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June 11, 2010

Shaun Micheel


Q. Thanks very much. Little bogey-free 66 for the Memphis native. This event is very special to you, isn't it?
SHAUN MICHEEL: Of course, it is. You know, I said yesterday I don't think people realize how close we are to losing this tournament. You know, the flagship charity, the PGA Tour, as far as I'm concerned. We know I'm a Memphian an, been here since 1973 when FedEx started. FedEx was a huge part of my life, with my father being one of the original pilots, and, you know, me and my family grew up here and love the event. It's definitely one that needs to be on the schedule for the remainder, at least my career, anyway.

Q. You played here in '89 as an amateur.
SHAUN MICHEEL: I qualified. Doug Barron actually caddied for me. He tried to qualify, and then I think I got an exemption in '91. I was an All-American out of college. I did play here twice as an amateur.
The course has evolved and certainly got a lot more difficult, and I think I'm starting to play just a little bit better in my old age.

Q. How important it is to you to be here? How important is it to be in the hunt, heading into the weekend?
SHAUN MICHEEL: Very important. I thought birdieing the last two holes yesterday spurred me on. The scores are better in the morning here, and you can see that yesterday, some low scores.
Casey had a great round yesterday. There were a lot of low numbers out there. I made a lot of good putts that I hit the ball pretty well, but, you know, I made all my 6 and 7-footers for par, and you're definitely going to have some here. It's a very difficult golf course.
Again, yesterday's last two holes really spurred me on some good things this morning.

Q. You just told them how important it is to you and you look up. It's been a good week for you with the U.S. Open qualifying. Here are you near the top of the leaderboard.
SHAUN MICHEEL: Really confident. I've been confident the last month or so about my game. I missed a couple cuts in the last three events, but I've been making a lot of birdies, and it's something I hadn't been doing much the last year or so. But, you know, I've played well. I drove the ball in the fairway, which is what you have to do. I actually took a lot more 3-woods off the tees today than I normally would have. I got a new driver in the bag as of Monday. Monday I played the new driver I hadn't hit except a couple times, and so I managed my game very well.
You know, I made a lot of 6 and 7-footers today for par. I think I had four of those that I had to make, and it feels good to make some of those. I definitely don't want to keep leaving myself those, you know, because that will catch up to you. I'm excited.
I have a lot of confidence after Monday, and, of course, this golf course is a whole different animal than what we had in Germantown. It does feel good to kind of play some good golf in front of my friends and family.

Q. The course is getting some of the its teeth back in the last couple hours. The wind seems like it's starting to kick up. The scores are there. Southwind is going to try to bite back.
SHAUN MICHEEL: The pins were tough again today. I basically didn't notice any wind until 18, the second shot. Then I got to No. 1, and I had probably 165 to the pin and I hit a 6-iron. Came up, oh, 10, 12 yards short of the green.
Then I got to 5 and hit a 4-iron. I normally hit that 210. I only hit it 185. It's definitely going to be a challenge. I was glad Nick made the birdie on last hole. That gets him to 1-over, which I think is probably going to be the cut. It's just a very demanding golf course without the wind.

Q. You always said how important this tournament is to you to be in contention. We all know how important a win here would be for you, but to look up and realize you're going into the weekend with your name near the top of the leaderboard has got to feel great.
SHAUN MICHEEL: It does feel good. Every year I start this event with a pretty good attitude. There's been times I walked off the 18th hole and not talked to any media because I'm disappointed. I have a lot of pressure I feel that I put on myself this week and I want to do well. And, you know, again, I have a lot of a lot of confidence in my game.
It's been a couple years. Yesterday was my second year anniversary of my surgery. So I'm just trying to climb my way back up from the bottom, and it can be done. I'm starting to see some good results, and there's been a lot of hard work put in there, too.
But I just -- overall, my attitude is good, and I feel good about what I'm doing, what I'm doing on this golf course. And I'm limiting -- eliminating all of my mistakes and capitalizing on the opportunities that I've given myself.

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