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September 29, 2017

Phil Mickelson

Charley Hoffman

Justin Thomas

Kevin Chappell

Jersey City, New Jersey

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We'd like to welcome four members of the United States Team after day two of The Presidents Cup. I will introduce you guys and open it up for some comments from each one of you, and then we'll take questions.

First I want to start with Charley and Kevin Chappell, Presidents Cup debut, what a way to start, guys. Some opening comments?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, neither one of us liked sitting yesterday. It was great supporting the team and feeling the atmosphere, but we were chomping at that bit to get out there and play. From the start, we had a lot of good momentum going, and it was just great to get that first tee shot underneath our belts and get off to a fast start and a fast lead. This is what we came out here to do, play successfully and play strong and be great teammates.

KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah, obviously excited to win the way we did. But you know, I think for me personally it was set up by actually watching golf yesterday. You know, kind of build the expense even more and get to watch these guys play the way they did yesterday. Really inspired me in just trying to be the best partner I could for Charley.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: Justin Thomas, way to get some momentum going again. Excellent bunker hole-out on 14 that really got the crowds chanting for the United States. We talked to Rickie last night. Tell us more about the team chemistry and your play through two days.

JUSTIN THOMAS: It was a lot of fun. It was a bit of a grind, the first probably seven or so holes. Neither team was really playing great, and the best-ball format, we definitely weren't anticipating that. Being 1-up or whatever we were through seven, or I think we were 2-up through eight; so being 2-up through eight, not playing very well, was a bit of a bonus.

Then we just really turned it on, and we just kind of tried to ride off the crowds and use the momentum to our advantage. It was nice getting that point so we could go watch and pull our teammates on with these guys.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: Excellent back nine from you and Kevin, long putt to get the win. Some thoughts on your partner today, Kevin Kisner.

PHIL MICKELSON: I thought Kevin played some incredible golf. Our opponents birdied the first four holes. We were 2-down, and Kevin had made two birdies in the first four. He birdied eight, and every time I hit a good shot on the back nine, I never got to putt it because he kept knocking it in before I could.

It was really fun having him as a partner, and to finish out the way -- on the last hole, was just really exciting. After yesterday, missing an opportunity, taking advantage of this opportunity, felt really good.

Q. Can you take us through what you had on the left side of 12, what you saw with that shot, and what you pulled off there?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it was pretty -- I definitely would have bet against me getting that ball up-and-down. It was a good yardage off the tee to where I felt like I could hit -- obviously you have to hit it straight with the wind, and off the left, as a right-hander, that is a tough wind. Just double-crossed it over there left.

I originally walked back to my ball after going up there, and I was like, I guess I just try to land this in the rough, over the bunker. Just try to get really, really lucky. And Jimmie is like, well, what about bumping up the hill, because being where I was, going up that hill, was going to kind of come a little bit left. He was like -- and Gracey already hit it in there probably seven feet, eight feet.

So at this point we figured we at least needed a look at birdie. Probably needed a birdie to tie the hole. He's like, "Why don't you just hit it up this hill, try to hit to 25, 30 feet, and just try to make a putt."

Me, probably being stupid, I never even thought of that. I was like, yeah, that actually looks like a pretty good idea. I took a pitching wedge and hit it perfectly. Rode it up the slope and I hit it way closer than I thought I could. It was kind of a weird read. Rickie came over and helped me out. That was a huge, huge part in the match, I feel like, us making that birdie there and halving the hole.

Q. The putt and the win is your 24th win in The Presidents Cup. That's now the all-time record. You surpassed Tiger Woods who was watching the putt. What does a record like that say to you and mean to you, and then also, is there a backstory on the Three Amigos effort there?
PHIL MICKELSON: So the record, I don't really think much about. I mean, I just love every opportunity to be a part of these events and on these teams, and this team is a unique team from any in the past in that the talent level is high or higher than we've ever had, and the camaraderie amongst each other on and off the course is a whole different environment; that there's this great support system.

The Three Amigos thing we messed around this morning with. I thought we biffed it when we were doing it but when I looked back and saw the replay, I think we kind of nailed it actually (laughter). But I get that I can't dance. I get that I can't take selfies, but I can putt, and it was nice to roll that last one in.

Q. That's tough to follow. What was the mind-set for you and Rickie going into today's match, knowing you were playing Louis and Branden? Is it more satisfying to get a win against perhaps their best team?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it doesn't matter who. Any time you can get a point for your team, it's extremely satisfying. Definitely if it somehow could feel more than a point, it may a little bit because of who we were playing.

I don't know, I think all of us would say the same; that when you're playing against somebody who at their best or somebody who has an undefeated record or a team that's undefeated, for some reason, it makes you want to beat them even more.

I told Rickie on the first tee today, I'm like, "Come on, we need to bring it today. This is going to be a tough team to beat. We're going to need to play our best. We need to be focused, stay to what we are doing."

Yeah, the thing is, too, is they made a lot of putts on the back nine to halve holes. It could have, not gotten out of hand, but it could have ended on 14 or 15. So they were hanging tough. They are great players. But man, we just kept fighting, and to get that win was huge for us.

Q. To be on TOUR for as long as you have and kind of been on the cusp of getting on to some of these teams but not getting on, what's it been like to watch Ryder Cups and see your buddies playing in this things and not being a part of them, and how rewarding was it to finally get out there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Like I said from the start, I really never knew what I was missing. Obviously the golf's golf, but the real fun and the real camaraderie is behind the closed doors. This is a special group of people. Obviously my first one, but I can't imagine any of them prior to us having a better time or getting together better than we do. I think that has a lot to do with our success so far.

We're going to keep the pedal down. These guys are going to keep pushing us. We're not going to get complacent where we are at right now. You know, watching on TV, I didn't watch a ton; I was one of those guys, I would catch the scores, but I didn't grind and shed a tear because I wasn't on the team or anything. But I may next time if I'm not. I don't want to miss any of these ever again. I know my years are running slim, but I want to be on as many of these as I can for the rest of my career. This is a special experience, and got the blood and the flow going like nothing else can. It's really, really enjoyable to be with these guys on this team.

Q. What was going through your mind when you sank the putt to get the first point? What was that like?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: We were just grinding. We didn't know we got the first point. I wasn't paying attention to the scoreboards or leaderboards or anything. Chappy and I were just trying to get the job done. That's sort of our game plan, all of us from the start, is just do our job and that's going to be good enough. We didn't know we were the first point but it was nice to close it out early so we could put our pom-poms on again and start cheering.

Q. You've known Charley for a long time, from the same area and whatnot. How much -- how rewarding is it to see what he's going through?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't think anybody's pulled harder for Charley to be on this team, on any of these teams, because he's so talented and he's such a great guy and he's so well liked and he's so fun to be around.

His game is perfectly suited to this because it's solid. It just wears you down when he strikes it as solid as he does off the tee, iron shots to the center of the greens, and makes very few mistakes and incredible putter. He's been a real asset to the team and brings a lot of fun energy, too.

Same thing with Chappy, here. It's tough, when you're first -- when you're first team, boy, you can't wait to get out and play. Any time you can play your rookies the first event, that always is the best thing to do, and not playing yesterday was tough for both of them. And they had it lit up today. You just knew they were going it come out on fire, whoever they played, just I felt a little bit bad for because they were just going to get this whirlwind of play, and they are going to continue. They just are really solid players and fun to be on this team.

Q. Since you've played in all of these, you'd have the best perspective. The U.S. has had a couple of big leads early in this series and most have been close after two days. This is the biggest lead you've ever had. How do you -- Charley mentioned complacency. How do you keep the focus and what do you say as far as what the message is after today?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, you don't really say anything right now. You just let everybody enjoy the momentum and the feel that we have, and in a couple of hours, it will settle down. And before we go to bed, we get refocused on tomorrow's match, and Captain Stricker has been bringing everybody together each night for 15 to 30 minutes and going over certain things. I just give him a lot of credit for his leadership style, and it's been really fun to be on this team.

But he's got a great -- he's got a really great feel for what needs to be said, as do the vice captains. It's been fun to be a part of this.

Q. Complacency, I understand you don't want to be complacent tomorrow, but does a big lead like this free you guys up a little more, not to have as much pressure as you might have had during the first day? And secondly, can you talk about why this is such a great environment compared to other teams you've been on?
PHIL MICKELSON: So I forgot the first part of your question (laughter).

Q. Complacency because of the lead.
PHIL MICKELSON: Our concern heading into this event was being complacent because we were all -- everybody on this team had some good momentum, had all been playing well and we knew how tough -- and we know how tough the International Team is and what great players they have.

So our goal was to not be complacent; to be sharp and ready to play and we've been doing that so far. So I don't think continuing that will be a difficult challenge for us. I think that we are going to be sharp and ready to go because we respect and understand how good the international players are.

What's different about it, you look at the camraderie of the young players and how they support each other, even outside of these team events -- they have a support system amongst each other where they love competing against each other, love beating each other, but are genuinely happy for each other's success, and that leads it a very positive, uplifting energy in the team room, and I think that these guys who are going to be on the teams for decades to come really lay a solid foundation for the U.S. teams.

Q. I don't want to assume anything, so I'll ask: When were you most nervous today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was nervous throughout -- throughout the entire match, but the first three or four holes, I was really nervous. I always am. I always feel it. I told Kisner that -- to feel free to say something, because I'm feeling the pressure. I'm certainly feeling it. I played a little tight early on.

I loosened up there in the end, but I always feel it starting out. I don't care how many of these I've played in; I feel more and more pressure as the years go because I cherish them so much.

Q. And so then once you get into the flow, that's what helps you just get over that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think so. After four or five hours of playing golf, or after an hour or so, you just start to free up and get more just locked into the target rather than in the mechanics of the golf swing. You just start to play golf.


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