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July 12, 2008

Will MacKenzie


STEWART MOORE: Will Mackenzie, thanks for spending some minutes with us here in the interview room at the John Deere Classic. Up-and-down day for you today, entered the day with a two-shot lead, even par through nine holes, which to you must have felt like shooting a million, difficult double bogey on 10 but really brought it back with birdie on 15, dramatic eagle on 17 and now you're only one shot out.
WILL MACKENZIE: I'm happy in the position I'm in. I was really struggling there in the middle of my round. I hit it good early and didn't make anything, then I made a birdie at 5 and I felt like it was time to go off to the races. I was in between clubs on that par-3. I hit 3-iron, tried to sort of chip 3-iron from 225 or something. But it doesn't play quite that long, and I should have hit 4. I hit it over the back, and I was just -- I actually hit a decent chip down there and missed the putt. I wasn't real committed to that putt.
Then I had the big problem on 10, made dub there; that was just horrendous. I counted every shot, though; every shot on that seven I made. I couldn't get it in the hole any quicker.
I'm just one shot out of the lead. I knew I had a couple-shot lead going into the day. But I'm happy to be only one shot out. I know a lot of people are in there, but for me individually I've got a chance to win the golf tournament tomorrow, and that's all that matters.

Q. What happened on 10? Can you --
WILL MACKENZIE: I had -- I don't remember, I had like 300 yards to the front. I had like 260 to that water on the right, and I just didn't think I wanted to -- all of a sudden, it was blowing like literally 20 miles per hour in our face. I thought it was getting ready to storm for sure. I mean, Kenny and -- each guy hit 3-wood real hard up there, and I was the longest drive so I hit last. I just came out of it. It was blowing hard in out of the left, and it got up in the air and just sailed into the bushes. Maybe I got a little scared of hitting it left into those bunkers and just sort of came out of it, got a little mindless and just hit a -- paid the price. Where I had to drop, I had to drop on about a 30-degree angle, incline, dead into the wind, over that piece of pine into a dead wind. I hit 8-iron 165 on flat ground, so I mean, it was blowing that hard and my ball was going to go that hard, I tried to chip a little 8 and it knuckle-balled on me over the green and I was totally dead. Hit a great chip and a great putt and I missed it. I was like, this is miserable but whatever. There's birdie holes out here, I can get those back. Nobody was really running away with it. Kenny and Charlie and Ax, they're all playing well. But I knew nobody in the leaders was going to shoot real deep today. Somebody else was going to shoot deep like Jay Williamson did, a little bit back in the pack. That's what happens.

Q. Did it surprise you that nobody on top of the leaderboard had a great round?
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, a little bit. It started playing dicey out there. Some wind came up for a while, and there's a little tougher hole locations. Everybody plays a little tight when they're around the lead. I knew guys would shoot 3-, 4-under, but I didn't think anybody would shoot what Jay Williamson did. He was en fuego out there.

Q. Do you feel like you're still shaking off some rust from the knee injury?
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, definitely shaking off some rust. I don't feel like I've really played a lot this year. I did play ten events, then I had the knee surgery. But I wasn't playing the right way. I didn't have the normal swing thoughts. I was in between so many different swing thoughts.
So I think I'm definitely rusty, but I feel like I'm on the right path with my golf swing. My golf swing didn't really fail me out there today. My mind failed me a couple times, but my golf swing was really good all day. I drove it hard on 17, I drove it hard on 18. Those are -- you need to get in the fairway on those holes.

Q. Jay was in and talked about using the broom putter and he almost feels ambivalent about it, a little bit guilty about using it --
WILL MACKENZIE: He should (laughter). Just kidding.

Q. Could you ever see yourself going to a long putter? Or doesn't that seem like golf?
WILL MACKENZIE: I've played with the belly. If they're going to legalize it, if they're going to let us do that, then yeah, by all means you should do it. They should probably make it illegal, though. Except for the average guy at the local golf course, you know, the club is anchored to you so you don't have to get the little twinge in your hands. Have you ever heard of the yips? That's what we all hate; nobody wants that. I'm not saying Jay or anybody else that uses the long putter has it, but -- I don't know. I mean, I think it would be cool if they made it illegal.
Vijay used to putt with a belly, and he came back and putted pretty successfully with a shorty, usually go cross-handed or something or go with a claw. But it would be pretty cool if it was all the same. I don't know, it doesn't matter. It's good. I haven't putted with it before. From about five feet it's deadly. But I think it's almost a disadvantage from about 50 feet, and you have a lot of 50-footers. You don't stuff it all day. So I would rather putt with a shorty, but I think it's an advantage from short range.
So Jay was feeling it out obviously? Good for him. I didn't think he putted with that. Is that new?

Q. A couple weeks.
WILL MACKENZIE: Well, that's what happens. You get that thing in your hand -- I started putting with a claw, and I won. And then of course I left it (laughter). I felt a little guilty. It just feels a little weird. Everybody wants to go conventional and do it the old-fashioned way. That's what we all want to do. But we go through phases, and if you go out there and win a tournament or something with the long putter or the claw or the belly, you know, by all means, do it.

Q. Lift, clean and place today, good decision? What were your thoughts on that?
WILL MACKENZIE: I didn't really think we needed to do it. I mean, we were taking some big old -- you know what, I wasn't even looking at my golf ball. I was going like this, giving it to my caddie, honestly. I didn't really see how much mud I was picking up, but we were landing and plugging pretty well in the fairway, so I'm sure there would be some times.
Golf is -- I don't want to say it's unfair when you've got a chunk of mud. Do you know how much it affects the flight of the golf ball? If you really throw some mud on there that's caked on there and you hit a 7-iron, you can hit it 40 yards off-line. It can deflect the other way. That's no fun when you're on 18, you hit a great tee ball on the 72nd hole of the John Deere Classic and you've got a chunk of mud on the right side of your ball and you're tied for the lead, and you're like, I've got to aim this at the clubhouse, because this ball is about to go so far left into the pond (laughter). That's bogus. You've played so well. It's nice to have a little bit of a clean ball.
That being said, you're going to pick up a little bit of -- I mean, they make the decision. These guys are good. The rules officials are great here. We have the best rules officials in the world. They know when to play lift, clean and place. They play it fair and square out here. It's perfect.

Q. Talk about your mental approach for tomorrow now. You said today got a little squirrelly out there at times. How do you deal with the overnight, sitting on this overnight and then coming back tomorrow and getting zeroed in?
WILL MACKENZIE: I'm just going to do what I'm working on. I'm going to be ready to play and play one shot at a time, try to play one shot at a time, not worry about the score or the result because your run can happen anywhere. You can be 3-under through five holes easily out here, 4-under through five holes. You can go out there and play even par golf and birdie five out of the last six. You can do it, and all of a sudden go flying up the leaderboard. I just want to be free and committed. Be more free with the putter and more committed with every golf shot and more into my target. Like that last shot on 18, I mean, this is how bad I am. I mean, I hit this perfect drive up the right side, and I'm literally, like -- I saw about five different targets out there. Kenny and them just stuffed it. I'm like, get one target, bud, about 15, 18 feet right of the hole. And then I chili-dipped it out of the right, about 50 or 60 yards. I want to get a target and just let it go.

Q. How does the congestion on the leaderboard affect your approach at all?
WILL MACKENZIE: It doesn't. I mean, it's great. It is what it is. I'm going to play my own game, they're going to play their own game, and whoever shoots the lowest will win. I mean, it is what it is.

Q. What are you anticipating it's going to take tomorrow to win this?
WILL MACKENZIE: I'm not sure. I think y'all need to talk to Kenny. He needs to come in here.
I don't know, it'll probably be like 19 under. 19 under would probably be pretty good. But I'd like to shoot about 22 (laughter). I'd like to shoot 10-under tomorrow.

Q. You've got a little old lady sitting in central Iowa. She watches Tiger and Phil. Why should she watch you guys tomorrow if she doesn't know the names?
WILL MACKENZIE: Well, for one, this golf course is set up for a birdie barrage. If you don't like to watch people shoot 15-under through three rounds, that's pretty good stuff. Kenny Perry is one of the best players in the world right now. I want to watch him. When I'm home, I'm like, man, I'll watch Kenny "High-Bomb-Draw" Perry. If you look it up in the dictionary, "High-Bomb-Draw," Kenny Perry is sitting there (laughter). It's fun to watch.
You know, there is more to golf than Tiger, but Tiger drives this thing. He drives this thing, and I'm just thankful that I happen to be fortunate enough to be out here when he's out here, and we all need to count our blessings. But there's some good golf being played. There's some great golf being played. You know, there's more personality than you think, too, out there. There's plenty of guys with great personalities, fun dudes.
Okay, here's K.P.

End of FastScripts

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