April 5, 2021
Augusta, Georgia, USA
Q. Kind of your mindset in returning this year and what all went into that decision.
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, obviously it started a year last January, really, where I decided to go for a back operation. I've come off the course thinking I'm not going to play again, but I've always said if I could do something, I'd have another go. So decided to have a back operation 15 months ago, whatever it is, did that, and with the pandemic being around and everything, I've managed to recover pretty good.
I'm just looking forward to getting out there and enjoying two more rounds, or hopefully if it goes well, I can maybe come back for a few more years.
Q. What's your goal for this week?
IAN WOOSNAM: To walk around 18 holes, or 36 holes, and enjoy it. Just to try and play the course without being in any pain really, because I've been in pain for the last 20 years playing around here really.
Q. How much did you miss not being here in November, the Champions Dinner?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, missing the Champions Dinner, obviously the golf I couldn't play. I wasn't ready for it. I did think about it, but I wasn't ready for it, and with the COVID I decided to stay at home. So yeah, so it was all about getting back here for April time this year really.
Q. You played with Lee today; is he still looking in form?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, he's munching it pretty good out there. He seems to be really in control of his game. Just said to him, just be patient. The course is going to be playing really difficult, I think. It's fast on the greens, let's put it that way. They're firm, and you've got the proper shot into the right part of the green and then take your chances from there.
Q. You said play 36 holes; are you not trying to make the cut?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I'm not blowing it away. I haven't played in a tournament for 18 months, so it's going to be -- I've gone from one tournament and then 18 months later -- it's not a bad place to start, is it? I'm going to be a little nervous. It's all about if I start playing all right and get a bit of confidence, yes, of course I'll be looking to try and make the cut. I never like to sort of say I'm not. I like to try and have a little bit of a goal, but first and truly it's about playing a round and enjoying it and being back.
Q. When was the last tournament you played?
IAN WOOSNAM: It was October 2019.
Q. Do you remember what --
IAN WOOSNAM: 2019, it's that long ago.
Q. Was it a Champions Tour event?
IAN WOOSNAM: No, it was on the Senior Tour in Europe.
Q. How long did you not play after your surgery?
IAN WOOSNAM: I started hitting balls pretty well about three, four weeks after it, but I was in Barbados in the Caribbean, and I had to fly back to the UK because of the COVID and everything, and I didn't really finish off my treatment properly, so I had to sort of like do it over, over the internet, and finish my treatment that way.
With having that time off with the pandemic, it gave me time to heal and take time off and try and get myself reasonably into some sort of shape anyway.
Q. Did you do your surgery in Barbados?
IAN WOOSNAM: No, I did it in Cleveland.
Q. And then Barbados --
IAN WOOSNAM: Went back to recuperate, and then the pandemic came and decided to go back to Europe to recover.
Q. You've been here in Augusta for a while. I saw you played last Wednesday. How many rounds have you played so far?
IAN WOOSNAM: I've only played that one.
Q. How did you do?
IAN WOOSNAM: Not very good. We played with Clay, Mr. Boardman. He run us around.
But that was good because we played really quick. I think we went around in three hours, but it was a bit of a marathon, and it was good to know if I could do it at that speed. I know if I can do it at that speed, then I know I can do it in whatever speed it's going to take to go around, five and a half hours, so take my time of it.
Q. Where was the Batmobile?
IAN WOOSNAM: Oh, yeah, that was in Athens.
Q. Are you going to ride that around for the next --
IAN WOOSNAM: No, unless he gives it to me for a week.
Q. Was that the actual one?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, that was the actual one. Rick knows more, my caddie. He knows more all about it. Yeah, he's got an unbelievable collection of cars up in Athens.
Q. Was yesterday your first time eating at Waffle House?
IAN WOOSNAM: No, someone said to me, all the young guys go to Waffle House, and if they go to the Waffle House they always tweet it, so I thought I'd tweet it, but we blacked out the sign. I don't know if you seen that thing, because it says -- what was it -- up for hire, yeah, something like that. We're now hiring, something like that. I just had a bacon and egg sandwich, whatever it was, something simple.
Q. It's been 30 years since your win here --
IAN WOOSNAM: It has.
Q. Are you a big anniversary guy?
IAN WOOSNAM: Not really, but that was another thing, come back at 30 years to have another go. The people have watched me around the world, just to sort of be here and sort of be grateful to them really, just thankful that I could come out and have the chance -- Augusta to give me the chance to play again really.
Q. Is there any memory that sticks out? I saw you cleared the bunker on 18 with your drive. You're probably not doing that this week?
IAN WOOSNAM: No, I can't even reach the bunkers, let alone clear the bunker. Yeah, we were just talking where I was driving the ball in 1991, I drove it on -- going down 9, I drove it on the actual walkway, which I just hit a sand iron in, and then on 18 I hit it over the bunkers. I used to hit the ball such a long way. I still hit the ball pretty long, but these guys hit it miles these days.
Q. I was asking José María what keeps him motivated to come back. When you practice and work on things, do you think about the Masters?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, you do. You know, I think if you asked any Masters champion if the course fetches the best out of you, you imagine them shots you played and the shots you have to play. You have to play quality shots here. If you don't play quality shots you're not going to score. Even like when I've got a chance to say I'm getting in there with -- usually I can be going in with an 8-iron, I'm going in with a 5-iron, now it's difficult to get it by the flag. But with being an older kind of player, you can sort of hold it up against the wind, get it up, and you have to play some quality shots, which I feel like an older player who used to play that way, and I think it's nice for me to be able to do that on this sort of course, as well.
Q. José María was talking about the emotion of coming back here year after year. Is it the same for you?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, if it wasn't I wouldn't be here. To travel here, to feel that I want to play, you know you -- you usually want to go to a tournament to win, but just to come here, to enjoy it, see the champions, go to the dinner, enjoy it, see the crowds again and just be part of the tournament, it's really nice.
Q. Was it more COVID in November that kept you from playing or was it more physical?
IAN WOOSNAM: Physical, in the end. Yeah, a bit of both really. I wasn't ready to play. I had the operation, then I got a bit ill. I had an infection for some reason. I don't know what it was.
Q. What kind of surgery did you have?
IAN WOOSNAM: L3 and 4.
Q. Like a fusion?
IAN WOOSNAM: No, I didn't fuse, just sort of like cut it out so my nerves would go through really, just loosen it up a little bit.
Q. What was the date of that?
IAN WOOSNAM: It was January the 21st I think it was, 2020.
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