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April 21, 2002

Heath Slocum


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us, Heath. It was a good effort. I'm sure you're pretty satisfied with how you played. Why don't you make a couple of comments on your day and we'll go into some questions.

HEATH SLOCUM: It was really -- it was a wonderful day. I played really well, really, apart from one hole. And I'm just really proud of myself to just staying committed all day trying to hit my shots. I hit a lot of good ones and made some good putts, and hit some good chips. Overall it was a good day.

Q. You made a lot of great holes, but 16 is the one we've got to talk about. Can you take us through 16 and what was going through your head-on each shot?

HEATH SLOCUM: I stepped up on 16 and Gio Valiante, we've been talking this week about focusing on my target and committing to it. I did a really good job. And I stepped up there, found my target and tried to make a good swing at it. I think I came over it a little bit and kind of hit it down -- in that bunker. And then we had gotten the yardage to where it was a little out of my normal range of my lob wedge. But we had a crosswind, and I wanted to make an aggressive swing out of it. I didn't want to hit a three quarter wedge. I got a little steep or something and just hit it a little fat. And from there I left myself in a bad situation. I just tried to not even get cute with it and hit it just to the center of the green, either make my putt or get my 2-putt and get out. But that bunker was just so firm, and it just went to the back of the green.

On my putt, I had a little ridge running through there. And I think I just pushed my putt and stayed on that ridge and kicked out about six feet to the right. And I don't think I missed anything inside six feet all week, and that was the first one. And I hit a good putt there, and it just went a little left on me. I just misread that. But other than that hole, I played really solid.

Q. Consensus is going to be that the pressure of looking at your first win caused that. Do you think that's true?

HEATH SLOCUM: Not at all. I mean, I think it was unfortunate that I hit that shot at that time. Because I was fully committed to hitting a good shot. I went through all my mental preparations and I felt really good over my ball all day. That shot just -- I don't miss the ball left very often. And I just happened to miss it left there. And then the next shot just was -- it was just a difficult shot, and I just didn't pull it off this time.

Q. Heath, about the putt, the first putt, you said you might have pushed it. Did you misread it as well or was it just a bad stroke?

HEATH SLOCUM: I think I read it correctly, but there was a little ridge. And I had to almost hug the ridge, stay on top, and it would have funneled just a little bit back to the left. But once I got it on the other side of that ridge, it just stayed with it and rolled off to the right.

Q. What kind of margin for error do you think you had with that putt?

HEATH SLOCUM: Not much at all.

Q. A couple of inches?

HEATH SLOCUM: Maybe. But I've been putting so well, I think I might have gotten a little ahead of that one and just pushed it. I didn't push it as bad as it looked, but it definitely ended up not being a good putt. And the next putt I did hit was a good solid putt. And I think I just misread that one.

Q. Heath, did you think that the way Justin was playing out there with all pars that he was going to give you a chance to get back into it? He seemed to be on that steady diet of pars.

HEATH SLOCUM: To be honest, I never saw the leaderboard until 15. 15, and you can't miss it there. I was just walking up and I saw -- I was actually in the fairway when I saw it. I hit my third shot and saw that I had a 1-shot lead. And had real good yardage, I thought, for that pin. And it went further than I thought. And I got a little aggressive with that stroke, just blew it right through the break and everything. Made my comeback putt. But at that time I really felt good. I really felt like obviously the tournament was in my hands, and just go take care of 16 and from 16 I'll just go to 17 and just keep playing the golf course the way I played it all day.

Q. Is that the progression? You were leading -- you were in the final group at Tucson, kind of finished 6th. Here you're in the next to last group, finishing 2nd. Is this the progression that you wanted to see here?

HEATH SLOCUM: I wanted to see the progression. If I had won today, it would be better. But I do think that it's going to go a long way. I think that what happened in Tucson helped me today. I felt more comfortable. I was more committed. I played my game better. And I think -- and I'll take something from this, as well, just go out -- I know that I can win out here. I think I've proved it to myself that I've got the game. And physically and mentally to win out here, it's just a matter of maybe catching a break or two my way, making a few more putts, quit missing fairways or something. But I think it's going to come. I just think this was a good stepping-stone to that.

Q. Take us through the 14th hole.

HEATH SLOCUM: 14 is the par-3. You know, we had really similar yardage as we had on Saturday. And we got there and took a 6-iron, and that wind was blowing pretty good from right-to-left. And I just felt like I was swinging so well, I just really aimed right at the flag. I knew my normal shot was a little draw, and if I pull it -- make a good swing, it would just be perfect, just left of the hole. I couldn't have hit it any better. I just really couldn't stop it. But it ended in a pretty good spot. My caddy and I talked if we get it rolling off the fringe, it would roll all the way down to the hole. And it was perfect.

Q. Did you have any thought there of looking back at Leonard on 13?

HEATH SLOCUM: No, actually, I didn't. I was really playing. At that time I had no idea how I stood with the field. I knew I made a birdie there, and I was really concentrating on the next hole, getting my tee shot into play.

Q. Was there a reason? Did you instruct your caddy, don't tell me what I have, and you intentionally didn't look at the leaderboard?

HEATH SLOCUM: No, not really. We stayed to ourselves today. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed it. And we just were playing golf. And I just -- I just never really looked at the leaderboards to see how I was playing or see how the field was stacking up, because we went in intentionally to take care of ourselves, concentrate on what we were doing and let it play out to how it did. It just so happened I didn't see a leaderboard until 15, and it was right in front of my face.

Q. What did you think when you saw it?

HEATH SLOCUM: Nothing changed. It really didn't. I wanted to just go ahead and hit that shot. I was going to play exactly the same way. All day I'd been picking my target and hitting into my target, and nothing changed there.

Q. Do you think when your record hasn't been that good this year, here's my chance to shore up my card for next year? Do you think things like that, exactly how important it could be? Finishing 2nd, you might have done that as well. But how important is it doing well in the position you are at the time?

HEATH SLOCUM: Gio, we talked about that last night. I was going to him kind of -- that's my thing. It doesn't really matter to me -- it does in a way -- however much money you win today, I almost care more about job security next year. And we kind of had a default. He said every time that pops into your head today just say "where's your target." And I used it quite often today. Just when it was my turn to play, I cleared my head, found my target and made a good aggressive swing at whatever spot I was looking.

Q. Is this going to make it a lot easier -- dollar-wise -- I don't know how it would work out, but you're pretty close to being assured of coming back. Will that have a big effect on up the rest of the year?

HEATH SLOCUM: I'm going to approach every tournament I think exactly the same way. I think that's how I'll be more successful. But it definitely helps a lot. It eases a little tension, maybe coming -- if you play well in the middle of this year, and if I secure it early, then later in the year I maybe won't have to play so much golf and wear myself out. I think it definitely can make myself -- make it easier. The sooner you secure your card ,the better you feel.

Q. How much of a sense of pride would it be to be the guy that stepped up, you, Phil Mickelson near the lead, Davis Love near the lead who's won here four times, and you were the guy who pushed Justin today?

HEATH SLOCUM: Golf, it's a game that can happen like that. I was really riding a hot putter all week, and I drove my ball well and hit my irons well. And I've never played with Mickelson before. He just seemed to kind of struggle a little bit today. But that back 9 he started making in putts. But it does feel good, mostly for myself, to know that in that situation that I can handle it, that I can go out and shoot good numbers when I need to the most. And for that I'm very proud of myself.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Would you go through your card, here, starting with number one. You had a birdie.

HEATH SLOCUM: Number one I hit a good driver and a pitching wedge, really to about the center of the green, and maybe about 20, 25 feet. I made that putt, which really got my day pretty good.

Bogey on 3. I can't think of it. I had a 5-iron in there, and I was trying to hit a nice high, kind of hold-on shot, and I came over it a little bit and ended up being too much club from there. And I made a really good bogey from there, because I was in position from there where it was a tough shot to hit the green on 3. And I did. And actually hit a decent putt at it and 2-putted.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: How long was your putt when you 2-putted?

HEATH SLOCUM: Probably 15, 18 feet, 18 feet at least.

On 5, I pushed it off to the right. I needed to hit it a little further left, I needed a good 3-wood, so I could chip up to the hole. I hit a so-so chip, but made a really good putt from about eight feet.

No. 6 I hit a driver and 8-iron, had a perfect yardage for an 8-iron and hit it in for about five feet, and made a nice downhill putt there.

No. 12, I'm drawing blanks. 7-iron, driver, 7-iron to about a foot.

13, bogey. 13 I hit a good 3 wood down the middle, left myself pretty good yardage in. I just misjudged the wind. I think the wind was coming a little harder out of the left than I thought. I hit a good solid shot and it just floated off to the right and buried myself in the bunker. And from there I blasted over the green and made a good up-and-down to save bogey.

Q. How far were you on the -- on 16 when you had your first bunker shot?

HEATH SLOCUM: I think we had like 91 yards, 92 yards.

Q. Second bunker shot wasn't easy, either?

HEATH SLOCUM: No, that was a lot tougher than the first, to get it close. It was just one of those long, longish bunker shots, a blast off a hard surface. And I was trying to dig deep and try to get some air underneath it. But at the same time it bounced a little bit.

Q. Did you get to talk to Mickelson about something?

HEATH SLOCUM: I was just making sure that you could ground your club in the waste bunker. I think we had gone over it the day before, but just making sure.

Q. You had not been in it before?

HEATH SLOCUM: Not that one. I had been in one on 15, but I don't think I even ground there, because of maybe just habit of looking at sand. But I thought I possibly would want to ground that sand wedge a little bit if I could.

Q. You were a real good putter on the Buy.Com Tour. How soon did you go to --

HEATH SLOCUM: Tuesday of this week is when I first picked up that putter. I felt like I wasn't making a lot of putts. Mike Shannon, my putting instructor, we had been trying to get my left elbow a little closer to my body for more consistency. I picked up that putter and I can keep my elbow there really nicely. And I just rolled it so well on Tuesday, I played with it off site on Wednesday, made a lot of putts and just decided to put it in the bag. I hadn't been making too many putts this year, kind of struggling, and I felt really comfortable with it to put it in play.

Q. (Inaudible.)


Q. He just did a pretty good introduction, considering what this course does to a lot of good players. Did you feel comfortable from when you walked out on Thursday, and every day, did you feel pretty good and pretty positive about playing a course that's definitely tough on some people?

HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, I did. I felt like -- I like these courses where you have to work your ball a little bit and just position golf courses, target golf courses. I really like those. I think it fits my game a little better than some of these courses like Sugarloaf, where these long hitters can get a big advantage going into some of these par-5s. Some of the par-5s out here I still can't reach. But I think I can make up for it in being more accurate.

Because that's the best part of my game is my driving and my -- normally my putting and chipping. And I felt like this was a good golf course, a good target golf course. And it played well. It was suited well for my game.

Q. I don't think this has been asked. When you walked off 16 you had to know that you had gone from 1-up to 1-down. What was your thought process right then?

HEATH SLOCUM: Just really to -- the same thing, let's try to hit this fairway and give us our best opportunity to hit a shot in there to make a birdie. Nothing really had changed besides that. I think that if I was leading by two or three or down by one, I think I would have tried to do exactly the same thing there, just position my tee ball where I could get in the best opportunity to hit an iron in there.

Q. Is that the toughest thing about doing this for a living, kind of staying focused on results and not staying on the leaderboard?

HEATH SLOCUM: Sometimes it is. It's like everything, I think you have -- some weeks you have better than others, or at least I do. It just seems every week that I play well, I feel like I'm -- for whatever reason, I'm more focused, I'm better focused, I'm more easily focused. So I think that that tells you something right there, that I need to work harder on keeping that more consistent. For whatever reason, whether confidence going into a week or whatever, I think that going in with a good attitude and staying positive and easily being able to focus definitely helps.

Q. Did you have any thought on 16 tee of what it might take for the final three holes, whether three pars would do it or if you needed a birdie?

HEATH SLOCUM: I never really thought about it, I really didn't. I was in such a good frame of mind, to just find my target and execute, that I didn't think about what it would take or how much. But I just really tried to hit that fairway and hit a good iron shot and try to make a putt.

Q. What did you hit off the tee?


Q. (Inaudible.)

HEATH SLOCUM: I think I only missed one.

Q. That one?

HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, that one.

End of FastScripts....

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