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October 21, 2009

Camilo Villegas

CRAIG SMITH: Thank you so much and go enjoy the Dodgers/Phillies game, and thanks so much.

Q. A man as well travelled as yourself, have you been down to this part of the world before?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, there was a Nationwide event in new zeal lands, I can't remember exactly the name of the golf course.

Q. When was that?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Clearwater, is that right? (Three or four years ago).

Q. Having been to a course like Cape Kidnappers, what kind of preparation are you doing and do you know what kind of shots you need to do to be effective?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Actually, I have no clue about the golf course. I've only heard great things about it.
I have no clue about the golf course. I've heard great things about it. I've heard great things about the resort.
Am I preparing? You know, I'm preparing for all of the tournaments I have. I'm going to Spain more the Match Play, and then I'm going to China for the HSBC, and then I'll be heading to Cape Kidnappers. So hopefully by the time I'm there, my game is sharp and we can put on a good show.

Q. What was the motivating factor for you to come to Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay? Was it the money, the making that much money in a short time or coming to an exotic location?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I tell you, when I heard about the event last year, it sounded so attractive and the players came back with such great comments about everything, about the way they were treated about the golf course about the country. And you know what, I've had a chance to go to Australia several times, to New Zealand one time, and that area of the world is one of my favorite ones. Good golf courses, great people, and so I'm excited. We have got four great players to try and put a good show, and yes, there's a lot of money involved which makes it nice.
But it's about winning and just go there and have fun and play well and hopefully get the trophy.

Q. You are second ranked out of the four players coming here; how do you rate your chances?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Like I said, it's going to be four great players, including myself. And it's just -- I like my chances. Trust me, I'll be working and I'll be trying to beat every one of those players. Those guys have beat me many times, am I going to say, you know what, I'm definitely going to win the tournament? No. It's three good players, it's golf, it's two rounds, anything can happen. But all I can do is prepare myself to be sharp and have my game ready to beat them.
Like I said, I've beaten those guys many times just like they have beaten me many times. Again, we are four great players trying to put on a great show, and somebody is going to win, so hopefully it's me.

Q. Can you tell me about the impact that your success in America has had in your own country? We don't think about South America as a place that produces famous golfers; Argentina have had a few over the years but that's about it. In Colombia, no real golf tradition. How much impact has your golf career had in Colombia?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know, it's been a lot of new things for me in a very short time to all of a sudden become ambassador of my country and just have to represent my country everywhere I go. And I have to help here and then try to show the good size of my country; it's a challenge, but it's been so much fun.
All of a sudden you're with the president and the vice president and the board of tourism and you're trying to see how we can make this place a better place, how we can grow the game, how we can just project or expand or show the great things about this country, how we can help in terms of -- because even economic impact, where you can go to meetings and talk to the investors about investing in the country.
You know, it's pretty cool. I'm just a golfer, and to have a chance to do things like that, it's pretty special.
CRAIG SMITH: You sound pretty jazzed to talk about that. Would you accept the term "role model" to other children and people in your country?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Okay, yes. It's so much fun when I show up to the country and I see all of the kids trying to get into the game. You just come here, and people treat you in a nice way and you see all of these new kids getting into the game of golf, and then you do outings and you see how people start to appreciate the hard work you put into your career and your life.
Yes, it's nice to see some guys trying to wake up early, go do the work, go to the gym, go hit some balls and go be an example for the people.

Q. I wanted to ask you how you got into golf yourself Camilo; I gathered both your mom and dad were golfers. I just wondered how you got into it yourself.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I was about seven, eight years old back home and I started going with my dad to the golf course on the weekends, and all of a sudden I ended up in tournaments and then by the age of 13, 14 representing my country in international events. And then I went to the States, to the University of Florida and now I'm here, man.

Q. When will you be coming over so that you get used to the local climate and what the weather is going to be doing at the time?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm playing the week before in China, so it's going to be a quick trip there. Yes, there's going to be a time change and we are going to be a little jet-lagged. But it looks like I'm not going to be the only one, and it's not the first time we have done it.
So it's just the nature and the reality of our job. We play one week in Spain and then we head to China and then we go to New Zealand and all of a sudden we are in Dubai and back to Florida. It's tough. It's tough on the body, it's tough on the mind, but I guess it is what it is.

Q. Talking about tough on the mind and tough on the body, depending on where you're reading on the Internet these days, you seem to be a fitness person. How much of fitness is involved in your regime and the buildup?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know, I love it. More than how important it is for my career and my game, I just enjoy it. When I got to the University of Florida, I weighed about 135 pounds. I was one of the shortest guys on the golf team, and I started working out and started just paying a little more attention to my new nutrition and fitness and by the end of the fourth year when I graduated and decided to turn pro, I was one of the longest guys on the team. So does it help? Yes, it definitely helps. But I just enjoy doing it and now I'm pretty consistent with cycling and I can be on the bike three, four, five hours and then go hit some balls and then go stretch. So it's just become part of my life.

Q. Have you got a family in Colombia, kids and things like that?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, no family. Single man.

Q. How do you find touring on the PGA? Do you enjoy going to all of these different countries, and apart from your one visit to New Zealand, how does it stack up compared to the other countries you've been to?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I've been to New Zealand and I really enjoyed the one time I was there. I'm looking forward to going back.
Being very honest, we travel around the entire world but we don't get to see the world -- we are not tourists, that's the reality. We are there in the gym, we are there on the golf course, we are there on the practice range, and more than sight-seeing is just interacting with different people from different countries. It's getting to know different cultures. That's the one thing I find very interesting is to see how people are so different but the same. And what do I mean by that; I just mean the cultures are so different, but we are all individuals. We are all human beings, we all have the same drives and we are all exactly the same, which at the end of the day is pretty cool.

Q. You won THE TOUR Championship last year which many people in golf consider to be kind of like the fifth major championship; just tell me about that win, and how you felt afterwards. Did you feel like a major championship winner?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know what, I've been working hard and it's been pretty short career and I think it's been a really good one. I mean, to finish the way I finished last year, winning the BMW, making it my first PGA TOUR win and then going back and coming from five behind and end up winning on a playoff was really special.
And if you go even one week before the BMW, I finished third. So I finished my year finishing third, first, first. So I was obviously playing well and I obviously had my confidence up there, and that's what the game is all about. It just happens to be that we have one guy that makes us look pretty bad out there and he keeps winning every time he tees it up. But other than that, I think it's been a great career and we will keep working to keep improving.

Q. I wanted to ask a question about your image, because you have a different image than the other golfers coming to kidnaps, your physical fitness, and the fashion, the Lindeberg clothes and your groupies, your big, big female fan club. Is that something that you encourage or just something that's grown up around you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's kind of grown up. It's more a media thing than anything. I'm just a normal guy. Yes, I like having fun but I'm a very hard worker.
So at the end of the day, you set up your goals and try to accomplish them, and winning tournaments is my No. 1 goal and that's what I work for.

Q. You still like motorbikes? You still into motorbikes?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I like motorbikes. I'm more into cycling nowadays. Motorbikes is too easy, man. You just push the throttle. Cycling, you've got the engine inside you, so a little more challenging.
CRAIG SMITH: What's the fine line between making it like you did, or working and working like your younger brother is to get from week-to-week?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Oh, man, I wish I knew. I could tell him exactly what to do.
It's a funny game. It's funny now some guys are so good and it takes them five, ten years to get on TOUR. And some guys are so good and they never get on TOUR. And then you have other guys that they have never been that successful and all of a sudden they their card they get it at the right time and they get confidence and all of a sudden they become great players.
I think it's a game of patience. My brother is a hard worker and he enjoys it and he keeps getting better. It's just a matter of eliminating little small mistakes and gaining little confidence to hopefully come and join me on TOUR.
CRAIG SMITH: Thank you so much for joining us.

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