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May 1, 2009

George McNeill


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: George McNeill, thanks for joining us here after your second round at the Quail Hollow Championship. Two rounds in the 60s to start out. Maybe some opening comments, two good days for you. A lot of players still on the course, but you're definitely in contention heading into the weekend.
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, this is a little different than what I've been doing, fighting the cut line the last few weeks. But last year I actually had a pretty good first two days here and then gave it all back on Saturday and then had a good Sunday. But yeah, I'm happy to be in this position and we'll see what happens this year.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Maybe we could get a couple comments about your season so far.
GEORGE McNEILL: Good and bad, I guess. Good at Hawai'i and then bad the rest. No, just kidding.
It's been all right. I've been working on some things in all of my game, and they haven't really all shown up yet. But again, there's a lot of time left, but I see pieces of it here and there, and it's fun when it does happen right.

Q. What kind of things have you been changing in your game?
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, my putting. I haven't putted well all year, and so I got some help last week from a guy, from a friend, Kevin Weeks. He teaches Mark Wilson, and Mark won right after he got a lesson from him at Mayakoba. I've known Kevin for a long time. But he helped me out last week, and I putted better last week. It feels more comfortable this week, but again, it's not there yet. Obviously I see signs of improvement, and that's all we're looking for.

Q. Is it just in the stroke, or what exactly --
GEORGE McNEILL: A lot of it was my setup. My setup, basically my hands were too low. I had the toe in the air, and I was real handsy with my stroke, so I wasn't using my body, my shoulders, my chest like I should, so we changed my setup a little bit to where I'm not so handsy, and it allows me -- it almost frees up my stroke and allows me to release the club and not manufacture a stroke, just kind of let it happen naturally.

Q. You mentioned last year you gave it all back on Saturday. Can you think back to that day and what went wrong and how you can avoid that?
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, I know I didn't putt very well on Saturday, so again, this is stuff I've been working on for a while. I don't remember who I played with. I think I shot 76 on Saturday, but I think I three-putted five times. So that obviously will not help your score.
If I can avoid that this year, tomorrow, and also on Sunday -- but like I said, I feel a lot more comfortable with my putting, so I don't know, I'll just figure it out when I get there.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: As far as conditions out there, it looked like Zach was going to try to run away and hide. I think he bogeyed the last three holes, but talk about course conditions. There's been a lot of talk about not a lot of rough, but the as far as the course conditions, is it playing difficult?
GEORGE McNEILL: Not having rough makes it play a little easier, I think, just because if you hit it in the rough you can play out of it. But also, me personally, I'm getting a lot of fliers out of the rough. So you've got to play for it. If it's into the wind, if it's downwind, if you've got to carry a bunker, carry water, what have you, it makes it interesting. I personally like it that way. Anybody can hack it out of the rough and have a wedge in, and probably you'd see a lot more pars if the rough were up higher.
But with the greens firming up, the breezy conditions, especially this afternoon, what they're calling for, they're firming up and spiking up and everything else, it'll get fun.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could go over your scorecard quickly, three birdies on your front side starting on No. 10.
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, No. 10, made birdie my first hole, hit a driver and a 5-iron, laid up to a real good yardage, hit a wedge in there about four or five feet and made that.
12, hit a 5-wood off the tee, an 8-iron to about six feet. That was a really tough pin, and the wind is kind of swirling in there, but anyhow, made a good putt.
15, 3-wood off the tee, par-5, 3-wood just short of the green, chipped it to, I don't know, two inches.
I three-putted No. 1 for bogey, hit a good shot, just hit a bad putt.
5, par-5, hit a driver and a 5-iron to about 25 feet and two-putted for birdie.
7, hit a driver and a 3-iron on the green and two-putted for birdie.
8, hit a 3-wood to the right, hit a good lob shot over the bunker to about eight feet, made that for birdie.
And then 9, whatever, I made bogey.

Q. How do you go from the mentality of trying to make cuts to trying to win a golf tournament?
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, I think it just comes maybe with a little confidence, one. If you're not putting and not hitting it well every week, you're fighting to make cuts every week. When you start feeling a little more comfortable with everything in your game, then you can start thinking about winning.
Everybody says you should think about winning from day one, but you can't win on day one. You can lose on day one but you can't win. I'm trying to get a little more of that attitude versus just, okay, where am I, what's the cut, am I two ahead of the cut line, I've got four holes left, let me just try and make a couple pars. Instead now I'm trying to go, okay, I'm two inside the cut line, I need to make two or three more birdies and that moves me up even further and gives me a later tee time on Saturday and Sunday.

Q. Were you aware of where you were on the leaderboard today?
GEORGE McNEILL: Not until the last hole, not that that made me make bogey. It didn't, I just hit a bad shot. I wasn't really paying attention. I looked a couple times and I saw Zach Johnson at 10-under at one point, and like Joel said, I was just thinking he was going to run away with it and get to 11- or 12-under and then we're going to be chasing him. But obviously he came back, and here we all are.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: George McNeill, thank you, good luck this weekend.

End of FastScripts

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