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October 13, 2011

Zack Miller


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Zack Miller into the interview room here at the McGladrey Classic after a 7-under par 63. Phenomenal round. If we can just get your comments.
ZACK MILLER: Yeah, I mean, I don't really know where this came from. Coming into this event, I had missed my last seven cuts, and I had -- I think I had five birdies and an eagle with no bogeys. I mean, really no expectations. I came in just trying to draw all the positives I can, what's happened the last seven tournaments for me. It's just a great turnout for me.
JOHN BUSH: Three pars to start your round, but talk about that four-hole stretch there that got you going.
ZACK MILLER: Yeah, I just hit it really closely on the first three holes; I went birdie, birdie, eagle. My first birdie I hit to a foot, and that's right around the range where I can get it almost every time (laughing), and then the next hole, hit it to about two feet, was able to get that one in, and then on the par-5, I hit 5-iron in and just hit a shot that never really left the flag, and that went to about three feet, so there was really no long putts going in, just really hitting some nice shots into the hole.

Q. What was your yardage on that 5-iron?

Q. Did you have to plumb-bob that three-footer then?
ZACK MILLER: Yeah, I mean, I'm a West Coast guy. I'm not used to grain. So anything over a foot is -- it's more challenging than I'm used to. Definitely took my time.

Q. You said a minute ago that you had missed your last seven cuts and then you were going to try and draw all the positives from those. What positives came out of that?
ZACK MILLER: Well, traveling to seven different cities, missing seven cuts in a row, I mean, it's hard. And so basically just kind of -- it's been a challenge for me just to stay happy and keep going. I think I just came into this week -- I've been sort of learning how to be happy regardless of what the golf scores are, you know, which is try and having more fun at the events, going out to dinner with some of the players as opposed to early in the year I was doing stuff by myself. Just trying to have more fun because if my fun was just based on my golf score, it's a pretty rough existence.

Q. Considering your situation on the Money List and considering how well you played today, you seemed to handle the pressures of your situation pretty well. How are you handling them? Is it something that's in your mind at all?
ZACK MILLER: Yeah, the Money List thing, I've been trying to avoid looking at it. I mean, when you miss as many cuts as I have, I mean, you're only going one direction. I haven't -- I peek at it every few tournaments basically, but I mean, right now, I'm -- the reality is I'm sort of just battling to stay in the top 150. That's just the harsh reality of it for me based on my play, just trying to stay in the top 150, trying to go straight to final stage, trying to get some conditional status for next year.
But with that being said, I mean, I'm just going to keep doing a lot of things I did today, which was hitting lots of 3-woods off the tee and hitting a lot of shots to the middle of the green. I mean, it's so easy, but that's what I haven't been doing.
But to answer your question, I haven't been really looking at the Money List. It's been hard to with my play as of late.

Q. You weren't looking at the Money List; were you starting to look at the leaderboard once the birdies started to fall today and see where you were standing?
ZACK MILLER: Definitely. Going back to trying to draw on the positives, I mean, I had a really nice start to the year where I saw my name on the leaderboard often, and I kind of lost that -- I kind of just wanted to say, hey, look, I'm on the leaderboard, that's a really cool, positive thing. Haven't experienced that in the last two months, and so I was just sort of like, hey, that's really cool, I'm going to keep looking at it because it just made me feel good.

Q. You missed the green on the par-3. How big was that up-and-down for you for you to stay in the lead on the leaderboard?
ZACK MILLER: It was really big. I think that the challenging part for this golf course for me are the tee shots. With that being said, I think it's so important to keep making your three- or four-footers, getting easy up-and-downs up and down just to keep momentum going. Who's to say -- if I had missed that putt or didn't get that up-and-down, momentum would have stopped for me, and then I would have had some tougher tee shots coming down the stretch. But it was really important. I actually made, I think -- didn't really have any tap-ins coming down the stretch. Every putt was pretty stressful.
Regardless, it's the first round, but for me, I haven't broken 3-under or 2-under in a while in a round just because I've been struggling. It felt like I was coming down the stretch just because I was in -- I was playing great, and I knew it was something I hadn't done in a while.

Q. You're from the Bay Area?
ZACK MILLER: Yeah, just north of San Francisco.

Q. Where did you play most of your golf?
ZACK MILLER: Grew up at the Meadow Club as a junior.

Q. How long have you used the long putter?
ZACK MILLER: I've had a long putter for the last five years, and I love it. I think it's saved my career, as short as it is. I developed the yips in college, and my golf coach at the time, at Stanford, suggested a long putter, and it just gave me so much more confidence from short range, and I've been using it for the last five years.

Q. Has this felt like it's been a long year to you? Did you play Sony?
ZACK MILLER: You know, this is my 29th event. It hasn't felt long at all. Every event is great. I spent two years on the Gateway Tour and on the Korean Tour and then I had Nationwide status last year. These events are such a -- are run so well and you get treated so well compared to where I was. Nationwide Tour was good, too, but 29 events, I'd try to do it again next year if they'll allow me to.

Q. What was the Korean Tour like, and how did you get over there?
ZACK MILLER: Just looking for a place to play. You know, I kind of came out looking at it, I want to give myself five years to try to do this, professional golf, and I wanted to look back on it and say, hey, golf took me not only just to the Gateway Tour, I wanted to maybe get some travel in, as well. So I went to Korea, qualified for that Tour, played five or six tournaments, didn't do very well, and actually didn't have a great experience just because it's hard as a foreigner. Not many Koreans speak -- not where I went, a lot of people didn't speak English, so it was kind of a lonely existence for me. But then I had Nationwide status, and I think my life changed with that.

Q. Do you speak any Korean at all?

Q. Who was your caddie in Korea?
ZACK MILLER: They provided caddies for you, and they're all women, so it was a little different. It was fun, they just used a pull cart. It was kind of nice. We didn't talk much, but it was actually quite enjoyable. (Laughter.)

Q. How long have you played Ping?
ZACK MILLER: I've played Ping for three years.
JOHN BUSH: We appreciate your time. Keep it going this week.

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