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September 14, 2006

Will MacKenzie


LAURY LIVSEY: We would like to welcome Will MacKenzie into the media center today after a first round 66, the first and only time you've been a first round leader on the PGA TOUR. You had a pretty good result in Reno where you ended up winning. How do you feel about your 66?

WILL MacKENZIE: I feel great. I mean, I knew it was going to be a tough day going in. You know, the conditions were actually okay out there. It wasn't blowing too hard, and the rain has really subsided. I started hitting it well, and I putted fantastic. I had great speed on the greens. I never was in jeopardy of a three putt, so everything went well.

LAURY LIVSEY: In the past a lot of guys who have played here always talk about how difficult the greens are to read, just a lot of subtle breaks that you don't see. I don't know if that was the case for you, but the results were very good for you today.

WILL MacKENZIE: Well, I played here last year so I have a little experience here. But yeah, they talk about that, and I'm sure I've had some putts that I thought were going in and did not go in or thought were going to peel off one way and didn't do that. But I guess the greens are a little young, so they still haven't quite settled. But I can remember J.B. Holmes today hitting several putts that he was sort of baffled. It was just one of those, that could happen to me later, but today they just sort of went where I was looking. Everything did what I thought they were going to do. I think they're getting better. The course is phenomenal, in great shape.

Q. Do you need to make the hay on the front nine or back nine here do you feel? Is there any difference?

WILL MacKENZIE: I mean, I get lost out there actually, but the par 5s coming in on the front, you should be able to make birdies on those holes. You usually can reach both of them. Even 5, I hit it in the rough there today, but usually last year I can remember hitting 6 iron into that thing.

And then No. 8 is 8 was playing a lot tougher. I hit 3 iron from like 235 front. But I missed my drive. You need to make birdies on those holes. Those 5s are doable.

Q. Has life changed much since Reno?

WILL MacKENZIE: Not really. I mean, I'm in a great little spot in my career now. I've always just sort of grinded away, nobody knows me, just a regular almost like a rookie again this year. I mean, I played last year, but this year I had to go back to Q school. It's changed in ways I've done a lot of interviews, and I'm definitely in just a very cool spot in my career. Hopefully it's time for me to just keep going forward, maybe keep on shooting some 66s and get in contention, and maybe then it'll change a lot.

Q. Do you think it's important to follow it up with a second victory, or do you think winning Reno validates your career?

WILL MacKENZIE: Oh, no, I need to follow it up for sure. I mean, Reno was a great tournament for me. It's a very small PGA TOUR event. Every PGA TOUR event is special, but I wasn't playing against the greatest players in the world. I was playing against the other greatest players in the world.

I mean, all my peers that are fantastic, the Vijay Singhs and Chris DiMarcos and David Tomses, those guys were coming up to me saying, "Way to go, we're so proud of you." But I'd like to get an 84 Lumber or something a little bigger, I think, and that will start to validate my career a little bit, I guess. Maybe like a World Golf Championship?

LAURY LIVSEY: You had a real efficient round, 12 pars and six birdies. Let's talk about your round.

WILL MacKENZIE: No. 1, that hole is playing so different this year. I don't know if the winds are different. I know the conditions are different, but I used to hit it almost to the green there. I mean, you can hit it way on up there. I mean, I still hit pitching wedge in there, but I hit pitching wedge like this (indicating inches).

I made some great par saves out there. I mean, I could have easily sort of shot 2 under had I not made some just real nice little par saves, which you have to do.

I made a great putt on the par 5, No. 5. I had sort of a lackluster shot and had a real dicey 12 foot downhill putt in there and hit that putt right in the middle. That was sort of a bonus.

LAURY LIVSEY: You hit 3 iron on 8?

WILL MacKENZIE: Then I hit a pretty good 3 iron into 8 and had sort of a funky lie just right of the green, and I hit a pretty poor pitch. But then I made another very nice putt from about nine or ten feet, breaking left about two balls. It was the putter. I guess it was the putter. I said earlier, I struck it really well, but I putted a lot better than I struck it.

I got a good lesson from my coaches yesterday. I started hitting it poorly at Deutsche Bank, and then I hit it good for two rounds at the Bell Canadian, and then I started playing poorly and hadn't worked with my coaches in a while, and these are new coaches for me anyway. I worked with them for about an hour and a half yesterday, and they keyed on a few things. I really could hit my driver hard today and hit it straight. I wasn't hitting too many foul balls with it. I had been hitting sort of overhooks.

LAURY LIVSEY: Your last two birdies on 10 and 12?

WILL MacKENZIE: You know, 10, I hit a real nice shot into 10, not a very long putt.

And then 12, I'm trying to think what 12 is, a par 3. I can't envision it. I can't picture my iron shot in there.

I'm a little rattled. I did shoot 66. That's about the extent of it (smiling). I've got to play a course at least 10 or 15 times and then I can rattle off every shot I hit. I was very focused out there.

LAURY LIVSEY: Will, thanks so much for being here.

End of FastScripts.

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