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December 5, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Like to welcome Chris DiMarco and Camilo Villegas into the interview room here at the 2007 Merrill Lynch Shootout. Thanks for joining us.
Chris, we'll get started with you. Making your first appearance here since 2000, I believe. Talk about this tournament and your thoughts on coming back after a few years off.
CHRIS DiMARCO: It's a great tournament. It's so much fun. I love the format having all three days, one with the alternate shot scramble and best ball. I like the alternate shot, because it's not a true alternate shot. I like that it gives you two tee balls and you can strategically play your way that way.
The field is always great and just a lot of fun. At the end year that's what you want. Don't really want to be grinding. You know, you want to go out and have fun, and that's what it's about. Getting to play with Camilo helps also. He's going to be hopefully the long driver out there for us. Hopefully be straight. We're working on -- I have at least, and feel like my swing is getting a lot better.
THE MODERATOR: Camilo, get your thoughts on being here for the first time.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Like Chris said, it's the end of the year and you want to have fun, and I think the format is unbelievable. I was talking to my caddie about it and we said, Man, this is going to be fun. It's so different than what we get to play.
I'm really looked forward to playing with Chris. Obviously two Gators, hopefully we can step it up and play some good golf. Like he said, the field is great. You get 24 great players out here, obviously playing for a great cause, and it's going to be a fun week.
THE MODERATOR: Just talk about your game heading in. You first, Chris.
CHRIS DiMARCO: It's getting better. Obviously I had shoulder surgery in September. I feel like the last two or three days I haven't even thought about my shoulder, and it's the first time for probably about a year and a half I've been able to do that.
So I'm really able to work on the things I want to work on without any kind of pain anywhere. Every day it gets better. I'm a little tired. Obviously I came back from Cabo San Lucas yesterday. Flew in last night and got in late and played this morning. But, you know, hit a lot of good shots out there today. Made a lot birdies, and that's what you need to do in this format. Me and Camilo played at CVS this year and were partners and probably should've won there. We didn't close like we should've. We made a lot of birdies and had fun doing it.
That's the main thing. You want to play with somebody that you're friends with, and you're going to have a good time. Being two Gators and being down here in south Florida obviously with a lot bragging rights is fun, too.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of that, you had a lot success here in Florida. Obviously Camilo, second place finishes at Doral and also at Honda. Just carry that on throughout this week, I guess.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Sure. I hope it goes that way. It will be battling out there. We'll be trying. Like we said before, we will be having fun. No surgeries for me, but I had like seven weeks off, which probably felt worse than a surgery. Coming back a little rusty.
I went and played with Bubba and Chris at the Wendy's Challenge, and that didn't go too good. So I thought, Man, it's time to get back on, start practicing. Went and got a lesson, and hopefully I'll be ready for Chris this week.
CHRIS DiMARCO: Bubba played great. We let Bubba down a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. For both of you, prior to the two events, the Wendy's and the CVS, had you played together before? How familiar were you guys with each other's games?
CHRIS DiMARCO: Obviously there's a big age gap. Being Florida gators, having that common bond between us, you're ultimately always going to be good friends. When I used to go to Gator games when he was still in college we used to hang out there. Obviously he beat my record at Florida. He's got the international most victories and I think I got the got US most victories, the American most victories.
But obviously it's going to be nice because a power player -- and hopefully -- my driver at least seems like it's back where it needs to be and I'll be able to hit down the middle and he can try to do some things that he normally wouldn't do.
Q. (No microphone.)
CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't know if I packed any orange and blue. I got enough on my bag. He's got a head cover on his bag. There will be enough orange and blue following us, I can promise you that. There will be a lot of Gators out there following us.
Q. What have you thought of Chris' game up until recently?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Chris's game? Well, obviously watch him on TV all the time. When was back in Colombia and when I was playing at Florida, like Chris said, I mean, both being Gators, you have like a closer relationship. You get to know more about the other individual. Hang out with him and go to football games.
Obviously work really hard to try to beat his record and finally did that my final year, which was awesome. Obviously you grow up seeing guys on the PGA Tour and then you start accomplishing things and just taking care of some goals, and it's just fun.
It's just fun to follow their steps and to get better and improve and learn, and now to be paired together in a three-day event like this and hopefully make a bunch of birdies.
Q. How would you describe the (indiscernible.)
CHRIS DiMARCO: I can't do it. I can promise you that. Any way that it helps, whatever it is. It doesn't matter. You know, he's flexible enough to do that. I think my leg would fall off.
You know, it's funny because we both approach it a little bit differently. I mean, he likes to know exactly the yardages. He's down to the percentages of uphill and downhill and all this. I just pick a club and try to field it up there.
I mean, I get a yardage, but I'm not real worried about if it's a little uphill, a little downhill, whatever it is, you know, and that's great. That's good. That's what I think is really good about our pairing, is that we both do thing our own way. We're not really along the lines of norm, so to speak. We basically do things our own way and have our on personalities and distinguish ourselves from the rest of the people out here, and I think that's a good thing.
Q. Who do I think should win the Heisman?
CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, I'll give you a legitimate answer. Obviously I'm biased towards Tim Tebo. I think somebody has to break that sophomore jinx. I think somebody has to get over it. I mean, 29 touchdowns passing and 22 rushing and, you know, the guy is phenomenal. Everybody who played him said he should have won it. I don't know who else you'd give it to.
I mean, Darren McFadden had a great few games. Even the game against LSU he fumbled twice in the first half. If that would have been in the first half he probably would've been out of it. Good timing for him. I'd like to see Tim Tebo win. I think it's time for a sophomore to win. Adrian Peterson should have won as a freshman, so I'd like to see that happen.
Q. Did either of you secure a ticket to the Capital One Bowl?
MARK DiMARCO : I'll have a few tickets for sure. I'll probably get about twenty at least.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: And I'll take one from him.
CHRIS DiMARCO: We'll make room for all Gators that want to come.
Q. What impact have you had on golf in Colombia?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, Colombia is mainly about soccer. Golf is very, very small in my country, but it's been an awesome since I've got on the PGA Tour. Obviously the media has given it a little more exposure and people are willing to learn and get to know the game a little bit better, which is obviously nice.
And then you start seeing more and more kids trying to play the game and the entire game as a whole starts expanding and getting bigger. That's one of my goals, to just be a good example of my country around the world and for my country in terms of just being a good ambassador and carrying the flag around the world and being a good example for kids. So it's been fun.
Q. Camilo, you've been asked this a lot, the attention you received for your looks, People Magazine, hottest bachelors. What's your reaction been to that? Has it ever been uncomfortable for you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No. Why would it be uncomfortable? I'm here to play golf. That's the No. 1 priority. But it's -- playing golf is what we do. It's more than just swinging a golf club or playing 18 holes or playing a tournament. There's a lot of things that surround our job, and it's more like a business.
You got to approach it as a business, and that's what I do. I try to be my best on the golf course and off the golf course and try to take advantage of corner I can get.
Q. Camilo, did you play soccer growing up? And how were you introduced to the game of golf?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Everybody plays soccer. My dad. He happened to join a golf course when he was about 35, and that's how I got the opportunity to play the game. I remember just walking on the golf course with his 2-iron on the weekends, and then all of a sudden started playing junior tournaments.
When I was about 12 I got a chance to represent my country for the first time, which was awesome. From there on I just played around the world, which was a great opportunity, being a golfer in my country. It's a lot different when you're good in a small country like Colombia than when you're good in the States.
In Colombia you're good and you get a chance to represent your country in a lot tournaments. In the States you got to be really, really good to be out there all the time. So I had chances to move around, to play tournaments in different places, and just to learn.
Then I came to University of Florida; graduated '04, which was nice. Now I'm here with the big boys trying to get better.
Q. Camilo, you just had a victory a couple months ago. What do you think that's going to do for you? And Chris, how much do you think that's going to help him? I know he's been close to winning a tournament.
CHRIS DiMARCO: The hardest thing out here it is to win that first tournament. Once you do -- and he will -- once he does, and he will, what he's going to do is probably win by a bunch. You know what, it just opens it up. Just kind of opens the flood gates. Obviously he won a lot in college and knows what winning is about. Obviously he just won overseas and knows what that's about.
You know, it's hard. Unless your name is Tiger Woods it's a hard tour to win on. It seems that no matter how good you're playing there's always somebody playing better. Once you break breakthrough, and like I said, he will, he doesn't need to learn how to win. He knows how to win. He just needs the breaks to fall his way one time, and they will, and they will a lot. He's going to win a lot out here.
I think once he does you'll see that. You'll see that it'll be more comfortable. You want to win out here and it makes you feel like you establish yourself. Once you do it, finally you can forget about that and just go on. But I think he just needs to worry about playing, because it's going to happen.
It's like trying to make a hole in one. If you think about it you're never going to make it.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah. It was obviously fun. It was good to have my best friend on the bag. It was good to have my mom there with me. And winning, winning is -- that's why we're here. We tee it up every week trying to win a golf tournament.
But let me tell you, I'm not losing any sleep over not winning either. It's a process. Sometimes it takes longer than other times. Who knows, maybe that pace is the best way to do it. I have just got to wake up every morning with good attitude, go do my job and take care of business, and hopefully it'll come -- and soon, too -- but I'm not losing any sleep over it.
Q. New house that you moved into, is that in Gainesville?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I am losing sleep over that one. I mean, yes. Seven years in Gainesville, seven great years. My brother is getting ready to graduate. It's time for me to move on. Obviously I got a great connection with the city and with the university, but I decided to move to Jupiter. I want to be closer to other golfers and better golf courses and better practice facilities.
Obviously a little closer to Miami, which is an easy way to go home. I miss home and I miss my country and my family. I'm really looking forward to have that baby furnished and just be ready to move in.
Q. And a new motorcycle?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, not here. Not in the States.
Q. You got one back at home?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah.
Q. Sell it. Get a fast car.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else? All right guys.
End of FastScripts