Q. Can you talk about your short game a little bit, when you focussed in the early 90's, looking at it again, you are No. 1 in the scrambling stat, have you put more time in that part of the game now?
NICK PRICE: A little bit. I worked really hard on my putting I suppose more than ever before in my career. The last four or five years. I have worked real hard on my putting. First of all, Leadbetter, he says, you are never going to hit the ball any better, go practice your putting.
Has get's on my case, you know. There is all sorts of little thing. One of my good buddies at home, his son is five years old, every time I phone him, he tells Bruce, speak to Nick. Hey, Nick Price, the world's worst putter. They got on me like that for a while. But I suppose I made a little more of a science about it. The scrambling stats, I don't know how good those are because I hit an awful lot of fringes. I know my short game is strong. But it's not in the Brad Faxon league. He is the kind of guy that should be leading at scrambling stats.
Q. What did you learn about your putting technique-wise that made you better? Have you learned some mechanics that are permanent now?
NICK PRICE: Yes, I started about 3 years ago working the pace of my stroke which is something that I never really given that much thought to. But then I went to see Scott Cameron on the Monday of the Match Play and I learned more in 2 hours about putting than I learned in my entire career. He helped me an awful lot. It was I suppose an amalgamation of a lot of things that I have been working on the last couple of years. And what he said to me that really got me going, which is why I putted so well the last couple of weeks, in fact, it's been a month now, that I have putted really well, although two weeks I was at home. And, you know, when you putt well, you know this, it takes so much pressure off your long game. That's been huge for me.
Jay Hass if you speak to him, or ask him why he played well this year because he putted so solid. You know, you always go back and say I wish I knew then what I know now. If I known about my putting, what I know now, I probably would have won a couple of more majors at least.
Q. Can you talk about how shot making has helped yourself and other veterans? Are there courses now or tournaments that you are at a disadvantage?
NICK PRICE: Yes, there are some. Not so much the golf courses. Some of the golf courses. But it also depends on the conditions. So if you get a lot of rain, the grass is soft, Muirfield is a good example. Furyk, he won there last year, the ball was running and the ball was releasing. You look back from there, it's all launches. Guys, when they hit it soft and wet. I know Jack would like to have it dry and firm, but unfortunately they always seem to get a lot of rain there. There are a lot of courses that we are playing now that if you don't hit the ball 295 yards off the tee, you are at a disadvantage. I mean John Rollins, I played with him today. He is 28 or 27 years old. He and I hit the ball the same length. I was thinking to myself, this guy is going to have to start selecting his courses like I have done over the last few years, or get some more length. But I don't know. The TOUR is doing a good job of not putting on 30 yards on every hole. What you really want to see is a mix. You don't want to see too much of one or too much of the other. You want to see some long courses and you want to see some shot maker goal courses. There is no doubt people want to see guys hit their drivers as far as they can, hit the ball 330 yards off the tee. But not every week. We can't play golf like that every week. You just take so many great players, talented players out of the equation if you do that.
There is 2 guys out there now Trevor and Luke Donald, who I played with, these guys are not big guys but they got beautiful golf games. You can't, just because they are not 6 foot, 2 and hit the ball 300 yards, you can't take them out of the chance of winning a major championship. However, I know both of those guys will have a tough time winning at Augusta which is kind of sad. They are both extremely talented players. There is probably a hole lot more out there now coming in, who hopefully -- guys who are artists, you know, they are not just guys that will not stand over the ball and just smash it.
As I said, the TOUR has done a good job of it balancing it up now.
Q. When you were Player of the Year 10 years ago you were long, you were like 6th on this TOUR in driving?
NICK PRICE: 276.
Q. How did it change so fast?
NICK PRICE: Medium. Everyone just came past me. What I maintain is that when we hit wooden drivers, there was no way you could swing as hard at a wooden driver as can you with the new drivers. The margin for error was too great in a wooden driver. So you had a very small sweet spot and if you miscued that ball, it will go across 2 fairways. We grew up using 130 gram shafts, wooden clubs that were 43 inches long. I would say that my whole life -- when I would swing hard, swinging normally with a driver, was about 83, 84 percent of my strength.
If you look at the guys today, these guys are running at 94, 95, 96. Mickelson goes flat out, way up in the 90's. I think a lot of it has to do with the forgiveness of the driver. The ball goes straight now obviously. But have you a shaft that weights 60 or 70 grams. A club that is 45, 46 inches long. There is no way you would be able to add that length onto an old wooden driver and expect to hit it straight. So I think that's the big difference. The younger guys go at it so much harder.
Q. When you were Player of the Year, did you use Persimmon both of those years?
NICK PRICE: No, the small metal woods. The small metal woods probably had the biggest sweet spot than the old wooden clubs not the same as these are now. Someone was asking me, don't you think the young guys are a lot stronger and a lot fitter. Greg Norman, when I came out in '78 or '79, he was about the strongest person that I ever seen. I don't think strength and fitness is contributing to the length. I think it might be a little bit of that. But there were a lot of strong guys when I was around.
Q. Nick, how much did winning at Colonial last year contribute to the enthusiasm from the game that you still have?
NICK PRICE: Well, it's a month to month thing because if you are playing poorly, there is nothing worse than being in a hotel room on your own away from your family. So as the months progress you keep playing well and you just need to put a good round together and it gives you hope and encouragement. I know about enough about my swing now and my game that it's basically about management.
Q. Is it that fragile in a month's time, it will change your frame of mind?
NICK PRICE: Could do it. Miss the cut next week, and two weeks after that the whole summer is off for me. You don't know. If something started happening to me with my swing or my putting stroke that was really going to hurt me and I couldn't compete and shoot decent scores then I would definitely think about quitting.
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