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September 28, 2017

Justin Thomas

Rickie Fowler

Jersey City, New Jersey

Q. Winners on what would have been the 18th hole for the membership, and of course rotated the holes for the competition. No secret the two of you are good friends. How much does social comfort contribute to competitiveness effectiveness?
RICKIE FOWLER: We're very comfortable around each other. We know our limits, in a way. I can push and say stuff to him that I know may not be the best things to other people. I know his game very well and he knows mine very well, and it's fun to put the two together and go out and win our first team point.

Q. It feels absurd to call you a rookie after the year you've had, but what's this experience been like for you, your first international team event.
JUSTIN THOMAS: It is, and that's the thing is, you know, I talked to Jim about that quite a bit before this week started. I knew I was going to be nervous. I knew I was going to be feeling some kind of butterflies, but they are good nerves, good butterflies.

Regardless of how I feel now or down the road, Rick and I are always going to be great partners. But I think it was a great partnership for me just because he's done this a lot and he probably knows how I'm going to feel and he probably knows the right things to say to me.

Q. You didn't hit the first tee shot but were you nervous?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, like I said, it's a good nervous. It's not the don't-mess-up kind of nervous. It's like: How-am-I-supposed-to-hit-a-wedge-105-yards nervous. The adrenaline is pumping. But like any round, once you hit a couple shots, a couple holes, you get out there; it's just kind of what we do.

Q. Looked like a pretty simple point, was it?
RICKIE FOWLER: J.T. and I did a pretty good job of keep moving forward. We knew how hard it was with the wind -- one of the best ball-striker's in the game and myself, I was probably going to get some more of the putts and we felt like that was a good setup.

Like I said, we did a good job of piecing it together out there and keeping ourselves out of trouble.

Q. This great layout, it's starting to get a bit of a linksy feel.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Especially today, we said that before we started. It does have a links feel because it is so windy today and we knew it was going to be a lot tougher scoring, rather than a day like yesterday where it wasn't blowing much and greens being soft, you probably need to go out and shoot 4- or 5-under to win a match.

Today, I bet even par ends up winning all the matches, or at least a couple. It was more of a survival day than it was being aggressive.

Q. Happy to play with him tomorrow?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Any time, any match, I'll take Rick as my partner.

Q. That was fine playing, especially on what was a really hard day out there wind-wise. I want to boil it down to one shot, the chip-in on 3 I thought started the whole thing for you guys today?
RICKIE FOWLER: That was definitely a big turn of events. I feel like we were definitely on the better side of the hole when it comes to missing that green and I knew that as soon as J.T. hit it over there, I knew he wasn't going to hit it right. That was kind of our whole goal going into the day was to manage our way around and put ourselves in the right spots. Felt like we did a good job of that. We didn't put ourselves in the bad spots or the tough up-and-downs. We did a good job getting the ball up-and-down, whether it was him chipping, me chipping, him putting.

Q. Looked like on paper you would be the favorite; what was it like stepping up on the first hole and the galleries and the crowd and how did you settle into that match?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was fun. It was a great atmosphere. It's a great experience. At the same time, I'm not here for the experience. I'm here for Rick and I to go out and win a point for the team. Did a great job.

Obviously it wasn't the best of starts in terms of the second hole but that chip-in on 3, and we just really stayed in our game plan. I think that's what we did such a great job of is we never altered it depending on what they were doing. We played some great golf out there, we really did. It would probably be an interesting day if it was a stroke-play event to see some of the numbers the guys were posting. But we did a great job.

Q. How difficult was it to gauge the wind and how hard to play the golf course in wind you had not experienced this week?
RICKIE FOWLER: Luckily we had played in this wind direction about a month ago. We came and played, J.T. and I, the Sunday before --

JUSTIN THOMAS: Rick shot 10-under that day, by the way.

RICKIE FOWLER: It wasn't blowing this hard.

When it's blowing this hard, it's all about where you leave the ball. I think having played a lot together, playing this course together before and just knowing where we were trying to hit it; I think we did a good job of controlling the golf ball in the wind and putting ourselves in the right spots. We stayed out of trouble and that was our main goal today.

Q. What did the Presidents say to you?
JUSTIN THOMAS: We know them all, which is kind of crazy to say, when it comes to former Presidents. That's the cool thing about golf is it ties us all together so much and they love golf, too. We have that kind of similarity and thing that we can kind of bounce back to or rely on. They are pulling for us. They just wanted to come out -- it's unbelievable, this being The Presidents Cup. Jimmie and I were saying, we just had three former Presidents of the United States on the first tee cheering us on and shaking our hand and acting like we are all boys, and it's pretty unbelievable.

Q. Your form recently has been phenomenal. You can't stop winning and here you are making your debut here. What was that experience like?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a lot of fun. It was tough. It's a very difficult day today. It's very windy. It was more of a survival day than it was be aggressive and attack, like it would have been, say, yesterday, with that much wind. We were prepared to do what we need to do to go out there and get the win for our team.

Q. You guys are all very close, yourself and Rickie, too. Can you give an example of how that helped you out on the course today?
JUSTIN THOMAS: A lot of times, we know that if we're in between something, if we have questions, if we have any concerns, we can ask the other person.

We've played so much golf together and spent so much time around each other that we are pretty comfortable if we feel like we need to interject.

Q. What did the chip-in do for you guys?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It did a lot. Losing 2, that was a bad tee shot there. But then again, if we get any sort of lie, we can easily make a four. Yeah, it definitely got the round going a little bit and got the momentum going our way. But we played some unbelievable golf after that, too.

Q. How important is it not to just get a win in the first match but to do it in such emphatic style?
JUSTIN THOMAS: My favorite part about it is we're done and we get to pull our boys on.

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