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February 7, 2016

Hideki Matsuyama

Scottsdale, Arizona

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: All right, everyone. Welcome our 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Hideki Matsuyama to the media center. Top 5 the last two years. This year able to break through for the victory. What does it mean to be a champion here this week?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) Thank you. Yeah, you know, up until even after the 15th hole it didn't look very good.

Then Rickie opened the door for me, and I was able to walk through it. It feels really good.

THE MODERATOR: A number of very important clutch shots down the stretch, especially in regulation to force a playoff. What did you summon and how good did those shots feel to pull them off?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) Yeah, and especially at 18, the 72nd hole, the putt I made there was probably the best putt I have ever made in my life.


Q. How is this tournament different than any other?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) Probably, you know, No. 1 is the gallery and how many great fans came out. I mean, world's record as far as attendance goes.

And boisterous. You just kind of get into that atmosphere and that feeling and just rode with it.

THE MODERATOR: Your second PGA TOUR victory. What do you think is the next step for you as a player?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) Well, winning my second tournament on the PGA TOUR was my utmost goal for this year, so now I'm going to go home tonight and rethink the next goal.

Q. How surprised were you that Rickie hit it in the water on 17 in regulation and then again in the playoff?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) I mean, he hit a perfect drive in regulation at 17. I'm surprised it went into the water. It was a great shot. Just the outcome wasn't what I expected, and I'm sure Rickie, too.

Q. You talked about how challenging this course is, both before and after the renovation that Tom Weiskopf did, but what about it brings out the best of your game?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) I'd like to know, too. I play so well and it's a challenge. Yeah.

Q. Congratulations on the win. What was it like winning on a stage this big with the record attendance that we had over the last four days? What was it like to be a part of this and ending up champion?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) Yeah, I mean, yesterday there was so many fans out there, and again, today there were a lot but not as many as yesterday.

But playing with Rickie, and he had all the gallery following him, what a great experience.

Q. There has been so much talk about Big Four: Rory, Jordan, Jason, and now Rickie. You're a young player. Did you sort of feel like, not that you belong, necessarily, but that were you maybe motivated by the success they had and felt like you needed a win like this?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) I mean, you're right. Those four have set the bar so high, and that's what motivates me to practice harder and practice more, to be able to keep up with them.

Q. Did you struggle with your ball striking a little earlier in the week? If so, how did you overcome that?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) You're right. I didn't hit the ball well the first two days and even the front 9 on Saturday, but starting on the back 9 yesterday, started to hit the ball a little better and gave me a little more confidence.

I went out on my warmup this morning, and it was not as good again. I was struggling.

But when the bell rang today, it just seemed like I was able to get into a rhythm and was able to find a good swing again.

Q. Going head to head in sudden death against Rickie, one of the most popular players on tour, fan favorite here, did you kind of feel like the underdog?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: (Through translation.) Yeah, they were for Rickie, weren't they? And I'd say probably 99% of the gallery were cheering hard for Rickie.

But that gave me the motivation to go out and do it and win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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