What they said: Camilo Villegas

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January 19, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcript archive

DAVE SENKO: Well Camilo, thanks for joining us. 9-under 63, which is just one off your career low 62 in Phoenix, but maybe just get us started, talk about your day. This is your first start this year.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Let me see those scores. Yeah, a great day out there. Obviously weather is beautiful, golf course conditions, perfect, I had a great group. Sandy and Bob, my amateur partners were nice and I was spending a good time with AK too. We had some laughs out there and felt pretty relaxed.

It's a really nice way to start the year, 9-under, kept the ball in play, made a lot of great putts and then again had a lot of fun out there.

DAVE SENKO: Birdies, start at number 10.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, started on 10. First time playing here, I can't even remember the holes. I made a, which one is 10? Can you believe that, I can't even remember the 10th hole.

Oh, yeah, I hit a great shot. I hit a good second shot to about maybe 12 feet. Made that one.

Then 11 was playing tough it was early in the morning, the ball wasn't flying and the pin was pretty short. I had a great 7-iron there to about another 10, 15 feet and rolled a nice one in.

14 is a par-5. I hit a good drive, good hybrid on to the green all the way in the back, the pin was really short, and I lagged it up there pretty good for a birdie.

Then went to 15. Par-3. Is that the one with water left? No. That's not it. Can you believe this. I need my yardage book.

Par-4. 16, par-4. Anyway, how about I birdied 15 and 16.

And then on 1 I hit a great 5-wood off the tee and then I hit it to about eight feet straight uphill. Made that one.

Then I birdied number 3. Number 3 was another par-3. I hit a good shot there and I had a right-to-left putt. Hit it good.

Then I went to 4, which one is 4? Anyway, guys, I'm struggling. First time here. I was chatting with my amateurs, having a good time, and just picking targets and hitting it. How about that?

Q. But you didn't struggle playing. You struggle remembering, but not playing, right??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, I'm glad the swing was there, the putts were rolling in. Sometimes when you play a golf course for the first time, you just got to be committed to your targets.

We got good targets on the practice round, tried to forget a little bit about what's going around and that's what we did today. Again you have three playing partners, one pro, two amateurs, there's a lot more going on, just kept putting good swings at good targets and making good putts.

Q. You have not been here for a couple of years and they did make some golf course changes, obviously, did you try and get 18 in at each of the golf courses??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I did. I flew in Sunday and I tried to play, I played 18 holes on each golf course. It's actually my first time playing this event. Beautiful weather, beautiful place, golf course is in great shape, and obviously I like my first round, so I got to keep it going.

Q. When you're playing your first tournament of the year do you come in having any expectations? Did you know what to, did you feel like you were going to play like this today or have any idea?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I was very excited to start the year. Last year wasn't the best one. But it did finish a lot better than the way it started.

I went back to Columbia, I had a great four weeks with family and friends, not much golf. Back to Florida, practiced for four or five days. And so it's one of those things where you feel that you're a little rusty, but at the same time you're mentally fresh. So it's a funny game and sometimes being mentally fresh is more important.

Q. Were you surprised today or not surprised at your score??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, I hit it good in the practice round. I have a new putter that I've been putting nicely with, I kept the ball in play, so hopefully we can keep doing that the next two days, and then put ourselves in position for Sunday.

But again, it's only after the first round, there's a lot of great scores, a lot of great weather and there's, history shows that you got to go low here at this tournament. So you got to keep it going.

Q. You mentioned having a good time with the amateurs, did that almost help you relax a little bit more as you started your round today??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It was a very chill day, to be honest. We were playing with Sandy, which was AK's partner, handicap three, great player. And then my amateur was really nice. He gets on the first hole, he goes, listen, if there's anything that's going to bug you, you just let me know. So he was concerned about us being comfortable. And that's always nice.

Because he actually says, he also said, you know what, there's only one of us making money this week. So he understood perfectly and we had a good time. We had a great time.

Q. With the focus on health this week can you tell us some of the things that you do to keep in shape, train, you seem a little fit.

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, when I came to Florida in 2000 I was one of the shortest guys on the golf team and I knew if I wanted to play golf for living I needed to get a little more fit and a little more stronger. And four years later I was one of the longest guys on the golf team, which really helped me to take it one step further turning pro, playing a year on the Nationwide Tour, and then the last seven years out here.

So it became a part of my life style. I enjoy every second I'm in the gym. I love to challenge myself, push myself, obviously there's a lot of different routines and a lot of different stuff we do, love cycling, and again it's part of my life style.

Q. And what about diet? Do you stick to a strict diet or take that into consideration?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: Yeah, I go through stages, but overall I'm going to say I'm pretty good. I love to eat a lot, but I try to eat healthy stuff. Especially when you're riding, sometimes I get hooked up with the cycling and when you're riding three, four, five hours, then you can put whatever you want in your body.

Q. There are a lot a lot of guys who would love to be 77th on the Money List on the PGA TOUR. But clearly, that was a step back in some ways for you. What was the off season like, was it hard work and say I've got to get back to where I was or was it resignation that you had done the best you could??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: It's an interesting game. Actually I didn't even knew I finished 77th on the money list. I know I made a good come back and finished 33rd and had a good chance in the FedExCup. So that was nice at the end of the year.

The off-season, believe it or not, two years ago actually off season of 2010, I worked really hard. And I was changing equipment, I was excited, all this stuff, and I wanted to get my swing a little bit better, went to Columbia, practiced almost every day, came out here, played bad.

This year, this past year I look back and I said, you know what, that's not my routine, that's not what I do. I always go home for three, four weeks, I take some time off, I spend some time with family, friends, it's important to me, and recharge. So that's exactly what I did this year, not much golf, recharged and time to work again.

Q. You mentioned liking cycling, I covered some cycling and there are a lot of good Columbian climbers especially. Why is that do you think and did you ever want to be a cyclist??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: No, I got into cycling about four or five years ago. I've had a chance to spend a lot of time and ride a lot with Santiago Ortega, who is a world champion from Columbia, did win several stages of the Tour d' France and I looked at him and said, man, this is a tough job, I know golf is tough, but listen, you guys suffer every single day.

And, but it's good. I love the challenge, if you look at Columbia, we have a lot of mountains, high altitude, and a great place for training. So, yes, we have a lot of great cyclists and it's a fun, tough sport.

Q. Have you ever been to the Tour??

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I haven't. It's a bad time of the year around the British Open, but trust me, I'll make it one day.

Q. Obviously Jhonattan won here last year and you've had success on the TOUR from Columbia. Everybody talks about Asia as maybe the next great place, what about South America? We got the new tour going down there. Do you think it's ready to explode?

CAMILO VILLEGAS: I think Asia is important. We have seen a lot of growth in the last six, seven years. I've had a chance to go and play a lot of events over there and it's pretty interesting.

With the new tour, I guess it's co-sanctioned or I don't know how it's, what it's, sorry about the name exactly, but with the PGA TOUR, it's going to be great for South American, Latin golf and I think we're going to see more guys on the Nationwide Tour, hopefully more guys on the PGA TOUR.

And I've always said it, I don't want to be the only Columbian playing on the PGA TOUR, so, guys, just play some good golf and come join me here.

DAVE SENKO: Okay. Thank you.

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