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May 14, 2016

Hideki Matsuyama

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

CHRIS REIMER: We'll get started. Hideki Matsuyama, 10-under now, heading into the final round of the PLAYERS championship, congratulations on a great round. Just talk about what went right for you out there, if you could.

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It was really tough out there today. I was lucky enough to get off to a good start, birdied the first three holes, kind of set the tone for the rest of the day and made the play in difficult conditions a lot easier for me.

CHRIS REIMER: You've finished in the top-25 your past two trips here, now you're in good position. What do you like about this golf course?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Let's see, what do I like about this course? Oh, that's a tough question.

I guess watching everybody else struggle, too, is comforting.

CHRIS REIMER: Questions?

Q. What would it mean to have the flag of Japan raised here, something that's never happened in this tournament?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It would be great. But hopefully to make people of Japan happy, especially the folks who are still struggling down in Kumamoto where the earthquake hit last month. If I were to win hopefully that would bring them some joy. And seeing them happy after the struggles that they have gone through, it would make me very happy also.

Q. Can you talk about the buttons that you and your caddie and Bob are wearing, what they mean and also you were in Japan when the earthquake hit, right, but where were you in relation to where the earthquake was?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yeah, when I went back to Japan the day after I arrived the earthquake struck and I mean I was really jet lagged and sleeping and is someone sent me a texted and I realized it was an earthquake, but I didn't realize then how extensive the damage was. And as I watched more TV and the news on TV, and saw the devastation that took place, I thought, I needed to do something. So, that kind of inspired making the badges or the buttons, and we brought them over last week to Charlotte and a lot of the players wore them there, Rickie Fowler wore one and it's just something as a, you know, as a Japanese citizen to show support to those who were affected and still are going through difficult times, to show my support and hopefully if everyone here on TOUR, that if, has worn the buttons, I'm sure as the folks back in Japan see the buttons and know that we're thinking of them and care about them and hopefully it will make a difference.

Q. What do they say?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: This red one says Kumamoto, that's the city where the earthquake struck. Below it is cue shoe, that's the prefecture where Kumamoto is and then here it says, we are with you. And then the other one is action for Nihon, this is Japan, action for Japan is what they say.

Q. What is the biggest change in the course conditions from the first two days where the course was gettable to today? Was it pin placements, speed of greens, wind?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Well to answer your question, yesterday when it rained hard in the afternoon, I didn't think the greens were going to be this quick today. They just firmed and just really got hard. And the pins were tough, but they were in places where the speed of the greens really showed itself. They were really, really fast around the cups. And I knew everyone was going to struggle on the greens today. I'm just glad I got in the house with a 67.

Q. And how do you explain your reversal of fortunate, fortunes putting? Your ranking in putting is fairly low coming in and you were No. 1 in the field right now, I believe in strokes gained putting.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yesterday -- Thursday and Friday I used a new putter and one that I had never used before, and made some putts with. Maybe that got my confidence going. And I went back to my ACE putter today but I was able to carry with it the confidence that I had gained the first two days. And I was able to make some putts today also.

Q. When did you realize it was going to be hard today and why do you think you play well in hard conditions at Majors and tournaments like that?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: What was the other part of the question.

Q. He plays well in Majors and stuff, how does he do well in difficult conditions?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: To answer your second question first, I don't know why I play well in difficult conditions and the Majors. But today on the fifth green guys I was playing with had, they were, they putted and the ball went miles past. And I saw that and I said, man, this is, I knew right then at the fifth green that today was going to be difficult, because the wind started really picking up and then even after seeing that, at the fifth green, I did the same thing at the sixth green. Knocked my first putt by. So I knew it was going to be, right then, it was going to be not an easy day.

Q. Two questions. The first is about the putters. What putter did you use on Thursday and Friday and what putter did you used to?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yesterday and Thursday and Friday I used a mallet shaped head, center shafted. With a grip, with an oversize grip that I had never used before.

Q. And today?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: And today I just went back to the ACE, which is a Ping style putter, Scotty Cameron, with a normal grip.

Q. And the question I was going to ask before the putter question came up. Here in the United States when people do something really special, like win an important tournament or have some success in their life, their hometown gives them a parade. What, you have a parade and some celebration and festivities and people are happy for you and they want to shake your hand. What happens in Japan? I know it's a country where you're more humble by culture than we are here in the United States, so I would just be interested in hearing what you do to celebrate.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I've never returned home quickly after I've won, so I don't know what type of celebration. Hopefully, I could win tomorrow and then just go right back to Japan and then I can report back to you how, what the celebration was, but hopefully it will be a good one.

Q. Why switch to a new putter before this tournament and then why switch in the middle of the tournament and has he ever switched in the middle of the tournament before?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I've changed putters a lot in the past, mid tournament, so that's nothing out of the ordinary for me. Why did I use the new putter on Thursday? Well, it was maybe just a to try something new, get a fresh start, try to get the feeling back. And I made some putts with it and that feeling started coming back. And so that's why I had my confidence renewed and that's why I went back to the ACE putter today.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, good luck tomorrow.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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