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July 11, 2009

Gonzalo Fernandez Castano


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks very much for coming in and joining us, as always, a fantastic round today, fantastic week for you. You started by saying to me the other day that Loch Lomond Golf Course was the closest to being in heaven for playing golf; I probably think you still feel that way where you are now.
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: Absolutely. I can't think of a better place in the world to play golf when the weather is like this, and Loch Lomond.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And you're playing very well obviously, and we were watching on the television, you were striking the ball superbly. You must be pleased with that aspect of the game.
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: I have to say, it's probably the best ever. I haven't struck the ball like this before. Unfortunately my putting wasn't as good, or I wasn't as confident, especially on the short putts. So I think I left a couple of shots out there today, but after a 64, I'm not going to complain.
SCOTT CROCKETT: So the rest of the field must be slightly worried if you're disappointed with a 64.
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: No, you they don't have to worry about it. You just have to see the names behind me right now, and it's quite scary.
But I love to be in that position and I've been there before, and I would like to be in contention on Sunday. So hopefully I can go out there tomorrow and play my best golf and play as good as I did today.

Q. Is this as good or better than you played in your three weeks in a row when you were second?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: From tee-to-green, I would say I've been hitting the ball very, very well this week. Probably better than those three seconds in a row. But as I said, my putting stroke right now is not as good as it was that week in Portugal or those two weeks in Asia.
So I don't know, I have to say, it's a funny game, because this morning on the driving range, I couldn't hit a shot. And then you go out there and you play the best golf of your life, so I mean, it's a funny sport.

Q. In China and in France, you played really, really well, do you think you are ready to grab the title of best Spaniard in the world yet?

Q. But do you think you are moving up a notch in terms of you are ready to take your place in the world?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: My game has improved quite a lot on the last year, and I think it got better. This is my fifth year on Tour. It got better every year, but this definitely has been a change on the last six or seven months. I think it all adds together. It has to be probably my caddie, Jeff, who is a Scotsman from Glasgow. We started working from August last year, and he has helped me a lot.
Also I've been making some new changes, I am still coached by Jose Carlos Gutiérrez, he's been my coach for a long time now, but Mariano Bartolomé, an Argentinean guy from the Jim McClean Academy has been helping me out, too. And of course the work I did earlier this year with Stan Utley, the putting guru, it's there.
Of course I have to keep working on it and I think all together, it's helping me to improve and go up in the World Rankings, which is my main goal. If you want to be the best player in the world, you have to be playing against the best and for that you need to be in the Top-50, play in a major and World Series and all those tournaments. I managed to sneak in just after Paul Casey's victory at Wentworth. It only lasted a couple of weeks, but hopefully after tomorrow I can get there and remain there for a while, like Alvaro did after his victory in Qatar.
But I think we have great talent in Spain starting with Sergio Garcia. What can I say about Miguel Angel Jiménez, you all know him very well, he is a hell of a player, he can win any player when his putting is good, and we still have Olazábal, hopefully he will recover soon and there are others coming. There's still a long way for me to be the leading Spaniard.

Q. You said this morning you could hardly hit a ball on the range. How does that happen, and what was your confidence like when you went on to the first tee?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: I knew it was there. I've been hitting the ball -- I've been hitting the ball very well lately. So I knew I could get back into rhythm on the course. It definitely wasn't there on the range this morning and all of a sudden you get to the first tee and it all goes the right way.

Q. What was happening on the range --
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: I think I hooked a 5-iron like 80 yards left of my target. My confidence wasn't really that good. I have to say yesterday I played poorly compared to what I've been doing on the last five days or so.
I got some bad news before my round, and I have to say I was thinking about something else. Unfortunately my dog got lost yesterday morning -- no, two days ago now, and when I called my wife just before the round, she was really sad, she was trying. And yesterday I had my mind somewhere else.
So I think I was very proud of what I did yesterday, finishing with three birdies on last five holes. I think that put me back in the tournament, and today I played very well. Maybe we can send a message here to the people in Marbella, if they find a black Shar-Pei, a female black Shar-Pei, they should call the telephone.

Q. What's her name?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: Petra. I need to phone back home soon to see if they have any news, but unfortunately they didn't know when I teed off this morning.

Q. You said earlier about the quality of players you have behind you at the moment, how much do you have to put that at the back of your mind tomorrow?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: When I go out there, I don't mind who I have in front. Last year, for example, I played in the last group with Michael Campbell and Lee west Westwood at the British Masters and I got the victory at the end. I like playing with good players.
As I said before, if you want to be the best, you have to play against the best, and if you look at the field, or at the guys who are in the Top-10 this week, they are the best players in the world, especially Kaymer, Westwood, Retief Goosen U.S. Open Champion. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's round.

Q. I don't wish to continue talking about distressing news --
SCOTT CROCKETT: But you're going to.

Q. But I'm going to do you have any reward for the dog?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: Probably. Not tomorrow's cheque, that's for sure. I don't know. But anything to see my wife happy and smiling again, so whatever it needs.

Q. Rather find the dog or win the tournament (laughter)?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: Believe it or not, I'm going to say find the dog. Find the dog.

Q. If your confidence was shaky on the range, how quickly did you find it on the course?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: I just went out there and tried to focus on my rhythm. I thought at the end, it's all about rhythm. When you have been striking the ball well, you know the swing is there somewhere. It's just a matter of coordination and rhythm.
So that's the only thing I was trying to do. And of course I was trying to hit a lot of fancy shots. I was doing those very well. So instead of trying all the shots, I stick to the ones that were working.

Q. How did you meet up with Mariano?
GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ-CASTAÑO: He's based in Miami in Jim McClean's academy there, but of course I've seen him on Tour many times. He used to coach Cabrera, but now coaches Romero and some other guys. McClean opened an academy in Madrid like three years ago now, and he's the director there. We started working together with Jose Carlos, the three of us, and I am really happy with the changes on my swing, and I can feel that it's coming all together and I'm becoming more of a solid player. I used to have more peaks and it was a bit of a roller coaster, and now I feel my game, it's more solid.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Gonzo, thank you very much and we will keep our fingers crossed for Petra, and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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