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June 14, 1994
LES UNGER: Before we get started, I would like to remind you
that we have some folks here with microphones. Rather than just
ask your questions, please raise your hands so everybody will
be able to hear whatever your question is and we'll rotate them
around as best we can. We are proud to have Nick Price here. Got
two wins, nine starts on the Tour. I guess he is about to play
in his ninth Open. And Nick, we would just like to hear some general
comments from you; then we will Open it up. I don't know if you
have had a chance to play a practice round or not.
NICK PRICE: Yeah, I played six holes yesterday, not very much,
but I don't really want to do too much because I am going to have
two full practice rounds today and tomorrow. Significant thing
for me this week is the first time I have played in the U.S. Open
was here in '83, so I guess I am getting to that age now where
I am getting the second time around on these Open courses. But
the course is in great shape. I don't think the rough is as high
as it was in '83. These greens are probably where, you know --
I know it is probably the same -- these greens are not like any
of the other ones we play because they are very quick; got subtle
slopes on them. If you don't get the speed right, you are going
to be putting from eight to ten feet on your return putts all
the time. I think the key issue for me, I have been working hard
from hitting putts 20 to 30 to 40 feet because even if you hit
a good iron shot on this golf course, the putts are going to end
up -- it is going to be very difficult to get the ball close to
the hole. I think probably end up doing sort of six hard pin placements
everyday; six sort of average and six easy. Well, even easy ones
on this course, you know, you get the ball within 15 feet; you
have done very well. So I can't see the scoring being too low,
but I think anywhere around par is going to be a really good score
this week. I know it is going to be hot. I don't know if we are
going to have much wind, but if we do have any wind at all, it
is going to make it that much harder because the fairways are
fairly narrow and I have played this course before and a lot of
times you play the green -- your tee shots and the holes you play
are a cross wind not down wind or in the wind; always seems to
be a cross wind thrown into it which makes capsulation difficult
and also just hitting the fairways hard. But I think this is such
a good taste of golf and, you know, we have had great champions
come out of major championships here, and I think we are going
to see another one this week.
LES UNGER: Questions, please.
Q. The undulation, is that why it is so difficult to get close
to the hole, the iron shots?
NICK PRICE: The greens are-- they are firmish. I wouldn't say
they are hard, but they are on the firm side right now so a lot
of times if the pins cut at the front of the green you are going
to have to push the ball well short of the green and land it on,
you know, a lot of times I think that is sort of just guesswork
in many ways if the pin in the front. If the pins at the back,
you better know the contours of the greens because some of the
greens actually break left to right, back left half and then--
or right to left on the back left half and left to right on the
back right half, so the ball kind of feeds off it; you are going
to have to know that. I think some of these greens are big enough
that, you know, you probably spent two, three days out there hitting
a lot of putts on each green; you still won't to remember exactly
which way the ball is going to break away to the hole so, you
know, it is just very difficult. Most of the time I am just going
to be shooting to hit the ball on the green to try and find that
spot that I feel comfortable putting from. I mean, the same as
Augusta maybe some of the other courses we play, but you -- just
seems like you end up with a lot of 30, 40 foot putts this year.
Q. Could you just give us a comparison between these greens
and Augusta, get some idea what the difference is, if there is?
NICK PRICE: To me, I think maybe just probably because I know
Augusta a lot better. The greens there are a little more defined.
I have a better idea of what is coming up when I am hitting my
iron shot, my approach shot to the green. Whereas here, these
greens are -- a lot of times they are just these subtle slopes
out there which can fool you and I think that is probably the
difference. There are some holes where the slopes are extremely
severe and it is -- you have got putts that -- maybe from 20 feet
that are going to have 15, 20 foot of break in them, but generally
speaking they are these subtle slopes; they are quite difficult
to read. I think that is what makes this course, you know, apart
from the fact that it is a pretty long golf course and hitting
a lot of long irons and hitting irons to the greens, you throw
that in with greens that are sometimes difficult to read -- I
mean, I had a couple of putts yesterday where, you know, looked
like there was 2 footer break from right to left and the ball
broke left to right. I think you are going to see a lot of that
Q. What is the hardest tee shot here, Nick, on this golf course
and also what is the biggest green?
NICK PRICE: I'd say, you know, number one is a really difficulty
shot. I mean, just come right off the back-- play a hole; if there
is no wind, you are going to hit a driver or 5-iron, 6-iron; if
you hit it in the rough you have -- really have a difficult time
making par. I think 18 is an extremely difficulty shot. You know,
you got maybe 4, 5 par fours out there that if you miss the fairway,
you are going to have to hit a great pitch shot or weight shot
from 80, 90 yards; you are going to have probably a 20 footer
left for par. It's going to be like-- there are like 4, 5 of those.
Biggest green: Say number 14 is about 47 paces deep. So it's only
in calm conditions a 2-iron or a 9-iron, but if the pin is right
in the back, probably as much as 2, 3 clubs more. 17 is also a
big green: 16, sorry. 16.
Q. Are you hitting a lot of drivers this week?
NICK PRICE: No, you know, seeing how firm and fast the fairways
are, I mean, lack of rain here, the last four, five weeks, the
fairways are firm, so you are going to be able to hit a lot of
3-woods and 2-irons or 1-irons, and you know, the ball is going
to release a lot on the fairway. But then the problem is that
if you do miss the fairway, you are not going to get that run
that you bargained for and you are going to be hitting four, five,
clubs more, three or four clubs more out of the rough than you
would if you are hitting the fairway. So it is sort of like a
difficult situation. If I am driving the ball well I will hit
a lot of drivers. If I am not driving the ball well, then 3-wood,
1-iron we will be playing a lot. But then it just makes it that
much harder to get the ball close to the hole because it is hard
enough with 7, 8 and 9 irons to get the ball closer, hitting 4,
5, 6 irons, it is a really -- it plays with your psyche, this
golf course, you know, you have that option and you know that
if you miss, you are in severe trouble. If you try and play an
easy way out which is taking a 1-iron, but sometimes, you can
-- I don't think the rough is anything like it was in '83 and
if you do advance your driver down the fairway -- down the hole
far enough, you might have the opportunity to hit an eight or
nine iron out of the rough which I rather hit than take the chance
of hitting an iron in the rough and having to hit a 5-iron, say.
Q. Nick, at what point in your round do you determine when
you are driving well?
NICK PRICE: I think I'll have a good idea by the time Thursday
comes along. Today and tomorrow are going to be big factors, but,
you know, I think that is just a feel thing as well. I might hit
a 3-wood off the first tee, but, you know, you really-- this is
a week that you want to drive the ball well. This is a week where
if you are going to have your best driving week all year, you
want it to be here, because there is the emphasis -- and it does
make the course so much a lot easier than if you are hitting,
as I say, a shortish iron into par fours as opposed to 4, 5 and
6 irons. I think Faldo played this; he hit like three drivers
but then he is a great long iron player, so --
Q. Tell us what you have been doing since Colonial.
NICK PRICE: Took sometime off. I didn't play the last two weeks.
I have got an awful lot of stuff going on in my life right now
which I will tell you all about in about two week's time. Sorry
to lead you on and then drop you like that, but there has been
huge changes going on and I needed some time with my family and
also to regroup for the summer. Summer is going to be -- I am
playing seven out of the next nine weeks and that is going to
include you know, three major championships, so this stretch for
me, I think physically, I know my game is strong enough, so it
wasn't a question of going home and practicing and playing, as
a question of being in the right frame of mind and to make sure
that I am ready for the next seven weeks. Then I practiced Thursday,
Friday, Saturday, Sunday last week; really didn't play very much.
I had my media day in Chicago last Monday and then I practiced
pretty hard the last four days now in Orlando. So really haven't
been doing an awful a lot of golf playing a lot of golf.
Q. Nick, if they gave you even par right now, would you take
NICK PRICE: I don't think so because you know, as we know, this
is a major championship and sometimes you have to do things down
the last nine holes to win and although even par might be a great
score, back of my mind I am saying that is not going to be good
enough to win. I know it will be a good score and I know I will
be happy with it at the end of the week, but I am going to take
my chances and say, no, I am going to go out and try to break
Q. Less anymore? Wish you good luck.
NICK PRICE: Thanks very much.
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