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February 4, 2018

Gary Woodland

Scottsdale, Arizona

EMILY TILLO: We would like to welcome Gary Woodland to the interview room here at the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion. Congrats on an incredible playoff victory. This is now your third PGA TOUR victory. First since the 2013 Barracuda Championship. You're now jump into the No. 5 spot in the FedExCup standings, so just talk about what this has win has meant to you and your overall thoughts on the week.

GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it's nice to be back in here seeing all you guys again, I tell you. It's been awhile. It's been a long road, obviously, haven't won since 2013, I've been close a lot and it's just been frustrating. It's been a frustrating five years, but I've battled through it. Last year, mentally, I got off to a great start, game felt great and then we dealt with some family issues and that was tough, just because I felt, one, obviously, to deal with it internally, but physically I was playing well. So really took off about four months but I found a way to get to the TOUR Championship, kind of battled through the end of the year, and I couldn't wait for 2018 to start. Couldn't way for 2017 to be over with. Then really I came out at Sony and played well at Sony, played well last week in Torrey Pines, and it's just been coming for the last couple years I've put three rounds together, I just haven't played a tournament in five years where I put four rounds together. It's been a lot about winning, expectations are up and results, the world we live in is a result-oriented world and you don't get anything unless you have results. Butch sent me a text Thursday morning before I played and said, forget about everything else, let's just put four rounds together. Don't worry about what you shoot, don't worry about winning, just put four good rounds together. And I don't know if that put me at ease or what, but I definitely put four good rounds together this week.

EMILY TILLO: Congrats. Open it up for some questions, please.

Q. What did it mean for you to have Jaxson in your arms on the 18th green being able to hoist the PGA TOUR trophy again and after everything that's happened?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, that was it was a surprise because we have kept him kind of isolated for awhile. Obviously he's been through a lot and we just didn't want to expose him to too many people. So it's been nice to have him on the road the last five weeks. We went out to Hawaii early so I've been with him for five straight weeks which is amazing. But he hasn't been out at the courses, he's kind of been at the room all five weeks. So my wife kind of surprised me with him on the last hole. I didn't think he was going to be there, I thought it would just be her, and for her to bring him out, that was special and something I'll never forget.

Q. You holed the winning putt and you point to the sky, what's going through your mind at that point?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, that was just kind of a tribute to last year. Obviously we lost a little girl and being there seeing my wife give birth to her, that's real and just wanted her to know I still love her.

Q. Matt Kuchar was just saying that you guys played together and played nine holes together early in the week and he said, man, I actually sort of saw this coming because of the way Gary was hitting it. Did you see this coming?
GARY WOODLAND: I seen it coming for awhile. I played really well this year and I spent some time, I went out and spent some time with Butch in Vegas, I spent some time with Pete Cowen at the Shark Shoot-out on short game. I called Butch and said, we got to figure out what's going on. Obviously I haven't won in five years, but there's a reason for that, because my game's pretty good. I hit it pretty good. So he set me up with Pete to work on short game just to get a second opinion. I went back to Butch after I worked with Pete and we made some adjustments to kind of make it my own. I've been spending some time with Fax, talked to Fax last night on putting. My first couple years out here spent a lot of time with Fax and played a lot of practice rounds with him and just haven't seen him much since he went to the Champions TOUR, but now we're living close to each other. I spent some time with him in the off-season just trying to free me up, not really mechanically but more mentally and the putter has been coming, strokes gained's been really good this year, but I feel like I can make a lot of putts and I haven't felt that way in a long time. And obviously with the way I hit it and now I'm confident with the short game, and the putter starts working, good things will happen.

Q. Do you know Chez at all?
GARY WOODLAND: I know Chez, yeah.

Q. Could you talk about him and what it meant to play against him in a playoff?
GARY WOODLAND: Chez is a great guy, first of all. I don't know anybody that doesn't like Chez. He's been out here for a long time, obviously living here and being around here he had a lot of support. So I'm happy for the way he played. I would like to have made birdie on the playoff hole, you never want to kind of just take it away, I would like to have earned it a little bit, but I'm going to take it any way I can get it. But I'm happy for Chez, he's obviously playing great and playing in a home week to come out and play well is pretty cool.

Q. Was there a point today where the round switched in your mind from, I'm putting together a good number to I could win this event?
GARY WOODLAND: I think really it was the second hole. I made birdie, I had a putt go in and, like I said, I haven't put four round together in a while, in a couple years, but I hadn't got off to good starts on Sundays either and that's been tough. Last week I was in contention and was 4-over through five I think and I fought back to finish 12th or whatever. But I just got off to a lot of bad starts. To see a putt go in on 2, and then I miss a drive on 3, but I was able to get it up-and-down and saw another putt go in on 3, I knew it could have been a special day. Fortunately -- I didn't even know I made nine birdies until I got done. My caddie asked me, how many birdies did you make and I was like I didn't know. So obviously I was in the zone, I was kind of in the moment all day and just trying to give myself a chance, get it on the green, because when the putter's rolling for me, good things happen.

Q. I think this is victory number three for you right now and you're 33, I think. In the bigger picture, how would you assess your career? You sound like you think you've maybe under performed.
GARY WOODLAND: There's no doubt about that. Now I probably got out here too soon. Obviously I came to the game late, but I got through Q-School very quickly. Fortunately I got hurt my rookie year in 2009 and I missed a year, which really allowed me to kind of adjust and adapt to being out here. I came from college, I played a year of basketball, four years at Kansas, and then really got out here right away and it was an adjustment, because my game wasn't ready, I was just athletic. And I won right away in 2011, so expectations got high. And didn't play great, got hurt again in 2012 and battled injuries for awhile. So last three years I've been healthy, I haven't put four rounds together so that's been frustrating. When you win early on you want to, you want that feeling. You want, I mean I want this week-in, week-out. I put myself in a lot of positions to win I have a lot of second place finishes the last four or five years I just haven't done it and that adds up, that adds a lot of pressure. A lot of people, I have a lot of people around me which is a good thing but everybody expects you to play well and when you don't have the results, that's tough. So this validates that we're doing the right things and I believe I have a long way to go, but I believe I have a lot of time to do that and I'm excited about what the future holds.

EMILY TILLO: Gary, I think this trophy is the final validation and this jacket belongs to you. So congrats again on your victory. Well played.

GARY WOODLAND: Thank you, guys. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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