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May 30, 2016

Rico Hoey

Casey Martin

Aaron Wise

Eugene, Oregon

THE MODERATOR: Honor to be joined tonight on the dais, we've got the Rico Hoey, our runner-up in the individual honors today. We've got our individual champion from the University of Oregon, Aaron Wise, and head coach from the University of Oregon, Casey Martin. We'll get things started. Aaron, if you would just a quick opening statement and then we'll take some questions from our media.

AARON WISE: Yeah, what a day. I mean, absolutely incredible. I knew it was going to be a long day from the start, and to have all my friends and family out there rooting me on was awesome. I had a couple hiccups down the back nine there, but birdie on 17 was huge, and to get a par from where I hit it off the tee on 18 was big. Really special to win these awards.

THE MODERATOR: Rico, for you, just to get things started, talk about obviously chasing Aaron all day. Seemed like obviously you started the day trying to come from behind. Take us through your mindset as you tried to chase him.

RICO HOEY: Growing up with Aaron, I knew he was probably going to take it really deep and stuff like that. So I stuck to my game plan, just tried to hit some greens, make some putts, and yeah, I'm so happy for Aaron, so yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Casey, your thoughts, as well, to have someone from your team to get the individual championship and just the kind of momentum that might give your team going into tomorrow.

CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, it's tremendous. Oregon has never had an individual champion until now, so Aaron has put this team on his back all year and he solidified it today and has been, like you said I guess to the media, he's the best player I've had and one of the best players I've ever been around. It's a pleasure to watch him. He represents Oregon incredibly well, and to say I'm ecstatic for him is an understatement. Pretty special for the Ducks today for sure.

Q. Aaron, on your putt on 17, did you know it was in as soon as you hit it?
AARON WISE: You know, about halfway there I knew it was probably going to go in. I was a little confused about the break and didn't know exactly which way it was going to go, but once it was about four or five feet out from the hole I kind of saw it tracking and I knew it was going to drop.

Q. (Inaudible.)
AARON WISE: Yeah, you know, the crowd was a big part of that, and I had a little break when we let him hit up on 16 and was able to kind of calm myself down and kind of figure out what was going on and realize that I can two-putt and I'm still in the lead and I can figure things out, and when I got to 17 tee, the crowd was always on my side, and kind of looked at Ben, and I was like, you know what, we're still in this, it's not over. From there I was able to hit three great shots, make birdie, and parred the last.

Q. Rico, at what point did you look at a leaderboard late in the round to see that you were only two shots back and a couple birdies coming in could take you into a playoff at least?
RICO HOEY: Yeah, I saw the leaderboard on 13. I think they have that jumbo screen or something like that, and I saw that I was two behind. I didn't really try to force anything. I stuck to my game plan. I was like, you know, I'm just here, I'm trying to post up a number, and that's what I did.

Q. And also, you said you grew up with Aaron. Do you remember when you guys first met, and do you have any cool stories of playing together or anything like that, junior golf?
RICO HOEY: Yeah, I think we were playing some Junior PGA qualifier, and the first night I think he had a broomstick, and then the next week I see him at Junior Worlds, and he's putting with a short putter, and I'm like, this guy is insane. He was draining last week and he's draining again this week. I love playing with this guy.

Q. Aaron, what iron did you hit on 16, and what kind of happened there?
AARON WISE: Yeah, 16, 195 into the wind and I hit a punch 5-up there. I felt comfortable over the shot but just put a bad swing on it, kind of came out of it and hit it off the toe, and you can't go right of that pin, and obviously I just caught the water there, and it wasn't a great swing.

CASEY MARTIN: Did you see the one the day before? That one I'd like to remember.

Q. So when you double bogey 16, are you aware all of a sudden that you're in the tie for first?
AARON WISE: I knew it was close. I knew there was a few people at three. I thought there might have been one at four, also. I knew I had just let everybody back into it at that point and had to start playing some real golf. I had kind of put it in neutral there, and you can't do that around Eugene Country Club. It's too hard.

Q. When you birdied 17, did you feel like at the time that was going to be the difference?
AARON WISE: I knew it was one shot better than I was, and I knew I was close to a lot of people. It was an awesome putt. It was an awesome birdie, and to par 18 was just as special from where I hit it off the tee.

Q. Rico, can you talk about how you regrouped after -- first off, talk about what happened on 9 and then how you regrouped.
RICO HOEY: So I whiffed the ball. Yeah, that's probably a great SportsCenter non-top 10. Yeah, I whiffed the ball, and I looked at my caddie and said, yeah, I don't think I can hit this again, so I took an unplayable and then hit a pretty good chip and scrambled to the hole and made the putt, and I was like, oh, shoot, okay. So regrouped myself. It's a tough course. I was still even par after 9. I knew I still had a shot. I had nine more holes, and that's what I told myself, and I kept going.

Q. What was it like there on the first tee with the Oregon Duck cheering you on?
AARON WISE: Yeah, that's the first time I've ever seen him on the golf course. It was pretty funny. It was an awesome thing for him to be out here supporting. Obviously we had pretty big crowds out there, so for him to be out there entertaining the kids, it's awesome.

Q. You mentioned friends and family; were they in town the whole week, all four rounds?
AARON WISE: They came out. They missed the first round. They got in that afternoon, and then they watched the second round and on.

Q. Aaron, on the front nine you seemed to be very confident and you were making a lot of putts, and on the back nine (inaudible). Was there any shift in mentality going into that back nine knowing you were playing that closing nine?
AARON WISE: No, not really. I was actually interested. I have no clue how I had 64 yards or whatever I did into 1 into the breeze. I kind of freaked myself out by hitting it that far. And then it just played tough. The pins were hard on the front side, and I didn't hit my driver great today and got myself into some bad spots, and obviously made double on 12 and then hit a bad iron shot on 16, but my putter kind of dug me out of a lot of holes today. I made a bunch of six- to 12-footers for par, which were huge.

Q. Does your game plan change at all playing for the individual win knowing that if you're too aggressive you could hurt your team?
AARON WISE: Absolutely. I mean, it's a pretty interesting combination to have, to have it be a team competition and an individual competition at the same time because I can only imagine Rico's position. Your team is fighting to stay in the top and you're like, do I push, do I not, do I want to make a par for my team, do I try to make a birdie for me. It's interesting, but at the end of the day, you've just got to go out there, like he said, you just keep a game plan, and Eugene Country Club is a hard golf course, and you've got to play conservative.

RICO HOEY: Yeah, I totally agree with Aaron. Coming out here and having a team event and the individual part, I mean, you go through the practice round, you talk with your coach, and you try to have a game plan, and you stick to that. Nothing changes from the first day to the last day. You just try to keep rolling.

Q. Casey, I'm sure you've imagined what it would be like for your team to have match play at home, maybe have an individual winner at home. What is that feeling like? How is it maybe different than what you imagined?
CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, you know, when we put this bid in a couple years ago, this was the dream, to be able to have a team that would make it and be competitive, and then certainly to have a player like Aaron, where when you see what he's done the last couple years, you think, man, we talked about it, like oh, you're going to have a really interesting situation and play nationals on your home course. It's been a fairy-tale so far, both for the women, too. The women got in and the women made match play. It was unbelievable. We're just trying to piggy-back from what they've accomplished and hopefully take it a step further at the end. It's been a really incredible week so far, and hopefully it's more to come.

Q. Casey, Aaron's ability to stay in command even when things aren't going well and stay calm, is that one of the things that separates him?
CASEY MARTIN: He's always had it. He's always had an ability after a bad hole to do exactly what he did, and I was probably as surprised as anyone on the shot on 16, but what didn't surprise me was the roar -- I was up in the fairway with Thomas, and I saw these people, and I was waiting for a roar because I knew it was coming, and sure enough, about 30 seconds later I got it, which was a big relief because we were kind of struggling to finish. So that was a huge relief and not a shock to be honest. I really kind of expected it.

Q. Aaron, Rico, just real quick can you talk about the course and how you've seen it change from practice rounds to today and what you might expect the next two days?
RICO HOEY: So far what I've noticed is that the greens got pretty quick, pretty firm to me. The rough seems like they're growing it out, as well, so it's a lot tougher driving it off the tee. You can't really miss off the fairway, and yeah, pretty much the greens are just like rock hard. They feel like cement.

AARON WISE: Yeah, and I would say the same. First three days I thought it played pretty similar. They kind of kept it under control, kept it where they needed to, and today it looked like they kind of let it go a little bit. Those greens were as fast as I've ever putted on, and they were probably a foot and a half, two feet faster than before, and you saw that in the scores. It was playing really, really hard out there.

Q. Aaron, you talked about this before, about that two-year stretch. Was it just competitive golf that you didn't play or golf altogether?
AARON WISE: Yeah, it was competitive golf, and it was probably a year and a half or so, and I was able to practice and hang out with my dad and do stuff, but I didn't play competitively for a while. I actually picked up tennis and soccer for a little bit and did that, and just realized golf is kind of my passion. That's what I want to do. After about a year and a half off, I realized golf is for me, and I wanted to do it, and ever since then I've enjoyed doing it.

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