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August 30, 2006

Billy Andrade


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Billy, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Deutsche Bank championship. You had some success here last year.

BILLY ANDRADE: I did a little bit.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You played well at the PGA for a couple days. You're fairly close to home.


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: What does that mean?

BILLY ANDRADE: That means I have I'll eat well, that's for sure. No, I think it's great for all the local guys to come back. Every week that you're at tournaments where, if you grew up, or areas that you now live, it's really neat to be able to play in a tournament where you're sleeping in your own bed and that you don't have to stay in a hotel.

You know, this is such a great tournament for all the local guys here because there's a lot of us. This is such a great tournament. The energy level is up here. Tiger Woods is here going for five in a row. Vijay is here. It's definitely a win win for me to be a part of it.

For Deutsche Bank, for this tournament to be played here, knowing next year it's going to be a FedEx playoff event makes it that much more exciting, I think.

I guess the goal now is to see if one of us can beat this guy and have him not win five in a row.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Questions, please.

Q. Last year, you described the course as a bomber's course, 7400 yards.

BILLY ANDRADE: Yeah. It's really a bomber's course now. If it was a bomber's course last year, it was playing firm and fast. This year it's very, very wet out there right now. So hopefully we can dry up here in the next few days.

Q. The question is: You were tied for the lead after three rounds. Do you consider yourself a bomber? An example of a bomber is Olin Browne won last year. Does it have to be a bomber that's going to win this?

BILLY ANDRADE: Right. Well, a bomber wins it when it's west wet. I'd love to see the statistic on a long golf course how Tiger Woods fares. I guarantee you, he's way up there in his percentage. If he wins one out of every four times, I can't imagine what he wins when it's wet and rainy and the ball doesn't go anywhere.

This golf course, like I said last year, was firm and fast. Guys like myself and Olin Browne can compete. I think all guys that aren't bombers can compete on golf courses when they're firm and fast. That's I think what we all would love.

Right now this golf course is as long as I've ever seen it being played. I played real early off the back. I played around 11:00 off the front. The golf ball was going a lot further later on in the day than it did this morning at 7:30.

But an advantage, definitely, to guys that hit it keep it in the air longer. But there's other ways of playing well. That's chipping and putting, getting the ball in the hole. I've done that my whole career. A lot of players have done that their whole careers. That's what you have to do.

Just because it's a bomber's course doesn't mean that guys like myself can't compete.

Q. (No microphone.)

BILLY ANDRADE: I live in Atlanta, Georgia full time. I'm a member at East Lake golf club. They have a tournament there at the end called THE TOUR Championship. I haven't played in it. When I go there and do a little television for ABC and you get a little taste of it, it makes you want to, Boy, I'd really like to be there.

I think every player's goal really is at the start of the year to be in the All Star Games. And being in that tournament is a big priority for me.

I have a lot of work to do to get there. I got this week and next week, a Canadian Open on a golf course that I just love, that everybody loved, at Hamilton. I'm going to play a few more here at the end to see if I can get myself in a position to play at East Lake at the end of the year.

Q. Can you talk about the practice round you had today, maybe some of the things you were looking for or working on out there?

BILLY ANDRADE: I think just getting reacquainted with the golf course, seeing how it's playing. I didn't really realize how much rain this golf course has taken over the last week or so. It's very, very soft, very wet. I know they're hoping to get the sun out here the next few days to firm up the fairways.

But, you know, practice round, that's what it's for. It's for just kind of checking to see what clubs you're going to use in your bags. This is a golf course, you know, 11 is a long par 3. It's not a 2 iron golf course for me. It's whether or not I put a 7 wood or 5 wood in the bag. It looks like I'll probably put a 5 wood in.

18, second shot is a 5 wood shot if you can get it out there for me. So you're getting a little feel for it.

Tomorrow is ProAm day. I'm playing in the afternoon. I'll get another chance to see the golf course. It will probably be more like the conditions for Thursday morning. I had last week off. I didn't play in Reno or at Akron. I'm eager to get back at it.

Q. Are there some things you take from last year's success into this week?

BILLY ANDRADE: You always look at past experiences. I've had, you know I look at last year as an almost opportunity of winning. Got myself in position and didn't do it, so I'm looking at trying to finish this thing off.

Joan said, You played well for a few days at the PGA. Well, I didn't finish that off. You need to you're really judged on how you play for the whole tournament, not just for two or three days.

So three days down we were pretty good last year. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can do the whole shoot and shebang this time around.

Q. Can you talk about dealing with the friends and family coming to see you? Are more demands on your time playing in your own backyard? How do you handle that? How do you handle the request from teammates or golfers out there who may be asking where to go, what to do?

BILLY ANDRADE: I'm pretty much a people person. I have no problem with any of this. I've been doing this for 19 years now. I'm too old to worry about demands on ticket requests from family members.

If they want to go, they call. If they don't, they don't call. As far as the guys out here, you know, feel free to ask. I'm open I don't know much Dedham. One caddie is staying in Detum. I don't know about there. I'm not a big fan up here in Norton as far as where to go eat. If you're staying in Providence, or I even know a couple places on NewBerry Street.

I'm pretty much a Rhode Island guy, and can I tell you where to go have some fabulous dinners there.

But, you know, that all comes with it. I don't think I'm not an approachable person. A lot of guys have asked. I'm there for them. The same as when we go to other cities. When I go to Gainesville, Florida, for example, I would ask Joan where I could maybe stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Where do you stay at Wake Forest? Red Roof?

BILLY ANDRADE: No, no. I got the name. I got the name. It's coming to me (laughter).

But it's all good.

Q. Earlier Shaun Micheel was talking about his constant battles with his swing and avoiding getting into funks. Can you talk about your frustrations with your swing, and how do you deal with it?

BILLY ANDRADE: I think it's kind of in that, you know, pretty much your definition of what a pro is. Doesn't matter what sport you're playing, you're going to have your ups and your downs. It's how you deal with it.

I mean, if you want to call it a funk, I mean, my career you could call a funk. I've had my shares of funks. It's how you keel with failure. I mean, I think it goes back to the bottom line: If you fear it then you're in trouble. But if you accept failure and know that you're going to fail every now and then, then I think that's how you become successful. That's how you do win tournaments and make it in our sport.

Not every day's going to be prefect. Not every day is going to be your best day. I think that's what our best players do, is they somehow shoot a 68 when they don't play well. I've played numerous rounds of golf with Tiger Woods where you finish a round of golf and you're saying to yourself, To me it felt like a 72 or a 71 and it was a 67. That's what our best do. That's what we're all striving to do.

When you're on, you're on. It's the days that you're not or the weeks that you're not or the months that you haven't played that well.

I've always dealt with it, you know, it's going to come and go. You're going to go through those stretches where the hole is you can't somehow fit the ball in there. You're going to have weeks where you hit a few bad putts and they go in. Should you not accept that? Of course, you take it and you run with it.

Over the course of a career, it all kind of evens out, the way I look at it.

Q. In 2000 when Tiger was as hot as he was that year, there was a segment of players out here that threw their hands up and seemed to feel if Tiger was on his game, everybody was playing for second place. Do you get any sense of that now? Has he reached that point again?

BILLY ANDRADE: Sure looks that way. It's mind boggling, it really is. I looked at the PGA and said, If I shoot 68 or 68 I still lose. It was all I could shoot to shoot 68 or 69 the first two days. I was 8 under. To think I had to shoot another 8 under, and that still wouldn't have won, to me, is mind boggling.

Yeah, the Medinah greens were soft. They weren't that fast. They weren't all that undulated. I don't know what the percentage was. This would be a good statistic to look at, what the percentage was. In the last 10 years of majors, how many three putt greens were there at Medinah. I guarantee you there wasn't a whole lot for the week for the field versus other majors, because the greens were just kind of subtle. They were flat.

But still to shoot the scores that he's shooting. ESPN had a thing after he won. They had, I guess his 12 years wins versus Jack Niklaus. It was wins were 12. Second, Tiger had two; Niklaus had seven up to this point. Third, top tens.

And then the next stat is the stat that just blew me away. It was what your score was. Jack's was plus 30, and this kid's was minus 133 under par. In the same majors, the same 12 wins. I look at you and say, Hey, you know, I mean, is he at that point he was in 2000? Yes. Is everybody playing for second? Well, we're not going to concede it, but he sure as hell finishes the deal better than we do. But it's the score he shoots, how low he shoots. That's what is mind boggling as a player of my stature. I don't know what the other guys think.

It's just mind boggling to shoot that low.

Q. (No microphone.)

BILLY ANDRADE: Sure, I'm a fan. I always like to see how the other guys in our state are doing, other friends as well. Yeah, you're always rooting them on. If you're not playing well, you're hoping that they are.

I'm huge fans of all those guys.

Q. (No microphone.)

BILLY ANDRADE: I didn't see Sandy Koufax pitch. I didn't see Jim Brown play football. Again, ESPN did a stat on that, other players in other sports. You can't compare errors to errors. We are all and this is you guys included along with us as players we are in an era of seeing greatness, maybe the greatest.

Q. (No microphone.)

BILLY ANDRADE: All of them, because you're not getting that run. This golf course was always firm and fast.

15 is an example. You may want to hit 3 wood because you don't want to hit it through into one of those bunkers. It's a sand wedge or a wedge hole if it's playing fast. Today I hit driver and a 6 iron.

There's not many 3 woods out there maybe, except for the 1st hole now. I hit a lot of long irons into lot of holes, because the ball is just hitting and stopping, where in years past it would hit and roll another 50. You're not getting that right now. It's playing all 7500, or whatever it says on the card. It's definitely playing that right now. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Q. (No microphone.)

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, I mean, it was fantastic for two, and it was very disappointing for the other two. I would have never bet on myself to shoot eight over par the last two rounds. It was really one hole. It was really two shots. It was really two yards with a 6 iron and a yard with a sand wedge. You know, three yards total and I walk off 17 with a 7 instead of walking off with maybe a 2. Those things happen. That's golf. It's disappointing to have to explain yourself to people. Boy, you really choked that third round. You're saying, You know, actually I was right in the mix.

It was a very eerie day that Saturday from my group. It was eerie in the fact that nobody watched our group. We were not in the golf tournament. That's what it felt like. It was like we were playing the course across the street. We were bringing the pins in. There was nobody following the last group of PGA on Saturday. It was just an eerie feeling.

I was better off teeing off an hour ahead than I was being in the last group. Or if I didn't birdie the last hole on Friday night, playing a couple groups ahead in Tiger's mix or up ahead, where at least you felt like you were in the tournament. The energy was up.

I was playing with Henrik Stenson. Only his wife was following, or his girl. I had a couple friends from Chicago. That was it. There was like four people. I was one over going to 17, 7 under for the tournament. I lipped a couple out on the Back 9 to get to 8 or 9. If that ball carries on 17, I make 2. Now I'm 10 under.

I'm in the second to the last group on Sunday. Now I finish 7 and I follow it up with a bogey on the last. Now I'm teeing off the 10:30 on Sunday and you're out of it.

The bubble has burst. Now it's just you do whatever you can to grind on Sunday to shoot a good score, but you're not in the mix anymore.

That Saturday afternoon was a very weird, eerie kind of day.

Q. (No microphone.)

BILLY ANDRADE: You're in the last group. I don't care what it is. You're in the last group. People don't leave. Everyone left. There was five people in the grandstand on the 12th hole. I made a birdie there. I thanked them for staying. They were like they were too drunk to move. That's why they were there.

But it was such a weird feeling. The guy I was playing with was slow. We were a little behind which made it worse. It was just not what I expected that day.

So what did I take out of it? I took out of it the fact that I feel like I'm playing well enough to win. The fact that in certain situations out here it might be five or six shots a round you have to hit the shot. I just caught it a little thin with the 6 iron.

I still thought it was plenty. It didn't get up there. I walk away with a quad. You can't do that in a major championship and contend, or any tournament for that matter. Out here you do that, if you do it Thursday or Friday, see you later.


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