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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP

July 17, 2015

Billy Joe Tolliver Jack Wagner

STATELINE, NEVADA

THE MODERATOR:You're a presence in this room every year.  You command the center space once again.  Take us through your round today.  Tell us how it went, tell us what you're looking to do and how you feel after the first round of golf out here?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Well, I started on the back nine first and played the front nine poorly at the turn when it slowed down.
Pace of play on the back, where we started, was great.  You never waited a shot.  Mulder and Eric, they were just running off and leaving us.  It was just a really good pace.
Then we made the turn, it slowed down.  And give me time to think about anything and I will screw it up.  So I've got to figure out how to not think about golf when I'm waiting and then get into it.  I think Lee Trevino said just only think that 8 to 15seconds that you need to and you'll be better off.  But played really well.  Had a good rhythm going, then made the turn.
And missed a couple, you know, easy putt, made a bad decision on three, trying to go for it from a spot that it may have taken the best shot of my life to hit.
And caught back up and hit some good shots.  Made some good par putts.  But 25 points to start the tournament off, I'm not disappointed.  I'll sit in the clubhouse for the next two days if you'll give me 25 each day and we'll just see what happens at 75.
But golf course is in great shape.  Greens are really good.  So I don't know if 75 will get it, though.

Q.  How many birdies out there today?  What do you think you would have shot if it was stroke play, do you think?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  I made the turn in 32, and then I probably worked it right back down to even.  I bogeyed 1.  I bogeyed 3, birdied, bogey.  So I guess two under.  It felt like four over over nine holes.
But like I said, I got in a rhythm today and it was good.  I hit a lot of quality shots to start out with, and you learn something about yourself every time you pull a club back.  And now I know better how to handle that, because normally I'm playing with guys that ‑‑ I played with ‑‑ Vinny played really well today.  So he was right there, Vinny Del Negro.  He was right there neck and neck.

Q.  21 points.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Hitting it far enough where I'm not waiting.  Normally I get in groups where guys hit it just as far as I do.  And so the wait time, I've never had to deal with this like I did today, and just did a poor job of focusing when it was time to focus.  I'm a get‑it‑now guy, and I need to let my mind wander when I'm waiting and then when it's that eight seconds that it takes to do all my thinking and go.
Because you just can't put a lot in this wig.  (Laughter).

Q.  I'm looking at the leaderboard.  You've got a couple of guys on that board that haven't been there before.  You've got Mark Mulder with 26 points.  Looks like John Smoltz is going to be closing in on that.  I think he's got 23 on 17 right now.  Then you've got Jack Wagner who's got 26, tied or one ahead of you, I think.  So what do you think as far as competition?  Do you think about these guys or just worry about your own game?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Well, you really don't think too much about them on Friday.  You're kind of sweating your own game, positioning yourself because you can't win it on Friday but you can lose it.  Just stay right in there and try to keep it bunched up.
But you know going in, you know going into the week that the competition‑‑ hey, Jack, good playing by you ‑‑ you know the competition's gotten stronger here.
The field has gotten deeper and there's a lot of good players.  So it used to before you would go out there, try to position yourself on Friday and try to move on Saturday.  Well, now you're just trying to position yourself every day until you get to the back nine Sunday, because the guys are so good.  Everybody's going to stay right there.
And look, Fish is up there on the board.  Vinny played great today.  Scobee is a heck of a player.  I've played a lot of golf with Scobee.
And I guess it looks like Sterling finished strong.  So it's a good group.  Looks like Jack must have parred 18.
JACK WAGNER:  Somehow, hit three trees.  Hit three trees, dude, I'm serious.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  I'm over there trying to avoid a double bogey on the hole, and I look at the board, and I see Jack ‑‑ I told my caddie, I said, Chip, Jack is going to get in at 28.  We need to get to 25 or 6.  Then I saw him at 26.  I figured he parred 18.
JACK WAGNER:  What were you doubling?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  I chopped it around on 6.

Q.  Speaking of good players you've got one sitting to your left in Jack Wagner.  Jack, you've won this event a couple times.  Nice start today.  You're right in the hunt.  Like Billy Joe says, you can't win it on Friday, you can lose it.  So you can definitely win it.  Take us through your round.
JACK WAGNER:  I usually hit a left‑to‑right shot, and I love this course cuz you can hit really hard and swing to your left and cut it around a lot of these tee balls, and on 1 I hit it right in that bunker, like, the back end of it.  And I'm going, well, this is either going to be a double bogey ‑‑ and I hit it really good, right at the pin, and wound up making birdie there.  That, for me confidence‑wise, was a big thing.  I didn't birdie any of the par 5s today.  I birdied weird holes that you don't normally think you're going to birdie, that was the day for me.
I think Billy Joe said it best, that the guys that have played here the most, I think, have a bit of an edge as opposed to some of the newer guys, because, I think Billy will agree with me, when you're hitting a lot of wedges and sand wedges like we are, 9‑irons, you've got to just accept you're going to hit it 20feet a lot.
You're just not going to hit it.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Because we're not that good.
JACK WAGNER:  We're not that good.  We're just not that good.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  We're good club players.
JACK WAGNER:  So seriously you just have to be patient and know that sometimes you're going to hit it in 10 feet, and you're only going to make probably one out of three or four of those.  So it's a level of patience out here.  And that's usually guys that are there Sunday, they've been able to scrape it around and grind it out enough.

Q.  Both of you, comments on 8 and 9 new holes and how you played them in?
JACK WAGNER:  Like I said I can hit a cut driver.  So I don't mind hitting driver there.  I hit a driver in.
I think they're good holes for this tournament.  I think they're great holes for galleries.  And I think that they can be hard if you don't hit your driver well.  But if you hit a decent drive, they want us to score here.
When I saw these holes, I said:  You know they want us to play well.  And I think that lends itself, these two holes.  Nine I used to play as a par 5.  I figure if I made four I was happy.  I really like the two holes.  I think it's good for the tournament.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  I'm the same way, I'll just hit driver over the top of that tree and if it moves left I'm fine, if it moves right I'm fine.  I hit, like, 38 yards to it today and of course missed a putt.  And then 9 I think is a great addition.  I love‑‑ I think we talked about it the other day.  I love the addition to 9, just for the simple fact that if you ever run into any conditioning problems or anything on the back nine and you have to reverse the nines, you still got a great, beautiful closing hole for television.

Q.  Speaking of that, we've got, from what we see so far and what we've heard from the attendance folks, the numbers are way up.  Are you noticing that out there?  Is it the Timberlake factor what is it?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  I heard there was a guy named Justin Timberlake that rolled into town here a while back.  Let's take our hat off to Alfonso Ribeiro and NBC and American Century and Mike Milthorpe and all those guys who went out and got a guy who is actually putting his stamp on golf.  He's transcending his own business and his entertainment side.  And he's giving them back to the game.  And without Michael Jordan here and Mario and Dan Marino and some guys, it would be nice to have Peyton here and those guys.
And going up against the British Open, where Jordan Spieth is trying to win three in a row, you gotta have a huge name like that.  And I think it was a great pull.  And my hat's off to Justin for agreeing to come here and play.  And I hope he enjoys it and I hope he comes back every year.

Q.  What's it feel like to have another entertainer in the headlines here?
JACK WAGNER:  It's awesome.  He's a member at Lakeside in L.A., and I've been a member at Bel‑Air for 25 years, and it looks like he's going to join there.  I met him the other day.  He's a great guy.  He can swing.  He's probably a legitimate 3 or 4 handicap.  And loves golf.  That's an A list, an A‑A list entertainer.  This is not an athlete.  This is a top, top 10 entertainer in the world.  And he came up here and he's playing golf and he's really social and he's one of the guys.  He's very easy to hang out with.  And it's really a big, big plus for this tournament, I think.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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