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June 30, 2016

William McGirt

Akron, Ohio

ALEX URBAN: We're here with William McGirt. 64 here in the first round. Obviously you've had some success in Ohio recently. Talk about your round today and getting off to a good start.

WILLIAM McGIRT: It was a good solid day all around. Drove it pretty well with the exception of the tee shot on 18 and had a lot of perfect numbers, perfect yardages. Actually felt better with the putter from 35 or 40 feet than I did from six feet. Missed a couple there early on that could have been a couple lower, but I had a couple opportunities to make a bogey, as well.

Q. Did you get here for the first time on Saturday?

Q. And what did you like right away? Obviously it doesn't look difficult, but how difficult is it to get to know a course as quickly as possible?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Well, so we played the front nine Sunday afternoon, and then rode the back nine. I fell in love with the place because length is not everything out here. You have to drive it in the fairway. You have to drive it in the correct spots in the fairways to be able to attack pins. I love it because you can't stand up there and just hit it as hard as you want, go find it and hack it on the green. It's an old, traditional style golf course, which I absolutely love. The green complexes are -- most of them are either small or play small. You've got a couple that are big with false fronts or false edges, but I love the look of it, and it's -- I don't know, there's something -- maybe it's something with Ohio I like.

Q. A little trivia question for you: On four occasions there has been a player who won at Memorial and then won this tournament, as well. Can you name them?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods?

Q. Right. How would it feel to join that list?
WILLIAM McGIRT: That would be pretty special company.

Q. Is there anything similar in the grass, just the Ohio thing? Is there anything like Jack's course?
WILLIAM McGIRT: I don't think we really play much like Muirfield Village. But it's obviously poa annua fairways and greens here. I don't think it's really 100 percent poa annua at Jack's place. Like I said, it's the older, traditional style golf courses that I like. I don't like a lot of the new stuff where they try to give you optical illusions all day, especially on the greens. I just like it where you have to go out and hit golf shots. I don't like places where you stand up there and swing as hard as you can 18 times or 14 times off the tee, and who cares if you drive it in the rough, you just go hack it on the green. I like it when you actually have to think your way around and play golf.

We don't get a chance to play many places like this anymore. You look at Waialae, Colonial, it used to be Quail Hollow, but they've made that place so long now, honestly after this renovation, I'm going to go up and play it. If it's going to be 7,600, 7,700 yards, I can go play my absolute best up there and hope to finish 30th. So I'm not sure about that one.

Hilton Head is another one. You have to drive it in the correct spots of the fairways to even have shots. That to me is more golf than standing up there and just hitting it hard.

Q. Has your life changed since you won the Memorial?
WILLIAM McGIRT: I mean, just the fact that I have a three-year exemption and more money in the bank, that's about it. I mean, it's been a hectic few weeks. I've finally got all the text messages responded to, and I'm working on emails now. I hate it, but I mean, it's probably going to take me five weeks from when I got them all to get them all responded to, but I want to respond to each and every one of them. If somebody took the time to send me something, I want to take the time to send them a personal note back.

I'm not the kind of guy that's going to sit there and type out a message and hit copy and paste 500 times. That's just not me.

Q. Is there anything tangible, anything different about playing now on the TOUR as a PGA TOUR champion at Memorial? Do you feel any different? Has it helped your game any, taken pressure off?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Well, it's taken a little bit of pressure off. The biggest thing is knowing I have a job for the next three years. You can go out and kind of free-wheel. I think the biggest thing I took away from Memorial is the confidence in the fact that I know that I can do it now. You know, I'd been close several times and didn't get the job done, but to do it against, I don't know, what were there, seven, eight of the top 10 players in the world, and to do it in front of the greatest player of all time was pretty big for my confidence on the golf course.

Q. I mean, do you draw on something like that during a week like this at all?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Well, maybe come the weekend. But the biggest thing was knowing that I can do it now. Somebody -- one of the other questions I got earlier was what does it do for your confidence on the golf course, and I said, now there's no doubt in my mind anymore about what I'm doing. I feel like we've made some good changes in my golf swing to make it a little bit more consistent.

But the biggest thing, the biggest difference in my golf game over the last three months is I've never had this much confidence in my putter for this long. That's the one thing that saved me at Muirfield because I had plenty of chances to three-putt some pretty tough putts, and I rolled them up there very close to tap in and move on.

Q. Now that the dust has started to settle, what's the process been like for you in terms of just recalibrating your goals?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Good question. I haven't really had a chance to sit down and think about it. Everybody asks me has it sunk in yet, and I really haven't had time to sit down and think about it.

You know, the biggest thing is I want to get No. 2 to prove that it wasn't a fluke. Not that I think it was a fluke, but now that I've won once, I want to win twice, and I want to win three times. Big thing is to go ahead and get four wins so I can play the Champions Tour when I turn 50.

I don't know, I'll have a chance here in the next couple of weeks to sit down and start thinking about the more long-term goals. You know, my short-term goal is to make a cut in a major finally. I mean, I've only played two, but I'm going to have three more opportunities the next three majors, so I'm looking forward to that.

Really looking forward to going to the Open Championship. I've never been to Europe, so it's something I've always wanted to do, and to have a chance to go play in the British Open would be awesome.

Q. How long have you dreamed about playing in a cut-free tournament?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Well, I've played four cut-free tournaments. Played BMW Championship three times and Malaysia. Those are nice when you can come out here and kind of -- I won't say not care, but not have to worry about making the Friday cut. You know, the big thing is just going out and playing golf and having fun, do your thing.

But it does give you a chance to kind of work on some stuff, knowing that there's no cut that you have to worry about making.

Q. And speaking of those texts and emails, any that really stick out, really touched your heart or anything special?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Well, I had a lot of guys from out here that texted me. Honestly, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the U.S. Open, it was tough to practice from all the guys that came up, players, reps, a lot of media, everybody was just happy for me and wanted to come up and say congrats.

I try to treat everyone like I want to be treated. I don't think anybody is better than me, and I don't think I'm any better than anybody else. You know, to have as many guys come up and say congrats and they were happy for me, you know, that meant a lot to me.

I think we were both -- my wife and I were both surprised at the number of messages that we got, I mean, from people that -- some that we had met, some that we had never met before, just to say congrats and how happy they were for us, and they like the way I play the game and the way I handle myself, and that's all I can ask out of myself.

Q. What do you attribute this extended run of good putting to?
WILLIAM McGIRT: I'm not going to share the secret.

No, it's a lot of drills that we've been doing, speed drills and stuff to work on my stroke, and it just seemed to click starting at Hilton Head. You know, we've tried to work on it every single week.

Q. Since you said you don't cut and paste, how much do you usually write, just a couple sentences?
WILLIAM McGIRT: It depends. Most people I would say thank you for the message, and then I'm sorry it's taken me so long to apologize. And then if they ask a question or something, I'll try to answer the question. Probably four to five sentences per text, and then emails, same kind of thing.

Q. Was it someone from way back that you hadn't heard from in a long time that you might have heard from?
WILLIAM McGIRT: There's been a lot. A lot.

Q. Mini-Tour people or --
WILLIAM McGIRT: Oh, yeah, back to -- I've got a bunch of messages or emails from people I went to high school and college with that I haven't spoken to in forever. It's been a bit overwhelming the number of messages and all the support that we've had, but it's been great.

I've told a lot of people and I've put this in a lot of messages that my life has changed, and it's been very crazy, my life has changed, but it's been a very good change, very good crazy.

ALEX URBAN: Thank you for your time. Good playing.

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