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August 5, 2011

Will MacKenzie


THE MODERATOR: Will MacKenzie thanks for joining us in the interview room after a 3-under par 69. Will, just some comments on your day, please.
WILL MACKENZIE: I'm happy to be back here. Real comfortable on the course. I am actually swinging it pretty well. Today could have been a good day as far as I could have shot a lot lower score. Just kind of struggled with my putter.
But overall, you know, any time you shoot 3-under -- I guess the scores weren't that great. I thought they would be a little better. So, you know, I mean, I played it pretty solid.
I hit one real errant shot that cost me. I hit it in the water on No. 8. But other than that I was pretty solid. I had some good looks and just wasn't able to capitalize.
THE MODERATOR: 67 yesterday morning. Talk a little bit about the difference this afternoon in conditions.
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, just, I mean, obviously my group got the better draw. It blew hard yesterday, I think. So we were pretty fortunate. It was tough to shoot a good score yesterday. I think Briny shot 5-under yesterday afternoon.
But I could just tell where we were, my wife and I were going around the town, and it was blowing hard down in Reno so we knew it was blowing hard up here. So we got the good end of the stick there. A lot easier yesterday. In the morning it was perfect.
And this afternoon it was doable. You could shoot a good one. There was some tough shots, a little wind, but not much.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, questions.

Q. I saw some of your putts, and you burned the cup on 18 down there, your 9th hole.

Q. Did you have a number of those today that just missed?
WILL MACKENZIE: I actually did hit a few good one that didn't go in, but I hit some putts that came off the putter face and I peeked or just wasn't super-committed. So that's just something I got to get better at. I got to stay in the putts and I got to believe I can make 'em.
But I did hit a few that were good. So if I hit a good putt that I've stayed in and haven't peeked or sort of yipee'd a little bit, I'm okay with that. I don't mind missing 'em if I hit a good putt.

Q. So you must feel pretty good about your chances. You could win this thing again this week.
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, I mean, it's still early, and I've got so many demons I'm trying to get rid of - not demons, but just poor play. I would like to shoot a good one tomorrow, that's for sure.
I know I can win. There's no doubt about that. I just need to get in position again. I need to get in position and go, Hey, hey, it's up for grabs here. I can shoot as good a score as anybody and suck it up with a little bit of heat on me.
So I just need to get back in there. I seem to -- haven't been able to put all the rounds together. You know, it's four days. It's not a two-round tournament. That's the problem sometimes.

Q. What's the biggest thing about your game the last few years that you're trying to get better?
WILL MACKENZIE: Um, I mean, you know, we've had life changes. My wife and I have had two kids. I've changed coaches a little bit. As you know, I change putting strokes and putters like it's -- I mean, I don't know, it just sucks.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, I mean, I tend to ebb and flow with that part of the game, but I haven't ball-striked it as good as I need to do this last year.
I mean, usually, I've been top 25 and top 30 and 40 in greens in reg, and I've been top 10 or 15 in total driving. I usually can frickin' strike it pretty good.
It's just that putter that gets me a little bit. There's nothing better than feeling confident with that club. If you're confident with that club, everything opens up for you. I am working hard on it, and I've got some good stuff going on in my putting.
I finished like fourth in the Nationwide event that I putted really nice in. I was pretty excited. It hasn't been great the last two months. I've been making cuts, but it's going to clinic for me. I'm keep working on it.
I think I'm working on the right things with my putting, and something good is gonna happen. I got to just keep believing.

Q. You mentioned you were a little surprised there weren't more low scores today. Looking forward, how do you see the course changing over the week and how that might affect scoring?
WILL MACKENZIE: The course is in great shape. You can never doubt that. It is drying out. The greens are drying out. Whenever these greens dry out -- and I think we're going to have wind on the weekend; that's what we saw in the forecast.
I mean, 10-plus miles per hour makes a big difference out here because you're judging so much. You're judging 10% air quality, elevation changes, and then we'll throw in the wind and the greens dry out, it's really difficult to get close to the hole.
I mean, this golf course is so pure. I love this golf course so much. I mean, it could hold -- I mean, it holds a big event, the Reno-Tahoe Open. It's a shame that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and those guys don't show up. They would love this place. I mean, this is just such a great walk through the mid-mountain area. It's just pure.
But it'll probably be about the same. If it firms up and is windy, it obviously won't go quite as low. What's leading the tournament, 9- or 10-under?
WILL MACKENZIE: Is that going to be leading at the end of the day?
THE MODERATOR: I think so.
WILL MACKENZIE: Yeah, so, I mean, maybe 16-under this year if it blows. Guys are still going to shoot three or three on the weekend, I would think.
But if it stays nice and doesn't blow much and they water the greens a little bit -- but it just starts getting dried out in the afternoon. So since we're doing twosomes off one tee, the leader are playing late, some guys are going to shoot good ones early, but the leaders aren't going to be able to shoot as low.
THE MODERATOR: Five past champions in the top 6, Will, so no real advantage there. Talk a little bit about the comfortable level of playing this course.
WILL MACKENZIE: I think it is. I think it's those little idiosyncrasies, like, Yeah, this putt is just historically fast or this putt don't go away from Mount Rose quite as much or this putt does go away from Mount Rose harder than you think.
And just trusting yardages. Trusting you're hitting 7-iron downhill on No. 9 - or 18 now rather -- from 230. That's the actual yardage. Just huge adjustments you have to make with the air quality and the elevation changes, and just being able to trust that's the right stick.
I think that is tougher for the youngsters. I'm sure there are some young dudes out here that are playing well, but I sure didn't play it well my first year.
THE MODERATOR: Will, we appreciate your time. Play well this weekend.
WILL MACKENZIE: Thank you all.

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