Date: February 18, 2009
Author: Chris Pike, Sportal

Villegas continues to improve

Columbian Camilo Villegas came of age with back-to-back PGA Tour wins at the end of 2008 and is confident of improving even further in 2009, starting at Perth&aposs Johnnie Walker Classic. Villegas, 27, turned professional in 2004 and feels he has improved every year on Tour, culminating in his wins at Missouri&aposs BMW Championship and Georgia&aposs Tour Championship that saw him rocket to No. 7 in the world. He has now returned to Australia for the first time since 2005 when he played the Heineken Open and two Nationwide events, and is using the visit as a chance to kick-start his move onto the European Tour. Villegas is also hoping to make a push for the new Race to Dubai and to be picked on Greg Norman&aposs International team at the President&aposs Cup, with Norman also playing in Perth this week. “I&aposm excited to be back in Australia, 2005 was my last time here and I always enjoy it and the people here. Johnnie Walker puts on a great show, the golf course is in great shape and it&aposs going to be a good challenge for us,” Villegas said. “The two wins at the end of the year was very gratifying, to position myself in a better spot in the world rankings and to increase the challenges ahead of me.” “I&aposve done everything in a good pace and I try to improve every year. That&aposs my main goal and in 2007 I believe I was a better player than in 2006 and the same again in 2008. That&aposs my goal again for 2009.” In 2008, Villegas claimed second place in the US PGA Tour&aposs FedEx Cup Series behind Vijay Singh, and now this year is hoping for a similarly strong finish in the Race to Dubai. “It&aposs interesting, the PGA Tour came up with the FedEx Cup and the European Tour came up with the Race to Dubai. In a way, it&aposs kind of one Tour competing with the other and that&aposs what makes us better,” he said. “I&aposm excited to join the European Tour, I ll try to play my 12 or 13 events and see what happens. I&aposve always wanted to be a world player, but it&aposs a tough schedule if you aren t top-50 in the world.” Villegas is no stranger to Norman, having played alongside him at his own Merrill Lynch Shark Shootout last year, and he&aposs hoping to impress him enough this week in Perth to book a spot in the President&aposs Cup team. “Of course, President&aposs Cup is one of the goals for the year and hopefully my finish to last year put me in a good position if I keep working hard. I would love to be part of that team and to have Greg as a captain,” he said. “Obviously he&aposs a great example for the game and I&aposll be working hard to be part of that team. I had a chance to play his tournament, which is a team event, and he was actually my partner so that makes it a little easier to talk and get to him.” “He was awesome and we had some great chats. I tried to ask him a bunch of questions about life and golf, and he was very open and sincere.”