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September 28, 2016

Matt Kuchar

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good morning, welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by Mr. Matt Kuchar who is now playing in his fourth Ryder Cup.

This is your first Ryder Cup as a captain's selection. Is this something that you use as motivation? Do you approach things exactly the same as you did the first three times?

MATT KUCHAR: Certainly not the place you want to be as a captain's pick, but I made my first Ryder Cup in 2010, in Wales, and that was my first Cup team. I knew from that point on I didn't want to miss another Cup team.

I'm pretty pleased, this is seven in a row, Cups, for me. Certainly pales in comparison to Phil Mickelson who was just up here. What an amazing record he has.

But this is the first time I've had to be picked. It's not -- never a position you want to be. I remember last Presidents Cup Phil was picked, and Phil talked about, it almost had more meaning to him being picked, being chosen by peers, being chosen by the captain; that, hey, we value your play, we value you as a person, we want you part of this team.

So if there is a silver lining, it is that. You have to think, hey, I've been seen as a value, both as a player, as a person, to be part of this team. So there is a nice silver lining. But I certainly am thrilled to be part of this team.

I'm not one to pay attention to points. I don't look during the year and figure out, hey, I need to make a hundred points this week to move up in The Ryder Cup standings. I never felt that would help me. I just try to play my best week-in and week-out and let the numbers add up where they do. And my numbers just didn't add up high enough to qualify for the team.

JOHN DEVER: There are five players on this team and I believe all five vice captains were at Medinah in 2012. Is there a certain sense of there's some unfinished business there or is that moment long gone for you? How are you looking at that?

MATT KUCHAR: It's unique how we are made as golfers, in that we have to have pretty short memories. When it comes to playing that next week, when you tee it up again, it doesn't matter if you won a National Championship the week before or you missed the cut; you start at even par and you move forward. There's no hangover of, hey, I just won a major championship last week, I should be given anything. That next week, you start at even par, everybody is the same and you have to more forward. So that's a bit engrained in us as golfers; that you keep moving forward, best to have a pretty short memory.

Certainly Medinah was a hard loss for us. But when it comes to, we all still feel the pain, and there's probably some left over, but I played my next tournament in Napa a couple weeks after Medinah, and I had to focus on playing Medinah. There was no -- sorry, I had to focus on playing in Napa and not living in Medinah. That had happened, was over, and it was time to move on.

I know a lot of us, we've been on a lot of losing teams, but sure would be nice to feel the joy of winning one of these Cups. We get that joy every other year with Presidents Cup, but I think we're all hoping to taste that feeling this week at The Ryder Cup.

Q. Beyond the challenge of playing a different golf ball than you usually play, can you talk about foursomes, what makes a successful pairing, what you've come to learn through the years in playing that format?
MATT KUCHAR: It's funny, I don't have a formula, a format of how to figure out what makes a good team. I think two good players make a good team, is about all I've come to figure out (laughs).

It's a tricky one. You certainly got to go back and forth on the course, the setup, where the approach shots -- the important approach shots are, where the important drives are, who may try to putt more. There's a lot of figuring out and all that can quickly go out the window if you're not playing the game you hope and had designed with thoughts of playing.

So I don't have a true good idea of a formula of who to put with who, what would make good teams in a foursomes match. It's a unique thing. We don't play it very often. It's certainly fun but a little more pressure-packed in that you certainly don't want to let a partner down with a bad shot.

But as far as a formula, I don't have one.

Q. Just to follow up to that, what is the communication like with your partner during a foursomes round? Is that something you talk about mostly beforehand or is there a great deal of back and forth as you're going shot by shot together?
MATT KUCHAR: Certainly there's work beforehand determining odds or evens, trying to figure out best strategy as to who is going to drive it on what holes. That will lead to who hits the approach shots and vice versa with the putting.

So there's a lot of debate and discussion beforehand as to who should drive off the first hole. Once you sort that out, when it comes down to playing and the discussions on the course, you have a couple different schools of thought. You have some guys chat about everything. Some guys feel best to let the player play golf like they normally would and just kind of stay out of their way and just alternate shots.

So I don't think there's a better formula. I think some guys work better. Having the chitchat and banter and extra discussion, I think some guys would rather play golf like they normally do, like they do every other week of the year. However it's just every other shot that they hit; but not to involve somebody out of their normal routine in a discussion. So trying to figure out whether a guy should hit a 6-iron or a 7-iron that you don't see this guy play but five times a year, where the caddie is with him every round; he and his caddie should probably have a good idea whether it's a 6-iron or a 7-iron, as opposed to a newcomer.

So there's two schools of thought as to how to interact on the golf course in the foursomes.

Q. This is your fourth Ryder Cup and you know exactly what it's like to step out on to that first tee at a Ryder Cup. How special a moment is that?
MATT KUCHAR: I'll always remember 2010, in Wales. I was partnered with Stewart Cink, walking to the first tee. It was a sloppy, rainy day but the grandstands, the aluminum bleacher-style seating and the fans were stomping on the stadium and it felt like the whole place was going to collapse as we walked onto the first tee. It was a remarkable experience and every first tee from there on has lived up to the amazing buildup that I remember from my 2010 very first, first tee experience.

To come on home soil and be at Medinah and have people just give an amazing roar of ovation, expecting the same here; it's unique in the game of golf. This happens once every two years and that first tee is quite an amazing experience.

Q. Looking back at your career, how does this year compare to other years, especially with the Olympic experience and now you've played in other Ryder Cups, but how is that experience and how will that help you in international play like this?
MATT KUCHAR: Olympics was an amazing experience. I still kind of pinch myself, being able to look down at the medal and know this is something I'll be able to pass down to kids in future generations and something that kind of will always stay with me or the family.

It's unique for us to be able to make a place in history. Every week we have a chance, but it doesn't happen where you always get to really solidify a place in history, like what happened to me at the Olympics. That was just an amazing experience and I'm still really moved by the reception I've gotten wherever I go, particularly throughout the United States.

Bringing back a Bronze Medal to the United States, the first medal in USA golf in over a hundred years, it's been a moving experience. Certainly one I'll always cherish.

But as far as moving forward, I've got to play well. Like I said, kind of in regards to what happened at Medinah, you kind of have to have a bit of a short memory and move forward. In order to win this thing, we've got to play good golf. I can't rely on what I did last week or last month. I've got to go play good golf on Friday and Saturday and Sunday in order for us to have a chance of winning.

Q. You talked about the excitement of the first tee. Others have talked about how nerve-wracking it is, but can you talk about since you're playing on your home soil, how much of a difference can the home crowd make and what it's like to be out there hearing the roars, especially when it's something you and your teammate have done?
MATT KUCHAR: I've probably looked at it from a different perspective. I've so enjoyed both sides. I've so enjoyed just the sheer level of excitement that exists at a Ryder Cup for the game of golf. And they are typically very one-sided, but still, to be a part of something where so many people are that excited for the game of golf, whether it's in Europe or in the United States, when I played in Europe, I've thought -- even though they are singing songs for the European teams, it's fantastic. I love hearing it and I love being part of it.

I'm amazed at that sort of excitement for the game of golf, and to be inside the ropes and to be a part of it is a fantastic experience.

To be here, home soil, have the U.S.A. chants, it always gives me goosebumps, getting the massive roars of U.S.A. chants. To me it's a great experience overseas or at home. Just to have so many people that excited for the game of golf, it's great to be part of.

Q. I was watching you the other day with Tiger standing behind you looking, hands in his pockets, looking like your coach, giving you tips. Isn't it odd to have an icon of the sport without a golf club in his hand giving you that sort of input?
MATT KUCHAR: I've become good friends with Tiger, played on some teams with him as my partner. Played a number of practice rounds and enjoyed the time where I get to pick his brain. So I felt like I've done that a bit. I've tried to see what sort of help, advice, knowledge, he could pass on, and he's always been very helpful. Always been very giving.

And so to have him behind me without a club is different, but still, I feel like, here is a guy who is willing to help out if I have any sort of questions on technique with anything; it could be from chipping to full swings. I feel like he's very open and helpful. So I feel like he's still in the same role, although he's not -- doesn't have a club in his hand. I feel like we're still part of the same team. He's still there and willing to share any sort of helpful insights he may be able to share, but just not with a club in his hand.

Q. We've heard for years about golf's decline in terms of participation. How important do you think an American win is for the overall state of the golf industry?
MATT KUCHAR: Not real sure. I think what happened at Medinah was terrible for Team U.S.A., but certainly was amazing for the game. To have a comeback like that, to have it come down to the wire, it made for hugely exciting TV and ratings.

So I don't know if you'd say that would be better than a 6-point win by the U.S., hard to say. I'm probably not involved in the industry quite enough to truly help you on that one.

Q. How do you think Arnie's death will affect the mood and spirit this week and do you think it will particularly inspire the Americans, or is he enough of a universal figure that it will affect both teams?
MATT KUCHAR: He was certainly a universal figure. Everybody is moved, touched. It's really a sad day.

I think we're all trying to figure out how to best honor Arnie from both sides and across the whole platform of golf. It's something everybody wants to honor Arnie in some way. I think all of us professionally that are on these teams have probably met, been around, shaken hands, been touched, been moved by Arnold in some way. So we're, I think, equally touched.

He crossed borders. He meant so much to the game of golf. I think we are all trying to figure out how to best honor him and his legacy.

JOHN DEVER: He's Matt Kuchar and we appreciate his time. Thank you and enjoy your week.

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