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March 16, 2006

Dean Wilson


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Dean, for joining us for a few minutes, another good start, talk about today's round.

DEAN WILSON: Well, I can't remember the holes, maybe if I'm out here another 15 years. I had no bogeys, made a few long putts on my first nine holes, which is my back nine. That might have been my first three birdies, 10, 11 and 17, and 15 I think were pretty long putts. Nice to get off to a good start.

Q. You've been sprinting out of the box just repeatedly, L.A. and Doral, just off the top of my head. What are you doing on Wednesday night that you maybe ought to be doing Friday and Saturday night or something?

DEAN WILSON: I don't know. Actually it was pretty funny, yesterday I went out to go play Isleworth and I felt terrible. I didn't even take swings. I probably hit four balls and I was feeling bad so I just went home and rested. Got up this morning, didn't feel too good, but somehow managed to get it around.

Q. Didn't feel good, how?

DEAN WILSON: Like a cold maybe. By the time I got out here and started sweating, I started to feel a lot better.

Q. So you went to Isleworth yesterday and did nothing?

DEAN WILSON: Did nothing. Sat in the cart. Went around with Grant Waite and watched him play. I didn't want to go back to the room and sit in the air conditioned room. Good way to spend your afternoon.

Q. Your confidence must be picking up week by week, you're no longer up and down or down, but it's been this steady progression, how does that affect you as you go to each tournament? That's a pretty serious question, isn't it.

DEAN WILSON: I seem to be putting a lot of rounds together where I hit the ball nice and give myself a lot of chances. That's what I've always been looking for, and so far this year, I've done that a lot, so it's quite pleasing. I don't come out here every week, maybe after a bad week, searching, looking for different things to change up, because I'm feeling comfortable with my game.

Q. Is this already your tenth tournament?

DEAN WILSON: Yeah, I hold the record now. I think I hold the record because no one else has played ten this year, I think Todd Fischer and Nicholas Thompson are the other guys that have played nine but they are not in this week.

Q. Is that by design or because you've been playing well and you just want to ride the shot while you've got it going?

DEAN WILSON: No, I've just been comfortable out here. The weather's been bad in Vegas, so I know if I go home, I'm just going to be sitting around. So I'd rather be out here playing and practicing.

Like I said, I think the key thing is that I've been comfortable with my game, so I'm not wearing myself out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday beating a lot of balls and wearing myself out before the tournament starts, and that's helped me to play a few more in a row.

Q. The indication was this week was supposed to be pretty tough and Arnold wanted the rough difficult, the golf course has a great reputation, par was going to be a little more meaningful maybe, and then you guys got a couple 66s up. Has it got to the point where the talent level so good without tricking up a golf course or a U.S. Open, it's going to be this way?

DEAN WILSON: I think the guys are always going to have low scores. This course, the rough is very high, but the course is in very good shape. So the greens are holding, fairways are nice, and the weather was perfect today. So guys are going to make birdies. And I like to see that versus getting the courses unplayable where like last week today is pretty tough with the pin placements and the way the course is designed, with a 25 , 30 mile an hour wind, it's tough, you're scrambling all day.

Q. I believe you, but you hear all week, "it's going to be tough," and then a bunch of 66s and 67s.

DEAN WILSON: Yeah, some ever these guys are just good players. So they are just going to shoot at pins and make a lot of birdies.

Q. What's the longest you've gone in the last three years without getting a Michelle Wie question?

DEAN WILSON: Not too much actually. I always get the Annika question from Doug.

Q. Have you thought about moving up the food chain a little bit, establishing yourself on this tour better, getting invitational exempt and that kind of thing?

DEAN WILSON: This is my fourth year on TOUR and every year I seem to get a little for comfortable with what's going on. It's taken me while to get on TOUR. I went to Tour School seven or eight times before getting through, and it just seems like that's been my progression. But I'm feeling more comfortable out here and being able to post some good rounds against some of the guys just gets me in more of a comfort zone, gets higher, so I like that.

Q. Has it been more mental, or have you made some physical changes or swing changes that's gotten you over the hump?

DEAN WILSON: The last two years I've been working with Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, and that's been the biggest thing that's made my game better, definitely, is the work that I've put in with those two guys. It seems to be coming in the last few weeks, which is nice.

Q. What did you have to change to get better that they helped you with?

DEAN WILSON: Oh, geez, we don't have enough time, but there's lots of things in the swing. In the middle of 2004, I really struggled where I couldn't play on the golf course and it got real discouraging. So I was fortunate enough, I was good friends with Grant Waite who knew these guys and had me meet them. I've been working with them since then. From the middle of 2004, I just kind of progressively got a little better.

Unfortunately 2004, I didn't make enough money at the beginning of the year and made some money at the end but I lost my card, went back to Q School and I got through that. Then I had my best year on TOUR last year, so far this year, it's starting off better now.

Q. I wonder, you talked about getting into a "comfort zone," which is a word we hear quite a bit, and I wonder if you can explain not so much what a comfort zone; but what's it like when you're not in a comfort zone? Can you explain what's going through your head?

DEAN WILSON: When you first come on TOUR and you're so bright eyed, you're looking and you see Tiger Woods, you see Ernie Els and you're in awe of these guys. And once you're around them a lot of enough times, you realize that they are just normal guys that play good golf. You're not intimidated, maybe just even hitting balls next to them on the range or playing rounds of golf with them. That's something for me that's progressively I've got more comfortable with. Whereas if, let's say, I come out and play in the Sony Open, my first year on TOUR and play well, and then on Saturday I get paired with an Ernie Els, that's a little different.

Q. You're intimidated?

DEAN WILSON: Yeah, definitely, you're intimidated. These guys you've watched on TV, they are the world's best and it's your first year on TOUR and all of a sudden you're thrown into the arena with them, and it's something you need to get used to, definitely, at every level. Whether it was college level to mini tours to tours around the world, I had to get that comfort level and get comfortable.

Q. If you don't mind me, I'm going to get a bad reputation by you for this, but if you were intimidated first time around these big guys, what's it like playing at a certain tournament in Texas with 40,000 eyeballs on you; is that not intimidating?

DEAN WILSON: Oh, that was one of the things

Q. And I didn't say her name, either, by the way.

DEAN WILSON: That was definitely something that helped me to improve my comfort zone. Because when I got out there on the Thursday, I couldn't believe how many people were out there and they are just watching our group. I know they are not watching me, so to say, but they are watching Annika. And I'm one of the guys that they are comparing to how far the drives go, how close the shots are, and if you think about it, it rattles your mind. But that really helped.

I still remember vividly in the second round when I strung a few birdies together and got it under par, I just said: Okay, now that's done, let's just play this tournament, it's over. Not so much I'm ahead of her, but I've been around this now for 27 holes, let's play some good nine holes and try to get in this tournament. It was nice to be able to get past that level rather than being in awe of it.

Q. Do you feel pressure?

DEAN WILSON: Oh, yeah.

Q. Just to God forbid shoot better than her among the guys.

DEAN WILSON: Oh, definitely. I'm paired with her and I know she's the world's best, and I don't know how the world's best compete with a guy coming out of Tour School. But we're going to kind out in two days and I'm going to be the measuring stick.

So, yeah, I think for everybody, it's the same. You know, we have amateurs that come and play Pro Ams with us on Monday and they are nervous being around us. No one cares about the Monday Pro Am, but it's just something they need it get over to be better and it's something that even at my level, I can't just step out of college and go tee it up with Ernie Els and Tiger Woods and feel comfortable, there's no way. It's something that you have to gradually do.

I think the guys that can do it are the phenomenal golfers right from the start, like a Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard or someone like that coming right out of college, where, I'm going to show you something, whereas I'm sitting there, Holy Cow, this is intimidating.

Q. Did you reap any financial gain ultimately from the pairing?

DEAN WILSON: No. Not that I know of. I still had the same endorsement deals and that's about it.

Q. Did you suspect that three years later Doug Ferguson would still be asking you about it?

DEAN WILSON: He asks me every day. (Laughter).

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can you go through your card?

DEAN WILSON: I think I birdied 11. I hit a 9 iron into 11 and hit it into the first cut of rough, so I had to take that water out of play and I hit it past the pin about 35 feet and made that.

And then I think my next birdie was 15 where I hit another 9 iron to about 25 feet and made that.

On 16, I laid up, I hit it in the rough, laid up and hit a wedge to a couple of feet and made that.

17, hit a 3 iron and made a long one there, maybe 30, 40 feet.

Then I birdied the par 5, No. 6. I hit it on in two and had about 20 feet for eagle and 2 putted.

Then I hit an 8 iron to about ten feet on 8 and made that.

Q. What did you have for your second on 6, yardage?

DEAN WILSON: I had 230 to the front, 245, 250 to the pin.

Q. 3 wood?

DEAN WILSON: Yeah, 3 wood. My plan there was to carry the front and try to carry around 240, 245 and if it went over the green, it went over the green. So I was just trying to take that water out of play. When I hit it, a little gust came up and it landed on the green and actually stayed on so, that was nice.

Q. You said there was a lot of comfort zone playing with some of those bigger names, how about being a first round leader, was there any of that, and do you feel like you're past that?

DEAN WILSON: I was pretty comfortable, trying to get more birdies, I played a good solid last few holes, which was nice.

Q. The first few times when you're in that position, is it a little odd, or not really?

DEAN WILSON: I think so. But, you know, fortunately for me, any time that I was ever close to the lead was Texas, which is one of the smaller tournaments and the cameras are not following us the first couple of rounds. You're just kind of out there, minding my own business, and lo and behold, I'm leading after the first day.

It's a little different at a tournament like this or any of the bigger ones where you know when you're up there because you've got score boards everywhere and the camera crews following you. They were following Bart Bryant the whole back nine.

Q. What kind of grade do you give yourself for Doral? I don't remember exactly what happened, good start, you faltered in the second, played well in the third?

DEAN WILSON: I shot 4 over that Sunday. So, I don't know how to think about it. I'm happy that I'm putting myself in contention, and of course, I'd obviously like to play better and have a better chance at winning. But I've just got to do what I can and then try to learn from that, and hopefully next time I'm in contention, I'll feel a little more comfortable.


End of FastScripts.

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