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October 5, 2016

Thomas Pieters

Carnoustie-Kingsbarns, Scotland

PAUL SYMES: Many thanks for joining us. Welcome to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. After last week, how do you reflect on the experience overall?

THOMAS PIETERS: I think it's tough to talk about my individual performance when you lose as a team. You go there as a team, so you win or you lose as a team, and obviously there's talk about me being a rookie and having four points, and I played great and I'm really happy to have earned four points.

But again, three of those points were with Rory, so I don't see it as my four points. But I can see how I get a lot of questions about that. You know, like I said, it's tough to talk about it when you lose as a team.

PAUL SYMES: Obviously playing with the boss, Johan Rupert, last week was pressurised and this week will be just as pressurized with him next to you. How well do you know him, first of all?

THOMAS PIETERS: I met Johan last night. He's a big guy. I've heard nothing but good about him. I look forward to playing with him. I'm playing with a lot of South African boys I've heard.

Q. How do you feel to be property of Rory McIlroy when he put his arm around you; he's not going to share you with anybody.
THOMAS PIETERS: It's fine with me. It's Rory McIlroy, he's the best player in the world. If he says, I want you on my team for the next ten years, I just go, okay (smiling).

I got a lot of compliments from last week, just in the sense of, you know, being able to pull the shots off when I really needed to. A couple of times on 16, when I was maybe up one or two, and you need a shot 220 over the water with 40,000 people looking at you. And when you pull it off, it gives you a huge confidence boost.

Q. Can you relate some of the stories to us, some of the highlights of the week and things people said to you?
THOMAS PIETERS: All the vice captains, obviously Darren was an amazing captain I thought. He was really open, really honest with us. And all the vice captains were as involved, Sam Torrance was there, so much experience, Ian Poulter. Ian Poulter in the team room, it was -- he said stuff every day and as the week went on, I got why these guys get so into The Ryder Cup. I think on Friday, I didn't celebrate once. But on Sunday, I had a couple fist pumps.

Q. How much confidence will this week give you, last week at Hazeltine, in terms of the majors and perhaps preparing you for coming down the stretch on Sunday being in contention at one of the Big Four?
THOMAS PIETERS: Even Rory said, it's nothing like a major. The Ryder Cup is the most nervous he's been. Coming down the stretch is going to seem like nothing. It's going to seem easier, in fact. Yeah, I look very much forward to playing -- I've only played two, and I look forward to playing the other two, as well.

Q. Some of the guys like Matthew, Andy, didn't get that much opportunity; the way things panned out -- should they get a chance to show what they can do?
THOMAS PIETERS: That's a tough question because the team -- inaudible -- I know Darren is going to get a lot of critics obviously if he lost the Ryder Cup. If he won, he wouldn't be asked about it. It didn't turn out how he wanted to, how we wanted to but I don't think there was any -- inaudible.

Q. I think everyone had a lot of fun looking at how calm you appeared to be, very deadpan. Is that really how you were feeling inside last week?

Q. How can you do that when you've got, as you say,220 yards over water with 40,000 people watching. How can you stay calm like that?
THOMAS PIETERS: Well, for me it was more like a personal thing. I didn't really think about, if I don't pull off, it's going to be on TV or people are going to shout at me -- inaudible -- it would bed -- inaudible.

Q. Do you work with anyone, sports psychologist or anyone?
THOMAS PIETERS: He's like a machine. Obviously it's match play, you're going to take on much more risk than playing in another tournament. So nicely because we both hit it very long, we both played very aggressive, and I think we both believe in our abilities that if one of us hit a bad shot to a tight pin, the other one is going to pull it off.

Q. What's been the best message you've had, messages you wouldn't expect to get from perhaps someone notable?
THOMAS PIETERS: Sam Torrance, Darren -- said some nice, kind words to me -- inaudible.

Q. What did you learn that you can use going forward?
THOMAS PIETERS: That I can in that kind of environment and I don't think anywhere in the majors is like that, it's going to be easier I think. Being able to play in that environment, I think it's going to be a lot easier in the majors. Yeah, like I said, I took a lot of confidence from that.

Q. I'm sure last week's raised people's expectations of you. Has it raised your own expectations and how would you like to see the next couple years mapping out?
THOMAS PIETERS: Reach my personal goals and yeah, the majors and be up there, have a chance to win. It's just golf. It's a weird game.

Q. Have you played the Alfred Dunhill Links before, and how does it feel to be here at the Home of Golf this week playing the championship?
THOMAS PIETERS: I've played it two times before I think. Last year I missed the cut. Year before, I had a decent finish. I think 16th or something. I had my card but kind of solidified my card that year. It's a weird feeling, it's only been two years since I was struggling for my card and now I'm here, just played The Ryder Cup, so like I said, it went a bit fast.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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