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October 29, 2016

Hideki Matsuyama

Shanghai, China

CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome Hideki Matsuyama, our third round leader here at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions. You obviously won two weeks ago, the Japan Open, and finished runner-up last week in Malaysia and now here you are, third round leader heading into the final round here.

Is this the best you've ever played consistently, and if so, what's kind of separating this run of golf from the others?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Really these last three weeks, nothing has really changed in my game, other than I made a lot of putts the first round and second round. That's made the difference.

CHRIS REIMER: Tomorrow you have an opportunity to win your third PGA TOUR event and also be the first Japanese player to win a World Golf Championships event. How excited are you to get on the course and make both those happen tomorrow?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Winning, hopefully we can talk about it tomorrow. All I can do is really just do my best tomorrow and hit one shot at a time.

Q. The first two rounds, you had a million birdies and bogeys, and today was very bogey-free, clean card, and the most birdies on the par 5s. Which of those days was more satisfying or pleasing?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It's a tough question to answer. The first two days, making lots of birdies, it's a lot of fun.

But today, when you have -- when you're in a position to win, playing smart and making no bogeys was very satisfying to me today.

Q. One month ago, you changed your clubs, your driver. What was the problem and why did that change happen?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You're correct. I did change drivers about a month ago. But here I can't really discuss it in detail. I'll probably switch back to that old driver shortly.

Q. Do you feel you have a different temperament to western temperaments? Are you a calm lad?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: That's another difficult question (laughter).

Q. Well, you only have to choose one of them.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Probably just because other people around me seem mortem per mental, I might seem calm, and so that's -- I guess to answer your question, I hope to be calm and play calmly.

Q. Can you go through the last hole, please, the shots you played and how important it was to make birdie and get one extra stroke lead.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: The tee shot, it's daunting. That lake is on the right side. So what I'm trying to do with the tee shot there is to put it in the fairway. I was lucky enough to get it on the right side. I had 248 yards to the pin. Hit a 3-wood, faded a 3-wood in there. I had about a 25-footer for eagle.

I wasn't sure the line, so I asked my caddie, Daisuke Shindo, and he read the line, and almost; so it was an easy birdie.

It was a big birdie. I mean, to take the lead from two strokes to three.

Q. You're up against last year's champion tomorrow, amongst others. What do you think it's going to take to win: The fun, birdie, birdie approach, or the slow, steady, no bogeys on the card?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You know, the weather and the pin placements will dictate what type of golf I play. But I mean, everyone is so good. I know I'm going to have to make some birdies.

But I think the key for tomorrow's round will be not making any bogeys.

Q. Talk about the PGA TOUR has recently opened up a new office in Tokyo and expectedly sooner or later, there will probably be a PGA TOUR stop there in Japan, and as a player which received double membership, what do you think it would affect or would influence the golf in Japan?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I'm really looking forward to an official PGA TOUR to be played in Japan; to have the best players in the world play and show the golf fans of Japan really the world's top, the best of the best. Especially now that the golf tour, especially the men's tour, the men's tour in Japan needs a little encouragement and a boost. I think that will help the overall golf, not just business, but the golf enthusiasm in Japan.

Q. You are the first Japanese player to be Top-10 in the world since Jumbo Osaki. I'm curious what kind of inspiration or relationship you have with Jumbo, and do you call him Jumbo or Mr. Osaki?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Great respect for Jumbo-san. Jumbo-san is what I call him. Historically, his records will probably never be, probably anyone will come close to. I played with him once on the Japan Tour. At the time, I probably didn't realize how great he has been to the game of golf in Japan. But since turning pro and going over the records and seeing all that he's done, I have nothing but great, great respect for him.

Q. Did you beat him?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: That day I did, yeah (laughter).

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Hideki. Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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