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June 22, 2006

Will MacKenzie


NELSON SILVERIO: Will, thanks for coming into the media center for a couple minutes. You shot a 65 today matching your career best on the PGA TOUR. Why don't you give us some opening thoughts on your round?

WILL MACKENZIE: You know, I had a good feel out there. I've been struggling, messing with my swing a lot and went back to some things that got me to where I am out here on the PGA TOUR today, and I just really struck it well. I had a pretty good tee to green, putted well. I think my wedge game was the difference out today.

When I hit wedge in my hand I hit it pretty close and my wedge game has been pretty bad lately. It's knocking it up there pretty close. I had a couple kick ins and that always helps. Hit some wedges up there within ten feet and made them. I drove it really well, as well.

Q. Earlier this week, I saw you working on your technique in the bunkers and on the range with your wedges, what exactly were you doing?

WILL MACKENZIE: Well, I've got a new wedge. You always want to hit that a lot, but I really didn't even start hitting it until this morning. I played with a couple Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I got a new one Wednesday afternoon. It was like, oh, gosh. I went out and chipped with it and hit some shots with it today and had a good feel and hit some pretty good shoots with it. My bunker game, I might be about 180th in bunker play out here. I'm probably about 70th or something in proximity, but I'm just not making the putts. So my bunker game is not terrible. I hit one pretty good bunker shot today, and I only had one bunker shot but it felt pretty good.

Q. What's the difference?

WILL MACKENZIE: Just like a dual sole, better on the fairway. My other one had a wide sole and not much bounce, because of the dual sole, it's got a little more bounce and it's got some release on the back. Everyone is playing with different wedges, trying to grind them every which way and doesn't seem to work for me. But I just worked hard this week on my wedge game and it's paying off so far today anyway.

Q. Three back after the first round, you have to like your position after the first day.

WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, like you said, I matched my career best. I wish my career best was a little lower than 65, but that's a start. It's just a great start for me. I need to start going, I need to start playing well to my potential because I haven't really done that thus far.

So it was just a great start and hopefully I can keep that rhythm and that feel and be patient because there's a lot of birdies to be had out here.

Q. Halfway through the year now, you're right on the cusp, trying to keep your card, how important is a tournament like this?

WILL MACKENZIE: Well, that's pretty much what I've been telling everybody that's sort of in my camp, my family members and my caddie and everyone. You know, this is sort of crunch time for that mid level player. You know, we all think we can win, but we haven't done it yet. We've done it in the smaller tours but not out here.

You know, if I had made a lot of money, you know, so far, it would be different. But these are the tournaments, these next eight weeks, aside from the British, that we've got to really go out there and make some money. The older guys are home with their kids. The Ernie Els's and those guys, those guys are taking a couple weeks off here and there for the summer, and it's time for us to you know, these are good opportunities. Great opportunities.

Q. Sort of along the same lines, compared to last year at Congressional when everybody and their brother is in that field and you come to an event like this and it feels a little lighter than you're used to, do you see the chance to really swipe one and all of a sudden, you know, you go from kind of struggling to wow, this could be my breakout week?

WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, I think so. You know, the big guys, they don't play very bad very often. I mean, they are consistently up there. They come out here and play this golf course, the Top 10 guys in the world, if you get two or five of those guys here, you know they are going to play great. They just do. When they are not here, there's tons of great players in the field every week on the PGA TOUR. You've got to be good to play. But you know it feels different playing against a journeyman than it does against the Tour's elite. You know, you just feel like, hey, I can take this guy or I can handle this. I can shoot the scores.

But, you know, it all comes down to playing the golf course. You have to shoot however many under to win, that so he is what it's really all about. And then you don't have to deal with those guys.

Q. Am I correct that this is your second full year on the tour?


Q. Is it different this year than it was for you last year? Are you approaching tournaments differently this year?

WILL MACKENZIE: Last year was a lot of excitement. I was just overwhelmed to be out here on the PGA TOUR. I had to get my feet wet, and you know, it was wonderful. But this year it's a little bit more of a business just a game and it's fun and you're supposed to smile.

But, you know, this year I just feel like it's time for me to solidify myself out here. I've sort of gotten sort of into my rookie rut again as I did last year and just didn't play great. So yeah, it's easier, you know everybody, you know where to stay, you know what to do. That stuff is easier and that makes it nicer.

Q. You talked about trying to reach your potential and whatnot, just what do you think has sort of stopped you from doing some of that, just a matter of getting experience at this level?

WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, it's a lot to do with experience. I think confidence, experience, and having a theme to how you're going about working on your golf swing and your golf game and your overall game; having a basis for this is what I do, this is what I've got; and this is how I'm going to make this as good as possible.

I've tended to, you know, just search. You get on the range and you've got 30 instructors out there and you're hitting balls out there with the best players in the world; you search a little bit. And I think I've searched a little bit and that's been to my disadvantage. I've got to play with what I've got and I've got a pretty decent game.

So I just need to work on that and have a little more of a thesis for this is my little plan, I'm going to let it take me as far as I will. If it takes me it the winner's circle one day, great, and if it doesn't, I don't have it.

Q. When you get on a run like you did out there today, what did it feel like, is it different than any other day?

WILL MACKENZIE: You're hitting a lot of short irons, so you feel a little pressure to get on a little run. Yeah, it feels great. You stand over an 8 iron or 9 iron and you've like I'm going to hit this promote I close I think. You get over it, you get confident and you just hit it up there thinking, "I'm making this putt." That's just a great way to think when you get in these zones. You just feel it and you just know it. We don't always feel that way. I've had some opposite feelings a lot.

Q. What's been your highest moment in golf and what was your career highlight in your previous job as an outdoors man guide?

WILL MACKENZIE: Getting back through Q School this year, deep down I really felt great about it. I felt like that was I didn't have a ton of confidence going in, and then I started playing well and getting back through. It's a huge relief on the golf course. You know, my best finish last year as eighth in Vegas and it's a great feeling.

But I think winning on mini tours was some of my best feelings I've ever had. Winning in my hometown I had to make a 25 foot putt, I was thrilled, super excited. But in my old job, I WENT to Alaska and got to heliboard for a while and I was doing some just volunteer work actually at the Heliboard Championship (ph) and that was probably the best experience I've ever had. I was very, very happy there, for a short period of time. You don't want to live there for too long. You can't afford heliboarding, for sure, that costs a lot.

NELSON SILVERIO: Thanks, Will. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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