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March 7, 2010

Camilo Villegas


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome the 2010 Honda Classic Champion, Camilo Villegas. Congratulations, 2-under 6 was easily enough to get the job done. Great week overall. With the win you picked up 500 FedExCup points. You become one of just four players to win more than two PGA TOUR events. Just some comments on the week and how you're feeling as we move forward.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Man, it's been a week. What a week. Again, let's go back to Monday, flying home, spending some time with my people in my country and all of those Nationwide Tour players for the first Nationwide event in Colombia was awesome. It was a long day. But it was worth every second of it. I mean, to go down there, do the junior clinic, play the Pro-Am, do the dinner and then be at the player party was unbelievable.
Like I said, I believe it can be a huge step for Latin American and South American golf. I think the Nationwide should keep exploring other countries down there. I've had a chance to play throughout all of South America, and it's a beautiful place, full of great people, great golf courses, and the game keeps growing. I mean, we keep trying to do our best to represent this game and make it grow down there. I mean, Cabrera, Romero, I mean, I don't want to leave guys out, but they have done a great job, and we all should keep doing the same things.
Then we come here. This is where I live. I live 15 minutes up the road, and it was obviously great to sleep in my own bed all week. I lost in a playoff in 2000 -- what was 2007 here? So obviously I got a good feeling for this golf course. Didn't get a chance to play a practice round this week. I wonder if I should start doing that -- just kidding. (Laughter).
I've just had good vibes in me all week. Everything's been great. Today I go on the range, I know you've got to putt four rounds together to win a golf tournament. Trust me, I wasn't even hitting balls. I was be checking my phone all the time to see what my brother was shooting down in Colombia. He shot 67. So that was a good start to the day.
I got on the tee and said, he had a good day, it's my turn to have a good day. I knew there were going to be so many people glued to the TV in Colombia in it Bogotá, on the golf course, where they were playing the Nationwide event; that it was going to be special. I wanted to play good for myself. I wanted to play good for all of the people that came out and watched me. I have a lot of people that really care for me in this area. I want to play good for my country and that's exactly what I did. I kept my composure. I hit good shots.
I had a couple of hiccups there in the back nine, but winning golf tournaments is always tough. And that was the main thing I talked with my caddie and with Gio Valiante on the way to the golf course. It doesn't matter how big your lead is; it always seems to happen that a guy makes birdie, birdie, you make bogey and all of a sudden, it's just like, whoa, whoa, reality check.
So that's what happened. And I just kept plugging. I kept hitting good shots. If there was a golf course where you can mess upcoming in, it's this one, trust me. Those finishing holes are tough. And I just picked my targets, put good swings and took care of business.
DOUG MILNE: Well, we'll go ahead and open it up for questions.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I don't think there's any questions after all the stuff I just said. (Laughter).

Q. Given the attention golf has gotten in South America, not just Colombia this week, the playoff down there, the great finish down there today, can you give us a sense of what your win -- how your win is going to be received, how the news of that is being received down this?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, they asked me just when I finished, they said, "What's going to be bigger, your win or the Nationwide event"?
And I just said, I hope they split the page in half and do it that way. I mean, it's awesome. I represent my country, and like I said, having the Nationwide event there was huge for my country. I heard Steve Pate won in the playoff. Congrats to him.
I'm sure all of those guys are going to come back to the states with a totally different perception of my country. That's what I've been telling a lot of people. I mean, you've got to go there. You've got to visit. You've got to experience it. You've got to just see reality. That's nice.

Q. Do you think it was a coincidence that you won this week with all that was going on at home, or do you think it somehow lifted you and inspired you?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Like I said, I've had good vibes all week. It's been a long week. It's been a long three weeks, like I've said before. I've been working hard on my game. I've been working hard on my attitude. I've been excited about playing golf. I've been feeling good. And you've got to feel good to play good. You've got to have fun to play good. And you've got to be motivated to play good. All of those things have been in me the last couple of months, and I've just got to continue doing the same thing.

Q. Is your American home in Jupiter or Tequesta?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I can tell you I get mail that says Tequesta and I get mail that says Jupiter. So up to you. (Laughter).

Q. How long have you been living up there?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'd say about 2 1/2 years.

Q. Did you have an American home before that?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Went to school in Gainesville.

Q. But where you live, like you have a home base now?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Gainesville, Florida. I was there for seven years. Not in school seven years by the way. (Laughter) Four years in school and then three years after that.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to your brother yet?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I haven't. I did call my mom. He was signing his scorecard. I had to get on the first tee, and I just said, "Tell the little Bro congratulations and keep it up."

Q. Golf is always looking for the next young star, great young star to emerge; where do you think this sets you with the third win under the age of 30 and in your career?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's pretty special. I'm just very privileged to do what I do. But trust me, it's tough. These guys are good. That is so true. These guys are good. And that's why we continue to work hard and we continue to get better. We just can't blink or put our head down. Just got to keep plugging.
I guess probably the way I've played today and the week, and the way I've handled myself after the two wins in 2008, the way I played in 2009, being here; if this doesn't motivate me, I don't know what motivates me. It's a great challenge. So to answer your question, I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing.

Q. When you were looking at those kids during those clinics that you did during this week earlier, did you see any of yourself in them and think about what you were dreaming about when you were their age?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, totally, like I told you guys earlier this week, when I do those clinics, I just hit a couple of balls and I just open it for questions. And the reason is because it's pretty neat to see the stuff that comes out of those kids mouth. I mean, when they are six, seven, eight, 12, 13, 14, and then it takes me back to that time in my life.
I mean, being a kid is great. As you grow up, you understand life a little bit better and you sometimes let a lot of distraction and little things get in your way. I mean, when you're a kid, it's all about having fun. And again, that's always my message when I do a junior clinic. I say, "Guys, life is fun. You've got to enjoy it. The game of golf is fun. You've got to enjoy it. Every time you go and play with your friends and compete, just come back home with a smile and enjoy the game."

Q. At what age did you think you might be on the PGA TOUR? Did you first think you might make it to the TOUR?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I don't know, that's a tough question. I always -- my parents always wanted me to obviously go to school and do good in school and take care of the classes and the grades, and that's what I did.
So I've always focused on the process more than the outcome or the final goal. As a junior I was fortunate to play a lot of golf, play a lot of South American championships and win South American championships, and then go to college and win eight times in college.
When I got to my senior year, I said, you know what, I think I can do this for a living, but trust me, I mean, going from college to the next level is a huge step. So the second I got my degree, I said, I've put a lot of time in this game, and I would love to play golf for a living. And so far, so good. Just got to keep it going.

Q. When you played in the Pro-Am in Colombia this week, I imagine you were sure surrounded by Spanish-speaking people and your caddie; do you do your thinking in the golf course in Spanish or English?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: When I'm there, it's a little more in Spanish, but it's curious, you hit a shot and you think oh, it's got to come down and you do it, sit and I go, man, I'm in Colombia, I should be speaking Spanish. (Laughter) It's just funny. We're human beings, you just get used to things and you think that way.

Q. Can you talk anything else, you talked about good vibes this week, sleeping in your own bed; food, anything else come to mind that you were able to do here that you were not accustomed to, at least when you're on the road?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Kind of the same things. Just sleeping in my own bed, having a chance to take a shower in my own shower and look in the closet and say, okay, what am I going to wear today. Now I don't have to look at a suitcase and say, okay, this is the outfit for today. A little home cooking, and it's all nice to warm up in my house. I've got my own little gym there and it's like, okay, I don't have to deal with all of the people that are in the truck.
Just little things like that, I mean, home is home. You've got to enjoy it. It's kind of funny, I look at my caddie on the way down and I said, "You know what, we should play more tournaments around here. I like sleeping in my own bed."

Q. Understanding the challenges the golf course has with the Bear Trap and everything, was there a point this afternoon where you said, this cushion ought to be enough?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, when I hit my third shot on 18. (Laughter).
It's so easy to get ahead of yourself, but trust me, I thought about it earlier today. I said, we have tough finishing holes. I mean, anything can happen.
15, 16, 17, 18, and if you go even further back, you look at 11, and they are just dangerous. One bad shot can bring a double or triple so quick. That's why you have to be committed. You've got to really, really commit to your target and just put a nice, aggressive swing.

Q. With that said, when Nathan Green was doing when he did on 17, what did you do walking around the green waiting for him to get through having fun?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I'm just thinking speed, speed, speed. That's all I'm thinking, just have good speed. I didn't even over-think the break. I knew it was going to be a little bit to the right. How much? Who cares. Just good speed and that's what I did.

Q. You realized a couple of dreams this week with the Nationwide event and the victory. Johnny Miller commented on your positive attitude; what are your dreams in the next six years, as the Olympics come to South America?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's very nice, the Olympics down in South America in Brazil, it's going to be pretty special. Obviously I would love to be part of that.
Dreams, just it would be nice to keep having this great attitude. If I can do that, I can keep winning golf tournaments and I've always said, majors are the tournaments that make history, and I would love to be part of the history of this game.

Q. Have you ever talked to Tiger about what it's like to live in greater Jupiter?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I don't really understand the question.

Q. Tiger is building a home --

Q. -- in Jupiter. Wondering if you and he have ever compared notes about how it might be different --
CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think his place might be a little bigger than mine. (Laughter) No, I haven't.
DOUG MILNE: Well, lastly, if you wouldn't mind just running us through your birdies and bogeys and giving us some clubs and description.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: We go to 4. Playing downwind today and I hit an unbelievable drive. I hit it three feet short of the green. I putted up there to 2 1/2, three feet, and made it for birdie.
6 was pretty crucial. It was a par. But that hole is so tough. I birdied yesterday, today I just grabbed the wrong club. It left me short in the bunker. It was a really tough bunker shot. But I made it, I would say about a 20-footer for par. That was big.
And then, 8, 9, 10 were playing tough. 8 I hit a bad tee shot. I had to hit 6-iron in from the left rough, and I just had a good feeling on that putt. It was, what, 20, 25 feet, and I just had a good feeling. And to see that one drop in the middle was great.
9, I hit in the right rough with the driver off the tee, and had a little funky lie there. I went with a 5-iron and I just wanted to hit it to the back-middle part of the green and that's exactly what I did. Hit a good putt. That rolled in.
Then we went to 10. I pushed my drive but caught a good lie. I still had to get it up really quick over a palm. I was just trying to go to the middle of the green and the ball just happened to jump a little bit more. It had a good bounce on the green and it rolled to, I'm going to say, about four feet, five feet behind the hole. Made that one.
And then we had a little reality check there on 11. I hit an unbelievable bunker shot. I didn't have the best of lies in the bunker, sloping a little bit away, and it was such a great bunker shot. I just misread that one. I didn't -- I was a little disappointed, but I wasn't disappointed because I didn't pull or push. I just misread the putt. I should have played inside left. I played inside right. It went a little to the right and missed.
Wasn't very happy about the one on 12. But again, I misread that putt. Really short putt and I shouldn't be doing that, but it is what it is. I kept my composure. I missed another 3-footer.
And then on 15, I 3-putted. I mean, it just -- from where I was, it just slopes a little bit away, and the last thing you want to know -- and believe it or not, is just hit in the water with the putter, and you can.
So I missed on just leaving it a little short. I just pushed that one a little bit. Like I said, I still missed three, four short putts, but came back, hit a great shot into 16. Hit exactly my spot on 17 and 2-putted.
It's always nice to wrap it up with a birdie on the last.

Q. Was 9 a pivotal hole? You were in the rough in the fairway, Vijay missed a fairly short birdie putt, and then you came on and birdied 9 and 10. Was that where the round kind of turned for you and you felt pretty good?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Well, I felt so good, I went ahead and bogeyed the next two. (Laughter).
It's always nice to have a big lead, but like I said, guys, it always happens. It's always harder than you think. And on this golf course with the finishing holes, you've got to stay patient. You've got to stay committed. You've got to pick a good target, hit good shots, and that's what I did.

Q. What was the club at 6, you picked the wrong club?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, you know what, I had 181 to the hole but it was blowing so hard in, I was in the rough, and I was expecting it to jump a little bit. So I said, you know what, 181, ten yards of wind, but I'm expecting this one to jump about ten, so it plays the number, just skip it low and it got a little bit high and never jumped. Obviously 181 into 20-mile-per-hour wind, 7-iron, wasn't going to get there.

Q. How different are you at this point in your career than, say, two or three years ago in your development and where you are?
CAMILO VILLEGAS: We keep growing as a player and as a person. Understanding the game, understanding life, understanding what we do, it's got great things, it's got bad things. You've just got to enjoy the good ones, put aside the bad ones, try to avoid distractions, and stay committed.
DOUG MILNE: Camilo, congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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