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November 19, 2009

Chris Wood


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Chris, I think we all know you've had an involuntary three-week break because of your ankle injury but an impressive way to come back on Greg Norman's fabled mile, which you've reduced to four birdies, not a bad way to start the tournament.
CHRIS WOOD: Yes, I didn't really play that well the first sort of 14 holes, and you know, good finish can turn your day around like I did today. Obviously I've turned it into a really good score.
GORDON SIMPSON: How have you felt? I know you were here very early to get some practise in because you have not been competitive the last few weeks; how is the foot holding up?
CHRIS WOOD: Well, I played four days of nine holes, so today was my first 18 holes for sort of five weeks, really.
So you know, it started aching on the 15th tee, which is (laughter) where I made four birdies in a row. I'm pretty happy with the way I sort of recovered the last three or four weeks, as well. I've hit a lot of balls since I've been in Dubai, as well. I came out early last week. I did some good practise at the Els Club and came over here on the weekend, after sitting on my ass for three weeks.
GORDON SIMPSON: Presumably you are still getting fairly intensive treatment to get back to 100 per cent.
CHRIS WOOD: I was when I was at home for three weeks but since I've been here, I haven't done much. It's held up really well.

Q. What was wrong with the ankle, please?
CHRIS WOOD: I felt down a step in Castellon playing there after the first round on my way out to practise, and tore a ligament on the top of my foot.

Q. And rest was the only cure?
CHRIS WOOD: Yeah, I was on crutches for 2 1/2 weeks and was told not to do a thing. So I was pretty bored at that time.

Q. It was suggested that it would be a course that suited the big hitters; is it?
CHRIS WOOD: Definitely. With the size of the greens and the slopes all over the greens, it helps to go in with as short a club as you can. I think the first sort of 14 holes, I found myself out of position on the greens and made some really good two putts and I sort of kept my round going. And then the last four holes, you know, hit four shots really close and holed the putts.
So if you give yourself the chances, you're definitely going to make some birdies.

Q. So length off the tee is the key this week?
CHRIS WOOD: Yeah, I think so, because the fairways are pretty generous, and there's not that much rough out there. So if you can hit it out of there 300 yards, you're definitely helping yourself.

Q. One bogey, can you just tell us what happened there?
CHRIS WOOD: I had about a 50- -foot putt and putted it off the green. It was a slopey one, downgrain and just misjudged the grain and it was travelling when it went off the green but then got up-and-down.

Q. How do you explain the link between pain and performance? Why is it that if you feel an injury, you can suddenly put together the best golf of your round?
CHRIS WOOD: Felt fine, really since I've been here. So it was only the last few holes where it started aching, but it not really that much of an issue. Recovered really well when I was at home.

Q. I was just going to ask exactly the same question. But when you fell down the step, did you actually pull out of Castellon?
CHRIS WOOD: Yeah, I did.

Q. Were you writhing around in agony on the floor?
CHRIS WOOD: No, I actually went and practiced for a couple hours after I did it and then later in the evening, I couldn't touch the floor with it. So it was sort of late on the Thursday night where I sort of realised I wasn't going to play the next day.

Q. Were you worried you weren't going to be here at all?
CHRIS WOOD: Yeah, because the first person I saw who looked at it was a little bit concerned there might be a little fracture in there. He thought that might be sort of six to eight weeks out, which I would have comfortably missed this. So it's nice to be here.

Q. In your absence, lots of your ISM colleagues have been winning lots of tournaments. Is there any it element, I'm sure you're happy for them, but is there any friendly rivalry?
CHRIS WOOD: Well, not really. For me, I'm just looking to win sort of Rookie of the Year really. Everyone has their own agenda I think this week. I've got a little bit of a lead on Dinwoodie and Gareth Maybin, and I'm just sort of looking to see them off this week and sort of finish as high as I can. It's great to see sort of the guys you know winning all of the tournaments, yeah.

Q. Does it help, that picture of success, do you know what I mean, being part of a successful stable?
CHRIS WOOD: Yeah, you sort of look at the last sort of couple of months, anyway, since Simon Dyson sort of won his first tournament, guys from ISM I think have won probably over 50 per cent of the tournaments played.
Yeah, it great to be in such a good sort of group of players.

Q. How difficult do you view the last four holes, and what did you exactly do?
CHRIS WOOD: I just sort of -- my caddie, Dave, just sort of said to me, he thought the intensity that I was putting into my shots wasn't quite there. I really tried to focus in on my target the last four holes, and I've been working quite a lot on my swing. Probably got caught in thinking about that a little bit too much the first few holes.
Certainly the last four holes, I definitely sort of seemed to trust it a little bit more and letting the shot go, and it all worked out.
GORDON SIMPSON: Can you take us through the four holes?
CHRIS WOOD: 15, I hit driver and 70-yard pitch to six about feet.
16, I hit 7-iron to about eight feet behind the hole, which probably not many people will get closer than that. That was probably the toughest flag on the hole today.
17, I hit a little 8-iron to about eight feet.
And then 18, I hit a nice 3-wood off the tee, 5-iron into position and then a nice sort of sand wedge to about six feet and holed it as well.

Q. So not a fearsome stretch in your mind?
CHRIS WOOD: Well, today, I sort of coped with it pretty well. There's three more days to go. I'm sure if I can play it the way I did the last four holes today, I'll certainly give myself chances.

Q. And how big a deal is Rookie of the Year amongst you?
CHRIS WOOD: Well, I think everyone in their first year looks to win. I've certainly sort of been up there looking to win it all season. So be great to finish it off.

Q. Especially for BBC Northern Ireland, how vital is it having the most experienced caddie on the Tour?
CHRIS WOOD: We started at the French Open and I was actually first reserve for that and didn't manage to get into that. That was just before The Open and we did some really good -- we went over to the French Open hoping to get in, did some really good practise there and since then we have just sort of gelled really well. For me, that's so important to get on. And Dave, he just says the right thing when you want to hear it, and I think for me, that's sort of most of being a good caddie.

Q. We all know Rory has decided to take up his TOUR card in America next year. Is that a future ambition for you at all?
CHRIS WOOD: Well, at the moment I'm just trying to concentrate on my World Ranking and try and get into the Top-50 in the world and sort of push to play a little bit moreover there in all of the bigger tournaments. You know, once I've done that, then you'll sort of be in the position to sort of think about that.
But at the moment, I'm just looking to sort of climb into the Top-50 in the world.

Q. Will they let you in the country all right do you think? Did you not have a little bit of a problem getting in before the PGA?
CHRIS WOOD: Oh, it wasn't really -- I think it was made a little bit more than what it really was.

Q. Are you still known by most people as 'that bloke who finished fifth in two Opens,' and is it something you want to sort of lose, or is it something you revel in?
CHRIS WOOD: Not at all. I think a lot of players here would take the sort of results I've had in my first two Opens. So I've given myself a really good chance to win one, sort of half the chance in another. You know, a lot of players don't even hardly play in majors. For me, I've sort of taken the opportunities that I've gotten, really done well with it.
GORDON SIMPSON: Chris, great playing again today and good if you can for the rest of the week.

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