Verplank On The Changing Game

At Doral Friday:

Q. There's been a couple of guys in the last two or three years who have gone out looking for extra distance, you don't seem to be one of them; "This is my game, let's see what I do"?

SCOTT VERPLANK: I can't do it. I mean, I can't hit it any harder. I can't swing any harder. I've tried. I don't hit it as straight. I can hit I can use the different golf ball that goes 10 or 15 yards further off the tee, but I can't hit it close to the hole with an iron shot. So I just kind of take what I have.

If I play like I think I can and think I should, then, you know, I don't have any problem with it.

Q. I was going to say, you birdied all of the par 5s today.

SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah, you know, I think last year I probably finished in the Top 10 in birdies on the par 5s. But I kind of look at a par 5 as, you know, an opportunity. It's obviously a great opportunity to make a birdie, but sometimes if I can't knock it on, then I make sure I put myself in a spot where I know I'm going to be in good shape to still have a good putt at it.

Q. Do you have a strategy on all of the par 5s here or does it depend on where you drive the ball?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Depends on where I drive it, and if it's downwind on some of the holes, I'm going to try to hit a good drive so I can knock it on the green in two. Obviously, I can't knock it on 12, but I can get it up there pretty close where I'm hitting. Sometimes I chip better than some other guys putt.

So it's just it is what it is. I don't think I can hit it significantly further. I've tried. When I do I either hit it crooked or I get hurt. I'd just as soon keep it in the fairway. If I continue to improve, I'll pick up some more distance as the tournament goes on, and as the year goes on, too, pick up more confidence and how solid I'm hitting it. I end up getting it out there far enough to compete.

Q. You said earlier that you haven't really been striping the ball for two days, yet you're sitting here tied for the lead. What do you think that says for how things set up for you this weekend?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, hopefully good. I mean, if I continue to make the little strides the next couple of days like I'm hoping I will, you know, I know how to play my game. The way golf has changed, my game still works, just barely, you know. The way they have changed the equipment and the setups and all that, such a demand on bombing it. But there's just barely enough skill left in the game where I can still play (laughter).

Q. It seems like we come into this tournament quite a bit talking about the bombers and the guys that hit it long, and on this course, is that really necessarily a big advantage? You talked about navigational control here a few minutes ago.

SCOTT VERPLANK: No, you don't have to have it. Obviously you can still play. But it's more and more of a factor. If you can hit it straight, I guess I read yesterday that Tiger hit 12 fairways or something. As far as he hits it, that's pretty good. He's going to have a big advantage if he's 30 or 40 yards past me and he's in the fairway, as well.

Most guys don't hit it that straight, though, when they hit it that far.