|Dean Wilson - Steve Stricker - Adam Scott - Charley Hoffman - Geoff Ogilvy - Johnson Wagner - Phil Mickelson - April 03, 2008
An interview with Dean Wilson
DAVE SENKO: Dean, thanks for joining us.
Just maybe just get us started, talk about your day other than 18, the bogey you had, six birdies and 67.
DEAN WILSON: Yeah. I'm going to have a hard time remembering some of the holes, but I got off to a good start, and I birdied the first two holes of the day. So that was good, and I just kind of plodded along and had another string of birdies there at 11 through 13. And, you know, nice playing well on the back nine because that wind started to kick up and makes it a little tough out there.
DAVE SENKO: Where did you really start feeling the effects of the wind, just at the start or was there --
DEAN WILSON: Just right towards the end. As soon as we got to about, I guess at the turn, at 10. As soon as we turned into that hole, I knew the wind was blowing and, you know, it was going to be a different story than the front nine for sure.
DAVE SENKO: Okay. How about your birdies? Do you remember your shot sequence on 1 and 2?
DEAN WILSON: No. 1, hit a driver and 8-iron in there to about 12 feet, made that 8-iron. No. 2, hit a 6-iron to about maybe 6 feet and made that.
DEAN WILSON: 7, par 3, hit an 8-iron to about 5 feet and made that.
DAVE SENKO: 11, 12, 13?
DEAN WILSON: 11, hit a 6-iron in there and made a pretty good length putt, maybe about 20 feet. Next hole hit a wedge in there about 7 feet and made that. Par 5 made about a 15-footer.
DAVE SENKO: Then 18?
DEAN WILSON: Hit a bad drive in the bunker on the right there and trying to hit it towards the right side of the green and pulled it, caught the hill and went down in the water and good up and down to save bogey there.
DAVE SENKO: Okay. Questions?
Q. You did remember them all pretty good.
DEAN WILSON: Yeah. I got to look at the sheet, though.
Q. You've been playing well of late. Anything spark this stretch?
DEAN WILSON: Well, I had a good run last week and the rest of the week kind of limped in. I was just trying to get a little more control of my emotions. I've been getting a little upset out there. Just trying to stay in the game, not check myself out emotionally.
Q. Getting more into the result, getting ahead of yourself?
DEAN WILSON: Yeah. It's tough out here. I'm practicing a lot and working on my game, and if I hit some bad shots or terrible shots, you know, it's easy to get discouraged. I think that's been what's been getting on me. And so I've been struggling of late driving the golf ball, and so, of course, I go work on it. And if I go out and drive the golf ball poorly again, then I kind of get on myself. But that doesn't help. Just got to stay in there and everybody hits bad drives and just -- you can still make -- I made some birdies from some bad drives today, and you can still do that.
Q. Are you working with somebody, or you just doing it on your own?
DEAN WILSON: What is that?
Q. Just the mental approach, are you working with Rotella or anybody like that? Just trying to calm yourself down?
DEAN WILSON: Exactly.
Q. So is there anything you're trying to tell yourself or using it to kind of get yourself out of the psychological rut?
DEAN WILSON: No. Just don't get upset.
Q. Is that all it takes?
DEAN WILSON: That's it, I think. Just stay in there and, you know, I've proven to myself, I think this year, that when I get upset, it doesn't help me whatsoever. All it does is hurt me. So I know if I don't get upset, I can only -- it can only help me. I can only -- it's not going to get worse.
So, you know, it really helped me today on that last hole. The last place I need to hit that approach shot is left. I'm aiming towards the right side of the green, catches the hill and goes in the water. But I feel like I stayed in there and just -- maybe if I hit it on the right side of the green or in the right green side bunker, I might still make bogey. Still have a chance of making bogey, just flip the thing up and make the putt. I did. I walk away making a bogey rather than a double.
And I think easily last month that would have been a double. I would have been upset at the shot. Just throw that thing out there 20 feet on the green and 2-putt and concentrate on being upset. That wouldn't have been good.
Q. Is that all that a function of higher expectations because you've had success?
DEAN WILSON: Yeah, I think so. I don't know. There's so many things -- we're always out trying to improve, and I've gotten off to a slow start so far this year. So maybe it's having expectations. Maybe it's just want to go play good. It's a battle of continually wanting to improve.
So, show me a guy that doesn't get upset -- what's the saying? Show me a guy that likes to lose, and I'll show you a loser. We're all trying to get better.
Q. Is this a golf course that you like or --
DEAN WILSON: It's the first time I've been on the course. I've played the Shell Houston Open on the other course, and I really like this course. I think it's beautiful. It's the best manicured course we've played all year. I think it's wonderful how it's set up. It's set up fair. You can put pins in places where it really tests your approach shots and tests your mental game, if you want to take a chance and go right at it.
I think it's just a wonderful course.
Q. You play pretty well and then you still behind at 9-under.
DEAN WILSON: Yeah. When you're dealing with one of those guys in the Top-10 or Top-5 like Adam, they're great players. Obviously he has a lot of good memories from this course, and I think he's been playing well this year. I think he's already won, and he's obviously feeling good about his game. So we've got our hands full with trying to chase him and spotting him a lead after one round.
Q. Does it surprise you, just the number with the wind and the conditions out there?
DEAN WILSON: No. It doesn't matter the conditions out here. Always seems like someone goes low. This course is in such good shape. It's a course that rewards good shots. So, guys that are on their game like Adam obviously was today, you know, he's probably firing at some pins and feeling good and the greens will hold and he can score.
And so no, it doesn't surprise me. He got a lot of birdies, the majority of them on the front nine. The back nine was a little tougher with the wind.
DAVE SENKO: Everyone okay? Thank you, Dean.
DEAN WILSON: Thanks.
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An interview with Steve Stricker
DAVE SENKO: Well, Steve, thanks for joining us. Maybe just get us started, 6-under, 66 today. Had a bogey at 14 and then from then on, seven birdies. Maybe just quick rundown of your day, we'll get your card and some questions.
STEVE STRICKER: Sure. It was -- you know, it was a good start obviously when you go around here and shoot 6-under, but got away with a couple of shots there I probably shouldn't have. But played pretty solidly other than that, and, you know, actually played a little bit better when the wind started blowing.
I was 1-over when we played those first stretch of holes. Started on the back side and, you know, played first stretch of five holes there. There's some pretty good birdie opportunities, and I played them 1-over. Wasn't looking too good up to that point. Turned it around in a hurry, and it was a good day.
DAVE SENKO: No. 14, maybe just bogey. What happened on 14?
STEVE STRICKER: I misclubbed, really. I hit a 3-iron, and I didn't try to hit it that hard. I just tried to put it in the center of the green, and it actually flew about maybe about 15 yards further than what I had thought it was going the fly and hit it over the green and I didn't get it up and down.
And then I birdied 15, 16 and 17. I almost -- I was about maybe 5 yards short of the green in 2 on 15 and chipped it up to about 2 feet, 3 feet. And then 16, I made about a 15-footer. 17 I made pretty long putt, probably about a 35-footer from the front of the green.
No. 2, I birdied, hit a driver and a 6-iron to about 20 feet. No. 4, the par 5, I drove it in the bunker, laid it up, and hit a wedge to about 6 feet.
5, I holed out a bunker shot from the front. I drove it right, and that was one of the ones I got away with. I thought I hit it in the hazard. Kind of hung up in the cart path. Hit it in the front left bunker and ended up holing the bunker shot.
Birdied 8. I drove it in the fairway. I thought it was in the bunker, just out of the bunker, and chipped it up there to about 8 feet, made that.
Q. You shoot 6-under on a windy day. Some guys up there at 9. What's going on?
STEVE STRICKER: There's a good player at 9-under. The course is in great shape. I mean, you know, we got out I think early enough to beat some of the wind, but we ended up playing probably 12 holes in the wind. But, you know, I think he got off to a good start is what he did. And you just try -- you had to try to keep it out of the water.
There's so many water holes here that come into play that you just got to try to hit it on the safe side and take your medicine sometimes, and there's some -- there's quite a few birdie opportunities if you can hit it in the fairway. So you play the hard holes well, and you get some birdie opportunities on some of the other ones.
Q. You must really like this course. I mean, it must fit your eye very well. You play well here every year.
STEVE STRICKER: It's been good to me here, you know, and this is only one round under my belt now. But, you know, it's a good start, and I enjoy coming here.
I just have great memories of here, and it helps when you've come here and played well in the past. And the course conditions here are the best we've seen probably since we played here last year. So, the greens up here -- there's a lot of good things that I enjoy about coming here, and I guess when you have those good feelings, it's sometimes easier to play well.
Q. Does it physically -- does it fit your eye, too?
STEVE STRICKER: I think it does. It's kind of a drawer's golf course at times. There's a lot of holes that run right to left or water on the left, you know, off the tee and into the green. I think that kind of suits my eye. So if I was to pinpoint anything, that's what it would be.
Q. When you talk about having good memories, you obviously finished third here couple years -- we went over that a couple days ago.
Is there any specific memory you took away from that week or something that really hit you when you're talking about the good memories that you have or just that you finished third?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, finishing third and then kind of then going on from what I did from there. But just the relationship that I've had with Steve Timms. You know, we've -- I owe him a lot. He gave me a spot couple years ago, and I appreciated it, and I think we've become friends, you know, and he's a great guy.
And this goes back to when we played the at TPC at Woodlands. I remember talking and being with him then. And for him to give me a spot a couple years ago, I think he feels like he helped me in some sort of way, you know, by giving me that spot. And then the point where I'm at today, you know, I think he feels somewhat responsible for some of that, which is kind of cool, and, you know, I just -- I enjoy coming here.
I never really played well here before we moved to this course. Woodlands didn't treat me very well. I don't know if I played all that well over here on the other course here, either, but it's just -- like I say, the whole package here, the golf course, Steve Timms and the Houston Golf Association, it's a pretty cool, special place for me.
DAVE SENKO: Anymore questions?
Q. If the wind keeps blowing, if it gets up a little bit harder, how tough is this course going to be out there?
STEVE STRICKER: It's going to get tough. I think it's only drying out. It was a little bit firmer today. We saw some bouncing in the greens, when your shots were coming into the greens. There's a lot of hazards out there. When the wind starts to blow, a lot of things come into play. You just have to, you know, be patient. And, like I say, if you can play the hard holes in even par, and I would say there's about half of those.
The par 3s are real good here, and there's only about four, five other good holes that if you can just play those and par, you're going to get some other opportunities on the par 5s and some of the shorter par 4s.
I think that's the key here this week, play the difficult holes in even par, level par.
Q. Is this unusual to be playing a couple weeks going into the Major? What do you typically do?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't have any set game plan. I think I always try to play leading up to the Masters because I can't do anything at home, you know, but I don't know if I usually play four in a row, and that's what I'm doing this year. So hopefully I made the right decision, and, you know, I've been working on my game every week and, you know, with Augusta in the back of my mind, so hopefully it's going to work out.
DAVE SENKO: Okay. Thank you, Steve.
STEVE STRICKER: Thanks.
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An interview with Adam Scott
DAVE SENKO: Well, Adam, thanks for joining us. We'll try to make this as quick as possible. Sixty-three, which is a new course record, breaking last year's record, 64 by Bubba Watson and Johnson Wagner.
Maybe just get us started, talk about your day. I think you got off -- was it about a 55-footer at No. 10; is that right? Long putt?
ADAM SCOTT: Right. Yeah, it was nice way to start. So, you know, we had the good conditions early this morning. There was no wind for the first eight holes and certainly took advantage of them. Hit some good shots, made a few nice putts, especially the one on 10 to start the day. The wind picked up on our back nine, and I managed to hit plenty of good shots, giving myself some opportunities and hit the par-5s in two coming in, setting up 2-putt birdies.
So, it was all pretty solid out there, you know, obviously with it being quite windy. It's a good way to start.
DAVE SENKO: Questions?
Q. Would you kind of fill us in on your medical situation when you started to feel lousy and all that?
ADAM SCOTT: I've been feeling lousy all this week. I'm going to go get some antibiotics. Hopefully they'll kick in quick.
Q. What are you suffering from, sinus infection or something?
ADAM SCOTT: Like swollen glands.
Q. How do you feel you played so well considering how you feel?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't really know. I mean, I'd like to stay like this for about another two weeks, be good. (Laughter). Maybe I shouldn't get the antibiotics.
Q. Seventeen out of 18 greens. Did the round just feel as smooth as it would seem to be on -- that's not the type of numbers you have on a windy day.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah. I just feel really comfortable on this golf course. A lot of the shots really fit my eye. I feel like I know where to hit it. And few pins that were in tough positions, I picked a target and managed to stick to it. Hit nice shots in and, yeah, I had a lot of opportunities and made a lot of them, too. So, I don't know. I feel really good on this golf course.
Q. With your illness, do you feel like you kind of mentally were sharper because you felt you were weren't feeling a hundred percent so you kind of mentally focused more?
ADAM SCOTT: No. I think, you know, I was just about conserving energy and thought about hitting the fairway and hitting the green and not having to work too hard. Fortunately, that's kind of how today went. I need to keep going that way. It would be nice for the week.
Q. Sixty-three swings is a lot less than 72, huh?
ADAM SCOTT: Exactly, conserve energy.
Q. Any thought in maybe not playing? Did you feel that bad going in, or given this is a course you play well, you wanted to play?
ADAM SCOTT: I could have -- I just don't like withdrawing from tournaments. I've only done it once I believe in my career, and I was pretty bad that day. I wanted to at least get out there and see how I was going. And, you know, I felt the same yesterday and got it around okay. So --
Q. Do you have like strep throat, do you think?
ADAM SCOTT: Something like that. The doctor mentioned that, maybe.Q. Are you running a temperature and all that stuff?
ADAM SCOTT: Little bit.
Q. How high were you running?
ADAM SCOTT: He didn't actually take my temperature. Yeah, he's going to put me on something and see how I go with that. Should be alright.
Q. As well as you played it, do you have a favorite shot today, favorite sequence of what you think best kind of summed up what you did?
ADAM SCOTT: Tough to say. I mean, the putt on 10, you know, 55 feet. So, at that point, previous two putts in this tournament were 48 and 55 feet, you know. I made a 48-footer last year. Started out with a 55-footer this year. Something is going right for me here (laughter).
Q. What iron did you hit into 10?
ADAM SCOTT: A pitching wedge.
Q. That would give you 54-hole bogey-less streak here, too, doesn't it?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it does. Yeah. Like I said, you know, really I feel like I can get around this golf course well. And, you know, I didn't start the day out feeling like I was playing great. But certainly as the round went on and the more birdies I made, the confidence came and the swings became better. And by the end of it, I was playing great.
Q. How much does it help when you're playing with Geoff, not feeling well, know that you can be that relaxed around him?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah. I don't get too uptight playing with too many guys out here, but obviously Geoff and I play a lot together and we share a lot of the same interests -- so talked a lot about Aussie rules, "footies," put out tips today for the pool. So getting his thoughts on who was going to win this week.
Q. You always had, your group were the last two Tour winners. Talk about maybe just that kind of a grouping playing together today?
ADAM SCOTT: It was a great group. Geoff in good form after winning in Doral and Andres Romero breaking through over here last week, two guys in good form. Andres struggled a little today, but, you know, it was a really good grouping. And for a 7:50 tee time, I would say there's a pretty significant gallery out there. It was nice to see everyone getting out early and supporting for sure.
Q. You had six 1-putts on the backside today. You putted better recently. Do you feel like your putter is start to go catch up to your ball striking and confidence in your putter?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah. I think more confidence-wise. It's a little more consistent. Just from practicing a little bit more this week, this year, working at it. I putted really well at Doral. That was a good sign. I've putted well most of this year, but you don't make them everyday even though you're hitting good putts.
I'm hitting more good putts, and sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. But it's nice to know that you're hitting more good putts, more of a chance to go in.
Q. Could the other guys in your group tell you were feeling under the weather? Did they say anything to you? Or were you able to keep it --
ADAM SCOTT: I think Geoff knew because I had dinner with him the other night. He knew I was sick, but I don't know. The little language barrier with Andres Romero. Good shot, basically (laughter).
Q. Did Geoff say anything to you after your 63? Like, "Man, I can't believe you played this well as bad as were you feeling"?
ADAM SCOTT: No. No. I think he'd be giving me compliments too easy.
Q. Did you have trouble making that tee time this morning? Were you feeling it like this morning before you teed off?
ADAM SCOTT: I didn't really feel like getting out of bed, to be honest. Pretty lousy. But certainly once I got going a little bit, started, you know, the body loosened up a little bit and felt better. So kind of dragged myself around. But, yes, you know what it's like when you wake up and you're not feeling great, you don't really want to move.
Q. You weren't out with Daly last night, were you?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, you caught me. (Laughter). Might have felt better if I was.
Q. Wouldn't have remembered it. That's for sure.
DAVE SENKO: Couple more questions.
Q. Let's cut him a break. No questions. Go get your antibiotics.
ADAM SCOTT: Thanks a lot.
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An interview with Charley Hoffman
DOUG MILNE: Charley, thanks for coming in. Eight birdies and one bogey today in the first round of the Shell Houston Open.
Obviously the start you were looking for. Just a couple comments on the round.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Got it going early, birdied 10 and then 12 and 13, just started rolling, hit the ball good, and made a few putts in the middle of the round on 18 and 1. Little bobble on 2, 3-putt, but all in all, very solid round. Nice to see those when there hasn't been so much of that this year.
DOUG MILNE: Questions?
Q. Couple guys like you made awful lot of birdies. How was that possible today?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: If you got it in the fairway, I think the greens are fairly big and the greens are perfect. You get the ball rolling out there, and it's probably got a pretty good chance of going in the hole. Last two weeks have been about as good of greens as you can get anywhere in the world.
Q. Is it tough to play as well as you did and sit there and watch two guys shoot 9-under?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I just saw Adam shot 9-under earlier. I didn't know Johnson shot 9-under before. Obviously, it was out there. Adam did it earlier when the wind was a little calm. Then it picked up on his back-9 and hard for us on our front-9 and dropped a little bit on our back-9. Probably very comparable conditions for both of us.
Q. You say the low scores haven't been out there that much this year? What's got you on the roll here?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: The putter. If you don't get the putter rolling, you don't make birdies and usually don't make pars because you miss a few greens.
Q. What got it going?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Hard work. It's been a grind the last few weeks. They just started to fall in like they usually do, and it's nice to put a good round up.
Q. You're supposed to come up with a good story. "My grandmother gave me a tip."
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I've gotten a tip from everybody. I asked everybody on Tour for a tip. Everybody contributes to it. I was taking any advice at the time this week or last week or the week before.
Q. What's the worst tip you got?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I don't think anybody gave me any bad tips. Everybody is pretty helpful out here.
Q. When you get an awful lot of stuff like that, doesn't your brain kind of just get in overload?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I guess not. No. It's not too bad. You just always try to make yourself better all year, and obviously these guys are the best in the world, and any advice they usually give you is pretty good advice.
Q. What's does it feel like to be an established veteran out here now?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I don't know if I'm really considered a veteran by any means, but it's nice to have my card for the last three years, and hopefully one year at a time and just keep it going.
Q. Do you feel different than say your rookie year, more like belong and all that? Do you feel a sense of confidence out here?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: There's no question that belong after I won and got the sensation you belong. Last few weeks have been a struggle. That's behind me. I want to get back in contention and try to win again.
Q. Augusta on your mind?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Tell you the truth, not really. I just want to play some good golf. And if Augusta happens to fall in my lap, I'll gladly go. But right now it's just trying to take one step at a time, put some good rounds together.
DOUG MILNE: Johnson was in here a few minutes ago, and he's coming off of -- I guess he came in this week having missed the last six cuts in a row. He said he didn't feel like he was playing all that bad. You know, you're in a similar situation as far as cuts go. Is that fair to say that applies to you as well? You feel like you haven't been playing that bad?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I look at my stats every once in a while and try to see what I can improve on. I'm usually Top-20 ranked putter on Tour. I'm over 100. It's pretty clear what I need to work on. It went good today and the round went with it.
Q. What do you think you slipped? Had you been working on other things?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Golf is a funny game. Everything felt alright. You get off just a little bit, I might have -- I went home to Vegas last weekend and just got back to my normal drills I did at home, some of the little gadgets I use. Just got back the feeling comfortable with the putter in the hand. After missing a bunch of putts, it's a little bit mental and little bit you're not comfortable out there. Finally felt comfortable in the hands and the ball is going in.
Q. Do you think it was an alignment issue?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think you need to see a couple go in to believe that they can go in. I think that's more than anything than alignment or stance or anything like that.
You can stand crooked or on your head. If the ball is going in, it's going to feel pretty good.
Q. If you would just run us through some clubs on your birdies and then the hiccup on No. 2.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, we'll start with 10. I hit sand wedge into 10 to about 12 feet, made that. 12, hit driver up by the green and got it up and down, made about actually about a 15-footer on that hole.
13, knocked it on in 2, 2-putter from about 25 feet. 15, knocked it on the very front of the green, very front edge, and actually a little chip and run to about 3 feet, made that. 18, made a good long putt from the right side of the green, hit a 9-iron in there. Probably about a 45-footer there.
1 was off the front right part of the green, made 15, 18-footer there. 2 hit a good shot and just 3-putted. Hit my first putt a little too hard and missed the one coming back and made some good pars, and then 7 hit an 8-iron into about 3 feet, made that. And 8, knocked it on in 2, and 2-putted from about 45 feet.
Q. Standing on your head one of the tips that you got?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, but if someone asked me to do it, I probably would have done it. (Laughter).
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Charley, thanks very much for coming in. We appreciate your time. Great round today. Best of luck tomorrow.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yes.
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An inteview with Geoff Ogilvy
Q. Alright, Geoff. 5-under six. Pretty support sporty tee shot there at No. 7, 11 inches. I know you were disappointed on what happened at 8.
GEOFF OGILVY: Didn't feel as good as it probably was when you play with a guy who shoots 9-under. Whatever score, it doesn't seem quite up to par.
I played pretty well. I got away with a few loose shots and the hit a horrible shot on the eighth hole looking at making birdie, and you make a 6, which sucks a little bit, but 5-under is pretty good.
Q. You and Adam grew up in the same city. Did you guys talk? You just enjoy playing with him?
GEOFF OGILVY: It's a fun pairing. We play a lot of practice rounds together. We actually played last tournament at Doral. We both played together in the third round. So -- first round here. It's always fun when we get to play together.
Q. Course conditions couldn't be better as far as the putting surfaces.
GEOFF OGILVY: It's perfect. You hit it on line, it goes in. Anyone who blames a bad bounce on the green this week is lying because there's none of them. It's the best surface we'll have all year, probably.
Q. Thanks, mate.
GEOFF OGILVY: Thanks, man. Cheers.
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An inteview with Johnson Wagner
DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Johnson Wagner to the Media Center here at the Shell Houston Open.
Virtually flawless 9-under par 63. Apparently you don't take kindly to people one-upping course records. Talk a little bit about the day.
JOHNSON WAGNER: The day started great. I was playing with Shane Bertsch. We played practice rounds together this week. Had a very good feeling going into the day. Started with three pars, didn't panic. I know I can make a lot of birdies out there. The floodgates just came open, and they started rolling in.
DOUG MILNE: What does this do for your momentum? Hadn't been the ideal start to the 2008 season, but rounds like this got to really kind of -- reassert and know that you're good enough to be out here and really get to the next level.
JOHNSON WAGNER: Definitely. Not that I didn't spend a lot of time working this off-season, but in the past month I've been working really hard with my coach and really seeing some good things come in the last couple of weeks, and hopefully it's a sign of a lot of good rounds to come this year.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. We'll take some questions.
Q. Johnson, obviously last year you had a good round, and this year you follow it up. Something about this course, huh?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I love it here. I love the Houston area. The greens are phenomenal. The setup of the course of getting guys ready for Augusta fits my game really well. I like fast greens. I don't mind no rough. My sprayed drivers I can have a chance to make birdies. I can't say enough about the course. I think this is going to be a place that I'd love to return every year I'm out here.
Q. How did you contend with the wind?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It was -- it was pretty consistent, coming from the same direction all day. It was very easy to read. I've been striking the ball pretty solid. The wind maybe three weeks ago, that kind of wind would have hurt me. I've got some confidence in my swing and game.
Q. What were your thoughts staring down that eagle on 8?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I didn't stare it down for long. About a foot and a half. It was nice. The shot came out a little bit right of where I wanted it. Trying to go to the center of the green. Came out just perfectly, landed on the front, and rolled all the way up there. Heard my mom whistling. She's got a loud whistle.
Q. What club was that you hit?
JOHNSON WAGNER: 18-degree hybrid.
Q. Did you have any flicker during the day when you're look at the leaderboard, "That is my course record"?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I looked online this morning, I saw he was 5-under or 6-under through 8. Said, "Oh, boy, there it goes."
Walking down our first hole No. 10 today, I looked over at my caddy, we saw the board. He was 9-under with one to go.
I said, "There it goes, it's gone."
He said, "Well, the day not over yet. You still have a chance."
I didn't think I would need eagle, birdie to do it, but pretty happy it happened.
Q. Who is your caddy?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Steve Hale.
Q. Holes going into the wind, one or two-club wind?
JOHNSON WAGNER: There's a lot of crosswinds with this kind of wind on this course. The only dead downwind or into the hole is No. 18 and No. 1. No. 1 was at least a two-club wind. I hit a 7-iron from 135. It was definitely blowing pretty good at this point. The rest of the course is protected pretty well with all the trees. You keep it down the wind, doesn't hit it too much.
Q. Can you kind of talk about the state of where your game and mind was when you missed six cuts in a row and obviously been working on some things.
JOHNSON WAGNER: You know, I was getting frustrated more than anything, because I didn't feel like I was playing that bad. I was just making doubles or untimely bogey and just costing myself a round, getting down on myself instead of just trying to make birdies to make up for it.
I went through a stretch last year, I think I missed 13 of 14 cuts and still kept my card, finished top 100 on the money list. I know how long the year is out here, and missing six cuts at the beginning of the year is not a big deal. That's kind of what I keep telling myself, that there's -- I got 30 events left to play if I want. I'm really not worried about it.
Q. Interesting kind of transition you had to make because your last year at the Nationwide Tour were very consistent, you know, and it's been a little bit more boom or bust?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It has been. The courses out here are a lot tougher. The competition is a lot deeper. The fields are world class every week. Not that the Nationwide Tour isn't. That was after four years of playing out there, my last year I only missed three cuts. Hopefully my learning curve will be a little shorter time out here, and hopefully the rest of this year and for the rest of my career, I'll be a more consistent cut-making player.
Q. What do you feel better about with your -- you talk about three weeks ago the wind would have really had you out of sorts. What are you doing better?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I'm not curving the ball as much. I generally play a pretty big draw, lot of right to left, and I can get in trouble with that in the wind, especially left to right wind, trusting it, drawing it back in. I hang a lot out to the right. I hit the ball straighter now. It's a lot easier to judge the wind.
Q. Do you have any other course records that you still hold?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I don't think I've ever held another course record anywhere other than this place.
Q. Not even junior high? High school?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Nothing.
DOUG MILNE: 63 your lowest?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Yes. On the Nationwide Tour.
Q. Do you have any Australian descendents or anything?
JOHNSON WAGNER: The Aussies play great here. Hopefully, I can take one of them down.
Q. What did you take out of your good finish at Mississippi last year which kind of capped your season? You talked about that earlier, really, it's a boom or bust tour. You hit a couple home runs and can strike out the rest of the reason.
JOHNSON WAGNER: One good week out here can make your year, and, you know, that was a week where I started slowly that week. I had one great round and played okay the other two, and I ended up finishing second. It was a lesson in patience because you don't have to shoot 8-under every round to win out here. You have to play solid and consistent. Let me know that patience and consistent play is the way you get it done.
Q. Did you have a chance in the last nine?
A. I did.
Q. What's it like?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It was good. It was exciting. That golf course is a pretty tough coming in, lot of water and demons out there. Chad Campbell played great coming down the stretch, birdied 16 and 17 to kind of seal the deal, but it was a great week, and it was nice to secure my card there.
Q. Any thoughts about what they might try and do to Johnson-proof the course?
JOHNSON WAGNER: No. No. Grow the rough up real high? Maybe.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind taking us through your birdies and eagle. Give us some clubs.
JOHNSON WAGNER: Okay. 13, the par-5, I hit driver, 3-wood about 50 yards short of the green, and hit a little lob wedge in there to 10 feet and made the putt. 14 hit a 4-iron landed perfectly. Rolled up. Almost went in. I think it was about 8 inches to a foot just right of the hole.
18 made -- hit wedge into the green, made about a 35-footer from behind the hole. 1, 7-iron in to about 10 feet. 5. 5 was an 8-iron to about 10 feet. 6 was a wedge to about 15 feet. 8 was a hybrid, 2 feet, foot and a half. And 9 was a 4-iron to about 5 feet, 6 feet.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Anybody else?
Q. Any good perks from your sponsor, Geico? Do you get free insurance?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I can't comment on that. I get unlimited Geico headcovers for my driver which I like.
Q. Johnson, I was out doing another interview. This kind of round and these kind of conditions, did you take any what you thought were risks to make this happen or all as routine as you make it sound there?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It was pretty routine. The course is in such great shape if you can just drive it in the fairway. The fairways are the best I think I've ever played. The greens are the best I think I've ever played. If you can put it in the fairway and give yourself a look from 15, even 20 feet, I felt like I had a great chance to make everything I looked at and I hit it very good today. I putted even better and it was just -- everything went right for me today. The putts all dropped.
Q. I came in from Charlotte because I heard you might play well.
JOHNSON WAGNER: Thank you.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Johnson, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on a great round. Good luck tomorrow.
JOHNSON WAGNER: Thanks, guys.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An interview with Phil Mickelson
Q. How did you do today? What happened out there?
PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I actually drove it pretty good today, but the last hole I tried to hit a hybrid and blocked it and hit one in the hazard on the par-5. For the most part, I thought I kept it in play well and had a pretty solid day. I didn't make any putts, and the double the last hole kind of sucked.
Q. With the wind picking up like this, does it pose a problem for you?
PHIL MICKELSON: The wind made the course play tough, but because it's set up like Augusta next week and you could miss shots and not be in heavy rough, there were some birdies out there, and unfortunately I didn't make my share. But come out tomorrow morning and see if I can make some ground on the leaders.
Q. Weather be a big difference tomorrow morning?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what the wind will be in the morning, but whether it's blowing or not, there's birdies out there. You can make putts and shoot some low scores as we saw toda