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January 16, 2009

Tadd Fujikawa


DOUG MILNE: Tadd, a 71 yesterday, 69 today. Good enough; you're in. You're here for the weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Congratulations. I know you have probably a combination of nerves and excitement and everything else going on. If you would start off by telling us how you feel.
TADD FUJIKAWA: Really excited, to actually finish this round; the conditions were so tough out there. It was rainy off and on. I would rather have it rain the whole time rather than rain and then stop and rain and then stop. It was like that all day. It was windy and just wasn't very good golfing weather. I finally made it, and made the cut, and I'm very, very excited about it.

Q. Wonder if you could talk about the tee shots on 8 and 9, knowing you couldn't afford any mistakes at that point.
TADD FUJIKAWA: Right, on 8 -- well, actually on 6, I made a bad swing, and then my clubface was wet. I didn't clean it, and it was starting to drizzle and the ball kind of slid on the clubface and it almost went on the road. Luckily the wind was blowing right-to-left and I was safe. I made bogey.
And after that, I felt okay with my swing. That was kind of the only really bad swing I made for the past two days, and I've got my swing and I just needed to be confident and focus and I knew I could do it.

Q. What does it mean to you to finally make a PGA TOUR event as a pro?
TADD FUJIKAWA: It means a lot. I think Monday qualifying was a big confidence booster, and being able to play in Hawaii is just phenomenal. Making the cut is even better. I'm really happy that it was my first cut, here, in Hawaii, and at home, and I still have two more days to play, though. I need to stay focused and finish out the week.

Q. You had to pre-qualify, didn't you?

Q. When was that?
TADD FUJIKAWA: That was Sunday. Sunday, and then Monday. So I shot 76 in the pre qualifier.

Q. Nice going.

Q. That was good enough?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yeah, 82 made it.

Q. How many played?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I think 69. They took like Top-50. It was tough conditions. Actually over there, it was Kona wind on Sunday at Turtle Bay, and it was muddy. I hit 13 fairways and I think I had only one ball without mud on it. So it was tough the whole day.
You know, I think Monday, I really brought my game around. Worked maybe four hours on my putting on Sunday after the round, I putted really bad. And then Monday came, and I played really well.
I think I kind of brought that confidence into this week.

Q. Given your lack of confidence in maybe the weeks leading into it because of the up-and-down stuff, would it have been easy to get down on yourself after No. 1 on Thursday?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Oh, definitely. I think if it was a year ago, I probably wouldn't have shot as well as I did yesterday. After the first hole, it's really easy to get down on yourself after making double-bogey on the first hole.
You know, I just told myself, you can do it. Just play golf and be yourself. I was lucky enough to make a few putts yesterday, and I hit the ball a lot better today, so if I can put those two together, I'll be fine for tomorrow.

Q. From making the cut in Japan -- where else did you make the cut as a pro?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I made the cut two times in Japan, and then once in Hawaii.

Q. What's been the biggest paycheck you've received?
TADD FUJIKAWA: As a pro, I think $13,000.

Q. Do you feel less pressure going into the weekend than you did going into yesterday?

Q. So what is the goal at this point?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Oh, just play golf. Focus on every shot, and yeah, I just want to be myself. You know, like I said before, I tend to try too hard. I just need to let it go and just let everything take care of itself. I overly do it sometimes, and it doesn't go too well, so I just want to go out there. I have a lot of confidence and I've been playing well, and I've worked really hard. So just go out there and play and I'll be okay.

Q. I thought it was kind of interesting, they kept breaking, the telecast ended, but they kept breaking back to show every one of your shots down the stretch. It was almost like, I don't remember what time of the day you finished a couple of years ago, but Michelle --
TADD FUJIKAWA: I finished about the same time.

Q. It was treated as a big deal; or, at this point, do you feel like that's what you're supposed to do, if that makes any sense?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Honestly, it kind of feels like I'm supposed to do it. It feels, last year, or even the ending of last year, it would have been a big deal to me. But knowing that how hard I worked and knowing that I have played well recently, honestly, it's not -- I really don't think of it as a big deal.
It is, it's a good feeling, of course, but I'm just really happy that all of my hard work and all of the things that I've done with all of my coaches, my mom has helped me, is just slowly paying off and I'm very, very pleased to see that.

Q. I think maybe what I'm getting at is that it's been made a big deal that you've made the cut, and I kind of get a sense that your expectations are different.
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yeah, exactly. Like I said two years ago, it would have been my expectation kind of was to make the cut, but this year, I'm out there to win. I know I can do it, and I think what I've done with my game, and the improvements that I've made, it's just slowly creeping in, and hopefully by next year I can get my card and on my way.

Q. What's the best piece of advice somebody has given you over the last two years?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Probably just -- I've heard it a lot. You know, you hear it every day, and just be yourself and work hard and do your best and just go out there and play your game.
You know, I think I wasn't doing that last year. Of course, I was being myself and stuff, but I was trying too hard. I know I can do it. It's right in front of me for the taking, and it's hard to take it when you know you can do it, and then you're a few shots off here or you're a few shots off there. You're really close a lot of the time.
It's tough. It gets very, very discouraging. But I think knowing that I worked hard and knowing that I have a good base, I have a good team behind me, it just makes me a lot more confident in what I'm doing and where my career is going.

Q. Are you more proud of making it this year going through qualifying than you would have been last year if you had done it with an exemption?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yes, yes. You know, it feels awesome; to Monday qualify, and then make the cut. It's an awesome feeling.
You know, last year would have been nice, of course, but this year, it feels better, I can tell you that much.
I just really like being here and being in this atmosphere. The players this week have been so supportive. It's really unbelievable, honestly. I don't really know -- I mean, some of them I've never met before, but they have told me congratulations and great playing on getting in. It's a really good feeling to have the support of the players that you're actually competing against, supporting you and backing you up, it's awesome to see that and I'm very, very ecstatic about that.

Q. Do you think you stood a little taller in their eyes because you went through the qualifying?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Yes, I think so. I think the exemptions are good, and it's an easy way to get in for me, but the respect that I get from the other players and I guess the people, it's a little different when you Monday qualify to earn your way in.

Q. Has somebody said something to you about that is this?
TADD FUJIKAWA: Not really said, but that's kind of the vibe that I've gotten from the players. It's a good vibe, I really like it.

Q. So when you walked out here Thursday, did you feel like you really worked your way in and you belonged?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I did. It was an awesome feeling. Earning my way in and then making the cut is just even better.
DOUG MILNE: Real quick, you started with a birdie and ended with a birdie, if you would take us through the clubs and distance.
TADD FUJIKAWA: The first hole, I had like 48 or 49 yards to the pin, and I had just like a short pitch. It was a little downwind so it wasn't too bad. I had a pretty good lie in the first cut and I hit it three feet or so and made the putt. So it was a good way to start. I got off to a good start and that's kind of what I needed I think.
The last hole, I hit a really, really good drive, probably the best drive I hit all day, and couldn't have come at a better time. Second shot, I came out of it a little. I hit it pretty solid. Just kind of blocked it. Luckily it got on the green and then I almost made my eagle putt. I was pretty close, but.

Q. But you thought it was in?
TADD FUJIKAWA: I thought it was in, I really did. It was nice to end with a birdie. It should be good momentum going into tomorrow and Sunday.
DOUG MILNE: Great. Congratulations and thank you for coming in.

End of FastScripts

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