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May 30, 2017

Hideki Matsuyama

Dublin, Ohio

MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Hideki Matsuyama and Mr. Bob Turner into the interview room at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Hideki, thank you for joining us. You're obviously a winner here in your first appearance in 2014. Missed the cut last year, unfortunately, but you must have good feelings coming back to a place where you've won. Can you talk about that a little bit?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It always feels good to be back in Dublin, Ohio. Coming to the course, Muirfield Village, gives me energy. I know I missed the cut last year, but I'm hoping to play much better this year and do the best I can.

MARK WILLIAMS: Before we take some questions, I'd mention that you're No. 2 in the FedExCup standings right now, 405 points behind Dustin Johnson. We're coming into some pretty important tournaments through the middle of the year.

You're also No. 4 in the World Rankings. Just talk about looking forward to the FedExCup playoffs at the end of the season.

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: As far as the FedEx rankings are concerned, I am in a good position and looking forward to the rest of the year. My World Ranking has improved in the past few months. That's one of my goals, too, is to get as high a rank as I can on that World Ranking list.

Unfortunately, I haven't played real well in the playoffs series the last couple of years, but hopefully this year will be different. And I know it's a goal of all of ours to be the FedExCup champion. And I'm no different. That will be my goal for the rest of the year.

Q. Obviously this season has been the roller coaster. Do you feel you're on the way back up? Is this the place where you get it back in gear given you hold the average scoring record at this course?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You're right, it has been an up-and-down year. Hopefully I'm on the upswing, but to be honest, my swing isn't where I'd like it to be and I'm not putting very well.

But really coming back to Muirfield Village, there are some special vibes here and hopefully that will encourage my game to play much better than I have been the last couple of months.

Q. Are you aware that you hold the scoring average record of all players?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I didn't know that, but I'm very happy to hear that (laughter). I'll do my best to keep that No. 1 ranking in that regard.

Q. We understand possibly the pressure that you feel from your Japanese fanatics on golf. We know the Japanese love the game. Is there a bunch of additional or mountains of additional pressure on you to come back and be "the guy"?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: There is pressure, especially recently with my World Ranking, moving up to No. 4. And so the expectations of the fans in Japan are much higher than before. Fortunately, though, I'm not playing in Japan very much. And so in that regard the pressure -- I don't feel that pressure as I would if I were in Japan.

Q. Do you read the articles that are written about you? What do they say about you?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Honestly, I don't read the articles that are written about me. I do read all the articles that are written about other people, and from those articles I try to garner the things that will be helpful to my game. And that's how I look at those articles.

Q. What is your putting like now? I saw you changing your putter, you moved to center shaft. And today, do you know what is wrong with your putting or did you fix it?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I putted well up until about February of this year. Since then I haven't putted like I would like to, and so I've been practicing a lot with the center shaft putter, like you mentioned, and hoping to find something, to find a good feeling, to find something that suits me. But unfortunately I haven't. And so I've gone back to my ace putter this week and hopefully that will -- my ace putter will wake up and do some good.

Q. It's a very long season and lots and lots of hitting balls. What do you do to keep your body from breaking down, to avoid injuries? Do you have a physical trainer?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: My swing is vulnerable to getting some neck injuries from time to time and I have, and they kind of come and go. And so I do have a trainer that is with me all the time that works me very hard, not only in training, but in stretching. And hopefully I can keep good condition to be able to play my best.

Q. Are you in the gym every day?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I am in the gym every day, not that I work out really, really hard, but I do some fitness work every day.

Q. Just wanted to know if you could comment on how important it is to be in this tournament with Jack as the host and what's it like to get to see him every year, and what was it like to shake his hand as a winner and still shake his hand every year?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: You know, winning here three years ago, I didn't realize how big a tournament this really is.

Since winning, these last three years, I've come to realize what an important event The Memorial Tournament is and how difficult the course is. And each year we play, I understand how hard it can play.

And the tournament, there's a different feel here at the Memorial tournament, whether it's the course, the fans, Mr. Nicklaus hosting, it's a special event and always will be to me.

Q. With that No. 1 scoring average here at the tournament in mind, are there holes or series of holes that when you're out there playing you're like, this is where I have to make my birdies, this is where I have to get under par?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: More than the birdie holes. For example, on the back nine, No. 12, No. 18, require very good golf shots. And without hitting those iron shots well, you won't have a chance for birdie. And if you miss just a little bit, bogey is staring you right in the face.

And so to me those are those the holes, those shot-making holes that require an excellent golf shot are the ones that I really focus on.

MARK WILLIAMS: We appreciate you coming in, Hideki, and Mr. Bob. Good luck this week in the tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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