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October 20, 2004

Billy Andrade


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Billy, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort. 126 on the Money List, you've been in that position before. You've taken care of business before. You're a veteran out here; talk a little bit about that and then we'll go into questions.

BILLY ANDRADE: I would say first, hats off to Brent Geiberger and Chris Smith and Michael Allen last week. You know, it's weird how years go. Some years you're on the bubble -- if you are on the bubble, you may not move, you may stay at the same position. Other years you may make the cut or finish 30th and make 20 grand and think you're maybe passing somebody and you get passed by three guys like what happened last week.

First of all, I think it's great that those guys sucked it up and did well and accomplished their goals for the year. As far as me personally, you know, I have been in this situation before. It is what it is. I kind of relish this actually. I think it's kind of fun. I kind of enjoy the fact that you have to go out and play and you have to find a way to get it in the hole, and that's something I haven't done very well this year, but as far as my game personally, I really have been playing great since about the middle of April, and my statistics in putting have been horrible, and that's really what's held me back this year.

But overall, I'd like to -- just look at the Red Sox-Yankees and you think of the way these guys are sucking it up, and that's what we have to do here. It isn't just about me; there's a slough of guys that are in this situation, and yeah, it's a little easier, I guess, if you're trying to get in the Top 30 and you miss that, but, you know, this is a little different. This means a little bit more, and the bottom line is I don't want to have to not have a job next year, so we have two more weeks here to figure it out, and hopefully we can get it done here.

Like I did in 2000, I'm not here to just make the cut and just try to make a little money. That obviously didn't work because I've done that the last couple weeks. My mindset is I have to go out and try to win this tournament, and if I can get myself in position to win, I usually do pretty well, and that's pretty much my mindset and my goal going into this week is try to get myself in position to win the tournament. If I can do that, then let the chips fall where they may.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: I don't think that -- I think you go through periods of your career where you really are awful, and if you're not on, I mean, yeah, you start the week off in that fairy-tale world of saying, okay, I'm going to try and win this week, but if you're running a race with a bunch of Ferraris and you've got a Volkswagen engine, you're probably not going to win.

That happens to a lot of us out here. I think you can have everything kind of clicking or you have to have some confidence in your game, and then you go and try to win, and I think that I'm not lost. I've been lost, and everybody has been lost at one time or another, and when you're lost, I think it's very difficult to win. But when you see something, some sort of encouragement where you've finally hit some shots that are going actually where you're aiming and you start making some putts and all of a sudden you get on a little bit of a roll, it doesn't take long before you get to that level where you say, you know, I can now win. I think we all go through those times. I'm not going to lie to you. I think there are a lot of times where you step up on Thursday hoping to play great versus knowing that you're going to play great.

I don't think Vijay is really hoping that he gets it going this week. He's been doing it, having a phenomenal year. He's been doing it every week. I think he knows he's going to play great.

Guys that are in my situation, there's a few that haven't played as well as they'd like or guys that are just trying to survive are hoping they can get it going these last couple weeks.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: He's got something we ain't got. It's been pretty impressive to see what he's accomplished. Hopefully he won't continue it here.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: Yeah, you know, I've always tinkered pretty much my whole career as far as different stances and different ways of putting. I've tried everything, and I think everybody at one time or another has, but you seem to always go back to trying to be as simple as possible and not think too much. I've actually putted a lot better the last month or so than I have the last four or five months.

But my problem has always been the opposite. I never really hit it very good and always struggle with my long game and my swing, and I've always chipped and putted great. This is like one of the first times in my life that I've kind of hit it pretty well. I kind of know where it's going and feel pretty confident from tee to green that I get on the green and I haven't had any success.

I don't know if that's the fact that I'm hitting more greens, that I'm having more chances. Maybe I should start thinking that every putt is a par-saving putt and I'll probably putt better. I've tried everything, I've done everything. I think we're at a point now, you can't try anything. You've just going to go out and try to get it done.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: I think it all wears on you. I think if you can't find it off the tee, that wears on you. You have nightmares thinking about that, which house you're going to hit. Then it wears on you if you're not getting the ball in the hole and you're pulling five- and six-footers when you need to make them. That can wear on you, too. You play the game; you know what it's like if you're not on and you're struggling and you're not doing the things you need to do and on Friday afternoon you're going home; that's not a lot of fun.

Sure, it wears on you because the bottom line is it doesn't matter if it's the Bob Hope Classic or this week; as far as the pressure goes, the pressure is exactly the same. I'm trying as hard as I possibly can at every tournament I play in, and you're at a point now where you get -- sure, you get frustrated. No one wants to play lousy. I'd love to have a year like Vijay Singh. Everybody would. But sometimes you have years that nothing seems to go in or nothing seems to go right, and then you have years that you do.

See, I think this is a great building block for me for the year after and the year after. I've done so many great things, and that's what I'm looking at. I'm looking at the fact that -- you know, every player out here knows in his heart how well he's played over the course of the year, and I'll have to say I've gotten away with it a lot of years where I didn't play very good except for a few tournaments here or there and you finish 40th on the Money List and everybody thinks you're great. You kind of know in your heart you've gotten away with it.

This year I've been pretty satisfied with the fact that I'm competing, that I'm there. It's just maybe a break here or a shot here or a putt there that's got to change. If you go back and you think, "Okay, all right, I've done this before," two putts a round or two shots a round, eight a week. Well, eight a week, hypothetically, if it all broke down, I wouldn't be in this situation. Not to say I wouldn't win all those four. I'd maybe win two of the four, but the fact is you'd at least one win. We all do that. Every player does that and thinks, "geez, if I could have taken one shot a day, that's four. I lost by three. I would have been right there." You think of all those things, too.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: Of course, yeah, or if you hit somebody and it kicks back in the fairway.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: Yeah, I have, over the course of my career, sure.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, I think when you fail, your mind races. You have a "here we go again" kind of mentality. I think if you talk to a sports psychologist or somebody upbeat or somebody who looks at the positive side instead of the negative side, you're going to get something out of it. I think it's great to talk to somebody that says, "slow it down, not that big a deal, be decisive, let it go." All the things when things aren't go well your mind races or you're not thinking well versus -- it's sports psychology, but it's pretty much basic life lessons, you know, just slow things down, one shot at a time.

There's not a secret that any new sports psychologist that's going to come out in the next 50 years is going to tell how to do it. There's no key to success. It's all the same stuff. You can go down the line of everybody. It's basically knowing how your brain works and trying to get out of your own way, and if you can do those things and play free golf, you usually play great if you are a talented player. There's not one player on the Tour that's not talented or they wouldn't be out here.

It's the fact that the best players are more efficient at eliminating mistakes and thinking not clearly. They think clearly and they get it done, and they're efficient in doing it, and guys that struggle don't. That's kind of how it works.

Q. It's gotten popular for guys to think of it as a weakness.

BILLY ANDRADE: I think in life it's a weakness. I don't understand the fact that if you're sick with a cold, you go and get medicine, or if you don't feel good you go to the doctor and he gives you something to feel good, but if your head isn't right and you go see a psychiatrist, they think you're nuts. That's the old standard. That's what my parents think; it's a weakness.

We're in a different age now where it's okay to go talk to somebody if you have problems or you ain't thinking right or something is wrong or you're depressed or all the issues that go on in this world. I don't think it's any different in golf. If you don't feel right, I don't think it's a bad thing to talk to somebody. Brad Faxon is an upbeat guy. He's a sports psychologist.

I feel I'm upbeat. I talked to Chris Smith at the Lumber 84; we had a long chat about getting -- "come on, let's go, let's go," kind of pumping him up. We all pump each other up.

The thing is, I don't know who it was that said a long time ago, "never go out to dinner with a negative putter or a guy that putts bad because he's just going to bring you down." Well, that's the same thing in life. You don't want to be around people that are complaining and bitching or are negative. Those people, they go over there. I want to be with people that are upbeat and happy. I wake up every day happy. That's what I want to be around.

It's not a phobia anymore. The other thing is if our top players do it, then it's cool, you know. Now, if your top players say, "man, guys that do that are crazy," then it would continue to maybe be a phobia, but Tiger Woods had a sports psychologist when he was 12 and brought him along, so everything is cool.

Q. Is it a consolation where the guys who don't make the Top 125 still make a half million dollars -- (inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: That's a hard question to answer for others. I think that if you have an opportunity to play the PGA TOUR and you get your Tour card and you go out and your goal is to stay in the Top 125 and you don't, well, your goal -- you almost reached your goal, then they're okay with that or they're happy that they're making a half a million dollars. I don't really care about money. Money to me doesn't make me happy.

What I care about is to compete and to succeed and to walk off the 18th hole and tip your cap and say, "you know what, you beat everybody this week," or you finished whatever and you had a great week. That's what I'd like to do every week. That's the mindset of most players.

If your goal is, wow, I made a half a million dollars and you finished 126th on the Money List, then maybe you don't deserve to be in the Top 125 and maybe you're going to have to get another job someday. But I think your goal out here is to be the best player you can be.

You're in this fishbowl, and if you're a rookie or you're young, you're just going to get better because this fishbowl is so competitive and so good, by default you're going to get better if you can hang in there. That's kind of what I've done for 17 years, and I'm still doing okay and hanging in there, and I think I'm getting better. That's what I think we're all trying to do.

It's hard to answer that question with how everybody else thinks because I don't know.

Q. When you were cutting your teeth out here back in the day, where was Payne Stewart in the pantheon of the guns on this Tour?

BILLY ANDRADE: He was a gun. I was his whipping boy, absolute whipping boy for about three years.

Q. Why?

BILLY ANDRADE: Because somebody did it to him probably when he was a rookie. Talk about having to go see maybe a psychiatrist over it, he was on me from day one. But I think he was on me because maybe I reminded him of himself a little bit or something or maybe I was a cocky young kid coming out and I knew it all and he put me in my place quite a bit.

I think it was 1990 I played with him in a final round in the Buick Open or something and shot 5- or 6-under and he shot 7-under, and that was kind of like, okay, once I did that with him, I was cool, and then he left me alone after that.

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, it's pretty much over. At the Colonial in Fort Worth I got in and it was Tuesday. I played a practice round and I was in the locker room and I was looking at the Money List, and he was No. 1 on the Money List, and I had made like 20 grand at the time. I was looking where I was and I was 140th or 150th, and I could feel a presence behind me, and I knew it was him, and I just knew. So I'm like looking, and I get this little tap on the shoulder and I look back, and of course it was him, and he said, "So where are you, Rook?" He said, "Get where you need to be, up here." That's what Tim Covert said. I said, "I get it, I get it; you're great, I'm not."

Q. (Inaudible).

BILLY ANDRADE: I think we all miss him. Everybody does. He was a character. He was a piece of work.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Billy, for joining us. Thank you for your time.

BILLY ANDRADE: Thank you. I hope to be back in here.

End of FastScripts.

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