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March 10, 2009

Camilo Villegas


CHRIS REIMER: First of all, we want to welcome Camilo Villegas to the press room here at the World Golf Championships CA Championship. Camilo, if you could, just start with some comments about returning to South Florida and what it's like to be here at Doral.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I always enjoy it here. Obviously great memories from 2006. Not very far from home, Colombia, a lot of Latin people, a lot of support, and excited to just give it my best.
CHRIS REIMER: You are returning here after a great finish to the 2008 season and a pretty good start so far this season. Talk about your play.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, 2008 was a great year. Accomplished a lot of my goals, and finishing the way I finished was very gratifying, but at the same time, it gives me one more reason to work hard, and to keep improving, keep challenging myself, and not only keep accomplishing goals, but hopefully dreams.

Q. What are your dreams?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'll keep those to me.

Q. With the Masters around the corner, what advice would you give to those players who are playing for the first time at Augusta?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, what advice can the guys who have played many times give to me; that's a better way of putting it. That's a tough track and needs a lot of knowledge. I've played there twice, and I'm very excited about going there for the third time, and hopefully have a good week.

Q. What did you say to Sergio that got him going last year, did you say a few words to him that, you should be better than you are?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, we are good friends and we try to help each other. It's the game of golf, and playing on the PGA TOUR is a lot harder than people think. It's like, you're here, and then you have so many things that surround you. And all of those things that surround you are trying to distract you in one way or the other, and so it's very easy to lose your focus.
It happens to all of us. And last year, again, as a friend, I thought Sergio was not playing as good as he should. He's an unbelievable player. We had a little chat, and just like he's come to me and told me little things. Again, we are good friends, and that's why we are here.

Q. I know last week, you talked a little bit about it, your cycling exploits these days. When did you start riding a bike in terms of the way you are doing it now, and can you give us just an example of how often you go and how far you go?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I had a good one this morning back home, and I had to make my way down here to talk with you guys. But I love it. I'm very hooked to it.
I mean, what can I say? It's just one more thing that motivates me and challenges myself, and it's a place where I can just forget about everything that's around and just pedal.

Q. Is it something you started doing in college back home?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, I started last year.

Q. Any reason in particular?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Good friend of mine back home, I was there for a week in Colombia, and he said, I've got a bike for you, we're going up this mountain. And we got to the top and I was hooked.
Came back to the States a week later. I purchased my first bike, and it's been a fun ride. I have a great group of guys that I ride with in Jupiter, and when I go home, I have another great group of guys.
I'll try to get three or four, maybe five rides on my weeks off, but had it comes to playing golf tournaments, priorities first, and unfortunately, cycling doesn't pay the bills.

Q. Are those rides 40 or 50 miles?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Depends. Goes from 30 or 40 to 100.

Q. Can you talk about how you prepare mentally for bigger tournaments like this one and the Masters?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: How do I prepare mentally, for bigger tournaments?
Well, again, the main thing in golf is, don't let all of the things that are around you be a distraction. And you've just got to be balanced. You've got to be balanced with your life. You've got to be balanced emotionally and you've got to be balanced in terms of how much golf you do, how much practice you do, how many tournaments you play.
And I've got my mental coach, and we just talk and chat and try to get ourselves in that nice balance, level comfort zone.

Q. Do you like being grouped in with the young guys, the future of the TOUR? What does that mean to you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Can you repeat that question?

Q. Do you like being known as the future of the TOUR, as part of the young guns, Rory, and some of the other guys who are out here?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Let me see, how to answer that one -- I don't mind it. But at the same time, I can only focus on myself. I've said it every time. I can only control what I do, and challenge myself. Does the media put me in that group? Great. I'm going to be known by more people and I'm going to be on more magazines, this and that.
Does it really matter from a golf standpoint? Does it really matter on how I perform on the golf course? I don't really think it does.
I believe I'm pretty good at setting my own goals, setting my own pace and trying to accomplish what I do. But it's part of the job. And I've said it the last three times I've been in front of you guys; I mean, this is part of the job. It's part of the routine. I have to come in here, I have to chat with you guys, but again, my main focus is trying to get that ball in the hole and play good golf.
SERGIO GARCIA: Can I join you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No. (Laughter).

Q. You had a rather interesting thing that happened to you at the Buick that I read a little bit about, regarding a woman in the gallery who had a pair of tweezers to help bail you out after you got in some cactus? Can you tell us what happened there?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: That's at the FBR, that's an old story. Let's talk about something new.

Q. Your thoughts on 16 here, and is that something that you would try to drive the green at No. 16 every day, or what conditions would prompt you to go for it?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I haven't played yet. I'm going to go play nine holes afterwards, and it all depends on obviously the firmness of the greens. Depends how much rough there is around the green. It definitely has to be blowing -- you need some wind helping to get it there.
It all depends on the conditions. We've seen guys hit it on the green and we've seen guys hit it on the bunker, and we will just try to make the best call when we get to the tee.

Q. You talked about before that you wanted to stay in balance and you talked to your mental coach about that; what are you doing to get in balance, any tools?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Tools, not really any drills or anything. We just chat.
The mental side of the game can be very complex, and it can be very simple. And we try to keep it as simple as possible. Sometimes it's tough to get in your head and get to that point I'm talking of being balanced and being fresh.
Other times, it's just having one little stupid thought, and that could be it. Again, we try to keep it simple and I just can't describe exactly what we do to get there.

Q. Do you think it's an advantage for a young player coming out that he has not had to deal with Tiger for ten or 12 years like other players?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: That was too quick for me. That was English or Spanish? (Laughter).

Q. Do you think the guys who are your age are at an advantage of not having been dealing with Tiger for ten or 12 years and maybe not as intimidated by him as the guys who have been beaten by him more regularly than you guys?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Not really. We watch. We watch him on TV play some pretty good golf, for ten or 12 years. No. 1 player in the world. Obviously very talented.
But again, we can't control what he does. We have just got to go out there, play some good golf, set our own goals, and try to accomplish them.
It was funny, I was on the phone this week with a radio interview from Colombia, and the first question was like, "Camilo, you are finally playing against Tiger again."
I said, "Guys, I believe it's like 80 players in the field." Again, we just have to take care of what we do, set our goals and accomplish them.

Q. You obviously are much stronger than you have ever been. Does hitting the ball with this strength and this body cause you to be further off-balance, or can you hit the ball harder and still balance with the difference in your body strength?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, if you look at my driving distance stats, I've been hitting shorter and shorter every year. As my coach, Buddy Alexander, said back in college, I don't know anybody that gets on TOUR and gets longer. The golf courses are tighter. We have got more rough. You have to put your ball in play. And even though I'm pretty focused on staying fit and being in shape, it's all about being in control and putting the ball in play and just comes down to just getting in the hole somehow.
CHRIS REIMER: Thank you.

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