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February 3, 2017

Brendan Steele

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. Did the course test your patience a little bit today? You pick up a birdie at 3 and roll in 12 straight pars.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. I was starting to get a little worried that I wasn't going to make a birdie the rest of the day. There is some tough pin positions and the greens are firm, so if you're not hitting great shots or holing 20-footers, it's tough to make birdie.

Q. Four for four in scrambling on the round.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, that's a little bit better than I did yesterday. Hit a couple of chips that weren't up to standard. Today was a little bit better on that front, too.

Q. Out on 18, we had you 325 off the tee, just a buck-thirty-five to the hole.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, that was about what we had. Yeah, just tried to hit a really solid tee shot, tried not to overhit it, tried not to hook it too much around the corner, because when I try to hook it, I hit some bad shots. Managed to hit a good spot and make a 3.

Q. I thought it was going to lip out. Your putt just took a half a victory lap before tumbling home.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, we had it really straight, and it looked like it was going to go in. About four feet short, it started to go a little left, and just caught enough of the hole. I guess I had a good pace on it.

Q. Thoughts on the weekend?
BRENDAN STEELE: Just keep doing the same thing I have been doing the last few weeks. Been really positive. Hit a lot of good shots. It's all about process and routine and stuff for me right now.

Swing is pretty good. Stroke is pretty good. If I don't start to doubt it or if -- what I call the "don'ts" out there: don't hit it left, don't hit it over there. If I get that stuff, I'm in trouble, but if I can block that stuff out I'm doing pretty well.

Q. Bogey-free 67 on this Friday. How would you assess your performance here on Day 2?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, a lot more solid than yesterday. Yesterday was a little more up and down, kind of a wild day. Today was just a little more basic. Hit a lot of solid shots but didn't hit it quite as close. Wasn't quite as exciting as yesterday, but very happy with the result.

Q. Go back to the start of this wraparound season with the victory. You sort of continued it. How has your game and mindset changed when you started exactly where you want to be, in the winner's circle?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, we worked really hard over the last few years on adding pieces to the game, making kind of some of the weaknesses a bit stronger, and the win was definitely validation. Then you know you're doing all the right things and just try to have good attitude and good process.

You have to play with some courage out there, too. If you want to win tournaments and play well, you have to hit great shots and not be worried about the consequences if you don't.

Just trying to battle with that stuff every day, and it's coming out pretty good right now.

Q. Confidence level heading into the weekend?
BRENDAN STEELE: Very high. Played well the last few weeks. Obviously the win a couple months ago. And then I've got good results on this course before, as well. Everything feels pretty good and I'm excited about it.

Q. 10-under through two rounds. What's been the key to your good, solid play so far? What's been the positives that you have taken the first two rounds?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I have holed a lot of putts. Been swinging pretty well over the last few weeks. Seeing the putts go in this week, I feel comfortable on the greens, so I think that's showing in the scores.

Q. Your confidence? You have already won this season, and you have a head start on a lot of other things and I'm sure your goals for the rest of this year.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely changed the goals. We didn't want to get complacent after the win. It's easy to sit back, think about what you've accomplished and be really happy with it.

But I think the best players in the world really push forward and use that as a spring board. We really wanted to do that and kind of capitalize on the confidence and good play and keep trying to push forward and get more and more good results and wins, hopefully.

Q. I saw you and your coach on the range on Wednesday. Looked like you were locked in and getting the preshot routine and those things down. Is that what it's about right now, making sure the swing is all good, it's just about preshot routine and those kind of little things?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. I'm swinging pretty good over the last few weeks, really hit a lot of good shots. Usually the shots I don't hit well are more to do with our process and how I get into the shot, whether I'm worried about whether it's the right club or worried about the fact I blocked the last drive or I hit it left here yesterday, that kind of stuff. If I get freed up, the mechanics are pretty good and I hit a lot of good shots.

Q. Phil was saying how this course plays harder than it has in the past. Do you agree? Do you like what they have done with it?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I definitely agree. 14 is a great example. That's a really hard hole now. It was a hole that you thought you could get before. It was a driver and a wedge and a pretty flat green.

But there are a lot of changes like that. No. 2 is a really tough tee shot. That's as hard a tee shot as there is on the course now. And with the greens being as firm as they are right now, it's definitely playing tougher. You're not going to see that 27-under, whatever he shot a few years ago.

Q. Do you miss that? That was a distinctive thing about this tournament, that guys could go really low. Do you miss that, or do you think it's an improvement the way it is?
BRENDAN STEELE: I liked it both ways. I had success when the scores were really good. I like it this way, because there are still those exciting holes. They didn't mess with 15, 16, 17, you know, those holes that you can either make, you know, 3 on 15 or 6 pretty easy.

I think the excitement level is still there, and they just toughened up some of the harder holes. I think the changes are all really good.

Q. I know you're a seasoned professional, but is this the one event you may get a little nervous before arriving to just because of the magnitude of all of it?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I mean, I'm nervous all the time (smiling). I just have that kind of like anxious, like, ready-to-go feeling all the time.

But definitely as you get around 15, 16, there is a lot happening there and you don't really want to make mistakes, which is a bad mindset.

The good mindset is what do I want? What kind of shot do I want to hit here? Try to get that good visual going. There is always a little bit of nervous energy, for sure.

Q. Now on today's game, we talk about golf every day. We talk to the fans, we look at Tiger Woods and Phil. Looks like we have the Brat Pack going, the young guns going, like a jail break when they start the tournament who is going to get to the finish line. You're in that. I would say, do you enjoy that aspect of it?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. I'm just flattered you're calling me one of the young guns because I'm not that young anymore. But definitely, yeah. I enjoy it. The game is in a great place right now. You've obviously got Justin Thomas has been going crazy, and when he's doing that, nobody can catch him.

We've seen it from Jordan, Rory, Jason Day, obviously. It's just about who's got the game that week, and it's pretty exciting.

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