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February 2, 2010

Joshua Wooding


LAURA HILL: We'd like to welcome Joshua Wooding to the interview room. Joshua is the 2010 Northern Trust Open exemption recipient, so obviously playing in the event for the first time. It's the second year of that exemption.
I know you talked about this at media day, but talk about the experience here and what the opportunity to play here feels like for you.
JOSHUA WOODING: Certainly. It's been great. I remember coming down here on media day a couple weeks ago now, and I drove down with my dad, and driving in the gate brought back a lot of memories of being here in college, playing at USC, and then I was fortunate enough to have a membership here through the program my senior year.
So it just brought back a lot of comfort feelings driving in the gate and seeing everything here. So far it's been a great week so far. It's been wonderful just to soak it all up, so it's been great.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about how you got started and where, when and the background in golf?
JOSHUA WOODING: Sure. I started playing golf competitively when I was about eight years old. When I was young, my father took me to play all sports. I played roller hockey, baseball, basketball, and I kind of latched onto golf for a couple reasons. One, it was an individual sport so kind of everything was on me. I had 100 percent control. I could choose which player to go in and shoot the free throw and which play to pick, it was kind of all me.
I also liked the idea of not having any referees. It was kind of me and the course. That was kind of the thing with that. And then I just grew with the game and kept playing competitively through junior ranks and was able to get a golf scholarship, as well.

Q. How often do you figure you've played here, and what are your expectations this week given that you've got a few at-bats on this track?
JOSHUA WOODING: It's hard to say how many rounds I've played here, but I know our golf team plays here about once or twice a month my first three years, and then my senior year I had a membership, so most every weekend I was out here playing. It's hard to say how many rounds I've played.
But in terms of my expectations, I'm just trying really hard to look at this event like any other tournament and prepare like I would any other event. I don't have any expectations, or my expectations are not result oriented, they're process oriented, about me doing the best I can to stay in the moment and just soak it all in.

Q. I heard you had some injuries that you overcame. Are you able to overcome those, and how are you doing with it now?
JOSHUA WOODING: Yeah, I actually suffered a bilateral stress fracture at L2 in my back, and it was also a hip problem, as well, so I struggled with that starting about my sophomore year of college. Shortly after college I met Randall Hunt, who is the president and owner of Athletic Apex based out of Fort Worth, Texas. Their website is www.athleticapex.com. Got to check them out.
But really their main goal is getting the proper function and performance out of your body, so apex, your apex, your body performance. So what they do is they look your body over and look at any physical ailments that you have and they put you on a corrective program and you follow up with them every couple months. It's worked wonders for me, got me out of a lot of hip pain and even flipped the script for me and even let me look at my body from a performance aspect, so a lot of the things that I was working on with instructors for years and years and years, I was able to kind of see a method to the madness working with Randall and Athletic Apex.
So it's been a true honor and privilege to work with them, and they've contributed to a lot of my success certainly.

Q. Obviously everybody is acutely aware that Tiger is effectively the only guy with African-American roots playing in the big leagues or even the Nationwide Tour. Are you seeing any more of that, Hooters and Golden State, any other places that you've been playing along the way? Is there any indication that that's starting to turn around from what you've seen?
JOSHUA WOODING: Absolutely. Believe it or not, there's a small handful of us out there that have a lot of talent. The names of Kevin Hall and George Bradford and Tim O'Neal and Andy Walker, Vincent Johnson. There's a handful of guys out there that are of minority descent that really can play this game, but some opportunities and financial issues have kind of made it difficult for them to get their opportunities to play. But those guys are still scratching and clawing and fighting. As a collective group we'll get there, so we've got to keep working hard, keep our noses to the grindstone and we'll keep plugging along.

Q. You mentioned Vincent Johnson. He was the exemption last year. Has he given you any advice, or have you talked about the experience with him heading into this week?
JOSHUA WOODING: I have talked to him, actually. We had a conversation last year -- Vince and I are pretty close friends. We played in the same conference at the PAC-10, and we actually met when we were younger and we were on the first annual Tiger Woods National Foundation junior golf team that they hosted in San Diego down in Torrey Pines. That's where we met about age 14 or 15.
We stayed close through then, obviously in college, and then I called him last year and congratulated him on the exemption, told him maybe if he needed a pointer, the golf course is great, it'll suit your game, you'll play great. He did the same for me; I actually spoke with him on I believe it was Sunday evening. We're just a very close-knit group of guys, so he definitely is rooting for me, and I appreciate it.
Q. Any TOUR players that you either got to meet or say hi to today?
JOSHUA WOODING: There was a bunch of guys. I ran into Anthony Kim this morning on the putting green, which was cool. We had a history of playing junior golf together. He saw me and he kind of acted like he didn't recognize me, but he really did, so he eventually came over and said hello. I met Lee Janzen out there, and then also Michael Allen and Brad Faxon, a few other guys that are also clients of Athletic Apex. I met them yesterday and spent some time with them this morning at breakfast. All in all it's just been a great experience, so I'm just soaking it up.

Q. What's your year going to look like? Where are you going to play, and where are you right now?
JOSHUA WOODING: As of right now, my plans are to play a full season out on the NGA Hooters Tour and chase the Nationwide Monday Tour around and play some Mondays out there. I've played out there, finished 34th on the Money List so had a decent year, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there and continue to develop my craft. It's a lifelong mission out here to keep getting better so I'm looking forward to the opportunity this week and keep getting better each and every day.

Q. Have you seen the pairing sheet yet? Any idea who you're playing with?
JOSHUA WOODING: Yeah, I'm playing with Craig Bowden and Jeff Templeton. We're off No. 1 on Thursday and 10 on Friday, so looking forward to that.

Q. What does the 1913 symbolize? I saw it on your bag and on your shirt.
JOSHUA WOODING: 1913 is the year that my grandfather was born. I was named after him. That carries significance with that because my grandfather represents the first generation for my family that is free of slavery and share cropping, so it's kind of a thing that my brother and I started. My brother actually started when he was about five or six years old when he was playing competition roller hockey, so it's kind of our little token thing to give back to our grandfather and our heritage for working hard and pushing his children, my parents, to be able to get this opportunity to be able to play golf at a high level.
LAURA HILL: Best of luck this week. Hope to see you in here again.

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