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July 17, 2013

Dan Quinn Steve Schorr Jack Wagner


THE MODERATOR:  Dan, five‑time champion, playing good golf.  Caddying for Ernie Els for a number of tournaments this season.  You're around good golfers.  You've been playing good golf.  How does it look for you right now going into this tournament?
DAN QUINN:  It's Wednesday.  I've never seen the golf course‑‑ that's the biggest thing when you come out here you don't know what you're going to get a lot of times.  But kudos to everybody that's put this together.
The golf course is 23 years I've been coming, this is not even close to the best I've ever seen it.  Everything, bunkers, they cleaned out the stuff on 17.  And the greens are spectacular.
So it's going to be, I think, a good golf tournament from that perspective.  Sometimes the greens leave a little bit of luck.  I think if you hit good puts and you play well the golf course is just such a really pure, pure well manicured thing that I'm really looking forward to playing it.
THE MODERATOR:  Between the three gentlemen up there, we have seven championships.  Jack, you're one of four guys that's been here every year 24 years.
How do you like the golf course, how do you like the game so far?
JACK WAGNER:  Golf course is unbelievable.  I was listening to Danny.  The greens are perfect.  A couple little spots, but overall it's probably the best we've ever had up here.
So I think it might give us a little bit more confidence putting hopefully, and the short putts have always been really tough up here because there's a lot of footprints and the grass hasn't really matured for the summer.
But it's beautiful.  Looking forward to it.

Q.  We'll talk a little bit about odds because Steve Schorr is here from Harrah's Harveys race book.  We have Danny the favorite going off 7 to 2.  Jack, you're 6 to 1 and let's talk about the odds.  How do you feel about that?  Are they accurate?
DAN QUINN:  At least this year someone that's won is up there.  Last year you had Tony favored.  I'm just kidding.  Who knows what it is.  It is what it is.  There's been obviously four of us that have multiple wins here.
I would have to think that any one of us has a chance to win this week to go with another dozen guys that have won or have been close.
So I'll have to defer to the oddsmaker here besides me.
STEVE SCHORR:  Making the odds has been a lot of fun.  It's one of our best events.  It's exciting for Lake Tahoe.  It couldn't be a better time.
I mean, today the weather's absolutely fantastic.  And for us in the sports book, these kind of events.  We only have one all year long.  The Super Bowl is pretty big for us but this event, since we set the odds ourselves is really exciting.
So this is how we came up with the odds.  Dan Quinn is defending champ.  Five‑time winner.  In the top five, 12 times and top 10, 19 times.  He plays golf all the time.
One of the things in putting him as the favorite is his relationship with Ernie Els.  Now, if you're playing golf with Ernie Els, I would think that you'd be learning quite a bit.
So we made him the favorite in the event.  He won in 2012.  So he was last year's champion.  2004, 2002, 2001.  And in 1991.
So now when we take a look at Jack.  I've watched Jack on TV a lot.  We believe that he's got the best short game.  He's got an excellent short game.  He's 53 years old.  He is now five to one.  We started him off at six to one.  He's been in the top five 10 times.  Last year he came in 8th and he had wins in'06 and '11.  So between these two guys they're both great golfers.  Great golfers.
I'll just talk about one other, Rhoden.  We have Rhoden as the second choice.  And I had a very interesting conversation with Rick yesterday.
And he's 60.  So as you guys know, I'm 60, too, as you get older it's not quite as easy.
And what Rick told me‑‑ I asked him about his golf game.  He said, Steve, I've won eight championships.  He said when I used to play and I was winning all the time, he said I would walk up to the ball, I'd check the yardage out.  I'd go if I was 80 yards out I might get a gap wedge, I'd walk up, I'd swing and I'd hit it on the green.
He says now, he says since I haven't been playing so well, he says I get the club, I walk up, and I think are my feet straight?  Is my backswing good, and through his head there's just a lot more rift than there was when he was winning all the championships.
So it's much more difficult for him now.  His last three outings haven't been that good.  He got an eighth a sixth and a ninth.  He was in the top five 18 times but like I say the last three years haven't been good.

Q.  Obviously we don't need to ask Steve Schorr any questions because he just interviewed himself.  Way to go, Steve, thank you.
DAN QUINN:  No wonder we can't win bets.

Q.  Steve, you installed the parlay of Dan to Ernie Els at 85 to 1.  If you're 5 to 2, Dan, what would Ernie be at the Open and how does that compute?
STEVE SCHORR:  Well, Els was 30 to 1 and Quinn was actually 7 to 2.  We multiplied them.  It's about 90.  We come up with 85 to 1.  We know that not too many people are going to bet $105 to win $1.  And that's how we set it.  People come in at 85 we put a prop up that we think we're going to win.  Although it's happened twice.  Two of them won.

Q.  Dan, you played a lot of years with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Do you wish you could have played with Sidney Crosby?
DAN QUINN:  Absolutely.  Great player.  First‑class young man.  I've never met him.  But it's sort of refreshing.  There's a lot of stories in sports.  And you mentioned Sidney Crosby, and last night I kind of teared up in my room with Mariano Rivera, sitting with his family, how well orchestrated, he still had to pitch, how he interviewed, to have played that many years with really no blemishes on his record.
And I think Sidney's that kind of kid.  It's really refreshing with a lot of the stories that seem to take hold in sports now that there are still some super, super classy men that are great athletes.

Q.  Steve, people are talking about the great condition of the greens here.  And as a year‑round resident it might have something to do with such a mild winter we had.  But I'm wondering, because the greens are in such good shape as that is that why Wagner's odds changed or are people betting on him?
STEVE SCHORR:  He's got a little bit of action and it's a little bit why his odds changed.  The greens are in great shape.
My son, both my sons work here so I get the report on a weekly basis.  And the course is in‑‑ it's better than it's been in the last 10 years.  But, yes, that does come into consideration.

Q.  Dan and Jack, to hear you talk about your game and where it's at.  Expectations and where's your game compared to last year?
JACK WAGNER:  Last year my game was say a lack of confidence.  I did not play well.  I didn't putt well.  Year before clearly I had my best year up here.  So I'm probably somewhere in the middle.
I really kind of play one tournament a year now and this is it.  So it's hard to get sharp and keep your nerve when you play three days a year, basically.
I do prepare for this, but I'm just not‑‑ I don't play a lot of tournament golf.  So we used to have so many more tournaments.
So that's tough for me.  But like always, I don't hit a ton of greens.  I don't hit it that close.  I have to chip and putt well in order to compete.  So that's what I have to rely on.  So hopefully I'll, you know, roll it well this week and I'll be able to hang in there until Sunday, I hope.
DAN QUINN:  I'm kind of‑‑ I think I'm a little further along this year than I was last year.  I didn't play great but I was sort of to be the alas one at the end.  I think I should play a little better this year.  I'm feeling a lot better physically.  And the only thing is I did work more in May and June as a caddie which takes away a lot of the playing time I sometimes get.
But I'm the same as Jack.  I think I've experienced a little bit of the nerves just being inside the ropes with another, even though it's as a caddie.  But it's not easy for all of us to play once a year and keep score once a year, especially those that, when they get there on Friday morning, it's kind of like you're trying to win Friday, you're ready to win.
And unlike on a PGA TOUR, the way the guys have worked themselves in a tournament whoever is 27 holes out with the lead kind of does it.  There's about six or eight guys teeing off Friday morning thinking they're going to win this.
It's something you have to deal with.  But as I said from my game perspective I'm excited about the greens.  I too am looking forward to putting on them, and I think tee to green I'm a little better than I was last year.

Q.  This is your week, but a little conflicted at time I imagine with Ernie doing so well.  Have you ever been torn between being here and being there?
DAN QUINN:  It's certainly something I wouldn't mind doing once to go over there.  I got to do the U.S. Open with him.  I've done a PGA and Masters.  On the heels of watching him prepare having won two U.S. Opens, going up there basically a week early and playing 25 holes on the Sunday before and doing all that, I would love‑‑ a lot of times I hate doing Pro‑Ams and practice rounds when you're a caddie you just want to get to Thursday and Friday and go.
But I really enjoyed the preparation of the U.S. Open and watching a guy that had won it twice, has 35, 40 Top 10s in 82 major starts.  He's obviously, especially in those two events, he plays very well in the British and the U.S. Open.

Q.  Jack, last year you had Dancing With the Stars for a while.  So this year you haven't had that.  So has that helped your preparation for this tournament?
JACK WAGNER:  Actually, it has.  Last year I was a little sore coming in here.  But ballroom dancing is not conducive to great golf, just so you know.
But, yeah, I think it really is‑‑ you know, you gotta kind of hit the ball at least decent up here to build a little confidence and you have to make some putts.  So there's no excuse.  I just didn't have a lot of confidence last year, and hopefully I'll have a little more confidence this year.

Q.  Who are the top three putters you think out here, had to go into the thinking, especially with your great information, who would you rate 1, 2, 3, putting‑wise?
STEVE SCHORR:  Jack's number one, without question, short game is good.  Putting is good.  He's number one.
JACK WAGNER:  Remember you have to miss a lot of greens to have a good short game.
STEVE SCHORR:  And Rhoden, he's really good.  The guys we've got at the top five, Smoltz and not Barkley, the type five, they're all pretty good players.
If it got down to the end, let's say hole 16 and 18 are par 5s, between these two guys, I think under the pressure I'd give it to Quinn, because he's played sports and he's been under those things.
And I think Jack, you know, he could just go cut on the movies and it would be‑‑ I'd give it to Quinn.

Q.  Jack, over the years here you've had to hear about it being the only non‑athlete that's won this event and won it twice.  Now it's a chance to take your shot at the big boys?
JACK WAGNER:  I always say I do the elliptical.  So I think I'm an athlete.  Doesn't that qualify?

Q.  Dan, does it qualify?
DAN QUINN:  Jack, he's made kind of a quiet little lifestyle change about six, seven years ago.  You can see he's 53, does have many different colors of hair here I can see under the lights.  He's strong.  He's physically fit.  I watch where he was hitting some drives today.
I know I don't hit it‑‑ that's probably one of my biggest challenges.  I still try to think of where I hit it 15 years ago, even though I'm 48.  But obviously you get different numbers now when you get older.
I'm sure Rick is, especially when you get to 60.  You remember what you hit in '93, '94, hit a 9‑iron into 18, hit a driver and 5‑iron and I was happy with that, when there's no wind.
Anyway, as Jack being an athlete, you know, he's a great actor, and‑‑ but him and I, Jack and I have played a lot of golf, played a lot of golf and he was a great host to me in'94 and'95 I played for the Kings.
He was just in between jobs with Melrose Place and we were on strike in hockey in'94 and the winter of'94 and I played at Belair.  Numerous times.  And that's when I didn't know Jack's game too much from out here.  I was paired with him the year I won my first one in '92.  But then by'94 played with him a bunch, and you got him handicapped right.  He used to hit three greens and shoot 1‑under Belair, it was very frustrating to play against him.

Q.  One of the questions we get now and again about Barkley being 500 to 1, why aren't they 5000 to 1; is that as high as you can go?
STEVE SCHORR:  We could make it higher.  If somebody wants to bet a lot of money, wants a thousand we'd certainly move it up for them.  We just set it at 500.  Really Barkley could be a million to one.
The only situation you could run into is if you had a boss who wasn't that familiar with it, and you told him that if so and so won, we'd lose the casino.  You'd have an issue.  So we just put it at 500 to 1.  And we get a lot of people that bet on Barkley.
DAN QUINN:  I'll ask a question because I think you guys have done a great job over the years, especially since the tournament's been moved to Harrah's.  Or the host hotel, is the match‑ups and the what not, they're very, very tough to pick.
I remember going to Caesars when you did it.  You do a heck of a job.  How do you arrive at those?  I know you go sport against sport or quarterback against quarterback or golfer against golfer or champion against champion.  But they seem to be very, very close.

Q.  Describe a couple of those for us and give us your explanation.
STEVE SCHORR:  Let me get my list of all the matchups.  So here's what we do.  I mean, we sit around and it's not rocket science.  We could go from one favorite to the other favorite, depending on how we're feeling.
A lot of times besides the guys playing sports together or having something similar, we take a look at what the betting public likes or who is kind of the favorite.
Who they like.  Like if we put a Barkley to somebody down at the list, they'd all bet on Barkley.  The ones that we have, we have John Smoltz and Mulder.  We have Smoltz at minus $1.50.  We actually opened Smoltz at minus 1.30 but we got some information from a fellow here all the time who told us that Smoltz is a better golfer.
So we moved that one up to $1.50.  We have Rypien and Elway and Tolliver and Wagner.  The Tolliver and Wagner, we look at Tolliver.  He can hit the ball a mile.  He will outdrive these guys, but he's wild.  If he's not playing well, the ball could be somewhere far away.  But in this kind of system, when you have a scoring like it is, the long hitters get the most points.
So if you can get a hole in one or a double eagle‑‑ so we just look at each one and try and make it sports on sports, just like you said.

Q.  John Smoltz did a teleconference with us last week, and he talked about I think this is his fifth tournament here now, and he talked about how his first three or four times he'd get up here and he'd practice, practice, practice, by the time Saturday, Sunday rolled around he was a little tired.  I was wondering with all the experience you guys have, did you go through that, either too much practice, not enough practice, and what did you settle on as being the perfect amount?
DAN QUINN:  Well, there's for this tournament, and I'll throw in from a caddie's perspective on the TOUR.  Obviously if you've got no game and you get here you're going to hit more balls than you probably want to.
If you go back over the years and the fun that we've had, been very many hung over Wednesdays and Thursdays here with late nights in that casino.  Some of us‑‑ I started here when I was 27, but played many Wednesdays now, like 27 some years with John Elway.  Today we both woke up, didn't need Visine.  But it's changed.
No question, I think if you came out here play a bunch, you're from the East Coast or from a sea level kind of place, this can tire you out.  And you can get dry.  If you don't take care of yourself, by Sunday, after a couple of Pro‑Ams and five and a half practice round today, you can definitely wear out.
So it's up to every guy still going to be guys out there pounding balls until 6:30 tonight.  But some guys have probably found what works for them and some guys don't hit balls.  I don't see Rick hitting balls and Billy Joe doesn't practice a whole lot.  Just warms up and plays.  I'm sure Jack's figured out what works for him.  And so on and so forth.
JACK WAGNER:  I think we used to have so much fun.  So we would practice, but we weren't practicing golf Monday through Wednesday.  So things have changed a little bit.  But, yeah, you can get pretty beat up here.  I used to get tired by Sunday and mentally.
You know, this is kind of a little shot‑maker's course, to be honest.  You really do have to work your driver around here if you want to hit driver you have to hit some interesting little shots.
You more want to kind of practice your tempo and just simple stuff on the range is how I do it.  I used to probably overpractice and burn myself out.  So I just don't do that as much now for sure.
DAN QUINN:  Last thing, we have functions.  We have obligations and stuff, whereas like a TOUR pro, a big tournament, will not have anything to do other than what he wants to do for the whole week.
I've gone with Ernie, for example, on a couple of tournaments where he has sponsorship obligations.  He'll have a Pro‑Am and a dinner and then maybe another dinner on a Friday night with one of his other sponsors.
So those weeks can wear on him, too.  So it's one of the things that can make somebody that hasn't been here for a long time for three or four, five years that goes to all the functions get not the sleep that they're used to and whatnot and early morning Pro‑Ams and whatnot because we're on the West Coast.  You're not playing at 1:00 you're usually playing in the morning before 10:00.  It's a good point.  John's a smart guy obviously acknowledging that.

Q.  Speaking of change, my first year was a year that I know you're fond of, 1992.  And this tournament has grown so much, and I'm wondering, from a fan's perspective there's more bleachers, more exposure a lot more people here.
           I'm wondering, has it changed how the players prepare, and has it changed how you set the odds?
DAN QUINN:  All right.  I'll take a shot at it.  The players, I think‑‑ I do take‑‑ '92 is the first year that was an under‑par score.  So I think 5‑over was the winning score the first two years, if I'm not mistaken.  I think from '92 to now it's taken all the guys that think you're going to win you're going to have to come and play pretty good.
And I'm sure the guys that have come and won and the guys that haven't won are still‑‑ they kind of have an idea what the score's going to be or you're going to have to play pretty well and break par for the most part.
The golf course has had some different holes from '92 until now.  But the only comment I make is very few events have lasted 24‑‑ in any TOUR, any major sport of this magnitude.  And it's just an incredible hats off to the area and to NBC and American Century, Harrah's now, the partnerships, as I say more things change the more things have stayed the same.  It's like a nice little intimate event.
JACK WAGNER:  And just to comment, I think this tournament has taken on different colors in terms of scoring.  I mean, it is an under‑par tournament.  But Billy Joe won one year with 80 some points.  And I won a few years ago with 80.  And Tony was right there.
And then last year it seems like the scoring wasn't as high.  And Danny just kind of gutted it out and won.  So it's very unpredictable.  I think if players get a little hot, people get hot around the lead guys.  And if nobody kind of gets hot, it's sort of a little slugfest.
So it's pretty unpredictable.  Will somebody get to 8 or 10‑under?  Ten guys can do that; under the heat probably only about five guys.
But can guys get to 4 and 5‑under, there's 15 guys that can do that.  It all depends.  It's very unpredictable.
STEVE SCHORR:  And setting the odds, what we do is we go back and we have records all the way to when it first started.  And we really look at the last five or six years to see how everybody's been playing, the kind of scores they're doing.
And one of the key things for us is trying to get information about what's happened when they're not here, because we're setting the odds.  We talk about it all year, but we don't really know how the guys are playing.
I don't know how these two played today.  We don't know how these guys played today.  But in setting the odds, we go back and look at the past performance of the last five years.

Q.  Dan, question for you in terms of you're usually talking to Ernie and giving him advice.  With you both winning, maybe a conversation you might have had before you get here what advice did he may have offered you?
DAN QUINN:  We talked kind of as a team.  I don't really give him advice, other than this year he kind of chose the worldwide schedule and things weren't going the way he liked.
He still obviously made a good U.S. Open.  He's not that far in the FedEx.  He's had some good results in Europe.  The thing that's kind of cool, we didn't know each other in'02 when he won at Muirfield the same week this is.  And 10 years later we both win the same day.
And I'm employed by him, which is a neat thing.  But it was actually awkward, to be perfectly honest, when I went up to Canada after and he just won the British.  Every other person was saying congratulations.  And there was:  Dan, good job in Tahoe.  He was like:  My caddie's getting thanked for winning the Celebrity golf tournament and I just won the British Open.  It was somewhat awkward, to be honest with you.
But we had a great two months ago sitting around talking about it, with the Claret jug and whatnot.  But we sort of talk about how we focus and think about preparing and winning and treating an event is sort of what makes our relationship kind of cool.

Q.  Talk about the change to the modified Stableford, whether you guys liked it, and talk about the 16, 17, 18, if those are holes, good holes to finish on for a Stableford‑type tournament?
JACK WAGNER:  I think the Stableford has been a good idea, because it puts emphasis on making birdies.  And I think it's also less embarrassing for players that maybe blow up and have bad scores.  You can just kind of pick up.  It's better for pace of play.
I think a lot of times athletes, celebrities, actors don't want to come up here because they don't want to be embarrassed, because golf can do that to us.
So I think the Stableford has been good for that as well as‑‑ there are a lot of birdie holes out here if you can get it going.  To post a number that's 25 or higher means you probably shot from 69 to 67 or 6.  And I think that's a real goal for the players is to get birdies and points.  So I think it's a good thing.
DAN QUINN:  Certainly creates the potential for massive turnaround at the end and whatnot.  And that said, I don't think‑‑ actually, I'm pretty sure the guy that shot the best metal score since Stableford is still one.  Except I think I had Jack by metal, lost by two points his first victory.
But for the most part knowing what is out there, coming in from even 15 in, if your one guy ever does make a mistake the ability to take care of 16, 18, hole in one on 17 which has been done by Joe Sakic, certainly has the potential out there that there could be a six or seven‑point turnaround in three holes.  So it's good.  I think it's exciting.
To Jack's point, the one thing that's made this event have the longevity is to make guys that maybe aren't the best of players have as much fun as we do.  And I think that has accomplished that.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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