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Verbatim At the BellSouth

April 11, 2005
April 11, 2005

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April 11, 2005

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Verbatim At the BellSouth

Get out of Dodge or play an extra day in Atlanta? That was the question of the week at the soggy BellSouth Classic

William Pate, BellSouth vice president of advertising and public relations: "We don't give out the actual number, but it costs about $5 million to sponsor a PGA Tour event and we're right in that range."

This is an article from the April 11, 2005 issue Original Layout

Dave Kaplan, BellSouth tournament director: "We had five or six withdrawals before the tournament started. The top names were Stuart Appleby, Chris DiMarco and Luke Donald. I was surprised that we didn't have more. Three top 10 players--Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson and Stewart Cink--stayed around."

Chris DiMarco, to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "I love this tournament and this course, and it's usually a very good tune-up for me going into Augusta, but being the week it is, I want to make sure I'm rested. [And] I would lose Monday as a practice round."

Retief Goosen: "We've played in sleet a few times on the European tour, but Europe is not this bad. We never have weather like this for eight straight weeks."

Stuart Appleby: "With conditions what they turned out to be--cold, blowy, even snow and hail!--how was that going to help me? Physically, I would've been a mess."

Phil Mickelson: "When you don't have a chance to practice for a couple of days, I understand why some guys pull out. I like playing competitive golf to prepare for majors rather than practicing."

Rich Beem: "Guys skipping this event to go prepare for next week--are you kidding? This is the perfect course to set up for Augusta."

Goosen: "There are some advantages to playing in tough conditions. It looks as if we're going to play in weather again at Augusta. [Goosen smiles.] Although I don't think we're going to play preferred lies."

Appleby: "The Masters is a very important tournament. You don't want to jeopardize your chances. The sponsors understand that."

Mickelson: "The sponsor thanked us for staying? We should be thanking them for sticking with us. They couldn't entertain their clients on Sunday like they wanted to, but I get to play on Monday in a 54-hole event for a full purse."

Kaplan: "We've looked at a date change. Now we're scheduled at a time of volatile weather--possible extreme weather--and we want to find out what our options might be with the new television contract."

Pate: "In May we might have better weather. In this town, if it's 80 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, you could have Tony the Tiger out there instead of Tiger Woods and we'd still sell out." --Chris Lewis

"I KNEW GUYS WOULD WITHDRAW. THAT'S THEIR DECISION. I THOUGHT ABOUT LEAVING BUT THEN DECIDED, 'I'M HERE, SO I MIGHT AS WELL STAY.'"

--Retief Goosen

KEY STAT

8

Australians in the Masters, the most from a country other than the U.S. since 1966. No Aussie has ever won.

COLOR PHOTOJOHN BAZEMORE/AP (BAILING)Nineteen players bailed out of the BellSouth, which didn't start until Saturday.