Questions For Mark Calcavecchia

By playing smart for four days, the 45-year-old beat a tough course to win the Canadian Open, his first victory since '01
September 18, 2005

SI: After four years without a win, what was different this week?

MC: I never thought I would actually win a tournament using my head. But honestly, this weekend I won by playing smart golf, by using course management and by staying patient. One birdie all weekend and I win the tournament? I don't know if that has ever happened in the history of golf tournaments.

SI: You've been using the claw putting grip since 2000. Ever think about switching back?

MC: I did it at the PGA. I made every putt I looked at for the 27 practice holes I played. I wasn't even lining them up, and 30-footers were going in from everywhere with a conventional grip. Then I got out there on Thursday, and on the 1st hole I had a five-footer for bogey and yipped the s--- out of it, missed the hole by eight inches. Next hole I had a 10-footer for birdie, and it was ugly. I yipped that one, too. I simply cannot relax with my conventional grip. My right hand, I get a little twitch in there, so I have to putt with the claw. That's basically the only option for the rest of my career.

SI: Were you surprised by how high the scores ran this week?

MC: On a course like this [Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, B.C.], you can play one great round, maybe two, but you're sure as hell not going to beat it four days in a row. I would've taken a pair of 70s after Friday because I knew that would be a great score. I guessed five to seven under would win, and five under was right on the money. Thank God we ran out of holes.

SI: Did you feel as if your time for winning on Tour had passed?

MC: No, not really. I'm every bit the player Olin [Browne] or Brad [Faxon] is. [Browne, 46, and Faxon, 44, have won Tour events over the last three weeks.] But on a day-in, day-out basis, I'm not as consistent as some of the younger guys who are among the top 10 players in the world, Sergio [García] and whatnot. I'm not kidding myself. But I still have my moments.

SI: As a kid you used to play 72 holes a day. Could you still do that?

MC: It felt like 36 today! When I played 72, it was on a little nine-hole course in Nebraska, and there wasn't a soul on it. I used to go around so much, I got dizzy. But 18 a day is enough now. --Kevin Woodley

KEY STAT

9

Points earned by U.S. Solheim Cup rookies Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim.

SI: THIS IS YOUR SECOND WIN IN CANADA. IS IT THE BEER?

MC: I DID A GOOD JOB OF NOT DRINKING TOO MANY. I LOVE CANADIAN BEER. I KNEW I HAD A JOB TO DO, BUT I'M GOING TO HAVE A FEW NOW.

PHOTOLYLE STAFFORD/REUTERS (CALCAVECCHIA)AMAZING BUT TRUE
Calcavecchia won despite making only a single birdie on the weekend.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)