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OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC


January 30, 2013


Chris Wood


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Chris, good morning, many thanks for joining us.  I suppose we have to go back a few days and talk about that win last week and how it's been since then.
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Just aboutstarting to sink in ‑‑ but you know, straight onto another tournament, so got to putt that behind you and start thinking about this week and I've been quite tired, so trying to save my energy a little bit and so far this week, I feel ready to go again tomorrow.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Things have changed a little bit for you.
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Yeah, looking at the schedule‑‑ instead of watching big events like I was on TV at home last year, I'll be playing in more of them.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Your thoughts on this week?
CHRIS WOOD:  Yeah, well, I've got a great draw, playing with Lee Westwood tomorrow, and that will be pretty nice.  And back up last week really.

Q.  I suppose there's been loads and loads of messages of congratulations, any special ones you can share with us?
CHRIS WOOD:  Gary Player sent me a Tweet.  I didn't see it at first but then my mate texted me to tell me so I got online and saw it. It just said congratulations on your first win there should be many more to come. And he is now following me on twitter which is pretty surreal really.

Q.  How many times have you played here before?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Might be my fourth Desert Classic, but I've played the golf course plenty of times, had a couple of Top‑20s and a Top‑10s.¬† I think desert courses suit me quite well.¬† From what I hear, not much has changed.¬† A few little subtle changes but nothing major, so 18 holes today will be good.

Q.  It's been a few days since you've won but what do you think it will do for your confidence and your game looking ahead?
CHRIS WOOD:  Well, I know I can win now on The European Tour, so go into every tournament with that result behind me, and obviously getting into bigger events, as well, with the form I'm in, I can compete in those, in the majors and the World Golf Championships.

Q.¬† Your win last week, what does that do in terms of your golf the remainder of this year?¬† Does it make you re‑evaluate your aims and objectives the rest of the season?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Obviously World Ranking‑wise, it moves me up quite a few places.¬† I think I've moved up to 60th, so obviously the Top‑50 in the world is what every player is trying to get into.¬† I'm not far off that.¬† So before the start of April, that would be quite nice.

Q.  Could you talk to us a little bit about the journey you've been on and the frustrations?
CHRIS WOOD:  It's been quite hard.  I think I led the BMW PGA in my second season by two going into the last round. I was pretty inexperienced at that point of being in that position, and I think it was a Ryder Cup year, as well.  All these thoughts were going through my head Saturday night, and potentially what could happen the following day.  Thought I would try to learn from it a little bit.  You can't allow yourself to get that far ahead of yourself.
Each time that I've led a tournament going into the last day, I've always looked at a leaderboard, wanting to know what everyone else is doing.¬† That didn't work for me, either.¬† As soon as I dropped‑‑ I made a double‑bogey on the third hole -- and if I had looked at a leaderboard and seen I was one or two behind then and all of a sudden I would be panicked a little bit, instead of playing my normal game like I would have done on a Thursday or Friday.¬† So definitely learnt over the past few years.

Q.¬† Pretty epic way of doing it at the end.¬† All three courses on The Desert Swing, the par 5s‑‑ just wondering, as a player, do you like that, because obviously that puts you in a situation where you can hit the hero shot, and then of course there have been more than a few guys that have done quite the opposite, especially here over the years.¬† If you can sort of talk about the risk/reward of ending with those types of holes.
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Well, luckily for me, I think that the tee was moved up by 40 yards on Sunday, so I don't think I hit my 3‑wood as close as I hit my 6‑iron.¬† That was a nice break.
Yeah, obviously the 18th here, there's been a few good finishes over the years.  So any finishing hole with a bit of water makes it a bit interesting.  Yeah, it definitely makes for a more exciting finish.

Q.  Of all the tournaments, the big tournaments that you said you watched on television last year, which one are you really looking forward to this year?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Well, I'm sort of right on the edge of getting into the majors now.¬† Majors, the Masters, if I do my best‑‑ obviously that's the one everyone watches. I probably watched the Masters since I was about five years old and then coming all the way up through junior golf. It¬ís the first major of the season and everything about Augusta, it's the one that everyone wants to play in.¬† So the Masters is the one on the horizon at the moment.¬† So that will be the first thing, to try to get into that.
We have a good field this week so there's more ranking points available, and yeah, obviously at the moment I'm in the Match Play in a couple of weeks' time, so if I do well here, I can secure my place in that and relax‑‑ not that I want to getting into these big events.

Q.  Of your two fantastic performances, did that actually end up as a noose around your neck your first few years as a professional or did it actually inspire you?
CHRIS WOOD:  I think it gave me the opportunity to get into the majors and the finish at Turnberry got me into the Masters the following year, and the US PGA, the Match Play and the three Opens so I have some experience behind me on the back of that and ot can only help when I get back into these events

       Q.  Did it increase the expectations on you?
       CHRIS WOOD:  Probably.  I think I struggled to deal with all of a sudden playing practice rounds with Lee Westwood and all of the guys you have watched for years. In your first year you are really just trying to get your card but all of a sudden I was playing with the big names and getting thrown into Majors, but what a great experience to have in your first year as a pro.

Q.  Coming down the stretch, you said you weren't maybe noticing leaderboards so much, but Garcia is obviously one of the ones pushing hard, and as someone you watched through the years, what was that like?  And during the week, did you see much of his play? 
CHRIS WOOD:¬† When I was a junior, I used to keep a notebook, I took note of every lesson, and had a stickers of two players stuck in the back of the book, and one was Tiger and one was Garcia.¬† I remember watching Sergio on the putting at the Ryder Cup¬† at the Belfry in 2002and kind of hoping that I could be like that one day ¬Ė so to beat him by one last week was pretty satisfying! (Laughter). I don't know him well enough to tell him that. Obviously different playing schedules, but I know him enough to say hello to.

Q.  Are you going to reward yourself in any way?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Well, hopefully reward myself by getting into the World Golf Championships.¬† That's all I'm playing for.¬† I just want to be in those big events and now I know that I can win in a top‑quality field, my World Ranking can move up and up.

Q.  Not going to buy a car or anything?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† I do like my cars, but I am saving up for a special one‑‑ till I feel I deserve it.

Q.  Remember in 2009 at The Open, your sister saying, playing in that golf thing.  Wonder what she thinks now what you've done?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† She was with my aunton Saturday and our dog. They were in Cornwall walking and they heard that I was going well so they walked in and hijacked a golf club with their jeans on and the dog. They watched it there, and my dad wasat home watching it in the living room and he saidwhen I holed the putt he jumped so high that he banged his head on the roof!¬†¬† (Laughter).¬† So I've done that a few time but he's six‑foot and shrinking.

Q.  You had back issues in the past.  Have you gotten over that and have you done something special to make sure that you're managing it properly or anything like that?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Yeah, I had a bulging disc at the bottom of my back, and I had treatment for a few years for that.¬† Got a really good team in Bristol at home helping me with that, through exercises, managing it and keep playing‑‑ where I had to withdraw.¬† It's been a struggle for a couple of years really, through to the other side from hard work, horrible physio.

Q.  Is there more of a sense of belonging being paired with Lee Westwood and will that affect how you approach Thursday?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Yeah, it seems to be one of traditions on Tour that last week when they get the draws of the following week, obviously I sort of felt like that might happen this week and I was hoping to get drawn with Lee.¬† I love the way he plays‑‑ (Inaudible.)
Playing with him on Sunday, didn't play his best but shot 68 and I remember it well.¬† He's just a true professional‑‑ beat him by three.¬† (Laughing).

Q.  You mentioned hitting your head on the ceiling.  Robert Karlsson says you're taller than he is; is there anybody that you're aware of on the two major tours that is bigger than you are, or are you the Dubai skyscraper, so to speak, of the sport?
CHRIS WOOD:  I think I've got everyone quite comfortably, got Karlsson by maybe half an inch, if I've stopped growing.  I think I have.

Q.  Can your first trip to America when they weren’t going to let you in because they didn’t believe you were a professional golfer?
CHRIS WOOD:  Yeah, that was my first experience going to America.  Yeah, I probably didn't quite explain in the right way that I was going to play in the US PGA.  But I haven't had any problems since, maybe two or three times after that.

Q.  What happened exactly?
CHRIS WOOD:¬† Not really.¬† I remember being taken away by an airport sheriff, quite an intimidating‑looking guy back into one of these rooms with sort of three other people who‑‑ don't know why they were in there.¬† I was on my own and 21‑year‑old, I didn't really know what to do.¬† But it's part of traveling and hasn¬ít happened since.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Many thanks for joining us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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