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March 10, 2006

Billy Mayfair


DAVE SENKO: Billy, another good day for you. If you could get us started and talk about your 67. You're right now 9 under.

BILLY MAYFAIR: I'm real happy where I'm at. You know, I played well today. I shot 5 under, but you know, five birdies, no bogeys and I think the biggest key was that stat of no bogeys out there. I made one putt on 13 from about 15, 20 feet for par, and other than that, I really never had to struggle to make par out there. I made a few good putts here and there from maybe five or six feet. I just drove the ball real solid, hit a lot of greens, hit it in the right spot on the greens and just stayed patient with the wind on the front. On the back, just make birdies on the holes you need to out there.

DAVE SENKO: Give us your birdies, starting on 17.

BILLY MAYFAIR: I hit a 4 iron from about 220 yards, probably about 35 feet just short of the hole and actually killed the putt, knocked it about 15 feet by and fortunate enough, putted back into the wind then and made that putt there for birdie.

Then on my next birdie on 5, the par 5, I hit two good shots just probably about 30 yards short of the green and hit a little bump sand wedge, like I said, from about 30 yards from the green, about six feet from the hole and made that for birdie.

6, I drove it in the fairway bunker and had to pitch back out and hit a wedge in from about 140 yards, just on the back edge of the green. It was probably about 10, 12 feet and rolled that one in.

Then on 7, I hit driver off the tee, it was downwind and probably drove it about 20 yards from the green, and hit a nice little pitch in there about six feet just to the right of the hole and made that for birdie.

9, I hit 3 wood off the tee. I had about 115 yards into the hole and hit a sand wedge. It was a little bit downwind and probably about 10 feet short of the hole and made that for birdie.

Just one of those days where I made a lot of pars at the start of the round, made one birdie on the back, which was my front, and made a bunch of pars and just got hot there towards the end. It was a great finish, that's for sure.

Q. Can you give us the kind of process where you started the use of the belly putter and how you feel like that's helped you?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, it's helped me a great deal. After of 2004, the worst year I ever had on TOUR, first time I finished out of the Top 125, I struggled with the putter and lost some confidence. I had an unusual putting stroke before then and when I started putting bad, everyone started to trying to help me and help me and all that stuff and finally got elephant ears.

And in September of '04 I called Rick Smith. I called Phil Mickelson first and asked him if I could see Rick and he said he thought it would be great. I went and saw Rick and we just came up with a belly putter idea towards the end of the season there. You know, I changed my line, I changed the view of my eyes and all that stuff on it. I just feel that I have a lot more confidence with it. It's a heavy putter, I feel like it just swings on its own, and I just line it up and hit it.

Q. You used it all last year?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Two years ago I used it for Disney and Tampa at the end of the year and all of last year.

It's actually the same putter. I haven't changed putters. Same putter I got two and a half years ago I'm still using. So haven't changed it, which is pretty hard out here on this tour, you know.

Q. How long is it?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Boy, 41 inches I think. That would be a good guess. Because my driver, I would say 39 to 40 inches long.

Q. It looked like you spent quite a bit of time Monday working on your putting stroke, was there an adjustment or tweak that you needed to make?

BILLY MAYFAIR: No. I just needed to work on it some more. The MacGregor rep, Bob Evans and I, he's the MacGregor rep, started working together to get some different putters and loft and lies to help me with my putting and get the ball rolling especially on this bermudagrass here, so we worked on that quite a bit. We ended up still staying with the same putter and all that, but we just spent a lot of time putting.

Q. We were talking with Paul Azinger, he's taking his Top 50 exemption, this year, and you were in a similar situation last year, can you talk about the pressures of that and if you were advising someone in that particular situation how difficult it is and how you deal with it?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, it's funny. Paul and I actually talked over in Hawaii this year, because he came up to me, we played in Hawaii, both made the cut there and we just talked in the locker room for a little bit about it. I just said to him, for me, it just felt like another year. It wasn't obviously I knew what I had done the year before and I knew I had to use it and all. My eyes, it was just like finishing in the Top 125, playing in the same schedule and the same tournaments.

For Paul it's a little bit different in his case because he's been in the booth and had to kind of pick and choose what tournaments he was going to play in. Maybe didn't get to play in the ones he always wanted to because of TV, so it's a little bit different situation.

For me, my situation, it wasn't all that big of a difference or so much pressure on me. I just felt like it was just another year out here, because I was fully exempt with the exemption.

Q. Yesterday Brian Gay was the only guy that did not make a bogey, and I bet you it's less than five today, counting you. There's a lot of birdie holes out there, but there's also a lot of disaster, how have you been able to keep it, especially today, how were you able to keep things save?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, again, I like this golf course a lot. I especially like this other one. It reminds me a lot of Pinehurst. I play very well at Pinehurst. I like the bowl shape type of greens. Like I said, I'm driving the ball well and I'm hitting a lot of good iron shots on the right spots to the green, and the ball is not rolling off the greens too much for me. It's staying there and I'm having some good looks at it for putts. Kind of like Pinehurst, sometimes being ten feet right off the green might be better than being five feet left of the hole; it's just dependent on where the flag is. You've just got to try to know where to try to put the ball on the green.

Q. There's probably some players out there who would think you're demented for liking this course, can you just tell us about that?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, I skipped Honda, I skipped this tournament when they played it at Eagle Trace and Heron Bay because I did not really care for those golf courses at all. When they moved it up here to West Palm Beach, I have great memories here, I won the U.S. Junior just down the street at Jupiter Hills. I said, well, let's go back there and see, because I always used to play Doral and go home and come back and play Bay Hill. I kind of maybe just want to stay here in Florida for the whole Florida Swing and all.

When they moved up to West Palm Beach, I said, well, I've got good vibes, and I won across the street and I also won the U.S. Junior over at PGA National. So I have some good vibes here. When I started playing here, I played well my first year. I don't think I've missed the cut here and I've played pretty well, so I like the place.

Q. What's your best memory from when you were playing at Jupiter Hills?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Boy, I mean, lots of memories. I met a gentleman today that I gave him a golf ball when I finished one of my matches there, and he still had the golf ball and he showed it to me. And it was old and it was yellow and it was hard to believe we even played with that golf ball.

Q. What kind of ball?

BILLY MAYFAIR: It was Titleist, and I'm still playing Titleist. It just brings back good memories. And I just like the places, and even going next year over to PGA National, obviously having won there and I haven't gone to play the golf course since Jack went in and changed it. Obviously that's next year, I'm going to worry about next year, but this tournament I think will be great here and I think it will be wonderful when it moves over there.

Q. When did the gentleman come up to you, was that right off 18?

BILLY MAYFAIR: No, right before I got on the range this morning.

Q. Who did you beat in the finals in the amateurs?

BILLY MAYFAIR: A gentleman named Eric Redmond (ph) from Illinois.

Q. Did you beat any other guys on the Tour now in any of the matches?

BILLY MAYFAIR: I'd have to go back, I can't even remember them all, I'd have to go back and look. I know Scott Gemp (ph) was a medalist and he played out on the Tour. I forget who I played with two weeks ago on the Tour, so I don't know who I played my matches in 1987. You know, it was just a big thrill for me.

I do remember going into the semifinals with four guys left. Three of the four guys were all from Florida and I was the only guy who wasn't from Florida. So it was nice to win.

Q. But this course seems to elicit strong reaction, so the fact that you like it a lot must be more of an advantage?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, you know, I've played well here. Any time you play well at a golf course, you start liking it.

But like I said, again, I like the golf course like a Pinehurst where you have to think about where you want to hit the ball on the green and sometimes you have to play away from the pins and all that. It's just not standing up there and shooting darts at a green all the time. Yeah, we've had some high winds and there's been some tough scores out there and the conditions are tough, but for me, I just like playing that way, I just like the way the greens set up here a lot.

Q. How many times have you have you ever played with David Toms in the final group of a weekend?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, he's played in the final group on the weekend more lately than I have, that's for sure. David and I grew up together, we played junior golf together. I have a picture of him and I at Junior Worlds over in San Diego. He won, I think I finished fourth or fifth, so I have pictures of him and I in that. We played against each other when he went to LSU; I went to ASU. I've known David just about my whole life. He's playing great and I'm excited about playing with him tomorrow with him if anyone gets lower but I don't think that's going to happen.

Q. Is the putter now your weapon of choice around the greens on this particular golf course?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Well, you know, it's kind of funny, either you're on greens or just on the edge where or you're 20, 30 feet down the hill and there's no in between. If the ball stays close to the edge of the green, I'll use my putter. But if it rolls off the green, it rolls so far that you have to use either an L wedge or sand wedge or something like that.

Q. When you played, did you play with David in San Diego at the Junior World?

BILLY MAYFAIR: You know, I don't think so. I don't think so. I remember, like I said, I got the picture of it and I don't think we played together, no.

Q. About 25 years ago?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Wasn't that long ago. (Laughter). I think when we played that year, we were 17 years old, so I think we're the same age right now, around that. So do the math, I don't really want to do the math. I'll let you do the math on that one.

Q. Is there a part of his game that you admire the most?

BILLY MAYFAIR: I think he's one of the best putters on the PGA TOUR, hands down. I haven't played enough with him to see how he's striking the ball, but obviously he's playing good every week, but I just know if he's not the best, one of the best putters on the PGA TOUR hands down in my eyes.

Q. How much better are you right now than when things were going pretty bad?

BILLY MAYFAIR: I always considered myself a good putter. I've had some nice streaks and gone up and down and all this. I putted great as an amateur. I putted great when I got out here on TOUR. Yeah, I've had some rocky years here and there, but if I get my confidence and know what I want to do, I consider myself a very good putter out here.

Q. One last thing about the amateurs, did that bump you to a new level, what did it do for you?

BILLY MAYFAIR: Obviously gave me a tremendous amount of confidence knowing that I could maybe play out here on the PGA TOUR. It was different then. Guys went to college for four years, played amateur golf, went to school for a fifth year and played amateur tournaments. They were not in a rush. Now they are just playing one or two years and jumping out on TOUR and trying to get their cards. We never even thought about that 18 years ago when I was trying to come out here. This was something that you earned your way out here. I'm not saying those guys don't earn their way out here, but it was just never thought of coming right out of high school to try to play the PGA TOUR. That just wasn't thought of. You went to college, you went maybe your fifth year to college to get your degree and all that, and then you went to TOUR School. Then, too, if you went to TOUR School, if you didn't make it, you went to Asia. There was no Nationwide Tour, no other tour. You either played on the Tour or you went to Asia. It was a little bit different back then.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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