February 25, 1999
GORDON SIMPSON: You beat Justin Leonard 4 and 2. You had five points out of five at the Presidents Cup; two points out of two here. You must love this Match Play format.
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I really love Match Play.
GORDON SIMPSON: What is it about the game that you enjoy?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: There is two points. The first point is he can focus, just one person, instead of worrying about whole big tournament. It is just concentrating, fighting with one person, and I like that concentration. And the other fact that I like is in each hole, the result comes up like right away; so, when I make some mistake or something, I can just switch into -- gearing up for the next hole and I can change my mood and just keep going playing.
GORDON SIMPSON: Of course, today, you didn't make any mistakes according to these figures. What was the key point to your win today?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Tee shot and putting. I played good fairway, and also when my opponent played really well, I played well too. I just kept up with each hole and I just had a good time playing today.
Q. Did you play a lot of Match Play golf growing up in Japan?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I used to play Match Play a lot when I was in the university, and also when I became a pro -- I won the Japan Match Play and I have lots of confidence, and I really love Match Play.
GORDON SIMPSON: Which year did you win and who did you beat in the final? Was it someone famous?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: It was 1997, two years ago. I played with Peter Teravainen.
Q. I know you have played in the PGA Championship at Winged Foot. You did very well. In your trips to the United States, have you learned much English? In other words, how many words of English can you speak now?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I am really good at the golf conversation. I am really specializing in that one, but otherwise I just smile a lot.
Q. Could you describe your golf bag a little bit? It is very colorful, and it has Michael Jordan's number on it. You have a lot of things on it, very colorful bag.
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I carry a brand named Paradiso. It means "Paradise." It is Paradiso in Italian. The designer folks, kind of Japanese taste, in liking a lot of different colors, very colorful colors and Paradiso Resort was kind of their focus. And they use a lot of colors, kind of happy mood, kind of thing. They have a theme every year. This year the theme is of Bora Bora Island. Each year, the designer takes a theme of a different island resort, and they come up with different design and different focus of colors. All the Americans tease me because it is colorful in styles, my bags and t-shirt; so I decided to go black and white this year. Every single one of them tease me.
Q. Do you have Michael Jordan's number on your bag?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I like Michael Jordan for many different reasons. First of all, when I became a pro, I was 23. And so that is about the same time Michael Jordan became a pro and I really feel close when I hear about him and his interviews; so I really feel close to him because of the different reasons.
Q. The number is on your bag?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Yes.
Q. Have you ever met him?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: No, I have never met him, but I am desperate to meet him.
Q. How many strokes would you give him aside?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Handicap? Half 5 -- total 10.
Two years ago I went to Michael Jordan store in Chicago. That is one of the most happiest time I have ever had. I bought my shoes and clothing, and I ate cheeseburger there, and it was delicious.
Q. What did the success in The Presidents Cup do for you: (1) in your golf game; and (2) in Japan?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: In Japan, there is like a really less interest in knowing about what is going on in The Presidents Cup in general. So it really didn't do much for me. But I realized that there is a lot more people paying attention to Presidents Cup nowadays; so it is kind of medium. They don't do too much, but it wasn't nothing.
Q. What about for your confidence and your game?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I am much more self-confident because of the fact that I won, and also I am more confident because a lot of people recognize me as a winner. So my confidence is becoming more like deep-rooted in myself, and I feel better about that.
Q. How old were you when you started golf, and how did you get into golf?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I was ten. When I was little, my father really loved golf and I loved my father; so I decided to have the same interest as my father. That is how I got involved with golfing. But once I got involved, I was hooked and I really, really liked playing golf as much as I loved my father.
Q. What would it mean to win in the United States, and how recognized are you in Japan?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: It means a lot to me, because the reason why I wanted to become a pro is when I saw Tom Watson winning the same game in 1981 and it just has that much closer meaning to me because of that memory, and the memory of deciding how -- how I decided to become a pro. The second part of the question, the meaning of winning in the United States, because a lot more Japanese people are interested in baseball than in golf; so unless I win really big-time, it is not going to mean that much. And win like domestic Japan for myself, it means a lot more to me. I don't really care how I am going to be recognized in Japan. At this point, it really means a lot to me and my self-esteem.
Q. Given your success, should Americans be afraid of him?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: No problem. I want everyone to think I am a really funny guy. (laughs).
Q. Did you play baseball as a youth?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Before I played golf, I used to play baseball. I quit right after.
Q. Did you have a favorite golfer when you got started or somebody that you idolize now?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: Tom Watson.
GORDON SIMPSON: Could you run through the holes, please, the birdies from the first? Won the first hole with a birdie 3. Can you tell us the details.
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: The 1st hole, tee shot, driver. The second shot pitching sand wedge, 56 degrees. Second shot, pitching sand wedge. It is about 3 meters (ten feet). . No. 6, tee shot, driver. Second shot, sand wedge, a meter and a half (five feet). 8th hole, tee shot, driver. Second shot, a pitching sand, the same one I used in the first hole. Second shot, about six meters (20 feet). 12th hole, tee shot, driver. Second shot, 2-iron, semi-rough, front edge; chip, maybe three feet. No. 14, 5-iron about five feet. 5th, 3-wood. Second shot, 9-iron second shot about six meters (20 feet).
Q. No bogeys?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: No bogeys.
Q. How tall are you? How much do you weigh?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: 169 centimeters (appxly 5' 7"). 83 kilograms (appxly 182 lbs).
GORDON SIMPSON: The biography is in the book; that is probably easier.
Q. Would you be surprised if you won this week?
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I am not going to be surprised but I am going to buy a house before I leave the states. (laughs).
SHIGEKI MARUYAMA: I will think about it.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you.
End of FastScripts....