Senior PGA Championship

Interview with John Harris

June 5, 2003

Note: The news conference was moderated by Julius Mason, the Director of Public Relations and Media Relations of the PGA of America

JULIUS MASON: John Harris, the first player, ladies and gentlemen, to come down and visit us in the Media Center after a lovely round, 69. 1-under par in the 64th Senior PGA Championship. John, some thoughts on your round today, how it played out there today, and we'll go to questions.

JOHN HARRIS: I thought the golf course was just spectacular for how much rain we have had. There were very few unplayable spots. When I hit it in the rough I had good lies so was pretty lucky.

JULIUS MASON: Good deal. Questions.

Q. What were the worst trouble spots?

JOHN HARRIS: Well, they seemed to be on 9 and 10. They moved the tee up on 9 so you could hit it past the real wet areas, but anywhere where it was low, it was fairly wet, but we were able to drive the ball past most of the wet spots. I thought it was playable with the wind blowing this afternoon and if there's no rain tomorrow it will be just fine by tomorrow.

Q. Experience so far on the Tour after turning pro (Harris is a career amateur star who turned pro to play the Champions Tour), how would you describe that?

JOHN HARRIS: Disappointing would probably be in one word, but I have really enjoyed it. I have really had a great time traveling and playing and competing. I just haven't -- kind of embarrassed myself the way I played but other than that it has just been terrific, other than the golf, it has been great.

Q. What has been the biggest or most difficult transition from amateur to pro for you?

JOHN HARRIS: I think I just try too hard. I am trying to make it happen rather than just letting it happen. On this golf course, it's very traditional. It's very difficult. You need to be real patient and it just forced me go back and play the way I am used to playing. I knew par would be a good score, par would be a good score when we're done on Sunday, and you don't have to be quite as aggressive here. You can't be quite as aggressive and it forced me to kind of play the way that I am used to playing.

Q. Is there anymore of a sense of camaraderie among guys such as yourself, Jay Sigel, another career amateur, and maybe some of the club pros, the Dana Quigleys who are blooming late and didn't have that Tour experience?

JOHN HARRIS: Well, there's certainly a change, Jay has been terrific to me. Allen Doyle has been great to me. And Dana is sure an inspiration for everybody to get that second chance and you know, they work hard, they play hard. They are very, very competitive individuals, and you know, this is -- it's a changing environment out here. It's gotten very competitive. The players are extremely well conditioned. And they work hard at it. So it is a fun environment to be in. But, yes, Jay has been very good to me.

Q. Run through your card, if you could.

JOHN HARRIS: Well, I found out about 6:30 this morning that I was going to get in the field (he got in as an alternate when Bernard Gallacher dropped out) and you know, I was really kind of prepared to play, but I wasn't in the event 'til 6:30 this morning, so I felt that was a real bonus for me. I prepared Monday and Tuesday like I was going to get in, but I wasn't sure that I was. I never thought that I wasn't going to get in and I practiced pretty hard both Monday and Tuesday, knowing that the forecast wasn't very good for Wednesday. I came out and hit it in the middle of the first fairway with a beautiful tee shot, hit an 8-iron a foot away, made a birdie on the first hole.

I drove it in the rough on the second hole. On the second hole I drove it in the rough and walked in there and hit a perfect lie. So I kind have had an idea that maybe things were going to go all right. Knocked it right in the middle of the green made a par.

I hit it in the rough on the 4th hole, and drew the only real bad lie that I got all day. Hacked it out to about 60 yards short of the green; didn't get it up-and-down. That was the only bogey I made was on the 4th hole.

And I made pars around the front. I think the 4th green is the only green I missed all day.

Q. How long was your putt?

JOHN HARRIS: About 12 feet.

I felt like the 9th hole was reachable. They moved the tee up to the member tee. It was a wonderful opportunity and I just hit a terrible drive, hit my worse drive of the day way to the right so didn't have a chance to reach that green.

I hit a beautiful drive on 10, and hit a pitching wedge to down to about 12 feet; made that for birdie. And hit all the rest to the greens and 2-putted. I had a nice chance at 15 from about ten feet, and a nice chance on the last hole from about 10 feet. But was pretty steady. I played away from the hole most of the day and just kind of played to the center of the greens and the shots are so hard out there that it's fairly easy not to get ahead of yourself because the one you are on is no matter what shot it is, is going to give you plenty of challenge.

Q. Someone who didn't know they were in the field until 6:30 this morning, how are you going to prepare for round two?

JOHN HARRIS: You know what, just kind of like I did, I will practice a little this afternoon and work out a little bit of a that and you know, just rest and enjoy it. It really is a bonus being in. I would have been devastated had I not gotten into the field because I felt like I was playing well and I just love the golf course. And the conditions I like as well.

Q. Ever think at 6:30 you'd end your day sitting here in the media room?

JOHN HARRIS: No, I really didn't. But I am thrilled to be here. There will be more good scores before the day is over.

JULIUS MASON: Mr. Harris, ladies and gentlemen.

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