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February 6, 2009

Camilo Villegas


DOUG MILNE: Camilo, thanks for joining us, another solid round today. You're really kind of distanced yourself from the field here at the Buick Invitational after round 2. Just a few comments on the day, obviously different course, a little different circumstances. How did your game hold up on the other course?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think I accomplished my goal. I looked at my caddie walking down the 10th fairway, it was just pouring, and I told him, listen, let's find a way to keep it around par and maybe somehow get it in the red numbers. We did get a little lucky with the rain and the forecast, but it was still playing tough, especially considering the fact that I only hit four fairways out there today. So I scrambled pretty good, and again, 2-under, I'm happy with it.

Q. Do you mind being the marked man after the first two days, clubhouse leader two days in a row? Are you comfortable in that position heading into the weekend being the guy everybody is looking at all four days?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, if you're playing good and you're in the lead, you guys want to talk with us, so it's just part of the job. I just see it as a routine. Do I really get excited when I walk in here? I do, because I've been playing good. But it's just a routine, part of the job, part of the game. So just come here, answer a couple questions and stay focused and go practice.

Q. I think XM Radio was talking about your back, you tweaked your back somehow. Did you do anything to your back?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's been fine, actually. Every once in a while it gets a little tight, but nothing too severe.

Q. How did you do it or what happened?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I mean, I love working out, I love just cycling, I love being in the gym, and I guess sometimes you can put a little strain on certain spots. Lower back is something that used to bother me. I got it a lot stronger, and it's a lot healthier. It feels a lot better. But maybe with the cold weather it's just tight a little bit toward the beginning of the round, but I'm feeling good today.

Q. What's the toughest part about playing this course in the conditions that you faced today?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Just be patient. Obviously you want to hit a lot of fairways and try to keep it as simple as you can. I did completely the opposite today, so then you've got to work hard, be creative, and get it up-and-down somehow, which I did.

Q. Does it force you to not take as many chances as you might have if the weather were better?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Maybe. You've definitely got to play to the thick part of the green, unless you have short irons or just good conditions, which we didn't. So you're probably right about that, just play smart and just remember that keeping it around par was always going to be a good score.

Q. How did you get into the cycling thing? I know that's been, what, about a year now. Who turned you on to that? How hard-core are you into it, and where do you ride, out on Jupiter Island, or where do you go to get some hills, that type of thing?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I went home a little bit less than a year ago, and one of my buddies goes, "Listen, I've got a bike for you, let's go up this mountain." I said, "I don't know if we're going to be able to do it, man." When I got up there, I said, I like this so much. I just turned around and said I'll get a bike next week when I get home, and that's exactly what I did. I got a bike in Jupiter and rode a couple times by myself, then I went to the shop and I asked the guys if there was a ride I could join. It was pretty challenging at the beginning, just a lot of triathletes, a lot of guys that do Ironman, so it was tough. It was a challenge. It was something that I was really looking forward, and I believe I've improved a lot. I really enjoy it, and I guess I'm hooked.

Q. Do you take one with you on the road at all ever?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Priorities first. When I'm on the road I like to try and find a gym, stay in shape, hop on a bike here and there, but it's about golf. This is what really makes me happy.

Q. You seemed to be missing some shots to the right today, fairway bunkers, 4 and 5, rough on 6 and 7. Is that something you've been working on on the range?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I can tell you I wasn't trying to hit it there. Just got a little tentative. I've been feeling pretty good hitting a fade off the tee, and it started as a little fade and started getting a little bigger and bigger throughout the round. Just get a little tense. Again, a little bad thought in your head here and there, and you just don't release the club head. I'll just go to the range and I'll just free it up, and I'm sure I'll be fine for tomorrow.

Q. How far do you guys go when you go on the rides with the group, the bike club or whatever?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It depends. We'll go from 40 to 100 miles.

Q. Like a Saturday thing?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: There is a ride Tuesday at 7:00, Thursday at 7:00, Saturday at 7:00, and Sunday is a good one, too.

Q. Will you do all four when you're home?

Q. Is there anything about those bike rides that translates over to your golf game that helps you out, or is it kind of separate and does it help you out?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Does it help me? I'm not really sure. Is it dangerous? Yes. Do I love it? Yes. Am I going to stop doing it? Probably not. It's a challenge, and I really enjoy the group I ride with. They're great guys, and it's just something different.

Q. Are you comfortable being in the lead, or would you rather be just a few shots off the lead? Some guys like being --
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think I'll take my spot rather than being three, four, five shots behind. Again, you've just got to put sort of things into the routine, like being here in the media room, like answering questions like the one you just asked, but it doesn't really matter. It's just a routine.

Q. What about the cycling clothes? Did that not strike you a little curious the first time you saw what those guys wear?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You know what, I've always loved watching the Tour de France. I was just never in it myself. I'm hooked, like I said. I love it.

Q. A little softer, a little slower out there. Does that play into your game, or would you rather have it dry and fast?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You've got to adjust. I've got to tell you it was a lot of fun playing the way the greens were during the pro-am, very firm and fast. But what can you do, man? It's the same for everybody, and you'd better enjoy it anyway it is.

Q. How competitive are these rides, and have you ever been in a full-fledged race?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I've never raced before. How competitive? Maybe a little more than you think.

Q. And that first ride that the guy took you on, where was that, the first one that you went on?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: There in Jupiter -- no, that was in Colombia. Last time I was home I had a chance to ride with Santiago Botero, the guy who has won three, four stages in Tour de France. We rode a couple times, and it's cool. It's just like when somebody amateur comes and plays golf with us. It's interesting, you hit shots that are not a reality for them. You go with a guy like this, and to hear the stories and his experiences and all this stuff, it's pretty cool.

Q. Was that up mountains, the first time?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, mountains in Colombia, flat in Florida. The bridges are the mountains in Florida (laughter).
DOUG MILNE: The Nationwide kicked off its 20th season yesterday. Manny is playing. Did you talk to him yesterday?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, I didn't talk with him. I tried to let him do his thing. I saw he shot 1-over the first round, and I did pull it up on the first tee and check his score. I saw he was 1-over through 9. Then I asked what happened with him, and unfortunately he didn't make the cut. He's a good guy, a great worker, and he'll be just fine.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind lastly, just run us through your birdies, give us some yardage and clubs.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Different scorecard than yesterday, huh? I started on 10, made a great par on 10. That hole was playing tough and long, hit 5-iron in.
But then on 11 we were on the up tee but I hit still 5-iron. I bounced it in the middle of the green, trickled it up there and I made 2. I looked at my caddie, and I said, you know, we've birdied every par-3 so far. He looks at me, and he said, "that's probably a record." I don't really care about it, but it was pretty neat to birdie that one.
Then I birdied 18. I hit a beautiful drive there. I had 258 where I wanted to pitch it, which was ten yards on, and I hit just a high cut 3-wood that landed perfect, and I two-putted that one.
Then I bogeyed 1, just a bad tee shot way right, left rough on the second shot, and I just didn't get it up-and-down.
Then on No. 6, I hit a drive that just drifted in the right rough but I only had a 5-iron with a decent lie. I managed to get it a couple yards short of the green and chip it up-and-down.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for your time, and best of luck this week.

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