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February 15, 2012

Patrick Cantlay


LAURA HILL:  We'd like to welcome Patrick Cantlay to the interview room.  Patrick, first start here at Riviera in kind of your backyard.  Give us your impressions after practicing and getting ready for the Northern Trust Open.
PATRICK CANTLAY:  Well, I've played Riviera maybe 10 or 12 times.  Our team comes out here every once in a while.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm thankful to the Northern Trust for the opportunity to play this week, and I'm looking to do my best.

Q.  Would you talk a little bit about what June was like for you last year, NCAA, then Columbus and then the U.S. Open, qualifying, and on and on?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  June was great.  I had a good time.  I started off at NCAAs, went to the Palmer Cup.  In between the Palmer Cup, I qualified for the U.S. Open in Columbus.  U.S. Open, and then Travelers.  So it was probably my best stretch of golf.  I played really well, and it was fun.  It was exciting.

Q.  On the same topic, how do you think your game is now versus last summer, and what's the best advice you've been given since you've been out here regularly?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I think my game has matured.  I think I've gotten a little bigger and a little stronger.  I also think that I feel a lot more comfortable out here, kind of know the routine and what to do.  And I know what it's like to play in the biggest tournaments.
Best piece of advice:  John Cook told me golf is just golf, no matter if it's a college event or junior tournament or with your buddies or in the U.S. Open.  It's all the same.  You're just trying to get the ball in the hole as fast as possible.

Q.  Do you look at this as a tune‑up for the NCAAs, getting a chance to play this course, and especially with Jordan in the field?  Is this a preview of what's to come in June?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  It's definitely great to be able to play the tournament, to play a tournament on a course that you're going to play one of the biggest events of the year at later, but I'm still focused on playing as best I can this week.  This is just as big as NCAAs for me.

Q.  What's your most interesting shot here at Riviera or thing that's happened here?  You've obviously played it about a dozen times.  Any funny stories from here or bizarre shots?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  Well, I whiffed one in the bunker on 16 yesterday.  I hit it in the front bunker and then I made my next shot on 16, a par‑3.  Yeah, that happened yesterday afternoon.

Q.  Had you ever been in that bunker before?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  No, I hit my tee shot into the bunker, sorry, and then I made a hole‑in‑one after on my second shot.  So that was funny.  I've never had a hole‑in‑one before on my first ball.  That's my second one on my second ball in a practice round.

Q.  Are you starting to get to know some of the guys out here on this TOUR?  I'm sure you know all the junior golfers.  And then who specifically have you sort of gotten close with?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I know a lot of guys out here just from playing with them and being around and they've all been really supportive.  But I'm closest with the Long Beach guys from Virginia Country Club, John Mallinger, John Merrick, John Cook, Peter Tomasulo, all those guys.

Q.  As you weigh the pros and cons of staying at UCLA or potentially turning pro, what kind of factor will the possible Q‑school changes be?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I'm not sure.  I'm definitely interested to see what they're going to do with Q‑school.  But I'm not really worried about it too much.  I'm just worried about playing well this week and getting really focused and fresh and playing as best I can.

Q.  Being a younger player, do you use social media as a tool to reach out to your fan base?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I don't, no.

Q.  Why not?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I don't really like it, to be perfectly honest.  I just like doing my own thing.  I'm fine if no one knows what I'm thinking or no one knows what I'm doing on Friday afternoon at 1:57.  I'm just cool with being myself and kind of doing my own thing.

Q.  What would you be doing at 1:57 Friday afternoon?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I don't know.  That's a good question.

Q.  How beneficial was it to play with the TOUR pros at Virginia all the time in the development of your game, and then what was it like playing with Tiger at Frys.com?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  It was very beneficial for my maturity growing up around those guys, knowing how to act and what's expected.  I kind of know what it looks like to have a game that works on the PGA TOUR.  So learning from them has definitely shaped me and helped me a lot.
Playing with Tiger was great.  He was a nice guy.  I really enjoyed it.  Obviously I had seen a ton of him on TV growing up, and it was really cool to be able to play with him and kind of see how he works his way around the golf course and see all his shots in person.

Q.  Is your plan to go through the season still as an amateur playing in the majors and then being able to play in the NCAAs?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  Yeah.  I mean, like I said, I'm just worrying about this week and trying to play as best I can this week.  I'm an amateur this week.

Q.  Have you been researching possible agents and advisors?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I kind of let my dad and Jamie kind of work that way.  I haven't really spent a lot‑‑ that's about it.

Q.  You said you've gotten bigger and stronger.  What have you been doing to get stronger, and is this something you feel you have to do to kind of take your game to another level?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  Yeah, I do.  I think fitness is a big part.  Maybe not as far as hitting the ball farther, but being more stable and being able to do it for a long time.  Hopefully I'm playing for another 30, 35 years.  John Cook is, I think, 52 or 53 playing on the Champions Tour, so he's been doing it a long time.  And I think fitness is a big part of that.

Q.  When you play in an event like this, do you feel more pressure or less than normal?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I feel about the same to be honest.  I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, so no matter where I'm teeing it up, I really want to play well.  It's actually a big key for me to kind of take pressure off myself and kind of let myself play and let it happen as opposed to trying to do so much.
You know, sometimes I get out here and I almost feel less pressure because I feel like I can just let it happen.  Especially last year, there weren't really any expectations on me, so it was nice.

Q.  Was there ever a point last year where you were sort of awed by where you were and who you were playing with?  I think earlier you said golf is golf, doesn't matter who you're playing with.
PATRICK CANTLAY:  I mean, a little bit at the U.S. Open when I got there on Monday and Tuesday and definitely the first round of the U.S. Open I was nervous and I kind of‑‑ I was looking up at leaderboards and there were a lot of people, and I had never seen anything like that.
And then it was weird, on Friday morning of the U.S. Open I just felt really calm and it felt like any other tournament, and from there I never really felt awed by anything, I just kind of settled in and really worried about my own game and my own thinking and what I was doing to do.

Q.  What do you really think you can do out here this week?  Do you go into this tournament thinking you've got a shot at winning?
PATRICK CANTLAY:  Yeah, for sure.  I definitely feel confident enough to win no matter what tournament I'm playing in if I play well.  I try and not put any expectations on myself or anything because I think that allows you to play your best.
LAURA HILL:  Thanks for your time.  Good luck this week.

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