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April 7, 2009

Camilo Villegas


RONALD TOWNSEND: Good afternoon. We would like to welcome Camilo Villegas here. He is a two-time winner in 2008, and had five additional Top-10s in 2008, and he has two Top-10s in 2009. He became the first player from Colombia to win when he won the BMW Championship. We invite your questions.

Q. This is your third Masters. Your thoughts on how your game suits the course and how much different it is, your views of it now, than when you first played here?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm excited about this year. I believe I'm a better player. I believe this year I am better prepared than my previous two appearances here. It's been a little cold this week, so we haven't had a chance to see the golf course too good.
But like I said, I've been here twice, and I kind of know my way around; at least I think I do. Looking forward.

Q. In what way, any aspect of your game, or in what way do you see yourself as a better player here?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Everything. From a mental standpoint, I'm a lot more patient. I know my game a lot better. It's just gaining experience. I mean, the game of golf, experience is huge and learning to -- learning what works for you is key.
So in the previous two years, I've got better in every little aspect, and therefore, I believe I'm a better player. I mean, I was a better player in '07 than '06, and in '08 than '07. We are trying to continue the trend.
This is my third time around here. I haven't played great my last two appearances. But you can't dwell on the past. You've just got to be excited and come here with a good attitude, and since I believe I'm a better player this year than I was last year, I'm look forward for a good week.

Q. How tough or how easy has it been for you to adapt to changing course conditions, the course changing through the week, as well as the weather; because you've had two particularly bad years of weather compared to the previous ones.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I lost you there. How tough has it been?

Q. How tough has it been for you to adapt to the changes in the course?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You mean in the last three years or this year or?

Q. As the course changes over the week, and as the weather changes, the winds come up, the winds die down.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Oh, yeah, you've got to be -- you've got to take what you get. Like I said, this year, the Monday, Tuesday, have been cold, windy and you've got to know you're probably going to play a different golf course come Thursday.
I remember my first time around here, putting Wednesday afternoon and then getting on the putting green Thursday morning, and I was like, whoa, the second you drop the balls on the green, it's just a lot firmer, a lot more -- it's more brown, and a lot quicker.
So we all know it's different. The golf course is totally different from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, to Thursday, and then come the weekend, it's going to be even harder. You've just got to be patient. You've just got to take it one step at a time and take what you get and just try to adapt.

Q. What are your memories, if any, of Tiger's win in '97 here?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I wasn't here. I was probably watching on TV. It was pretty impressive. I mean, Tiger has put some great performances not only in this tournament, but all over the world.
I mean, what can you say? He's the No. 1 player in the world. He obviously knows how to play this game the right way. He knows how to handle the things that go around him and around his life, and '97 was a special week for him here.

Q. Did you watch it on TV?

Q. Knowing that the course is going to be different Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, as compared to what it's been yesterday and today, how much of a disadvantage is that for the guys who haven't been here before and haven't played or who are not as experienced as most of the field?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I mean, I was a little shocked my first year; I could tell you that, from Wednesday to Thursday.
More than the way you feel out there or the way you have to hit shots; it's the way you react mentally. For me, it was like, wow, what am I going to do out there now? I just got on the first tee with a little doubt, with a little negative energy, and there's never good. Well, this year, I know it's probably going to be the same case in terms of the golf course changing, but I'm going to get on the first tee with a good attitude, and being positive and looking forward to having a good week.
For those guys that have not played here, I don't know. I don't know how they are going to react. They might react like I did my first year, or they might react in a good way. We are all different and we all handle those situations different. Again, I can only control what I do and focus on what I do this week.

Q. When you were growing up, did you specifically think about some day becoming a rival to Tiger, and what do you think about your future and present rivalry with Tiger now?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: My future and my present. Well, as a kid, you always have dreams. And I remember watching this tournament on TV many times. It was awesome; thinking I would love to be here playing.
But in my life, everything has been a very slow process. I played a lot of junior golf. I had a chance to represent my country. Then I went to the University of Florida and I was very focused on getting my degree, and everything happened slowly. Then I finally make a decision to turn pro, played my first year on the Nationwide, then I finally my second year, I get on the PGA TOUR. Everything has been like one step at a time.
Did I ever think, oh, I want to be Tiger's rival, this and that? Not really. I just try to look at the best players in the world and learn from them. If you can pick a little something from Arnold and Jack and Tiger and Pricey and Norman and all of those guys, you're going to become a better player; not only that, but a better person.
That's kind of the way I've been dealing with it. My present and my future rival with Tiger? I just don't see it like that, because I can't control what he does. I can only control what I do. So, again, just try to learn from the best, try to become a better player, try to improve, and if I can do that every year, I'll be just fine. I think I will accomplish a lot of my goals, and at the end of the day, I can look back and I will be a happy man.

Q. Not many players have gotten in practice rounds or practiced as much as they would like to given the weather. Are they going to have to cram it in tomorrow, and how might that affect preparation for Thursday?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Again, I can't talk for the other guys. I can only talk for myself. Fortunate enough, I've been here a couple of times, and I'm not too worried about am I going to get 36 holes, or maybe a number of holes.
Even if I have to come out here tomorrow and just walk the front nine and take a look at it, just re-live or have that little visualization process where you remember the little slopes and the little things; that's all it takes sometimes.
Like I said, the weather has been bad. Guys have not had a chance to play too many practice rounds. But it's been the same for everybody. We will all handle it different, and we will see. Hopefully I can get in nine, maybe 18 holes tomorrow, and be ready for Thursday.

Q. How many have you gotten in so far?

Q. You've got teenage guys out here that are getting a lot of attention; do you look at them and, not feel like an old man, but sort of like the Vanguard of a new generation or is this a newer generation?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: There are a lot of young guys playing great. It's awesome. It's great for the game.
Again, it all goes down to the same thing. I can't control what they do. I can't focus on them. I can only work hard for myself. I can only set my own goals. I can only work as hard as I can to accomplish them, and trust me, when you get on the golf course, nobody is thinking about you. They don't care about what you shoot, how you shoot it, or what happens. It's an individual sport, and you just have got to take care of your business.

Q. Have you set goals for yourself this week? What would be a success for you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Trust me, every guy that's out here and plays on the PGA TOUR every time they step up on the first tee Thursday, they want to win a golf tournament. For me to be here and tell you, oh, I want to make the cut and I want to do this or I want to do that, it would be lying. We all want to win this tournament. We all want to have that jacket and make history. But again, it's a process. You've got to take it one step at a time and you've got to be patient. Things have to kind of fall on your side, and that's why I just take it one shot at a time.
RONALD TOWNSEND: Thank you all, and thank you, Camilo, for being here, and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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