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August 6, 2017

Chris Stroud

Reno, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by 2017 Barracuda Champion Chris Stroud, a winner on the PGA Tour. I know it's a long time coming. Chris, your thoughts?

CHRIS STROUD: Thank you for saying that. It's been a long time. I think it's 279 events or something like that, 11 years I've waited for that. It's got a great ring to it.

So it's definitely a dream come true for me. Since I was nine years old I knew I wanted to be on the PGA TOUR. Very grateful to win everything here -- Barracuda, Montreux golf club, PGA TOUR. Now I get to go to the PGA Championship, one of our majors, one of our greatest tournaments. And now I'm a past champ. That's a good thing.

Q. Not only that, you moved to No. 76 in the FedExCup standings. I know that was really important for the playoffs coming up.
CHRIS STROUD: Huge. Huge. I think coming into this week I was sitting at 142. And we're all nervous coming in, because we know getting the top 125 is huge. Last year was the first time I slipped out of top 125. And to have the bonus of -- to win the tournament, to get in, to move all the way up, secure myself a good spot way up there and hopefully bring that momentum into the FedExCup playoffs.

Q. And what a final round, including the eagle on 18. Take us through that hole and then the playoff.
CHRIS STROUD: Amazing. I didn't strike it all that great today. But I did make a ton of putts. And at the end of the day you've got to make a lot of putts. And coming down the last hole in regulation, I had a 5-wood, which I hadn't hit a good 5-wood all week, just been flaring on in.

I told my caddie let's just hit a little low chaser. And I hit absolutely the perfect, hit the left mound, came in there and finished six feet, six or seven feet. Beautiful putt. Made that.

When I got done I had to wait for two hours. I knew I had a chance, but Greg Owen and a couple of the other players were still out there and they had a good chance to beat that. And I was fortunate to get in the playoff and then hit two beautiful drives on 18. Had a 7-iron the first time. Hit it to about 20 feet. And then I hit a 5-iron the second time to about 12 or 14 feet. And I was able to make birdie both times and that was enough.

Q. (Question off Microphone)?
CHRIS STROUD: Extremely calm. I credit my caddie for that today. He kept me distracted. Anytime if I hit a shot and I started talking about it, he'd said, hey, let's talk about something else. He never let me talk about golf. He was crazy. I was so calm.

I knew at the beginning of the day I had to make -- I was thinking 17 points or higher. It was the highest anybody I think made all week. And coming down the stretch, 17, I hit a beautiful shot on 17 to like four or five feet. I'm hitting it for birdie, I'm actually going to go grab it out of the hole and it lipped out on me. And that was to go to 30 or 31 points. I miss it.

I get on 18, I knew I had to make eagle to have a chance and I hit two beautiful shots in there made a beautiful putt and here I sit.

Q. How hard is it to sit and watch basically half a tournament still being played and go through those --
CHRIS STROUD: It is difficult. A lot of times you can sit there and start thinking about things, and again my caddie did a good job. We came in here. I got some food like I normally would. We kind of went out and went up to the fitness room, just kind of stayed away from everybody.

And we just did the best we could, because we really expected at best a playoff, and I never once tried to even think about, hey, I'm going to win the tournament. We've got a playoff we'll stay sharp.

I was extremely calm and slow all day which was good for me. And I mean it's just everything just happened. I've been talking about this for years. Gotta have the right things go your way coming down the stretch. And those things happened for me here today.

Q. You lost the playoff in 2013. Did that experience help you a little bit?
CHRIS STROUD: It absolutely did. I thought about it today. Ken Duke beat me in 2013 in the Travelers Championship. I chipped in the last hole of the regulation to get in the playoff. He hit on the second playoff, he hit a wedge to about a foot. It was an incredible shot and beat me. And it was bittersweet.

I played great for the week, didn't win the tournament. But I knew today going there I probably had more experience than the other two guys. Greg Owen's played for years. And I know he had been playing all week -- I felt like he was the guy to beat today. And it was his tournament all week.

And then Richy, I just met him today, what an awesome finish he had today. I think he made 11 points the last six holes. That's pretty strong. So, like I said, I'm just happy and grateful I had a chance and to come out on top is just a dream come true.

Q. How do you celebrate this?
CHRIS STROUD: Right now I'm going to try to soak it in. My phone is dead from all the text messages coming in. That's a good problem. I've gotta go charge that. Call my wife. I know she's freaking out at home. I got my two baby girls -- I was planning on going home because I wasn't in the PGA Championship, going home to Houston and hanging with them for a week. But now I get to play Quail Hollow, which is an awesome, great golf course.

I'll have to fly home tonight, I think I'm taking the red eye, and I've got to pack up, repack and get ready to play the PGA Championship.

Q. Is winning in a playoff better than if you were just winning outright, like a sudden death kind of thing?
CHRIS STROUD: Winning a tournament generally is amazing. It's so difficult to do. I'll take it any way I get it. If I win by six, if I win by one if I get in a playoff and win, I'll take them all.

But I'll definitely say for the fans I think they like the playoff. And 18 is such a great playoff hole because you've got to hit a really good drive if you do you've got a really easy birdie and a good chance for eagle on a par 5. They did a great job setting up that hole. I thought it was great TV. Hopefully I get to go back and watch because I want to see what it looked like on TV.

Q. How excited are you for the future now, now that you've got that win?
CHRIS STROUD: To get the monkey off the back. And Sergio said something pretty awesome to me. I don't think he even realized it a while back. Right after he won the Masters, I saw him at the Byron Nelson. I gave him a hug and said congratulations. And he said just, take it easy, it will come to you.

And I don't think he even realized how important that was for me. And so I just kind of -- I took a back seat. I didn't push so much to try to win a golf tournament. I just did the best I could to prepare and to show up every week ready to play. And it just came to me.

My caddie said today before we teed off, he said, do the best you can today, let the trophy come to you. Can't say any more than that.

Q. You talked about playing less next year.
CHRIS STROUD: It's definitely something I'm going to look into. There's two things I'm learning. This is the fifth week in a row for me, so I'm exhausted, physically. Mentally I'm doing okay. But also I've only played 17 events I think this year.

So I think in the grand scheme of things, I think playing that many events over the year is really good. Look at all the best players over the world, that's what they're doing. For me, I never thought five in a row would be good for me, but in a sense I think it was because I didn't really have to practice.

I was tournament-sharp. And all I did was work on putting and chipping and wedges. So I'm going to be looking at these with my team back at home.

Q. I know Greg said earlier when he came in for interviews that he took a family vacation this year probably for the first time in five or six years. And then having that extra year of exemption, two-year exemption now he can kind of take it easy, still has all next year to play (inaudible), but he's got time to do things with the family, et cetera?
CHRIS STROUD: Exactly. Being with the family is huge. And this year having a limited schedule like myself, Greg was in the same position as me this year. I spent a lot of time at home with the family and girls. I have two girls, seven and five. And my wife, we just had a blast, a ton of trips we went on.

It's kind of sad at the beginning, not being able to go to Napa, the first event of the year, one of my favorite places because of the wine, and then not play in Vegas, all the tournaments I go to. I just had to play where I could get in.

At the end of the day that helped me prepare harder and more properly, I feel like, to be prepared because when I do play I've got to play great.

So like I said, everything works out, everything worked out for me this year so far. And I'm just going to ride this wave as hard as I can.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.

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