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February 13, 2013

Jeremiah Wooding


LAURA HILL:  We'd like to welcome Jeremiah Wooding to the interview room.  He's our Northern Trust Open exemption recipient for 2013, and making your very first PGA TOUR start.  What a way to break into the PGA TOUR as the exemption recipient.
Just talk about your feelings, getting the call, learning you're going to be teeing it up at Riviera this week.
JEREMIAH WOODING:  Oh, man, I remember when my brother, Joshua, got the call and we were practicing and he answered his phone.  Normally we practice, he doesn't really answer his phone and I could tell in his eyes and the way he was looking at me that he got the exemption, and it was a moment that we shared.
Then a few years down the road, we are in the garage working on some golf clubs and I got the call from Rick Waddell, the CEO, and it was like the same experience.  And the joy that I had for him when he got the exemption, I'm sure he felt the same way of me getting the exemption.  So it was two moments that we'll cherish forever.
LAURA HILL:  Has he been able to give you any advice on his experience that he had here in 2010.
JEREMIAH WOODING:  Sure, we always give each other advice, but his advice was just go enjoy it.  It's not the end of the world; it's an opportunity.
And one of the biggest things I learned in school from coach knight, that champions look for their next opportunity, and this is a great opportunity.  So I'm excited as can be.

Q.  Can you just talk about what you want to accomplish this week?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  This week, I just want to go out and have fun.  That's what I enjoy about the game.  And that's what I plan on doing.  I don't want to put too much pressure on myself in terms of what stage this is on, but this is an opportunity for me to go out and play the game that I love to play, and that's what I'm excited about doing.

Q.  After your brother had this experience, is this something you were shooting for?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  I wouldn't say shooting for, but I knew that it was out there to have.  It was an opportunity that I could look forward to.  I applied for it the year before this year, and didn't think I was going to get it because my golf accolades didn't really promote that as being a recipient of it.  But it was always in the back of my mind to say, oh, maybe I'll be next in line to walk down that road.  So, yeah, definitely.

Q.  Who usually wins when the two of you tee it up?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  Oh, man, we get that a lot.  It's a battle.  It's a battle.  I'll get him on a day.  He'll get me on a day.  If I play poorly, he'll get me.  If he plays poorly, I'll get him.
But I couldn't imagine doing it without him.  Not having him would be so hard.  I mean, to have a person that you know you can count on to, hey, look at this, look at that, what do you think about this, is huge.  You practice with the person every singling day; he knows my game better than I might know it.  He knows exactly how far I hit my clubs.  To have him is pretty cool.   It's pretty cool.

Q.  For those of us not all that familiar with your game, what are some of your strengths, weaknesses?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  I would say my biggest strength would be putting.  I feel in love with putting when I went to school and learned from Coach Knight and that's basically what I took from four years with him.  We had so many good memories putting on the green, spending hours out there with him.  He just sent me a text that said, hey, go roll it, you can do it with the best of them.  That's my biggest strength.
On a golf course like this where you have to ball‑strike it well, if you can get on the greens, that's where I feel like I can make some moves is on the putting surface.

Q.  What's the week been like for you?  Have you played practice rounds with anybody?  Is there any player that you particularly wanted to meet?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  I got out yesterday and I kind of bounced around a little bit.  I wanted to play some holes on the front nine.  I wanted to play some holes on the back nine.  So I played a couple holes with Bryce Molder, very nice guy.  Gave me little tidbits about little greens and how things work.
Then I played the last hole, No.9, with Hunter Mahan, because I bounced around, and that was pretty cool, too, because I've always wanted to meet him.  He's a nice guy, as well.
LAURA HILL:  Had you had any experience here at Riviera prior to this week?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  No.  I've gotten that a lot, because I'm so close being from Riverside; hey, I'm sure you've seen this golf course a lot.
No, my first round was two weeks ago.  I came down and played a practice round and saw the golf course and that was it.

Q.  So where were you the week when your brother competed here?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  I was in Hawai'i.  I was in Hawai'i competing with UNLV's golf team.  They are actually leaving to go on Saturday, so that's where I was.
But I remember watching the leaderboard on my phone in Hawai'i because we were ahead of this tournament, and I saw that he was playing well the first day.  Couldn't really sit still.  I mean, I was so excited for him.  I couldn't even really get over it; they made a tidbit on the TV that he was the only player, or one of three players that was bogey‑free for the day.  I was like, wow, he's doing it; he's getting after it.  So it was really exciting.

Q.  Is he coming this wreak?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  He is for a couple days.  But he's leaving to go compete on the NGA Tour in the southeast, so he's going to be here for a few days.

Q.  Anyone special on the bag this week?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  Not anyone special, but I got a great caddie.  I got a great caddie.  The guy that I have, I met him a year ago.  He caddied for Josh in San Juan Oaks at first stage and he actually works here full‑time.  So he knows the golf course better than a lot of people do.  So to have him and his knowledge of certain lines and breaks on the greens is going to be huge.

Q.  I know you would love to win or Top‑10 to keep going, but what are your plans for the rest of the year in golf?
JEREMIAH WOODING:  My plan, I have conditional status on the Web.com Tour.  So before I got this exemption, that's what I was looking for and looking to do was to go out there and keep my card out there.  But to have this opportunity so early on in the year, it's almost like a jump start; go do this event to prep for the rest of the year.
LAURA HILL:  Thanks so much.  Good luck this week.  We hope to see you back in here as a leader.

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