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January 30, 2007

Jeff Quinney


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jeff Quinney to the interview room. Thanks for taking some time out. A good start for you this year in your rookie season after making the cut at Sony, tied for 4th at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, a T7 last week at the Buick, a new car for a hole in one. Just talk a little bit about your rookie season so far.
JEFF QUINNEY: It's been great. You know, obviously last week was kind of a highlight. I think more last week was more exciting than the Hope, really. I got to play with Tiger on Saturday, was able to play pretty good with him, and then get off to a great start on the front nine last week, was in contention. Obviously gave a couple back, but I learned a lot in the first three weeks, had a lot of fun, had a hole in one, won a new car. It's just been a lot of great experiences quickly.

Q. I think that you have been -- have you been in the lead on the final round each of the last two weeks?
JEFF QUINNEY: I guess probably at one time. Maybe either tied or in the lead. I'm not really a leaderboard watcher. I did kind of watch some of that replay of the Hope. I think we were at tied at 17 I think at one time. I don't really know last week. I haven't really had time to watch the rerun.

Q. Has it been kind of a whirlwind? Did you expect this or see this coming?
JEFF QUINNEY: Probably not. Obviously I made the cut at Sony. That was just a big hurdle to begin with. Just wanted to get off to a good start. Even though I didn't finish well on the weekend, gave me a lot of confidence, really got comfortable. The Hope was just a long week. I was really tired after coming back from Hawaii and playing all those practice rounds. I played really good, like 51 holes without a bogey or something in the middle of the tournament. It definitely is a little bit quicker than I imagined.

Q. How did you deal with being in the lead in the last two tournaments? Did you look up and you -- how were your emotions? You didn't close it out, but how were your emotions?
JEFF QUINNEY: I was pretty happy with the way I handled things. Obviously last week was a tough golf course. The whole back nine you had hybrids and 3-irons and the wind was up a little bit, and just tough pins on Sunday. Obviously I'm going to draw a lot from it. Obviously I wanted to finish a little bit stronger than I did, but I didn't really necessarily blow up. I was able to still stay in the Top 10s.
Obviously I haven't been there a whole lot, but just drawing back on last year's Nationwide experience, being in contention was a big help for me. You know, just basically just put things into perspective, not too much pressure on myself.

Q. So really it's not just the last two weeks, this has kind of been a couple-year process. What kind of things have happened that really turned your game around?
JEFF QUINNEY: You know, all of last year basically just kind of continued the momentum from last year. I was in contention weekly it seemed like out there, never really closed the deal, but I had eight Top 10s or something like that. You know, just the process of working with my swing coach the last three years, finally get that in order.
Basically last year I was just -- had it where I wanted it to be. I didn't really have to make any changes, more just tweaks and whatnot. Basically I just became a stronger player mentally. I just feel like a complete player now. I basically have the physical game, I have the mental game, working with a sports psych a little bit just on minor stuff, and just feel like I can compete with all these guys.

Q. It took you a while to get to this Tour. Was it frustrating, a long way, or just a maturing process?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think it was definitely a maturing process. I won the Am and stuff and was all-American in college but it doesn't necessarily guarantee success out here. Everyone has got their time. I just kept telling myself it was a matter of when, not if. I grew a lot in the last couple years. I'm only 28, and that's probably when you start playing your best golf. There's very few guys that come right out of college, make a big impact at 23, 24, get their card and win. There's a few guys like that, but I wasn't in a big rush. I always knew I was improving every year, basically through swing changes and just becoming comfortable with the travel and the whole thing that professional golf has entailed with it. I was just making progress every year. I knew I was going to be okay.

Q. Was there ever really a low point where you thought maybe this isn't going to work out? Can you remember a time like that?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think every golfer goes through those, but nothing serious. I was still having fun at it. I knew if it didn't become fun and I was struggling and financially it got to become a burden or anything like that, it never got that low. Obviously I was still pretty positive about it.

Q. What part of your game are you currently working on right now?
JEFF QUINNEY: Not much. I had my swing coach out today, and we walked nine holes and we were just basically -- he says, just go play golf. I basically have the same swing thoughts I've been using for the last year and nothing new. It feels just pretty much intact and right where I want it to be.

Q. Is there anything in particular that might change with your swing?
JEFF QUINNEY: Oh, yeah, tons of stuff. I could sit here all day and tell you about it. Basically the whole thing is just trying to make it as simple as I can, trying to take the time out of it. Basically he's a Jim Hardy guy and talks about one plane. I'm just trying to make it as simple as I can, avoiding lifting my arms, getting too high, rerouting the club on the down swing and trying it make it as simple as I can.

Q. Going back to your double bogey on 14, what did you learn from that? How are you going to play that in the future? And what effect, if any, did Tiger have? Was he in your thinking?
JEFF QUINNEY: He didn't really ever enter my thoughts. There was a few hecklers out there, it was kind of funny. I'd probably hit that second shot a little bit before I was ready to hit it. It came up two yards short, but I maybe just kind of rushed it a little bit, maybe needed to have more of a focus on what I wanted to do with that shot because it was a tough pin, couldn't miss it left or right and couldn't bail, and maybe just next time back off and then just regroup and go through it again. Easy bunker shot, it was all my fault basically. I did work on my bunker game with my coach a little bit today, and he recognized something on TV that might help me this week.

Q. You're back in familiar -- you've got to feel comfortable coming back to this setting, old college town?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, it's great. I can sleep in my own bed. I've got a lot of family and friends going to be out this week.

Q. You moved here?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I live here. I do live here. I still live up at Grayhawk and practice at the Golf Club of Scottsdale off of Dynamite. This is home. It's always nice to come back, sleep in your own bed. I've played this course many times.

Q. You did not make the cut the only time you played here?
JEFF QUINNEY: I played as an amateur, got a sponsor invite. Got off to a quick start but didn't make the cut.

Q. You and Paul played together at ASU, and for his pro career he got off to a little quicker start, but during those college days did the two of you talk much about playing Tour golf once you left school?
JEFF QUINNEY: Not really. We were battling for always 1 and 2 on our team, kind of switching back and forth, and we pushed each other. Obviously he's not playing over here as much. I don't see him as much. But I'm happy for the success he's had. It's always fun to have fellow teammates who have succeeded.

Q. Going back to the 16th hole when you played here as an amateur, what do you remember from that with the crowd and what do you look for this time?
JEFF QUINNEY: Basically the big ASU chant they got going. I think I had a Sparky head cover and I'll put it on this week. I'll embrace it. Some guys probably talk negative about it, but I'm all for it. It's basically -- it's kind of just a different week in general. It's going to be a lot more fun, a lot more people yelling. If you let it affect you, you're not going to do very well, but I'm all for it.

Q. They're obviously going to be on your side.
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I'm obviously not a U of A grad.

Q. Last year J.B. Holmes as one of the many rookies to have success on the Tour. Can you look at the number of rookies that won last year and specifically J.B. here and draw from that?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, just basically the way our Nationwide Tour class has reacted this year already. We had four guys in the Top 10 last year with Snedeker leading and Buckle and myself contending. I basically think we can win out here. We had a great Tour last year, very competitive. It's basically the same thing, just a little bit different stage. But I feel like we're all prepared. We've been through enough training, whatnot, and we feel like we can win. It's not like we're just coming out here to make cuts and just kind of squeak by. We want to be there on Sunday.

Q. Leading the rookie charge has got to make you feel good, huh?
JEFF QUINNEY: No, it's always great to get off to a good start, basically with the reshuffle. It gets me into a lot of tournaments and maybe get into bigger tournaments I wouldn't have a chance of. I've got just a huge amount of confidence to bring into this week.

Q. Did you get your car?
JEFF QUINNEY: I haven't yet. Still working on it.

Q. You can win another one this week.
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, all the better. I'll take as many as I can.

Q. That was at the Hope, right?
JEFF QUINNEY: At the Hope.

Q. What hole was that?
JEFF QUINNEY: 17 on Sunday.

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