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March 14, 2009

Nick Watney


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome Nick Watney here to the media center for the World Golf Championships CA Championship, and Nick, an exciting round today. I think you have to be pretty pleased with how things went.
NICK WATNEY: Yes, definitely pleased. I just wanted to go out there today and really get into my round and not worry too much about the scoreboard or playing against Phil directly.
So I'm pleased with the way I handled it.
CHRIS REIMER: You think you are leading the tournament in scrambling and you had some great up-and-downs and chipping today; are you going to come out with your own short-game video now? (Laughter).
NICK WATNEY: No, I don't think I'm on that level yet. But that's definitely been a point of concern for mine in the off-season, so it's nice to see it paying off a little bit.

Q. I asked Stewart Cink this a couple of weeks ago, and he had played Phil in The Match Play, and all you guys are coached by the same guy, and Butch goes, Ernie Els, and right on down; is it awkward for you?
NICK WATNEY: No, it's not awkward. I probably see Butch more than any out of his students because I live in Las Vegas. We kind of have an idea of what we are doing, and I know that when he comes out on the road, he is in demand. It's not awkward.
This morning, he was with Phil a little bit and he came and watched a few things, and just told me good luck. No, it was fine.

Q. Is it kind of flattering to you, he cut his roster down a little bit, and the other four are pretty prominent guys.
NICK WATNEY: Yeah, I'm definitely honored to be working with him. I talked a little yesterday about his wealth of knowledge, but he is, in my opinion, the best in the world, and I'm glad that I have him on my team.

Q. Yesterday you said something about you were looking forward to playing with Phil because you wanted to learn what you could from being paired with him, so what did you learn today?
NICK WATNEY: I learned a lot from him, but I think the biggest thing I learned was how in the present he stays and he hits a poor shot or whatever, and he may get -- react to it a little bit. But he's always looking forward to the next shot.
I was also impressed with -- obviously, he gets this kind of attention all the time, and he's able to stay focused. So those are the two biggest things.

Q. Obviously you've been in the winner's circle before, but did you feel any sort of pressure being in this kind of spotlight pairing with Phil in this big of a tournament, because if so, you responded so it pretty well.
NICK WATNEY: I mean, I don't think I felt pressure. I definitely wanted to do well.
But this is why I play. I mean, this is -- I think this is really fun and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. You said earlier that you tried today not to get involved directly head-to-head with Phil. How will you avoid that tomorrow when you are playing with him again and you're four shots up on everybody?
NICK WATNEY: Well, I think at some point, it will turn into -- if we stay out ahead, I think it will turn into a one-on-one situation.
But at this point with this kind of field, and four shots is not that many; so I think maybe three or four holes to go, and we're tied and we're four shots clear, I think then it will turn into a bit of a match-play thing.
But at this point, there are so many holes to play and so much can happen that I don't think it's match-play just yet.

Q. Your uncle said that he texted you last night and just said, "Remember, you had a better score than Phil the last time you guys were paired." And I think he did that because he was worried you might have that awe-factor. Was that helpful? Did he need to do that, and can you talk about that?
NICK WATNEY: Let's see, well, yeah, I mean, it was definitely helpful. I don't know how much bearing our last round had to do with this one, but yeah, it was a nice little reminder.
He's always texting me helpful things and has, you know, helped me since I was -- since I started playing the game. So yeah, it was nice to get that, and I think I'm just really excited to have another shot tomorrow.

Q. I can't remember whether it was your rookie year or not, but did you watch the shootout that Tiger and Phil had here, I want to say, was it 2005? You might have been on the cusp of turning pro or getting your feet wet out here; what did you think of that duel, and would you enjoy being involved with something like that tomorrow if you two guys pull away, separate yourselves?
NICK WATNEY: Yeah, it was my rookie year, and I did watch that. I would love to have that opportunity, just to come down the stretch. I mean, there's no greater feeling in the world than being nervous and pulling the shot off at the end.
Yeah, I would welcome that chance. I hope I can -- if I can stay in the present, maybe I'll get that shot tomorrow.
CHRIS REIMER: Any key shots in the round, any key momentum swings early or birdies?
NICK WATNEY: Well, I didn't birdie No. 1, but I birdied 2, 3 and 4, which was nice to get some momentum, especially No. 1, because it was downwind, so to make a par there was disappointing. That was big to kind of get the round going.
Another big shot was Phil hit it off the flagstick on 13, like tapping it in, and I made a really nice up-and-in from the left trap. I thought that I really needed to keep him in touch, keep him as close as I could, because he was having a nice little run there, and I wasn't making any birdies. So that was big for me.
CHRIS REIMER: You were bogey-free for so long; do you start thinking about that at all?
NICK WATNEY: A little bit. I knew it would come to an end at some point. (Laughter).

Q. What about that stance on 13?
NICK WATNEY: It was good and bad. It was good because -- it was bad, because I only had one foot in the bunker and I was in kind of a weird, awkward stance. But it was good because if I can just get it on the green, the way I was going to hit the ball, there was no way it was going to spin. So I had to just kind of chunk it on the green and it ran out nicely.

Q. Do you get any sense that more people are starting to recognize you as you continue to play so well?
NICK WATNEY: Yeah, I mean, a little bit. A little bit around here. I don't know if that will change next week, but playing with Phil, he kind of overshadows it a little bit. (Laughter).

Q. I've asked a couple of players, with the economy the way it is, no matter what happens tomorrow, you are going to win a significant amount of money; is there anything that you will go out and buy that people will then make that will help the economy? Jim Furyk said he needed some hurricane shutters and he might be in the market for those.
NICK WATNEY: Well, I don't think we are getting any hurricanes in Las Vegas.
I haven't really thought about it to be honest with you. That's not -- the money -- tomorrow, I'm not really thinking about the check.

Q. A new car?
NICK WATNEY: No, honestly, I'm not. I would love to get my hands on that trophy. That's why I'm playing.
CHRIS REIMER: Nick, thanks so much. Best of luck tomorrow.

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