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February 17, 2008

Jeff Quinney


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thanks, Jeff, for joining us for a few minutes at the media center in the Northern Trust Open. You put yourself in position, and I'm sure you learned a lot out there today and every time you get in that position, it's one more learning experience. You've got to be very proud of yourself.
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, it was quite a week. I've experienced a lot of up-and-downs. Hole-in-one this week and playing with Phil, the best player here, obviously, second best player in the world, and hanging with him all 36 holes on the weekend, I was pretty proud of myself.
Obviously not the end result, but second-place finish, kind of huge boost of confidence. Obviously I wanted to win but definitely think I'm going to get there soon and it's just a matter of when, not if, and I'm just going to keep moving forward.

Q. On the 14th tee, he had just taken the lead on 13 and then he put it in the bunker, and was that -- you had it past the pin there over the green; was that adrenaline or wind or what was it?
JEFF QUINNEY: I actually took one more club. You know, sometimes when I was hitting those so soft, I was hitting them so solid, they almost flattened through the wind and they were not landing very soft. I hit a 5-iron there and maybe should have hit a 6, kind of ballooned like it did on 17, John hit 5-iron right in front of me and we are pretty similar in length and his stopped and mine runs right through.
13 and 14, I thought I hit great irons in there and they both released. I was trying to lag it up on 13 and thought I hit a good putt and 14 was a pretty difficult lie in that kikuyu, you never know how it's going to come out of there. I had two right-to-left 8-footers that definitely, I'd like to have back, and missed them both low. Obviously just put a little too much pressure on the putter on the back nine.

Q. It said on the 13th hole, it was your first 3-putt in 215 holes. Can you talk about how well you've been putting lately, especially this week?
JEFF QUINNEY: That surprises me. It felt great going off that putter. It's tricky because you go uphill, downhill with the wind and the way it's sloping towards the ocean and I kind of miscalculated that maybe it was downhill the last ten feet.
Definitely the strength of my game when I'm putting well is when I core well, and obviously with everybody. But I can really get it going. And I made some great putts early in the round, or middle of the round that putt some heat on the field. I just felt great about everything today.

Q. You came back strong after that bogey on 3 to lead by one going into the back nine; what were your thoughts at that point?
JEFF QUINNEY: Just stick to my game plan. I was still hitting fairways. I was still playing well. You know, I thought about hitting driver off of 10. But we just didn't have the help I needed to get it there. I think that's definitely where the advantage Phil has having the extra length. He had iron into 17 and I had to get 3-wood off the tee because I'm basically trying to take that bunker out of play because I know I can't get there in two.
That's just an advantage that he kind of has over me is that length on 11, also, and it just puts that much more pressure on my wedge game and short game to keep up with his power.

Q. What was your line on 10? What were you trying to do?
JEFF QUINNEY: I was going right at the pin. It was a little in the breeze and it just stuck a little bit into that kikuyu fairway. It was right at it. I liked it in the air. But I made a great 4. Obviously that's a birdie hole but I hit it to right where I wanted, had a great number. Just didn't execute the shot but I was happy to balk away with 4 and made a good 30-, 40-footer on 11 to keep it going.

Q. Last year you had a great West Coast Swing and this year you played well, is it small consolation to know you pretty much wrapped up your card for this year?
JEFF QUINNEY: It's huge. I kind of knew that I was out of winning the tournament the last couple holes. I just wanted to make sure I didn't go something silly, and second place is a big check this week, so I know it secures my job and it's just going to give me that much more confidence the rest of the year.
I've learned a lot of those courses on the East Coast. I think that's part of the reason I have success out here. I've been on these courses and I've played Torrey Pines in junior golf and played these other ones a lot and now that I have experience out there for the rest of the year, my hopes are very big.

Q. You've been good in pressure situations a lot of times during your career, but you're talking about 36 holes out there with Phil in the last group, and the pressures and everything. What was the feeling like, and was it any different than you might have anticipated?
JEFF QUINNEY: I actually felt better than I thought I would. You know, I had not necessarily a hard time sleeping because I was so tired last night, but I was up early and kind of anxious to get going. I just wanted to get back in the ropes again. Once I get in there in the playing field, I feel great.
I was really impressed -- part of the reason I think is because I feel really comfortable on this course. Other courses where you don't, it might be different. It fits my eye so well and I drove it so good this week. That's part of the key to my game is I have this new Nickent driver and I've just been smoking it, I was hitting it up with Phil and past Rollins at times, and normally I wouldn't say that's my strength and I have this new driver I've been hitting really well.

Q. Golf is so different because you have no control over your opponent. I just wonder, you played -- yesterday you say you played with Tiger. Was there any danger of getting caught up with reputation with Phil or the fact that you knew him a little bit helped?
JEFF QUINNEY: I think there's always a danger, but I don't think I really gave him that power. I could see where he was human at times because I don't think he was quite on his A Game because he had missed a few shots here and there. You could see on 17 and 18 where he really took a rip at it, and I think that's his confidence swing and maybe when he knew he had it in the grass. But sometimes he was kind of shaping shots. That's the difference. He doesn't have to be at his best to win, and I think the rest of us do.

Q. Tiger, the same thing?
JEFF QUINNEY: Same thing with Tiger.

Q. You had to settle for a 2 on No. 6 today. What did Phil say to you? What did you guys say to each other when your shot finished?
JEFF QUINNEY: We were just kind of laughing. I said, "It's always hard to step up there and not have it enter your mind."
Same thing at the Hope this year. I almost made it the first time I played it. So it's right in the funnel there and I hit a 6-iron, one more club than yesterday. It would be interesting to see how close it went because I think it rolled short and past the role, to walk away that close, it was a big kick start to the round and got the momentum back on my side.

Q. Was it hard at all for you when Phil was up three already through five holes and playing well to be patient?
JEFF QUINNEY: Yeah, I mean, he snap-hooks it off No. 2 and bounces back in the fairway. Then he hits in the bunker and then he hits it to a foot. It's like he couldn't do any wrong to give me one, easy one. That told me I needed to go out and earn it; he wasn't going to give me anything easy. If he's going to miss the green, it's like a match-play situation. I was expecting him to make every putt or up-and-down. I wasn't expecting him to give me anything easy.

Q. Did you talk at all during the round, converse, or did you talk basketball or golf at all?
JEFF QUINNEY: We talked a little bit about golf and a lot about sports and basketball and football. Talked about our Suns and how we're probably both going to go to that Suns game against the Lakers, not together.
You know, it's great, because he's easy to play with. He keeps you at ease and he was complimenting me on how I've had a good year and just keep going. I think a lot of guys wouldn't do that.

Q. Did he say anything like: "I hope I lose in the first round so I can go to the game"? (Laughter)
JEFF QUINNEY: That's right. I didn't evenly think about that. It's a Wednesday night game, so he said he might drive up for it. I think that's why he was saying, probably drive up from Tucson.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can you go through your round?
JEFF QUINNEY: Disappointing par on 1. Just tells you how firm the greens were. I hit a hybrid in there pin-high just shot over the green, awkward lie, walked away with 5.
3, bogey, missed a short one there and about a 3-footer.
6, just started to get the momentum back. I hit a 6-iron to three feet and tough little downhill slider I made.
8, made birdie there, back right hole location and hit 9-iron to 20 feet. That one felt really good.
Then on 9, kind of a switch of events. I birdied there and he made bogey and that kind of flip-flopped kind of the momentum back on my side.
11, kind of disappointed, actually I was happy with four but disappointed up until then. I had to make a 25-footer for birdie.
Then the wheels kind of came off. 13, 3-putt. 14, hit over the green. Happy with the approach shot but just released to the back.
15 was about the only bad hole I played all day I thought. Hooked it and then hooked it again and had a bad lie. It's just a tough hole. I had a hybrid into that the last two days and it's a very long hole.
16, just kind of a poor wedge shot and a horrible 3-putt.
18, hit a great 7-iron in there and just nice to walk away with the 3.

Q. Terribly-phrased question here, but when did you give up? When did you know it was over?
JEFF QUINNEY: I guess on 17 after I 3-putted. I guess I if I would have made that, would have been down two going to the last, birdie/bogey situation, you never know.

Q. Had your tee shot gone in on 6, what celebration had you and your caddie planned for us? (Laughter)?
JEFF QUINNEY: We had kind of talked about it with my caddie. Definitely have to wait and see that.
Definitely going to get a little end zone back or some type of jump and turn to the side or soldier boy. But it was still fun to make one 6 of the two there, it's a tough hole.

Q. A 1 and a 2, it's like throwing out one day's round in a way.
JEFF QUINNEY: Just the way I played that hole and the way Phil played that hole, he makes 2 on top of me and hits an impossible spot today. I don't think there's anybody that would have got that up-and-down where he did and hit it to a tap-in. He hit in unbelievable spots and I can kind of learn and practice on my short game that much more to get that much better.

Q. When you got to ASU, how much did you hear about Mickelson, how much did you look up to what he had done and respect his record and so on through those years until you finally got to meet him?
JEFF QUINNEY: Well, definitely looked up to him. I remember being at the apartment and one of my roommates came back and said, "Hey, Phil was at the range today," and I was so mad I wasn't there to kind of be around and hang out. At the time you looked up to superstars like that. It's changed your life now that you're shoulder-to-shoulder and playing with them and trying to compete with them.
They have a great program at ASU. I think our whole starting five is out here this year, while I was out there with, Paul Casey and Matt Jones and Jim Park and Chez Reavie. We always played together. It's a great asset to have a lot of friends out here watching and rooting you on.

Q. You talked about how well you've played out here on the West Coast Swing. I know this isn't Torrey Pines but playing well here, does that give you more confidence here looking ahead to the U.S. Open?
JEFF QUINNEY: If I get in the field. I mean, I've got, basically, probably a win today would have got me in but my World Ranking is not high enough. I have to do the 36-hole qualifier. That's my No. 1 goal, go the to get into that tournament. I love that course and I think I would do well if I did.

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