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March 2, 2007

Will MacKenzie


CHRIS REIMER: We welcome Will MacKenzie, 3-under par for the tournament. It's interesting golf out there this week, just talk about the course and your feelings on how you're playing and where you stand right now after two rounds.
WILL MacKENZIE: Well, the golf course is fantastic. The greens are good. They have got the ryegrass and the rough, pretty much overseeded the whole thing. You know, you can draw some terrible lies in the rough, and bunkers were really, got a lot of sand in them. So you can hit a shot in the fairway bunker and plug sometimes practically. And any of your green-side bunker shots are usually probably 50 percent of the time plugged. And that makes it really brutal.
But the course is in great shape, plays real tough. The wind makes it play extra tough. And I'm just happy to be under par.

Q. You have to imagine that it's only going to start blowing harder, you would think, if anything this afternoon; you would imagine that you're not going to be too far from it by the end of the day, too far from the lead.
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, Charlie Wi is starting at 5-under this afternoon. And is anybody else out at 5-under for the morning? Allenby got to 5. So, yeah, I expect maybe Charlie can get a couple out there. I guess he could -- who knows what will happen.
It's tough to shoot, you know, 3- or 4-under par out there. There's just a lot of long par 4s, and a lot -- even the short holes are a little dicey. The par 3s are playing extra hard. They have got the golf course set up perfect. They could set it up much tougher and it would really be brutal and probably even par would be in the lead.
But they are being smart with the setup. I really command Ken Kennerly and his staff for doing a great job. The golf course is just great.

Q. Do you get asked about the Mercedes-Benz press conference now everywhere you go?
WILL MacKENZIE: Not really. That's in the past why would they ask me anything, because it's sort of silly?

Q. No, it's such a good story.
WILL MacKENZIE: Well, every now and then someone will say something about, "that was hilarious at the Mercedes" or "your Top-10, Willie Mac's adventures" or something or "quotes were pretty funny" or pretty hilarious. But yeah, it was -- that week was just a spectacular week. I was just trying to enjoy every minute of it.

Q. You said you were going fishing from here?
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, I'll probably -- I got a little wrist tweak sometime this week early in the week, and it's actually really sort of like a heavy pain in there on some shots that I get sort of like that out of the rough. (Stretching wrist.) Iced it yesterday and ultrasound it today, and I'm probably going to go back to that -- that ultrasound sort of helped me today. And the guys in the Stryker trailers are really helping me out. So probably work on that. Probably not hit too many balls.
You know, everything seems all right. Actually I'm not hitting that good. I'm just scoring pretty well to tell you the truth. And then I'm going to go catch a fish, or hopefully a lot of fish, this afternoon. I've got the whole afternoon off, so hopefully I'll be teeing off a little later tomorrow. I don't know how they are going to do it. If there's a threat of thunderstorms, we might be going off threesomes, but hopefully we'll be going in twos.
Do you know anything about that yet?
CHRIS REIMER: I don't know anything yet. I haven't heard anything otherwise.
WILL MacKENZIE: I mean, fishing is a passion. Golf is first and foremost, but my little outlet in this area is to go fishing.

Q. Where?
WILL MacKENZIE: I'll be up in the Loxahatchee River, it will blow hard enough where I have just a small boat, I can't get off shore. But they are tearing up the dolphin out there, mahis on the outside. So I just go inside and catch Jacks and Ladyfish and try to flow a fly rod.

Q. Is that exciting enough for you?
WILL MacKENZIE: Oh, yeah. Fishing is -- because we're using top water bait, so the fish are just striking it on the top really hard. You know, what else are you going to do down here? Go sit on the beach? I mean, there's just not that much to do in Florida. It's great, I love it, but the fishing it sort of the -- fishing is the thing to do for me.

Q. Small boat, how small?
WILL MacKENZIE: 20-foot Pathfinder. I mean, I can get outside but today I don't want to go, you know, jar myself up too much. Take it easy. Go drink some water.

Q. Are you still skiing and kayaking or not?
WILL MacKENZIE: I went snow boarding in Montana the week of Pebble Beach. We did a GOLF CHANNEL, "A Day in the Life of", so that will be coming on TV pretty soon I think. They might wait and edit it. There needs to be some edit-outs. (Laughter) There was a little wild ride there.
But it was fun. I went back to Montana. I had not been there since late '99 or early 2000. I had left there, you know, to just do other things, and then I became a golfer and everyone just really opened their -- everybody opened their doors up to me in Big Sky, Montana and welcomed me back. We just had a fantastic trip. The snow was bad but it was still fun.

Q. You were there for a week?
WILL MacKENZIE: There for a week. We skied. That was pretty much all we did was snowboard and ski.

Q. But you live down here?
WILL MacKENZIE: I live in Tequesta.

Q. How long have you lived there for?
WILL MacKENZIE: I've been down here since 2003, but I bought my house last year. And I really like it. You know, I mean, if I lived out west, I'd be probably snowboarding a little bit and kayaking and stuff like that.
And I don't like beating my body up too much anymore, so I've gotten really -- I've become a baby in my older age. I like to fish now.

Q. How badly did you beat your body up in the previous life?
WILL MacKENZIE: Real bad. Bad enough where I'm going to be in probably -- feel like I'm about 40 right now. I just had a lot of blown ought ankles, blown knees, just a lot of minor but big trauma. I mean, I didn't -- I don't know, I had a lot of injuries.

Q. Kind of a loaded question and I apologize for that going in, but you have such an easygoing it seems like personality, how does that help or maybe not help; how would you say it helps or not helps your golf game?
WILL MacKENZIE: I'd say I seem like I'm laid back and stuff and I'm sort of happy-go-lucky, but on the golf course, I mean, I'm about to break a club any minute. I'm sort of that, try-to-play-it-cool-mad. I think Sam Snead said something like that, he tries to play sort of a cool-mad.
I expect to play well and I get really frustrated when I'm not playing well. And probably a lot more frustrated than a lot of guys out here that have learned I think, you know, you learn that patience with age. But you know, maybe my every day life is sort of like, no worries attitude, but when I'm on the golf course, I'm pretty intense. I want to play well. I want to succeed. So I don't know if the laid-backness really comes out on the golf course. I joke around out there, too, a little bit.

Q. Is that the release? Because away from golf you have the fishing and the snowboarding and all of the other things that you've done, whereas short of making putts and putting up low numbers, what is the release for you on the golf course when that tension is --
WILL MacKENZIE: Just joking around with my caddie, thinking about other things. Thinking about ducks and stuff. I'm a duck hunter. Ducks flying around every where, I know every bird in the book. I can spot a bird from 300 yards and tell you exactly if it's a Drake whatever, Comarant (ph) or something. I just think about the good old days when I used to snowboard and stuff.
It's nice to go through the trials and tribulations of what golf gives so I can learn to deal with that when I get into contention. I mean, I don't quite have as many -- I don't have the history that a lot of these other guys have. So I need to get in the mix and deal with that anxiety that presents itself on the golf course in tough situations.

Q. But at the same time you don't feel like you've got to be absolutely locked in shot to shot to shot to shot?
WILL MacKENZIE: Well, I definitely need to be locked in, but I need to immediately lock out as soon as I hit it. I need to do a pre-shot routine and post-shot routine, and then I need to think about catching fish this afternoon and walk the 200 yards. Then because I tend to get out here for five hours, and, you know, start thinking about golf shots in between shots and get a little frustrated, if the technique is off or, you know, I'm angry about shots in the past, earlier shots. You know, the best way for me to play golf is to hyperfocus for about 30 seconds and do all my due diligence and do my mapping out, what kind of shot, the weather, what kind of weather is presenting itself and wind and stuff and then hit it and then think about, you know, whatever, going to the movies.

Q. When you gave up golf as a kid, did you think you would come back to it ever when you were doing all the things you were doing?
WILL MacKENZIE: I think early I thought I might come back. I think maybe the first couple of years. And then as I started enjoying the other, you know, possibilities, it just got further and further away, and I didn't even think about it. Maybe I thought I was going to take a break, at least that's what I told my father.

Q. When did you pick it back up? You quit at what, 14 or 15?
WILL MacKENZIE: Quit at 14 from tournament golf but I played my ninth and 10th grade years of high school and I quit cold turkey after that and came back at 25. 32 now.

Q. Do you ever play Golden Bear down here?
WILL MacKENZIE: Yes, sir. 2003.

Q. You won at West Palm?
WILL MacKENZIE: I won like at Abacoa and Emerald Dunes or something. Mechanic Cup, big win.

Q. How much money?
WILL MacKENZIE: I think I won about $23,000 or something. It was huge, though, at the time. That was my first win on any tour except for like one- and two-day little events.

Q. In Carolina?
WILL MacKENZIE: Yeah, in North Carolina and I had won a couple down here in Florida. I won several down here. Played on the Maverick Tour. I also won a tournament on the Maverick Tour for $25,000, and the guy ran away with my money. He owes me $29,500 actually, and he had run the mini-tour down here for years.

Q. Several guys got taken.
WILL MacKENZIE: But not many got taken like I did because I won the event right before he left. That was a pretty tough blow.

Q. You were looking for a place few years ago; what made you choose that area?
WILL MacKENZIE: Well, I came down here to play on the Golden Bear Tour. I was playing on the Canadian Tour and Hank Kuehne said, "Why don't you come down here play the Golden Bear Tour, save some money and live with me." I came down here and I started really liking it. It was close enough to Greenville, North Carolina to get back in a day's drive or a short flight to see my mom if need be. You know, I like the fishing and I like the weather. The golf is good as well.

Q. Does it help you to focus more on your game being away from the snowboarding and other things where you can beat up your body?
WILL MacKENZIE: Certainly. I mean, that's what you have to do -- that's sort of what I have to do, separate myself from, you know, the temptation a little bit.
I come here and I don't think about snowboarding, it's too far away, or kayaking or any of that other stuff. All my main focus is just golf.

Q. How many hammocks do you have left?
WILL MacKENZIE: I've got a few. Eve probably about 50 or 60. I'll get them down here for y'all sooner or later. They didn't sell that well.

Q. They are not the rope ones? You don't like the rope ones?
WILL MacKENZIE: No, I don't like the rope ones. I like the thin nylons.
CHRIS REIMER: Hopefully you'll spot some birdies this weekend, right?
WILL MacKENZIE: Oh, yeah.
CHRIS REIMER: Good luck.

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