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January 27, 2010

Camilo Villegas


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much for coming and joining us. Welcome to Qatar for the first time. Give us your impressions. Have you had a chance to play the golf course?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I tried yesterday, but it was blowing like 40 I guess. You know what, excited to be here, great part of the world. Golf course is in good shape. The rough is up. It's going to be a challenge. The wind is up. I heard it's going to blow tomorrow very similar to today.
Yeah, you've got to be patient and take it one shot at a time but excited to be here in Doha and excited to play last week. They put a great golf tournament together and it's always great to be part of them.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You spoke before about your desire to be a world player, and this would fit the profile, as well, playing in a new destination, a new country, as well?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, you hear from some of the other guys, and this part of the world has some good comments coming from the players. And every time that happens, you want to experience it yourself.
So like I said, I had a chance to play the Dubai World Championship at the end of last year. I played last week in Abu Dhabi, and now here in Qatar, and I keep experiencing good stuff, good golf courses, good people, and great places, a lot of stuff going on, a lot of developing, very impressive, and once again, good tournaments being run.
So being part of it, it's nice.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thoughts on last week, you didn't challenge really at the top end, but it was pretty good, two 69s on the weekend, give us your thoughts on your game?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, you know what, I drove it nicely, and I hit my irons okay. But I just didn't quite get it in the hole. The greens were rolling perfect. The guys on the top of the leaderboard were making a bunch of putts and I was missing some putts that were crucial. First week of the year, you kind of don't really know exactly what to expect, and at the end of the day, positive stuff came out of last week and we'll get it going for the rest of the season.

Q. Are you playing in Dubai next week?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, I've got to go back home. I've got to start working. The PGA TOUR, I haven't played a tournament there this year, so we have to put a schedule together.

Q. You've played all three Gulf venues now what with the Dubai World Championship last year - do you have a favourite?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I will say I have enjoyed every single place I've been here. Great cultures, great people, great golf courses, great tournaments.

Q. What do you think of the new grooves?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I kind of like it. I've been playing with them since last year, just kind of -- when I say playing, more practising than playing. I put one of the wedges for Presidents Cup and then I put one following week, and then the Chevron, I played all of them.
So last week was my second tournament where I used them and we had a little more rough last week, and the greens, bermudagreens, which are firm, and you can definitely notice the lack of spin around the greens. Short-siding yourself was not the right place to be, but I enjoyed it.
I think the ball comes very consistent off the club. Before, you could get a really low spinner or really jumpy, and I quite like it.

Q. What score will win here do you think?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I've only played the golf course once, and getting ready to go play my second time. Who knows what the wind is going to do. I heard Quiros went crazy here last year -- what was the winning score? I don't know. I was actually talking with Kaymer last week after a practise round, and the winning score of Paul Casey the previous year of 21-under, and you're going, the golf course doesn't seem that easy. And then you look at the top last year and last week, it was like 15-under to finish Top-10, and 15-under to finish Top-10. That's pretty low.
So, yes, the golf course plays a little easier than it looks and it feels, but it's just a score. Who cares? You've just got to try to win a golf tournament, and try to put on a good show for the fans, and it's just a score.

Q. (What do you think accounts for the low scoring, the depth of the fields or the course)?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I think it's not just the players or the golf course. It's also the conditions and the weather. Definitely the depth of the field was very strong. The golf courses are in better and better shape. The greens last week were unbelievable. If you got it going, you could make a lot of putts.
And the wind didn't really blow very hard, except for Saturday. So that helps with the scoring being so low.

Q. What do you think of the rough here - apparently some players have complained it is too demanding?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, same thing for everybody I guess. You're going to feel it when you're on the greens with the wedges. Again, we have got bermudagreens. They are firm.
But, what do you mean by complaining? Yeah, guys might say the rough is too high, the rough is too high, but they are just saying it. Everybody has to play it. It's the same conditions for everybody. It's not like one guy is getting an advantage and the other one isn't. Just play golf.

Q. Does the rough change your game plan and increase your desire to keep it on the fairway?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I love the fairway, man. You've got to keep it there every time no matter how long the rough is.

Q. What is the difference between the PGA Tour and the European Tour?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I've said it a million times, growing up in Colombia and having a chance to show my country around the world, I always wanted to play golf around the world. I was very fortunate to go play in the States in college. I was very fortunate to play one year on the Nationwide, and get my card for the PGA TOUR. So that kind of puts you in one place, right.
But I always wanted to play around the world. So the next step was, I want to be Top-50 in the world, comfortably. If I'm Top-50 in the world, comfortably, I can set my schedule and try to play both tours. I can just expand the Camilo Villegas brand which comes attached with our sponsors that are not only based in the States, but around the world.
And then the world is too small nowadays to just focus on one spot, so again, life's too short. You've got to enjoy it. You've got to check different places, different cultures, different golf tournaments and just promote your brand and your sponsor's brand around the world.

Q. What is the difference in atmosphere and ambience between the two Tours?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, they put on great shows back in the States and they put on great shows here. In terms of -- I just feel like I have a little more time to myself here in Europe. The reason why is because those Tuesdays and Wednesdays are a little more chill and relaxed out there. You don't have the huge crowds asking for the autographs and that definitely makes the day go a little smoother. People have been very friendly, both in the States and here.
When you're travelling long distances, people don't go back home on Sunday. In the States, the tournament is over at 3.00, 4.00, 5.00, everybody jumps on a plane and they can sleep in their own bed, which is great. So here, I think that Sunday thing forces players to be a little more united and maybe go have a beer, go have a drink on Sunday and just travel to the next location on Monday.
So, yes, you might spend a little more time with players here, and definitely Tuesdays and Wednesdays are a little more chill. When I say that, I don't mean that the level is play is any easier. You just have to look at the World Rankings and there's unbelievable players playing The European Tour and unbelievable players playing back on the U.S. Tour.

Q. Is there a difference between course set up as well?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I played the Scottish Open, British Open, in China at World Golf Championships event, I played down in Australia, the Johnnie Walker. No, the golf courses have been very good. The conditions have been awesome. Maybe a little bit slower greens, but we all know that. We all know that The European Tour plays a little bit slower greens than the U.S. Tour, and you've just got to adjust.

Q. Anything you have learned about your game from playing our type of golf courses?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I sleep less, I tell you that. No, not really.

Q. Do you think the gap between the two Tours will be bridged in your career lifetime?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Who knows what can happen? U.S. Tour relies on X things and European Tour relies on Y things. They work a little different. PGA TOUR has some great benefits on one side. European Tour has some other great benefits on the other side.
So it's just different. It's different. What's going to happen? Who knows? It's just like two companies competing against each other, who is better and who is going to have more money and who is going to invest their money in a better place and who is going to run the business better. At the end of the day, that's probably the company that's going to be up top, so we'll find out.
Again, I feel very fortunate to be able to play on both tours, and I'll continue to do it until I feel like it's time to just work on other things in life.

Q. Goals for the year?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, we are always trying to have our best year ever, but you have to realise it's a process. When I think about setting goals, I just don't -- I try not to get ahead of myself. It's very simple. I mean, every January 1, I go, I've got to better. Come December 31, I want to be a better player, I want to be a better person, and if I can wake up every morning with a good attitude, trying to accomplish that, I'm going to accomplish all of those goals that come with them.
So that's why I just don't like talking about specific things. Yes, I do want to win tournaments? Of course. Do I want to win majors? Of course. That's where history is made. But you've got to focus more on the process than the outcome.

Q. Do you miss having Tiger out here are a rival?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I knew you guys would have to ask a Tiger question! No, yeah, we miss him, of course. Tiger is great for the game of golf. Just look what he's done for himself, for the golf, for all of us out here, and both he and Elin are going through tough times and hopefully things get better quick and he can be out here with us soon.

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