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February 25, 2010

Camilo Villegas


MARK WILLIAMS: Camilo, thanks for joining us in the interview room at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. First round 9-under par 62, which actually ties the low first-round score of the tournament. Obviously you're in great form. Just talk about your day out there today, please.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Obviously a pretty fun day. I mean, no bogeys. Any time you don't make bogeys, your lunch tastes good. And the chip-in there on the last hole makes lunch taste even better.
It was good. Great day. I drove the ball very nice except for the drive on the 9th hole, and just having fun out there. I mean, I've just got to keep doing the same thing. Last week was a fun week. I've had a couple guys come say, great playing; hey, nice putt you missed on that hole. Come on, man. It was great, and we just keep riding it.
MARK WILLIAMS: You did talk about that a bit last week how your attitude is turning around a little bit. Can you speak to that a little bit more us?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, like I said last week, this is I believe my fifth year on TOUR. When you're a rookie, you've got nothing to lose. You come out here, you're trying to have fun, trying to play good golf, and you're a little more free.
Five years later, I mean, won a couple times, got to seven in the world, obviously a lot of distractions, media, World Rankings, all the stuff that starts coming around, and it just distracts you. I was getting a little too concerned with my World Ranking position and the Money List and this and that, and I just got a little tight on the golf course. So I needed to put all those things aside and remember that I'm playing golf for a living, and there's a million people out there that would love to be in my shoes and have fun with it.

Q. How have you gone about doing that? How have you just kind of set that aside?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yes, because it's definitely easier said than done. No, I mean with Gio Valiante, and we've done a lot of good work since the end of last year. You could have seen last year in two different ways. I didn't win a golf tournament, but I believe I played like 27 events worldwide and missed three cuts or something, so -- I made every cut in the majors. It was a consistent year, but it was a little frustrating year because I felt like I should have played a little better.
So with that in mind, I just did a little analysis, regrouped for this year. I've been working with Gio, and that's what we talk about. We spend plenty of hours on the golf course and on the range and practicing our technique and everything, and sometimes we forget about our mental side of the game, which needs a little practice, too.

Q. How important was it to come out and have a strong first day?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's always nice. I mean, important? The way I'm approaching it is just, again, have fun. Just go out there and I've got nothing to lose. You go, you hit a putt, if it goes in, great; if it doesn't, you just give a little smile and go to the next one. It seemed to work last week. I obviously played good today, and we'll continue that good attitude and see what happens.

Q. I think it's safe to say that you've been a crowd favorite here in the past, and it's some kind of crowd.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I love this place.

Q. So what do you think -- will your attitude hold through the craziness?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, like I said, I love this place. I mean, we only play one tournament all year like this one. They put it on great -- the Thunderbirds and Waste Management put on a great show here this week. Not only the players but the fans enjoy it, and what a better -- plus they've treated me great, and that's awesome. I mean, it's always fun to show up somewhere where you know people are going to be cheering for you and they're going to enjoy what you're doing out there, and it makes for a fun week.

Q. You mentioned the three-footer down in Marana. Did that turn out to be kind of a good test for this new attitude to see how you would --
CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, the good attitude came before that. It was a little fluke. It was a long day, we played a match in the morning. It was awful weather in the afternoon, and both Paul and I wanted to go home. And it just happened to miss a three-footer. How many people have missed three-footers in their lives? Many.
It was not the best timing, but at the same time, I don't know if you saw that par I made on the 11th hole in that same playoff. I mean, that was unplayable. And then I go to the 13th hole and I hit the best bunker shot of my life. So there's a lot of great things from that week.
You can say, oh, you know what, don't think about that three-footer. You know what, it's okay. I've got no problem with it. I wish I would have made it, yes, but you know what, it ain't going to change me as a person.

Q. You remember that four years ago you were in this room when you received your sponsor exemption; do you remember back then? And there was about four or five people here. Things have changed a lot for you, haven't they?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You don't forget sponsor exemptions, especially when you come out of college. It's tough out here. It's tough to get into events. People that show a little respect and value your hard work in college and give you a spot, it's awesome. I did get a spot here in -- was it 2006, my rookie year, and I've been coming ever since.

Q. And your first two rounds were great that first year.
MARK WILLIAMS: Before we get to your scorecard and go over it, you have a couple of busy weeks coming up, obviously the CA Championship at Doral in a couple weeks where you're one of the favorites, but next week I know you have a busy week down in Colombia at a Nationwide Tour event that you're involved in. Can you speak to that a little bit?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I'm very excited. First time after about four or five years of knocking on the PGA TOUR's doors, finally we get a Nationwide Tour event in Colombia. It's great for my country, great for golf in South America, and I'm very honored to be playing in the pro-am, being part of that and supporting the event. It's going to be great.
So I finish here, I fly to Colombia on Monday, have a little clinic Tuesday morning, play a pro-am Tuesday afternoon. I've got a dinner event, I believe there's a concert. I'll be flying back Wednesday morning to tee it up Thursday at the Honda. And then I obviously play Doral, which is a fun place for me.
MARK WILLIAMS: Can you go over your birdies for us today, starting on 10?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Starting on 10, yeah, I hit 3-wood off 10 just to that first cut and I hit a nice pitching wedge to about 15 feet and rolled it in. Nice way to start there.
And then 12, par-3, I hit a great shot to about six feet, made a good putt.
And then on 13 I had an eagle putt, two-putted.
15, the same thing, I hit a great drive, 5-iron on the middle of the green and then two-putted for birdie.
16, which was a little quiet at the time I played, I hit a nice 9-iron there to about maybe eight feet. Eight feet, and I made it.
17, I hit driver and I was right next to the green, hit a nice chip to about two and a half feet, made birdie.
And then on 3, par-5, I hit a nice drive, nice hybrid just short of the green, pitched it up there to about two and a half feet.
7th hole was the best shot I hit all day. Par-3 with the pin a little tucked on the left side, and it's always a tough par-3, and I hit a nice 6-iron that just ended up about I would say seven, eight feet, made that one.
And then on 9, it was probably my only bad drive of the day, went left rough, then caught a little jumper out of there just to the back fringe and chipped it in.

Q. How far do you think that chip-in was?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Just off the green. I mean, the pin was about -- eight yards probably, eight, nine yards.
MARK WILLIAMS: Camilo, thank you for joining us, and good luck the rest of the week.

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