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January 14, 2017

Ray Allen

Orlando, Florida

Q. What was your mindset coming into the week in terms of being able to compete in a tournament where Mardy Fish, Mark Mulder, those guys look like killers. And William Hill, the international betting conglomerate, had you at 200‑to‑1‑‑
RAY ALLEN: Did anybody bet on me?

Q. I don't know. I've got to e‑mail them.
‑‑ to win the tournament.
RAY ALLEN: Obviously, I don't worry about who says whether I can win or not. I play a lot of golf. I compete with so many different athletes. I think the difficult part has been for me to make the transition in the summer, when I finish a season, going into the summer and playing good golf. Going into Lake Tahoe in that tournament, I'm always like two or three weeks into my game playing. So I can never translate going into a tournament where you've got to stay consistent and have your swing not fall apart on you.
Now, for me, I know what it is I need to do and working on putting and all these things. So coming into this tournament, I just made sure that I played in enough groups with guys where we were competing, and I had guys that were better than me, and just worked on my game. I know what I can't do. So when I'm out there, I know what I try not to do, but golf can sometimes, that bad shot can creep in and get the best of you.
That's all I did now, I think today and yesterday, was just minimize my bad shots and make sure that I don't get too crazy around the course.

Q. What about‑‑ so have you thought yet about having to try to close this out tomorrow against Mardy Fish?
RAY ALLEN: Well, there's a lot of guys that are right there that are in the hunt. I don't think‑‑ and Mardy will tell you the same thing, that there's so many guys‑‑ we watched enough golf over the years that you don't have to be in the last group to have the opportunity to win a tournament.
For me, it's‑‑ I still don't believe I'm good enough. So I work hard enough to make sure that I kind of stay in the moment. Tomorrow for me is just about putting the ball in play and having an opportunity. Don't over think it for me.
I know, as long as I get over there and I'm comfortable and I play my game, then it's the putter. I leave it up to the putter. If the putter starts working for me like it did today, then I'll be happy with my game.

Q. And what about the‑‑ I mean, in Lake Tahoe over the years, I know‑‑ I'm not sure if you've noticed, but you get to Sunday, and Jeremy Roenick or any number of guys unable to put together that third round in a row. Sometimes the question is was it mental? Was it physical? Do you feel like your NBA accomplishments put you in position to overcome that?
RAY ALLEN: I believe that I'm trying to test it. I've loved performing under pressure in fourth quarters. I know that I always lean towards the best case scenarios in most situations. So if something bad happens, then it just happens, but I always shoot for the best.
I don't believe that you can work that into the mindset of golf. I know my mind is the same, but anything can happen, like you can get a bad break on the course. You know, it just gets windy, whatever may happen. You just have to‑‑ for me, I believe I have to adapt to what's going to happen tomorrow and what the surroundings are going to look like. My group is going to be different.
I'm sure Mardy, he and I may be in the same group again tomorrow. But today I played with John Daly, and he was awesome to play with. So I think we had a good rhythm amongst our group. We felt good who we were playing with, and everybody was swinging the ball pretty easily. So that can change.
For me, I've just got to adapt to what the surroundings of the course, how the greens roll, like the wind, everything, and not think that what goes on tomorrow is supposed to happen accordingly to what happened today. It's going to be a different day.

Q. Who was your PGA TOUR Champions player yesterday?
RAY ALLEN: Yesterday, I had Ian Woosnam.

Q. Yesterday you had Woosnam. Today you had Daly. Has playing with those guys helped your score?
RAY ALLEN: Oh, incredibly. Those guys, they hit the ball‑‑ you know, they put it out there, and they go after it. So in my mind, I tell myself do the same thing. Go after it. Don't just kind of laze through the ball. Like attack it.
Very minimal movement on the greens with their hands on their putting. Very few mistakes. One thing that I've always known and you see it up close that you appreciate, the difference between us and them is putting. Guys get to greens‑‑ it's one thing to hit the ball close to a flagstick, but to be able to hit it to 10, 12 feet and still make that putt, that's where those guys are incredibly good. We always admire that skill that they don't over read or over think a putt. They're more aggressive on their lines. I'm more of a lag putter.
So these greens have been great. You can like kind of get your ball going online as long as you find a line, and they're going to roll right to the hole.

Q. So yesterday you played with Woosnam. Today you played with Daly. How has playing with those guys helped you perform this week?
RAY ALLEN: Well, playing with those guys helped me immensely, just the simple fact that they attack every shot. Around the greens, they don't waste shots. They don't waste movements. They're so compact on their putting, and they stay right in there in that position, in that lane. For amateurs, we tend to get kind of wild with our bodies and our hands. So you just see those small little things, and you just kind of emulate them, and it helps you in your game.

Q. How many birdies in a row today at any point?
RAY ALLEN: Well, I have a good stretch going right now. I think it's 13, 14, and 15. I birdied those holes consecutively yesterday and today. I don't know what it is. It's just once you get to that point‑‑ like the par 5 No.12 seems like it always gets the best of us. It seems so short, but nobody on their second shot is willing to go at the flag. So everybody ends up hitting the ball left. Where the flag was today, if you hit your second shot left, it was hard to attack the flag.
I think by that time I just start‑‑ you swing. You swing the club. That's what I was telling myself, make sure that you just attack it, swing it. Ian did it. John definitely does it. And yesterday Alfonso‑‑ I played with Alfonso Ribeiro, and he attacked his shots. So playing with better players certainly helps.

Q. What happened on 18 today? Did you intend to hit it in the swale on the right?
RAY ALLEN: No, it was‑‑ again, it was one of those shots that I didn't attack the ball as I got through the sweet spot. I think for me human nature set in that I didn't want to go left because traditionally I hit a draw right‑to‑left shot, and if I hit a bad shot, I hook it. So I just didn't get my hands through on that shot.
Again, I don't think I mattered that shot as much because that is the bailout there, but I still want to hit a good shot. I knew I could get up and down, but I just left the putt short.

Q. Who are you playing with in Miami who's better than you? Are you playing with pros in Miami?
RAY ALLEN: I play with a lot of guys that are better than me.

Q. But I mean, in this recent stretch during that holiday window when there are no pro tournaments, have you played with any pro golfers in that window?
RAY ALLEN: No, I haven't.

Q. Who are you playing with that's better than you? Just friends?
RAY ALLEN: Just friends. Some guys that play down on the Latin American Tour. I play with Eddie Jones a lot in Miami. I play with Lawrence Taylor down in Miami. So guys like that, super competitive. We always have good games. There's always stuff going on. So a bunch of retired athletes. We have a game every Tuesday. So I played there before I came here. Played there, and then I drove straight here. Then I played my practice round Wednesday.
I always feel like, when I'm around those type of guys in golf, guys that really are ready to compete, you're putting a little something on the line when you're out there playing, it does get you ready because you've got to hit shots. These guys are hitting shots better than me. A lot of times, they're matching me shot for shot.
So I have to bring my game because a lot of times I'll lose. That's good for me. I always believe going where the best is will help your game.

Q. Will you have a larger gallery here, people coming up from Miami tomorrow because you're the leader going into the third day?
RAY ALLEN: I don't think so. The gallery out here is pretty good. Like I was talking to a couple of guys, and I asked them how the gallery was last year, and they said there wasn't a lot of people on the course. This course is very conducive to the people being out here watching, some great vantage points to watch. So the galleries are pretty good. Playing with John Daly, we had a pretty sizable gallery.
My family's here. So for me, it's like basketball. I don't notice‑‑ you know, there's a lot of people between‑‑ there's more interaction with the fans in golf, but for me, in order to focus in, I have to kind of focus in and just try to block everything out when you're out there, especially when you have a round going. So I just try to stay in my zone.

Q. Is there one sort of thing that you say to yourself when it's time to win that is some sort of saying that keeps you focused, basketball or golf or otherwise, over the years? One thing that you go back to and rely on, as keep the faith baby, or whatever it may be.
RAY ALLEN: Well, when you go to shoot a free throw, I always‑‑ I learned a long time ago in college, you use a power word, and that power word is something that you love, something you strongly care about, something that really means something to you so you can focus in. You still miss. You still make mistakes. But it at least draws your mind into that moment that you're currently in that allows to you focus.
I don't use a power word itself, but I still know where to go when to focus in. Like there's people on the sidelines. Golf, there's more idle time where you start looking around and looking at other groups. But once you get into that window of getting ready to hit your shot, now is when you have to zone in. Now's when you have to focus.
That for me is what I got used to when I shot free throws at the end of a game and you've got to make three free throws and you're down by three, the most nerve‑racking thing you could ever want to do in your life. People expect you to make them. And the more I made, the more they expected me to make it. I told people, you know, I'm not 100 percent. So every time I make a free throw, the chances of me missing get greater and greater. Obviously, I didn't think that before I went to take it, but I always knew the percentages. You know, they started working against me. So it was just one of those situations where you just go to what you know. You go to body preparation. You go to muscle memory. And you try to transform yourself back to those moments when you were just practicing.
So when I go to the range, when I went to the range today, I just tried to focus in on the shot. When I'm out on the course, I go back to where I was on the range and just try and think I'm hitting in an open field.

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