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June 2, 2007

Will MacKenzie


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Will, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Memorial Tournament. Nice round out there, seven birdies, and I don't know what's going to happen here on the back nine, but you're at 11-under and the leader is at 12-under with about nine holes to play. Talk a little bit about your day. You went out, played a couple of holes and then you had to come in and sit around. Talk about that and what you did well out there.
WILL MACKENZIE: I hit the ball great all day. I definitely made a couple birdies early and that got me going. But yesterday I finished up bogey-double, and it was a real drag. I was really kicking myself, I was really frustrated. But I knew I was playing well, and I just went out there today and tried to have some fun, and I knew I was hitting it well so I knew I would have some opportunities, and be patient.
My delay came on 7. I had a real basic bunker shot, went out there and didn't get it up-and-down for birdie, so I was still at, I think, 2-under, 6-under total.
But then I just really heated up after that. I started stuffing it. I hit some fantastic shots coming in and made a couple of nice putts, as well, a couple of nice saves. I made a nice little save on 9. I hit it to the back of the green, and it feels like you can putt it in the water there. This golf course is just phenomenal. I don't know what to say.
And had a good stretch; I made like three birdies in a row or something on the back coming in. I'm just real happy to be here.

Q. What was the number one highlight of what you did during the break?
WILL MACKENZIE: During the break? Shoot, anytime I get to hang out near Tiger Woods, it makes me pretty happy, and I was just -- I barely even talked to him, but I was just hanging out with him. He just puts off a real nice vibe. He is the man. I mean, that guy is unbelievable, probably the best golfer ever to play the game possibly. I mean, Jack Nicklaus is probably the best, but in my little era, just hanging out with Tiger and just hanging out with the other guys, shooting the breeze.
But I don't think I did anything special. I just ate some -- a lot of shrimp. Oh, yeah, I'm going to get some alligator belts from my friend Camilo.

Q. The Tiger thing, would that qualify as surveillance?
WILL MACKENZIE: I just eavesdropped on him (laughter). Shoot, whenever he says something to me like, "What's up, Will," I'm like, "Hey, Tiger."

Q. Did he interview you?
WILL MACKENZIE: No, he didn't interview me. You don't need to write about me and Tiger Woods; I probably said two words to him. But he's a nice guy and he's the best.

Q. What about the alligator belts, please?
WILL MACKENZIE: I'm just going to get some alligator belts. I don't necessarily agree with killing alligators, but we all wear leather. I'm tired of my belts, and I'm going to get some J. Lindeberg alligator belts from Colombia.

Q. You mentioned that when you went out at 7 after the delay and had a chance to get it up-and-down for birdie and didn't, it seemed like a lot of golfers after they got out there after the delay, especially the guys that hadn't started yet, just took them a while, everybody a while, to get going. Did your energy level drop hanging out in the locker room, or adrenaline or whatever?
WILL MACKENZIE: I didn't birdie 8, did I? No, I stuffed it on 8. I mean, I hit an iron shot, a 6-iron, that was so pretty there, to like four, five feet. So I was pretty ready. I mean, I had to hit a little specialty shot, so I don't know, I was short-sided, but I hit the pin anyway, and almost made eagle. But I ended up making par. It rolled by after that.
You know, I don't know. I don't know what other guys are doing. I don't know if people are stalling out or -- it usually does take you a minute to get warmed up again and get back into the flow of the game.

Q. Do you lose your concentration maybe?
WILL MACKENZIE: I do that regularly (laughter). Probably. But I don't concentrate -- when I'm hanging out in the lunchroom with the guys and with the ladies, I'm not even thinking about golf or trying not to. And then when they blow the whistle, so to speak, say it's time, then you get back into game mode.

Q. I just want to make sure I've got this right. If you win tomorrow, does that put you in the Open? Do you know about that?
WILL MACKENZIE: Easy, Man, don't be making me think about anything.

Q. Have you thought about that at all?
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, I haven't thought about that at all. I don't know that rule, and you know, it sounds pretty good. That might be true.

Q. Are you playing Monday?
WILL MACKENZIE: Yes, sir, I play here, at Scioto and Ohio State Scarlet.

Q. What would it mean to you to get to the Open?
WILL MACKENZIE: It would be fantastic. I'm sort of looking forward to that qualifier. It'll be fantastic if I get in. I want to play in a major championship. I've never played in a major championship before. PGA is going to be my first guaranteed major championship. I've told all my little clan that I'm really focusing hard this year on trying these qualifiers. I don't usually do them because I'm trying to play in every event I can. British Open is opposite something. I don't want to spend the money, I want to just play in America, and I didn't try the U.S. last year I don't think or I either chopped it up in local qualifying and missed by a shot I think last year.
Yeah, so, I mean, I'm ready to play. I've played a lot of golf lately, so I'm going to be a little -- thank God I'm still decently young because 36 holes in one day is going to be tough.

Q. What's happened since Hawaii until now?
WILL MACKENZIE: Just maybe lost the confidence. You're talking about my golf game or me just -- or the Adventures of Willy Mac?

Q. I'm just going to go with the golf game.
WILL MACKENZIE: I've almost played decent, but I just haven't. I'm working hard with my coaches, but I'm a poor listener. If I hit it funky, I'm like, oh, God, I'm going to try and swing like Elkington. If I swing bad that way, I'm like, gosh, I love the way Tiger gets behind the ball, and I'll start doing that.
The putting has been really poor. I've been fondling -- I went back to my old putting, which I call the Badds.com, which is copying Aaron Baddeley's every move. I went back to that this week and I putted fantastic. That's what got me on TOUR in 2004. That's what got me through Q-school. And then that first day, one of the first tournaments I played in was Pebble Beach, and I was missing three-footers, and then I've been trying all sorts of stuff since.

Q. Whose swing are you using this week?
WILL MACKENZIE: It's definitely not my Willy Mackington. That's my Will MacKenzie and Steve Elkington move. It's a little Appleby. It's like Appleby a little bit.

Q. You said Tiger puts off a good vibe just in the locker room. How would you compare your vibe to Tiger's vibe?
WILL MACKENZIE: I put off a good vibe, definitely. I mean, I would like to.
He's just very -- he's just great, you know, just the way he walks. Everything he does, he sort of like flows, like water, like breeze. He's just really smooth, just real confident. You know, it's a good feeling to be around that type of person.

Q. How does it feel like to be ten strokes ahead of him?
WILL MACKENZIE: It feels great, but, I mean, I'll probably shoot about 58 tomorrow (laughter). He's really good. He loves the comeback.

Q. You say you've been a poor listener or you are a poor listener. You've done some interesting things that you must not have been a poor listener, am I right? Or have you always been a poor listener?
WILL MACKENZIE: No, I'm an okay listener.

Q. Some of the stuff you've done in the past.
WILL MACKENZIE: You don't have to listen too much in those sports. You know, you just sort of learn how to -- learn the techniques and then go.

Q. I don't know how many people read the paper, but since some of your adventures have been publicized, is the gallery into it now? Did you hear some good comments?
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, people do -- they'll be like, "Hey, let's go kayaking, Willy Mac; let's go paddling, drop off a cliff," whatever they say. You know, that's cool, whatever.

Q. Are you working with Plummer and Bennett?
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Do you think we could go through your round?
WILL MACKENZIE: Why do we have to do that? I don't even remember what No. 2 is. I know this is terrible, but geez, come on. I've got to play the course at least ten times to know exactly --

Q. Let me back up. You said, "Drop off a cliff." I might have missed something. Were you a base jumper?
WILL MACKENZIE: No, I just jumped off cliffs on my snowboard. I liked to fly off a cliff on my snowboard, but not like a cliff that you'd base jump, a 10-foot cliff or 20-foot cliff or one about that high, you know, indie grab. That's when you grab in the front.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: You made birdie on No. 1.
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, I made birdie on No. 1. Okay, I remember. I hit a sick little 7-iron in there, chippy, and I had like a little downhill putt and made it.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Maybe eight feet.
WILL MACKENZIE: Eight feet, maybe nine or ten.
10, I hit 7-iron, sort of shanked it in there, mis-hit it a little bit, 179 to carry the bunker, that's what I remember, and it was like 191 and I hit 7-iron and sort of thinned it just a hair, and I go, "Go a foot," because I knew I hit it about 178 or 179, and of course it just carried over and it rolled up there about 12 feet and I made it.
No. 12 is a par 3, I did make that putt. I hit 9-iron from 159 I think it was today. Is that right? It's adjusted. It's about five yards downhill there. I had 162. 158 plus 4, 162, but it probably played about 159, 158. I hit 9-iron and I hit it in the water there yesterday, and I was already -- 9-iron 159 or so, that's a long 9-iron, so I hit it sort of hard, and I flew it almost a little long, about 25, 30 feet and made it. I asked my caddie there, I go, "Do you have anything in the book about what this putt does?" And he goes, "Nope." I go, "Okay, I think that's left lip."
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: 15, the par 5.
WILL MACKENZIE: I hit a nice drive there, and I got this little club in my bag, it's a 7-wood, and Steve Elkington called it my "Lifter" (pronounced "Lifta"), like it lifts. It's like a woman's club. I didn't say that. Like a high -- I've got a 7-wood in the bag for some reason, and I hit it a little long there. It was an in between 3-iron, but if y'all know the hole, if you come in there hot, it's going to go to the back edge. I hit it to the back edge and I left the putt about ten feet short and I made it.
The par 3, 16th, I just hit a fantastic shot in there with like a three-quarter 6-iron to about four feet, five feet.
17, I was a little in between 7-iron and 6-iron there. I hit a driver -- I'm in between driver and 3-wood off the tee, but I hit driver because the bunkers are at 295 and you can hit driver in them. I still hit driver there just to try to be aggressive, and I hit -- I decided to chip the 6-iron there because yesterday is where I hit it in the creek there. I pulled it left, and it hit that tree and went back down in the creek, and I got it up-and-down for bogey. It was a nice bogey.
But the pin was left today, so I said, okay, I'm just not hitting it over there at that tree. So I hit it out to the right and it came back around, and I made a nice little putt there.

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