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March 4, 2010

Oliver Wilson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: 4-under par 66 with a birdie at the last hole. Oliver, you finished, lost in the quarters of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, and you had several good finishes early in the year on The European Tour. Just talk about your round today and how your game has progressed this season.
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, obviously delighted with how things are going so far. Started in the Middle East back on The European Tour and had steady results out there. Then brought my form into the Match Play and played pretty good out there. Like you say, made it to the quarters, so all of the work I've been doing in the off-season is sort of coming together. It's not quite where I want it yet but it's a lot more consistent and I'm able to hit a lot better shots more often really.
So it's all on track. I guess that shows today, in pretty tough conditions, no bogeys today, so delighted with that. And really, only had a couple of holes where I was in a little bit of bother, managed to get out of there with no disasters. So obviously delighted, and hopefully I can keep doing that a bit more.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Can you just take us through your round, and tell us about the four birdies and any good saves you may have had. You said you weren't in much trouble.
OLIVER WILSON: Well, third was obviously playing straight downwind, which was nice early on in the round. So I hit a good drive and hit 3-iron, it just fell right into the trap, but hit it stone dead out of the bunker, so that was good, nice way to start and makes you feel a bit more comfortable.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: A birdie at the 7th was good today. Several players earlier talked about how hard it was playing.
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, obviously there's a good couple of holes before that are tough with a lot of water and I hit good shots to the middle of greens and I started to play -- the first couple of holes you never know quite what you're going to get and sort of settled into my round with that birdie on 3 and played good after that. Then get onto 7, I think it was playing 240, 235, 240 to the flag straight into the wind.
So it was playing a long way. I hit one of the best shots of the day, just a punch 3-wood to about 8- to ten feet just short of the hole and made the putt, which was nice. I've had a couple of chances on the other holes and not made them. So that was nice to get going. You always want to get one better. So it was nice to make two there and with a couple of holes playing downwind coming up, had good chances on those.
Hit a great shot into 11. 4-iron to ten feet and completely misread the putt. I had a few chances during that spell and then kind of plodded my way around.
And I think 13 and 14 were the two big saves for me. I hit my drive right on 13 and played a good pitch under the trees around through the green and chipped up and had about ten, 12 feet past and made it, which was nice, considering I had played so solid all the way around. And you don't want to make a bogey like that one on one of the easier holes.
14 I hit a good drive and pulled a 3-iron left of the green and duffed my chip a little bit. Tried to hit a flop shot and hit it a bit heavy and came up short of the green just on the fringe and managed to chip that in for par. It was only ten or 12 feet, not very far, and a bit tricky with it downwind, downgrain. Those two holes were pretty big during the round. Obviously with the finish coming up, you don't want to drop two shots there before.
Hit good shot into 15, straight at it, misread the putt there, and 16 I hit a good drive and 5-iron to about probably 15 feet. I had a bit of a problem reading the greens on the grain and matching it all up -- and managed to find the right combination on 16 and knock that one in.
So you know, that makes you feel pretty good, after making two about good saves on 13 and 14 and picking a birdie up on 16; then 17, I hit a good shot in and just missed from about 25, 30 feet.
18, just played it really steady, good drive, good lay up with a 6-iron and stone-dead. So left me no work to do, which on grainy greens is always nice.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Your birdie putt at 16 was how far?
OLIVER WILSON: Could only have been, probably 13, 14 feet maybe, maybe 15 feet at the most.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: We touched in the pre-tournament interviews about the strong European flavor at this event, can you sort of tell us how this tournament fit into your schedule.
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, obviously for the Europeans coming over here, it's kind of a long spell stretched out with the World Match Play; and then there's a few weeks off, Doral, and I think three weeks off, Masters, and then three weeks off, PLAYERS. So it covers a long period of time with the WGC events and majors.
I wanted to make sure I would be fresh coming into the Masters and when I get back to Europe, so I was always planning on having a little bit of time off, which I chose to do after Doral. And this one, I kind of looked at the scores, the winning scores and found out a little bit about the tournaments. This has always been a tougher event, higher scores that win, and I hear it's a great golf course; got to hit fairways, got to hit greens, which all plays into my hands. They are the kind of strong points.
So that's why I wanted to get in, and fortunately I managed to get an invite which was very good, very nice, and it fits in perfectly before Doral, obviously same area, same kind of courses with the green and the grains and the temperature, usually. (Laughter).
So it just fitted in really well and obviously delighted to be here, and like you say, there's a strong European contingent, which is nice for my side, to have quite a few guys that you know. Makes you feel a little bit more familiar.

Q. It is a difficult course, and with the wind and all, not many people are going to at the end of the day have a bogey-free round. Does it equate to going bogey-free in a major tournament, a major event?
OLIVER WILSON: I guess so, yeah. With no wind, the course is pretty tough. So when it's blowing like it has been, fortunately there was a few tees up which made it a little bit easier than it would have been. But, yeah, I guess so. It was a tough round of golf today, one that you couldn't really ease up on at any stage, and I guess there's definitely some crossover between major rounds. So I guess there's a few more positives in there that can be looked at.

Q. You were playing similarly well last year at this point; you did well in The Match Play and at Doral. Going into your first Masters, can you compare maybe how you feel now that you've had that experience last year, going into Augusta again this year?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, obviously last year was pretty special for me getting back to Augusta. And I learned a lot last year. I was worn out by the time I got to the tournament to be honest, and got caught back up with friends and the whole buzz of being around it; you get so excited getting back there and want to get out and play practice rounds and just soak up the atmosphere.
So I learned about that this year. I was a little injured as well when I came into the Masters last year. My neck was not quite right. I wasn't too good at Bay Hill. So my fitness is better this year. I feel like I'll be rested. I'm going to take a few weeks off after Doral so I can prepare properly for the Masters. I think I'll be a lot fitter, a lot fresh and a little bit more experienced to know how to prepare a little bit better, and hopefully that will translate into a good week.

Q. Mentally, last year you also had stuff going on with your father and your parents weren't able to go, and I understand he's doing better and they are planning on coming this year. How much difference does that make?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, it's kind of -- you separate things. You've got your golf and your personal life, and I had to do quite a few flights backwards and forwards before the Masters last year before Doral, it was playing a week over here, go straight back, and that probably played a part in my neck and the overall being tired.
So this year I'm excited to have my dad on the bag at the par are three at the Masters. He's excited about it. I've had him on a fitness regime over the last few months. I've told him he's carrying the big bag, so he doesn't realize yet he'll have a little moon bag, but I'll only reveal that at the week I think. It's going to be good. I'm looking forward to it. I've got my girlfriend's parents are coming down and some other friends we are going to have. So it will be a good week and hopefully a relaxed one, and like you say, hopefully it will work out being a really good week on the course.

Q. Can you sort of compare your goals of the year when you have a Ryder Cup and you have Masters where you went to school, when you're still trying to get that first win; where do all of your goals sort of line up and your priorities?
OLIVER WILSON: At the end of the day, the reason we play is to win. So winning tournaments is always going to be right at the top. But having said that, you know, I can't do anything about that other than keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully it will work out pretty soon.
But you know, The Ryder Cup is obviously a massive goal this year. After playing last year, or two years ago, it's something I never want to miss again. So that's a goal. And then there's lots of little goals along the way. There's tons of them. But at the end of the day it just comes down to I've got a process now. I feel like I know what I'm working on every week. Every day out on the course, I know what I'm practicing. I keep doing that every day. I've been doing that now since around Christmas. I've got a formula and a plan and if I keep working to that every day, then hopefully things like today will happen.
I didn't feel very good on the range beforehand. I didn't really expecting to out and do a lot, and after a couple of holes, I started to feel like the swing is suddenly there and I was standing up and feeling good over it. I had that all day, which for me is unusual. I've not really had that it before. I think that shows that the work I'm doing is starting to get more ingrained.
These are tough conditions. Your faults show up when it's like this. I didn't hit many bad shots today at all, which is good, really promising. But I take a lot of confidence from that, keep doing my processes and hopefully it will translate into wins and Ryder Cups and all kind of things.

Q. And when you first get into the Top-50 in the World Rankings, there's a certain excitement about getting there and feeling that you belong; but you've been there for a year and a half now pretty much. You've contended in a lot of things, you've played in enough majors. Do you feel now that you're more equipped whenever you go into any of those situations, those big kind of tournaments, majors, WGC events, than you were even a year ago?
OLIVER WILSON: Definitely, yeah. Last year was a good year for me in the majors apart from the Masters. It was one of my goals was obviously to make every cut and contend in them. The first one, get that out of the way and concentrate on the other three. I played solid.
My results in those three majors after following that don't actually reflect how well I played those weeks. I was right in there and they were very close scoring, the British Open and U.S. Open. I ended up, one shot here or there the last few holes, you've got Top-10s and I just missed out on those. The PGA I wasn't very good and managed to grind out a top 20 or 17 or something.
It was nice to get that experience in the majors, and I feel like with everything else I'm doing, mentally it's not an issue. It's always been more physically and golf swing-orientated, and that's always been my biggest problem.
Now I feel like I'm really making or gaining a lot of headway with it. So I feel like I'm equipped now to it deal with the major courses, and they suit me. I like to play firm, fast golf courses. So, yeah, I'm hopeful. Looking forward to it.

Q. You mentioned at this time last year being a little bit fatigued and I'm wondering, is that a by-product from getting into the Top-50 and having all of these other opportunities open up for you? You have to reschedule yourself?
OLIVER WILSON: A little bit. I was under the impression when you get into the Top-50, your schedule became really easy and I got there and realized, it actually makes it even harder (laughter). Especially this part of the year. It's a balancing act: You have to decide where you're playing back home, where you're playing over here, if you can get into tournaments over here. A lot of last-minute things kind of back to how it was when you first get on Tour; you're not sure if you're going to be in some events. It's a crossover with some tournaments, in the States, anyway.
Yeah, it's a great position to be in, but I guess the fatigue was a little bit that, but we just travel a lot. I was out in the Middle East and you are a four-hour time zone ahead of the U.K., and back to the U.K. for a week. And this year we've been out to Arizona, and then I went back to California then I flew to the East Coast for a week and now we are on the East Coast and can kind of get settled in.
All of that takes an effect and has an effect and especially when you throw in tournaments like this, they are going to take a lot out of you mentally. It all adds up. That's why I've realized this last year, and definitely this year, I had two months off over Christmas. I felt fresher this year than I've ever felt, and that really made a big difference. I think that two months rest over Christmas, I'm now just starting to feel a little bit more tired and I can tell the body is not as fresh as it was, which works well, because I'm going on holiday after Doral. So I've only got a week and a half left.

Q. When you have this wild swing of 14 time zones between Dubai and a California, do you wake up any morning and say, where am I?
OLIVER WILSON: Not so much that. It's like I think you wake up and think, why do I keep doing this. (Laughter) It's what we do. The actual travelling isn't a whole lot of fun, but seeing all of these places around the world is an amazing opportunity and I love it. You get to see so many great places and obviously we get treated very well doing what we do. So there's certainly no complaining there.
I think that I took the red eye from California the other day back to San Diego to Charlotte and that was a learning experience. I won't be doing that again. (Laughter) I'll be avoiding that trip.

Q. Today was a relative cruise for you. Did you see any disasters in your group or nearby as you were passing other holes? It was a rough day for a lot of guys?
OLIVER WILSON: I think when I got over on 11, or maybe the 4th, and I looked across and you've got the par 3 ahead of you with water short and left, and you look over to 11 and I looked across and saw both groups playing around in the water short, and I thought, that looks fun. I've got those holes to come. It was kind of a -- I guess you just kind of get your head on and concentrate. You see that that is more -- I guess it's more fresh in your mind when you've seen someone short so it makes you have a bit more emphasis on staying away from that.

Q. When you are not hitting a ball well on the range, do you have to tell yourself or how do you get it back by the time you get to the first tee in the first few holes?
OLIVER WILSON: Well, if you'd asked me this morning, I wouldn't have had a clue. I genuinely didn't. I think that's experience. I can take confidence in knowing no matter how bad it is on the range, it's only a warm up and hopefully when you are on the range, mentally you are not -- for me anyway, I'm not quite with it yet but when you get on the first tee, you find a way to score and just kind of fell into it and fell into the swing and everything, which was very fortunate.
You've just got to take the positives, be positive, and have the inner confidence to realize it's not far away and you'll find it after however long. At some stage during that round, you should be able to figure that out and that's what I've been able to do more often.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Continued good luck, sir.

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