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November 14, 2009

George McNeill


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, George, thanks for joining us this afternoon. 3-under par, 69 today, included sort of a little bit of everything there on the Back 9, but you find yourself in a tie for the lead after 54 holes. Just a few general comments about your round and then go through your card.
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah. I felt like I played pretty well all day. I didn't start off that well with a nice quick hook in the woods to make bogey on the first, and then obviously I didn't finish the way I wanted, but that's golf, and I still have a chance tomorrow. Do you want me to go through my round?
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Yeah, if you could.
GEORGE McNEILL: Obviously, I just explained the first hole, and made five.
Couple good shots on the second, missed the short putt, but whatever. And then started getting a little more rhythm. The pace of play wasn't all that fast, so it was hard to get in a rhythm, but we started moving along probably about No. 5 or 6.
So birdies on the par-5, No. 4. And then kind of finished off, had a real good 5-iron on 9 to about two and a half, three feet to make a birdie there.
10, obviously you don't expect to make those putts, probably 40 feet or something, I don't know. But it went in for an eagle, and then birdied on the short hole, No. 13. And then another eagle on 14.
And I was just telling the guy outside, I said, I don't remember the last time I made two eagles in a round, so I was pretty excited about that one.
Finish off with 17 and 18, obviously not what I designed, but it happens, and we got 18 more to go tomorrow.

Q. What did you hit on those?
GEORGE McNEILL: All of them or just the two eagles?

Q. The bogeys.
GEORGE McNEILL: No. 10 I hit a 5-iron, actually, out of the left rough and ran it up on the front edge and made it. No. 14, I hit 5-wood, and honestly I have no idea how far I was. I knew I had like 250 to carry the front bunker and that's all I was really concerned about. So I had 5-wood.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Like 30 feet.
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah. I hit it really good.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: The thing that stands out here on the sheet is you had 25 putts today, so you had the putter going pretty good.
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah. I've had it going pretty good all week. Couple, like I said, a couple missed steps early on.
Missed I thought a makeable putt on 2, and then even on 3 I had a 25-footer and ran it 10 feet by and made it coming back, so once I got in a little rhythm on the greens and realized how quick they are, I felt a lot more comfortable.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Let's go with questions.

Q. George, looking if someone was to just look at the Back 9 scorecard, two eagles and a birdie in a five-hole stretch. Is it possible that a golfer -- I'm not saying you did, but is it possible that a golfer can get too happy or too exhilarated and that can affect his concentration on the subsequent holes? And the second part of that question has the difficulty gone up significantly on 16, 17 and 18 today?
GEORGE McNEILL: First part, I think so, yeah. Guys can get a little too excited and forget the whole cliche, stay in the moment and one shot at a time and all that. I think they get a little ahead of theirselves.
I didn't today. That's, I don't know, I try not to do that, try not to get too excited any time, especially on the golf course.
With regards to 16, 17 and 18, 16 was playing downwind and it's not as difficult as -- it's pretty wide-open area to drive it in. But 17 and 18 are probably as good as you want on TOUR.
And I compare it -- and actually I was talking to my caddie. He wasn't at Quail Hollow, but I compare it almost to those holes, 16, 17 and 18 at Quail Hollow, which are probably the best on TOUR, finishing holes. And that's about what we have here. It's all you want, and they're all just three straight-up par-4s, and they're right in front of you. There's nothing tricky about them, but you better gear up and get after it if you want to finish well.

Q. Just run through 17, what was the club in? And that was a nice bogey save you made there.
GEORGE McNEILL: On 17? Yeah, well, when I took a drop, I actually hit that same 5-wood again up and over the trees, and I had 117 yards and a sand wedge to, I don't know, whatever it was, 10 feet and made the putt.

Q. (Indiscernible).
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah. Dropped it on that front tee box.

Q. (Indiscernible).
GEORGE McNEILL: Actually, it was funny because Justin Rose walked up on the 18 tee, and he says, man, he says out of three guys making five, I think there's one guy that's actually happy about it. (Laughs).
And he was, yeah, I think he was right because Justin Leonard turned around and kind of gave him a look.
But yeah, I was pretty happy about making five there.

Q. The 5-iron on 10 from the rough 210 yards, did that jump on you or did you plan on it jumping out of there?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah. I planned on it running quite a bit. I had -- I don't know how far I had. Was that what I had? Okay.
Yeah, I think I had 203 or something to the front. So yeah, basically, no, it didn't jump, but I knew if I hit it hard enough and got it rolling, I had a chance to run it up at least maybe on the front edge, which it did, or just short and I had a pretty simple up-and-down.

Q. George, how good are you with sleeping on a lead or part of the lead on Saturday? It'll be a little extra tougher tonight because of the way you finished or can you forgive yourself right away and put it out of your mind?
GEORGE McNEILL: I've already forgot about it. Honestly, I wasn't nervous at all all day. I was just kind of going through the motions until I made two eagles, and I'm going, okay, it just got a lot more fun.
I think I'll be fine. I don't -- you know, it's just golf, and I'm from Florida, so I know how to play on this kind of grass, and that's what a lot of guys struggle on, Bermudagrass and chipping and putting. And it is kind of funny sometimes to chip out of this stuff, you get some squirrely lies.
But putting, obviously with 25 putts today, I feel pretty comfortable on the greens, so if I can give myself chances on the greens, I think I'll be all right.

Q. Just talk about the numbers game. You probably were only six guys within five shots when you were at 16, and now there's probably 10 guys within three. There's a lot more guys chasing you. Does that change anything for you or does it really matter?
GEORGE McNEILL: I don't think it really matters. They're not really chasing me. They're chasing however many are tied for the lead.
No, it doesn't really matter. If I go out and play my own game, I can't worry about what anybody else is doing.

Q. (Indiscernible). Are you surprised to be in a situation after 54 at Vegas?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, I was leading by five.

Q. You were up five?

Q. A little different?
GEORGE McNEILL: A little different, yeah. I think I would be happy with a five-shot lead right now, you know, but no, I think I'll be fine.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: All right. Well, good luck tomorrow. Thanks.
GEORGE McNEILL: Thank you all.

End of FastScripts

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