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January 12, 2007

Will MacKenzie


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Will MacKenzie for stopping in after a 68 in round two of the Sony Open in Hawaii. Kind of an up-and-down day today, six birdies, four bogeys.
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, the front nine, or back nine rather, my first nine, I really got going. I thought, wow, this is great. I'm going to get to 10 or more out and maybe I started thinking a little bit in the future I guess. I knew I was going to have some controversy out on the front side, my second side, because it's really tough golf holes. 1, 2, 3, those are tough starting holes. I thought it was pretty windy. Maybe I talked myself into hitting some bad shots or something.
But I started sort of struggling and I made probably the all-out worst bogey of the world on 7, the par 3. That got me really, really frustrated, like that made me want to break a club or something, which I would not do. But that sort of was a dagger in me.
And then I just went bad to bad to worse to bad to bad for 6 on the last hole.

Q. What was so bad about 7?
WILL MacKENZIE: Because I hit such a pretty little shot in there. I mean, I thought I had hit it about like this (indicating three feet), and it went past just on the fringe. But I only had about ten feet. And when I was going to take my putter back there was one little bit of crab grass and it caught my putter. I have trouble stopping. Tiger can stop in the downswing of his driver, and I can't stop it hitting a putt; so the body control is not quite there.
But it sort of threw me off my rhythm and I hit it a little too hard and I rolled it six feet by and missed it coming back. So that was just awful. I was expecting to rim out or possibly knock that birdie putt in; 3 at the very worst. Come out of there with 4, that one was tough.
And the 18th hole, I think I laid up wrong. I should have done a little more research and a little bit more calculations with my caddie because where I was in the bunker, you know, with that crosswind, I knew that ball was going to leak in that rough, and I was going to be totally dead behind that little tree and I have to hit that little pitch shot under and I guessed wrong. I hit it a little too firm and went all the way over the green and drew a bad lie on my drop and hit it 20 feet past and made bogey.
But on the bright side, I played really good to start the day off, so thank goodness I made all those birdies early onto off-set my struggles. Because I was struggling there at the end. I wasn't unconfident or anything. I just, you know, the golf course will get you. It's tough to short 4- or 5-under out there right now, it really is.

Q. You mentioned about wanting to break a club, jokingly, I understand that, but I saw you get pretty irritated with a 3-putt last week at Kapalua. And I think there's this feeling that Laid-Back Willie-Mac doesn't have a care in the world.
WILL MacKENZIE: There's no Laid-Back Willie-Mac. I'm intense. I've always been a perfectionist in what I've done. I've succeeded in pretty much everything I've done. I'm used to having success. Of course, I've had plenty of failure in my life, but I'm used to doing everything on the somewhat very efficient, level and golf is the same way.
I mean, you know, I was 179 on the Money List but I was pretty frustrated the whole year, or, I mean, I could be probably 30th on the Money List and I'm going to be frustrated. Golf is a frustrating game. You expect to hit the right shot. You expect to hit what you visualize, and when you don't, I've not -- you know, my mom always says that I'm going to get patient with age. Well, I'm 32, I'm trekking up there and I haven't got patient yet, I haven't gotten patient yet.
I'm working on it. I'm working on it. But I have an intense desire to play well, to hit good shots and play well. I want to succeed. I don't want to be just run-of-the-mill.
But I'm not breaking any clubs.

Q. Oh, I know that. It seems as people are getting to know your story and who you are --
WILL MacKENZIE: There's more than one side of me. There's a few little sides of me.

Q. The conservative style of play.
WILL MacKENZIE: I can be conservative and I feel like I can be aggressive. It's not all Laid-Back Willie-Mac. I'll try to keep y'all guessing for a little while.

Q. You talked about going surfing and stuff like that the past couple of weeks; when you won in Reno, were you going snow boarding?
WILL MacKENZIE: Drinking. (Laughter.) No, I'm just kidding. When I was in Reno this year, I didn't do anything. My girlfriend and I, we just hung out and I just -- you know, I really was going home and going to sleep pretty early.
You know, there are some good outdoor sports to do there, but I'm not like renting a mountain bike and going to do a ten-mile trail or anything. I probably should. But I was being pretty -- I was really focused on golf. I mean, if there's stuff to do around where I'm staying, then I like to go do some outdoor activities. But there, I was really focused on golf.

Q. Do you kind of feel like if you have other, not distractions, but other hobbies to get into during the week, that you can kind of focus on golf more when the golf comes?
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, I think so. I've got to play hard and then you've got to play hard. You have to do it both ways. I can dwell on golf, I mean, I totally can. Like I think I told y'all last week, when I started playing again, I watched GOLF CHANNEL Academy with Dean Reinmuth teaching like a 30 handicapper. I was like (eyes getting big) I'm learning something here! I was really just getting a load of information. I'm listening to Dean coach; I'm listening to Rick Smith coach; I'm listening to Butch; I'm listening to David Leadbetter.
So, you know, I need distractions. Distractions are good for me. To go out and surf gets my mind off golf, because, you know, I'm trying to learn, I'm trying to get an edge out here. I'm trying to figure out my little way of beating these guys.

Q. I know there's not an answer for this, but you've played nicely for six rounds now for the first one and a half weeks in the year, what kept you from doing this for more than a week in a row a year ago?
WILL MacKENZIE: I don't know. I mean, I feel like I did play decent, some solid golf last year, besides my little win. I just think I'm getting better. You know, I've only been at it since 2000.
I think that progression is just really getting better. I think I'm just hitting better golf shots. I mean, obviously you can see the old me, you know, go rough to rough to rough to rough to bogey. I've still got that in me. But I hit a lot more fairways, I hit a lot more greens, and control my emotions a little better I think. I think I'm just aging, just marinating right now.

Q. Were you particularly hard on yourself as a junior when you talk about your expectations?
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, that's why I quit the game, partially. I remember I lost in a little tournament when I was 14, the Ben Hogan boys Junior Championship, I lost to some guy. I missed a putt like this on 17 (indicating three feet), I missed a putt like this on 18 (indicating three feet). And then it went to a playoff, and three-whipped it from like 40 feet at TPC Las Colinas, last tournament I played in. I was so frustrated. That was part of the reason. It was the end of the summer and that was the end of me, my little run.

Q. When you returned how long before you got that back?
WILL MacKENZIE: Got what back?
Q. Immediately?
WILL MacKENZIE: What do you mean?
Q. The standards, the expectations, the perfectionist side of you?
WILL MacKENZIE: No, I think I was pretty patient on myself for like a few months. But then when I started knowing that this was what it was going to be for sure, I can be pretty tough on myself.
Q. That's fine, though, isn't it; that's what you have to have?
WILL MacKENZIE: If you're not tough on yourself, you're probably not going to be any good. I've tried to go the other way. I've tried to pull the -- what's that guys name, what's the greatest, Chip Beck, that guy rules. (Laughter) That guy is awesome. I mean, he's my idol. But I mean, I hear stories about him hitting it just whoosh over there into the bushes. He's like, "Okay, that's all right. I'll get the next one." Whatever. I can't do it.

Q. You tried it, though.
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, I tried it and it lasts for a hole or two, I mean literally. Like trying to be good to myself. I do want to be good to myself on the golf course. I don't want to beat myself up so much mentally that it drains me physically, too.

Q. Like a Geoff Ogilvy, some of the things he was talking about.
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, I think Geoff Ogilvy was very tough on himself and I'm sure he gets a little hot under the hat. I think I do, too.
But like a Kenny Perry, playing with him, he doesn't show much emotion. But I know Kenny's hot in there when he's not playing his best, or any of the guys. You see Tiger, Tiger's got it mastered because he is a perfectionist I think in a certain way, but he gets so frustrated. But then it's just like, wheww, it just vanishes, it just goes. He believes the next shot he's liable to hole it because he has supreme confidence. That's what I'm aspiring to. I want to get frustrated, analyse it, move on.

Q. So you have Chip back here, Pat Perez over here, where do you want to be?
WILL MacKENZIE: I like Pat, too, though. Pat's the man. (Laughter) That's the personalities on TOUR. We've got 'em all out here, I'm telling you. There's a lot of personality.
I definitely want to be somewhere in the middle. I don't want to quite fly off like Pat Perez, and I haven't seen any of his great ones. I'd like to let get his Top-10 because I know he can let it fly a little bit. I just want to be somewhere in the middle. I'm just right there in the middle.
TODD BUDNICK: Anything else before we try to go through the card?
WILL MacKENZIE: Are we really going through the card? I just told you I played decent and made some birdies and bogeys. What hole did I start on?
WILL MacKENZIE: I knocked it like this on 10 (six inches).
Should have gone in on 11; I hit a good shot in there par 3, 2-putt.
12, what's 12?

Q. Goes out toward the street, wind coming off on the right.
WILL MacKENZIE: Oh, yeah. Is that the hole I made like a 100-footer?

Q. That was 15.
WILL MacKENZIE: I don't remember these holes. They are all little tiny doglegs. They all look the same.

Q. Do you remember what you hit on 12, about a 20-foot putt you made on the green coming from right-to-left?
WILL MacKENZIE: 12 is the dog-leg right, bunker on the left? Did I hit it in that bunker off the tee today? What did I hit out of that bunker; I think I hit 8-iron.
Get Murph in here, he does the calculations. I'm just the dumb athlete.
I don't remember 12. I do remember 12 but I can't remember exactly where I hit it. I mean, I have to sit here and concentrate too much.

Q. On the 1,000-foot putt you made, where were you on the green?
WILL MacKENZIE: Back left. I hit 7-iron in there terrible just chunk-hooked it sort of the back edge, right. It's a hard little guess into that green. I heard Vijay say on the telecast actually, he'd take four pars there. The hole is, what 398 yards. It's a simple little 5-wood, 8-iron, or 3-wood, 9-iron.

Q. 7-iron in your case.
WILL MacKENZIE: I hit 7-iron. I sort of whiffed 3-wood, got a little lucky and hit a chunky 7-iron and I had about 70 feet, 60 feet and I just tried to get it rolling and made it.

Q. That's good. We'll make up the rest.
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, make up the rest. That's about it.
TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Will.

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