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March 18, 2008

Camilo Villegas


LAURA NEAL: Thanks so much for coming in. I know you're happy to be back at Doral. You had a good finish here in 2006. Just maybe talk about qualifying for this event for the first time, the CA Championship.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's nice to be in these type of events. I had a chance to play match play earlier this year. Obviously very excited to be here at Doral. After a very special week two years ago, hopefully we have a good week and we have fun and the crowds are the same as they were two years ago.

Q. What kind of internal pressure do you put on yourself to get a victory out here? Do you think you might be impatient sometimes, or do you say I'll just keep doing what I do, practice, preparation and playing in the tournament and let things happen? Or are you tough on yourself in this regard?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I am tough on myself, but I can tell there's no internal pressure or anything. I'm tough with the process, and I've just got to keep doing the same things. I've got to keep improving, and I've just got to get good targets and hit good shots.
The outcome, I can't control it. I can only control the process.

Q. What makes 18 such a difficult hole?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Just look at it (laughter). Left, water, long, left of the green, water. The green has a little angle where it makes it tricky, and just a tough hole, plus it blows. It blows hard there, and if it's into the wind or if it's coming from the left, you've just got to suck up and hit a good shot. Pick a good target, put an aggressive swing and hope it goes where you were aiming.

Q. What's your most vivid memory of two years ago? Anything stand out about this week?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Everything. I mean, it was such a special week. But I've got to say, the crowds. The crowds were unbelievable. They made me feel at home. It was fun to be there in contention. It was awesome to have fun and for them to have fun. Bottom line, I've just got to play good golf. That's what it's all about. But it was very special to have the crowds on my side like they were and supporting me the way they did. And it was loud, so it was a lot of fun.

Q. Have you felt that type of crowd support anywhere else on this TOUR, or has south Florida kind of been the most boisterous for you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I mean, we're in Miami (laughter). I mean, home is just around the corner, I can tell you that (laughter). It was loud, again, and there were a lot of people, and obviously I was playing good. Obviously Tiger was up there. Obviously Tiger won the tournament. What's new?
But obviously I've never had crowds like that before in terms of being on my side, being loud, enjoying my good shots and rooting for me. Once again, it was very special.

Q. Have you given any thought to how you will be mentally when you ever get the chance to play with Tiger on the weekend in contention at a significant tournament? Do you see things that other guys might do that you might do differently, or do you not make any distinction between playing with Tiger in the final round late or any other player?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'd love to play with him every time I have a chance. I had a chance at BMW last year. He shot 6-under, didn't miss a shot. I shot even, but I was proud of myself. I was proud of the way I handled myself, and it was a very good learning experience for me. The first thing I said, I was like, "Tiger, I hope it's the first of many." If you're playing with Tiger on the weekend, you're doing good.
If you enjoy playing with Tiger, that's a positive. If you look forward to playing with Tiger, that's a positive. And once again, I hope it's the first of many.

Q. What is the state of your game right now? What do you think about your game right now?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm feeling good. I feel great with my swing. I've been doing a lot of little mistakes, a lot of bogeys on my scorecard that shouldn't be bogeys. But a lot of great shots and a lot of birdies. It's just a matter of tweaking it just a little bit and avoiding those little mistakes and putting good numbers on the board.

Q. What are the types of little mistakes you're taking, all areas of the game?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Here and there. I mean, this year, first couple weeks, I just had some tweaky tee shots, and then last week I just wasn't very sharp with my chipping out of the rough. So it's just here and there. But again, they're little, but they cost. So it's a matter of tweaking a little bit and just posting good numbers.

Q. Last year you finished two shots under Tiger. We were wondering, what occurred that you feel maybe -- do you think about it? Is it something that haunted you or affected you in your current play?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: The question was asked am I a little negative in there, and my answer was there was no negative this week. Yes, I lost to Tiger Woods, my one. It was my first full year on TOUR, and some people see negatives. Other people like me don't, and I didn't see any negative that week. I'm looking forward for this week to having a good one -- just have a good one.

Q. How do you feel from 1 to 10 for this event this week?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Once again, I'm feeling good. I've been swinging nicely. I've been hitting a lot of great shots, and I just need to minimize those little mistakes that are costing me bogeys and therefore costing me posting good numbers. I'm feeling good. If I had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I'm feeling about a 9 with my swing, and my putting is nice. I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing.

Q. You had a chance last year at Honda. You played well there. Is it something about maybe the area, the grasses and the winds and the conditions that you like, also, in addition to the fan support?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I don't know. I have played good in Florida. It's funny, people say, yeah, you know what, I think this golf course is so good for you, that golf course is not good for you, and I just look at them all the same. You've just got to pick targets and hit shots.
Yes, I had a chance to play four years at Florida, University of Florida, where we had Bermuda, and maybe I just feel comfortable with the grass. Maybe you're right about it. But I don't really think too much about it.

Q. When you played with Tiger you learned something or it was a learning experience. What did you learn?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: What did I learn? It's a good question. Just everything. It's more than learning from him; it's learning things about me and how I'm going to react when I'm in those situations. Everybody knows it's a zoo out there. There are a million cameras, there's a million people, and they're there to watch Tiger.
So once again, you can either look at that in a good way or you can look at that in a bad way. I tried to look at it in a good way. I tried to feel comfortable. I tried to be more focused when people were moving, when people were talking, when people were just trying to get a good spot to see Tiger's next shot. And I just learned a lot about myself. I learned that I like to be in those situations. And very important, I learned that it's okay to play golf nervous. Everybody is going to be nervous. It's all about how much you're willing to be in that situation and how much you're willing to take the challenge.

Q. What's the latest assessment of Tim Tebo's game, and how often have you gotten to work with him or play with him, and does he have any potential?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think he's awesome, obviously. It was fun to play with DiMarco, obviously. DiMarco follows it big time, and playing the Merrill Lynch shootout, and wearing the jerseys down the 18th hole, it was very special. I don't have a chance to have too much contact with Tebo and the other guys. I just moved to Jupiter. I still follow Florida athletics, not like DiMarco, but I think he's going to be just fine. Obviously very talented, very strong athlete, and we'll see.

Q. How long is he hitting it off the tee?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I did watch him hit balls, and I can tell you that the first drive he hit, he killed it down the middle. He looked at me with a little, like, "What was that?" The next ones weren't as good. But good guy, strong athlete, and he'll be fine.

Q. Does he hit it 300?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Oh, for sure, when he catches it.

Q. You've got a lot of opportunities off the golf course your first year. How do you make sure that you don't lose your focus on the golf and get distracted by all the other opportunities you were given?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You've got to learn how to say no. It's a little tough out here to control your time. First year was a little hectic, but it was very positive, and we needed to do a lot of stuff, which we did.
Second year we kind of toned it down. We started to say no to things that showed up, and that was the right decision. I mean, bottom line, I've just got to play good golf.

Q. How do you feel right now in comparison with two years where you played so good? And what have you learned? And are you going to be able to win the tournament?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's a new year, past is past and I've got to focus on the present, stick to my routine. I'm feeling good. Obviously I've learned in the last two years a lot. Experience is important in this game, and I've just got to get good targets and hit good shots.

Q. Is Tiger beatable?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Tiger is No. 1. He will continue to be No. 1, but it's an honor to be playing in Tiger's era, just the challenge of getting better and just catching up and learning from him is a challenge. And I'm sure not only me but all the other players just look forward to playing Tiger, to compete against Tiger, hopefully beat Tiger. And is he beatable? Yes, I don't think he's going to win every tournament. Yes, he has, the last five (laughter), but if he wins every tournament this year, I guess the rest of us have got to quit. But I don't think it's going to happen. Golf is such a strong game. It's such deep fields. Once again, it's just fun to be playing against him.
LAURA NEAL: Camilo, thanks for coming in.

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