JULIUS MASON: Billy Andrade, ladies and gentlemen, closing in the midnight hour, shooting a 3-under at the 85th PGA Championship.
Billy Andrade: I'm just glad to see all of my friends stayed. (Laughter.) There must be food here. There's no power, I understand.
JULIUS MASON: Some opening thoughts on your round; we'll go through your card and then we'll go to Q&A.
Billy Andrade: First of all, I'm absolutely tickled to death to be here, to be the seventh alternate in the week, after the Buick Open started, and to have the opportunity to get a phone call on Monday saying that I'm in the tournament. I have to thank Larry Nelson personally for having a bad hip.
I guess there's some reason why I'm here. There are reasons that we don't know about it. When you're seventh alternate you don't think that you have a shot. So I'm here for a reason and I'm going to try to seize this opportunity and seize the moment. I kind of went out there today with the attitude of let's just try to start my season this week. I haven't had a very good one up to this point and I don't really care what I've done in the past.
I want to start this week and go for the rest of the year and see how good I can play. I didn't get in my way today at all, it didn't seem like. I just took one shot at a time and I've been getting way too into results.
Today I just went out and had fun. And playing with Tom Watson, how can you not have fun. I had a great playing with Mark Brooks. All in all, it was a lot of fun today. I hit a lot of nice shots.
And I have to remember that I am a pretty good golfer, and this game can bring you down a few notches if you let it, but I'm not going to let it, so I kind of decided that going into this week.
I birdied the second hole. I hit a 2-iron off the tee and hit a 9-iron to about two-and-a-half feet.
The sixth hole, the par 3, I hit a 7-iron about 25 feet and made that.
I hit it in the rough on 9 and chipped out and knocked it on and 2-putted for bogey.
My birdie on 13, I hit a 2-iron, a 2-iron and a 9-iron to about four feet and made birdie.
14, we got to the tee and Davis and Vijay's group was on the tee and they were waiting for the group ahead of them to clear because they were going for it. I never saw anybody go for that green before. Then again, I've never been here in a major championship, so I didn't know if guys went for this green. I was laying up in practice rounds. Davis hit it in the front bunker and Vijay drove it over the green on 14.
So I decided where the pin was; it would probably be a pretty good idea to hit driver. So I hit driver in the front just short of the bunker in the rough but just had a little pitch and made birdie.
I got lucky on 15 and didn't hit a very good shot, short right of the green. Almost went in the water but didn't. I was happy to 2-putt there for bogey.
The last hole, beautiful drive right down the middle, beautiful 6-iron to about eight feet above the hole and made a great putt there to end it.
So, this is an unbelievable, hard golf course. If you can shoot anything under par out here, it's pretty amazing. I had a great day today and was really, really happy with it.
Q. You touched on it in your opening thoughts, but the fact is, you could be at home on the couch right now?
Billy Andrade: Well, I couldn't be on the couch. If you know my family's history, my wife would have me doing something, but not on the couch. Maybe whiffle ball in the backyard but not on the couch.
Q. With that said, you've been able to take a care free approach to the tournament and obviously it paid off today.
Billy Andrade: I'm trying to take a carefree approach to the rest of the year because I'm not in a very good position. I haven't played that well yet. I think it's because I'm getting in my own way. If I can get away from that and just kind of think about one shot at a time, I think I'm pretty good. When I do that, I play very well. And today was a good example of that.
If I can continue this kind of mindset, I'm going to do okay this week.
Q. We were looking at the afternoon scores and everybody seemed to be flirting with 3 and 4, what was the difficulty; was the course just playing that much tougher and you get to go 3 seemed to be a big accomplishment for the afternoon group.
Billy Andrade: Well, I thought the wind was swirling pretty well this afternoon. We teed off at 2:15. I think any time you play that late in the afternoon with all that traffic on the golf course, the greens get a little bumpy and spiked up a little bit and it's tougher to make putts. That's what it boils down to. I think that if you play and there's not much wind, you have an opportunity to maybe take advantage, but the wind was swirling pretty well almost the whole day.
You have to understand, this is a very, very demanding golf course and a very difficult one if you're not hitting in play. It's proven by the scores that have been shot.
I think any round under par, it doesn't matter if you're two, three, four, to me it's irrelevant; they are all unbelievable rounds of golf.
Q. And yet, you got to minus 3, what got you over and what was the difference that you could see that kept you going?
Billy Andrade: I ran out of holes. I birdied the last hole to get to 3. You know, it was just 18 today, so I was pretty excited that it was over.
It's late, too. I want to go eat and looking forward to playing tomorrow. When you're out there, you're not really thinking about, hey, I would like to get to 3 -, or I want to get to 4- or under par. You're there just playing one shot at a time and trying to control your ball as best you can.
Q. You were on a golf course when you found out about this; had you been keeping up? Did you have any clue that you might get a call?
Billy Andrade: After a cup of coffee on Monday morning after the kids went to their first day of school, I got a call from the PGA office that said that I was now the second alternate because Davis won the INTERNATIONAL. That was about 9:00.
I went out to Crab Apple where the American Express tournament is being played next month. I'm a member there and went out there to play. I just turned my phone off and then got two messages when I was driving home. One was that I was first alternate because Larry Nelson withdrew, and then about ten minutes later I got a call that said that my great friend from Japan, Tanaka, decided to decline the invitation to play, and I've got to thank him, as well. They asked me if I wanted the spot; I had to callback and accept, which I did, immediately.
Q. You talked about getting in your own way; had you had any swing problems? Had you had anything you were working on?
Billy Andrade: I tell you what, this year, I probably have hit the ball better. That's what's been so frustrating with this season versus seasons in past years where I've had no clue where I'm hitting it and I just would scrape it around and get it up-and-down with my short game.
This season, my short game has been pitiful and I have not been getting it up-and-down. I have actually been hitting the ball pretty well. That's what's been probably the most frustrating of any year that I've played out here, is that I really can't blame it on something except the fact that I haven't really scored it.
I've never gone through a slump or a situation like that before. It's not a lot of fun out here when you fail. And this is a very difficult game when you think you're failing or you're not playing well and you have to deal with your own emotions, and then everybody else's emotions that are friends of yours. You get people that kind of look at you and then walk the other way; they don't know what to say.
The bottom line is, my family is great, I'm great. I haven't played well up to this point, but I sit here before you right now going, I'm going to give it everything I've got the next three days and the rest of this year, not to get in my own way and maybe Sunday night we can be partying pretty great here.
Q. You have a history with the PGA as an alternate in '98.
Billy Andrade: Yeah, I was having a bad year then, I guess, as well. That was the only other time that I was an alternate and got in.
Q. Wasn't it the first round you got off to a blistering start?
Billy Andrade: I birdied the first four at Sahl and that got me off to a nice start there. But that year, I was really struggling with my swing and I wasn't playing very well.
You know, I'm a weird, really weird golfer. I go on stretches where really, I'm awful. And then I get on those rolls where all of a sudden, I'm a very good golfer. I can go from very bad to very good in a matter of a week. I can't explain it. I wish I could because all I try to do as every season begins, to be a lot more consistent, try to be in the hunt every week. I want to get to be a much more consistent player and I just haven't done that. I don't know if that's the way my personality is or what.
But I go through these kind of waves, and when I get going pretty good, I can let it go for awhile. Maybe this is going to be a jump start for my season.
Q. When you finally did learn you were coming, did you get a special feeling? Do you believe in fate?
Billy Andrade: I don't know if I believe in fate. But there is a reason why I'm here, why I got in this tournament, and I don't know why, but a lot of circumstances happened for me to get in. You know what, if I'm here, let's try to make the best of this opportunity. That's what this whole game is and this is what we do every day is try to have an opportunity to play and play well.
I'm here today and I got off to a great start today and I can't wait to play tomorrow. You know, when you're playing well, you can't wait to play the next day, and when you're playing lousy, you're going, "Oh, God, I've got to play tomorrow."
So I'm looking forward to it.
Q. It's probably just our perception, but we're a little bit mildly surprised at Phil Mickelson, his reemergence, and at Tiger Woods shooting 4-over. Which one is more surprising to you?
Billy Andrade: It's hard for me to answer that. I think they are both world-class players. They are both the best out here. I think Phil Mickelson, you know, with his talent can shoot 66. You know, this is a golf course that anybody can shoot 74. There are good 74s and bad, I don't know how good or bad his was today.
They are great guys, but really, I'm more concerned about me right now than how those guys have done. You know, they have made their chunk of change, so to speak, in 2003 and I'm looking to maybe cash in myself at this point.
Q. Has it been bugging you at all that this AMEX thing is going to happen outside your door, and "gee, I can't get in"?
Billy Andrade: You know, when you spend the summer in Rhode Island and you go back to Atlanta for school and you go, "Well, maybe I'll go hit some balls at my course: And they are putting up some grandstands for this tournament, you get itchy; that I would like to be here. Two years ago I was at the tournament in St. Louis, but unfortunately we didn't play that week.
I want to get back in those All-Star Games, you bet. The way you do it is to play better. I haven't played that well yet this year. All it takes is a few weeks, as we all know. Play great here and play great the next couple of weeks and maybe I can slide in that tournament. That would be a nice thing for me, considering I'm a member there. You know, playing at home would be nice, but that's a long ways away right now.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much for coming down.
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