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January 25, 2007

Charlie Wi


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Charlie Wi, a 9-under par 63 today. Brandt was in with a 61. Just talk about the scoring conditions out there. Obviously it's ripe for some birdies and some eagles and such, and then we'll open it up for questions.
CHARLIE WI: I started on the back nine and I turned at 4-under, and I thought I was playing very well until I got to the 11th tee, and when I learned that Brandt was 10-under after 10, I thought maybe it wasn't so good.
I played really well. I hit my irons really well today and I was able to make some putts. Speed is really important to putting, and my speed was really on today.
That was the difference between when I missed the cut in Hawaii and today.

Q. I was trying to recall off the top of my head the number of worldwide Tours that you've played, the Asian Tour, European Tour, Nationwide Tour, multiple trips, two trips here, what else?
CHARLIE WI: European Tour, did you say that, Japanese Tour? I think I've had cards on just about every Tour in the world. Korean Tour, yeah. They just started the Korean Tour a couple years ago.

Q. What have you learned by doing that, about your game or whatever?
CHARLIE WI: It was really important for me because coming out of college there was a lot of expectations, making the first team, and I didn't perform as well as other people had expected. For me to go overseas and learn how to play, that was really important because thus far I've had nine wins all over the world, and that really helps me. When I'm in contention I can always draw back on what it is like to be in contention. I know the atmosphere is a little bit different here, but golf is golf, and if you've been there, you know what to expect, and I think that could really help me.

Q. If memory serves, you were at Cal the same time that other dude was at Stanford. You guys presumably went head to head a couple times and you probably beat him here and there?
CHARLIE WI: Yeah, I didn't beat him that many times. I think I beat him once. I did win the PAC-10s out here.

Q. Can you talk about that streak you had on the Nationwide Tour last year? I can't remember how many Top 10s it was, but can you talk about that streak and the kind of zone that you must have been in?
CHARLIE WI: It wasn't a zone, I was just playing very steady golf. I was hitting it solid, I was making some putts at the right time. Golf is all about -- not only golf, every sport is all about momentum, and I was able to make the putts at the right time and I was able to hit the right shots at the right time.
It's such a fickle game, I had that stretch and I took a week or two weeks off, and all of a sudden, my game went -- I don't know where it went, because all of a sudden I started finishing 30th. So you've got to take advantage of those weeks that you're playing consistently, and you just never know when it's going to start because when the streak started I didn't expect that at all, but once you get that going, you have the confidence going for you, and it just seems like you make all the right decisions and make the putts at the right time.

Q. You talked about drawing from nine wins. How much better prepared are you for the PGA TOUR now than you were two years ago or whatever?
CHARLIE WI: Well, when I first got my card two years ago, I had no idea what to expect, even though I had played all over the world. European Tour is a pretty big stage, but I was really nervous when I first got my card because now there's more expectations since I've done well overseas, and I had expectations on myself to do well over here. So I had a lot of pressure coming in and I was really nervous because I had never really been around this kind of atmosphere before, and it's a whole new adjustment.
When I got my card this year, I was so much more at ease because I've been through it once, there was no surprises, and I just felt like I belong out there. I mean, that's the big difference.

Q. Did you try to get your card before that?
CHARLIE WI: Yeah, I mean, probably six or seven times before that.

Q. How far did you make it through Q-school?
CHARLIE WI: I think I missed it by one coming out of college in '95. I've always got to the finals quite a few times, but never close other than that one.

Q. It sort of seems like you could fall out of bed and shoot 70 every day. 63 today would be a little bit going low by my recollection of --
CHARLIE WI: Yeah, I started working with these guys. They're really famous now. They have four wins on the Tour. Their names are Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer. They work with Dean Wilson, Aaron Baddeley, Will MacKenzie and Eric Axley. I really believe in what they -- I don't believe it, I know it's the right way to swing the golf club for myself.

Q. How far back did you start working with those guys?
CHARLIE WI: August of 2005. First week was at Hartford, Connecticut, and it's really helped my game to where it is now. It really helped me understand how a golf swing should work, and that's been the big difference. So when I'm out there, there's no surprises or no guesses. That's why I think that today I was 8-under par after 15 holes, and I wasn't nervous at all. It was a really nice feeling.
I knew how I was going to hit the ball, and I missed a short putt on 8 from about six feet, and I had a good chance on 9 for an eagle. You know, coming in there was no --

Q. (Inaudible.)
CHARLIE WI: It'll be interesting to see how it stands up throughout the whole week because I know how it works, and it's going to be a good test under pressure.

Q. You've talked a lot about expectations. Can you talk about how you've dealt with that over the years, and are you at the point now where you just don't care what other people think you should be doing?
CHARLIE WI: You know, I think that I shouldn't care, but I do care. I think that's just being a human.
I wish that I wouldn't put expectations on myself. I'm sure tonight when I go back to my room, I'm sure I won't sleep as well as I did last night because there were no expectations coming out this morning. So that's just part of life. I'm trying not to be so hard on myself and try to believe in my game a little bit more than I used to before because I do have a solid game and I really need to start believing that I do have it. That's really important.

Q. When you're in Korea do they look at you as an American or as a Korean? You kind of flip-flop --
CHARLIE WI: I'm Korean. I have a Korean passport. I'm a green card holder. I'm a not a U.S. citizen. That's how I was able to play World Cup for Korea last December.

Q. Any good stories about playing against Tiger in college besides the PAC-10?
CHARLIE WI: I remember when he first came into college the coach at Stanford was Wally Goodman, and he said he couldn't believe -- college golf, no media really follows college golf, but when Tiger came in they said they had to have a special media room for Tiger. It was like a whole new environment. Whenever Tiger was around it was a whole new environment.

Q. Are you comfortable in that environment? Obviously he's the story of the day, making the season debut and obviously will be around probably for the weekend.
CHARLIE WI: You know, I'm going to be more comfortable when I'm in the last group with him leading or near the lead. If I do that more often, I'll be a lot more comfortable. Until I've done that, I probably won't be very comfortable.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Let's go through the round real quick. Take us through your round, birdies and such.
CHARLIE WI: I birdied 10, bogeyed 11.

Q. What did you hit on 10?
CHARLIE WI: Hit driver, pitching wedge to five feet.
Bogeyed 11.
Birdied 13 from about 25 feet. I hit driver, 4-iron on 13.
15, I hit driver, 3-iron into the front bunker, hit out to about ten feet, made it.
Next hole hit driver, wedge to about four feet, made the putt.
On 18 I hit driver, 5-wood to about 40 feet, two-putted.
On 1, I hit driver, 3-wood to about 12 feet, made that for eagle.
I hit driver, wedge on No. 5 to about six inches and made that.
And on No. 6 hit 8-iron to about 20 feet, made that.
And then on 9 I hit driver, 5-wood to about 18 feet and two-putted for birdie.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Charlie, thanks.

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