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September 24, 2008

Camilo Villegas


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Camilo Villegas, thank you for joining us. Playing in your second TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. You're fresh off your win. It's been a couple weeks now, but you're one of the last winners on the PGA TOUR at the BMW Championship. Maybe some comments about the last couple weeks. I'm sure it's been a fun time reflecting on that win.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, it has. It was a good feeling to get my first one in. I've been working hard for it.
And then to go back home and spend some time with my family and friends, that's awesome. I couldn't wait to get back home and just relax a little bit, even though there was not much relaxing. I can tell you there was a lot of things I had to do that week.
But it's nice. It's good for golf in Colombia, it's good for golf in South America, and that's what it's all about.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You're second in the FedExCup standings. Vijay has to play 72 holes to win the FedExCup, but you still have a lot to play for, not only financially, but also a big golf tournament possibly to win.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Of course. The TOUR Championship is always one of your goals at the beginning of the year. Being here is special. Having a chance to just put yourself in contention against 30 guys that have had a great year is a lot of fun, so I'm really looking forward in terms of FedExCup.
I'm glad I'm sitting in that position. I wish I could have had a chance to catch Vijay, but that's -- but Vijay won the first two, and that's what happens when you have a good year and then you go on and win the first two.
Anyway, I just focus on every shot. I'll try to have fun and keep riding the good momentum and the confidence I'm riding.

Q. Camilo, could you describe some of the things that you did while you were in Colombia, when you went home?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Media, media, media, and a little more media (laughter). No, it was great. I mean, I got there and there was a bunch of media there at the airport. I have no clue how they found out I was traveling that day, but you guys are pretty good at it, I guess.
So we did that, and just spent a little time with my family. I didn't even take my golf clubs there. I just had a nice week off and just rode my bicycle, which is my new thing. I love it.
And then headed back to Florida. Spent a week in Jupiter just trying to get ready for this week, and that was about it.

Q. Just as a follow-up to that, Colombia, like all South American countries, is soccer-mad, but how much media space did you get in the newspapers and how much attention was there on your win?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's been great. The media and the fans back home have been unbelievable. It's something new. They're still learning about the game, and that's obviously one of my goals. But it's fun to hear guys that have never watched a golf tournament, have never held a golf ball in their hand, to be talking about golf, to be watching a little golf, and to be rooting for -- in this case for me, which is a guy that's out here trying to represent them as good as I can.

Q. How big is golf in Colombia, and are you planning to make a tournament yourself at some point down there, or to support it in any case?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Of course. I mean, Colombia has given me so much good stuff that you've got to give back. We've got several plans, and we've just got to take it one step at a time. It's a process, just like it is when you get on TOUR and start to get better and better and accomplish your goals. I've got some goals in terms of giving back.
I already have -- I'm very attached to a foundation called MOMO. It's pretty cool, because we get a lot of kids from the streets that they're just sitting on the lights, they're just juggling balls and doing stuff just to get a little money and take home. Well, we've got a little place for them where they can go and get their food, they can get education, and they also have this art, how do you say, maybe performance or circus professors.
So they get a little bit of everything. We got a place where they get a little affection, they get education, they get food, and then they can also perform. They're doing some performance. That's what they're good at, and why not take them out of the streets, give them a good place to go to and have fun?

Q. You played so well in the FedExCup Playoffs. Do you wish you could have continued to play, or did you need the couple weeks off?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I'm flying to Japan on Monday, so I'll be playing next week. You've just got to balance your year. You've got to play when you think you need to play, and you've got to take some time when you think you need to take some time off.
You see the top guys, and they don't play too much for a reason: because it's tough out here. Every time you put yourself in contention you're just burning and burning energy, not only physically but mentally. So you start learning yourself and seeing what's good for you, what strategy, how many tournaments, where to play, where not to play.
And, yes, I've been playing pretty good, but there's going to be a point where you've got to shut off and just recharge to keep that momentum.

Q. We heard yesterday that Anthony Kim is working with his game, thinking of the time when Tiger comes back. Do you have similar thoughts about that?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: What was that? AK is what?

Q. He is working with his game to be prepared when Tiger returns. Do you have similar thoughts?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Let me tell you, I'm sure Tiger will be ready when he comes back (laughter).

Q. And you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I always try to be ready. I always try to prepare myself to play. I can't control what he does. I can't control what Phil, Vijay, Sergio, what they do and how much they practice or what they're doing. I can only control what I'm doing. I can only control my attitude, and I'll just keep working hard. Believe me, I'll keep working hard because that's why we're here.

Q. On that, what has it been like to play these last three months without Tiger being there week in and week out and everyone talking about Tiger? Is it bittersweet? Do you miss him, but also kind of glad that he's not around?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, we miss him. He's such a good individual for the game. I mean, he's -- this game has grown so much because of that guy, and we miss him. We sure miss him.
And, again, I'm sure he's going to be ready when he comes back.

Q. Also about Anthony Kim, I know you're also young as well, but he's 23. Talk about how impressive, what a great year he has had. You came on the scene last year. He's kind of been the guy this year.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: He's had a great year. He's a great player. He swings the golf club unbelievable, and I think he's very confident. So you put those things together, the outcome is a great player.
Actually funny, I saw him yesterday, and I told him, "Hey, listen, next time we're in contention coming down the line, don't make it so hard on me on the back nine." Because he did make it tough for me in St. Louis. But he challenged me, and I'm glad it was that way.

Q. Does his intensity impress you? I know you guys are all very competitive, but he kind of takes it, it seems, to the extreme, his intensity.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I don't really -- I don't think we're seeing the same in terms of his intensity. I think he is just a focused guy, and playing against Sergio, that was a good example. He didn't even know that he won the match. He's not thinking about winning the match but hitting great shot after great shot after great shot.
When any player out here is able to put himself in that situation and focus that much, that's when the great shots and the great golf comes.

Q. What do you think about the new 17th hole? They've changed it.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think it's great. I played it yesterday. I mean, having all that water there, why not use it? It definitely makes it a tougher hole.
The green is going to be very firm. It's going to be very tough to stop shots there, especially to that left side, because it runs a little bit away and toward the water. So it'll be interesting. It'll be interesting to see what happens, and I'm sure once the greens mature a little bit, they might get a little bit softer. It's a great hole.

Q. What changes would you make to the FedExCup system? This is year two. There's been a lot of talk about the points and what's fair and what is not fair. What would you change, if anything?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Oh, man, we can sit down here and talk forever (laughter). But I'm sure there are going to be some changes for next year. Let's don't even go there.

Q. You mentioned you're flying off to Japan on Monday. What's your schedule for the rest of the year?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, we're working on it still, but I'm playing the Shark Shootout, and I would love to play Tiger's tournament. Other than that, we're still working on it.

Q. Winning your first PGA TOUR title, obviously a crowning achievement, but what, for you, do you think has been the biggest difference in your game this year?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's a little bit of everything. Obviously my putting stats have improved, and maybe not my mechanics, but more my attitude in terms of that area of the game.
But I just feel like I've matured a little bit in every area. Obviously that's one of my goals every year. I'm a better player -- I was a better player the second year on TOUR than I was the first year, and I believe I'm a better player the third year than last year.
So hopefully I'm a better player next year than this year. I'm not a big fan of huge changes. I'm a big fan of tiny little changes and improving in tiny steps, and I think that's what I've done. Hopefully I can continue to do that.

Q. What does golf history and being in the place where Bobby Jones played and Walter Hagen played, and so on, mean to you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's special. Obviously those are guys that have set an example for the game and guys you look after. My goal is to look at all the great players and take a little something out of each player. And if I can do that, I'm going to become a better person. I'm going to become a better player. And, again, that's what it's all about.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Camilo Villegas, thank you. Good luck this week.

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