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January 11, 2018

Chris Kirk

Honolulu, Hawaii

Q. Chris, fantastic start. I would say even a better finish. 6 under on your last ten holes, but you've been striking it around there pretty straight today.
CHRIS KIRK: Thank you. My swing kind of felt better and better as I went. Still felt a little rusty from not playing a whole lot of golf since the RSM tournament last year. Felt more and more comfortable and made better and better swings as the round went on.

Q. When we saw you, you had the Georgia bulldog on your cap, you were sort of in between figuring out what the equipment was going to look like. How did you use the time off to sort of try and iron everything out in the bag?
CHRIS KIRK: I didn't really change any equipment. I'm really happy to be sponsored by RSM now. I have them on my hat. Today was the first day with it, so a good start for sure. I haven't changed any equipment, other than a hybrid, since the RSM tournament.

Q. How did you approach the time off? You played well down there in Sea Island, and then to get back out here, what was the time off? Was it just that, time off, or did you try to sharpen anything in the game?
CHRIS KIRK: Yeah, I didn't play much. I came out here to Hawaii a week early. Been out in Oahu since last Monday, over on the west side in Ko Olina. I played golf a few times last week, but before that, not many times. I went to play, and I pulled out some golf balls that were still marked from the final round of RSM. So I didn't play much at home. I did a few times, but not a whole lot.

Q. You've been here before. You obviously know what it takes to be successful on this golf course. Anything different to it this time around? Or was it just same old fairways, hit greens, make putts?
CHRIS KIRK: Yeah, I rolled it really well today. It's a shame that one didn't go in on 18. I hit a really nice putt. It would have been nice to finish with a 3. Yeah, I always liked these greens a lot. I was happy to be hitting my lines and had plenty enough good shots to get me a few easy birdies as well.

Q. Very little wind in Honolulu today. You took advantage of that too, not only conditions out there, but you were spot on with your game. How would you describe that performance?
CHRIS KIRK: It felt really good. It was nice to go out and get a good start in under my belt, just like last time I played at the RSM. It was nice to get a really good first round in there. That always makes the week a lot more fun.

My swing kind of felt better and better as the day went on. Hit a few loose shots in the front but really kind of tightened it up as the round progressed.

Q. Given that you're coming off a break, did you have a sense that this performance out there today was just going to happen?
CHRIS KIRK: I've probably been off long enough now that you never know what's going to happen. So, yeah. I really had no expectations whether I was going to play good or bad after having some time off. But this is a golf course that I've traditionally done pretty well on and a place that I really love coming. So you always feel like it's possible.

Q. Does that no expectation mentality actually help a player like yourself?
CHRIS KIRK: I think so. I try to be that way every week, you know. Some weeks you kind of really are feeling it and maybe get a little higher expectations than you should, and some weeks, as all TOUR players will tell you, you know you're not going to play very good, but that's just the way it goes. Yeah, thankfully, after -- it's a little easier to achieve that mentality after some time off.

Q. Did you watch the Championship?
CHRIS KIRK: I did. It was definitely a tough game to watch, for sure. A lot of fun most of the game, and then you kind of always knew that they were going to make a game out of it. But just a few tiny little things that didn't go our way in the second half. A game like that, it's a really fine line.

But it was an awesome, awesome season to watch, especially for me going to Georgia and living in Athens. I try to go to football practice sometimes when I'm home, take my kids. Not that I'm a part of it at all, but being there in town, it was such a fun year for all Georgia fans, and we're just excited about the years to come.

Q. Did you watch the game here?
CHRIS KIRK: I did, yeah. I was here. I've been in Oahu since last Monday.

Q. Did you watch it at a bar or restaurant or anything?
CHRIS KIRK: No, I've got my wife, three kids, and our nanny all here. I just watched it at our rental house all down the road.

Q. I was going to say with people rooting for Tua, that might have been a little tough.
CHRIS KIRK: I know it. That's for sure. I'm sure there were a lot of Hawaii folks pulling for Alabama and happy to see Tua play so well. I haven't watched Alabama enough this year to even know anything about the kid, but obviously, watching that second half was really, really impressed. It's one thing for Jake Fromm, our quarterback, to be going in there as a true freshman because he's been playing all year, but for Tua to just step in the second half not expecting to play probably and perform like that was really incredible.

Q. When people here you're a Georgia fan, do you get much sympathy?
CHRIS KIRK: I've gotten a little this week, but not too much. A couple, especially on Tuesday, are you going to be okay, that kind of thing. Yeah, it was definitely a heartbreaking loss, but it was a hugely positive season for us.

Q. Run me through your thinking in coming in Monday, coming in so early.
CHRIS KIRK: It was kind of a cold -- we had a little bit of a cold winter in Athens. Yeah, I knew that my kids were going to come with me this year. So I wanted to take the opportunity to kind of get a little vacation in out of it. We stayed in a condo right on the beach in Ko Olina. I kind of went and practiced in the mornings and then spent lunchtime through the afternoon with them. So that was kind of my main thing was to get out of the cold weather and just have some fun with the kids.

I didn't play or practice a ton when I was at home, and when I did, you're usually wearing a jacket or a sweater. So how your swing feels in 50 degrees or 45 degrees versus how it's going to feel in 80-some degree here, very different. So I wanted to come and at least play a couple rounds the week before in the warm weather.

Q. Last year your form was very good and results weren't (indiscernible) for the rest of the season. What is it that you can try to do to continue what you did this fall and really through the rest of the year?
CHRIS KIRK: Last year was a funny year for me. The real reason I didn't play well last year is I've had my worst putting year I had since I've been on TOUR. I actually hit it fine, but I'm not somebody that's going to overpower a golf course ever. My game is hit fairways, hit turns close, and make some putts. To have a year like that where I really struggled putting made it very difficult mentally and difficult in every possible way that it could.

I really putted the ball well at RSM and feeling good about it and putted well today. So I'm just hoping that -- I'm kind of going back to some of the drills that I did four, five years ago when I was putting week in, week out really well, and trying to do those drills every day and just, you know. I had a great day today, and I'm about to go do it. It takes about five or ten minutes. It's laziness, I guess, not doing it consistently over the last couple of years.

I'm hoping that will stay consistent this year, and if I putt consistently well, then I think I'll have a good year.

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