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June 28, 2007

Woody Austin


DOUG MILNE: We would like to welcome 1995 Buick Open champion Woody Austin here to the interview room. Woody, a great round of 65 today, seven birdies, 11 pars. You're tied for the lead. Talk about your round.
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, it was actually about as clean and as simple as I could have imagined. I missed one green, and it was by about a foot on No. 8 and it was still only about a 25-foot putt, 20-foot putt, so I never had to chip, never had to scramble. The only other time I was in trouble, I hit a bad drive on No. 2, but I hit an awesome shot to 18 feet, so I had an 18-footer for birdie. I was never under the gun too much to save any pars. I put the ball where I had to put it. I never had any difficult downhill sliders or crazy putts, and I made some.
I wouldn't say that I made a whole bunch, because I just gave myself so many chances and I had a couple of kick-ins and I had a two putt on 13. It was just a really simple solid round of golf.

Q. You play well here year in and year out, what is it about the course that agrees with you? And what is it about the shirt that agrees with you?
WOODY AUSTIN: What's wrong with my shirt? I think what agrees with me about the golf course is that it's not hard or long, but it's tree-lined enough. I like the old golf courses. I like the golf course that tells me how to play, because I'm not ever going to overpower a golf course. And I know that the young guys can overpower this golf course, so it gives up so many low rounds, but I'm not stuck having to carry a bunker that I can't carry while they're knocking it even 50 yards farther than that, because I can shape the ball on this golf course.
Irregardless of how I played, you still have to drive it halfway decent here, just because of the tree lines on certain holes. 9 and 18, on No. 9, that's a very narrow little gap there. I think the fact that you do have to drive it good, and then for some reason this is one tournament I seem to make putts.
You have to make putts to shoot low scores, and I've shot a few low scores here. I haven't finished real high the last several years but I've always played some good rounds, now I just need to string three more together so it's an actual good week instead of just a good day today.

Q. Has anything changed for you as far as approach, without Tiger and Vijay and some of the bigger names here?
WOODY AUSTIN: No. Regardless of whether they're here or not, it doesn't matter if Tiger or Vijay are here, they may shoot 24, somebody is going to do it. Each of the years they won, they didn't blow the field away. I don't believe either one of them has broken Robert Rimm's record. Somebody shoots low every year, so whether they are here or not, approach to the golf course is the same. This golf course yields low scores, so you know every day you have to shoot a low score, irregardless of who it is.

Q. Tell us about that last putt and how disappointing was that? You seemed to take it well.
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, I hit it a good putt. It looked like it was going in and it just bounced. The poa annua, late in the day, it's starting to get to that point in the day where the ball doesn't roll good on poa annua the later in the day it gets, with all the footprints, the poa annua grows throughout the day, especially how soft it is. It doesn't absorb the footprints so poa annua gets very bumpy when it's this soft, so the ball took a couple of bad bounces. It looked good. That's poa annua, I understand that.

Q. (No microphone).
WOODY AUSTIN: It's easy to laugh it off on a day like this. If that's Friday and you're trying to make the cut or if you're struggling, but that's the thing about poa annua that I do know, it's very -- it's a very unsmooth surface, especially when it's this soft.

Q. Kidding you a little bit about the shirt. Can you talk about why you like to wear loud colorful shirts?
WOODY AUSTIN: It fits my personality. Anybody can wear a plain white shirt, a plain blue shirt. This is my style. I don't wear crazy pants. I'm not a J. Lindeberg guy with scratchy pants with zippers, I'm not wearing a fedora on my head. I wear colorful shirts because it fits my personality.

Q. You mentioned the soft conditions out there. Was there ever a point where it gets too soft out there, maybe difficult to get to some back pins?
WOODY AUSTIN: Absolutely, because it makes it difficult because you can't control the spin. No matter how good you are, when the flag is in the back, let's say the flag is in the back of the green and you have 100 yards, it's awfully hard, the way the greens are right now, it's hard to hit it to 50 yards without spinning the ball. If you have 100 yards to a back flag, there's almost four different clubs in your bag you can hit to it, based on what you're trying to do. If you don't have the room to hit your normal sand wedge, then you have to hit a wedge. If you're somebody who spins the ball a lot, then you can't hit a wedge either because it will spin too far. It does make it difficult.
But again, if you hit it in the rough, like we saw today, Sean O'Hair on No. 9, was over in the left rough short of the green over closer to 18, and he hit it out of the rough, and the ball just came, and it just basically, from 40 yards out of the hay, it just -- it rolled that far and he ended up having a two-footer for par. That ball just plugged.

Q. Did the win change your schedule at all? You've played five, six weeks in a row now.
WOODY AUSTIN: Normally it would have changed it, but I don't like to withdraw from a tournament just to withdraw, and I had already committed to a lot of these tournaments. I had won here, this gave me my start, I'm never go to withdraw from here unless something comes up.
Last week at Hartford, I won three years ago, same thing. I know where my bread was buttered, or whatever you want to say. I remember where I got started and I'm never going to be that person that says, well, I don't need you any more or anything like that. It just worked out weird that my schedule was -- I wasn't in Memorial. I was asking for a sponsor exemption, I wasn't going to get one. Then I got in off an alternate list that I didn't even know I was on. So that added a tournament.
Then I Monday qualified for the Open by a shot, and that added a tournament. It just ended up adding things together. And again, like I said, I would love to take a week off, but I'm not going to tell a tournament that's been too good to me that I'm not going to come.

Q. (No microphone).
WOODY AUSTIN: I'm going to play next week because it's a brand-new tournament that's a small field. I'm going to see what it's like. I'm going to play John Deere because I love that place and then I'm going to take some time off.

Q. I apologize, I got here late. Can you talk about your finishing stretch that allowed you to get into the tie for first at 7-under?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, really all I did down the stretch was I birdied 17. I hit a 6-iron on 17 to about three feet directly below the hole. I couldn't have put it in a better spot. I played solid all day. I gave myself a lot of chances.
I missed a short putt on 12, the par 4.
I missed a decent one on 14.
And 15, I hit a good shot.
I didn't play 16 very well. That was probably the worst hole I played all day.
Then I hit a great shot on 17, and I hit it close on 18 and just didn't make it. It was just as simple solid a day I could have asked for. I didn't put myself in too many stressful situations. I didn't have to chip any bunker shots to save par. The only green I missed I was a foot off the green and still putted. It was just so simple.
DOUG MILNE: Woody, great round. Best of luck this week.

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