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March 8, 2006

Camilo Villegas


DAVE SENKO: Maybe just get us started, talk a little about last week and the kind of impact and just what happened last Sunday and how you played coming into this week.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It was awesome. It was a great week. The crowd was unbelievable. I've said it every time, they really motivated me to keep battling out there. I was happy about that.

This week, one more week, we start from zero and hopefully we can just keep a little good momentum going and keep playing good golf. That's the main goal.

Q. You've already proven you can contend into the weekend, you did at Phoenix and last week. You realized your goal by getting to the Tour in the first place, the next step will be winning. Is just coming in second or fifth or 10th not going to be good enough from here on out? Do you feel like winning is the next obvious goal?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, finishing second, fifth or 10th is going to be good for me. I don't know if it's going to be good for the media, we'll find out. It's so competitive out here, it's so competitive, you've got 144, 156 players starting every week, you get playing against the best players in the world, and obviously you can't control what they do and you can only control what you do. It's a matter of being patient, and what I said last week, it's just about having fun and keep learning.

Q. What's the most unusual thing that's happened as a result of your growing popularity in the last two or three days, anything funny happen?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Anything funny? Not really. It was just fun to be around my parents last week, a lot of family, a lot of friends. But you just have to sign a little more autographs here and there and people want a little piece of you. It just happens.

Q. What was your first event, Sony?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, this year was Sony.

Q. Did you get much attention there at the beginning? Did you get a lot of autograph seekers?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I played with Michelle Wie

Q. Well, like playing your practice rounds.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: There's people that know who you are and they support you and they are out there rooting for you, and that's good. That's good. But obviously you play a good week and those that didn't really know who you are want a little piece of you, too.

Q. What have you heard from back home, the reception among the people back in Colombia about everything that happened last week?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think it's been extremely positive. It's all about soccer back home and golf is such a small sport. Whatever I can do to be a positive influence and grow the sport in my country, that's what it's all about.

Q. Do they keep numbers for television ratings of what that tournament was?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know what, it's actually the first time they had a tournament on TV back home. They happened to buy the network bought the rights to cover 30 final rounds of PGA TOUR events, and after I played well the first round, they decided to run the next three.

So it was pretty special. It was playing good at the right time in the right place, in Miami, a lot of Latin people, and obviously having the network air it back in Colombia was pretty special.

Q. Good timing on their part, for picking up the Doral tournament.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I guess so, yeah.

Q. My source on this is my wife and daughter primarily, but I've heard it from other people, they think you're a handsome guy and there were a lot of female fans at Doral cheering for you, first of all, do you perceive yourself as any kind of a sex symbol, does that make you uncomfortable, or is that okay with you?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm just a normal person. I'm just a golfer on the PGA TOUR that wants to play good golf and have fun.

Q. Do you have a girlfriend right now?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I love that question. (Laughing.)

Q. But does the perception that female fans might find you attractive, is that a situation that you were prepared for or dealt with before or comfortable with in any way?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's possible but I don't see too much negative about it.

Q. That's okay with you?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's fine. (Laughter). I'd rather be good looking than ugly, if that's what they think.

Q. What's the network that picked up the rights?


Q. And what's the largest newspaper?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I would say El Tiempo, Con Biano (ph).

Q. Do either of those publications play your finish Monday morning?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know what, I didn't check them to be really honest. I didn't check them. Monday was a pretty crazy day, busy day, and it's been all week. Reading newspapers is not going to make me play better, so I've just got to stick with my routine and make sure I do my stuff.

Q. Is it fair to say that your confidence now is as high as it's ever been, or is it more along the lines of, you're just trying to just stay even keel throughout all this?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know what, I played good in FBR and I played good last week. Obviously FBR showed me a little something and last week showed me a little more.

But I've said it every time, I mean, it's so competitive out here, you have 144, 156 players starting every week, you're playing against the best players in the world. It's like there's no time for blinking. You've just got to keep going at it.

And confidence is something within you. You just, how do you say it, it's just like I don't know, obviously I feel good. I feel good. I've had two good weeks. That's showed me something. But that doesn't make me a top player in the world all of a sudden. I've just got to keep working and keep grinding and keep trying to play good golf.

Q. How many golf courses are there in Colombia? Are there a fair amount?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm going to say it's been 45 and 50.

Q. And when you were a kid, who was the golfer you idolized when you were a kid?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I really like Nick Price when he was No. 1. You always like the guys that are up top. You always do, because they are just the best at the moment, you want to learn from them and from their games. I remember Nick as one of them.

Q. Have you met him? Do you know him? He's playing this week.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I've played with him. I actually played with him in 2004 at the John Deere and he's a great guy.

Q. Do you consider yourself one of those players that plays better the bigger the spotlight? It just seems like you had the big galleries with Michelle Wie, made the cut there, played pretty well, big galleries always at Phoenix and played very well there, and then last week. Is there a connection there at all?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I enjoy big crowds, I enjoy them. They just motivate me to get focused and work hard and stay in it and play golf.

Q. As you were finishing up on Saturday, did you ever allow yourself to think about you might be paired up with Woods there in the end, or was there a thought there that you would like to go head to head with him?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I did. I did. I hit my tee shot and I knew I had to make 4 to be paired with him and I was really looking forward to that one. Unfortunately, my ball was exactly behind a tree and I had no shot, so that was out of the equation. So I just focused on hitting some good shots and hopefully making a good 5.

Q. What did you learn about your game last week, anything new?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: You learn a lot. You just put yourself in those situations and try to chase the best player in the world and try to win a golf tournament, try to control your nerves and stay patient. It's just you learn a lot. You've got to put yourself in those situations and keep learning.

Q. What was the most unusual thing that you may have spotted in the galleries that were following you last week?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I don't know, I've just got to say it was pretty crazy out there. It was something new for me and hopefully can keep going that way and I can keep having fun.

Q. This setup here isn't really anything like a lot of courses that you've played, certainly isn't anything like last week in a lot of regards, how have you liked the practice rounds so far, how do you like the setup of this place?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, it's completely different, this golf course from Doral. You just look at the greens at Doral are pretty, in the flat, but it's very different than this one. The fairways are a little more defined and here you've got it's just a different golf course.

But same objective, get it in the hole.

Q. Understanding that a Pro Am day is a whole lot different than a tournament day, have you noticed the same type of enthusiasm in the gallery here at Mirasol that you did last week or is it too early to tell?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, like I said, you play good golf and you're going to have people that are going to want a little piece of and want your autograph and want to be around you and picture here and picture there. It's just what happens when you have a good week.

Last week was pretty good and we're not very far from Doral, and there were some people out there following which was nice.

Q. Are you in Bay Hill next week?


Q. When did you find out you were in Bay Hill?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Top 70 in the current year Money List.

Q. Did your dad ever tell you anything about Arnold Palmer when you were growing up? How aware are you of his record in golf?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I know how good he is. Obviously we all know. It's just Arnold and I'm really looking forward it playing next week. It's a great event. It's a golf course I've played a couple of times when I was in college, and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. How did you do there, anything you like in particular about that course at Bay Hill?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's a good track. It's a good track. We used to play it once a year in the post season. Coach would take us down there and we'd just go and play for fun one day and it was always a special day.

Q. When you went to college, I know you told the story, what did you weigh when you first went to college?


Q. And now you're like 155, right?


Q. And how important was the weight training and working out to where you are now, your game?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It was pretty big I would say. It's just a matter of taking advantage of the opportunities you have, and I didn't have those opportunities in Colombia. I did at Florida, so I decided to take advantage, get stronger and feel better with my body when I want to hit a ball and when I want to play golf.

Q. How much more length do you have with the driver now?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Oh, I don't know. Definitely farther.

Q. Have you always been the type of player, and will you always be the type of player in the future, to take a lot of chances on the golf course? Is that in your nature, like on 16 on Saturday, you hit driver, look like you're trying to chase it up there as far as you can, are you going to be that type of player?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, there's a right time and place for everything, and there's going to be times where you've got to play smart, or I'd say conservative, not smart, you've got to play smart every time. And there's got to be some times where you have to play conservative and some times where you have to be aggressive. It's just find the right timing.

Q. Would you call yourself an aggressive player?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'd say so, a little bit. I mean, I like to look at that pin and hit at it. But I'm sure everybody out here does.

Q. Did you toss any coffee packets today or do you have to resupply?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I don't have any this week. I guess we're too close to Colombia.

DAVE SENKO: Thanks, Camilo.

End of FastScripts.

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