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June 29, 2006

Heath Slocum


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Heath Slocum for stopping in after a 5 under 65 in the first round of the 2006 Buick Championship. A continuation of some good play last week, finished T13 there with four rounds in the 60s.

Talk about what's going well for you in the last couple of weeks.

HEATH SLOCUM: Honestly, I'm just playing solid. The putter started to come around last week. I putted really well, apart from the last day, Sunday, just kind of continued to Monday, but it was my best day of ball striking. I'm just trying to fit them both together. And today started off with just quality good shots on then made just made some putts and got a little bit of confidence. Didn't hit it my absolute best, but all my misses were in pretty good places.

So overall, it was just a good day. And I made some saves that I just hadn't been making say in the past month or so, so it felt good.

TODD BUDNICK: You mentioned finally getting it all together. It looks like maybe the one week in Tucson where you tied for third, again four rounds in the 60s, outside of that, what's been failing this year?

HEATH SLOCUM: I've been working with a guy, Mark Blackburn, for just a little over a year and we started working together last year and all of a sudden it just really clicked. I just played really solid golf the rest of that year. I missed maybe one cut, it was March, May, somewhere in there. I played really solid, and then this year it just disappeared. And we had talked about maybe plateauing and getting back into some bad habits. I've been continuing to work on the same thing, it's just taken a while to get back to making good golf swings.

Maybe in the meantime I neglected my putting a little bit because, sure enough, as soon as I started hitting better, I'm not putting. In the last couple of months I've put a lot of effort into both and concentrated on short game, putter, long game. It's paying off, definitely.

Q. Does it help you when somebody else in your group is playing pretty well? Does that help pick your game up a little bit or is it so individual?

HEATH SLOCUM: It doesn't hurt, for sure, especially opening round. Steve Flesch and Peter Lonard, we've all played together a few times. We enjoy each other's company. We had a good time out there. Pace of play was good. A lot of putts were going in the hole. And it was a really easy round of golf where we kind of went out and had fun. It was nice.

Q. When you say you are working with Mark and everything, does it try your patience? Do you get impatient looking for a new found formula to click? It does test your mental talk about that.

HEATH SLOCUM: Yes. I'm a pretty patient person, and I got very, and still do, get very impatient with that part. My dad taught me how to play golf, straight feel; see it, hit it. I still believe a lot in theory, but I was learning more about the golf swing from a technical or mechanical standpoint. So I would understand why I would hit a shot right, I would understand why I would hit it left, and I would understand why I would make a bad swing or what I've done. It's funny how I turned from being very patient to kind of impatient and trying to make it happen a lot of times instead of just letting it happen.

The same with my putting. I just got some help. Most of it was just alignment. I just kind of neglected that for a little bit. I got help with that. Stuart Appleby's coach Steve Bann gave me tips and showed me a drill to help me train my eyes again. I've actually started to roll the ball better. A lot of it is confidence too. When you're missing putt after putt because of bad alignment, it snowballs. It's good to see some putts go in the hole. I don't care if they're for par or bogey, I just want to see something go in.

Today I made a couple of par saves that I had just been missing and it turns that 2 under into 5. It's just nice. Again, it keeps the momentum going, into tomorrow, hopefully all the way into Sunday.

Q. (No microphone.) Do you have a dietary regimen that's fairly strict?

HEATH SLOCUM: I've been very fortunate that from in the past five, six years now, almost seven a little over six years I've been perfectly healthy, no problems. I try to eat a well balanced diet. I try to do all the right things. But other than that, I don't do anything special, I really don't.

I still take medication. I might be on it for the rest of my life. I go in for my yearly checkup. I've been very fortunate. It's one of those things I sometimes forget about it. People still bring it up and talk about it and I still have a foundation that we help people with, but I've been very fortunate it hasn't been an issue at all.

Q. The course, is it drying at all or playing relatively soft?

HEATH SLOCUM: It's still soft, I think if this wind picks up a little, with no rain, hopefully it will definitely dry out, I think. The greens, I can see maybe from our first few holes to our last, maybe a little bit, you know drying out a little bit, but the fairways are still pretty soft. Like I said, if the wind keeps blowing a little bit, it will help out a lot.

TODD BUDNICK: How about your birdies, No. 13, par 5.

HEATH SLOCUM: I hit driver and tried to actually go for the green and flared it right, didn't hit a really good I just had like 70 yards, not even that, I think I had like 40 yards and hit it like 35 feet. THE first birdie of the day. I rolled it in. It was a pretty big swing or two, again it kind of got me going.

15, I hit driver just to the left of the green, chipped up, made a 6 footer.

17, I hit 3 wood, 8 iron and left it short, it was on the fringe and I chipped that in.

Turned around and hit driver, 7 iron, into 1, to about five feet and made that.

3 actually helped out a lot. It's just a par, but I made about a 10 footer for par there, kind of kept the momentum.

5, hit a 5 wood to that back pin, made an eight footer, nine footer there. I think that was it. I made another good par save on six, the next hole, the par 5. Like I said, the putter kind of it was nice to make those saves, and make a long one now and then.

Q. How long was the par save on 6?

HEATH SLOCUM: Seven feet. Hit a very poor first putt, misread it and hit a poor putt. It really looked bad, but I made a good save.

Q. How far was the chip in?

HEATH SLOCUM: The chip in was probably just 25 feet. It was just on the fringe and it was one, they look so good sometimes. Just pitched a little 9 iron and it rolled just like a putt.


End of FastScripts.

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