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July 29, 2010
WHITE SULPHUR SRPINGS, WEST VIRGINIA
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome George McNeill into the interview room after 6-under par, 64. George, nice round, including three birdies to finish up. Just get your comments on your opening day.
GEORGE McNEILL: I don't know. I basically went out there -- we talked about it all week -- players have been talking about it and caddies as well -- about how the scores are gonna be super low and everything with the greens being soft and the course isn't all that long.
But the winds were swirling somewhat out there. Not so much early, but later this afternoon. I'm sure all this afternoon it will be.
But, yeah, I mean, got out and made some birdies early and obviously finished with three.
JOHN BUSH: Before we open it up to questions, talk a little bit about your season so far.
GEORGE McNEILL: Started off halfway decent, and then basically have played like garbage the rest of the time up until now.
The last few weeks have actually -- AT&T was the first week where I started feeling almost normal again with my game and swing and putting and everything else. John Deere I saw flashes of it, other than the really awful round in between.
And even at the British Open I didn't play that well, but I felt decent about it. Same with today. I'm starting -- all the stuff I've been working on all year is starting to feel more comfortable.
JOHN BUSH: All right. Questions.
Q. What part of your game really left you and how did you get it back?
GEORGE McNEILL: Mostly my swing. My putting has been decent all year and I usually am a pretty good putter. Put my swing has been -- I've been messing around with it trying to do different things for whatever reason that it is. I don't know.
But that's why we all play golf. But it's just -- my playing and a few different things. Now I'm starting to get back to where I feel more comfortable stepping up over the ball and hitting shots, whether it's low shots, high shots.
But I feel like I'm able to do that. Before I felt like I could only hit one shot. Now I can get back to hitting more than one.
Q. Has it been frustrating for you? I mean, you played like two events in '05 and '06. You were an assistant pro after you lost your card on the Nationwide Tour, and then you won your first tournament. And then now this year, I think made 9 of 19 cuts I think it is. Has it really pressed on you emotionally, mentally, some of the struggles you've had?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, well, that's golf, I think. Every player goes through it. It doesn't matter if you're the No. 1 player in the world or the No. 1001 player in the world. You're gonna struggle at times.
You just got to look at it and analyze why you're struggling and maybe get back to basics. That's basically what I'm trying to do, is get back to basics.
It has a lot to do with my setup with my swing. When my setup gets all screwed, then my swing gets all screwed. So simplifying things is always, I think for me personally, the best way to go about it.
In the back of my mind, I always think about when I had to take a job. I think about that, and I really know that I never ever want to have to do that again. That drives me a little bit to get back out and practice and deal with the ups and downs that you're gonna have out here.
Q. Do you have any prior experience? You ever play this course before?
GEORGE McNEILL: Never been here. Never been -- I've driven through West Virginia. But other than that, this is the only time.
I used to -- when I was in high school I lived up in Northern Virginia. But no, West Virginia, I've never been here.
Q. Cross paths with Sam Snead?
GEORGE McNEILL: No.
Q. Are you working with a different coach at all?
GEORGE McNEILL: No, basically just kind of doing it on my own. My caddie, his name is Pete Jordan, he played out here for about nine or ten years. So he's a very good player himself. He's helped me out a little bit just basically like I said before with the setup and stuff. Because my swing kind of falls back into place when my setup is nice.
He's looked at me, and I talked to my old teacher that I worked with for a long, long time thorough high school and even after that. He lives in Tampa, and his name is Kevin Kinney. I've talked to him recently and worked with him a little bit.
Most of the time I always do stuff myself. Maybe that's why it takes me a little longer to get back into form, but I think I learn a little more.
Q. Do you recall if this round was one of your better ones in relation to recently in the season?
GEORGE McNEILL: Uh, 6-under par, I had -- I think John Deere I shot 6-under in the second round.
Yeah, I mean, typically I'm a -- I think I said earlier, I like a course where par is a good score. Usually the harder the better, at least in my mind.
Las Vegas is one obviously you've got to shoot a lot under par, and I played well there for whatever reason it is. It just suits my eye. Maybe this is so far. I seem to like it.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through the card. Started off with birdie on No. 1.
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah.
JOHN BUSH: Take us through that.
GEORGE McNEILL: Okay. Driver off the tee and a pitching wedge to, I don't know, about 15 or 18 feet; made that.
JOHN BUSH: Okay. No. 6, par-4.
GEORGE McNEILL: Oh, yeah, good hole. It was starting to gust there. The wind was starting to come in. It was straight into the wind. Driver and a 7-iron to, I don't know, it was probably six or eight feet and made that.
JOHN BUSH: Okay. Par-3, the 8th hole.
GEORGE McNEILL: Par 3, the pin is right up on the front. I hit 5-iron, and hit it probably four feet behind the hole.
JOHN BUSH: No. 10.
GEORGE McNEILL: 10 was a 3-wood and a sand wedge to 15 or 18 feet.
JOHN BUSH: Your only bogey of the day, No. 11.
GEORGE McNEILL: 11 I drove it left in the trees and actually hit a real good shot on the green and then three-putted. Kind of my only...
JOHN BUSH: Then the last three holes.
GEORGE McNEILL: 16 was a driver and a 9-iron to a foot.
17 I hit a 3-wood off the tee, laid up, and wedged it to about eight feet; made that.
18 I hit a 9-iron to about three feet.
JOHN BUSH: All right.
Q. This goes along with what I was asking you about earlier. Your score might not hold up through the day, but how many times do you see a guy who leads a tournament and then falls off. At 6-under you're in a great position. How important is it to get off to this kind of start considering some of the struggles you've had?
GEORGE McNEILL: Confidence-wise it's always nice to throw up a good round. Who knows? I might go out and shoot an 85 tomorrow. It happens. It's not likely, but it happens.
But just personally, in my own mind, again, I've been working on some things, and my swing is starting to feel more comfortable.
So confidence-wise, it helps to get off to a good start. If I had gone out and shot 75 today, obviously that's not what I'm looking for and I wouldn't be sitting here.
Yeah, just personally, it's always nice to get off to a good start.
Q. When a player knows that the scores are gonna below or believes they are, what's the mindset starting out?
GEORGE McNEILL: Don't make bogeys; don't make doubles. Basically you got to go out and play your own game. You have to get out and hit fairways and greens and give yourself opportunities.
If you're hitting it in the rough all day off the tee, you're gonna probably be struggling to hit it not necessarily on the green, but hit it close into some of these pins.
Because the humps and bumps and swales that are on this golf course, you have to be in the fairway in order to hit some close.
So basically just give yourself opportunities.
Q. Give us some reaction about the course and the fans and kind of the atmosphere around here.
GEORGE McNEILL: It seems that -- and actually, I didn't know it, but a guy that I know and known for a long time, he just moved up here to Lewisburg I think last week. I saw him out there on Tuesday and then I saw him again yesterday and again today.
I said on 17, I walked up to him and I said, Man, this is unreal. The community is pretty excited about this. He says, This is the greatest thing for this community ever. We don't any big events around here, so the community is 100% behind it.
I also said this is the most crowd I've seen a Tuesday or a Wednesday and a Thursday of any tournament other than maybe a major. People just don't show up to watch Pro-Am golf on Wednesdays, and they do here.
So I said, It's amazing the following and the support that this community has given this event.
Q. Who is that friend you're talking about?
GEORGE McNEILL: His name is Archie (phonetic). He's a real good friend of mine's brother-in-law. So he's an orthopedic salesmen.
JOHN BUSH: All right, George. Great start. Keep it going this week.
GEORGE McNEILL: All right. Thanks.
End of FastScripts