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January 21, 2011
LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA
JOE CHEMYCZ: Like to welcome Gary Woodland to the interview room with a career best today, 8-under par, 64, his, he does have a 63, but that was a 7-under par in Mayacoba in 2009. So in relationship to par, career best round for you. 17 of 18 greens. Talk about the day.
GARY WOODLAND: I got off to a good start. Obviously the weather's perfect, ideal scoring conditions, and I hit it well all day. I've been hitting it well all week and I got the ball below the hole and made some putts.
So the key to today I hit 17 greens in regulation, so I had a bunch of opportunities for birdies, I didn't make everything, but I made, obviously I made nine of them, so that was good enough.
JOE CHEMYCZ: You had a good stretch there early in the front nine.
GARY WOODLAND: I got off to a run, I birdied five in a row, and then I hit it in there to about 10 feet and missed it and then made the next one, so I birdied six out of seven.
So that was a good start early in the round and then I was fortunate to make a couple on the back nine.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Any of those sizeable putts?
GARY WOODLAND: No, I think that probably 15, 20 feet was probably the longest putt I made all day. I hit it close today. Yesterday I just couldn't hit it close enough to the hole, I hit 16 greens, but never really gave myself opportunities to make birdies and today I gave myself a bunch.
Q. 2008 Q-School is that the last time you been out here to PGA West?
GARY WOODLAND: I played the Bob Hope two years ago.
GARY WOODLAND: 2009.
Q. The Q-School's different courses, obviously, but any kind of similar test or things you're liking about both sets of courses?
GARY WOODLAND: The golf courses are great. They're in ideal condition. The greens are perfect. So the goal for me all week is trying to get the ball on the green and I've been putting it, I felt like I've been putting it pretty good. I haven't hit hardly any drivers, I think I only hit three today and three or four yesterday. So I've been laying back, trying to get the ball on the green, and roll some putts in.
Q. Are you a better basketball player than you are golfer?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, I like playing basketball a little more, but there's a lot more people athletic than I am, but I love playing basketball for sure.
Q. What was it like playing at Allen Fieldhouse? You played there.
GARY WOODLAND: Probably the biggest thrill of my life. 16,000 fans just breathing down on you and the place that I grew up going since I was a little kid, so that was a big dream for me, the biggest dream I ever had was to play there and I accomplished that. And unfortunately I was playing against KU and not with them, but it was a big honor to be there.
Q. Bigger than Augusta?
GARY WOODLAND: Augusta, that obviously will be a goal in golf. I would like to get there. Hopefully I get there in a couple months. But Allen Fieldhouse was definitely up there for me, coming from Kansas.
Q. Do you remember the score in that game?
GARY WOODLAND: We lost by 30, 90-60, I believe.
Q. You played here two years ago, I believe you missed the cut.
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, correct.
Q. Come here, the first two days you're 10-under par and nobody really even kind of notices anybody 10-under par, then you shoot the one round and you're in first place. Do you even worry about the anything until Saturday here?
GARY WOODLAND: No, I'm just going one shot at a time. I think my biggest goal tomorrow is to get done, KU plays at 1 o'clock, I go off at nine o'clock, I want to get done. They play Texas, we got a big game tomorrow. There's still a lot of golf left. I'm playing well, just keep doing what I'm doing and the outcome will come.
Q. If you didn't go there, why are you such a KU fan, just the fact that you grew up in the area? But I want to ask you a golf question after that.
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, I grew up 30 minutes from KU, from the fieldhouse, and obviously I went to school there, so I've been a KU guy forever.
Q. A lot of people don't like this tournament because of the format, the various amateur teams, the switching golf courses, has that ever been a problem, you played here, didn't play a couple years, in other words you say, oh, my God, here we go again or do you just sort of accept it and just play golf?
GARY WOODLAND: I relish it. I have a good time interacting with the guys. I play a lot of golf back home at the country club with members, so I think it's just a day at home. I have fun with it, a lot of guys, like you said, don't like it, and I think that that hurts them, but I come here trying to have fun with the guys and Sunday we'll get back to a normal tournament, but we're going to have fun again tomorrow.
Q. Last year was elbow, shoulder?
GARY WOODLAND: Shoulder. I had shoulder surgery August of 2009.
Q. How is that?
GARY WOODLAND: I'm getting better. I'm not a hundred percent. I don't play with pain anymore, which is the main thing, I don't have the strength I want, but I'm just going to play as long as the endurance is going to let me play and then I'll take a week off and get back at it.
Q. Any benefits? Some guys say that it's teaching them to control themselves, they work on their short game, or anything like that?
GARY WOODLAND: I think benefit was having nine months off and take a look at my stats and look at what I needed to do. I sat down with my coach and we attacked the short game, we attacked the driver, trying to get the driver in play more, so the benefit for me was the time off and to get back mentally and prepare.
Q. Which shoulder and what was wrong with it?
GARY WOODLAND: I had a torn labrum in the left shoulder.
Q. Golf injury?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, wear and tear we think. Just doing a lot over the years. Unfortunately, it kind of gave on me. I played on cortisone as long as I could until they told me couldn't have anymore and it was time to shut it down and have surgery.
Q. I think that you and I talked two years ago here at the Hope and if I remember right one of the things you said was when you learned golf, didn't you just learn to hit it as hard as possible? Wasn't that kind of your dad's philosophy. Can you talk about that and has that ultimately do you think contributed to the injuries?
GARY WOODLAND: It was, I grew up, I think even when I got out here on the PGA TOUR I was still just trying to hit the ball hard. I didn't, I got here pretty quick, I got to golf late, I played a lot of sports growing up, so I didn't really understand how to play golf. I came out here as an athlete trying to compete, but there's a lot of guys out here that know how to play this game. I could probably beat them on the basketball court, but out here, you know, a year and a half, I was getting my butt kicked, but I learned how to play the game over the last year and a half, I got great people around me, great people mentoring me, so I'm starting to get there. I'm not anywhere close to where I want to be, but I'm on that road right now.
Q. When you say you came late, give us, how old were you?
GARY WOODLAND: I've always played, but I never played anything nationally until I got to college. I played one year of basketball and then I went to Kansas, so it was my junior year in college before I played any big national golf tournament during the summer. No U.S. Amateur, no AJGA, none of that, I was too busy playing basketball and baseball. But I always loved golf and thought I was pretty good at it and fortunately I'm starting to blossom into that.
Q. It's so hard to get here, what do you credit with being able to get to this level with so little youth experience?
GARY WOODLAND: I think it's the other sports I played. There's so much up-and-down in sports. You're never going to win all the time. So I learned how to play through adversity. I think that's the main deal. I just, I got hot during Q-School a couple years ago and I played bad on the mini tours my first year out of school and got hot at Q-School and got to the PGA TOUR and all of a sudden I was here.
I think the injury allowed me to -- last year I didn't play very well, I got a chance to go to the Nationwide Tour, I played the last nine weeks out there, made eight cuts out of the last nine, I got a chance to play golf continuously and I think that's been huge for me.
Q. What made you finally pick golf and give up the other sports?
GARY WOODLAND: I realized there's not many six foot white guys in the NBA. That first game I played in college, we played KU, would he were No. 2 in Division II, they were No. 1 in Division I and it just wasn't close. And after that game I had a blast and it was time for me to start realizing what I was going to do after school and once basketball was over I made the decision to transfer and start working at this full-time.
Q. So there was no doubt in your mind you wanted to a pro athlete?
GARY WOODLAND: No doubt. I just didn't know what I was going to be one in.
Q. You mentioned just trying to learn how to play the game and then you mentioned earlier you laid back on lot of holes today, has that been kind of a difficult adjustment for someone who hits the ball so far, has that taken time or is that something you picked up?
GARY WOODLAND: It is difficult. I got a great caddie on the bag and he takes the driver out of my hands a lot, trying to keep me in play. I wanted to hit driver on last hole and he told me it wasn't the play.
So it's been a learning adjustment for me, because I just don't hit many drivers out here, there's not a lot of places for me to hit it. So it is hard, but I get the benefit of hitting 2-iron and 3-wood in play and using the rest of my game to my advantage.
Q. So when you say laying back, is it 3-wood most of the time?
GARY WOODLAND: 3-wood and 2-iron I hit mostly all day today.
Q. A hybrid or a 2-iron?
GARY WOODLAND: It's a 2-iron.
Q. You have two rounds at Palmer Private, correct?
GARY WOODLAND: Correct.
Q. So out there are you able to let it go a little more, is it more of a placement course for you?
GARY WOODLAND: I didn't play a practice round, I drove around it, I didn't play practice rounds hardly anywhere, I drove around. I played there two years ago I think I made eight birdies and shot even par. I know there's birdies out there, I got to eliminate the other ones. I think I had a couple doubles and triples. But there are more drivers out there on that golf course, I think, than the rest of them for me.
Q. Are there any other good basketball players out here?
GARY WOODLAND: I know Dustin can play a little bit. Him and I have messed around a little bit. I'm sure there are, I haven't seen any.
Q. Anthony Kim likes to play.
GARY WOODLAND: I know Anthony likes to play, I know he does.
Q. Have you seen him play?
GARY WOODLAND: I have not. Only person I seen is Dustin.
Q. Too bad you didn't get paired with Doctor J and the Iceman.
GARY WOODLAND: I saw those guys there. I saw them in the practice rounds the other day.
Q. Talk about people teaching you to play golf, anyone at Nona that you play a lot with that's helped you?
GARY WOODLAND: Trevor Immelman and I started working out with the same trainer about five months ago. He's been a great mentor for me. Any question I have, he answers.
Justin Rose has always been great to me out there.
Randy Smith and I have worked together for about five years now and he's been everything for me. He's helped me get to where I am today.
Brad Faxon, to be honest with you, I started working with him a couple months ago on my putting and it's been, it's blossomed. So he's been -- and he's playing two groups in front of me, so yesterday we get done and I'm asking him questions, so he's been great for me for sure.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Gary, thank you.
GARY WOODLAND: Thanks, guys.
End of FastScripts