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February 10, 2010

Alex Prugh


ALEX PRUGH: I think my short game has gotten better and better, and therefore, it's just been able to let me score and whatnot, and whenever I do hit the green, I feel like I had a great birdie opportunity.
And my game has kind of evolved in the last three weeks where, you know, my ball-striking has not been as good, but my short game is getting better and better and I'm making more up-and-downs out of the most retarded places I can imagine where I shouldn't be, but you know, when you can do that, it feels like you can free up your ball-striking.
So hopefully my ball-striking gets a little better this week, and this is my first time here up in Monterey Peninsula area, and it's amazing here. I would definitely love to retire here some day.
DOUG MILNE: At the beginning of the year you obviously come out with a set of hopes, as far as your confidence level, did you plan to get off to this hot of a start? Was this part of your agenda or are you just taking it as it comes.
ALEX PRUGH: A little of both. You always want to get off to as good of a start as you can, or else you could not be competing out here. Every time you tee up, you always want to win and compete. Especially for me, being subject to reshuffles and categories and whatnot, not always getting into events, I think the better you can play early, the better it helps you out in the long run towards the middle and end of the year.
But at the same time, I totally expected to play this well. That's why I love the game and I love to compete.

Q. How familiar have you been with the course, coming into the Hope where you have to learn all of these courses really quickly, are you playing them for the first time in some cases?
ALEX PRUGH: Unless you consider Tiger Woods on Xbox from about 2005 to 2007, this is the first time I've seen all the courses. The only other course I've seen before is Torrey Pines South. I played Junior World there in 2002. But still, that's eight years ago.

Q. Inaudible.
ALEX PRUGH: After Sony, I didn't know I was going to be in the Hope. So I flew home to Vegas and didn't get down there until Monday afternoon, so I had Monday afternoon and Tuesday to see four courses.

Q. Did you try to see every one?
ALEX PRUGH: Fortunately they gave us golf carts, so I at least rode around in a golf cart. That's about it. Silver Rock I played but ironically that was the round I played the worst.

Q. So have you checked out Monterey Peninsula Country Club yet?
ALEX PRUGH: I walked around that one yesterday. I heard that one is the most straightforward of all of them. It's a great course. It's very beautiful out there and I'm actually excited to play it. I love that style of golf. Going to go play Spyglass today.

Q. A lot of rain so far.
ALEX PRUGH: There has been a lot of rain. Geez, I think, people think that I love playing in the rain because I went to school in the University of Washington in Seattle; no one loves to play in the rain. I mean, let's be honest. Everybody would love it to be 80 degrees and dead calm and perfectly sunny out.
But at the same time, I understand how to play in it. To me it's more of a mental thing than anything, and as long as you can get past that, stay dry and play golf shots.

Q. Can you talk a little about your background, pretty much your whole family plays golf; right?
ALEX PRUGH: Pretty much all except for my mom. But yeah, she's a USGA rules official, but she has not played at all. I think she owned a set of golf clubs once, but my dad sold them about a year later and she didn't know for another ten years.
My dad played. He's a head professional at Manito Country Club in Spokane, Washington. He's been head pro there for 30 years. Played for University of Oregon '72 to '76 with Peter Jacobsen and a couple other great guys. Actually the head green superintendent at Monterey Peninsula was one of my dad's roommates, so he's helping me out a little bit this week.
My brother and I both played college golf together at Washington. My sister played for Montana State. She does not play as much anymore. She's a lawyer. But as of right now my brother plays on mini-tours for a little bit and he is currently working for my dad as assistant pro. He's actually in Florida right now doing his level threes for the PGA program.
But I talked to him a ton and he helps me out a lot and actually he just -- his dream is to be out here, too, so he goes to Q-School every year.

Q. Who is caddying for you?
ALEX PRUGH: One of my former teammates/friend that I grew up with. His name is Zach Bixler.

Q. A little knowledge or experience of these courses?
ALEX PRUGH: No, he's about the same, as much as I do. But we have a system. We can get around and figure out courses pretty well. We are both very laid back, and you know, when it comes down to it, it's a game. We take it as that. It's supposed to be fun. We try the no to be too serious.

Q. Can you describe your system a little bit?
ALEX PRUGH: I mean, to us, as long as you know, since we have two sets of eyes, he's very involved in each shot that I hit. You don't have to spend hours and hours and hours out there, or at least we figured out. Because they have his two eyes out there and my two eyes, you know, you go around a golf course once, you're essentially getting two looks at it, whether you're playing it or not.
And we always figure, you know, when it comes down to it, if you have 151 yards, whether you've played the course or not, more than likely it's an 8-iron. It's pretty standard. Balls go a little different distances here and there, but you know, standard, all right, we got 254 to that bunker, probably should ease off this 3-wood a little bit. Distances are the same. It's just a matter of picking lines and honestly, a common theme, most courses, greens flow back to front. Pretty obvious, don't go long. We figured that one out a long time ago. There's not a whole lot of times where long is good.
So even if you have not played the course and whatnot, you we always err on the shorter side and maybe aim towards the certainty of the green more and rely on your putter to make some putts.

Q. Can you go through the names of family my members?
ALEX PRUGH: My Dad is Stephen, my mom is Susan and Hillary is my sister and Corey is my brother.

Q. Did you have a welcome-to-the-PGA-TOUR moment?
ALEX PRUGH: You're hitting golf balls right behind him and that's really PGA TOUR, you're sure you're not just messing around here -- not really. I was close to playing a practice round with Ernie Els. We were behind a couple of people who had a huge entourage that were rather slow, not going to name names, but basically went to the 10th tee. It was just one of those things, but I mean, he was super nice, there, too.

Q. (Inaudible.)
ALEX PRUGH: We had our tees in the ground and we stood on the first tee for about 15, 20 minutes while they were trying to figure out something in the fairway. We weren't going to deal with that all day. Almost got to play with him.

Q. Can you talk about holding a lead for the first time on the PGA TOUR?
ALEX PRUGH: That tournament is so weird in the fact that everything is so spread out. It doesn't even feel like you're playing the PGA TOUR, until the last round. There's four different golf courses. I mean, I definitely didn't think I was going to be in the lead going into the last round. If it wasn't for Bubba doubling his last hole, I wouldn't have been, he would have been two shots ahead of me.
But I don't think I even noticed it until pretty much the first tee and I'm like, oh, wait, I'm in the last group. Like what the heck is going on here?
So didn't really feel like we were in the last group, but no, it was very exciting. You know, I don't think I was nervous. Unfortunately I was 1-over par through my first seven holes, which might have been attributed to nerves. You know, minus one swing and a couple missed putts, I would have been 2- or 3-under and more in the thick of things.
But fortunately I turned it around on the eighth hole there and made birdie and made an eagle and finished with three birdies. But all in all, it was a great experience, just being in the final group, fortunately, Bubba and Bill Haas were two great guys, younger, and you know, we had a great time together. It didn't feel like you were in the final group but we just were chatting and cracking jokes all day.

Q. You've flown under the radar a bit as far as the big rookie coming into the year, this week we have Ishikawa; do you like kind of being a little under the radar unnoticed?
ALEX PRUGH: I'm not going to lie, I'm not a flashy guy. I've played with Ricky before. Just to show how flashy he is, he has six pairs of shoes and color-coordinates them with his outfit, which to each his own. Ricky has gotten a lot of publicity and attention. That's fine with me. I would rather let my golf talk for me. In the long run, that's what I'm out here for. I'm out here to compete, and hopefully make a bunch of birdies, and show the crowds a good time. But a lot of them do tend toward Ricky.
DOUG MILNE: Well, Alex, we sure appreciate your time and best of luck this week.

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