What they said: Charlie Wi

February 10, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am transcript archive

THE MODERATOR: Welcome Charlie Wi to the interview room at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Followed up your 61 yesterday with a 69. Just get us started with some thoughts on your round?

CHARLIE WI: I thought Pebble played really difficult today. The greens were very firm, and the guys that shot 8 or 9-under out there, I was very surprised how well they played, because the greens were so firm. Some of the pins were really tricky. I said, gosh, how did they shoot 9-under out there? And for me to shoot 3-under today, I was very pleased.

I took an approach today saying this is just a new day, and whatever happened yesterday I was going to put it behind me and just start fresh.

Q. Tiger finished at Monterey and said how did these guys shoot 9-under over there??

CHARLIE WI: Is that right? Yeah.

Q. Was the weather an issue??

CHARLIE WI: Yesterday?

Q. No, today at Pebble.

CHARLIE WI: No, the mist didn't really come in until my last four holes, so certainly that wasn't the issue. Definitely on number 9 today, I hit driver, hybrid, and during the practice round I hit driver 9-iron, so there was a big difference then.

That green's not very big with the water on the right, so I made a nice bogey and got out of there.

Q. Was it (No Microphone)?(No Microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: Yeah, it was a great bogey, because I pulled it left into the long stuff, and I missed the green on the third shot as well. And I left myself long and left. I had pulled it left into the hazard, into the long rough, and I barely hacked it out and got it up-and-down.

Q. As you look and see where you are on the leaderboard, is this kind of like an out-of-body experience??

CHARLIE WI: I don't think so. It's my seventh year on the PGA TOUR. I'm doing something good to be here for that long. I enjoy leading. I remember last year at Colonial when I went head-to-head with David Toms, and that's why we work so hard. This is the reason why we play so hard is to put ourself in this position.

Q. Have you had a chance to chat with Aaron Rodgers at all??

CHARLIE WI: Probably not, but I know he went to Cal.

Q. (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: Is he here?

Q. Yeah.

CHARLIE WI: I didn't even know he was here.

Q. He didn't know you were here either.

CHARLIE WI: Yeah, perfect. Even ground.

Q. You eagled 13 to really jolt you back. What did you hit in there??

CHARLIE WI: I had 118 yards and I hit a gap wedge. I was fortunate enough to have it go in.

Q. You're about six years younger than Tiger. Were you inspired or motivated by him at all??

CHARLIE WI: He's not that much younger than me, is he? He's four years younger, come on. No, we played a lot of junior golf together. We played amateurs and collegiate golf together. I knew he was a fierce competitor even when we were younger.

I remember playing with him when I was 13 and he was 9, and we were playing together. There is a golf course in Long Beach called Eldorado. The ninth hole is a really long par-3. For some reason, I don't know what he did with his tee shot. But I remember he hit it 70 yards in, and he looked down and got so mad. I said, what's wrong? He said, I was trying to hole that. I said, oh, come on.

And that always stuck with me. 9 years old at Eldorado. He probably doesn't remember, but I was going, man, come on.

Q. (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: We were kids just out there having fun.

Q. Did you beat him that day??

CHARLIE WI: He was 9 (laughing). Yes. I mean, I was outdriving him back then.

Q. When was the last time you played with him??

CHARLIE WI: With him? You know, I've never been paired with him since I've been on the PGA TOUR. I think in college.

Q. You want to take us through your card, birdies and bogies and eagles??

CHARLIE WI: Sure. On 4, I hit a 3-wood, lob wedge to 12 feet and made that. On 6, I hit driver, 3-wood to 20 feet, two-putted, and on 8, I hit 3-wood, 5-iron to five feet and made that. Then I made eagle on 13. 15, I hit driver and gap wedge to ten feet. On 18, I hit driver, 5-wood to the front bunker, hit it 12 feet and made that.

Q. How many times have you played Pebble??


Q. Did you play in college??

CHARLIE WI: No, never did. Played here for the California state amateur.

Q. (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: You know, this is a really fun course, a challenging course. I've had some success there, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q. You play golf better now than you ever have??

CHARLIE WI: I feel like I just turned 40 at the beginning of this year, and for some reason it was really weird, I felt really comfortable with myself. And I believe that I have more self-belief than I've ever had since I've been out here. I know I've got a good swing and I'm a good putter, but I've always doubted myself a lot. So when things don't go well, I always got down on myself very easy. I feel like I'm getting over that hump.

Q. From college to getting out here -- (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: I played Nike Tour for one year, and I played in Asia, played in Japan, played in Europe.

Q. How much do you think that helped you in the long run??

CHARLIE WI: I really enjoyed my time over there. You got to play on different types of grass. Coming from California, I was never exposed to Bermuda. And playing overseas, I learned how to play Bermudagrass and Cal grass, which is weed. You get that in Hong Kong. So I feel like I think my game's definitely improved over the years playing all over the world.

Q. Talk about getting over that psychological hump. Was that a gradual maturation? Something you did?

CHARLIE WI: You know, sports psychology is great. I definitely have one. But they can tell you if you don't believe in yourself, doesn't matter what they say to you, you have to do it yourself.

I've come to the conclusion that I still doubt myself. But I feel like I am really comfortable with my golf swing. Before I always thought that little bit. Meaning I was trying to make it look so pretty on camera, where I was constantly working on golf swings during tournaments I was almost throwing tournaments away because I was working on my golf swing.

I feel I'm at a point now where I'm very comfortable with my golf swing, and I just want to keep playing golf. Not playing golf swings.

Q. Did you just wake up one morning and it kind of dawned on you a little bit??

CHARLIE WI: Yeah, I don't know what turned. I don't know what turned. Just I don't know what it was. I knew that-- I don't know. I can't really say. I remember when I had time off this winter I looked at myself and I needed to ask what do I need to improve to go to the next step and be more consistent? And if you don't have that self-belief, it's really hard to do.

I've always thought that. And I know the next two days are going to be very tough because there are going to be a lot of demons trying to look ahead and doubts. But those are the challenges I'm looking forward to to see how I handle myself.

Q. I've heard over the years where guys would say, they look at Tiger and say Tiger doesn't get mad at himself or never outwardly talked about himself getting mad. Do you ever look and say how does he do it, I mean, the psychological part??

CHARLIE WI: I think everybody's born differently where some people peak earlier, some people peak later. Everyone's different. I've always been a guy that's had a steady climb, always fought my way out of a hole. I wish I was Tiger Woods. But I'm not. I'm Charlie Wi. So I'm pretty happy with where I am.

To play out here on the PGA TOUR is a dream. I'm still very pleased that I get to do something I love.

Q. Do you think that's pretty cool that you've come up that step??

CHARLIE WI: What's that?

Q. To get over that hump and you talked about feeling better about your swing??

CHARLIE WI: Well, I feel that now, and we'll see how I do under pressure, and I'll tell you.

Q. How did you deal with (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: I think that's where it turned. It was the first time where I really I had the lead Saturday night. I really enjoy that. I wrote down on my notebook, you know what, being in the lead is fun. I think I started embracing it instead of being scared.

I know you ask me, is it an out-of-body experience? No. I've been there, and it's better than being in 30th, that's for sure.

Q. What notebook are you talking with??

CHARLIE WI: Oh, I just jot down a bunch of stuff all the time. Like you (laughing).

Q. Some of the changes you made were pretty radical a couple years ago. Is it really sinking in now and you're not having to think about the swing change as much??

CHARLIE WI: My geometry, meaning my swing plane, has been good for a long time. Something changed last year in Canada at O'Shaughnessy where I was able to control the ball for the first time.

Before then, I hate to say it, but I would look up and I was hoping that it was going where I was looking. Luckily enough, my swing was good enough where I had more of that than not. But in Canada was the first time I really formed the ball, how I want to shape it, hit it, and from then on, I've just been gaining confidence. I have a better understanding of what I need to work on with my swing to be that consistent.

Q. Do you feel like you're due??

CHARLIE WI: Other people feel like I'm due, but trust me, of course I want to win, but golf doesn't owe me anything. And I play on the PGA TOUR. That's pretty awesome.

Q. It feels that there's been a progression of your name being on the leaderboard on Friday and Saturdays last year. Do you get a sense that's there's been that kind of progress over the last few years??

CHARLIE WI: Yeah, I've definitely been consistent on the TOUR the last few years. I know if you keep knocking on the door, you're eventually going to get through.

Q. How old were you when you won the amateur??

CHARLIE WI: 18. I was just out of high school, before my freshman year in college.

Q. Was there any part of you that can't believe it??

CHARLIE WI: No, I look back on that and I was so clueless. That's how I did it. I think some good players out there look like they're clueless and they play really well, so...

Q. When you woke up this morning and you looked through all the scores from yesterday, are you thinking that you're going to have to shoot another pretty low number??

CHARLIE WI: Actually, I didn't go on to PGATOUR.Com last night. I used to be curious about scores all the time, and K.J., I was talking to K.J. and he said, you know what, I never look at it. I never look at PGATOUR.Com. He said it just brings anxiety, so I just don't even go there. I just try to watch something else. Yeah, and I'm not saying that's the approach I'm taking.

It's just that I say, well, it doesn't matter. It's just the first day, and there is so much more golf to play. I say just go do your best today.

Q. Do you avoid the scoreboards all together??

CHARLIE WI: I try to. Even at Colonial, I didn't really look at the scoreboard until probably like on the back nine. I feel like also there was a great article about Mark Wilson after he won the Humana. He said that he can't control other players. He can't control the outcome of the shot. So the only thing he can do is just execute.

When I read that, I thought that was pretty cool, because I think us as players, we start watching the scoreboard, and we worry about other people. And technically and physically, we can't do anything about the other players.

So I know that when I start watching the scoreboard I get really anxious, so I try not to look at the scoreboard. I just try to play my game.

Q. How much different was today than yesterday??

CHARLIE WI: The conditions were great this morning. It really was. It was sunny and all of a sudden it got overcast around 11:30 and started raining about an hour, hour and a half ago. I certainly didn't expect it because I didn't have an umbrella in my bag.

I wasn't alone. None of my guys had umbrellas. And the guys behind us, actually. I looked back and none of them had umbrellas, either. So we were very surprised with the rain.

But the conditions were great pretty much all day. Actually, since the greens were so firm, when it started raining, the ball started skidding. Like slippery when wet, like the road.

Q. The course conditions were nowhere near what they were yesterday, were they??

CHARLIE WI: I'm not really sure. I can't answer that. But I know the conditions at Pebble are very tough. Greens are very fast. You really have a lot of tricky putts at Pebble when you hit it by the hole.

Q. Can you talk about playing Spy Glass tomorrow? What is the biggest challenge?

CHARLIE WI: I'll let you know tomorrow.

Q. Do you think it's the hardest? Have you had trouble there?

CHARLIE WI: I've shot some good scores on that golf course, but that doesn't mean that's going to translate into a good round tomorrow. So I'll just go out and play.

Q. (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: When the conditions are soft, definitely, especially when Poppy was in the rotation. But now with Monterey Bay being in the rotation, I think all three courses are all fairly difficult. Of course Spy's a little bit harder than the other two, but I feel like they're all very challenging, and I don't think that the scores are going to make that much difference of where you play.

Q. (No microphone)?(No microphone)?

CHARLIE WI: You had six par fives that were reachable, that's probably why.