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May 3, 2015

Gary Woodland


CANDACE REINHEIMER:  We have Gary Woodland in the interview room.  Gary is our runner‑up for the match play today.
Gary, not quite the finish that you expected, but phenomenal golf all week.  Tell us about your round.
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, I mean it sucks to lose, losing sucks.  I got off to a rough start.  I think the adrenaline, I was pretty pumped up to play.  I haven't hit a ball left all week, and I hit three drives left early in the round.  And that kind of set the tone for the ball‑striking.
Once I calmed down there on 7, I finally started making some good swings.  He made a good putt on me on 7.  But I fought back there.
I had a good chance there on 10.  He knocked it in, putt on top of me.  And then I made a good run at him.
The putt on 13 killed me because I had momentum, had a chance there to get it to 1‑down with three or four to go, put more pressure on him.  And missing that putt, that was the end of the match, really.  He made a good shot there on 14.  And I just didn't have anything else.

Q.  So you talked about adrenaline, you weren't running out of gas out there?  It's the 7th match?
GARY WOODLAND:  No, I feel good.  My body feels really good.  I think Rory is obviously in really good shape, as well.  Neither one of us were acting like we were too tired, I don't think.
I just got too pumped up.  The adrenaline, final match, having a chance to win, playing against Rory, obviously the No.1 player in the world.  There was a lot at stake, and needed to slow down a bit, take a couple more steps, take a couple more breaths and manage everything a little bit better.

Q.  Along the same lines, you talk about all the time over the course of a week you're going to have a bad nine‑hole stretch.  I think you played 119 holes this week.  How many bad stretches do you think you weathered this week?
GARY WOODLAND:  Not many.  You know, Jimmy and I didn't play well the first match.  We made a lot of putts, but neither one of us hit it very well.  Outside of that, I played some really good golf the five middle matches.
Today, outside of about a five‑ or six‑hole stretch in the middle of the round, I didn't play well this afternoon.
Rory, fortunately for me, he didn't play very well, either, and that kept me in it.  He made two good putts, I was just giving holes away.  I can take a lot from that.  I played really well this week.
Obviously it hurts to lose.  But all in all, I'm starting to do things that I've been working on.  I'm starting to see it.  Starting to see results, which is huge.  You play so long and don't see any results, it gets frustrating out here.  But to come out and see results, you see the work is paying off.

Q.  How is it to maintain solid golf over 119 holes?
GARY WOODLAND:  It is hard.  You've got to get lucky in match play.  If you have your bad round, you've got to hope the guy you're playing with has a bad round, as well.
I was fortunate to get away with a bad round on Wednesday against Jimmy.  But when you're playing the No.1 player in the world, you can't have a bad round.  You've got to go out and play pretty good golf.  And I just didn't do it today.

Q.  To kind of piggyback on that, can you speak to the difficulty of trying to catch a guy like Rory or anybody who can pull out a shot here and there, and especially once you get down?
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, I mean if there's anybody that likes to front run, it's him.  He's obviously won a bunch of majors leading going into the final round.  And he adds to his lead.  I kept telling myself on the back nine, the last three or four matches he's been down going into the last hole.  He hadn't played with a lead for a long time.  Obviously, he's used to it, but he hadn't done it lately.
I was trying to fight to get back in the match, telling myself just give yourself chances, give yourself chances, finally a putt will go in.  And unfortunately, the putt on 19 was my demise.

Q.  It seemed like in the final both of you guys would hit really good shots followed by mediocre shots.  To what extent was the cold weather a factor out there?
GARY WOODLAND:  A big factor.  This morning it was pretty nice.  The wind picked up this afternoon.  It got cold.  It was probably the most windy played in this week.  There might have been some windier days.  That's the most wind I've seen this afternoon.  And it did, it affected the golf ball, the golf ball wasn't going as far.  And you add that to everything else that was going on, it was a rough day.

Q.  We rave a lot about Rory's talent, but can you talk about his competitive fight?
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, obviously he's really, really good.  No.1 player in the world.  But I don't know if there's a nicer guy out here.  I really like Rory.  We had a good time.  We're good friends.  We talked all through the match today.  But you can tell, when he saw‑‑ when I missed the putt on 13, he definitely flipped another switch.  He didn't miss a shot coming in after that.
So you just can't do that, you know.  But he's a great guy, he is.  He's a great competitor and he's obviously a better guy.

Q.  Weather, golf course, how do you look at the whole week, was it a good place to play?  They're coming back here for the PGA in a few years.  I don't know if you've been here before?
GARY WOODLAND:  I've not.  First time here.  It's cold.  But it's a great golf course.  The layout is awesome.  It was in phenomenal shape.  It's a great match play golf course because there are a lot of birdies out there.
We didn't do that this afternoon, but there are birdie holes out there.  You can do a lot of different things.  12 and 16 on the back side, you can move up and make them drivable.  It adds a lot to it.  There are a lot of options to play the golf course, which is nice.

Q.  I'm interested to hear about, I think it was the 4th hole where you hit it left and it hit a tree.  Did you even think at any point in that situation that you were actually going to be in that hole and that you'd halve it?
GARY WOODLAND:  No.  I think it was the third hole.  I didn't.  He was in perfect shape in the middle of the fairway, so I played aggressive.  I hit that tree and it literally came back, I had about a yard closer.  I could have caught it for how much‑‑ it hit right in the center of the tree.
Tony and I got I a good laugh out of it because I had to ask how far we were.  I tried to hit a miracle shot there and I got it up in the crowd.
And he missed the putt on 2, which was key.  He didn't have to putt on the first hole, so he hadn't hit any putts.  And he three‑putted 2 and he came back.
He had a long putt there on 3, I don't know how far he had, but he had it across the green, and it got downhill past the hole.  And once it got past the hole, it ran by.  That was a huge momentum for me.  It would be nice to put it in the fairway.
To put it in the fairway on 4 would have been a huge deal, just trying to put more pressure on it.  I didn't do it.  I hit it left again on 4.

Q.  I'm sure in time you'll pull a lot of positives out of a really good week of golf.  But knowing the competitor that you are, is that hard to see?
GARY WOODLAND:  It's hard because you never want to lose any match, but to get to the finals and have a chance to win, this one definitely hurts.  It definitely stings.  It will be a long flight home, I know that.  It will be a long flight tonight.
But I'll regroup.  I did a lot of good things.  I drove the ball better than I've driven it in a long time.  I finally saw some putts go in, which I haven't seen.  I hit a lot of iron shots the way I hit them four or five years ago, which was nice when I was top‑10 ball‑striker there statistically a couple of years ago, I haven't done that since.  And it was nice to see that stuff again, because my short game is a lot better.  And that's the key.  If I could put that ball‑striking in with the short game that's coming along, things should come along nicely.

Q.  You had mentioned earlier that Rory just somehow just flipped a switch at 13.  I'm curious, as a competitor looking at a player like that, what is it‑‑ I guess it was the makeup in your opinion on guys like that that can flip a switch like that and simply just go to another level?
GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, it's‑‑ a lot of guys can flip the switch, but the switch doesn't work all the time.  His switch worked.  He flipped it.  You could see he had a little more pep in his step, he was walking a little more quickly.  You could tell.
It's nice to see that, though.  I love that.  I did it a couple of times this week, I just didn't have it this afternoon.  But you see that in a lot of guys.  Tiger has done it for years.  Rory has obviously done it.  Spieth is doing it right now.  You look at other guys in sports that have dominated the sports, they have that gear.  And Rory did it at the highest level today.
GARY WOODLAND:  Thanks, guys.

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