Montreal Championship interview: Mark Calcavecchia

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September 05, 2013

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2012 Montreal Championship Mark Calcavecchia to the media center. We're at a new course. Maybe just share your thoughts. You had a chance to play the course this morning. Differences maybe between the two courses last year and this year.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, today was the first day I saw it in the Pro Am. Quite a bit different, really. The conditions are different, the weather is different.

Last year, the other course was playing pretty short. It was pretty dry.

This year it's a little bit wetter. The course is longer to begin with, especially the par 3s, three of the four par 3s are really long. Those holes are hard. If you can play the par 3s even par this week, you are going to pick up a lot of strokes on the field.

The greens are if you are coming in with anything more than about a 7 iron or 8 iron, the greens are pretty firm, really. The fairways are soft, but the greens are firm. I know we had some rain, a couple of inches three days ago, so the fairways aren't really rolling but the greens are firm. The course is quite a bit longer, and I'd say it's playing three shots tougher than the course last year.

Q. You did not play last week. You withdrew from Boeing a couple of weeks ago. Maybe just catch up on your health right now?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA:
It's not really a good story. There's not much good I can say other than honestly I don't think I would have come here if I wasn't if it was, you know, the SAS or something. If I wasn't defending champion, I probably could have used a few more weeks off.

Actually, good news, bad news well, good news, bad news, bad news. I have got two issues with my back. One of them is up here in my rib, which is actually worse than my other, which is down in my lower back.

The good news is I do have medication that helps that a lot. The bad news is there it kind of goofs me up mentally. I get a little dizzy and a little out of it.

But this up here, this rib and this muscle up here, is the main issue. That is why I withdrew out of Seattle and Calgary.

And the chiropractor worked on it a bunch last week and really got me feeling pretty good. It felt pretty good today until 17, which was by far the best shot I hit all day and that hurt. So that kind of explains it. I'm not playing very well, and it's because I'm protecting this injury. You will see that all the time. I'm kind of making swings to not hurt myself and then I've made a really good swing on 17 and it hurt.

That's about all I can say. We'll see. I'll tough it out and get through it, I hope. Hopefully play decent. If I play crappy and shoot 4 or 5 over every day, it's kind of a waste of time. We'll see.

Q. Doesn't sound too promising.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA:
No, but it does go to show you, I mean, on this Tour a lot of us are hurting. Generally, the ones that aren't are playing the best golf. You look at obviously I'm overweight and that's part of my problem.

You look at the guys that are playing good like Tom Pernice and Bernhard Langer and David Frost, they are all in pretty good shape. You look at the guys that aren't playing very well, like me and some of the other guys, it's because we're hurting. I mean, that's whole main difference. So I've got to figure out a way.

For my lower back, I'm going to have another injection next week for sure and that really helps. I had one right after Birmingham and then I went on a good streak and played some pretty good golf after that. That will fix up my lower back until the end of the year. This thing up here just basically requires rest.

Good thing the rough is not too, too high. I hit it in the rough four, five, six times today. If I had a bad lie, I just moved it on the fairway. It's to that point where I have to try to protect it and not hurt myself when it doesn't matter.

Having said all that, I feel like I'm putting really good. And I feel like I can read the greens, so if I can just get there fast enough I might be okay. That's the main problem is my tee to green game.

Q. You are clearly paying a price to be here. Can you just talk a bit about why it was so important for you to come?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA:
Well, you know, I love Canada. You know, I wanted to come up here, I'm the defending champion and show up and at least put up a good effort.

I was actually I put in a couple of days light practice and played nine holes on Friday and Sunday and really felt pretty good. So you know, I decided for sure on Sunday that I was coming. It was a little iffy prior to that, but I decided I really wanted to, number one. I felt pretty good.

I felt pretty good today until 17.

Maybe tomorrow. I will get on the floor and roll around on my foam roller and I'll be ready to go tomorrow. When the bell rings, it's easier to overcome, you know, certain issues than when you are just playing in the Pro Am or recreational golf. Sometimes you don't feel very well, but you end up playing pretty good anyway. That's kind of what I'm hoping for.

Q. Are you talking about the possibility of operation or such thing like that?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA:
I thought about it. I haven't really talked to anybody about it. But, yeah, at some point I will probably have to go that way.

My doctor in Naples assures me that it's okay to keep getting epidurals every three months. There is nothing that he's putting in there that's going to cause any problems. It's just basically numbs everything up.

It's not a whole lot of fun going through that, but it's nice feeling good for three months. I'll probably go that route for a little ways and see how far that takes me.

You know, once this thing heals up, it just takes a few weeks of rest then I should be fine. I'm honestly looking to finish up the year here pretty strong.

Q. Would it be easier for you to play like last year in July where it's more hot for your back instead of September where there is a breeze?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA:
Good point. The weather is going to be pretty chilly this week, which generally I like. I don't mind cold weather. It's definitely easier. We played in July last year, right? When it's warmer and easier to stay loose, you don't quite get so stiff. The heat definitely helps. So that would have been a little bit easier. The weather could have also been 80 degrees every day here. It's just one of these cold snaps. It's only September, so it shouldn't really be this chilly. I know this is kind of cooler than usual for this time of year.

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