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September 21, 2016

Brandt Snedeker

Atlanta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Brandt, thanks for joining us at the TOUR Championship interview room. You come in here at number 11 in the FedExCup champions. You're obviously a previous winner of the FedExCup, in 2012. Obviously, you know what it takes to win here. Just talk about what it takes to win here at East Lake.

BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's an unbelievable golf course. It really identifies who is playing the best this week. It's in fantastic shape. The rough is up. Kind of different from when I won here in 2012. Different in years past because the rough is as bad as I've ever seen it.

It's about putting the FedExCup in the back of your mind, not thinking about it, coming out here and getting into this tournament, getting in this process, and giving yourself a chance on Sunday.

A lot can happen, obviously, especially with the new nines the way they are this year. You can be 4 back, standing on the 15th tee, and have a legitimate chance to win the golf tournament. I think it's going to be exciting. It's going to give guys who are close but in the lead a really, really legitimate chance of winning. It should add a lot of excitement and drama to the finish. I'm excited about it. Should be a big change for those involved.

THE MODERATOR: You won earlier in the year at the Farmers Insurance Open. What's the state of your game right now?

BRANDT SNEDEKER: I feel like I'm really close to playing great golf. I played kind of middle of the pack in the last handful of events. Had a great Sunday at BMW to kind of sneak up there in the top ten or close to the top ten. Kind of on the cusp of playing some great golf and excited about what this week holds. I had a good week off. Feel like my game's in pretty good shape going into these next two weeks.

Q. Good morning. Thanks for joining us. A lot of golfers here this week would love to have their name on this very special trophy, like you did in 2012. Talk about what that has come to mean to you as this tournament has evolved over the years. Just what does it mean?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I think the vision of this championship has been exceeded by what's happened over the first ten years. I think knowing that the list of champions on that trophy, what it means to everybody, the way the playoffs have kind of evolved into this unbelievable championship that we have here at East Lake, the finale, I think guys realize how important it is, and we're talking about it -- I remember people kind of sneering when we first started this, thinking this is never going to be as important as a major, and now you hear guys talking about it as if it's a fifth major, as something that is that important.

Now seeing the name of the list of guys, you realize how important it is, and I'm honored to have my name on the trophy, and I'd love to be the second guy to put his name on there twice. That's kind of where I stand.

Q. Just going back to your FedExCup championship, do you recall later that week, or whatever it was, that you first saw like the bank statement or the money showed up in the account? Could you describe that, like that "wow" moment.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, it's the only time I've ever called the Tour about a bank transfer, and that was on Tuesday. It was supposed to get in at 9:00. It was a little late. Didn't get in until 11:00. I called at 9:05, just making sure it's going to make it. It didn't get lost in the mail. Tim was gracious enough to take my phone call. Don't worry. It will be there. Just relax.

It was just kind of a surreal moment to see it happen.

Q. When did it actually show up?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Around 11:00, it hit the bank account, and I thought this is -- I've got to start figuring some things out. This is a little different.

Q. You went online and saw it?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's online, my bank account. It's a surreal moment. You never think it's going to happen, and when it does, you still don't quite quantify. I didn't change anything. I didn't go out and buy anything special or anything like that. It was one of those weird deals, I need to get my head around this and get some planning going forward to make sure I'm not a sob story 30 years down the road of how he lost this. So trying to figure it out from there.

Q. Did you at least go out and get some ice cream or something?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: No, I bought -- I've told this a thousand times. I bought a Sonic ice machine. I love pellet ice. I went and bought a Sonic ice machine. Still have it in the house. I love it. That was my treat to myself.

Q. To completely change gears a little bit, whom should Davis pick on Sunday night to round out the Ryder Cup team?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I'm glad I'm not Davis. This is a tough, tough decision. We were sitting around, a few of us having dinner last night, talking about it a little bit, and we were all scratching our heads thinking there's so many different ways he could go. There's so many different ways we all feel about it differently.

The good news is whoever he chooses, we're going to be in great shape. We're not -- it's not like we're choosing guys that aren't playing well or aren't great players. I think we're all on board with wherever he goes.

I could make a case for five guys right now off the top of my head. It's not going to come down to who plays great this week. It's not going to come down to that at all. It's going to come down to who Davis feels comfortable and guys he trusts and wants on that team. It will be a collective effort.

Davis has been unbelievable in having us all involved in every step of the process. We texted back and forth last night for an hour, Davis and I did, about stuff. I think we're all invested, all in 100 percent as a team, and I think whoever fills this team out is going to be in the same mindset and be one of those kind of players.

Q. So in your estimation, team chemistry is perhaps more important than playing hot this week?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Let me answer your question perfectly clear. I don't know why everybody thinks -- because you're asking about Bubba Watson specifically, or are you not? I don't know where everybody gets this idea that Bubba Watson is a bad teammate. He is probably one of the best teammates you could possibly have. I want that out there for everybody to hear. Bubba Watson is a great teammate. So I don't know why everybody keeps making this diversion of the truth, making Bubba out to be this bad guy. He is a great teammate. He was unbelievable on Monday. He's been unbelievable all year. And we would be lucky to have him on the team as a teammate, period, end of story.

Q. Want to follow up a little bit on that. How do you -- this is a two-part question. How do you mentally prepare for what will be two very intense weeks here and in Minnesota? Secondly, is it going to be difficult to focus in on the TOUR Championship this week and not think about the Ryder Cup next week?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: That's been a hard thing. Being up there on Monday and seeing the venue at Hazeltine and seeing how excited everybody was, having a team dinner Sunday night, going out there Monday, everybody coming down here together Monday afternoon. We realize how much everybody wants it and how great it is being in a team atmosphere. It's hard to flip the switch and get back into, Whoa, whoa, we've still got a huge tournament this week to get ready for and prepare for. Also in the back of your mind you're thinking about next week and making sure we prepared for there too. It's been a tough one.

I think everybody on the team is struggling with it right now, how to get your mind around it this week and get ready to go. I think having yesterday, getting back into game mode today will help, and making sure we're relaxed and ready to go for these next two weeks is tough.

I remember when I won in 2012, we flew straight from here to Chicago. I didn't have time to celebrate. I literally got up there at 8:00 a.m. the next morning, and we were playing a practice round at 12:00 in the afternoon. It doesn't matter what happened the last week. It's all about winning the Ryder Cup back. So it's hard to get over the hump and get ready to go again.

Q. A couple of very different questions. First, how gnarly is the rough?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's bad. It's as bad as I've seen it here. Bermuda rough is always tough, but it's the thick Bermuda rough, where you can have shots that you can hit 100 yards max. So driving accuracy will be extremely important this week.

Q. And fellows who play golf at your level, I'm sure are very hard to impress, but what impresses you most about the way Dustin Johnson is playing now?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I played with him at Firestone on Saturday, and he shot 4 under par, and it was probably the best round of golf I've seen this year on tour up close and personal. He putted bad, and he shot 4 under par. I think he's making -- he's kind of figured out the way he's supposed to play golf now. He started hitting a cut shot, driving unbelievable. Every iron shot is right where it's supposed to be. His wedge game has been phenomenal. Probably his biggest weakness over the last five years was his wedge game, and now it's one of his strengths.

You look at him, and he checks all the boxes of what a number 1 player in the world looks like. It's been fun to watch him kind of evolve into that player.

Q. Brandt, they held out a Ryder Cup pick through the TOUR Championship to get the hot guy. At 12, you were the hot guy. The next morning you were in Chicago playing golf. What's the fine line of getting the hot guy and how gassed he is on what he's been through and all he's been through in winning such a big event?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: It's tough. That's something you have to take into account when you're making pairings and saying, you know what, this guy might not be as fresh. He's been through hell the last four weeks. Might need to give him a rest here and there. You kind of feel it out that tournament week. You're never going to have a guy say I'm tired at a Ryder Cup. Captains have to kind of feel that out and understand that I want four guys ready to go -- or eight guys ready to go at every session.

That's a hard thing to deal with, but once again, once you get there, your adrenaline kicks in, and you're fine. I don't think energy will be an issue come Friday morning.

Q. If I could follow through on your Bubba comments. Billy Harmon echoed the same thing. He talked about the Presidents Cup and Bubba being a real good guy in the team room and all that. Could you just expand and give us an idea what he's like on the inside.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: He's the most positive, self-deprecating, great teammate to have in the team room. 100 percent behind you all the time. Great cheerleader. A guy that anybody on the team would love to play with.

I told Davis, if he gets picked, I would love to be his partner because the guy makes golf look easy. He can make me look like the best player in the world if I played from where he did off the tee. I think we'd all love to have him as a partner on the team.

So I don't know -- I saw all these articles come out the last couple weeks when Bubba wasn't picked, and it's because he's bad in the team room, and that's completely false. It's a false narrative. I don't know where it got started. It just is what it is.

I know Davis wanted to set the record straight. I want to set the record straight and just say it's completely wrong. It's not true at all. Nobody on the team feels that way. Nobody that knows Bubba feels that way. I think anybody that spends five minutes with Bubba Watson can honestly tell you that that's not true at all. I don't know what else to say. That's the facts. That's from somebody who sees him all the time, plays with him all the time.

Q. Just a quick one on the -- as you look forward, so much going on, you look forward to the Ryder Cup. If there's one thing you have to pick, the one thing that stands out the most for you, what do you look forward to the most?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Friday morning. That 1st tee is unlike anything in sports. It is. I've been to every sporting event you can imagine. 1st tee on Friday morning is one of the coolest things you can ever be a part of.

1B would be the team room, being around the guys. That's where you have fun. You get to see -- I equate it to this. Even your good friends on Tour, you might spend two hours with a week off the golf course, maybe. That week, we spend every waking moment together. So you're around Phil Mickelson 24 hours a day pretty much, seven days.

So you get to know guys a lot better. That's where you forge friendships, where you forge memories. That's what makes the Ryder Cup special. You're able to do that with guys you normally don't have access to or get to be around that much. So it's fun. It's great to get to know guys and go through the battle with guys and everybody be pulling for each other and pulling for one common goal. So that's kind of what we miss out here is that locker room aspect of team sports. That's our one week a year to have that.

Q. One more on the golf course here. How did you feel about the old 18th hole, the par 3 18th?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Obviously, I love the old 18.

Q. I bet you did. Now it's flipped.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I understand. I thought it was unique, an iconic hole, in the fact that par 3, it's different. I kind of like historically unique stuff like that in the game of golf. I understand why the change was made because, in the last eight years, there's been very little volatility on that last hole, or last two holes, for that matter.

This year you're going to have volatility. There's just no way not to. You've got 15, somebody around the league will hit one in the water on Sunday. It's just going to happen. It's a tough hole. Somebody will make an eagle on Sunday or a birdie, birdie finish to finish up there, and that just wasn't really possible with the old 17, 18 were so tough, the old 17, 18.

That's why it makes sense TV-wise, and to be honest with you, guys are all excited about it because we know we've got a chance come Sunday afternoon. Even from 4 back, we have a legitimate chance of winning the golf tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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