USGA Senior Amateur News
50TH USGA SENIOR AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Bel-Air Country Club



An interview with:

MARK BEMOWSKI

THE MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about your thoughts and your feelings now that you are the owner of the Senior Amateur Championship trophy.

MARK BEMOWSKI: Well, it's been four years of hard work, believe me. I don't know if anyone has worked harder at this game than I have, trying to prepare for this tournament.

When I found out, I called a few people and found out what kind of golf course this was, and then tried to, you know, I worked the entire year, and even maybe gave up some little success I might have had in a few events I played, just because I wanted to maintain focus on what I was trying to do. That may sound a little complicated, but I thought, well, I just have to get better. I just have to -- I just have to be so good that nobody can beat me. I'm not saying I was, but that was my goal. So I've prepared very, very hard, and it's just a great feeling to have it come to fruition.

Q. That hard work certainly paid off on the front nine today when you just came out blazing.

MARK BEMOWSKI: Well, yeah, that's what I wanted to do. The front nine is really -- plays to the strength of my game, and that's the wedges and hitting it in the fairway off the tee and the wedge game. It's just, you know, it just worked wonderful today.

I really have to thank TaylorMade. I know you see me wearing their visor, but I have some great friends there that just made me up some wedges a few months ago, and boy, they are just superb. They were all the difference in the world.

Q. You made the turn with the big lead and then lost one at 10 and were in position to lose at 11 when he sank that putt; what's going through your mind then?

MARK BEMOWSKI: I'm just telling myself I'm going to be 3-up going into 12 and that's not bad over a player like Greg at this point in the match. I would have gladly accepted that before I started. And then much to my surprise, he missed the putt, but I came right back and returned the favor with a couple on the next two holes, where they actually didn't play badly there, but these greens are really difficult. They were a little bit -- a little faster today than they have been, and you know, it caught me by surprise there.

On 13, I certainly wasn't trying to knock the putt past the hole at that point. And then to just hit a poor putt coming back, but that was upsetting to 3-putt that hole. I could have probably put it away right there.

Q. I was just looking through your matches, you won the first hole in five out of six matches. How far important was it to get off to a good start?

MARK BEMOWSKI: Yeah, it's a good hole for me because I have enough length and I feel like I drive it straight enough. If you can just -- you know, I just tried to kill it down there and kind of set the stage in our matches. If you can -- this golf course, if you can go out and be aggressive and get a lead on the front nine, it's pretty hard for anybody to catch you on that back nine.

Q. How tough was it playing against your buddy in the final?

MARK BEMOWSKI: Yeah, we've become good friends, and we've talked about this. It's just amazing that it would happen, particularly so soon; that we would get a rematch, and in the finals.

You know, I'm sure he approached it just like I did. We both wanted to beat each other's brains up out there, but when it's all said and done, we shake hands and we're great friends still. And it would have been that way no matter who had won the match.

Q. How satisfying after -- I know you weren't happy with the way you had played in the 2002 final, how satisfying is it for to you to play so well in this championship?

MARK BEMOWSKI: Well, that's, like I said, I've prepared and worked really hard. To really do it when you need to do it, to me, that's always been the essence of the game. That's why I played the game because I love to be challenged and I love to have to hit a shot and have to do things right at the time. And it was very comforting today. I don't know if I -- I don't think I hit a bad shot on the front nine. And the one on 4 clipped that tree, and I thought it would come shooting out there of a little faster and it did, and that green boggled me all day. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I felt very good about every shot I hit. Even 10, I hit not that bad of a shot. I wanted to keep it to the right side of the hole, but I had a very poor lie, and that was some hardpan or something underneath the sand when I hit it. The club just clanked. The last thing I wanted to do was make more than 4. I didn't think I would lose the hole even with a bogey.

But I don't -- I didn't hit a bad shot. I got kind of on guide mode on the back nine. I was just kind of hitting my little cut shot out there to get it in play, because like I said, you just keep hitting fairways and greens and making pars and it's going to be almost impossible for anybody to catch him.

Q. Can you talk about the preparation when you tried to find out as much as you could about the course, just talk about being prepared?

MARK BEMOWSKI: Well, I had talked to a couple of people who said, you know, when I asked what kind of golf course it was, the raised greens, the left-to-right, mostly left-to-right which I'm pretty good at anyway. I just hit countless shots, trying to picture that and just played today, just pictured the shots I was hitting when I practiced. You know, pictured the practice range in front of me. I didn't even look at the golf course. You know, I just pictured the place where I practice all the time and just looked at that. I thought of nothing else.

Q. How long did you spend on the whole practicing?

MARK BEMOWSKI: The whole year. That was my entire focus. I played more events than normally. Normally I don't play all that many events but I played a lot of events this year, just trying to, you know, to sharpen up my game. Played in a couple of match-play events that I really don't particularly like match-play, but I played in a few more match-play tournaments and everything I did was with this tournament in mind.

Q. Talk about getting so close in 2003 --

MARK BEMOWSKI: Well, yeah, that, I played -- I have played well every year I've played in this. Always something has happened or I did something or somebody dropped a bomb on me out there. I felt, you know, like the fox with the grapes, so close, and I always felt that I was capable of winning. Obviously, you have to be fortunate, as I was yesterday, to win the match that I probably would have lost about 95 times out of 100. But I started thinking, well, maybe it is my week. But if I can come out on top of that one -- yeah, against Marty West, and he's just a world-class player. We just, both of us, played pretty poorly, particularly on that front nine.

Q. Were you using that putter --

MARK BEMOWSKI: Yeah, I've been using that. I had a different one I used. I started last fall with that, and it's helped. It's helped me a lot. Still not quite where I'd like it to be, but on that one, again, that was another putter that TaylorMade made for me, and it's -- yeah, I've been working with it till about last fall. And it took me till about the middle of this year till I really started to feel comfortable.

I knew I would need that putter under pressure. You know, so even though I didn't putt again, I played some tournaments again this year. I didn't putt like I wanted to, but I just kept forcing myself to keep working with that putter till I got it right. So hopefully I'd have it right here and I putted real well all week, with the exception of a couple little -- little stabs I made at it there on the back nine, 12 and 13. But other than that, it's been pretty good.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BEMOWSKI: Yeah.

Q. What do you do for a living and how much time do you have for golf?

MARK BEMOWSKI: I'm in the corporate promotional logo and apparel, all of that kind of stuff. There are times we work a lot and I can -- what I like is I can always -- I always make sure I take some time to do something. It might be ten minutes a day or it might be a couple of hours. I try to never let a day go by without working on some aspects of my game, just because I enjoy it, too. I like golf and I like to -- it's a recreation for me. I don't work for a company. I have like another partner. We're just reps.

Q. You'll be home for the little event tomorrow?

MARK BEMOWSKI: Yeah, it's a little event tomorrow. I talked to my friend last night and I said, yeah, I'll be able to make it. It's a fun little money event, so we always get a kick out of that one. Probably going to be 55 and raining tomorrow when I get back there. I don't know how I'll handle that. You get spoiled out here.

THE MODERATOR: Mark, thanks again. Congratulations.

MARK BEMOWSKI: Okay. Thank all of you. Thank you for everything.


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