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May 2, 2008

George McNeill


Q. I guess we'll start with the bad part. That green mile isn't really a mile. It can feel like that sometimes, can't it?
GEORGE McNEILL: 16, 17, 18 I assume you're referring to? Yeah, it is. They're tough, and today, playing 16 and 17 straight into the wind, it's never easy. They're not easy without any wind, so it was tough, and I hit bad shots. I'm glad I just made at the worst a bogey.

Q. Let's talk about the first 15 holes because they were a whole lot more fun. You really got it going and really started out with the eagle at 5?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, I birdied 4 and then eagled 5, made -- I don't know, it was probably 50 or 60 feet, and just kind of got comfortable and was rolling the putter pretty well and just kept moving from there.

Q. You had an 8-under par round going, but it felt like it could even be better. You were spot on, hitting greens, weren't you?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, and as I said, I felt real comfortable with my game and the way I was swinging at it, the way I was putting at it. I misread a couple putts on the back nine, but I hit good ones, so I'm not displeased with my round at all.

Q. Has this been coming? Is this something you've been waiting to see or you've hit it well and haven't scored or just kind of a fluke?
GEORGE McNEILL: No, last week I started feeling something, and actually the week before at Hilton Head I started feeling something where I felt like my game was coming around, I just hadn't broken 70 in what felt like about three years. I'm just happy to get it in under that and get an under-par score two days in a row.

Q. So dinner is still going to taste okay even with those last holes?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, I'd say so.

Q. It wasn't the finish that you wanted, but the first 15, wow, what a day you were having.
GEORGE McNEILL: It was fun up until those last three, and 16 and 17 playing straight into the wind, 18 playing down win wasn't actually that tough, I just hit a poor tee shot. But it was fun. I felt real comfortable with the way I was hitting it, a lot of good swings, a lot of good putts, and I don't know, I was just kind of having fun out there.

Q. 19 of the top 25 in the world that are household names. Who is George McNeill?
GEORGE McNEILL: Hopefully it'll be a household name soon. I don't know, I've played well in the past, and I don't think I'm that big of a surprise.
It's a tough golf course, I really like the golf course. I even liked it last year. I don't know what I shot; I missed the cut.
It's a fun course to go around, you have a good time, and if you get it rolling, you can shoot good scores out there.

Q. The wind is picking up now as we're talking. How was the course today? Was the wind up when you were out there? It was obviously playing a little firmer and faster.
GEORGE McNEILL: It was. The greens were still receptive so you could take some chances with some iron shots, but it is starting to firm up. The wind was blowing pretty much all day. On the few holes where it really mattered, 16, 17, they were real tough finishing holes. And just to get out there -- it wasn't unplayable, but it'll be firm and fast over the weekend.

Q. I believe in your bio, club pro is only a couple years removed for you; is that correct? Does that help make days like today a little easier to just move quickly on?
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, I was a club pro for about six or seven months. It wasn't very long, but it was long enough to drive me back to playing the game competitively. I played the Nationwide Tour for one year in 2003. I was fully exempt but I played awful, lost my privileges and didn't have anything until last year.
So yeah, I always keep that in the back of my mind, and I know I don't ever want to have to do that again, so I keep that in the back of my mind and just keep plugging away out there and try and have fun.

Q. With the fact that you're going to be going off in later groups tomorrow, not in the last group but still later, how are you preparing yourself mentally once again for a golf course that will be firmer, faster, a few more spike marks on the greens?
GEORGE McNEILL: I'll probably just wait until tomorrow to think about it. I'm not really worried about it right now. I've played in the final group a few times, but I don't really think I'll do anything different. My game plan and my shot selection off the tee really won't change. I'll just try and keep doing that.

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