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March 5, 2010

Camilo Villegas


DOUG MILNE: Thank for joining us for a few minutes, second consecutive 4-under 66. A few comments on the round and we'll take a few quick questions.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Good round. Obviously wasn't as hard as yesterday. Still pretty chilly in the morning but I played good. I mean, I missed some putts on the front nine, stayed patient. And then I made four birdies in a row there on my back nine and finished good.
DOUG MILNE: At the risk of asking a dumb question, was the wind, when you say it played different today, was the wind the biggest factor of difference today?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, it's not going to be as cold as it was yesterday. The wind was definitely softer than yesterday, and the greens were a little smoother in the morning. The greens in the afternoon yesterday were pretty bumpy, and so overall, I'm expecting scores to be a little lower today than yesterday.

Q. Backing up a little bit, can you walk us through the last three or four days? You've gown down there to launch the tournament, came back, probably didn't play a practice round I guess, and skipped the Pro-Am, straight into playing on Thursday; haven't missed a beat.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, it's been long weeks. We can even go back all the way to the Match Play which is obviously a long week. And then Phoenix, finished Phoenix on Sunday. Flew Monday Phoenix - Miami; Miami Bogatá,. I got there at night for dinner, woke up the next morning, had a couple interviews from 7:00 AM and then breakfast at 8:00 with some sponsors, and then press conference 9:30. Then I did a clinic at 11 with some kids and played the Pro-Am and then dinner and a party for the event. Yeah, I was in about bed about 1:00 AM that night, and got up at 6 and got on a plane and came here.
It's been a long week but it's been a good one. Having the first Nationwide Tour event in Colombia is awesome. It's a dream come true for my country. It's a dream come true for myself. It's great for it Latin American golf and hopefully it's the beginning of some other countries hosting big events.
We keep getting better in terms of quality of players. We keep getting more guys on The European Tour, PGA TOUR, Nationwide Tour. That's what it's all about, growing this game, and making it good for the rest of the guys down there.

Q. Do you get a nice sense of pride being at the front edge of that, leading the charge?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Like I said, it's a dream come true. I played Panama in 2005, and there was a guy called Herman Caje (ph) from Colombia there at the time. He looked at me and he said, you know what -- he's a Colombian guy by the way. He looked at me and said, we are going to play a Nationwide event in Colombia. It was kind of funny. To me it was kind of like, hmm, okay. 2006, I got my TOUR card and we started knocking on the Commissioner's doors there every six months, and Herman did a good job and then finally got them to go down there, make a visit.
We showed them how supportive the government was backing up the tournament and backing up everything, and had a chance to be there Tuesday, talked with a bunch of American players, and they were loving it. So Colombia is a great place. We just have a bad image. But once we get people there, they get close to reality. They see that it's a misconception. It's totally different than what you hear. It's full of great people and good it stuff.

Q. How much pressure or responsibility do you feel sort of being a face of a country for a particular sport?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, you can look at it in two different ways. You can look at it like that or you can look at it as a privilege and just try to represent yourself, your country and your people the best you can.
To me it's great. Like last Tuesday, I go there and I did a clinic with the kids at 11:15, and just to see their faces, their questions, it's awesome. To me when I do clinics with kids, I just hit a couple of balls and I'm not going to tell them how to grip a club. I just want to know what they want to know.
So I just open it for questions, and it's funny the stuff you hear. It takes me all the way back to when I was eight, nine, ten, 12, 15 years old. It's what I keep telling them. To me always the most important thing for them to know is that it's just a game and you've got to have fun with it. That's what I try to do.

Q. What's the funniest questions that kids ask you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: There was one that was really funny. The kid looks at me he goes, Camilo, "How does it feel to be the second-best player in the world?"
And I'm like, first of all -- I don't know if I'm the second best in the world, and I wonder who is the first? (Smiling). So I know exactly what the kid was thinking. It was pretty cool. I mean, the kid must have been eight, nine years old. They are kids, man. They are awesome.

Q. Two-part question, one because of your exhausting schedule this week, were your expectations here dialed down a little bit and secondly, you obviously stay in great shape, how much of a role that plays in you being able to do something like this and still play well?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: We are golfers, man. Expectations, we always have them up there. But more than expectations is your goals, what do you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. That's why I've been trying to focus on the process this year instead of the result. So far, so good.
Having fun on the golf course, hitting great putts, hitting great shots and staying patient, as the round goes on. And the second question is about what, fitness?

Q. About being in shape to handle rigors of what you just went through?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It definitely helped. I had long flights and didn't get a chance to play a practice round, but good thing is I'm sleeping in my own bed this week which is nice.

Q. Curious because of the schedule, did you consider not playing here this week?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, not really. I mean, I love this place. I love this golf course. I lost here in a playoff several years ago, and I have a lot of people that care for me around here.
So I wanted to play here, but I knew I had to go to Colombia. I mean, Colombia is my country; it's my place; it's my people; it's who I represent. So we try to work doing both, and I knew it was going to be a long week, but at the end of the day, we have all afternoon to just get a nice little work out in, chill, and get eight, nine hours of sleep and hopefully we'll be ready for tomorrow.

Q. Can you tell from the clinic you did, working with other kids, how much more advanced have the youth clinics gotten in Colombia?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It great. It's a country that's all about soccer, I can tell you that. It's been growing. I mean, this is my -- believe it or not, my fifth year on TOUR, and they go quick. But the game keeps growing. Kids keep getting better, keep getting more interested. More and more kids have that dream of going and playing college golf in the States and turning pro and, man, if you don't dream, you can't accomplish that. So you have to have your goals and dreams.

Q. You've talked a lot the last couple of weeks about how you've lightened up on yourself, last year was kind of a step back after almost winning the FedExCup; at what point did you come to that realization that you're driving yourself too hard or your expectations were unrealistic? Or is it you and Gio or how did that come out?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I work with Gio a lot. Maybe last year we weren't as committed as we should have, and we took a couple of things for granted. But that's what happens at the end of the year. You look back and you make an analysis of what's good and what's bad and what can get better.
I'm not going to say last year was a bad year. It was just because I played 27 events and I missed two or three cuts. So it was a very consistent year. I've made the cut in every major. But it was a little frustrating because I felt I should have played a little better than I did.
After some analysis, I believe I was being too hard on myself. I wasn't treating myself like I treat people. One day I told you, I said, you know what, if somebody treats me like I treat myself, I would just have a problem with that. And that's what I realized, you know what, just take it easy, man, have fun. There's a lot of people playing this game and wanting to play this game for a living. It's a tough challenge. It's harder than a lot of people think. But I love it. So, got to enjoy it.

Q. The fact that you live here, you play the golf course, you like the golf course, having that local knowledge, does that help you as you move into the weekend as the leader?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I don't play here much. I just play the week of the tournament to be honest. It's usually not as cold as this. I don't know about the advantage. (Laughter).
I like the golf course. I've done well before here. I lost in 2007, was it. So all of those little things combined just add up to 8-under I guess.

Q. On the golf course, a golf course like this that doesn't give a lot of birdies, is patience key as you move into the weekend?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Hey, this game is about patience.

Q. Your association with this area, when did you first move to this area?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I went to school in Gainesville; I'm a Gator, four years. I decided to stay there for a little bit while my brother finished school and I kept hearing all these great things about Jupiter, Jupiter is so great, West Palm Beach is so great, all the TOUR guys living here, all of the Nationwide guys living here. I said, let's go check it out.
So it's close enough but far enough from Miami guess, which I like. (Laughter) and it's easy to get home. It's just so easy to get home. I just drive down to Lauderdale, Miami, hop on a plane and I'm in Colombia.

Q. Do you see any Colombians in the galleries here or around TOUR?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I have plenty of friends here. Like I said, I've got a lot of friends in Miami, so a lot of them are driving up, just watching a little golf. They will be here this weekend. It's where I live. There's a lot of people that care for me, so they will be out here supporting me, which is nice.

Q. So next week will be four in a row?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, that will be four.

Q. And then off at all?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Better be off. (Laughter) Yeah I'll be off next week, I'll be playing Bay Hill, the week off and Augusta.

Q. What happened on the bogey on 17? Your eighth hole?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Seventh hole? Yeah, I just overcut that 5-iron. I was a little in-between clubs. Overcut it and short-sided myself. Hit a great putt. I thought I made the putt. Just didn't drop.

Q. And the does the fact that the ball rolling away from you on 11, the second hole, the drop to the right --
CAMILO VILLEGAS: 11, No. 2, you mean? It was good. Wasn't my best drive. Got a little lucky it didn't roll into the pine straw and I had a good lie. Just 6-iron through the middle of the green and made my par and kind of got out of there.

Q. Was that the theme for the day, when you weren't in the fairway --
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Getting lucky?

Q. Just take your punishment and move on?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Trust me, it's a tough golf course. There's not too many birdies out there.
And you have some really tough holes. You've just got to be careful. I guess my big mistake of the day was hitting in the water on that 15th hole, the par 3. But looked at my caddie, said, come on, let's make four here. A four here is bigger than a birdie somewhere else, so I did. I avoided the double bogey and I kept going.

Q. I noticed yesterday on 14 there was a shot, there was no bunkers or anything in front the green and you hit a shot that was about this high (indicating low ball flight), a very creative shot, is that something you enjoy do, moving the ball around and hitting all sorts of different shots?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, in that case, I was in-between clubs. That was one was playing really tough and really long. I go from 5-iron to a hybrid which is like my 4- -- 3-iron. I just didn't feel comfortable throwing it up in the air and letting the wind mess with it and letting it fly all the way to the hole. I looked at caddie, what do we have to the front and he said, Q, and I said, this ain't getting to the front, but it's going to be so slow it's going to roll up there. That's what I did, I must have pitched the ball 15 yards with a 5-iron and still rolled to the green and 2-putted and got out of there.

Q. So with those kind of creative shots, you should start to be getting some good Opens.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I love the British Open. It's great golf. It's very creative. I've felt comfortable the last two years playing. What did I finish which i, I think 11th, 13th last year, somewhere around there and then the previous year at Birkdale which was, wow, that was tough, I shot 5-under the second round and I was I think one back or something. Just didn't putt good on the weekend. So majors, man, majors make history and that's why we work hard.

Q. How much overlap did you and Matt Every overlap at school?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, he's playing good. Two years. He played good last week. He's playing good today. He's a great kid. I really enjoy spending time with him. He made me laugh.

Q. Was he as cocky in college as everyone says? I can't imagine, you guys must have been hilarious together.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: You've got to know the guy --

Q. I do know the guy --
CAMILO VILLEGAS: He's cocky and confident and he can sound that way, but it's his strength for the game. Each player has his own little things. For Matt Every, believing he's confident and believing in himself as much as he does, that's what makes him a good player. You've just got to look at it from that point of view.
DOUG MILNE: Camilo, thanks for your time today.

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