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AMERICAN CENTURY CELEBRITY GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

July 20, 2002

Rick Rhoden Jack Wagner

STATELINE, NEVADA

MODERATOR: Rick Rhoden, 4-under 68, and Jack Wagner 3-under 69. We've seen this act in here before, guys.

RICK RHODEN: Hopefully, you'll see it again.

Q. What did you hit into 18?

RICK RHODEN: 8-iron. I've never been -- we were just talking about that. That ball just exploded off my driver. I wish I knew how it happened. That ball went 30 yards further than any ball I hit all day.

Q. How many yards?

RICK RHODEN: 169 downwind.

Q. What about the putt?

RICK RHODEN: I'd putt that putt the same way again. I'd play it inside the right edge to go left. That ball started bouncing. The last couple of greens were kind of soft and the balls were bouncing a little bit, and just bounced off-line.

I can't complain about my putting today. It's the best I've ever putted. I made six birdie putts, one on 16 from about 12 feet. So I've got no complaints about my putting.

Q. How were the scoring conditions?

RICK RHODEN: I thought it was harder today than yesterday. Only difference was today you could hit balls up by the hole and they were not spinning back 20 feet; so you had a chance to gauge your shots better.

The front nine, the winds changed like three different times and we were into it a couple of times and all of a sudden it's behind you. Get on those tees and a lot of times you don't know which way it's going.

Q. Jack, do you find yourself looking at the leaderboards?

JACK WAGNER: I look at them. It actually is fun. You know, if we were doing this every week, I don't think I would pay as much attention to leaderboards or cameras, you know, playing with the crowd as much. But this is one event a year where we actually are on NBC, national TV, and it's really real golf and it's a very good golf course.

I think it brings the better players to a higher level, and it's fun to kind of look at the names and see who is playing well and see what you have to do on the holes that you can birdie.

Q. People have talked about the great players are ones who putt well; do you feel like your game is where you want it to be ?

RICK RHODEN: I'm not hitting the ball very good right now. Today, I putted real good, though. If I could putt like that half the time, I'd be happy. But I think the other part kind of comes and goes, hitting the ball -- tomorrow, I might go out and hit it very well. Hopefully I will. Today I hit some good shots.

Q. Will this be your last tournament, maybe looking at the SENIOR TOUR?

RICK RHODEN: That's a long way off. I think people are making a lot of assumptions. Until it happens, it's basically what it is. Until somebody actually does it, it's just talk.

Q. This continues good play for you. You've played very well.

JACK WAGNER: I'm a Saturday guy. I just like weekends.

Q. You've won on the Celebrity Tour before. What do you think the odds are of this being your break-out year in Tahoe?

JACK WAGNER: Well, the odds are if Rick goes on the SENIOR TOUR tomorrow, better.

I think they are pretty good. I hit the ball pretty well today, and putted pretty well. Any time you can make -- Rick and I together had 13 birdies today, and when you can make those kind of birdies, you're going to go at least in the 60s on this course because we are hitting a lot of wedges into a lot of greens.

Now, the wind blew today and it was a tougher golf course, but you have to get around to three or four hard holes, 8 and 9. If you can get around those, which I actually didn't, I bogeyed both of them, but if you can get through the hard holes, you can let it go a little bit on the back nine.

Q. Really go low?

JACK WAGNER: Exactly.

Q. Have you guys been paired together on Sundays before?

RICK RHODEN: When we both play well we are usually paired together. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you know the years you have been paired together here?

JACK WAGNER: Last year. In this tournament?

Q. Final group on Sunday?

RICK RHODEN: Yeah.

JACK WAGNER: Yeah.

Q. Do you like playing with each other?

RICK RHODEN: I'd rather play with people that you've got to know that you have to beat.

JACK WAGNER: I prefer playing with Rick or Danny Quinn or Del Greco, the top five or eight players, because I think you can judge the leaderboards a little better and I think it brings you to a better level.

Today is a great example. I made about a 20-, 25-footer on 1, and Rick knocked in an 18-footer right behind me and that starts the day going. I think better players probably want to play with the guys that have a good shot of winning on Sunday. For me, anyway.

Q. You're holding up the baseball guys. The quarterbacks were talking about they are the best-looking guys, they play the best golf because of the position, playing football you have to be more focused?

RICK RHODEN: I'll trying to figure out how many quarterbacks have won any of our events. Steve Bartkowski won one, didn't he? I don't know who said that, but I think the actors have more wins than the quarterbacks.

JACK WAGNER: Yeah, Bruce and I, best ball today, 69. Way ahead. (Laughter.)

RICK RHODEN: You guys have to be way ahead in wins, though.

JACK WAGNER: Right, right. (Laughing).

Q. Does Lendl's contention surprise you guy?

RICK RHODEN: I didn't even notice Ivan until the 16th; they had the big scoreboard. I'm looking at the scores because they are running up and down, I'm looking, and I thought it was Dick Andersen and I looked over and it was Ivan, he had shot 68.

JACK WAGNER: He's a funny player. He's won twice, so, you know, there you go. He can -- but he hasn't really played that well this year, I don't think. So maybe he had a good round today.

RICK RHODEN: He works hard at his game. Probably more than anybody we have. He's very competitive.

Q. What's it going to take tomorrow to win, a number out there at all?

RICK RHODEN: One more than the guy behind you.

Who knows? It depends on the wind, how windy it is.

Q. You were saying pre-tournament, weren't you saying that it could go to minus-10?

RICK RHODEN: I thought so, but that was before the greens, they had them so soft yesterday you could not hit a ball close to the hole hardly because they were spinning back. The course is so soft that you were hitting -- like I hit today on 10, I hit 6-iron in. Normally you're hitting 9-iron or something. There's holes that you hit shots you never hit before.

JACK WAGNER: It was a funny day. The wind it was totally different. By the time we hit 16, it was back to the normal, off the water. It just kind of changed.

RICK RHODEN: Today, the course was easy to play, but it was harder conditions because the wind was much harder today.

Q. Can you guys weigh in on the experience of meeting with and hanging out with the firefighters this week?

RICK RHODEN: Well, my dad is a retired fireman. We talked about it, you know, I think we're all behind what they are doing, obviously. I think everybody in America is proud of what they have accomplished. I don't think you have to look at the guys are in New York. All over the country, those guys and the policemen do unbelievable stuff and don't get a whole lot of pats on the back too often.

JACK WAGNER: I think it gives a real grounded tone to this event. Because it's a bunch of celebrities here, and the reality is, it's a golf tournament. And it's fun, and these guys bring a tone of reality.

When we were in our players meeting the other night, and Rick will attest to this, it was a totally different meeting when these guys got up and speak and gave the president of American Century a fire hat and a portrait of the Twin Towers as they fell. It put a very realistic tone on the tournament; and these guys have a New York accent, they are down there digging away and they really mean what they say. They are really the real deal.

I think it brings a reality to this tournament that -- hey, we are really here having a good time, and it's a game. It's going to get serious tomorrow, but it's still a lot more fun than I think it has been in the past.

End of FastScripts....

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