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October 25, 2017

Hideki Matsuyama

Shanghai, China

CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome our defending champion, Hideki Matsuyama, here into the interview room here at the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions. Hideki last year became the first Asian player to win a World Golf Championship, and then followed that up with a victory at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational later this year.

Hideki, if you could, just some opening comments on returning here to Shanghai and to the HSBC Champions.

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It's great to be back in Shanghai. It's been a year. I'm very excited to be here, and hopefully I can play well and be a worthy defending champion.

Q. Winning on the PGA TOUR is not easy, but seeing you winning not only the World Golf Championships here last year in Shanghai and having a stellar performance in the past year on the PGA TOUR, as well, can you compare Asian players with some of the Americans and the European players? Does it seem like their talent and their skill set is getting closer and closer, and Asian players are being more competitive now?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Probably one of the biggest differences between the Asian players and the American European players up until now has been actually the physical difference. But of late, a lot of the Asian players are training better, getting stronger physically, also in stature.

There's still a difference, and I don't know if that is the main difference to compare the two, but that is one of the differences between the Asian and European and American players.

Hopefully I can continue to train hard and to narrow that gap between the European and American players, and all of Asia. I hope the other Asian players are working hard, too.

Q. Is it harder to get to where you're on top of your game, or harder to stay there, and why is which one harder?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: They both are very difficult. But to stay on top, to continue on top, I'm still learning how to do that, and that's one of my goals, one of the things that I'm working on now is to be able to stay on top of my game.

Q. Why is it so hard?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Therein lies the difficulty of the game of golf.

Q. Coming in as defending champion is very different from coming in as a contender. How do you deal with that extra expectation?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It is different, coming back as defending. I don't want to put a lot of pressure or expectations on myself. Just let the tournament come to me like it did last year. All I can do is just try to play my best and hopefully that will work out well.

CHRIS REIMER: I know that following The Presidents Cup, you were pretty worn out. It was a very long stretch of golf. Have you been able to get some time to rest and feel recharged again, or does that happen after this week?

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yeah, The Presidents Cup was a difficult week. I caught a cold and wasn't feeling my best. Kind of continued on at the -- I still wasn't feeling well at CIMB in Malaysia.

But last week I was able to rest well and get refreshed, and looking forward to this week, of course. And after this week, I'll have another week off, and really looking forward to, not really the start of the PGA TOUR, but when it starts up again in Hawai'i.

Q. Change any equipment?

CHRIS REIMER: Good luck this week and thank you for being here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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