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August 13, 2006

Zach Johnson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Dean Wilson, congratulations. You are the third first time winner of The International. I'm sure it's an exciting feeling. 12 points today and had a great playoff battle with Tom Lehman. Maybe some opening comments on capping it off with a great day today and a great week.

DEAN WILSON: The thing that's sticking in my mind is what Corey told me about how I was 9 under for the tournament and Tom was 13, and so the format worked out to my benefit. I made so many mistakes out there the last couple of days, had three doubles, a bunch of bogeys in the last three days, and I think I only had one today. It's a good thing I had this format this week.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You really paid your dues not only on the PGA TOUR here but in Japan and some other tours. I don't know if you can put into perspective exactly what it means to win a Tour event.

DEAN WILSON: Growing up in Hawaii watching golf and wanting to be on the PGA TOUR and win is something that I wanted as a kid, and growing up there, there's like an internal battle that you have with trying to compete with everyone else on the mainland. My thoughts are always when I said I wanted to do that, that was my goal. It seems like I heard a lot of people saying it can't be done, you can't beat those guys, they're so good. It's tough.

I wasn't good enough coming out of high school to get a college scholarship. I went to BYU Hawaii in hopes of transferring to BYU in Utah. Any Division I school is where I wanted to go, and I got that done.

And then I wasn't very good in college. I wasn't an all American or anything, and I had to go overseas. I started off in Australia, I went to Australia, played a couple of years, went to Canada, played a couple years, played the Asian Tour, which is everywhere in Asia you can think of, played that for four years before qualifying for the Japanese Tour, and that was the first kind of major Tour I was on, and I played there for four years and kind of learned how to win there. I snuck in a couple times, I think I won six times there, and finally got my Tour card here just four years ago at age 32, so it was quite a battle. It's just really satisfying to be here holding the trophy.

Q. Did Corey tell you where you stood in the stroke play before or after the playoff?

DEAN WILSON: Before the playoff. I had some time sitting up there. It was kind of awkward and I didn't know what to do with myself. I sat up there and Corey came by, and he's been very nice to me since I've been out on Tour and we've been pretty good friends, and he just kind of said on TV they made mention of that. I knew that if I snuck in here after the last few days in stroke play, I wouldn't be ahead because I made so many mistakes. I probably made more doubles than anybody else in contention. It was interesting to think about that while I was out there.

Q. What was going through your mind as you were standing over that putt on the 9th green there in the second playoff hole?

DEAN WILSON: Just roll it in. I had a good feel with my putter this week, and it was a relatively simple putt. It didn't have too many breaks to it. I just kind of looked it over, and once Tom made par, I thought, this is as good a chance as any. Pick that line, pick the speed you want to hit it, be confident and just roll it in and hopefully it'll go in, and it did. I'll tell you was it exciting when that thing went in.

Q. They said it was about six feet; is that right?

DEAN WILSON: It looked like about 12. If they say it was six feet, it was six feet.

Q. Your best finish previously was tied for 3rd at the Texas, so the idea of just standing over a putt like that with a chance to win

DEAN WILSON: Yeah, you know, it's a little different. I had to draw from experiences before. There's nothing that replaces winning, and whether it's at the amateur level, whether it's at a State Open level, internationally for me in Japan or Asia, that feeling that I get, that nervousness, that anxiety and excitement, it's always the same at every level.

So I was fortunate enough to win some tournaments when I was in contention. I won six times in Japan, I've won a few State Opens here and there when I really needed it, when I needed to have a win, get that check for $10,000 to keep my career going. That nervousness wasn't any different at that level than it is at this level.

There's more elements that add to it with the crowd out here knowing, being a Tour champion, anything that you put into your head adds to the pressure, so I was fortunate to have a good caddie that kept me loose out there, kept me talking about everything he could think of other than the score and the outcome. But that anxiety and that nervousness and excitement is the exact same thing from way back when, trying to win a tournament in college.

Q. I followed you on the back nine. At 15 there were people yelling from their front porches for Sergio. Was that distracting, was it energizing, take the pressure off you?

DEAN WILSON: It was fantastic. I had a laugh with Sergio and I had a great playing companion in him today. He's a good guy to play with and he's a lot of fun. I laughed with him because I said, you know, you have got the best name for golf, for people yelling and cheering for you. Dean, one syllable, kind of plain, but Sergio is great, and they're cheering for him. He's an exciting player and everybody loves him. It's good to be alongside a guy like that, to feel that excitement and maybe take some of the pressure off while they're cheering for him, and I can maybe slip under the radar and get my business done, and fortunately that's what I was able to do today.

Q. Your winning putt, six feet or ten feet, whatever it was, was great. How about the second shot in? How about the approach shot?


Q. Tell me about that.

DEAN WILSON: I had I think maybe 160 yards, and subtracting the elevation subtracting the altitude, adding the elevation, it came out to a nice stock 8 iron for me. On that hole earlier today I hit a nice wedge in there and birdied it, also. I had a good feeling, and I just tried to focus on the target, do what I had to do. I didn't have to do anything fancy, maybe take a little off an 8 iron or jump on it, so I was fortunate with the yardage and got in there pin high, six feet. I'll take my chances on six feet to win a tournament.

Q. Can you talk about your lie on your approach shot on 18 in regulation, and then that huge, sweeping putt you had?

DEAN WILSON: I choked my guts out up there on that drive. I knew I was in contention and kind of held on. I was a little nervous and didn't make a real committed swing. Fortunately that ball held up on that hillside for me. I had kind of a funky lie. It was sitting on the grass but the grass was kind of growing away from the target, so I knew whatever I hit, the iron going into the ball would catch some grass, so I didn't know what it was going to do.

I kind of aimed towards the fat part of the green and tried to hit it up high knowing if it landed on the green, it would stop, and that's exactly what it did. Unfortunately I had about the longest putt you could have on that green.

Again, I had a good feel with the putter. I just looked at it, chose my line, tried to figure out the speed because it was going downhill, uphill and sidehill, just committed to it and hit it. Boy, it got close. It looked like with about five feet to go that I made it, and I was really relieved to have just a tap in there and get that done with.

Q. You also had a nice save on 16 where you put your drive into the rough. How important is it not only to get those birdies but to get those saves?

DEAN WILSON: Oh, it's huge. It's a cliche, everyone says the short game is so important, and it is. You just have to save yourself out here because even if you hit a good shot, especially at this tournament, you can misjudge the altitude, misjudge the elevation and end up in the rough. Just making those saves, staying in there and not having too many highs and lows is really big. I knew that one was big for me, and that chip shot wasn't easy, but somehow I managed to flip it up there, rolled about three feet, had kind of a big break and I was really relieved to see that one roll in.

Q. Is it a relief now to be known for something other than playing with Annika?

DEAN WILSON: Oh, definitely. That was always a positive for me, playing with her, and that was a great experience. But that's what I kept telling myself, is dangit, I've got to win a tournament so I can be known for something else, so we'll see how that pans out in the upcoming year.

Q. Has it sunk in yet what the win means as far as the exemptions and getting into tournaments and things?

DEAN WILSON: Probably not. I'd have to think about it. After I won there were a couple of fans out there from Hawaii that said, "You're going to Kapalua," and that will be exciting, being a PGA TOUR winner, being in Hawaii, from Hawaii and representing the state. It's a great feeling. I don't know about all the other perks that come with it, but I'm just satisfied, really satisfied, to have a trophy and have my name on it.

Q. You said your caddie kept you loose throughout the day. Did you do much scoreboard watching and did you have an idea

DEAN WILSON: I didn't look at the board. I know through my experience I look at the board and it just brings unnecessary thoughts into my head. I'm nervous as it is out there trying my best, and so I didn't look at it. Every time the scoreboard was in my vicinity, I was just kind of looking in the vicinity but I didn't read it. When I thought about it coming in, it wasn't going to dictate how I was going to play. I was still going to try to hit the fairways, try to hit the greens.

This course is kind of straightforward where you just have to keep playing. There's not a lot of holes out there where if I had a five point lead or something that I would change my strategy. I would have liked to have had a five point lead going into the last hole and just walk in with the ball in my hand, but I didn't look at the board.

Q. If you didn't look at the board, what was the first moment that you knew what you had to do?

DEAN WILSON: Well, after I made the par on 18, I knew I was close. You can't help but know it out here because if you're in contention the cameras are all over you. They're following you down the fairway, drinking water and scratching your head and whatnot. I knew I was in contention. I didn't know where I stood, but when I tapped that putt in, then I finally looked at the leaderboard and I realized that I was two points ahead, but I knew Tom or Steve Flesch at 17, there was a good chance they would make birdie there.

Q. That was the first time you were aware?

DEAN WILSON: The first time I looked at it. Tom made birdie there, and now we were just watching to see what Steve Flesch does and how many guys are going to be in that playoff.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Dean Wilson, congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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