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September 23, 2015

Kevin Kisner

Atlanta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Kevin Kisner to the interview room. This is Kevin's first appearance at the TOUR Championship and just being a local guy, playing at the University of Georgia, just tell us briefly about what it means to play here and make it to the final 30.

KEVIN KISNER: It's always good to come back to the south for me. I love playing in this area, it's what I grew up on. These are the type of golf courses I like to play.

Obviously, it's a dream goal for the year to come to East Lake and be able to compete for the TOUR Championship and have a chance to win the FedExCup. So, super excited. Hopefully can get some Dogs out there barking and get rid of that Gator chomp that happened on the 18th green last year.

Q. He's not here.
KEVIN KISNER: I know. He can watch me bark.


Q. Obviously, everybody's here and they're talking about 10 million dollars and this, that and the other thing. What does it feel like for somebody that grew up in Kentucky, so close to Augusta and now because you're here, you already won that prize for being able to play in the Masters next year.
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, that was -- I don't know if that will be real until I actually get there on tournament week. Obviously growing up there, that's such a huge part of my career is going to the Masters and being a part of the tournament, being part of the week. Aiken gets invaded with Masters patrons and other people that come to town.

So I grew up right in the middle of it, and it was just always known and I know how big it is, because I grew up there. Just excited to go play.

Like I said yesterday, probably going to get sick of me around there before the tournament. Probably going to have to tell me I've come enough and my preparation ought to be done.

So, I can't wait. Looking forward to getting that invitation right around Christmas, that will be the coolest Christmas present.

Q. What was the first time you went to Augusta?
KEVIN KISNER: I was talking about it yesterday. I can vaguely remember going probably six or eight years old with my dad. Sometimes we used to go on vacation when I was a kid and rent our house out. So I didn't go as a real young kid. But I remember going -- and I was always more interested in the food at the time because the sandwiches are so good. I was like a big Greg Norman and if so I remember going the year that he lost the six shot lead. What was that? '96. So I was only 12 then. So I've been going a lot.

Q. Have you given any thought to what you would do with the 10 million dollars and if you're coming down the stretch would it pop in your brain?
KEVIN KISNER: If I'm coming down the stretch would it come up in my brain? I mean, who would know what to do with 10 million bucks. Might be able to retire in Aiken, South Carolina.

No, I would have no idea, but it would be a good problem to have and I could find something to do. I would probably buy you some pizza and beer in the media center, since I don't ever make hole-in-ones. No, I would -- I could find some ways to spend some cash.

Q. The question that continues to come up is with the Player of the Year voting and if Jason were to win this week, who would get your vote?

Q. Why?
KEVIN KISNER: Majors. That's the four biggest weeks of the year. That's what everybody shoots for. To win two of them is incredible. It's not like he hadn't won other tournaments throughout the year too. So Jason's on his run now but I think the two Majors trumps it.

Q. Over the last few years you've gotten to see a lot of your friends and teammates from Georgia play at Augusta, was there any frustration that you hadn't gotten there yet and was there ever any doubt in your mind that one day you would make it there?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, when I was struggling out here to even make a cut there was a lot of doubt that I would ever make it there. I have seen my game progress in the last two years and I played it last winter a couple times and shot some good scores with just friends that are members and I was like, my game's improving, I could actually play this course.

When I was in college I thought there was no way I could compete in the Masters, it was so hard. And it's cool to see my game progress and notice that, yeah, I can play in this tournament and I can compete. So, I'm looking forward to that.

Q. How about with all your friends getting in there, was there any little jealousy or anything like that?
KEVIN KISNER: No, because they earned it. The coolest thing about this game is you get what you pay for. I mean, if you earn your way, you're going to -- there's always ways you can play better. I tell people that all the time. They outplayed me and so they earned the spot and now I've earned my spot it's time for me to go show them what I have.

Q. Sunday will mark the end to a pretty incredible PGA TOUR season. Maybe not including your self, but what would be that moment or memory that you'll take away from this season?
KEVIN KISNER: I think that the way I played down the stretch in big tournaments. I started at The Heritage, birdieing the last hole to get in the playoff and birdieing again when it lacked like he was going to make birdie. Hitting a good shot on 17. And then knowing I had to make birdies coming into the PLAYERS, which is not easy, and hitting the shots I needed to hit. I'll always fall back on that, if it's not this week, or two years from now, when I'm in that position again, I'll always fall back on I've done this, I can pull it off.

Q. What's your level of familiarity with this place and how does it suit you?
KEVIN KISNER: I played nine holes in my life here. So not much. I came here on a Georgia Tech recruiting visit. Just for lunch. Didn't even play. First time playing any golf here was yesterday. But I love it. It fits my eye and just from what I could tell early it looks like the par-3s are brutal and you got to just play for par there and then you can attack some of the other holes.

Q. When did you know you were getting better?
KEVIN KISNER: Right around the time of The Heritage. It's funny how this game progresses, you fight really hard to make cuts and you early in my career it was just a big deal to make a cut. Then you realize making cuts and finishing 70th, that's not even doing you any good.

So starting to finish top-10 and then having chances to win and seeing myself hit the shots that you need to hit. That's when you go, all right, I can do this. So, coming down the stretch at Heritage, I hit a 6-iron on the 14th hole, which is a brutal par three, back right pin, right on water, to four feet to get tied for lead, and I said, I've made it, I can hit the shots I need to hit to win.

Q. The one goal is always to get better every year and I'm sure you felt the same way. Did you ever really feel that. Early days did you really feel like you were getting better?
KEVIN KISNER: I did. Early this year I wasn't getting the finishes but probably my weakest parts of my game was always my ball striking out here and I saw that I was putting terribly early in this year but the ball striking was there. I said, as soon as the putter gets going and I get back to the south where I can actually putt, I think it's going to be good. And it kind of clicked that way. And starting there through the summer, I played well and the putter heated back up and this is probably the worst putting year of my career this year and I had the best career or best year.

Q. How long have you worked with John?
KEVIN KISNER: This is right about two years. Right now.

Q. How did you find him?
KEVIN KISNER: It's been a sweet culmination. Good friend of mine, Scott Brown that plays on the PGA TOUR started working with him and he was working with him one day and I just asked him to take a look and started from there.

Q. There have been a slew of scores of 64 or better in the playoffs events, when you see people going low on courses does it cause you to reconsider or recalibrate what you think is possible on these courses?
KEVIN KISNER: Causes you to reconsider why you're playing. These guys, like our slogan, these guys are good. I tell people all the time, I play practice rounds on Tuesday and I'm like, man, this place is hard; or Wednesday in the pro-am, and you wake up Thursday morning and somebody's 7-under.

So, no matter what golf course you're playing unless it's basically a Major, you know somebody's going to shoot low. Somebody's going to have it all clicking and you have to be ready to go from the get-go.

Q. Does it make, cause you to play more aggressively or more fearlessly when you see 61s and 63s up there?
KEVIN KISNER: I wouldn't say fear can be in anybody's mind that's in this tournament. If you're fearing anything, on the golf course, this game is cruel in a way that it will show you exactly whatever you're fearing will pop up on the first hole. It's just a weird thing how this game works.

So, I think you have to get rid of fear early in your career if you want to see the success. I doubt Jason Day's walking out there with much fear right now, any of the guys that are playing in this tournament.

Q. Earlier you spoke about your personal favorite moment of the year. Is there a moment not involving you it's been such an amazing year on the PGA TOUR, overall what's your one moment that you will remember for this year?
KEVIN KISNER: Well I was involved but I thought the atmosphere at THE PLAYERS in the three holes -- when I finished and was in the playoff, I didn't know we had three hole aggregate playoff and that was one cool event like walking from the 16th green to 17, stadium seating, the place was going nuts. And I was like, man, this is really fun. Thank God I hit a decent shot, so I didn't get booed or anything. It's not like Phoenix.

No, I was like, man, this is the big time. We have made it. It was really cool atmosphere.

Q. You probably have seen the list of things that have to happen for you to win the whole FedExCup?
KEVIN KISNER: I have learned something about it, yeah.

Q. What's maybe the tallest task this week? You getting your first victory here on this course or Jason Day finishing outside the top 11 for you to have that chance?
KEVIN KISNER: Probably him finishing outside the top 11. Odds wise, you would think this would be the easiest tournament to win all year but then you have the 29, I guess Jim's not playing, the best players in the world playing the way they're playing right now. So, it's difficult for you to say this is the easiest one to win because of the amount of people involved playing, but then everybody here can win. So, I think you just got to go out there and play the golf course and hopefully have a chance coming down the stretch. Obviously the finish here looks tough, I haven't played the back nine yet but I walked it and to have a chance you got to hit some golf shots coming in to win here.

Q. Two wardrobe questions very important, can you clarify if you were wearing or not wearing jeans to practice in on Tuesday.
KEVIN KISNER: Thanks, Michael. He's local. He's my boy. I grew up with him, so. No, he wasn't tweeting it. Those were not jeans, they were cotton pants. I was within the rule book, as I always adhere to the PGA TOUR policy on clothing.

Q. Last night at the Payne Stewart event you did not have a jacket on, did you get Happy Gilmore'd?
KEVIN KISNER: No, I didn't. Our attire was slacks and a button down, but I made sure the player relations understood that next time everyone else was wearing coat and tie, I would like to be told to wear coat and tie as well.

Q. Do you have a coat and tie?
KEVIN KISNER: I do own one, but if I didn't, I was going to ask you for money to buy one, but I didn't have enough time and you weren't present at the moment.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN KISNER: Thanks, guys.

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