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January 31, 2007

J.B. Holmes


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our defending champion in, J.B. Maybe just talk about the state of your game at this point and what it's like to come back and defend your title.
J.B. HOLMES: I'm playing pretty good right now. I'm hitting the driver pretty good, hitting my irons good, starting to roll the ball better. I've hit it pretty good all year this year, just played good at Mercedes and had a few bad breaks, and the other tournaments the ball just wouldn't go in the hole, hit some good putts, the ball would just roll over the edge or whatever.
Looking forward to playing this week. It was nice to see the golf course and the crowd, and memories come back of last year, so it's been fun this week.

Q. Getting a little bit of rain here, how much different will the course play this week than it did last year?
J.B. HOLMES: I don't know. I don't know how well the course takes rain. In the desert, I'm not familiar with this. I don't know if it sucks it up real quick and it'll still be firm tomorrow. I would say it would soften it up a little bit. Some of the greens we hit today, some of them were holding and some would still bounce.
I would say by the end of the week it would still be firm. I don't think it'll be as firm as it was last year. Last year I think we were in a 108-day drought or something. So it's not going to be that firm, but I would say it's not going to be real, real wet or anything.

Q. Fred Funk was saying yesterday he considers it a bomber's course. Obviously you won last year. Do you consider this a bomber's course?
J.B. HOLMES: I think the advantage is to the longer hitters. Unlike a lot of the courses we play, the trouble stops at about 315, 320 and kind of widens out, where a lot of times at 315, 320 it narrows up at a lot of golf courses. I think that's an advantage to some of the longer hitters. But not necessarily long hitters win all the time. You've had every shape and form win here.
So I would say in my opinion because I am a long hitter, I would think there's an advantage to that. But there's been a lot of -- you've got to hit the ball good and you've got to putt well and you've still got to play well around here. It helps you, but whether it's the biggest advantage, I don't know.

Q. When you get on the first tee, you see amateurs stressing out. Do you give them advice on how to deal with it, and do you still get first tee nerves and how do you deal with it?
J.B. HOLMES: Everybody -- if you don't get nervous at all on the first tee, then you're not -- probably don't need to be playing. You still get a little bit nervous, but it's just a thing you get used to. The more you do it, you still get nervous, but it's not like it really bothers you. You get up over the ball and you hit it. It's just an everyday routine you go through.
You've just got to do it. It's something you can't really teach anybody, you've just got to overcome it yourself.

Q. Do you think it's possible to turn a mid-handicap golfer into a scratch player? Can it be done?
J.B. HOLMES: Certain ones, yes. Other ones, no. Depends on how coordinated the person is, how athletic they are. Sometimes you see 15 handicappers that play every day and they work on everything, and that's just as good as they're going to get, and sometimes you see 15 handicappers that never play, but if you gave them some work they could be a 4. It's different for each person.

Q. Coming into the tournament this year, how much different do you feel like in terms of your game and stuff as opposed to a year ago when you came here?
J.B. HOLMES: I'm hitting it good. I mean, honestly I don't remember what I was thinking coming into the tournament last year. I was still so excited just to be out here.
Yeah, I'm hitting the ball well. I think I've got a great chance of playing well this year, this week. I've hit the ball good. Actually I missed the cut at Sony and San Diego, but I hit the ball well every day and just one of those days happened -- each tournament -- I hit it in three bunkers I think in San Diego the last day and all of them were up against the lip and I had nothing. You could see getting a bad lie now and then, but every time I hit it in the bunker -- I missed the cut by one. I hit the ball well and hit some good putts that just didn't go in. I've been playing well all year.

Q. Even the tournaments you don't play well, are you a more confident player now that you've won a tournament out here?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, it gives you more confidence. Getting a win obviously you know you can play out here, gives you the comfort of having your card for another two years and just more security.

Q. Any more pressure coming back to this event obviously as defending champion? Do you feel any pressure coming in this week?
J.B. HOLMES: The only pressure is being myself. I tend to put too much pressure on myself every week. Actually I feel more relaxed this week than I have been at a lot of other tournaments because so much positive stuff came from this last your. I'm just going to go out there and try to have fun, not worry about where I'm at. Just go out there and have a really good time. The course sets up really good for me. I like the golf course, I like the crowd, I like the city. So just go out and have fun.

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