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March 13, 2007

Jeff Quinney


COLIN MURRAY: Jeff, thanks for joining us. You're off to a great start, your rookie year, four Top 10's in your first seven events. You finished sixth on the Nationwide Tour Money List last year. Just talk about the start to your year so far.
JEFF QUINNEY: It's been great. I've made every cut, obviously four Top 10's like you said. I've had a couple times I've been in contention to win. Obviously a little disappointed I didn't pull those out.
But I've had a great start to the year. I've had a lot of fun. If you would have told me at the beginning of the year where I was, I would definitely take where I'm at right now. I have some short-term goals I'm chasing right now, trying to get into Doral and the Masters and stuff like that, but all in all it's been a great year.

Q. There's like an issue out here, some people, your peers are talking about the new tournament in D.C. which Tiger is going to be hosting; it may be a limited-field event, as opposed to The INTERNATIONAL which had 144. As a rookie out here, how important are spots out here, and is that something that would concern you? A lot of players, Faxon and Beem among others, have said that event should be a full-field event so more players can be in it.
JEFF QUINNEY: It's always a concern. Obviously you never know what the criteria is. I've got off to a great start so it's been easier for me to get into some of those invitationals according to Money List and whatnot. Yeah, if I was a rookie and had limited starts and I hadn't make too many cuts, you want to have as many starts as you can. Luckily I probably won't have to worry because I've made enough money that I'll probably get in that event if I wanted to. You know, I don't think it's significant, maybe 20, 30 spots. It wasn't like a huge cut like Doral is next week.

Q. Have you played the course?
JEFF QUINNEY: Today was the first day I played.

Q. And can you give us your observations, it looks like the rough is a little higher than normal on a PGA TOUR event; is that the case?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, three weeks in a row, from the Honda to Tampa Bay, and it might be the worst of it all, really. It's more dense and more consistent. You know, sometimes the other ones, you can maybe luck out and have a good lie. But right now it's like everything that goes in the rough, you almost, can't get it to the green. The fairways are a little bit wider than the last few weeks, it's a little bit softer. So it's easier to keep it in the fairway, but if you miss the fairway it's more penalizing.

Q. How does that change your approach going in at the start of the round so to speak?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think you just expect it to play tough. You have to drive it in the fairway. You can't miss fairways. Basically a guy that hits 12 fairways a day or something is going to have a good chance to win. Even though there's a lot more to that, but you just could not play from the rough at all.

Q. When they were formulating the concept of the FedExCup the last couple of years, a lot of the veteran players like Tiger and Phil were consulted, got their input. And then I notice that since then as the season has gone on, I've seen where a lot of the other veteran players were kind of sounded out as to how they think about it. But for a guy like you starting out and you're having some success, how do you view and how do you think guys in your age group and your experience level on the TOUR are viewing the FedExCup and what it means and how much attention you're paying to it week-to-week?
JEFF QUINNEY: I have, because just for my purpose, a lot of these, like to get in Doral next week is based on FedExCup points, not Money List. So that's kind of -- I've been looking at that point list more than the exact Money List, because I think they don't coincide exactly the same.
You know, obviously it's early in the season, I think everyone is just trying to plug away and play tournaments. I don't think they are actually concerned about points yet. I think later in the year when it comes down to crunch time and you want to get in those four tournaments, that's when it's going to become an issue.

Q. Now you're dancing at the big dance so to speak, is there a huge difference between your play last year and this year personally?
JEFF QUINNEY: Not a whole lot. Actually I think I putted a little bit better this year. I really struck the ball well on the Nationwide Tour last year and I didn't ever win, but I was up near the lead a bunch of times. I didn't really haven't change my game or any type of swing thoughts. It's the same thing I had last year basically showing up. I've putted maybe a little bit better this year.
Obviously the stage is just different. The courses are definitely tougher out here and the competition is tougher. But as far as my game itself, it's pretty equal to how I played last year.

Q. Sometimes we see a gap between a guy will do well as a young player; obviously you won the Amateur, maybe there's a lag time before you get out here and sometimes guys decide to put down their clubs and do something else. Were you frustrated over the last five or six years ever to the point where you thought about doing something else, or did you always know that at some point you would get out here?
JEFF QUINNEY: I never reached that point where I was really thinking about it. I mean, I'm 28 now. Maybe if I was 30, 32 and I hadn't made it, then yeah. But you know, I had back issues, I herniated a disk in '02 and that kind of set me back a little bit there. Obviously I wanted to come straight out of college, but I don't think I was really ready. If I would have come out here and made it out of Q-School, that would have been the worst thing for me. I would have been shot right back down and lost all my confidence.
I just made progress every year from the Canadian Tour to the Nationwide, and just every year I got a little bit better and just knew I was moving forward. As long as I knew I was getting a little better, I wasn't too worried. If I was getting worse, yeah, then, maybe I would think of some other options.

Q. You were talking about the course setups in the Florida Swing. Florida is supposed to be a pleasant place, it's warm in the winter. Has the nature of the challenges the courses are offering sort of at odds with what you thought the challenge would be on the Florida Swing?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I thought more of the Florida Swing being more bermudagreens that I would have to battle and a lot of grain. And being a West Coast boy, that's what I was worried about. The greens have been overseeded and cut down so low, they are not too grainy. The rough is overseeded rye, so really, some of the courses I've played on the Nationwide Tour in Texas and Florida, maybe just the time of year, but I can't chip out of that stuff. And this stuff is more like the West Coast stuff that I play out of, and definitely more familiar in this territory.

Q. And has it generally been tougher than what you were expecting the Florida Swing to be then?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah. I mean, basically 10-under won last week, everybody has been single-digits. The cuts have been over par; 4-over, 2-over. They are changing all of these par 5s into par 4s, and some of the longest holes I ever played; I never hit so many 3-woods and hybrids and 3-irons into par 4s before.

Q. Do you like it?
JEFF QUINNEY: I do like it. I normally tend to play, you know, courses that are tougher, a little bit closer to par. I tend to rise on those tournaments. I don't like going 25-under every week. I like ball-striker's and just even par is sometimes a good score.

Q. There's a history since Tiger turned professional of the U.S. Amateur Champions struggling a little bit. You talked about how you progressed every year. Is there should sort of unfair pressure or expectations in this country where there's a sense that if you win the U.S. Amateur, you're supposed to automatically supposed to come out and do well right away on the TOUR?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, there is kind of a misconception that it guarantees your TOUR card or so many starts. You still have to get the sponsor invites and go through Q-School just like everybody else. It's a big tournament, but it's no different than like the NCAA or anything like that. It's just as tough to win as one of those.
You know, I don't think that's really everyone's struggle. I think everyone that's been won has been on the TOUR from Gossett to Kuchar to Hank to myself to Bubba Dickerson, all of those guys that have gotten their TOUR card at one time. It's not like you've never heard of them. Obviously they are not all top 20 in the world maybe right now, but they have all done pretty good. It's just something you're just proud to be a club to.
Obviously it's not guaranteed success out here, but you know it's a pretty proud achievement we all hold on to.
COLIN MURRAY: Thanks for joining us, Jeff.

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