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February 18, 2010

Oliver Wilson


STEVE TODD: Oliver, congratulations today. A very long match, there, but you got there in the end.
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, it was a long day, like you said. Obviously delighted with the result, mainly relief, I think. But it was a tough day.
It's always going to be tough against Rory, and it's great for me. Even though he's only 19, he's a great player. It was a good day.
STEVE TODD: The third Englishman through today, as well.
OLIVER WILSON: That's good news. I think the Europeans -- I've only played Europeans today so far. I'm playing Luke tomorrow. It's a strange one, a little different than normal. World match play and you're playing Europeans all day.
STEVE TODD: You've played with five nationalities so far. Miguel yesterday and Rory today. It's been two tough matches.
OLIVER WILSON: Very tough. Yesterday was okay. I played good, and so I've always had the upper hand, but today I played good. And after 13, the par-5, I think, everything was looking good.
And then I just did the worst thing you can do, making double from the fairway on 14, and just let him straight back in. To give it straight back to him. He made bogey and won the hole, which is the last thing you want to do out there. You don't want to do that. Momentum was back with him. He drove the next, made birdie. And we're all square.
I had to give myself a good talking to. I was not happy. I was absolutely fuming with myself for doing that. I got my head-on, and played pretty solid down the stretch, and hit a good shot on 16. Got a little lucky on the wrong side of the slope -- 17, sorry. And 18, I had a chance. It was a tricky putt, I missed it, but nowhere near the hole, and Rory made a great one to keep it going.
So I felt -- I actually felt a little bit fortunate. It was -- every hole, each one of us kept having chances, and nobody was really taking them towards the end. And Rory had a great opportunity on the first, and it just lipped out. And it's only going to be so long before one of us is going to take the chance, and I managed to do that on the par-5. Standing on the tee, it was kind of in Rory's favor, par-5 into the wind, it was playing longer than it had done earlier in the week. But I managed to take advantage of it.

Q. You mentioned how many Europeans are in the field. Is it really just a matter of you play it more over in Europe, you play this particular format more, or is there a different mentality that you bring into this than maybe the Americans do?
OLIVER WILSON: I don't think so. We're brought up on it, but at this stage, I think there's pretty much nobody in the field that's not got experience in match play. For whatever reason is, I don't know, I know there's a lot of Europeans starting the week. And European golf is in a strong place right now. There's a lot of young talent and I think that's what it comes down to in the end.

Q. Talk about your second shot on that last hole. I know that you maybe weren't too happy with it, thought it might have gone into the crowd a little bit?
OLIVER WILSON: Well, no, it was all right. The place to miss that flag is short right, where I missed it. It was just the crowd -- the rope comes quite close to the edge of there, and it was pitching right on the edge of them. I just really didn't want anyone to get hit. But it was a decent shot.

Q. Did you see the shot? Did you know that you were fairly well set up?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, I saw it -- I watched it in the air and the wind was off to the right. That's where I was aiming down there, as well. If I miss it left you've got a very tough up-and-down. It's a tricky one. Do you go at it -- there's a ridge on the middle of that green, and if you hit the left side, you struggle in the right side, you can't get it up-and-down. I was obviously erring on the side of caution down the right, which was perfect. I hit it down there this morning. It was a little farther on than it was the first time around, but the lie was probably a little better. And I played the best shot I've played all week. It was absolutely perfect.

Q. Luke tomorrow. He's playing rather well. Have you ever played him before in match play?
OLIVER WILSON: I've never, ever played with Luke, ever.

Q. Never played with him even in stroke play?
OLIVER WILSON: No, no. I played nine hole practice round with him at the U.S. Open in, I don't know, 2007, something like that. But I've never played with him. I don't need to play with him to know he's going to be tough. He's very solid tee-to-green. He's relentless, pressure all the time. He's the type of person you don't want to play. It's always better to play someone who's probably going to make a few mistakes. I can't imagine Luke is going to do that. I know he's in good form. It will be a tough match, but I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Could you talk us through the 18th, from the fairway -- well, from the bunker, and just what turned into a classic match play situation, really?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, the tee shot, you start with the tee shot, really. It's all good for me, Rory bombs it out of the traps. And I was trying to thread it around, and hit a decent tee shot, but it went to the bunker. I had a good lie, decent -- it was close enough. It wasn't that close, but it was close enough to put a little bit of pressure on him. Just a three quarter 8-iron. But, yeah, it was close enough to putt. He knew he had to hit it close. He didn't hit a good shot. All of a sudden, it's completely changed from the tee shot. And he had a poor putt, I think it jumped a little bit actually. I don't know how long it was, but it must have been 50 foot up the hill, which is tough on these greens. You don't get to practice them, because you don't get them where the tee is.
So I think he left himself about, probably 12, 15 feet and I was just outside that. And on 18, on the first playoff hole, I had no idea on the green. I just couldn't see the line. I knew it was moving left-to-right, but I thought it was slightly downhill and I was struggling. My caddie picked the perfect line in the end, and I didn't go with it. So I hit a good putt, but then you kind of fingers crossed hoping Rory is not going to make it. You know he's good in those situations. And he hit a great putt from 12 feet, something like that, with quite a lot of break on it. It was down the first. We had a similar thing on the first. We both had good opportunities and I was fortunate to get out there.

Q. How well-known do you feel over here now? How much do you get recognized away from the course?
OLIVER WILSON: Well, not at all, really. I'm working on it. If I win this week it might change. But, I don't know, probably about the same as in Europe. I've got a little bit more background over here in the Amateur, in college, which obviously gets a lot of recognition over here. I think that helps. And I've been playing over here for the last few years and done reasonably well over here in the world events.
So things are improving. But, you know, end of the day it comes down to your golf. And I haven't put the results in that I need to over here yet. But like I say it's a work-in-progress and I'm getting closer.

Q. Before the event began, Lee was asked about the fact that there were nine Englishmen in the field. And he said he thought it was a staggering achievement, and you weren't getting the credit you deserved. And now the first three names through to tomorrow. Do you think he's got a point?
OLIVER WILSON: I think he's definitely got a point, yeah. I think we're only a small country, and to have nine guys in the event is fantastic. And not only nine in the top -- in the event, you know, you've got guys that are right in the top of the world. So it's a great achievement. And I think there's more guys that are just outside, as well, that are on the edge. And everyone is reasonably young, apart from Lee, Lee is getting on a little bit. But everyone else is pretty young. So it's a great achievement, and hopefully, I don't know what it will take, maybe it will take a Major or something for people to open their eyes, but we've got good opportunities at that. And fingers crossed, it's going to happen in the next year or so.

Q. How curious are you to hear what Tiger Woods has to address the world tomorrow?
OLIVER WILSON: I'll be on the course, so, I don't really care. It will be interesting, I'm sure. I'm sure everyone will enjoy being there. But I'd rather him be playing this week than listening to him in a press conference.
STEVE TODD: Thanks a lot, best of luck.

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