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March 22, 2011

Gary Woodland


MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome Gary Woodland fresh off his win last week at the Transitions Championship. You want to talk a little bit about anything that's gone on in the last couple of days, how your life has changed, and obviously you're going to change your schedule a little bit coming up here after the win, and then we'll take some questions.
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it's kind of been busy, hectic the last 24, 48 hours. But the main thing is, I have a lot of love and support. It's been phenomenal, just the text messages and the e-mails and phone calls I received. It's been overwhelming. But schedule-wise, yeah, everything's changed a little bit. I played my way into a lot of the bigger tournaments.
Obviously I'm going to Augusta. Moved up in the FedEx. Hopefully I can keep going with that. I'd like to get into that TOUR Championship and obviously now Kapalua next year to start the year.
But it's been a great 48 hours and like to keep it going.

Q. Sometimes media is guilty of type casting players, and you and Jhonattan Vegas have come up through the Nationwide Tour and are considered bombers. How much satisfaction does it give you knowing you won that tournament last week because of your putting; and Jhonattan won it not only because of how long he could hit it but to make the score he did after hitting in the water which required finesse and everything but is it important to prove people wrong in that regard? Have you always taken any kind of offense to being considered just a big hitter off the tee?
GARY WOODLAND: I don't think I ever took offense to it. It was frustrating at times, because that's all -- everybody loves it. They love how far you can hit it and they want to see it, it's exciting, and I don't blame anybody for that. But I wanted to prove, I wanted to prove that I had more than just hitting a golf ball a long way.
And it's been tough because the results haven't shown it, but I think in year they have. I haven't hit a lot of drivers this year. I think the most drivers I've probably hit was Torrey Pines and that was probably one of my worst finishes of the year. It just proves that I'm working and doing the write thing and hopefully they can keep providing results.

Q. How much did you lay out your schedule for the year or do you do a month or whatever, and how much did last week change the rest of it?
GARY WOODLAND: I mean, the schedule's changed a lot. When I started the year I was going to play in everything I could. Obviously I got off to a great start and moved up in the reshuffle which changed it a little bit. I got to pick -- I was in most of the Invitationals. Obviously I wasn't in Augusta, but I still have a long way to go. I'm not in all of the majors yet.
I'm moving up in that direction but I still have a long way to go in that so my schedule right now, kind of taking it week-by-week. Obviously I'm going to play this week and I'm going to play Houston and Augusta and after that, it's still up in the air a little bit but I've got some work to do and hopefully I can take care of that this week.

Q. Kids often get told at a young age they have to choose what sport they want to do if they want to do it well; did that involve a lot of catching up for you? Did you feel you had to do a particular amount of work that other guys you were up against didn't necessarily have to do?
GARY WOODLAND: For sure. My dad never put the ultimatum on me that I had to give up a sport until I was 16. He told me I had to decide between baseball and golf and I chose golf at the time. I just got done playing a hundred games of baseball that summer and I'm like, okay, I'm done. I'll choose golf.
I think I'm behind in the experience factor of this game, but I don't think I'm behind at all in the competition part of it. On Sunday when it's competition, that's what I want. I've grown up in competition my whole life. I've always played baseball and basketball, playing against older kids growing up. I love that. That's all I'm here for. I'm here for the competition. And learning how to play the game of golf, I'm behind, but the competition factor, I don't think I'm behind at all.

Q. Since Sunday, has Randy or anybody else weighed in on how your power game fit so nicely with Augusta, and if so, what did they say?
GARY WOODLAND: Randy and I haven't talked much. Randy was working most of the telecast on Sunday. He said he had it taped. When I got done I was frustrated with the way I hit the golf ball, and I called Randy and we talked when I was driving home for quite a while and he told me, just relax, you just won a golf tournament and you're not very happy. He said he was going to watch it and get back to me, and I'll sure we'll talk tonight to get a game plan for the week.
All I've heard is how long Augusta is, so I'm going to try to get in there next week and play before I go to Houston. We'll get into that, but I haven't heard too much yet, no.

Q. You just mentioned when you made the choice, you came off a 100-game baseball season, I'm sure your decision was more than that. What eventually made you decide to choose golf?
GARY WOODLAND: I mean, I was pretty much, I was just -- I didn't play much golf. I just played a lot of baseball and I was tired at the time. I didn't play baseball for the high school team. I played during the summers and during the fall everything, and the coach told me I had to pick one. And I chose golf when I was 16, or when I was 14 going into high school, I don't know why I did. It just turned out that I think maybe I didn't have to do much at golf and I was better at it.
Baseball, I had to work pretty hard to get pretty good and golf, it just came naturally to me. I think that's what ultimately made the decision.

Q. And I think every player has to go through it, but bombers maybe sometimes have to do a little bit more in terms of game management and toning things down. How much did you have to go through that process, and maybe you're still going through that process in terms of when to put the pedal down and when to lay back.
GARY WOODLAND: It's hard, because I didn't have that in 2009. I think my biggest thing in 2009 was course management, horrendous. Randy Smith has been huge with that and my caddie Jon Yarbrough, he's very conservative.
Randy knows me as well as anybody. He's the one that told me last week, I had to play conservative. I didn't want to do it but I did. I just stuck to the game plan all week. I just kept telling myself, stick to it, stick to it and it will be all right. I wanted to hit 3-wood on the last hole and caddie told me, no, it's not worth it, you have to hit 2-iron and I did. It's something I'm learning, and I've got to keep sticking to it. .

Q. How many times did you kind of go against your own natural instincts last week where you wanted to grab a bigger club?
GARY WOODLAND: There's quite a few times. Sometimes I said it joking, just to kind of break the ice on the tee box, I'm like, let's hit driver here. One time I think I went against it was on the second hole on the final round and I hit it way left. Caddie wanted me to punch out, layout, and I had 150 yards and I had to hook it I think 30 yards and I said, I'm going for it. We are going to do it. He said: This is a one-in-ten shot and I'm like, I'm going it. And I think was the only time I went against it and hit a great shot and got it up-and-down.

Q. What particularly were you displeased about last week despite a win, and what does that really say about where you're at where you're not happy and still able to win?
GARY WOODLAND: My whole life I've been a pretty good ball-striker. I've been able to control the golf ball the way I wanted to and on Sunday I didn't do that. All year I haven't hit the ball left. We eliminated the left side of the golf course with the driver and I think I hit it left almost every time I hit driver besides the one on 11 that I came out of and hit it way right on 17. That was just over-correction because out-of-bounds was left.
I was very upset with the way I drove the golf ball, but I think what it's saying is I'm still trying to putt it together. Bob Hope, I hit the ball beautifully and putted bad on Sunday. Yesterday I hit it bad and putted well. I just haven't put it together yet. So that's what we are trying to do.

Q. Second thing is, you live here in Orlando, this golf course, how much have you played it, just in a casual round or whatever, and what do you think of it? Do you like it?
GARY WOODLAND: I love it. I came here when I was in high school on vacation with my family, my sister and dad and I we came out and played when I was in high school. And my dad and I -- we used to come to Orlando quite a bit. We have family down here and we vacationed down here. We played twice growing up and I came over about three weeks ago. I was off during Doral so I came over and played.
I love the golf course. I think it suits me pretty well. I think you can use your length out here. I think it's a long golf course. I think it's a hard golf course and I'm really looking forward to staying at home this week and playing here.

Q. Give us a scouting report when you were a baseball player playing 100 games; overall what kind of baseball player were you?
GARY WOODLAND: I was a pretty good baseball player. I played short stop. I batted lead-off on our team. We had kids from recall over the State of Kansas. We travelled and would play anybody that wanted to play us. We played all over the place. I think every kid on our team played college athletics. One kid turn pro right out of high school and one is still playing in the Major Leagues. We just loved playing baseball and travelling all over the place.
We were the Topeka Orioles. It was travel. At the legion you had to be in a certain area. Like the little league World Series -- we were kids from all over the place. We had the Baltimore Orioles, we ordered our uniforms from then. We had authentic stuff and we are walking around with practice uniforms. It was a pretty cool deal. We thought we were pretty big.

Q. Why the Orioles?
GARY WOODLAND: I don't even know why we were the Orioles. Just how it worked. I don't know why.

Q. And finally, the NCAA Tournament, you guys are huge basketball fans and March Madness always coincides with the Florida Swing; do you ever kind of -- okay, I can finish this round and I can get in and watch some games and then what's your assessment of how Kansas has done so far?
GARY WOODLAND: I was fortunate last week, KU played late every night so I was at home before the games started. Sunday night I had to listen to the first half on the radio driving home.
And I did the radio for KU at half time for that game, and I told the guys on the radio I'm more nervous listening to the game than I was playing golf. I had no control over the basketball game. It's tough. They play late fry gay night this week and I'll be able to watch that and hopefully they get to Houston. Hopefully they get to the Final Four; it's the same week as the Shell, so hopefully I'll get up to see those guys.

Q. Are you remotely up to speed on the TOUR's proposal on Q-School only giving you a Nationwide card?
GARY WOODLAND: I'm not. I've only heard bits and pieces about it. I don't know the gist of it. I haven't got enough knowledge about it yet.

Q. How would you feel if Q-School only gets you a Nationwide Tour card?
GARY WOODLAND: That's tough, because I never -- I got my card through Q-School. That's how I got to the PGA TOUR. I don't know all of it. I know Rickie Fowler got his card, I know Dustin Johnson did. I know those were big names out here that didn't go to the Nationwide Tour. Webb Simpson, he was in contention last week. I don't know the whole deal or how it's going to work. I think it's a tough one. I know guys are opponents to it and I know guys that like it. I just need to hear the whole structure behind it.

Q. In terms of World Rankings, the pressure is off going to Augusta. Somebody sitting 48-52 and coming in here having to do well, the pressure is off you, but what is that like mentally?
GARY WOODLAND: Nothing, because it's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to take care of myself. I keep saying, I didn't set goals this year. My goal was to get better every day because if I do that the results will take care of themselves and I'll be there. I didn't set a goal to win this year, and I knew if I would get better, I know I'll move up, and I know I'll play my way in if it get better every day; that will take care of itself. I'm not worried about that at all.

Q. Not you, but for the guy that's sitting there at that number?
GARY WOODLAND: It's tough because if you get Top-50 in the world, you get in the majors and that's what we are all out here to do, win major championships. But if I think about it, I don't think it's going to work for you so I put all that on the back bunker.

Q. Did you full out a bracket?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, my bracket's horrible. I had KU, Duke, Syracuse who lost already, and Ohio State. So I got three of the four but the rest, I think everybody is out that I had picked. I had Kansas playing Duke in the finals and Kansas winning.

Q. You've filled out a horrible bracket with three of the four teams still alive, and you won a tournament in Tampa and were disappointed on your way out of town. Have you always been kind of hard on yourself?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, a little bit. I think you can say that. (Laughter).
The rest of that bracket is bad. I don't know if I have anybody else left in it. I picked a lot of the 1-seeds. I thought they had pretty easy ways. Obviously I'm very happy with what happened last week. But you know, the main thing for me, I'm still happy to play this week because I've got a job to do. I can't sit home and think about last week. Thursday nobody is going to care that I won this week and I have a job to do and I'm here to do it. I'm glad I have a week off and I can't wake to get back to work and play a practice round today and get back to business.

Q. If you batted lead-off on your baseball team, how far did the clean-up hitter get?
GARY WOODLAND: We had four guys shaving when we were 12 -- we had a bunch of kids that matured early. We had some big guys, we just did. (Laughter) We were a power team and we were fortunate that we all matured very young.

Q. How many games out of the 100 did you win?
GARY WOODLAND: We didn't lose many times. We played in the CA b World Series every year, which was pretty big nationally at the time. We lost in the World Series that year, we went -- would I have to go back and look, we couldn't have lost more than seven or eight games.

Q. You said you played here a number of times, can you tell me strategically how you play the 14th?
GARY WOODLAND: I played here three times, let me think what 14 is.

Q. Or what about 17?
GARY WOODLAND: I think the main thing is get the ball on the green. This golf course, I'll go out and put a game plan together today and figure it out. Two times I played here in high school, I really didn't remember it. And I played here three weeks ago.
But I mean, I think on the par 3s out here you just have to get the ball on the green, and I think if you do that, you take four days in the middle of the green and be all right.
Q. If you came here as a teenager to Orlando, how do you get on Bay Hill?
GARY WOODLAND: That's a good question. I think my dad pulled some strings. I don't know. Head pro, called the head pro back home and he called down here. My dad and I played it by ourselves one time, we were first off and it was 30 degrees, had to be the coldest day in Orlando history, it was freezing and my sister and I played and my dad when I was in my freshman year in high school.

Q. How far does your sister hit it?
GARY WOODLAND: She hits it a long ways. She did hit it a long way in high school.

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