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October 19, 2016

Justin Thomas

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

ALEX URBAN: We'd like to welcome our defending champion here at the CIMB Classic, Justin Thomas, to the interview room.

You had your first PGA TOUR victory here last year, three birdies out of your last four holes to win. What does it mean to be back here, and talk a little bit about that win last year and what it means to you.

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it's great to be back. I've never had the opportunity to come to a tournament as a defending champion before, so just being out there today and my caddie, Jimmy, and I kind of talking about some things that happened last year and just the good vibes we have and the good memories. It's fun. Hopefully we can recreate some of those good memories and good things that happened out there.

But yeah, I'm excited to be back this week. It's always exciting for me to travel to different places and get outside of America. Malaysia is my favorite place to come to. Kuala Lumpur is great with all the things that we can do and all of us can really enjoy it and the golf course is great and the fans are great. It's been enjoyable.

Q. Since you were here last time, the name of it golf could you be has changed from KLGC Jakarta to TPC Kuala Lumpur. Does that make a big difference in America, the attraction of the course here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I think any time you can add TPC to something, it has maybe a little bit different meaning to us. I feel like we maybe associate ourselves a little bit with TPC golf courses. I remember I was with Alex when he told me the news, and it was a cool deal, for sure, to be able to come back and know this is a TPC now instead of not TPC.

It's definitely a cool addition to the golf course. I don't think in terms of what changes in the golf course and everything like that, it's a little bit outside of my knowledge, but yeah, it's definitely cool to have that TPC there.

Q. Do you feel that your career is just about to take off, or are you getting there?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I think this only being my third year, I feel like I have a lot of years ahead of me and hopefully a lot of great years. That's the crazy part about this game is that you don't really know what's going to happen and you don't know what lies ahead.

I know what is meant to be is going to happen, but I feel like I have -- I feel like I have the firepower; I have the game to where I can do some pretty cool and special things out here. It's just a matter of if I put myself to it and I put the work in and I do everything I need to do.

But I feel like I've definitely been trending the right direction the last year. I would say honestly since this event, any time you can win in this sport is very huge and good for your confidence, so I learned a lot of things from that week and can build a lot of positives off of this event last year.

Hopefully I can say that it was just a springboard for a great run.

Q. What's your idea of success?
JUSTIN THOMAS: To be the best. I think it's a great question, because everyone's definition of success is different. I don't necessarily mean you have to win or you have to be No. 1 in the world, this and that. Obviously that's what I play for.

But I think in terms of what is successful, you need to kind of assess on what we're talking about. If you feel like your driving was successful this year; and if my driving is going to be different versus someone like Colt Knost who hits a lot of fairways, and I don't hit as many fairways as him. In terms of that, it kind of depends on the scale of what we're talking about.

But in terms of a whole, I expect a lot out of myself, so I hope to be the best.

Q. In life?
JUSTIN THOMAS: In life? That's deep. That's tough. (Laughter) it's just a Wednesday afternoon.

It's tough. I mean, I want to be having fun first and foremost. Although I don't have that much fun if I'm not playing well because I'm extremely competitive. The time that golf -- I don't get excited to go play, I don't get excited when I'm in the hunt and I'm not excited to go to a tournament, that's when I'll be done.

But I don't know, I would just say that a good, long year, a great long year, and hopefully a lot of majors and a lot of wins and team wins, Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups. But I also want to be a great role model to kids and I want to be someone that people look up to and can reach out to for help.

Q. What about family?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm just 23, I don't need to talk about family.

Q. You shot a record-breaking 26-under to win. Do you think you must achieve the same score to defend your title?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'll take 26-under right now if I could every time we play. But no, I don't know, it depends. It was a freaky year. Scores were a lot lower than usual. I know scores are usually low here. It's just what the conditions of the golf course and it being as short as it is with a lot of birdies. You never know. It's a course -- it's a course 20-under could win. I could see if someone gets hot -- I felt like I could have been 30-under last year. You never know what can happen. It's a place where someone can really get rolling and go two or three days and shoot some really, really low scores. Like I said, I'll take 26-under right now.

Q. Is there something different you're going to do this year, or is there something the same you're going to do this year?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm going to try to take it the same way do I every tournament, and last year. You just try to get a good game plan. I feel like my caddie and I, we have a good game plan for it, so just try to stick to that. Take it one shot at a time and one hole at a time and hopefully it results to a lot of birdies.

It's not a course you have to overthink. It's all in front of you. Just hit here, hit there and make the putt and beat everybody else. No, there won't be anything too different than what I did last year. I felt like we had a great game plan and more importantly just need to get rested and get my body feeling fresh for tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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