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February 2, 2007

Jeff Quinney


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jeff Quinney, 8-under par, 63 today, nine birdies, a single bogey, 15 of 18 greens, 25 putts. Another pretty good day for you. Maybe just talk about that out there, and we'll let them ask you some questions.
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I got off to a quick start, birdieing 10 and 11. You know, that was kind of a tough stretch there, sometimes, 11 and 12. Just got off to a good start, got comfortable a little early. Was able to feel real good over the ball. Really seeing the lines and the putts well. It was one of those days where you get in the zone and you feel like nothing can go wrong.

Q. Heard you mention out there that playing with Tiger helped you a lot, your confidence level. In what way?
JEFF QUINNEY: Just to be thrown in the fire, I guess, as you say, playing against the No. 1 player in the world. It seemed like he was heads above everyone else. To be right with him playing 18 holes, I think I bogeyed the last and lost by one to him that day, but just kind of proved to me something individually that I can play at this level, and on the weekend I can -- it just gave me a lot of confidence.

Q. The last time you played with him was the 2001 Open, wasn't it?

Q. That didn't go as well?
JEFF QUINNEY: No, I was happy to kind of redeem myself. I got off to a horrible start at the U.S. Open. I was feeling really bad over the ball, and in those conditions you couldn't really do anything.

Q. Does that speak to your process from then to now? Is that a small indicator?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think definitely. That was like six, seven years ago. It kind of shows how I've grown and been able to get comfortable in this environment, be able to get my swing where I want it, to be able to hold up in pressure at the big events.

Q. Did Tiger remember you?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah. We kind of had mutual friends through Casey Martin and through college. He seemed to be right on top of things.

Q. How did you keep your confidence going and everything through the years on the Nationwide and know this is where you really wanted to be?
JEFF QUINNEY: Just kind of a process. I knew I was getting better every year, was kind of making swing changes about three years ago. It took a little bit of time to really implement those and to be able to trust those, but I just knew I was getting better. I was still having fun at the game. I wasn't getting really everything -- thinking about what else should I do. I knew I had the talent and I just had to get a little confidence and just complete the package.

Q. Did you think coming out of college it might be easier after your success in college winning the Amateur?
JEFF QUINNEY: I don't think so. I think I knew how tough it was going to be and how many good players were out there. I knew I had a lot of work to do. I wasn't expecting to just go out there and succeed right away.

Q. What would it mean to have a breakthrough here because it's here?
JEFF QUINNEY: It would be awesome, obviously to be in contention in your hometown. Other than probably a couple majors, I think this is where I'd want to win. You know, Phoenix Open, you've watched it for many years just living here in the valley and you know how wild it gets on the weekend. I'm just going to enjoy the experience.

Q. Three straight weeks now you've had a share of the lead at some point of the tournament. Are you kind of pinching yourself a little bit and thinking this is happening real fast out here for you?
JEFF QUINNEY: A little bit, but that's how good I'm feeling about my game. Obviously I'm a little disappointed I didn't close the door on a couple of those, but it just kind of says put yourself in that position as many times as you can on the weekend and --

Q. You kind of did that on the Nationwide Tour last year. Right towards the end of the season seemed like every week you were in the Top 10. What is it you're doing differently that's putting you in position every week?
JEFF QUINNEY: I don't know. I mean, it's kind of the same way I was doing it last year. I was playing well every week, week to week, and I was really proud of my consistency. It wasn't just sporadic, once a month, just right there. It was a few putts or a few shots from winning the tournament, just kind of continued momentum and just basically pretend it's the same stage and just the same golf course I've been playing.

Q. Was there any point in the five years on the Nationwide Tour that you doubted your ability to make it here?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think everyone goes through that, am I good enough. You just have the strategy to work a little bit harder. You want to get out here one time and give yourself a shot. Just get out there once and give it a shot and see if you have it.

Q. Was there a point where you renewed your commitment to your game and worked harder at it?
JEFF QUINNEY: No, actually probably worked less. I got to the point where my swing was real comfortable. I was just in the groove. I didn't need to go out there and pound balls. I knew if I spent some time on my short game, my wedge game and sharpen those areas it would come.

Q. Is the biggest difference between Nationwide and PGA TOUR confidence? Is that the biggest thing?
JEFF QUINNEY: No, I don't think it's just confidence. Everyone can play out there. The Top 30, 40 guys out there could easily be out here. It's not that big of a difference. The golf courses are probably tougher out here, bigger stage, bigger crowds, but just the ability to adapt to your surroundings more quickly and get comfortable.

Q. I know there was a lot of talk, you talked earlier about not thinking you would have a lot of success when you first came out, but did you at least think you were going to get your Tour card right away?
JEFF QUINNEY: No, no. You want to get that out of the way as quick as you can. That's kind of more -- I'm kind of kicking myself not to think about -- let's just get secured for next year, get back into winning golf tournaments and contending to win golf tournaments. But it would be nice to get it out of the way and just kind of play -- free-wheel it the rest of the year.

Q. A lot of people, I think, had the thought when you won the amateur, he's just going to make that transition seamlessly. You didn't have that kind of, hey, I'm owed it?
JEFF QUINNEY: I probably didn't trust myself enough. I expected internally to do that. I knew maybe a couple years -- not right away. I didn't have the greatest success on the Nationwide Tour right away. It was a steppingstone. I don't think I'm one to jump levels really quick. I think it was a process.

Q. So you're not disappointed at all that it's taken this long?
JEFF QUINNEY: Not at all. I had a blast on the Nationwide Tour, had a lot of good friends, traveled worldwide on that Tour. I drew a lot of experience out of that.

Q. A lot of sports psychologists -- did you ever talk to a supports psychologist or talk about the mental aspect of the game?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I worked with Chris Dorris here in town, not in great detail but simple stuff where I was able to put good thoughts in my mind and just think the proper way.

Q. When did you start meeting with him?
JEFF QUINNEY: Probably about three seasons ago and just kind of gradually worked and we've worked a little bit this year. I'm able to call him before a round or before Tiger and just get real confident with what my game plan is going to be before the round.

Q. Historically, going back to your career, didn't you play on the Canadian Tour a little bit?
JEFF QUINNEY: First year right out, yeah.

Q. Was your first professional win here in the valley?
JEFF QUINNEY: McCormick Ranch, yeah.

Q. Was your first Nationwide Tour win at home, Eugene?
JEFF QUINNEY: In Oregon, yeah.

Q. So your nation PGA TOUR win could come here then?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, obviously I've had success in towns that I've either grown up or lived in through those two victories. I hope so.

Q. How surprised are you to have the success this year so far?
JEFF QUINNEY: I'm surprised obviously, but you shouldn't be in a way. This is why you play the game is to contend and to compete. You just don't go out there to finish 30th place and kind of squeak by. This is where I want to be. I want to be in contention and in front of the lights.

Q. Was there a time last year where things clicked in terms of your mental approach, the way you were swinging the club?
JEFF QUINNEY: Probably in Chicago I think was one of our bigger events, and I finished 6th and kind of went over the $100,000 mark, and on that Tour I secured my card and just kind of -- from there on it was about June where I knew I could win out there and just kind of -- the rest of the season I was in contention a lot.

Q. You were up I think two strokes going into the last round at Livermore last year?

Q. What happened at that tournament?
JEFF QUINNEY: Just super-difficult golf course. The rough was just ankle high and I had Paul Sheehan and Tripp Isenhour on my tail, and I shot a couple over and finished 3rd place. That was a good tournament for me because it was conditional. Last year I was able to make a lot of money and get in the rest of the tournaments the rest of the year and that was a big confidence booster, as well.

Q. In what way will your being on the leaderboard the last couple weeks help you this weekend?
JEFF QUINNEY: It's really going to help. I'm just able to step on the first tee knowing I can compete and be there. I'm not there for the first time, I can draw back on those experiences through Tiger and the windy conditions we had in the Bob Hope, if there's some bad weather, something like that. It's just building and building.

Q. When you were talking about Tiger you said that being with him or playing with him kind of proved to you that you could play out here. Did you have those doubts even at the beginning of this year?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think so. You never know what to expect. I've played through about 15 events through sponsor invites and whatnot and haven't done anything special. As a Tour member you feel like you've earned to be here and you're more comfortable, and you know that last season you proved yourself, that you deserve to be out here and just kind of drawing from that.

Q. Going back to when you won the Amateur, how did you feel your game was -- do you feel like you could have made the transition pretty quickly to the Tour?
JEFF QUINNEY: I was a great match player. I won a few match play tournaments that summer. I was able to rely on my short game and maybe if I hit one errant tee shot it was only one hole. I was just really tough mentally to come back from being down a couple in match play. I wasn't really expecting that title that summer. That was kind of a little bit out of the blue. I was a decent college player but I really wasn't one of the favorites, per se. So that kind of threw me in there quickly.
Just because you win one tournament doesn't mean you're going to have success on the Nationwide or PGA TOUR. There's so many first-team all-Americans that never make it.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your round of birdies and bogeys if you would, just the distances there.
JEFF QUINNEY: Starting off 10, hit a great drive and a pitching wedge from I think about 110 to pretty much gimme range.
11, driver, 5-iron to 15 feet, made that.
12, made just a good two-putt par on 12.
13, kind of a disappointing par, missed the fairway, had to lay up.
14, driver, 7-iron, 15 feet, made that.
15, par, another disappointing par.
16, kind of hit a fanned 8-iron to the middle of the green. That was probably one of my longer putts today, 35 feet, I don't know.
17, par.
1, par, 2, hit driver, wedge to eight feet, made that.
3, had a great up-and-down from the front of the bunker, long bunker shot to 12, 14 feet.
4, driver, 8-iron to eight feet.
6, I actually hit kind of a half-divot and I hit an 8-iron to two feet there. That was one of the best shots today to a tough pin on the back right.
7, kind of in between clubs there, hooked it left bunker, short-sided, missed a ten-footer for par.
8, hit driver, 6-iron, 15 feet, made that.
Parred 9.

Q. Forgive me for not knowing, what did you shoot with Tiger in the Open that year?
JEFF QUINNEY: I don't even know.

Q. It was 45 on the front.
JEFF QUINNEY: 82-74 maybe.

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