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April 7, 2008

Drew Weaver


BILLY MORRIS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome. We're delighted to have Drew Weaver with us this afternoon. I'd like to remind everybody that all of these interviews are on tape now and will be broadcast through our facilities, so we are live on tape.
Drew Weaver, we are glad to have Drew Weaver. This is Drew's first Masters Tournament and as you all know in 2007, he won British Amateur played at Royal Lytham and St. Annes and became the first American in 28 years to accomplish that. He did that with his father, John, serving as his caddie, so that was great.
He led his collegiate team, Virginia Tech, to the 2007 ACC title. Drew is naturally left-handed but he plays right-handed, and he does a good job of it, too. So this is his first Masters, as I said, and Drew, welcome. We're delighted to have you here.
Why don't we just open the floor for questions, unless you have something you'd like to say.
DREW WEAVER: Questions are fine.
BILLY MORRIS: Go ahead, let's go to questions then.

Q. Your first time obviously you played here without any crowds; what was it like today? Was it more intimidating? What was going through your mind?
DREW WEAVER: It was definitely different. I played 13 practice rounds, and stepping on the first tee today was pretty awesome feeling. I was definitely nervous, as nervous as I've been in a long time, but it was great to finally get things underway. It was just an incredible day, we had a great time. Played with some really good guys, and playing with Johnson Wagner, who went to Virginia Tech, that kind of added to the specialness of the day.
Played with David Toms and K.J. Choi and they were really good guys to play with. Most of all, just taking it all in. In a Monday practice round, you know the golf course is going to change. It's going to get firmer. It was just really good to get out there and experience kind of a tournament feel.

Q. You mentioned Johnson Wagner. Can you kind of just sum up what it was like playing with him today, I'm sure that he's on cloud nine and kind of like yourself, wow, I'm actually here kind of emotions. Just tell us what it was like for him today.
DREW WEAVER: Well, Johnson, he's still running on adrenaline. Flew in last night from Houston and I think he got in around 1:00. I got a text message from him at one o'clock asking if he would join me today. He's soaking up every minute of it, and he's playing well, obviously, and it's just an added bonus for him to be here this week.
Like all of us, it's a lifelong dream, and I looked over at my coach today and said, "Did you ever think you would be watching this group in a Masters practice round." It's definitely a great experience and something that we'll carry with us forever.

Q. I know you've told the story before, but could you take us back to the horror of what happened at Virginia Tech a year ago, and as a follow to that, can a day go by for you where you don't think about that day?
DREW WEAVER: Well, last year, April 16th, I was in class at nine o'clock, accounting, class, and in there with one of my teammates, Matt Boyd. I guess around 9:30 we got an e-mail about the first shooting, and so that was obviously very disturbing, but we didn't really have a clue what was happening a hundred yards away.
So we heard a lot of sirens and got out of class around 9:45 and there was S.W.A.T. teams everywhere and it was kind of chaos. We didn't really know what was going on. We thought it was a bomb threat and heard the shots go off and it was a terrifying few seconds, probably five or six shots in a really short span and everyone pretty much freaked and ran as far as we could get away from the scene. We couldn't really tell where the shots were coming from. We had a general idea but we didn't know if they were coming towards us, just one of those natural instincts to kind of get as far away as possible and that's what we did. It was a group of about 50 of us from my class and we just ran all the way to the line and we were there for 3 1/2 hours or so.
You know, as far as is it something that I think about every day, I don't try to think about it obviously, but it does, you know -- I'd say it doesn't necessarily come into my thoughts every day, but it's definitely very frequent. Everywhere you go, people ask how the university is doing, and that's great. We appreciate all of the support but it is tough to re-live a lot of the memories, but overall the university is doing great today.

Q. When you wear the colors of Virginia Tech like you are today, over the last year, what kind of out of affection or emotions from people do you get when people see you?
DREW WEAVER: There's been an incredible amount of support. Just having something with the Virginia Tech logo instantly you get associated with April 16th, and it's very unfortunate. People, when they talk to you about it, it's always in a very supportive way, and they are very -- they share their condolences.
It's nice to have all of the support. We definitely needed it and we still do, even the one-year anniversary coming up.
I'd say it's not really tough. It's not something you dread -- I don't really dread talking about it. I'm fine with it. It's kind of something that you have to just, you know, realize that it's going to be with you forever and just kind of learn from it, and, you know, just take kind of a more positive approach and look on life. You've got to really appreciate the small things after being so close to something that bad.

Q. How far back does your relationship with Johnson go? I'm guessing that age-wise, it wouldn't have worked out that you were ever on a team at the same time, but where did you first meet Johnson and what are your relations like since then up to this point?
DREW WEAVER: I first met Johnson last summer, actually. I heard a lot about him and might have talked to him on the phone a couple of times, but first time in person was at the PGA TOUR event in Greensboro last summer. I wasn't playing, but I was over there kind of doing some things, and he was on the range, and finally got to go up and meet him.
And he's a great guy. I've hung out with him at a couple of football games and he's just a really good guy to be around. He's great to play with. He's got an incredible amount of game. The guy, he was an awesome college player, and he's obviously playing well as a pro. So he's just a really, really good guy to hang around, and I think he's doing what I want to be doing in five years down the road, and that's very neat to see somebody who is going through the same steps that I have to go through.

Q. Do you think having been through Augusta in the weekend, did that acclimate you to the experience you're going to be going through? I'm sure you felt the buzz Saturday and Sunday just in town.
DREW WEAVER: Kind of felt the buzz for about six or eight months. (Laughter) Been so much anticipation.
Last summer the British Open was great, and everything was moving so fast, my whole summer was a blur looking back at it. I didn't really have that much time to think about going to the British Open and playing in it but this is different. As soon as pretty much, you know, as soon as I got back, I started getting questions about the Masters, and it's just such an incredible week and I just can't believe -- I still can't believe that I'm actually a part of it and playing in it. Today definitely made me realize that I was here, and playing the practice round was just an incredible feeling.
You know, there's definitely been quite a bit of anticipation. It's been tough to focus. College golf was difficult. The spring with so much build-up and pretty much everybody you play with is constantly asking you, are you ready, what's the course like, how many times have you been there. But it's tough when you're out there trying to focus on a college golf round trying to help your team win.
So it's been a little bit of a challenge, but it's been great.

Q. How soon after winning British Amateur did you realize, that, hey, I'm coming to Augusta? (Laughter).
DREW WEAVER: Pretty quickly. (Laughter).
I won the match on the 17th hole, and it was a pretty big crowd and we are all kind of walking into the clubhouse for the trophy ceremony, and I kind of looked over at my parents, and said, "I'm playing in the Masters. This is crazy."
But, you know, I could say that, but it still really wouldn't hit me until I got the invitation and made my first trips down here. It was really special to drive down Magnolia Lane for that first time. I've just been so fortunate to be able to come down and practice and really just take it all in for what it's worth.

Q. I believe after British Amateur victory you dedicated that to the victims; how much did that inspire you?
DREW WEAVER: It's definitely an inspiring thing, to see how well our university bounced back from such a terrible event is inspiring to anyone, I would think.
You know, the things that were done by our athletic teams; our golf team went out and performed well at ACCs and won, and that was great. But you know, we've had so many other teams right after April 16th that went out and performed well and just all of the events that we had with the President speaking and just going to that and feeling the sense of togetherness, and you know, it's just such a bad loss, but you can never imagine how well we've rebounded.
It's just really powerful to be a part of that and to see, you know, how much support there is for one another on campus. It's really great.

Q. You indicated that you had played here 13 times before today. When did you start playing here; when did you get the invitation, and where are you staying this week?
DREW WEAVER: I got the invitation early December right after I got home from exams, so maybe the 10th of December or maybe a little after that. Made my first trip December 30th, right before New Year's, the weekend in between Christmas and New Year's I came down. You know, it's great.
Was there one more part to that question?

Q. Where are you staying?
DREW WEAVER: Where am I staying? In Crow's Nest. Crow's Nest is great, there's a lot of history up there and it's pretty cool to be a part of that. Pretty cool location, too. You can walk down to breakfast this morning. Wake up to hear the sound of the MO mowers and the smell of sausage in the kitchen, so definitely a great place to stay.

Q. Wondered if you were in a position today during the practice round of kind of being the little bit more of a veteran of playing at Augusta National than Johnson was; were you giving him pointers about hit it here and don't hit it here?
DREW WEAVER: Absolutely. I've played this golf course more than I've played any other golf course in the past four or five months. That's a huge benefit for me to come out here and just feel like I'm playing at home -- I mean, plus a couple thousand people. (Laughter).
It definitely helps, and Johnson had played here maybe 45 holes like four or five years ago, so he didn't remember much of the golf course. So it was good for me to say, you know, this green, the ball feeds this way, and a lot of different spots out there you really need to have local knowledge. For him to qualify yesterday was great, but it also is tough because he has pretty much zero preparation time and I've had time to think about it and read my yardage book and look at the notes I've taken.
I was glad to give him all of the thoughts I had on greens that I had when he asked for it, so it was great.

Q. Can you give an assessment of how you are playing right now, and what is a realistic goal for you here this week?
DREW WEAVER: I'm playing well. I had a very good fall, kind of continued on from the summer, and kind of caught a little bit of a lull in the early spring; the first few college events I struggled pretty bad.
I was struggling with gathering my thoughts and really having trouble focusing and thinking so much about the Masters and just other things that I really shouldn't have been thinking about as far as post-season honors and things like that. I put myself in good position for those and just ended up just thinking about them way too much, and my play really suffered. It kind of came to a point, we had a college tournament in Acon and played really bad and sat down with my coach and talked to my sports psychologist and realized that I needed to get back to square one and just clear my head and go play golf and have fun.
That was the thing; I wasn't having fun, and that was the turning point. The next event, I played -- kind of struggled the first round, second round was mediocre and last round six birdies, and I shot 68 in the final round yesterday in Augusta State's tournament and I feel like my game is good and I have a ton of support here this week. I have pretty much everyone I work with. I've got my swing coach on the bag and my sports psychologist is staying in our house all week and putting coach is coming up and my college coach is here for the whole week.
So any problem that I have, I think I have somebody to cover that. So I feel really good about my game, and as far as goals, you know, I'm not going to putt an expectation on it. I like to just go out and play my game one shot at a time and see where it takes me.
But I think a goal is to play smart golf on Thursday and Friday and make myself realize it's a tough golf course and the pins are going to be tough on Thursday and Friday. You see a lot of guys get impatient and make a bogey or two and end up blowing up. I want to stay patient because I know I have the game. I made quite a few birdies out there today, and just really want to stay patient and kind of just play smart and take the birdies when they come.

Q. What is your swing coach's and psychologist's name?
DREW WEAVER: Jim Brotherton, and Dr. Bob Winters is my sports psychologist.

Q. I know you've talked about what's gone on at Virginia Tech; do you plan on wearing the hat, the colors, this week, and if so, what kind of reaction do you think you'll get from the crowd supporting that?
DREW WEAVER: Yeah, one of the things that I talked with my parents and my coach and everybody about, and one of the things I really wanted to do, was to wear the Virginia Tech logo and I have pretty much everything that I will be wearing, shirts and hats, will have the logo on it.
Some things might be a different color but everything has the logo on it, so it's all representative of the university.
As far as the reaction that I get from that, it's always support. It's always really kind of a -- just a helpful feeling when you get people out there saying -- whether they are fellow Hokies or fans to support me, it's a great feeling and can't do anything but help me, so it's good.

Q. Why do you want to wear them?
DREW WEAVER: It's such a big part of my life. Virginia Tech is such a huge part of everything I do. I go to school there and it's basically my home now.
With everything that's happened, I'm more than happy to wear the logo and try to put a positive reputation for the university out there. It's something I definitely want to do.

Q. Were you aware that one of the kids that was killed was from this area?
DREW WEAVER: Yeah, he was a resident of Eisert and the dorm he lived in, he worked in the dorm 20 yards from where I lived my freshman year. Saw him around a lot. He was a very well-balanced guy. There were so many stories coming out of that, but I definitely do remember that guy who was just a wonderful, wonderful kid and had a lot going for him. I know that had to hit home down here.

Q. Does that give you even more incentive to do well, knowing that you're probably going to have some people that live here that are going to be rooting for you?
DREW WEAVER: Absolutely. It's always good to have a college to play for, and every time that I go out with Virginia Tech logo on my bag or my shirt or my hat, I'm going to be playing for all of our students and our faculty and everybody involved with the university.
Obviously those who passed on April 16 last year are going to be right in the forefront of who I'll be playing for, so it's something I definitely want to do.

Q. Last week your coach said that one of your toughest challenges for you on the golf course is controlling your emotions, your highs and your lows and you mentioned it earlier and you mentioned earlier just staying even keel. Do you think Thursday when you tee it up here, that will be your biggest test of managing highs and lows if there ever was one in golf?
DREW WEAVER: Definitely. That's always been an issue for me. It was in junior golf, and that's one of the reasons I started working with my sports psychologist. Dr. Bob has been a huge help. He really kind of turned my game around. I was struggling in junior golf and went and saw him and had a couple sessions and turned things right around and started playing great, and worked with him ever since.
He's been very instrumental and that's one of the main things we talked about is maintaining an even keel, like you said, and not getting too excited about a good shot and not getting too down on yourself when you hit a bad shot, because you're not going to hit all perfect shots.
Just take the result and live with it and move on to the next shot, so it's going to be very important.

Q. Could you tell us when you started playing golf, what club it was at and what got you interested in getting going in the sport?
DREW WEAVER: I would say it was around age five. High Point Country Club in my hometown, North Carolina, is where I started playing. I had my first lesson with my swing coach, probably age ten. My dad played and that was who really got me into golf, so I was out there messing around with him and hitting a few shots, but just really got hooked on it and just really game passionate about it.
So it's been fun.

Q. Do you believe your first tournament?
DREW WEAVER: Yeah, I do --

Q. That you won.
DREW WEAVER: Yeah, I think it was my first real tournament that I played in, it was the High Point junior and I think I started off birdie, eagle, birdie. (Laughter) I was 4-under through three and ended up playing pretty well and winning, so it was good.

Q. How old were you?
BILLY MORRIS: Drew, thank you very much, we're glad to have you here and we wish you the very best of luck this week.

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