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PGA CHAMPIONSHIP


August 10, 2017


Thorbjorn Olesen


Charlotte, North Carolina

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, again, from the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club. I am pleased to be joined by Thorbj√łrn Olesen, who opened today, opened the Championship, with a 4-under 71. That included six birdies and a couple of bogeys. He is currently our leader.

Thorbj√łrn, that looks like a pretty balanced scorecard, 2-under on the front side, 2-under on the back. So that's kind of telling me you played well all day. Is that accurate?

THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Yeah, I think so. I would say the first 15 holes, especially. I was driving the ball very, very well, and that made it a bit easier. Coming in with some short irons into these greens was definitely the key to the round.

I felt like I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and obviously it was a very, very nice way to finish with that long putt on 18.

JOHN DEVER: Looking at your record this year, you've had a solid year over in Europe, and again played well last week at the Bridgestone. Seems like you're carrying the momentum right here to Quail Hollow. Have you been playing well?

THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Yeah, I feel like the last two months, I felt like I've been playing very well without getting any really results. I had a good week in France, but besides that, I haven't really had the results. But felt like I was playing very well, and felt like at The Open, I came into that week with a lot of confidence because of my game was in such good shape. But didn't really get it going at any point.

Last week I was struggling a bit the first two days with my driving. But then I sorted that out over the weekend and then I started making a lot of birdies there. That's the key right now to my rounds is just getting that driver going, and then I feel like I'm in a good position with the rest of my game.

JOHN DEVER: Okay. Good to hear.

Q. What would a really good performance from you in one of the game's big-four tournaments, one of the majors, what would it mean to you at this point?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Yeah, it would mean a lot. I've had a couple of Top-10s in majors. I've had some good rounds in majors, and I feel like I've learned a lot over the years playing quite a few majors now. I feel like I'm better prepared to be in contention over the weekend and have a chance to win.

I feel more confident with myself and my game than I probably did a few years ago. So obviously a lot of things can happen. I just have to stay relaxed the next few days, still trying to keep the ball in the fairway, and then I know I can hit it close and make some birdies.

Q. The first four to six holes on this golf course, based upon what I'm seeing today, appear to be a place where guys are really having to be careful. I'm not saying there's any easy part of Quail Hollow, but is there a point when you're starting on the front side that you think you get to a certain section and go, phew, now we can get into playing golf?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Yeah, I think 1 through 6 are definitely very, very tough. Some really tough greens, also. And then it sort of gets a little bit easier, but you still have to be very careful that you don't start relaxing and not really caring.

But you're right, the first six holes and the last three is the toughest stretch. So it was nice to start the way I did with some drives in the fairway and gave myself birdie chances. That keeps you calm and gives you a bit of confidence for the rest of the round.

Q. Great way to start, like you say, and great finishing putt for birdie. Can you talk about that?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Yeah, it was a little bit of a safe shot into the green. That's what can happen on this golf course, when you play safe into the greens, you give yourself very tricky putts, like the one I had, downhill, left-to-right. It was very, very fast. But it was just a very good roll.

I feel like I've been putting well the whole round. Had a couple of good chances and missed but felt like I was rolling the ball very well. So it was nice to see that one drop.

JOHN DEVER: Could you maybe tell us about that 18th hole beyond the putt? I think your birdie was only the fourth of the morning on the finishing hole there. That's not easy to do.

THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: No. Today it was playing a little bit downwind, so that made it a lot easier. I went in with a little 7-iron into the green, so that's a lot easier.

But in the practice round on Tuesday, I was going in with a 3-iron. So it changes a lot, that hole. I played this tournament I think two or three years ago, and I remember I hit it a lot shorter than this.

It's tough, 16, 17, 18, you have to hit some quality shots, and three pars there is a very good score.

JOHN DEVER: What's your general impressions of the golf course and how it played today? Maybe some rain expected as we go forward, but it was decently dry today. Is it long, or what's your impression there?

THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Well, it warmed up a lot today, and that made the ball go a lot longer, and you got a little bit of run on the fairways now. You didn't get that the last couple of days. So that made it a little bit easier. But saying that, then the greens got a lot firmer, also.

All of a sudden, the par 3s played really tough, I thought, because you're coming in with long irons, and it's very difficult to get it close to the hole then.

So the greens is definitely the tricky part.

Q. For those of us that don't know you that well, biographical question. Your first name you use is your actual middle name? When did you decide to do that?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: I don't think I really decided it myself to be honest. In school, when I started in school, there was three Jacobs and so everybody called me Thorbj√łrn and then it just hanged on from there. I thought, why not, I'll still use it as a professional golfer. I think it's only really my mom that calls me Jacob. Yeah, everybody else calls me Thorbj√łrn.

JOHN DEVER: Mom knows best.

Q. If someone had given you this particular score of 4-under par before today, what would you have said to them?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: Yeah, I would have said I will take that, definitely. Anything under par on this golf course is a good score.

There's not a lot of par 5s, so there's not a lot of really easy birdie chances out there. Obviously you have 14, which it's drivable and a good birdie chance. But anything under par at this golf course is a great score and I would definitely have taken 4-under before the round.

Q. Is there any reason why you haven't come over to try to play the PGA TOUR on a full-time basis?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: I've been over here. I've played a lot of tournaments over here a couple of years ago, three years ago. Almost a full season. I think I played 14 events that year.

Yeah, I've been over here and I would like to play more over here, definitely. I enjoy it. Always fun to play against the best guys, like the majors, the WGCs and the big PGA TOUR events. That's where you want to play.

So yeah, maybe in the future I'll try to play a bit more.

Q. Could you please talk a little bit about your team, like if you have a mind coach?
THORBJ√ėRN OLESEN: No, I don't. I have a swing coach and a physical coach, but I don't have a mental coach. Said that -- I feel like I'm talking a lot about the mental side also with my physio and with my swing coach. In a way, they maybe work a little bit as a mental coach. But yeah, I don't have any in particular.

JOHN DEVER: Terrific play today and thank you for your time.

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