think about it being any different than the other one, and grabbed the handle of the pot, and that's when I burned myself.

Q. Would you name a few players that you think their game they're playing now suits them well to win this tournament, other than yourself?

DAVID DUVAL: I think Tiger, Justin Leonard, Davis Love, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie. You could go on and on, really. I think it's -- I think what happens is -- I think the way the setup is that it brings a lot more people into the mix. When you play a typical Open, you know, the fairway is going to be narrow and the rough is going to be high. But since, here, you have the options of advancing the ball, that brings more people into play. I think it's a lot more wide open.

Q. Could you talk about how the injury affected your preparations, if at all?

DAVID DUVAL: It halted them. I could not -- I haven't done anything for like a week. I did stuff on, I think, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And Friday, I burned my hand; so I haven't done anything since like last Wednesday.

Q. David, do you feel you'll be able to play the way you would have played with the hand?

DAVID DUVAL: I feel it will be fine.

Q. With the rain that is expected, do you see the course drastically changing from maybe Thursday's opening round through the weekend and having to adjust for that?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, I don't know how much rain is going to come. If it's a lot, it could have a big effect. But I think it's going to soften up some, but it will dry up quickly. I don't know how the course drains. The greens look like they'll continue to be fairly firm, because they tend to be raised. But I don't know what's expected weather-wise.

Q. You touched on this: What peculiar differences does this course make, and what are your strengths, how do they match up with the peculiar difficulties of this course?

DAVID DUVAL: It's kind of what I've just said. You don't have the typical rough everywhere. You have a lot of run-outs around the greens. And because of the various slopes, especially around the edges, the greens themselves are actually smaller -- the square footage, if you calculated it, might be. And you're going to have to be precise. And every player is going to have to miss the green; so you have to chip -- you're going to have to have a lot of different options. You're going to have to be creative and hit a lot of shots.

Q. How do your strengths match up with it?

DAVID DUVAL: I think as a player out here, whether it's me or anybody else, if the player is playing good, I think they match up fine anywhere. They asked me before I'd seen the golf course if I thought I should get up there, and I was trying to, but it worked out that I couldn't. I think this is about my 7th or 6th, maybe 8th Open, and I've yet to play in one that hitting it in the fairway and knocking it on the green doesn't work, whether there's rough or not. So I hope that it matches well. I think that all in all, I'm a pretty straight driver, and I have good irons and play good iron play. So I think it could match up well, assuming I play good.

Q. David, with you and Tiger, how has that affected you and helped you in your playing?

DAVID DUVAL: What are you getting at?

Q. Has he been extra motivation to you, and maybe have you been extra motivation to him?

DAVID DUVAL: I can't answer for him. I don't know. I think Tiger is a player, one of several players out here, that will always be motivating to other competitors, solely because you know you're going to have to improve and get better. But at the same time, I'm a firm believer that if you need motivation from outside sources, you're not going to go very far; you have to have inner motivation. I understand the fact that I have to improve and get better to keep up with all the different players, but I don't rely on that. I count on myself for that.

Q. We can see the tape on your fingers. Can you talk about what precautions you're going to have to take on Thursday to protect your hands?

DAVID DUVAL: Same thing as right here.

Q. What's the treatment, anything special?


Q. And finally, the game that really does rely so much on touch and feel, do you put it out of your mind totally, or how do you deal with that?

DAVID DUVAL: It had no affect today. I can't really say for Thursday what it's going to be like. But I don't see why it would be any different. It's all speculation right now, but based on today, I don't foresee it even being an issue.

Q. David, as a modern player, how do you think of the work done by Donald Ross?

DAVID DUVAL: I was pretty fortunate. I grew up on a Donald Ross golf course. It's not a world-famous one like this one, but you can still see some of the same thinking involved. I think what you see with those golf courses, they're like ageless. They will always seem to be good golf-and-chip challenges for any type player. I think that's what you're going to find out this week.

Q. David, back before Colonial and Dallas, I heard something that maybe you weren't as fired up about golf as you would have liked to have been. Have you regained that now, and if so, how?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, I put a lot of hard work on and off the golf course, getting ready for the run from THE PLAYERS Championship to Augusta. I was in the mix for a while on Sunday, which obviously wears on you. I just wasn't as ready to play as I would like to be when I got to Houston. Maybe it's just I was more drained from those three weeks than I had expected, maybe. So I chose to not play for a little while, to try to get back and get ready. And yes, I am very eager to play.

Q. David, with Father's Day coming up, can you talk about what your dad has meant to you, how you got started in the game, and maybe the relationship between fathers and sons in this game, especially?

DAVID DUVAL: No, I can't. First of all, I don't have the time. I think it's pretty well documented what part he's played in my life, and the fact I grew up around him and around the golf course. But other than that, we could sit here for quite a long time and talk about it; so I think it's best we don't get started, because I'm going to invariably skip some things or leave some things out. And I don't think that would be fair, either.

Q. David, with allegedly the rough not quite as high, and the absence of rough on the collars around the greens, might this course be something more akin to what the average mainstream American golfer might see than previous Open courses?

DAVID DUVAL: No, I don't think -- I think this is very different. Most golf courses that everybody plays they don't have the maintenance budget to maintain so many acres of grass and keep everything so closely mown. That's why you see a lot of rough everywhere. You don't have to cut it as often; not as many man hours involved. I don't think you can appreciate it until you get on and play it -- well, I shouldn't say that. People will see it on TV. Balls are going to roll and not stop for a while; so they'll get an idea of what it is. And they'll have some shots of green elevations, and you'll be looking down and see a player trying to come up and not see but the top of his head. It's going to be fun to watch, I'm sure.

Q. David, Lee Westwood was in here and said he was almost disappointed that the rough is only three inches, and said he preferred it to be knee deep, and the course to be concrete hard. I just wondered what your thoughts on that would be?

DAVID DUVAL: You know, I don't have any preferences. I tend to just try to get out and play what's in front of me. I just don't see any use in wasting energy wishing about something that isn't. The golf course isn't that way; so I don't worry about it.

Q. David, how might the experience of playing and winning at THE PLAYERS Championship under severe difficult conditions help you this week?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, THE PLAYERS Championship obviously has a big importance in the game. Although it's not labeled a major, it's without question the best field every year. It's just -- it's tough; everybody is there. And so what you can draw on is the fact that everybody is there. Everybody teed it up. You played under extreme conditions, and I beat them. So as long as you continue to realize that the same -- it's the same type field, you've done it before. There's no reason not to think you can do it again.

Q. One more stupid hand question: Did you consider or try wearing a glove on that hand, and if not, why not?

DAVID DUVAL: Yes, I considered it, but, no, I haven't. I got in touch with the folks with Titleist to make sure I had some right-handed gloves if I needed it. But it hasn't been the case that I needed it. I was fully prepared to try it, but I haven't needed to.

Q. David, how tough is the pressure you were undergoing into Augusta, and how are things different now heading to this major?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't think it's a lot different, really. I don't think that the pressure was any greater than anywhere else, though. I might be the so-called favorite, but that has no bearing on the way you play or the outcome or how people look at you. But I don't see the -- it's not a whole lot different this week, either, I don't think. But it didn't -- that's not the reason I didn't win. I didn't win because I didn't play well enough.

Q. David, would your season be complete without a major championship, or does the TPC sort of qualify?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, I can't answer that yet. The season is not over. It's hard to say. You don't know what's going to happen. I might win one or might win two or might not win any, or win six other regular events. You can't say what's going to happen. I would certainly hope that at the end of the PGA, that I could tell you that I don't have to answer that question. But right now, I wouldn't want to call it necessarily disappointment, because a lot of great things have happened so far, but I don't know how I would feel.

Q. What's your schedule from here? And if you were -- up until the British Open, and if you were to win, would that change?

DAVID DUVAL: No, it wouldn't. My schedule will not change. I'm playing next week, and then I play the British. But the only thing that might change that is just how my hand reacts. If it gets bad and I don't feel like I can play next week, then I won't. But other than that, I'm playing.

Q. Other than "ouch," what does one think when they put their hand on a teapot?

DAVID DUVAL: It wasn't really "ouch" (laughter.) You don't think -- I don't know what you think. You just -- just "this is great." Seems like nice timing. But I was obviously worried and concerned. But at the same time, it's not hard to do that. Hard not to worry, but it still was Friday, and I didn't know what was going to happen over the next few days. And luckily, right now, it seems to be okay.

LES UNGER: Are you still drinking tea?

DAVID DUVAL: It wasn't for tea, it was for coffee. But, yes, I am.

Q. You said that you think it's not going to affect you. But are you in pain? Does it hurt?

DAVID DUVAL: No, it really didn't today.

Q. Now the real question: You and Tiger have talked about how there's no rivalry because there's been no head-to-head confrontation. When that time comes, whether it's here or somewhere else, will you go to that thinking: This is just another guy I'm trying to beat. Or will you be thinking: Here it is, this is the confrontation we've been waiting for?

DAVID DUVAL: I would speculate that I would be thinking that this is the same old, same old -- just another person that I have to beat. Now, if that comes to pass and I come out on top, I might gloat a little more (laughter.) No, I think as a competitor, when you're playing, the person who eventually wins is not really concerned about one single player. When they're done playing, they might take more pride out of the fact that it was Tiger or Greg Norman or whoever else it might have been that they beat. But I think while you're actually doing it, it has no bearing.

Q. David, how many holes of indoor practice swings did you get in today, and will the hand change? How much you will do in the next couple of days before Thursday?

DAVID DUVAL: I played a full day. I played a full round. I hit balls to loosen up, and then I teed off 6:30, 6:40 this morning, and played a full round. Hit some extra shots while I was out and chipped around. And then I've been chipping over there for, I don't know how long, maybe an hour. Maybe not quite that long. And no, it won't have any affect on what I continue to do, at least not right now.

Q. David, have you had much feedback since Augusta about having the TV match with Tiger, as opposed to it happened -- it happened kind of confrontation, showdown?


Q. Have you had much feedback? Has anybody said, "That's great," or, "Gee, why didn't you let it happen naturally"?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, there's been both. It seems that -- it seems like a lot of the television people are excited about it. It seems like the reaction has been more negative in the written media. And there's certainly been questions about that, about letting it happen. But I think -- I think by talking about that match as a rivalry, I think it's blowing it a bit out of proportion. I don't think the reasoning behind it is quite correct. It's a one-day match. It's a one-day, 18-hole thing, and that does not make a rivalry. What it is is a good way to get golf in primetime. Try to expose it to folks who might not happen to watch it on Sunday afternoon. And it's an avenue to raise a lot of money for charities, as well. But there has been people saying positive things, and obviously there has been bad things said about it, too. Everybody is entitled to their opinions about it. So I wouldn't try to sway somebody one way or another. But maybe because I'm involved, I just have a harder time seeing the negatives of it. I think what it is supposed to do and what it represents, it is only good for our game and for the other people involved. Because, if you create a greater television audience because of it, that's going to benefit all the people out here who play.

Q. You said you came out and walked the course yesterday. When did you do that, how typical is that? And would you have done that had you not had the situation with your hand?

DAVID DUVAL: It's not typical. I don't usually -- I won't do that usually unless I play. I don't remember exactly when I went out. I think it was about 2:30, and I walked the golf course and took a few clubs to see if I could chip around and putt a little bit. I couldn't really chip around, but I tried to get some lines off the tees and see the greens.

Q. Earlier, when you were talking about your reaction when you burned your hand, as a great golfer and a guy who is worth a lot of money to himself and needs to stay healthy, do you think about things: Maybe I better not pick up a knife today, or better not do this or that?

DAVID DUVAL: No, I don't. It's kind of funny with all the different things I do and the -- all the snow-boarding where people seem to think I'm crazy to do it. I've never had any problems with doing that, but trying to fix a cup of coffee, I tried to almost take myself out (laughter.) Maybe I should just get up on a mountain and buy a cup of coffee at the bottom.

Q. This kind of touches on a question earlier about winning a major. How much does that burn inside of you for your career to get that out of the way?

DAVID DUVAL: Very much. I don't see it as something I want to get out of the way. I see it as a continual challenge. I think as players look back when they're coming to the ends of their careers, it's really nice, and they feel a lot better if they have gotten -- if they have won a major or two. But I think as a competitor, if I won this week, well, I'm not going to be satisfied with it. I'm going to be wanting to win the next one, as well. And I think that will continue as I play. So I don't view it as something I want to overcome. And say I win here at Pinehurst. All right, I've won a major, and now I don't have to worry about them anymore, I've done that. That's not how I think of it. I think it was something that's going to be a challenge for the next 15, 20 years, whatever it might be.

LES UNGER: David, we thank you very much and wish you good luck.

End of FastScripts….

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