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July 26, 2003

Willie Wood


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Willie Wood, good round today, 68, you are right in contention. Peter Jacobsen currently has the lead playing 18. You are one off the lead street. If we can start with some opening comments. A little bit of an up-and-down round but rebounded on a nice birdie on 18.

WILLIE WOOD: Yes, it's was up and down. I played very solid on the front 9 and with three birdies, most all of them hit most of the greens, and then I made a nice birdie on 11. I birdied 12, and almost birdied 13 so I was really -- I guess I had the lead at that time. I don't know, I wasn't looking at the board. And then I hit a terrible drive on 14. Honestly should have gone out of bounds, it must have hit a tree or something. It was in by 6 inches. And I made bogey, which I was okay with. And then I took a chance on 15 and tried to knock it up by the green. I hit a 3-wood and hit it in the water left. I had been laying up 2 previous days, but the pin was in the back. This one I felt like I could get to the upslope to have tee and have an easy chip with a 3-wood as firm as the golf course was getting, and dropped it, knocked over the green, chipped it in from the bunker and then 3-putted for a 7.

And then made a nice -- knocked it over the green on 17 with a 9-iron from the middle of the fairway, 150 yards and then got it up and down and then made birdie on 18 about 15, 18 feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What did you hit in there on 18?

WILLIE WOOD: I hit an 8-iron.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: On 17 you used the putter behind the green?


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Any question of what club you would use there or is that just a natural shot there?

WILLIE WOOD: It's hard to chili-dip a putter. I was downhill lie, kind of wet -- I got it rolling along the ground. Any time I can put the putter in my hand I do because I putt pretty good.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You hit that about two and a half feet?

WILLIE WOOD: Yes, two and a half feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We will take some questions.

Q. Did you know you had a 2-shot lead walking off the 13th hole?

WILLIE WOOD: Not until right now, a 3-shot lead.

Q. How did you manage to regroup after making a seven on a 300-yard hole, did you talk to yourself? What did you say to yourself?

WILLIE WOOD: After some name-calling, I just tried to relax a little bit and play the rest of the holes, knowing that I got 21 more holes left to play in the tournament and I am probably still okay. I just felt like I could birdie a couple coming in. 17 and 18 being downwind, and I hit a good shot on 16. I'm kind of proud of myself for that.

And actually a good two shots on 17, but the 9-iron went over the green.

I think, you know, I hadn't been in that position very much lately and controlling adrenaline, tempo of my swing is probably something that I need to be aware of.

Q. I was going to ask you, what did you hit on 16?

WILLIE WOOD: 16 was a 5-iron.

Q. You hit a driver off of 17 or a 3-wood?

WILLIE WOOD: No, a 5-wood off of 17 and a 9-iron because it was playing downwind.

Q. What did you think of playing with J.J., were you guys feeding off each other a little bit?

WILLIE WOOD: Well, we can't club off each other because he hits it so far. But he and I have known each other a couple of years now. He is very nice, easy to play with, very laid back like I am. And he was playing good. He made a triple on 13. So if he and I don't have triples, we are playing in the last group tomorrow. But he is playing some very good golf himself.

Q. Do you like playing in front of a pretty big gallery, a lot of hometown fans?

WILLIE WOOD: Yes, most of them were pulling for J.J. but I heard my name a little bit. He's got some hometown roots here, I believe.

Q. Willie, what was the limelight like when you dropped it on 15?

WILLIE WOOD: Good. And I was trying to bump it into the hill with a pitching wedge. Maybe I should have hit a 9-iron, and it got a little high and it didn't. It flew onto the green instead of into the hill. I probably could pull that shot off more times than not, at least getting it on the green.

But it's one that I don't really practice a whole lot.

Q. The pin where it was, did it make the bunker shot more impossible?

WILLIE WOOD: The bunker shot, I had no chance of going at the hole. That hole is a great short par-4. It's fantastic. Because the pin placement can dictate so many things that you do off the tee and where you want to -- just like yesterday, I laid up with a 5-wood because I wanted it about 70 yards so I could skip it into that pin. If I would have laid it farther back I would have had a full shot and it would have hit by the hole and spun back down. So there is a lot of strategy involved in that hole. And I'm laying up tomorrow.

Q. That's a safe prediction?

WILLIE WOOD: That's a very safe prediction. The pin will be front left and I will lay up to 100 yards.

Q. Is the shot after the drop, is that a situation -- are you still thinking about, what was I doing?

WILLIE WOOD: No, not at that point.

Q. Or do you get out of that pretty quick?

WILLIE WOOD: I got out of that one. But then I had the bunker shot, I'm thinking, okay, am I going to go right back across the green again? So I played out to the right.

I mean I had a decent enough lie on the chip shot after the drop. Honestly to get it 15 feet from the hole and make par, I really felt I could get it up and down because I'm putting pretty will.

Q. Is it paining you more knowing that you took a chance there, knowing you add 3-shot lead?

WILLIE WOOD: It pains me when my dad is going to call me and tell me that I should have laid up.

Q. And you know that call --

WILLIE WOOD: I know that call is on its way. It's probably already on the voicemail right now.

I don't think it was too big of a risk. I mean the whole field is going for it. Even with a 2- or 3-shot lead. Did I have a 2 at that time or still 3?

Q. It was 2 then.

WILLIE WOOD: It was 2 then. A lot of golf left, I think, if I'm 2 behind tomorrow, I actually may have to go for it.

But 2 ahead tomorrow I would lay up. I'm definitely not going too lose any sleep over my decision. I don't like the swing I made. I could have put a lot better swing on it. And I think it has to do with quick adrenaline.

Q. Tempo?


Q. What do you normally lay up with and what is your dad's name?

WILLIE WOOD: My dad's name is Willard. He is a retired club pro who lives with me now. I have laid up with a 5-wood the 2 previous days but I would have laid up with a 5-iron.

Q. Because of the wind?

WILLIE WOOD: Because of the wind, to lay back to have a full shot so I could spin it. The pin is up front, you can land it past and spin it this way.

Q. How will that call go, will there be pleasantries or will he get right to the point?

WILLIE WOOD: He will get right to the point. An 80-year-old man gets right to the point. And I will say, yes, I know today, I do know, yes. And then he will tell me to hit it straighter tomorrow off the tee. And I will say, yes, dad, I know, I will try. It's been quite an experience having him living with me.

Q. A lot of free advice?

WILLIE WOOD: A lot of unsolicited advice, yes. I wouldn't call it free.

Q. How do you plan out your schedule for the year?

WILLIE WOOD: How have I planned it out this year? I started playing Nationwide events, and I don't have exempt status, and then this summer knowing I was going to get in some TOUR, events I feel like I'm playing up to about 12.

Last year I'm in the same category, I played 16. But the field sizes have been cut this year and I'm not going to get in as many.

It's either that or just guys are playing more because of the purse sizes.

Q. What keeps you going? When it is that difficult for you to make enough tournaments during a year, why do you keep on playing golf?

WILLIE WOOD: As my dad would say, it's the only thing I know how to do. I just love to play golf. And I always have. You know, it's not a lot of fun to play the Nationwide TOUR at my age. You're definitely not out there trying make a living. I'm not trying to make a living, I'm trying to get my game back in shape and get back to this level. The competition is very good on the Nationwide TOUR. You get to play very aggressive because anything out of the top-10 the check is not very good.

So it actually does teach you to play aggressive. There wouldn't be one person on the Nationwide TOUR that would have laid up on 15, I guarantee you. These kids are just balls out. Darron Stiles went for the green on 9 today.

Q. 30-yard shot?

WILLIE WOOD: It's like, what the heck is going on? It wouldn't cross a veteran's mind to go at the green on 9, but that's just the mentality of these young kids these days.

Q. You seem to look back and say how did he get there?

WILLIE WOOD: I did. I looked at Peter Kostis and I said, who is that? I thought a ball dropped out of my caddy's bib or something. Did he get it up and down?

Q. Birdied.


Q. Willie, in terms of the valleys that you have had in your career, this year and the last couple of years, how are you still trying to stay at it, how has it been?

WILLIE WOOD: I played very poorly last year. The year before last I thought I was making a lot of progress because I had some good events. In 2001 I had some good events. But it's hard to get exempt status unless you play really good, playing a limited schedule. And that's what I'm trying to do, play really good.

Next week, I can't play next week, I'm in the Buick Open next week, I can't play because my 7-year-old is getting his tonsils taken out and I have to be there for it. So my next event will be a Nationwide event in Omaha, the week after next.

And then I will get in quite a few PGA TOUR tournaments in the fall. So that's just the way -- it's what I do for a living. If you play good, you get rewarded, I'm going to get better status next year.

Q. What kind of goals do have you for yourself?

WILLIE WOOD: My short term goal is trying to win this golf tournament tomorrow. Long term is to try to play myself back on TOUR, on the PGA TOUR, whether it's from the Nationwide like Joe Ogilivie is doing, or to try to get it down out here on the PGA TOUR. Because if you do play good you get rewarded and the sponsors see it and they will give you spots and finish top-10, you get in the next week so you are rewarded more so than when I was younger and I started the TOUR. The top-10 didn't get you any spots.

Nowadays, sponsors are giving younger kids 7. It's almost a given when they come out of college they get 7. Brad Faxon and I and Corey Pavin, we had to beg to get a spot. It was like pulling teeth, but guys are rewarded for good play out here and hopefully I will get them tomorrow.

Q. Your son's name getting his tonsils out?


Q. H A Y D E N?

WILLIE WOOD: Yes. It was originally scheduled for this week and I really felt like I was going to get in, I did. We scheduled it for next week and it is just the way it goes. Wednesday of next week I'm going to be there.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Willie, you had five birdies on the first 12 holes. If we can just go through those, starting on No. 3.

WILLIE WOOD: A driver 8-iron on 3 from probably 22 feet.


WILLIE WOOD: 6 was a hooked drive, hit the tree. Laid up with a 5-wood and hit a 9-iron about ten feet just left of the hole and made it. It was a very easy putt. Straight uphill.

And hit a good shot on the par-3, 8th hole just left of the pin about 12 feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What did you hit there?

WILLIE WOOD: A 6-iron.


WILLIE WOOD: 11, I hit a 9-iron to about 15 feet right of the hole and then I hit a 9-iron on the next hole about ten feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Okay. Last question? Willie Wood, thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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