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January 29, 2008

Jeff Quinney


DOUG MILNE: Thanks for joining us here in the media center at the FBR Open. Great finish here last year. Obviously a big week for you here in your home. Just a couple general comments on how you feel going into 2008 and here at the FBR.
JEFF QUINNEY: I'm starting to turn it around. I didn't get off to such a quick start. I made two of the last three cuts and had a good opportunity to finish pretty well last week in the San Diego tournament but I played bad on Sunday in the tough conditions. But always excited to be back here in my hometown, and I love this course. Obviously last year brings back a lot of great memories, and third place was a great finish but I didn't finish the way I wanted to. I obviously wanted the victory. But happy to be back and try to redeem myself.
DOUG MILNE: That third-place finish was one of four Top 10s straight. What was kind of clicking around that time?
JEFF QUINNEY: You know, just everything. Especially this week, everything just fell into place, putting and ball-striking. But I was really hitting the driver great those four weeks, and it just made it really simple. I just kind of got in that zone where I was able to just score every day, and it didn't matter what I was doing. I would save shots, I would make birdies all the time, and golf is kind of like that. I think you've just got to ride your hot streaks out and I was fortunate to have it come early, because I had my card locked up before I even left the West Coast Swing.

Q. You played in 29 events last year. Do you think that was too many in retrospect?
JEFF QUINNEY: Maybe a few, yeah. I think at the end of the year I probably played too much, but I was trying to chase a Top 30 on the Money List where I could get into The Masters still. They kind of changed that rule at the end, and I was hanging around 45, 50 there for a while on the Money List, and I knew if I had a win or a second place I would get into that Top 30, the TOUR Championship -- I guess it was after that TOUR Championship, but after breaking the Top 30 would have gotten me into The Masters, but it wasn't enough.

Q. Would you mind talking about your relationship with the Phoenix Coyotes, your relationship and why?
JEFF QUINNEY: This is the first week wearing that logo. It's great. I'm friends with Darren Blake and Dennis Blake who represent Wayne Gretzky. I'm fortunate to have a relationship with them and to have a chest deal with them going forward for the rest of the year. It's great. I think it's the first NHL team to be on the PGA TOUR, and I'm really excited about it. You know, I'm learning more about hockey, been to a few games this year. I wouldn't say I'm a die-hard, but I'm becoming interested in the sport.

Q. Did they come to you? And do you know why they picked you?
JEFF QUINNEY: You know, I think a little bit of -- they wanted a young, upcoming guy. This is my second year on TOUR, and that's kind of what they're all about. They have a young squad they're kind of building from the ground up. I think just being a local boy in the Phoenix area they thought this week would be a good exposure for the team and they're looking to get their name out and spread the word around.

Q. So it's not just for the week, it's the entire year?

Q. How eager are you for this tournament to start given what happened last year and just to move past that?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I'm pretty much over it, but obviously every time I see Aaron Baddeley walking by, or I saw him this year getting ready to go to the Mercedes, and I was like, "Hey, when are you leaving for Hawaii?" I kind of forgot he was going to Mercedes and I was going to Sony the week after. It's over, but I took a lot of positives out of that week. Obviously you want to win, and that's -- unfortunately, I didn't, but it set up the rest of my season, and it really kick-started my year and took a lot of pressure off. I made $800,000 before I even left -- gone to LA, and I was riding on cloud 9 I was so confident. Obviously this year I feel like I can win, and obviously this course fits my eye well, so I'll take advantage of it while I'm here.

Q. I know it's been a year, but can you walk us through the last few holes last year and what your thought process was and your execution and all that?
JEFF QUINNEY: I'd do it over the same. Some people criticized me not hitting 3-wood on 17, but I'm not long enough to hit it over that cross bunker. I had to hit driver, felt great over it. Obviously my miss is never left, it's always right, and I think I overcompensated with the water, hit a great shot, missed a short putt and bogeyed 18. But Aaron shot 64-64 on the weekend. There was a lot of things -- he birdied 15, 16, 17 on me, too, with a lot of putts. Obviously it turned the tide on me. I'd do the same thing over again. I wouldn't change my strategy.

Q. How long did it linger?
JEFF QUINNEY: I wouldn't say very long. It was around, but I was so relieved, and I didn't let it bring me down. I went and had a Top-10 finish a week later, so I wasn't letting it bring me down at all.

Q. Did you have a chance to play the course today?
JEFF QUINNEY: I played nine. I'm going to play nine this afternoon.

Q. What is your assessment of the course, how it handled in the heavy rains?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I don't think they cut the fairways today. It was pretty wet. So it could play pretty long. Normally those fairways play fast and you get to the par 5s and you have shorter wedges in, but now you're going to have some longer irons in. The rough is thick, so it may be more penalizing this year.

Q. I know I'm getting way ahead of myself, but could I ask a couple Masters questions? How many times have you played at Augusta?
JEFF QUINNEY: Just once. That was in '01 for the U.S. Am, but I'm not in this year.

Q. Can I get a Super Bowl pick from you then?
JEFF QUINNEY: I'd say the Patriots are going to win but I don't think they're going to cover the spread. I think they're going to win. They're just too tough.

Q. Can you talk about your goals for this year? Obviously The Masters is one.
JEFF QUINNEY: I set my goals high. I basically want to win more than once. I think if I just set it for one, that would be too low. I set my goals high, winning twice at least, making the Top 30 to get in the TOUR Championship, want to get into the Top 50 in the world so I can get into the World Golf Championships events and the majors.

Q. You haven't been a real big hockey fan or you have been?
JEFF QUINNEY: Not really. I love going to the games here. I'm learning more about the game. And these guys are teaching me and I've been to dinner with Wayne a couple times and been fortunate enough to sit in his seats and really learn about the game and hang out with some of the players.

Q. That's where I was going. Was Wayne the guy that was the --
JEFF QUINNEY: I actually played with his wife three years ago in a Nationwide event. She was my partner, and we did pretty well and just kind of hit it off. They live here locally. We've tried to play some golf, just never quite crossed paths. He's a great guy and I'm excited to be part of the Coyotes organization.

Q. Does your dad think that's ironic considering he is a former basketball player at BYU?
JEFF QUINNEY: No, I think it's exciting. He doesn't really care about what I have on my chest, I guess. But I think we're just excited to be -- to have that relationship. I mean, who knows where it's going to go from here, but it is going to grow into something big.

Q. What would you say you learned during your first year on TOUR?
JEFF QUINNEY: Probably one thing is just the courses, what courses I do like and don't like, so maybe I won't play some tournaments this year that didn't fit my eye. I played 29 events, which is probably too many, probably cut it down a couple this year, just be a little bit fresher. Every week is an awesome week, and it's hard to hit at home and see all these guys making money and you want to be out there, but at the same time you have to be fresh and be able to have more top finishes rather than just cuts made.

Q. Living here, how often do you get to play this course?
JEFF QUINNEY: You know, definitely this time of year, January and December, I try to come out and play a lot. But it plays so much different than the tournament does versus on a normal day. I play at the Golf Club of Scottsdale here locally, so that's where I do most of my practice.

Q. Can you assess the field for us? Obviously Tiger Woods isn't here, but there's a lot of other quality golfers here. How would you rank this field versus other tournaments?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think it's going to be strong. You've got all the top players here. I think everyone enjoys just the whole tournament itself. It's just unlike no other, 150,000 people on Saturday last year in the final group. It was amazing. Super Bowl weekend, who knows. Everyone is talking about it. It's just a great venue. It's kind of the first tournament of the year where we play on one course and we're not playing Pro-Ams and it kind of feels like the first real tournament of the year.

Q. When you were in college would you ever hang out at 16? Did you come out here at all during the Open?
JEFF QUINNEY: We worked, but I don't know necessarily hung out. If I wasn't playing on the mini-tours I was mad to come out here because I was mad that I wasn't playing. I wouldn't want to be around this scene. I haven't really been able to take part in the big parties they have here.

Q. Are you going to the Super Bowl?
JEFF QUINNEY: I don't think so. I don't have a ticket yet. Maybe last-minute if somebody offered me one, but I don't know if we can get down there in time. If we finish late Sunday it would be hard with traffic to get down there.

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