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Friday, June 19, 2009Drew Weaver
Drew Weaver

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BETH MURRISON: This is Beth Murrison. Good morning and welcome to the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage. We're happy to have with us this morning Drew Weaver, an amateur playing in his first Open, recorded a very impressive 1 under 69 today, started yesterday and finished today. You said you got to the 11th green yesterday. Can you talk about the delay and continuing this morning.

DREW WEAVER: The delay came at a very good time. The golf course tee to green was okay. But the greens are just puddling up, they're too flat. The guys on the squeegees just really couldn't keep up. I think everybody was ready to get off the golf course and just getting started this morning with pretty calm conditions was great. Those guys going out now definitely got a little advantage on us.

But I was 2‑over through 11 and really didn't kill myself, so it was good.

THE MODERATOR: Could you go through the birdies and bogeys in your round.

DREW WEAVER: Birdied the 4th hole, par‑5. It was pouring rain. I hit a good driver in 3‑wood pitch shot up to about 12 feet and made that. So that was a good start. Then I kind of made some bogeys. I bogeyed 5, hit it left off the tee, slipped. Lost momentum with the rain coming down so hard. I was using a rain glove. But it got almost too wet. My hands couldn't stay on the club that well. I guess I bogeyed 5 and 6. Those I just missed ‑‑ 5, 6, 7; those are all missed fairways.

And the thing that was key for me was that I managed very well. I had a good putt at par on all those holes and we just misread the putts.

8 was good, 8‑iron down there, nearly went in, 10 inches from the hole. Big boost. 9, slipped on the tee shot and missed the fairway and had a good putt at par but missed that. Turning it 2 over wasn't really the end of the world.

So 13, I guess one of the bigger putts I made today was on 12, it was a par putt from about 10 or 12 feet, and it really just got me going. It's not an easy hole. And so 13 I hit driver 6‑iron, 7‑iron to avoid the fairway bunker, had about 20 feet uphill right to left. Poured that in the middle. That was good.

16, made two great swings and had 15 or 18 feet. And a little uphill right to left and another really good stroke and fell right in the middle. That was great. And at that point I was really feeding off the crowd. But for some reason I wasn't nervous and didn't really have a whole lot of nerves and used my adrenalin to my advantage and 17, hit a great tee shot to 20 or 22 feet and it's breaking pretty sharp left to right and that amphitheater was incredible and it was really nice to pour that in and hear that roar so that was great.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. We're a few years away from the Virginia Tech experience, your college years are over. Could you sort of put in perspective where you are personally with that whole moment in your life?

DREW WEAVER: Personally, I'm kind of with everybody else that was involved. We've moved on. It's not something we can ever forget. It will always be in the back of our minds. But we definitely moved on.

I've kind of developed a little better outlook on life. I'm a little more positive and kind of learned to appreciate the smaller things in life. So things are great. But we definitely haven't forgot those we lost in 2007.

Q. What were your expectations coming into the Open?

DREW WEAVER: No expectations at all. I think in the tournaments I played the best in, I have no preconceived notion about how I should play. I just want to go out there and realize that I am playing well and just kind of maintain that confidence and I was able to do that today really well.

I was talking earlier to my caddie and I were talking going out in the van this morning. I was 2 over had a two‑footer for par on 11. The golf course is very, very demanding. So anything around par, couple over is good. But he really got me in right frame of mind to go out there and try to make some birdies. There are birdies out there. You've got to hit really good shots. But we were able to make a great par on 12, and just got things going on 13 and continued that on 16 and 17.

So it was a nice way to get things going this morning.

Q. What's your caddie's name?

DREW WEAVER: Victor Velasquez.

Q. Are you getting ‑‑ how used to you are you getting to the bigger stages? This is about as big as it gets but two years ago we saw you at the Amateur in San Francisco and you were just starting to play those marquee events. How much more relaxed are you on this stage?

DREW WEAVER: Much more relaxed. I played I guess the Open Championship, the British Open and the Masters. And I played much better at the Open than I did at the Masters, but just going through those experiences really allows me to kind of grow, and now, coming into this week, I'm not really a guy that's on the driving range looking left and right, oh, wow, I'm next to Tiger Woods or whatever. But it's nice to be able to do your own thing and just get really prepared for the tournament, and I felt like I did a good job of that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Q. How long did it take you to get over, I don't know if you've completely gotten over the Virginia Tech experience? And two, what were your reasons for remaining an amateur and do you have plans soon turning pro?

DREW WEAVER: With regards to the April 16th tragedy, I think it's something that you learn from and you cope with. And I've done a good job of that. It took me a while. Being two years and a couple months away from it now, it's not something that I think about every day.

Being a student or graduate from Virginia Tech, definitely you get asked about it a lot. I don't have a problem talking about it. So it's something that I've definitely learned to deal with and kind of moved on from a little bit.

But with regards to being an amateur, I graduated in May and my sole purpose for this summer is to make the Walker Cup team. So I'm here trying to do that now. I played well last week at the Sunny Hannah, and obviously qualified here.

Today was a good start. And you just look ‑‑ I'm looking to use this as an event to springboard to try to make that team.

Q. My question also concerns Walker Cup. What will you be playing this summer, and could you discuss your dream about making the team, how big would that be for you?

DREW WEAVER: Sure. You asked about my schedule this summer, right? Well, I've got a lot of events I'm signed up for. I'm playing next week in Rhode Island at the Northeast Amateur. Following weekend in Atlanta at the Dogwood Amateur and following week in Hilton Head at the Player's Amateur and taking a week off and going to Niagra Falls for the Porter Cup and a week off for the Western Am in Chicago and a couple of weeks off for the U.S. Amateur in Tulsa.

Q. Discuss your dreams about making the team?

DREW WEAVER: It would be great. Being an amateur, I've played in all the majors that I could have. And that's just ‑‑ it's an unbelievable thing for me. I feel so fortunate to have been able to have done that. But to cap things off, representing your country, capping my amateur career off playing in the Walker Cup team would be unbelievable. It's every amateur's dream and that's my motivation. That's why I work hard. That's what gets me up in the morning. I go work out. That's what keeps me going.

Q. You have an "A" after your name in this tournament. But is there really ‑‑ there's really not a practical difference; you've played in more majors probably than some of the young professionals. Could you talk about how you're really probably not very awed by this stage, are you?

DREW WEAVER: I think anybody's very impressed with their first U.S. Open. But I've seen big crowds. And the British Open was awesome. The Masters is unlike anything else. But, yes, it's a huge advantage to have had a couple of starts under my belt.

And I'm really fortunate that I've been able to do that, because like I was saying earlier, I'm not really stargazing. I've made a lot of friends out here. It's nice to catch up with those guys, those pros.

But it's very important for me to get down and do my business and play good golf.

Q. Can you talk about the qualifier? You were in a playoff, take us through what happened there?

DREW WEAVER: In Woodmont in Rockville, Maryland, had a decent round 3‑under, right on the number. And with five holes to go I was only 1‑under in the second round and knew I needed to get something going and ended up birdieing my 15th and 16th hole as I made a 40‑footer and 30‑footer on consecutive holes. That got me jump started, but honestly I had about 15 to 20‑footer on the last hole. I was pretty convinced I needed to make that to move on. And I didn't. I was pretty bummed. I went in the scoring tent and asked them if 5‑under was out. They said, no, you may be in the clear. I was elated, even a playoff would be great. I was in a six‑four‑four. Six guys for four spots. It was extremely nerve‑racking. There was great players in it. Couple Nationwide Tour players. Fred Funk was in it. And obviously when you're in that kind of playoff, everybody's playing well. It's just a matter of controlling your nerves and managing your adrenalin and thankfully I was able to rely on past experiences in playoffs like that and parred the first and second hole and thankfully that got me in.

Q. Twice this year already on the European TOUR and three times I think in the last two years an amateur has won a TOUR event. Is it too much to ask of an amateur on a stage like the U.S. Open to possibly be there on Sunday afternoon or Monday or Tuesday and whenever and when?

DREW WEAVER: I don't think it's too much to ask. I think it's all about managing yourself. Managing your thoughts, managing your mental game. Everybody here has got a game physically. It's about keeping your shots, getting your mind in the right place. If you get out there looking at leader boards and thinking about what could happen in the second or third round, odds are you aren't going to do very well. But I think it is possible. And I think the reason that many guys haven't is because it's so difficult to manage your emotions in the U.S. Open. So that's going to be my biggest key for the rest of the week, and it's what I'm going to focus on.

Q. You talked about how you're not really awed now on the driving range now. Is there any story or moment from the Masters or British Open where you realized, wow, this isn't a college match here?

DREW WEAVER: There's a lot of those.

Q. Most memorable?

DREW WEAVER: Most memorable, meeting Tiger at the Masters last year. It was Monday morning, first thing. Couldn't really sleep in that late so I went down got some breakfast. And it was I think just before 8:00, the gates opened at 8:00, I took my putter out to the putting green and walked up there, just happened to be Tiger and myself.

We kind of crossed lines putting and I was a little nervous, as anybody would be. Went over and introduced myself. And he was the nicest guy in the world. Very personable and it was neat meeting him. He went out of his way couple times throughout the week to come up and say hello to me. That meant a lot. So that was probably one of my neater moments.

Q. Did he know anything about your story?

DREW WEAVER: I'm not sure. I'm not sure.

Q. You said it's a dream of every amateur to make the Walker Cup but there are players today that have foregone the Walker Cup exemptions and all those sorts of things and turned professional. Can you talk about what this playing as an amateur has been for you in terms of experience as opposed to, say, you had turned pro after the British Amateur?

DREW WEAVER: I think it's very important. I think it's unfortunate that a lot of guys are kind of near‑sighted. They don't really realize how many great things are out there. If you're fortunate enough to win something big, kind of an amateur major, U.S. amateur, British amateur. There's an unbelievable amount of opportunities that will be brought to you.

And being amateur and winning that at age 20 was great. And I've been able to take advantage of a ton of opportunities, and I don't know if I had any advice for a guy, I guess the British Amateur ends maybe tomorrow, I guess just take it all in. If you're fortunate enough to win, relish every opportunity you get. It's a great honor to win one of these championships.

And me even two years ago, I still ‑‑ it will be one of the most fondest memories I've ever had and I'll be able to keep that with me forever. Right as I finished somebody came up to me from the club at Lytham St. Anne's, no matter what you do the rest of your career you'll always be the 2007 British Amateur champion. That's a very cool thing and it's very reassuring. There will be moments you're not playing well and you need something to sit back and reflect on and I'm fortunate enough to have that.

Q. At the Masters did you stay in the Crow's Nest?

DREW WEAVER: I did.

Q. A lot of young golfers get seduced by turning pro. Were you ever close to doing it? Did someone try to sort of talk you into it and if so what were the reasons why you stayed amateur?

DREW WEAVER: No, I was never close. I could have. But I didn't. It never really crossed my mind. I wanted to finish school. That was my top priority. It always has been. So finishing school was everything.

But with regard to this summer I've been playing well and I haven't really won anything big in the past year or so.

But I could see that it was coming, good play is coming. And I still feel like I have a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to get better at. But I really want to take advantage of this summer and get as good as I possibly can for making the Walker Cup team, for qualifying school and try to get out here next year and play for money.

Q. What is your degree in?

DREW WEAVER: Business marketing.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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