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July 13, 2014

Willie Wood


WILLIE WOOD: Much easier day today. You know, as you probably heard, the wind was lighter and the greens seemed to be a little bit softer, but we played at 8:00 and I'm sure they will firm up. I'm sure there is a lot more under par rounds right now. There will probably be some good birdies coming down the stretch. Different from yesterday.

Q. How did you play on No. 6?
WILLIE WOOD: I hit a driver, and I actually hit a nice low one thinking maybe it could scoot up but it didn't. It went up the hill and came back. I pitched on and it was about 15 feet by the hole and missed the putt.

Q. What do you think of the setup on that?
WILLIE WOOD: Well, it's not really designed to be a drivable par-4, but because it's a bottleneck right there, they kind of needed to do that, you know, people crossing to go. And 17 and 15 would be so close, but it was okay. I mean, I thought it's going to -- it could make for something really, really exciting. Sure, if you have a one-shot lead, then you will be going, okay, do I take a chance? Because getting down in that valley where I was, even though you could throw it on the green, it's not an easy shot.

Q. You look back on this tournament, what are you going to remember about it?
WILLIE WOOD: That the club was successful. It was a really good event, looked great on TV. I think the fans enjoyed it. I don't think it's going to be the last event here. It will be the last event I play in, but it won't be the last event here at Oak Tree, because the golf course -- the golf course won this week, I think. It sure won over me. It kicked my ass. (Laughter.) I think it's a challenging golf course and one that the USGA likes. They don't have to do anything tricky to it to make it a challenge, you know. The rough is only this deep, but the ball goes straight down. And you can still advance it, but you don't have much control of it. The greens aren't rock hard, but they are hard enough to hold, to not hold a shot, and they're fast enough. You've got where you have to be careful. Nothing was tricky about it at all. All the players I talked to really, really loved it. This is coming from guys that really aren't all that complimentary. They loved it.

Q. Clearly the golf course can host a U.S. Open or any tournament in the world, but there are so many things that go with it.

Q. What is realistic for this course? I mean, is a U.S. Open realistic or is it more Presidents Cup, PGA?
WILLIE WOOD: Tour Championship would be realistic because of the time of year, being in September. But it's kind of locked into Atlanta for now. Or a playoff, smaller field. Just the time of the year would be good. I think keeping the property out there on 4, 5, and 6 and a long "waterloo" would be important to the club for it not to be developed. Once you get too developed, then all of a sudden you lose spacing for tents and parking and all that stuff. Although they made adjustments at Marion this year, you can do some adjustments. But it's nice to have room for all those corporate tents. It's gotten very, very important. But there is a lot of options. But then you have your windows of time of year that you can only play at here. It's probably better here in Oklahoma not to go up against college football, you know, even though that's our best time weather-wise. They did do the Senior Tour Championship at Gaillardia years ago, I think. It didn't get big crowds, even with Barry Switzer being the starter, I think. But I think the USGA will be back.

Q. Were you surprised about how tough this course was to you and the other Oak Tree guys considering it's your home course?
WILLIE WOOD: Yeah. I thought I'd do better. But I didn't drive it well enough. You really had to put it in the fairway. Brad Faxon asked me last night, he said, do you have any idea what the percentage of greens in regulations from guys that hit it in the rough? I said no. He said, I don't either, but I want to find out. You couldn't hit the green from the rough. Can't bounce it into many of them. I bet it's 10%, 12% hitting the greens. That was so critical. That's why Gene has played well, because he drives the ball good. I don't know who was leading the week in fairways yet but I'm sure Gene Sauers is high.

Q. How much were nerves a factor for you? You play out here a bunch. Sounds like you didn't play quite as well as you would have liked. Was much of it nerves?
WILLIE WOOD: I was more nervous actually Wednesday and Thursday, even Wednesday, but I was much more comfortable as the week went on. It's different playing at home than it is -- we're used to playing on the road, and we have our routines of going back to the hotel and going to our little restaurant and having our seclusion times, but there was none of that this week. Had a lot of, lots of family and friends here and lots of passes distributed and so it was just different. I was a little bit out of my comfort zone, for sure. I had another player, local player, say, what do you think about that? I said, well, it's a little different. He said, yeah, it sure is. He felt the same way I did. But I'm sure if we did it more often it wouldn't be out of our comfort zone. We would get used to it, you know. If OU played at -- what the hell is the name of the state? If they played a home game every 20 years, they'd probably be a little nervous when they went in front of 85,000, also. But they play every other week and stuff. It was just a little bit different. Yeah.

Q. (Question about tee boxes.)
WILLIE WOOD: No, I didn't. Because the course is pretty long, I went ahead and hit my driver a lot. I hit the club I usually hit, anyway. Even when they moved the tee up on 14, I hit driver and I went for that green in two. No, I didn't. I didn't back off any. I saw Bernhard hitting a few -- hit a 3-wood off 16 yesterday. I was shocked at a 3-wood on that hole, because 455 and the wind is blowing kind of left to right and in, and he wants to put it in the fairway, and maybe I should have been a little more conservative off the tee but I didn't. I went and hit driver.
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