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April 6, 2015

Matias Dominguez


MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We are so pleased to have with us today a charming young man, Matias Dominguez, whose journey to Augusta National has been both historic and rapid since the win in Argentina.
As you know, he won the inaugural 2015 Latin America Amateur Championship, thus securing a Masters Tournament invitation, as well as invitations to the final prelim at the U.S. Open and to the U.S. Amateur championships.
He is a native of Chile and is making history this week as the first Chilean to play in the Masters in more than 50 years.  Congratulations.  We all offered you our congratulations on a wonderful victory in Buenos Aries.  And if you could convey to us, how would you put into words, on that Sunday, winning the championship knowing you were coming to Augusta and then actually being here.
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Well, thanks, it's been quite a journey.  As soon as I finished that tournament in Buenos Aries, everyone was excited.  I was going nuts.  It's been really fun to share that with all my teammates.  They were probably more excited than me, than coaches and family.  They were all really excited to have this opportunity to go watch me play at the Masters.
And you hear a lot of things about how is the Masters going to be like, but nothing was even close.  As soon as I stepped here this Monday morning, there were crowds everywhere.  Everyone is excited and it's been lots of fun.  It's first time I got to see all the PGA players in person and meet them.  It's been really fun and I'm really, really glad I'm here right now.

Q.  Who is the most famous athlete from Chile?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  The most famous athlete?  I would say, we're talking about golf or just‑‑

Q.  Any athletes in Chile.
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  I would say Alexis Sanchez from soccer.  It's got to be a soccer player, that's for sure.  I would say Alexis Sanchez.  He played for Barcelona.

Q.  How recognizable is the Augusta Masters logo in your country?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  You know, it's not as big as it should, because golf is not a really huge sport in Chile, but it's getting a lot better.  Now that they actually, like they got one Chilean player in the Masters, it's been getting a lot bigger and a lot more people, they know about the Masters every time.

Q.  Are you going to take logoed shirts and things back here when you leave here?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Oh, absolutely.  I already got my shirts and everything.  I might be wearing some with the tournament, we don't know, but for sure I'll be‑‑ I will be taking everything out of the Crow's Nest.  Security is going to have to stop me (laughter).

Q.  Are you the first or second player from Chile to play in the Masters?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  I am the second.  The first was called Enrique Orellana.  I think it was 51 years ago.  He played with an invitation.  I met him about a month ago, maybe a little less, and it was really‑‑

Q.  What did he tell you?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  He said, well, like, for sure, it's totally different times when he played, but he said, "Try to enjoy it and have fun.  Just try to learn the most out of it.  You're going to be put in positions where you've never been before, and the most you learn out of it is the best you're going to be through it."  

Q.  Were you going to stay in the Crow's Nest?  Have you stayed in it?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  I'm staying in the Crow's Nest right now.  I might be staying the whole week, I'm not sure yet.  But definitely for last night and a couple nights I'll be there.

Q.  Can you describe what it's like to wake up in the Crow's Nest when presumably all around you is very quiet?  Can you give us a feeling of what's like?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  That was really impressive this morning, because it's the first experience you get like actually at the Masters, when I woke up this morning, and walk down the stairs and see all the crowds and looking at the players tee off.  It's really special to be able to experience that.

Q.  When did you get here?  Did you fly with players from Houston coming here?  How did you make your way here?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  I was playing this college tournament at College Station.  Then Coach and me, we drove to Houston, and that's when we got the, I guess what they call the TOUR flight, the people, the players that come from the Shell Houston Open.  They catch a flight straight to Augusta.
So I flew in last night at 10:00.

Q.  Got here at 10 o'clock?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Ten o'clock, yeah.

Q.  What was it like sitting on that plane with all those touring professionals and coming here to play the Masters after having just played a college tournament?  Transitioning from one world to the other, what was that like?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Yeah, it was fun.  We were at the airport with Coach staying, look, here is this guy or that guy; there's players all over the place.  It was fun.  They are all really nice people and I'm glad I can meet them personally.

Q.  Who did you meet or talk to?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Ben Crane was there, Angel Cabrera was there.  We got a little practice round tomorrow.  And then I met Sergio this morning and another couple guys.  It was real fun.

Q.  I would like to know, do you think there will be many people from Chile to come to see you?  And how do you think it's going to impact on Chile after you play in the Masters this time?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Well, I hope there is a lot of Chilean people here.  I've heard there's a lot of them coming in.  And I also got a big crew with me, so that's going to be fun.
And then, I don't know, I really‑‑ I don't know what to expect when I go back to Chile.  I hope I can represent them the best I can here at Augusta, and hope I'll see them soon.

Q.  Do you think that the press gave you a lot of coverage when you arrived to Chile after you won the Latin America championship?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Yeah, I think they did, also especially because I went over there to play the Web.com event.  It was also a really big deal from them that I was over there, especially two weeks before playing the Masters.  There was a lot of coverage in the media.  It was pretty fun to watch that.

Q.  I'm trying to get to understand, that you have not played yet the course here?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  I have played.  I played it last weekend, and then a month ago, and I played it for the first time a year and a half ago in January with the Texas Tech golf team.

Q.  More or less, how do you find it for your game plan and for your strategy?  Is it good for your skills?  Is it challenging‑‑ of course challenging, but how do you feel with the course so far?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Actually I was really excited because it fits my golf and how I play the game really, really good.  I was excited the last time I leave this course.  The only thing I had to change was try to get the ball a little higher in the air so it could stop quicker on the greens.
But other than that, it fits really, really good for me.  I feel really comfortable there.

Q.  And more or less, your feelings now, is it anxiety, nervousness?  Is it like looking forward to it?  Like how are you feeling now?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Right now I'm really calm.  Surprisingly, I'm really calm.  But I know down the road here in one or two days, I'm going to get a little more excited.  But I'm really looking forward to play good golf, because I've been preparing really well and really confident on what I've been doing.

Q.  And who do you think are your biggest challengers for low amateur?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Who?  I haven't personally met all the players.  I don't know how they really play or anything.  But I'm just here to compete against myself and try to get the best out of me.

Q.  What do you think will be the most challenging hole?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  The most challenging hole, there's a couple in there (laughter).  There's more than one, but I would say either 5 or 14.  I think 14 is the most challenging hole.

Q.  Today, what are your plans after playing the weekend?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  I'm just going to take the day off today.  Just get a little wedges in, try to chart some distance and get used to the speed of the greens, not a lot more than that, because then I've got the Amateur dinner later tonight.  So I don't want to be ‑‑ I don't want to be over‑exhausted at the end of the day.

Q.  How many people in your party of supporters?  How much family have you brought with you?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  We're around‑‑ well, there's my family, that's five, and then there's another probably like ten people that come in with me.  It's a great group.

Q.  All staying in the same place?  You said you had different houses?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Well, it's divided in whoever is coming from college, from Texas Tech and then back from Chile.  There's like nine people staying at one house and then another nine or seven staying at the other one.

Q.  Is your father or mother a golfer?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  No, they are not.

Q.  Where did the golf come from for you?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  Well, I always played all the sports at my home country, all the sports I could, also, in high school.
Golf came because it was one of those sports where all my friends were my closest friends, so I decided to stay there.

Q.  And how old were you when you started?
MATIAS DOMINGUEZ:  How old?  Well, I started when I was around five, but it was more seriously about 13, 14 years old.  That's when I had to choose among other sports, I decided golf.
MODERATOR:  Thank you so very much for spending a few minutes with us.  You are a great champion of the inaugural Latin America Amateur Championship and a wonderful representative of your native country and your college, Texas Tech.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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