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September 28, 2008

Camilo Villegas


LAURA NEAL: Thanks for coming in. Congratulations. You waited a while to get your first win, and now two come back-to-back. Talk about what it means to win these two playoff events.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It was crazy out there today, man. What a great week. What a great place. Man, I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of the way I've worked, I'm proud of the way I've battled, and I'm proud of the way I came back today after making double bogey on 6 and bogey on 7.
My caddie, Gary Matthews, looked at me straight in the eyes, and he goes, "You ain't going to give up on me. We can still do it." He was probably the only one believing that at that point.
Somehow that kind of got in my head and I came back with three straight birdies, and then I parred 11 and birdied 12 and 13. Man, it feels good.
After winning a couple weeks ago, I told myself I will do anything I need to do to keep putting myself in that position again, and I did just what I wanted. I gave myself a chance.
A little tough to play Sergio there in the playoff since we're such good friends, but I'm sure he was trying to win just like I was trying to win. That's the way this game goes. Man, it feels good.

Q. I know it's not about the money, but $4.26 million was your take-home pay for the day. That's going to be enough to get anybody's attention.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Winning, man. Winning is awesome (laughter.) Again, I've worked so hard. I'll take this chance, perfect chance, to just say thanks. Thanks to the team that's behind me. I can't do it as an individual. There's a lot of people behind. They've believed in me. They've supported me, and they've in some way motivated me to just put all those hours, to work hard.
I'll take a chance to just name some of them, especially my family. My family, I love you guys, and I wish I could be there tomorrow, but that's the way it goes. Got to work next week.
But yeah, Stanford. Stanford, man, they've been so unbelievable with me. What a great relationship. Colombian Coffee, CVS Caremark, Cobra. Man, they've put that equipment just right. Titleist and FootJoy, they're the best. Rolex, Red Bull, J. Lindeberg. Thanks again.
I'll keep working hard. I'll keep putting in all those hours. I'll keep challenging myself. You guys keep supporting me, and I'll hopefully take some smiles to you guys and some satisfaction.

Q. Which hole did your caddie give you the pep talk on?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I double bogeyed 6 after hitting it in the water, and then I bogeyed 7. Then he just looks at me, and he goes, "Come on, we can birdie the next three," and I did.
I don't know, but that 10th hole is a pretty tough one to birdie, and I bogeyed it the first three days. It bothered me a little bit, so I hit a great drive there and birdied 10 and just kind of got it going.

Q. I have two questions: I forgot the second one, so I'll start with the first one. On 17, I wonder if you could talk about the shot and what you saw the ball doing in the air and what you were hoping for.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Probably the shot of the tournament there. I can tell you, the way the hole is playing right now with that new green being so firm and having the pin where it was, my caddie and I figured out we were going to play to the middle of that green every day.
And when we got there, it was probably the right thing to do, too. He looks at me, and he goes, "Just go at that TV tower. Let's give ourselves a chance and make about a 25- or 30-footer coming down the hill."
Sometimes I'm a little stubborn, and I knew Sergio was doing great back there. I had a good number, a little funky lie, though. I wasn't sure if it was going to jump a little bit or not, but when my caddie, Gary Matthews, looked at me, he goes, "Trust it. It's not going to jump." I changed my target, looked straight at the pin, and went at it.
Again, I pretty much had to birdie that hole to give myself a great chance, and that's exactly what I did.

Q. Club and yardage?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Club and yardage, 7-iron; we figured it was playing 184 with the wind where I wanted to bounce it. Don't even ask me where the pin was. Eight on. I wanted to bounce it just about four on.

Q. Were you nervous about it in flight, or you knew it was good all the way?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, at this point -- I made solid contact with it, it came really nice and high, had a great line, but you just never know. Again, you've got eight yards there, water behind, bunker shot.
There's a great chance the ball is going to plug if it comes up short in that bunker, and a yard long and it's in the water. So it's just hit and beg. It happened to be just fine.

Q. Secondly, I wanted to ask you, when you started the day you're five shots behind. Did you have any thought in mind...
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yes, I knew it was possible.

Q. I knew it was possible, but did you have a score in mind that you needed to do? Did you have a hunch that maybe the leaders wouldn't go away from you, et cetera?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No. My main goal was to get to a good start, because if I get to a -- if I bogey one or two of the first three, four holes and Serg goes pars or makes a birdie, all of a sudden I'm, what, eight back? That's just a little tough to take mentally.
So I told myself, Come on. Let's get in this thing. Let's birdie two or three holes out of the gate. That's what I did. I birdied three or four, looked at the leaderboard, I believe I was only two or three back, and I said, I'm right in the middle of this, and that's the way this game goes. I knocked it in the water on 6 and then bogeyed 7.
But at that point, again, mentally you kind of shut down a little bit. But my caddie just looked straight at me, and he said, "Come on, man. We can do it." And came back nice and strong. It was very unbelievable. I was proud of myself, I was very proud of my caddie, and to come back that way and give myself a chance toward the last four or five holes was awesome.
That was just what I needed to do. Even though I made a couple mistakes there on 15 and 16, I came back strong on 17.

Q. Do you know if this was shown directly on Colombian television?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm sure it was.

Q. Did you already have some reaction from there?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No. I've had a reaction from the media here because that's all I've had time for so far. So, yes, I can't wait to get my phone, call my folks, and I'm sure it will be loaded with messages.
So to everybody back home, just have fun with it just like I did. I'm just trying to represent my country as good as I can.

Q. FedExCup question: Do you remember much about your Barclays tournament? You missed the cut by one, and...
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Don't even bring it out. That was enough by just -- go ahead (laughter.)

Q. All other things being equal, if you make the cut at that tournament and finish dead last among the guys that make the cut, you win 10 mil. Were there any...
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It was an expensive cut (smiling.)
Q. Do you remember, were there any shots on the back nine at that thing that now that I just dropped that on you, you're going to be going back going, oh, that three-putt on the last hole, or anything like that? I think you had one bogey on your back nine, no birdies, the second day.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: The only thing I can tell you is I was battling hard to make that cut. I had a good chance on that 16th hole to make a birdie putt that didn't drop in, and I can't even remember what I did on -- I think I parred 17 and then parred 18.
That's the way this game goes. It's just the way this game goes. If I knew that was the case, I don't know what I would have done different. But you've just got to be in the present.
And, again, FedExCup, it's great for the game. We need to get the points system better, and I'm not saying this because I finished second. I've been saying this since day one. I had a chance to sit down with the commissioner this Wednesday and share some ideas. I think he liked some of my ideas.
We just need to make it fun for the fans and fun for us. So FedEx has done a great job in putting all this together, and I'm sure the TOUR is grinding and trying to get it as good as they can.

Q. I know you said earlier that it was all about winning, but the fans who do follow this are sort of awestruck by the amount of money on the line. And even though the $10 million wasn't at stake, there still was a lot when you went to that playoff with Sergio. Does it not enter your mind at all, or is that why -- is that important to not let the money -- to not think about the money when you're in that position is this?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, you can look at it in two ways: You can just be grinding, or you can say, This putt costs a million bucks or this putt costs 1.5 or whatever it is. I have no clue.
So let me ask you the question: How are you going to feel more comfortable, when you're just thinking about the hole or when you're thinking about the money? I try to go with the first one and just stick with that hole.

Q. When you won in St. Louis, what was the most significant phone call you got? Did you get any from any figureheads in Colombia?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, all of them. Why single things out? I did talk with the vice president. He told me the president was very proud of me and he was very excited, and just thanks for representing the country the way I've been doing. Believe me, I'll continue to work hard and try to represent my country as good as I can.
Every call is special. To know that there's people behind there or back home just rooting for you, pulling for you, it just motivates me to keep working, keep working hard, and obviously talking with my folks was awesome.

Q. When you won in St. Louis pretty much it was your tournament all the way. This time you came from way back the last day. What's the difference in your mind?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: St. Louis was mine all the way? Yeah, that was so easy, so easy, especially when I was playing with AK there on the back nine and he's just sticking it about five feet every hole (smiling.)
Anyway, I'm playing the PGA TOUR, man, playing against the best players in the world. It's not easy out here. It's tough. The day you believe it's easy, it's going to come back and get you. It's a tough game and very tough competitors.
I can't control what other people do, I can only control what I do, and that's my main goal.

Q. Not so much easy, but just playing from the front for a good bit of the week as opposed to coming from behind like you did.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, sometimes it's harder to be in front. Those guys that are behind are just a little more eager and they just want to catch you somehow. But, yes, this week was unbelievable. Being five shots back, getting to a good start, hitting a little wall there on 6 and 7, playing some unbelievable golf the next day, seven or eight holes, and then giving myself a chance in the playoff, man, what can I say? Wow, it was pretty special.

Q. Are you ready to stop playing now? Are you sure you want the season to end? You looked like you've got it kind of figured out and got your mojo working.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yes, sports, they've got their cycles. They go up and down, but that's the way it is. I got the same question asked after I won in St. Louis. They asked me, Do you want to play the next week? I mean, you're playing so good, do you want to play the next week? And I said, No, I don't. It's a week off. That's what I know it's going to be.
I was a little drained after my first win, so it was awesome to have a chance to go back home, spend some time with my family, my friends. Didn't even take my golf clubs.
Then came back to Florida and just got ready for this week. You've got to recharge. You've got to have the right balance.
But again, I'm not done. I've still got to fly to Japan tomorrow and play there. I'm still trying to figure out the end-of-the-season schedule, but I'm sure I'll have two, three, four tournaments in there.
LAURA NEAL: Camilo, congrats. Thank you so much. Can we do birdies and bogeys real quick?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: 3rd hole, great drive. First day I hit that fairway, and it's only a flip sand wedge there about eight feet behind the hole; made it.
Then on 4, again, great drive. Then I had probably a 15-footer. Great putt. Nice and firm.
I guess I'll skip that double bogey on 6 where I hit it in the water.
My 58-degree on No. 3; my 53-degree on No. 4.
Then on No. 6, I snagged a 5-iron in the water. Gave myself a good bogey putt, about an eight-footer just sideways, and I missed it.
On 7, I drove it in the right bunker. Hit 7-iron out of the bunker, but it came out low and just on the left side of the green and just over the green. Pretty much dead. Just barely pushed my putter, my putt. It was about a 15-footer for par.
Then on No. 8, great drive. I hit my 53-degree, about a 15-, 16-footer; nice putt there.
Then on No. 9, I hit an unbelievable shot. It was one of those where I hit a beautiful drive. I was in between clubs, but I felt like I couldn't get there with my 3-iron. I had to play a very high, slicing 5-wood, and it bounced just on the front of the green and trickled there and two-putted for birdie.
10, I was a little bothered with that hole. I bogeyed it the first three days, and I finally changed my club selection off the tee. I grabbed a driver, and I tried to hit a little stinger out there, 7-iron on the green, and a beautiful putt. A long putt, about, I don't know, 25 feet, maybe a little bit more.
Then on 12, pin just in the front of the green. I hit 3-iron off the tee, 53-degree, pitched hit behind the hole, had a sideways putt, and it was one of those putts that I wasn't sure it was going to go in.
It kept trickling and trickling and trickling and pretty much went in the back of the hole. Last revolution it went in.
13, one of those you don't expect, but you kind of need them to win golf tournaments. Beautiful drive, 8-iron to the right side of the green where the pin was on the left side. How long was it? I have no clue. It was long.

Q. 40 feet I think is what ShotLink said.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Is that what it said, 40-footer? You don't make too many of those, but somehow it trickled in the middle.
16th hole, that was a lucky break. I can tell you that because I pushed my drive and it hit the tree and came back in the fairway. I was way back there. I was hitting 6-iron in, and I hit an unbelievable shot that I have no clue how it didn't get on the green.
It bounced just short and dead stopped. Then a very, very bad chip and a very, very bad putt. So bogey there.
And then 17, probably the shot of the tournament. That 7-iron from that first cut to that tough hole, to that tough pin. Final second I looked straight at the pin, and I said, I'm not going to the middle of the green, I'm going dead at it. It bounced perfect and the putt was just beautiful.
LAURA NEAL: Thank you.

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