DOUG MILNE: We would like to welcome Guadalajara’s one and only, Carlos Ortiz.
Carlos, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. You are making your eighth consecutive start here at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, a number of top-10 finishes including each of the last two years here.
Just some thoughts on being back here this week and how you’re feeling heading into the week?
CARLOS ORTIZ: I mean, I’m always really happy to be back here. Mexico’s obviously my home country, a special place. This is a beautiful one, I feel like I’m on vacation. I never feel like I’m actually playing a tournament, so that’s maybe why I play so good. It’s easy to enjoy, especially with the weather we’re having this week, sunny, 80 degrees, what’s not to like about this place. I’m really happy to be back here, I love it and I’m ready to have fun.
DOUG MILNE: Just a couple of comments about how you’re feeling about your game. You’re making your fifth start of the season. Just kind of tell us about what you feel like you’re doing right and what you can tweak a little bit to make it a little better.
CARLOS ORTIZ: I’ve been feeling great. I think my golf game is coming along. I think it’s right there. It’s a shame last tournament I played in Japan I had to pull out because I had a little bit of a shoulder problem, but I mean, I’m back on track, shoulder’s feeling good. I think it’s coming along, I’m really excited about this season. I think it will be my best season here to come.
Q. Carlos, what’s the importance to Mexican golf of this tournament and the Mexico Championship?
CARLOS ORTIZ: It’s huge. I think this definitely helps on growing the game not only in Mexico, but Latinoamerica. I’m actually really grateful for the company that are putting the tournaments together, gambling not only — in the U.S. we have a lot of tournaments, but gambling on international tournaments. For me, it’s been a great steppingstone. I think it’s also a great motivation to all these Mexicans. We’ve had a lot of people that have played their first PGA TOUR tournament here and they realize if they have the level or not. It’s a great motivation for us as Mexican players.
Q. And then my second question goes kind of along the same lines for just Latin American golf in general between you and Abraham and Joaquin and Sebastian having won tournaments. How big is that in the Latin American community for golf?
CARLOS ORTIZ: That’s huge, and it’s been great for us. It’s been so fun, we’re great friends. I think we’re carrying that Latinoamerica — there’s not really a flag, but we’re carrying the Latinoamerica name and we’re trying to promote and grow golf as much as possible in each of our countries. I think we’re doing a good job. There’s still a lot we can do, and at the end of the day we’re trying to motivate and inspire those next kids to get to the PGA TOUR.
Q. You talked about the Latin American players and how much you’re kind of carrying the flag, if you will. Carlos, is the Presidents Cup on your radar to be part of that team for next year?
CARLOS ORTIZ: One hundred percent, that’s one of my big goals. I would love to play with a bunch of my friends. It’s just something I always looked forward to competing on and a lot of the work that I’m doing is to be able to be part of that team.
Q. Carlos, if I asked you a question in German, could you answer it?
CARLOS ORTIZ: If you like.
Q. I don’t speak German, I just thought I’d ask. A question kind of along the lines you’ve been talking about, if a young Mexican golfer who had some ability came to you and said, “How hard is it to make it to the PGA TOUR,” what would you say to them?
CARLOS ORTIZ: Harder than you think.
Q. What makes it so hard? Because you’ve lived it.
CARLOS ORTIZ: It’s all the time you’re going to sacrifice, all the work you’re going to put in and there’s no guarantees, so that’s the hard part. A lot of the times, as we know, you work really hard and things aren’t going your way and that’s where it gets really tough, to keep working hard knowing that there’s not really any guarantee you’re going to make it and the odds are probably not in your favor. You have to just somehow keep grinding and believe in yourself and make it so that your dreams come true.
Q. And then as it relates to your own kind of career, and I’m sorry, I don’t remember where you were before you won three times on the Web? Were you straight out of North Texas from there?
CARLOS ORTIZ: College.
Q. Did that give you any type of a false sense of how hard it was going to be maybe? And secondly, was it difficult then after you made it to the Tour to go back to the Korn Ferry for two years or whenever it was?
CARLOS ORTIZ: I think it was the other way. I think once I realized, I won right out of the gate, I realized you didn’t really need anything special to compete against the best. That was kind of like you get to this almost comfort zone. Like I didn’t — I don’t know if I stopped working hard or you start — there’s a lot of things that happen the first time you get on Tour. You start playing with all your idols and you start changing things.
I don’t know. I think it was just a great — it’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Going back to the Web — Web at that time was Korn Ferry now — because I learned how to appreciate the little things. I got there, I wouldn’t say easy but quick and you forget how hard it is to get there and how hard you actually have to work to stay there and stay on top of the game. That was like a great lesson for me. I think as I keep growing in my career and I keep getting better, those two years that I spent back on the Web.com Tour is the best thing that ever happened.
Q. Was there any fear almost those two years back on the Korn Ferry that you would never make it back? Any doubts, I guess?
CARLOS ORTIZ: No, because I knew my game was good enough. There was no fear. I guess there’s always that fear, but that’s the fear that keeps you working. If you don’t have that fear, then I think you get in this comfort zone and you don’t ever want to be in a comfort zone. You want to always have that edge where you know you have to work hard and keep getting better and grinding. That’s the beauty about this game, you could never be good enough. I don’t care how good you are, you can always get better.
DOUG MILNE: That looks like it completes the English portion of this. We’ll move on to a couple Spanish questions.
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