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August 17, 2006

Billy Andrade


KELLY ELBIN: Billy Andrade, ladies and gentlemen, the leader in the clubhouse at this point in the 88th PGA Championship with a bogey free 5 under par 67. For your information, Billy was the 7th alternate into the field this week replacing Steve Elkington.

Looks like the birdie at No. 11 kind of got everything started for you.

BILLY ANDRADE: Yeah, I hit driver, it was pretty early there at 7:30 when we teed off and I hit driver and pulled it a little left and got lucky. It got in the fairway and hit sand wedge to about 15 feet and made a nice putt there.

I hit a beautiful drive and a 6 iron about that far on 12 (indicating two feet) for birdie.

On 15, I hit an L wedge and hit a little hook around the tree and knocked it up there about four feet and made birdie there.

So I think the biggest thing when you're playing in these Majors is that you don't kick yourself in the foot out of the gate and you get off to a good start. I think that's I think that's every player's goal when they start off is to you want to get off to a good start, and I can't tell you how many years and times that I've been 3 over after five instead of 3 under after five, and it's very difficult when you're playing golf courses that are this difficult when you're going the other way to be able to get it back and get it back quickly.

So it was a great start. I made some pars and made the turn and I birdied the fourth hole. I hit a 9 iron about four feet there. The fifth hole, I hit driver, 3 wood just short of the green. Chipped up to about four feet there and made that putt. Finished with four pars and I hit the ball well. I was very fresh today. I flew in yesterday morning. Got the call on Tuesday afternoon. Took one practice round, which you know, for some, it's not enough. For me, I guess it was perfect. I was nice and fresh this morning, I went out and I can't I don't think I could have played any better.

Q. You touched on coming up and being fresh with only one practice round and it worked for you. This is a completely different course, you've played here before, but it's obviously a completely different course. Did you find that during the practice round and did you have to make any adjustments for that?

BILLY ANDRADE: To be honest with you, in 1999, I was playing so horrible, so bad when I came here that I don't remember much about it. I couldn't tell you what I shot. But whatever I shot, it was the best I ever that week, I don't think anybody could have shot that was the best I could have played, whatever I shot.

Missed the cut by a bunch. I kept asking, you know, my caddie, and then I asked a few marshals and officials, you know, Gee, this green looks a little different than I remember; this green looks a little different. Come to find out, all of the greens that I thought were different were. But I think they did a wonderful job. The 17th hole is way better than it was. The 18th green is obviously much higher than it was. But all of the greens I didn't remember them being this small. I thought they were a little bigger.

You know, you can do all the preparation you want. You still have to go out and hit solid, hit good golf shots. I still knew enough about the course that, you know, hey, if they called me this morning and said, Hey, you want to play this afternoon, I would have done that, too, and not cared without even playing a practice round.

Q. A guy who has been around as many years as you have, it isn't like somebody waiting

BILLY ANDRADE: Like you. Right. (Laughter).

Q. But waiting, Hey, are they going to call me or something? What's it like for you, 7th alternate, do you make travel plans? Do you figure, Hey, I'm not going to get in; are you excited when you do get in?

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, you're very excited when you do get in. I just kind of went about my normal life. My kids went to school Monday. They started school. My wife and I went to see "Me, You and Dupree" on Tuesday in a matinee. I went into the matinee, I was third alternate. I came out of the matinee and I'm in the tournament. It's a bonus when you get the call and find out others have dropped out.

Like you said, I've been doing this a long time. You can't get you can't sit there and fret or hope or, gosh, I shouldn't be in this situation. I've never been a person to think like that. I've always, you know, this is okay where I'm at, and if it happens, it happens, and if not, I'm going to have a hell of a week at home with my family.

Q. You had a fourth and a second the last couple of weeks; are you playing better than you did earlier in the year?

BILLY ANDRADE: No, I'm not playing better. I'm just scoring. I'm just putting better and I'm getting the ball in the hole. As far as my whole game goes, I haven't really played that much different. You know, it's such a fine line, as you know, between 67 and 73. All it takes is a putt here or there. Earlier in the year, I wasn't scoring it well. But I was hitting the ball well. Now my putting has kind of caught up a little bit and it's been better.

KELLY ELBIN: Billy had 26 points today. It's also his 17th PGA Championship appearance.

Q. Is it maybe easier to play when you don't have high expectations and the big build up of working here three or four days?

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, to be honest with you, you know, I'm not a Top 10 player in the world. You know, those guys, they have all the expectations on them. The rest of us are just, hey, you know, maybe this will be my week to do well.

My expectations coming into Majors is to try to get in the mix and try to have a chance to win. But I'm not supposed to do anything. The top players are. And those guys got the pressure on them. I'm just tickled to death to be here. I'm looking forward to my goal now this week is to try to screw up Tom Lehman's thinking. If I can do that, then it's going to be a hell of a week, see. Stranger things have happened. You know, I like to make him have to think about others, except for the ones he's thinking about. So that's my goal for the rest of this week.

Q. What's the biggest variable besides being able to do this on Thursday, as opposed to being able to do this and get yourself into the weekend? Is it pressure? Is it being able to handle these conditions consistently over the four days? What's the biggest variable?

BILLY ANDRADE: All of that. I think your nerves, to being able to handle yourself, your conditions of the golf course, all those things. Thursday is Thursday and Sunday is obviously a very different day in this game. It's one thing to have a great Thursday, but if you can and that's the other thing is you've got to put four together. You can't you know, you can't bring in the relief pitcher for the back nine on Friday because you're not playing very good. It's you and no one else.

The bottom line is out here, with the competition this stiff, you can't really make a whole lot of mistakes in 72 holes to win. And you almost have to play perfect golf. And knowing that, that makes it difficult, too. So I think the bottom line is just getting yourself in the position and battling your own inner demons. And I think our best players do a great job of that.

You know, I played with Vijay Singh at Barclays, and it was a pretty ho hum win, if you want to describe a win for somebody. It looked like he didn't even have a heartbeat for 18 holes out there. Just nonchalantly going about his business. It was pretty impressive to watch.

So I look to those kind of seeing that, to say, well, maybe that's the way it would help me to be calmer in those situations.

But I think the No. 1 thing is nerves. I don't think it's talked about enough. You hit bad shots because you're nervous. You get nervy. That's kind of how it happens.

Q. Are you a creature of habit? Are you looking to maintain the same kind of composure that you had today? Are you going to go through the same routine?

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, yeah, I'd like to go out there tomorrow. I'm just going to go out there tomorrow, and my goal is to get off to a good start again and not get in my own way and just go out and play and have fun and see what happens. I think we're all that way. I think, you know, I may go to the same restaurant I went last night; I don't know yet, but I may change that up.

But a lot of guys are pretty superstitious on what they do and how they eat and how long they take a shower. I don't worry about that, but I'm a little bit a creature of habit when it comes to preparation and getting ready to go out and play tomorrow.

Q. You played well as I remember at Oak Hill, too.


Q. Did you learn anything there that helps here?

BILLY ANDRADE: I played with Shaun Micheel on Saturday in the last group. You know, he didn't play that well that day. He just putted really well. I think the thing I learned about there and what I know about playing out here is that you don't have to be perfect. You just have to score. And you don't have to hit, you know, every shot perfect and hit every fairway to win out here. You have to get the ball in the hole.

You know, our top players, they do that unbelievably well. When they make a mistake, they chip it up close and they salvage their pars. That's what you have to do and especially in a tournament like this.

That's what I remember about Shaun on that Saturday is just he put on a display of getting the ball up and down and kept himself in it for that Sunday run where he ended up winning.

Q. I was just wondering what restaurant was it that you ate at?

BILLY ANDRADE: By myself at Maggiano's at the bar. And it's family style. It's just a waste, it's such a waste of food. I want a little not like seven pieces of veal. I want a little pasta, the guy gives me a big old bowl for a family, of pasta. Had this experience in Denver and the guy worked with me. The bartender did not work with me. (Laughter).

So $55 later without alcohol, I left Maggiano's. If any of you guys want to come tonight, you can have my leftovers. There's plenty; you can share with me. Just don't bug me. (Laughter).

KELLY ELBIN: Billy Andrade in with a 5 under 67, leader in the clubhouse. Thank you,


End of FastScripts.

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