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June 26, 2007

Jeff Quinney


THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Jeff Quinney to the interview room here at the Buick this week. Jeff, having a great rookie season so far, over a million dollars in money earned, five top 10s, including four straight earlier this year on the West Coast swing. Did you expect this much success coming into your rookie season on Tour?
JEFF QUINNEY: Probably not so soon. I had a lot of momentum coming off the Nationwide Tour last year and had a great year. I was sixth on the money list out there and had quite a few top 10s, didn't win, but put myself into position a lot.
The West Coast was awesome. I was able to finish third and contend in my home city of Scottsdale. And basically, you know, going to school there, I have a lot of close ties, families and friends, I'm comfortable on the West Coast and I've had a couple of other good starts out here, but I'm trying to regain that form I was on back on the West Coast.

Q. You mentioned the Nationwide Tour. You won the U.S. Amateur in 2000 at Baltusrol, obviously a lot of expectations, took a few years to get your feet wet. Were you prepared for that to come into professional golf after such a great amateur career?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yes. I'm just one of those players that didn't make the transition as quickly as I wanted. But I got better every year. I never got to that point where I kind of depleted. I felt like I was getting better every year. I made some swing changes. I kind of battled back injuries. I went from the Canadian Tour to the Nationwide Tour to out here. Made baby steps. And all and all, I think that's the best way to get here, because sometimes you can come out here too quick, lose your confidence. I was able to develop my game, being able to adjust to the whole tour lifestyle, the travel, winning at different levels. And it's prepared me to come out this year and just really not be afraid and trust my game.

Q. The life on tour, has it been everything you expected it to be, when you've obviously grown up as a fan and played mini tours as you've progressed?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yes, I'm still learning things about the Tour. Definitely the treatment out here is unbelievable, with the courtesy cars, the treatment of the volunteers and the way, the locker room and everything, it hits above anywhere you've ever been. This is where you want to be. You get really spoiled out here. The golf courses are in great shape. Everyone goes the extra mile to make sure you feel welcome. And every city I go to is pretty much a new city, because the Nationwide Tour we go to different locations, and that's one of the struggles, just trying to find where to eat and where to stay. And now that I've gotten my feet wet, it's getting easier.

Q. Adam Scott was saying a couple of weeks ago that when you're a young guy on Tour, you look at Tiger and you sometimes try to get ahead of yourself. Does that happen to a young guy? Did that happen to you? Did you say, look, these are things that can be done because somebody did it. And basically what Adam was saying was that what Tiger does is not normal. Do you and other young players out here get caught up and maybe think too far ahead?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think so. I think -- obviously I feel like I'm in the peak of my career, like 28 to 33 is kind of the peak I've seen over the past years, and you feel comfortable. You're able to win golf tournaments and be out there and just feel in total control. Obviously there are a few guys that stand out that come right out of college and can dominate, but as a whole, I don't think that's the tendency. It's becoming more and more of a -- you'll see more players out here, because the guys are getting that much better in college golf. Obviously Tiger is heads above everybody else, you can't compare one career to his.

Q. The winning score out here is usually 20 under par or lower, some guys don't mind that, other guys don't like it. Do you have any feelings one way or the other?
JEFF QUINNEY: I usually tend to like golf courses where par is a good score, you don't have to take five, six under every day. I prefer 8 to 12 under to win. Greens are soft, so I think it's going to be a shoot-out. It's a par 70. Only two par 5s -- oh, 72, sorry. Shows you how much I know about the golf course. I'm a rookie.
I like the tougher golf courses. 20 under, it becomes kind of a putting shoot-out and more like a ball-striker.

Q. You talked about you didn't know what par was. How tough is it going to a new course almost every week and getting accustomed to places you've never seen before?
JEFF QUINNEY: It seems like every course we play is a par 70. It seems like they take all the short par 5s away from us, and try to make it tougher and make par a little bit less important. That's the one disadvantage of going week to week, just learning the courses for me. Trying to play as many practice rounds as I can, yet I played four or five weeks in a row, and if I make the cut the previous week, you want a day off. And that's just part of the struggles.

Q. You had a really good stretch earlier in the year. What's it going to take for you to break through and win? What component of your game are you going to have to get better to do that?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think I have all the physical tools. It's just going to be the metal part of the game, just being able to trust myself on the back nine on Sunday that I can do it. And I've been there enough times this year I can probably draw back on those experiences and know that I'm good enough and just have the breaks go my way, a few putts drop on the back nine and basically it's just going to be a confidence issue.

Q. From your perspective, do you see a difference at events where Tiger is competing where he is not?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think so. I think there's a little more buzz around. The crowds seem to be a little bigger, but not to take anything away from this tournament because there are so many good players here. Obviously everyone wants to see Tiger, and the fans want to see him. But there are so many good players out here, and everyone knows that, that anybody can win every week. The whole field is good enough to be out here. There are awesome players.

Q. Just reading your bio, you come from a pretty athletic family. Dad played college basketball, brother played football, another one played golf. How did you end up in golf? And did you try a lot of other sports growing up?
JEFF QUINNEY: I was the youngest of four boys. In fact, I was dragged around to all their ball games and would be learning from them and always progressed at an earlier age because I had bigger, stronger brothers to play against. I played all sports growing up, played four years of high school basketball. And before that I played football through middle school and tennis and baseball, and I just love playing every sport. Knew about my junior year in high school that golf was the route for me. Just knew I didn't have the height to go play college basketball. And knew that golf was a way to get a college scholarship. Didn't know I wanted to be a professional at the time. But after winning the U.S. Amateur and having a good college career, I wanted to give it a shot.

Q. Your amateur was one of the most dramatic probably maybe ever. What sticks out in your mind about that and how it all ended?
JEFF QUINNEY: Basically, three with three to play and the last three holes with Driscoll, and it was so hard to sleep that night. I felt like the trophy should have been mine it should have been in the bag. A couple of my mistakes and a couple great shots by him, I had to somehow regroup and come out Monday morning, and luckily made a birdie on the first hole. And that took a weight off my shoulders, one shot and one putt and the thing was over with.
Obviously James has been out here, and just the whole guys that I beat on the way to the championship was pretty impressive. All those guys are out here. I beat Hunter Mahan, who won the tournament last week, and Ben Curtis and Lucas Glover and all the guys that have done well and we're good friends, and it's something I'll never forget.
Baltusrol is an awesome place, a lot of history at that course. It was such a long week, 39 holes and the playoff, it's still in the back of my mind.

Q. I know one thing on Tour that we always push for story ideas to media members, Rookie of the Year race. And obviously you and Anthony Kim, Brandt Snedeker, John Mallinger are having great years. You and Anthony have distanced yourself a little bit in that race. Is that something you guys think about?
JEFF QUINNEY: It's about this time of year that I've looked at it. I forget sometimes that Boo, even though he came off the Nationwide Tour this is not his rookie season. Boozey had a big rookie lead, but obviously he's been out there. We kind of pass each other back and forth. Anthony has played good this year and I've had a good year. It's going to be a dog fight. We're going to do the same type of thing. Maybe one of us will sneak up and win won and put ourselves over the top. I think one of us four will probably win a tournament this year, and I'm cheering them on, and cheering our class. We had a great Nationwide class and Q-School class and came out and had a strong year.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff, thanks for coming in. Best of luck this week.

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