June 4, 2003
Note: The news conference was moderated by Julius Mason, Director of Public Relations and Media Relations for the PGA of America.
JULIUS MASON: Jay Sigel, ladies and gentlemen, playing in his ninth Senior PGA Championship, is an Aronimink Golf Club member. Somebody that may have an advantage going into this week, Jay?
JAY SIGEL: Yeah, in that I can sleep at home. There are only a couple of us, so I think that's the biggest advantage. And I think if, you know, I happen to play well that I will get an added plus from all my friends who will be interested in cheering me on. I think that will be a huge lift.
JULIUS MASON: Good deal. Questions.
Q. Have many of the players been picking your brains either this week or weeks leading up to this about what they are going to confront here?
JAY SIGEL: Yeah, I mean, Jim Thorpe's caddie came up to me yesterday and he said -- he said, well, how do you play such and such a hole. I said, well, you drive it in the fairway. Well, what club? I said it depends -- anyway, no, I mean, 18 he asked me about, but yes, questions -- I have gotten a few questions, how do you -- you know, however, it's playing so long -- there aren't going to be too many 3-woods off the tees, so I think the course is set up very well and I think the conditioning is incredibly good, which is what I expected. It has been wonderful for the last couple of years.
Q. I am wondering how many rounds you figure you have played here and you know, you say about home-course advantage about sleeping at home, but if you get into contention, I've got to believe that it has to be an advantage that you are going to face shots that you have faced many, many times before just in getting around this place?
JAY SIGEL: Yes. I do think that that's a distinct possibility, however, you asked how many times I have played here under this -- maybe three times.
Q. Not under these conditions, just played thousands, hundreds?
JAY SIGEL: Oh. Well, I have been a member since I believe '66. However, the golf course wasn't like this. I have played the golf course, as we know it today, about three times. How much change has there been? A lot. I think it is a shot and a half harder than it's been. Some of the characteristics couldn't be changed, you know, there are places that you don't want to be, you don't want to be on the short side a lot of times. If the pin is left, you knock it left, you are absolutely dead. But then again, this weather is going to change that. It may not be as dead because the greens maybe a little bit softer and the pitching and chipping might be a bit easier.
Q. Where are more of the differences, on the greens or off the tee?
JAY SIGEL: Most of the differences are the greens. Aronimink embarked on a "well, let's uncover the greens and find out what we have here." And I think that took place three years ago. Tom Rozmus was instrumental in that. He's one of our greens committee folks. To his credit and to their credit, they had undertaken this task, which was fantabulous. We all got excited as we saw it. It was done in pieces, meaning as the agronomy staff maintains a golf course, they cut the greens up to the edge and there's a little edge left every time and the greens grow in on the sides. Over the years, I don't know, I would guesstimate, in spots these greens came in 15, 12 feet (on the Stimpmeter)? TOM ROZMUS: 35 percent.
JAY SIGEL: The greens are not completely circular so in some areas they were able to cut back a section for a corner that I have never seen. I am not making any excuse, it is just a fact. So that's what I am speaking about -- the distance is similar, bunkering is a little bit different. You still got to drive it 270 off the tee straight and have a mid- to long-iron into these greens. So that hasn't changed that much. The centers of the greens are still there and the centers of the tees are still there, but the greens are very different and of course, the runoffs from these greens, which I think is spectacular, is quite a bit different.
Q. You had a great experience at Hartefield (National Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia, where he won the Bell Atlantic Classic) a few years ago. What would it be like to be in -- won a few weeks ago. I have got to believe you are feeling good about your game. What would it be like to give these fans a little thing to cheer about this week?
JAY SIGEL: I thought Hartefield was about as good as it got. I guess we got 130,000 that week. The playoff and my daughter as assistant tournament director and having the possibility of presenting me with a trophy, how could it possibly be any better. Well, this could be better. I have arranged for my daughter to be here, so while she couldn't necessarily present me anything, it would be nice that my family is around. I am at home. My friends are here. That would top it.
Q. What is your daughter's name?
JAY SIGEL: Jennifer.
Q. How proud are you just to show your course off to the world?
JAY SIGEL: It's unbelievable.
Q. You almost had this opportunity 10 years ago (when Aronimink almost hosted a PGA Championship).
JAY SIGEL: Yes, the community, the world, the fact that Aronimink is sharing this is really special. I knew what we had from the beginning in that this was someplace very special, but it needed, let's call it a facelift, if you will, to be what it could be. Now I am very proud of it. I am very disappointed in the weather. This golf course will be unbelievably difficult. It was firm and fast. That's the way (course architect Donald) Ross intended it. I don't know how it's going to play other than yesterday it played so long I couldn't believe it. Never seen it like that. Cool, damp, wet. Now it's going to play even longer certainly the first day or so.
Q. How many miles is your home from here, just a couple?
JAY SIGEL: Yeah, I would say two to three. It takes me five or six minutes to get here - pretty nice.
JULIUS MASON: Questions for the hometown boy? Good luck this week, Jay.
JAY SIGEL: Thanks very much.
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