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January 21, 2010

Todd Hamilton


TODD HAMILTON: The weather hadn't been that great actually all over the U.S. Didn't really get to put in the work that I wanted to or had hoped to.
So I didn't expect a whole lot coming over here. It was a long trip to get over here for myself. I was more worried about getting too much sun than playing good golf. I think maybe that's why I had a good round today.

Q. Anything in particular please you about your own game?
TODD HAMILTON: You know what, I drove the ball pretty well today, missed a few drives but not bad. They were playable. When I didn't make a bad shot I was able to get up-and-down and I made some putts that I haven't been making, it seems like the last couple of years.
This is my first tournament. We had a stretch of about four or five days where most of the golf courses were shut down at home and that's as far south as Dallas. It was really cold. We had snow this Christmas in Dallas for the fourth time in the last 101 years. It was an oddity.
Again, maybe the time away from the game was good for me. I wasn't trying to cram everything in the last week and just kind of relax, and it was probably good that it happened.

Q. So you've taken full membership on the Tour, how much will you play?
TODD HAMILTON: I'm going to play at least 12, which is the minimum. One of those will obviously be the Open that I will play in, and I qualified through my finish last year in Augusta to play this year, so that will count. So there's two of the 12. I'm playing obviously this week, the next two weeks, so there's three more, so I have to play seven.
The problem with me is I don't have full status in the U.S. this year, so with those limited starts, hopefully I can get a few sponsors invites near where I live. There are a couple of events, Colonial and the Byron Nelson, but hopefully I'll get some extra sponsor invites to bad that number that I would get. But having said that, it's still going to be difficult to get enough points not playing a full schedule to get into the FedExCup. If that's the case, and I'm not in any of those, then I'll come over here. I'm not sure what your events are over here, September through mid October, or something like that.

Q. Difficult to regain your U.S. Tour card or maybe get your European Tour card up, as well?
TODD HAMILTON: I think one good thing about coming over here, is if I play well, my world rank can go up. I have no idea what it is now. It's not very good now, I know that, probably 300-something. But if I can get my world rank up, maybe get into some of those events, Bridgestone, what else, maybe U.S. Open, I'm not qualified for that yet, PGA, which would be great. And then if you happen to get in those and you do well, then your ranking goes really up.
So I look at it as a good opportunity. I played golf in Japan for 12 years. It was a good opportunity to make a living and it was a good opportunity to learn how to golf. I knew how to hit a drive. I knew how to hit an iron and how to putt and chip, but I don't know if I really understood how to play myself around a golf course. That was back a long, long time ago. Hopefully now I understand how to plot my way around, and as I said, I look at this as a good opportunity.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TODD HAMILTON: Not really, because I didn't play all that well. I think that having won the Open -- I've heard David Duval say this, too; that once he won that, it was like is that all there -- this sounds bad, but it didn't seem like it was as great of an accomplishment. I guess you dream of it as a kid so much, when it does happen, you dreamt of doing it; it didn't seem like it was that big a deal. I know that sounds bad.
You know, if you just -- let's say you don't pick up golf until you're in college, let's say, and you're talented enough, gifted enough that you can become a professional in five or six years. And then all of a sudden, you win a major or win a big event; then it's a big deal.
But I guess for myself, as a kid, I had that 10-footer to win the Masters or win the U.S. Open. It was never the British Open for some reason. It was always a big tournament, and I think dreaming about that all the time, while you're out playing, while you're out practising, once it does happen, if it happens, I guess you were supposed to do that because you thought you were going to do that all the time.

Q. How about that, more perspective looking back on it, does it start to become a much bigger achievement?
TODD HAMILTON: Oh, yeah, every time I watch a golf event or GOLF CHANNEL or something and I see the jug, I can know that, hey, my name is on that forever, at least until they change the band on it.

Q. What feeling do you have after winning it, does that account for perhaps not --
TODD HAMILTON: You know what, I did the same stuff after as far as practise and preparation that I did before. I can't explain it. I wish I could explain it. But I may be lost focus a little bit and maybe expected a little too much of myself after, but it may not have looked like it because I played poor golf during that five-year stretch of my exemption. I was trying all the time. Just frustrating, you get out there, when you're playing against the likes of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els and even some of the younger guys, Anthony Kim, Paul Casey, Poulter, those guys are good, and they want to do what you did. So they are trying just as hard if not harder than you, and I think sometimes I got in my way, maybe trying too hard and maybe expecting too much.

Q. You come home after those tournaments and you see the Claret Jug there, do you keep it somewhere prominent in the house? What did it say to you when you come in?
TODD HAMILTON: It is visible. It's right above the TV. I don't really glance at it, if I'm watching TV, I don't really look up and glance as it.

Q. What about after those tournaments if you were upset with the way you played, does it console you?
TODD HAMILTON: No, not really. I did watch the -- probably since I won, I've watched maybe the last nine holes of the tape on tape maybe three or four times. And a couple of times there's been no one in the house, so I put it in and I fast forward to parts that I know I did well and I turn the volume up.

Q. Have you played with Monty before?
TODD HAMILTON: I was telling my caddie I have a friend from Dallas, I had played with Monty I believe once in college, and I played with him at the Johnnie Walker in Phuket, Thailand one year. I couldn't tell you what year, and we played the American Express Championship in Atlanta one year. But other than that, I don't think we've -- for some reason those stand out. But yeah, I think he gets a bad rap.

Q. With the open at St. Andrews this year, would you be tempted to play the Scottish Open?
TODD HAMILTON: You know, the problem the week before in the States is we have a tournament that I grew up about an hour away. I would love to do it, just to get acclimated and just see some different style of golf. I heard it's a fantastic place. But unfortunately, even if my number doesn't get in there, I would hope I could get a sponsor invite. And I like the golf course there, too.

Q. Just going back to your feelings after winning the Open, Michael Campbell said after he won the U.S. Open, it was about a year later and he was struggling for form, he said he built it up in himself so much to win a major, he found out after he struggled to get after bed; would your experience being different?
TODD HAMILTON: I Mean, getting out of bed, because I'm almost 45 years old I think. No, I enjoy playing golf. It wasn't the same situation as him. I'll go home and I'll play golf with guys that are not very good, as long as they play fast, I enjoy playing golf.
Most guys when they have two or three weeks off, they may practise or play for a week. I'll probably practise or play for two weeks out of the three. And that's gotten -- it used to be where if it was three weeks, I may take one day off. I just enjoy being out, playing golf, telling stories with friends and whatever. Maybe I played too much during that stretch and practiced too much.

Q. When you're playing with your friends, are you playing for the trophy?
TODD HAMILTON: No, I would be giving too many shots. That wouldn't be fair. I have one guy in particular, we play Nassau, I have to give him five shots a side. He's okay, but he's long off the tee but he's kind of wild and his short game is iffy. I usually win three out of four times and we do it for $5 each. So 15th hole, once a guy owes a hundred dollars, then you payoff. Nobody paid off until somebody owes a hundred, so we have not paid off for three years probably.
Later that year at the Nedbank, we got paired together, maybe the third round in his home country.

Q. Are you still playing the bump-and-runs?
TODD HAMILTON: I still am, yeah, especially this time of year. Back home, the courses, the bermudagrass is all dormant and it's kind of wet and you really have to be very exact to chip. So I just bounce it around the ground.
You guy, guys were not using the rescues, they were doing 3-woods. Just good timing I think, right place at the right time. It's definitely not a shot, at least that length, you would practise. If I remember right, that was about ten yards off the front, I think the pin was on 21, so that was just shy of a hundred feet. You would never practise, unless you go in the clubhouse and you just kind of -- you would never sit and practise. Half that distance probably.
I think the most important thing about that shot is having the guts or the wherewithal to attempt it, because as I said, you never practise it. But I had good success with that club that week.

Q. Any memento of your achievements in your hometown?
TODD HAMILTON: In my hometown, you know what, I don't get back there much. I think there might be a sign outside. I think somebody donated some material, marble or granite or something, and they have got a sign outside the town. The golf course I grew up on was a small, nine-hole course and they have got the same thing. They have got a nice statute -- not really a statute but a sign, marble or rock or something.
And then somebody built a nice bench right on the first tee, and they lasered in, I think it was me holding, maybe even kissing the jug, and then it's got, I think it's the last hole of the playoff, it's like somebody took a picture from a blimp or a plane, and they lasered it in there.
Everybody sits on me, though, on that bench, can't win.

End of FastScripts

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