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October 21, 2006

Troy Matteson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Troy Matteson, congratulations. You're the third round leader at the Funai Classic this week, and you're also a winner of the AstraZeneca Charity Challenge. This week $50,000 is going to given to the breastcancer.org and $50,000 also to the Wellness Community on your behalf. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Congratulations.

TROY MATTESON: I've just played solid, just kind of kept doing what I was doing last week, driving the ball well. Obviously on these two golf courses you have to keep it out of the rough. Not that the rough is high, it just makes it difficult to hit the ball where you want to on the greens.

The courses are in great shape and there are a lot of birdies being made out there. Luckily we're kind of keeping up with what everyone else is doing. So we've played good to this point.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Heading into this week, you've had three straight top 10s, including the win last week, and obviously in the hunt again with the lead heading into tomorrow. How have you I don't want to say turn around your season, but what has been the key this last month of your play?

TROY MATTESON: This is my ninth week playing. About nine weeks ago I went home and worked with my pro on a few things, and just really worked on some setup issues, a few little swing issues and worked on my putting a lot. It's just made a world of difference. It just took five weeks for it to show up. That's not uncommon for a lot players. It could take five to ten weeks for a change to show up. I'm pretty excited about that. I know my pro is excited about that. It's just been really good to see my game turn around from the year we started off having, so I'm pretty excited about it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Last week after the final round, Charley Hoffman, who played with you, mentioned that on the PGA Tour you have to take advantage of those opportunities when you have a chance to win, and he congratulated you on doing that. How great was it to have that 54 hole lead and win your first event?

TROY MATTESON: I think that having the lead last week, I only had two hours between my third round and my fourth round, so I didn't have to sleep on it. So that was pretty good. I think for me, just being a young guy, I don't realize the gravity of the situation a lot of times. That's just kind of the way most of the us are coming off the Nationwide Tour, a lot of young players.

But it was really nice to be able to hold on with a lot of people shooting at you coming down the stretch there. Chopra making an eagle and then a birdie on 17, and a few guys taking it deep, it felt good to come out with a win there.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Obviously similar type golf courses in the fact that you have to go low there to win?

TROY MATTESON: Yes. This week and last week are two pretty difficult tournaments to win just because you don't know who is going to shoot 10 under or 12 under, like Justin shot the first day. It's definitely out there and it can happen. And I promise you tomorrow there will be some deep rounds. That's just the way this tournament is. It's a good thing to see. It's exciting for fans and it's also exciting for us players to make a lot of birdies.

Q. The bio says born in Rockledge, but it looks like you spent pretty much your whole life in Georgia. I was wondering how you came to be born here and leave here and if there is a story there. And if there is not, go ahead and make up something funny.

TROY MATTESON: My parents were down here when I was born. And I think I was here for a grand total of maybe a year and a half, maybe not even that long, and we moved to Tennessee. I lived in Tennessee for 12 years growing up as a kid. Then I moved to Austin and lived in Austin for six years. And then when I went to school at George Tech, I actually lived between D.C. and Tennessee again. Then I finally moved to Georgia after school. So I've seen a few places.

It's been pretty exciting. My parents kind of moved around with jobs and things like that. I'm no different than anybody else. It's been great that I've been able to grow up in so many places. I have got friends and family here, friends and family in all those other places, so it's kind of hard to go around the country without having a few people that you run into that you know.

Q. There is another guy who is not playing this week who has got a winning streak that's active, and here you are going for two in a row. Is that sort of a mind boggling prospect for you, given say your visual anonymity eight days ago?

TROY MATTESON: I think so. There's no doubt about that. To win out here once is pretty difficult, to do it 2 or 3 or 4 times is extremely difficult. So many things have to happen right for you to do that. You have to make a crucial putt. You might stub a chip and have to make it from off the green. You just have to come up with the big shots.

I just consider myself very lucky to be in the situation that I'm in. Four weeks ago I was 180 on the money list probably, and to be able to say I have locked up my card and I don't have to worry about it is good enough by me.

Q. There is another kid out of Georgia Tech who has strung a few together, including Disney a few years ago, off the Nationwide Tour who did pretty good, correct?

TROY MATTESON: There's quite a few good players out of Georgia Tech, Stewart Cink, David Duval. There's Nick Thompson is in the field this week, made the cut. So we definitely have some good players out there. We have some players on the Nationwide Tour, Bryce Molder, Matt Weibring. I think one of my buddies is over in Asia right now. We're a pretty good golf school. We do all right.

Q. Who is your friend in Asia?

TROY MATTESON: His name is Chan Song now, to match his sister's name. There's a whole big deal with the Korean military attached to that, so that's why the name change.

Q. Have you allowed yourself to think about, with a good performance, what it would mean to get into the Masters?

TROY MATTESON: That's so far out. I kind of look at myself as a guy, I just kind of progressively get a little better. I didn't think the Masters would be something I would worry about until I was in my mid 30s, even if you get in at all. There's a lot of great players that don't get into that event every year, so if I ever get into that event, it will be a thrill of a lifetime.

Q. Do you think you will have a comfort level tomorrow that you didn't have last week because of what you did?

TROY MATTESON: Hopefully so. Last week I was worried about my job all day. I don't care who you are, you're going to think about it. It's going to come up, it's going to pop into your mind, and you have to do your best to clear it out of your mind before you hit the next shot.

I think that's stated pretty well in Rotella's book, Golf is a Game of Confidence. You have to clear those thoughts out of your mind, and that what helps you get through the next shot. All last week I was worried about my job and I knew if I didn't finish either I think maybe a solo third might have pushed me over the mark, but it's tough when you're thinking all week, I have got to finish second or first to maintain my card. There's guys out here in this field this week that are thinking the same thing that have a good shot at doing it.

So I kind of, you know, my heart goes out to those guys because I know what it's like, and it's kind of hard to keep your tension levels down, but I think tomorrow I should be a little more at ease knowing things are okay regardless of what I do.

Q. It's a fairly unique putting routine you have with perpendicular to the line and three swings when you're looking at the hole and then get over it and pull the trigger. You mentioned you made changes in your putting. Is that a fairly new deal?

TROY MATTESON: Last week I took strokes right by the ball. And on those greens, on bent greens, you can kind of get away with that. On Rye you're fine or even on poa annua. The probably out here this week, I switched back to that, I used that mostly all last year, is when you get a lot of grain changes, you need to be able to survey the putt and see what you're facing before you get over it. A lot of people, they'll get over the ball and make 2 or 3 practice strokes, never looking up, never gauging the distance, and they get over the ball and hit it.

This week, the most crucial thing you can do on the greens is control your distance. It has nothing to do with making putts or getting them on line. It's controlling the distance, because when you get out to 40 or 45 feet, how many times this week have you seen guys not putt it within two feet of the hole. On most weeks, guys are going to roll it up there pretty close.

For me, what I do is, the reason I get behind it, is when you look at a putt this way, you're using your binocular vision and getting a better read on what's going on. You can see the grain. When you turn your head to the side, you only get basically it's like you're looking at it with one eye, even though you're looking at it with two eyes, because both your eyes are on the same line. It's very hard to gauge your distance. This week in particular, it's important to get a very, very good feel for the putt before you get over it and pull the trigger.

Q. The putter way weighs about two pounds.

TROY MATTESON: It's a heavy putter. It's the blade version and it's the center shafted model and it's 33 inches. So it's not overly short, but it's not I'm not putting with a long putter out there.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Real quick, let's touch on your round, a 65 today.

TROY MATTESON: That's correct.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Go over the birdies and bogey.

TROY MATTESON: Birdied 1, hit a pretty good hit 2 iron off the tee, hit a really good 5 iron in. Same thing I did on 18, landed right by the hole and didn't have a long putt, maybe four feet and made it.

4, hit it up in front of the green in two and hit a great chip to about a foot and a half. Didn't have to think much on that one.

5 was probably the best birdie of the day. 5 is an extremely difficult hole. Hit driver, 6 iron, and had a tricky putt. They've given us two really tricky pins on that hole and made a good putt for birdie.

7, I kind of butchered that hole, to be honest. I almost hit the ShotLink person. That's two days in a row. I'm going to have to hit something else off that tee. And then I hit a lob wedge out of the rough, just trying to control the distance, ended up short, and luckily I ended up with a perfect lie and the kind of chip you can chip in. Chipped it in for birdie.

I think No. 10 was the next birdie. Didn't hit a very good drive, tried to chase it up in front of the green, hit it in the bunker. Not a very difficult bunker shot, but a hard bunker shot to get really close. I think I left myself eight or nine feet and made a great putt there. That saved the momentum, because you really don't want to give one away on a short par 5.

Bogey on 12. I didn't hit a very good shot into the par 3, missed the green, chose to putt it. Thought I hit a pretty good putt. And the grain goes in all different directions there at that hole direction. They have kind of got it on an inflection point where things start to back towards the center of the green. I didn't really misread my second putt, it just didn't break, and that can happen out here on the Bermuda greens, and just made four. A little disheartening being that short of a hole.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Came back with a birdie on the short par 4.

TROY MATTESON: Driver off the tee. It's a fun hole to play. You have a chance to make a two there if you hit a really good drive. Hit a pretty good chip, made a good sliding right to left birdie putt from about seven or eight feet.

17, is not my favorite hole from the back tee. I wish they wouldn't have put that back tee back there. You know what, somebody who obviously doesn't play golf put that tee box in. I hit it in the right rough, so did Tag. If you hit it 5 yards left of there you're in the middle of the fairway, and if you hit it 5 yards left of there you're almost in the water, as evidenced where Justin hit it today. Luckily the ball came out of the rough good. I would have been happy with four. I had about a 25 footer and just ended up making it. That was just a good that's kind of where you steel one from the field there.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You stuck it to about two feet on 18.

TROY MATTESON: I was glad I didn't have a very long putt there. Nobody wants a long putt on the last hole. I hit a great shot out of the fairway with an 8 iron. I knew when it left the club it would be close. I didn't think it would be that close. I had a little 3 footer there and luckily got it in there.

Q. (No microphone.)

TROY MATTESON: I hit 7 iron out of the rough. I think I had 201 hole and 170 front, something close to that. I know Tag was trying to do the same thing I was. It's just what club do you hit to figure out how to keep it short of the hole but get it over the front edge. I think he had a better shot than I did, obviously, but it's just a very difficult shot. It's a difficult hole when the tee box is back like that.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Troy Matteson, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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