What they said: George McNeilltext sizeMarch 10, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Puerto Rico Open transcript archive GEORGE McNEILL: Well, obviously I didn't start off that great. To make a par on No. 2 after having a 5 iron in there didn't make me all that happy, but I got it back with that eagle on the next par 5, and obviously three putting is never fun and never makes me happy, but on 8 both Mattie and I didn't hit that good of shot. So it happens. And the one on 7 was just dumb, and that happens as well.
But after that I basically just felt like there was a lot of golf, a lot of time, a lot of holes that I played well on. I played the Back 9 pretty well all week, so just tried to remember that and move forward.
Q. Patience and mental fortitude, those sort of things are so important. Last year you came in here without status on the TOUR, you were 146 of 150, and it jump started arguably maybe your most successful year on TOUR. What is it about here in Puerto Rico that you like so much??
GEORGE McNEILL: I honestly have no idea. Last year was my first year here, and I played well, but it looks a lot like the golf courses back in Florida where I'm from. I'm playing on Bermuda grass and Bermuda rough, and saltwater ponds. We have a lot of that at home. So I don't feel uncomfortable at all. When I go out on the West Coast, it's very uncomfortable because it's just foreign to me. So I get out here and I'm very comfortable and I know how to play.
Q. If you look at the leaderboard for tomorrow, there's a lot of guys within two shots of the lead. It's going to obviously take a very good round. What is going to be the key that you'll look forward to tomorrow to get a good round??
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, first of all, patience. This morning the wind didn't blow at all. The wind picked up this afternoon, so you gotta stay patient when it's windy. You gotta hit some different shots. And sometimes you just take what it gives you.
Just patience is what I'll be trying to do.
Q. You put yourself in contention for tomorrow. First off, just take us through kind of the highlights of your round today??
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, I think the first one is the eagle on 5 or 6 5. I forgot what hole it was.
That kind of I felt really nice. Hit a good tee shot and a good 3 wood in there into the wind and made a good putt after hitting pretty poor putts on the first four holes. Then I three putted 7 and 8 to kind of bring it back and going wait a second, I gotta slow down.
But that kind of kick started me. And then making birdie on 9. I hit a good drive, ended up in the rough, hit a good shot in there. Birdied 10 after having almost nothing into the green. I hit a really good shot around the tee and made a nice putt. Just played nicely basically the rest of the day.
Q. Has that been the story of the week? You just feel you're just comfortable around here and like you were saying, you enjoy Florida type courses? This fits your eye?
GEORGE McNEILL: Yeah, the golf course fits my eye. I get out there and I look at it, and I just feel comfortable, yeah. The grass, I know how to play out of Bermuda rough. I know how to play out of Paspalum. It's a different kind of grass, and a lot of guys aren't comfortable on it, but I am, growing up on it.
Q. So tomorrow, thoughts? Any different than you might be playing this week?
GEORGE McNEILL: I don't foresee trying to do anything different. Obviously I'm not going to try and force anything unless I have to coming down the last few holes. I don't know what's going to happen.
But you know, I feel comfortable with what I'm doing. I'm not saying I'm going to win, because you never know. There's guys feel great and they go out and shoot 8. That's just the way it is. That's golf.
But yeah, I'll just try and just continue to do exactly what I've been doing.
Q. And this golf course, the history of the last five years of the tournament, has a tournament winner towards the end. Is that something that this course allows you to catch up if you've fallen behind??
GEORGE McNEILL: Well, yeah. They have the par 5, 15, and then 16's a tough par 3 and 17's a tough par 4, depending on where they put the pin, where they put the tee.
But 18, if they put the tee up and it's down wind, obviously there's a lot of stuff that can happen there. So there's holes, tough holes, this course is 7500 yards all the way back. So they can make it as hard or as easy as they want with tee placements and pin placements. And then obviously the wind. If it's less windy, it allows for some scoring.