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March 20, 2018

Justin Thomas

Austin, Texas

Q. Welcome to Austin. Just get some comments, just played the course?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yes, played nine holes yesterday, nine holes today. Obviously beautiful weather. The course is in good shape. It's weird playing practice rounds out here, especially the last two days with more of a north wind because it's not the predominant wind. And this course can play so different each day, because the wind can be so severe and change so much. The practice rounds are just trying to get your feet under you and just figure out where your game is at.

Q. Are you playing Houston?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm not, no.

Q. Is this a good preparation for Augusta? And if so, why?
JUSTIN THOMAS: The golf course-wise, not really, to be honest. It's pretty different. But any competition is good, preparation for anything in my eyes. In terms of that, anytime that you can play a tournament, you have a chance to try to hopefully win. You can build on that going forward for whatever tournament it may be.

The golf course in Houston is a lot better preparation for Augusta than this place, in terms of the grass, the whole shapes, the length, the greens, they're very similar there to Augusta. But that's not the reason I play in this versus that. I always like a week after before the majors.

Q. Playing match play ahead of stroke play, that significance, what's the dynamic in there? Is there anything there?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I think being two weeks before, it's not too big of a deal. If it's the week before, you definitely see some changes, because some guys, like myself, are going to pretty much stick to what they're doing, no matter what tournament is before a major. It is what it is.

Q. How are you feeling?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I'm feeling okay. As funny as it is, as soon as I got over my wisdom teeth, I got a little strep throat. So I feel -- I was pretty worried yesterday, to be honest, how I was going to be doing, but I feel a lot better today and just keeping taking medicine and hopefully it will be good.

Q. Energy?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It is, yeah. Like I told my dad, I only have to beat one person each day. I don't have to beat the whole field. If it was stroke play then I may have a little harder time. But hopefully each day I'll get better and better. Who knows, maybe that will help me win a match in this golf tournament, because I've had a pretty hard time in the past.

Q. Have you ever won here?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, I've only won one match here in two years.

Q. Did you know that coming in or did you have to look it up?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No, it was a big match and a win, so it was pretty easy to remember. I beat Chris Wood last year.

Q. Did you lose any weight?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I lost six pounds during my wisdom teeth.

Q. Have you already put it back on?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I was starting to and then I haven't been able to eat well the last two days. But, yeah, I didn't quite have my energy, and I started to work out again and get back into it. And then, yeah, it was just really weird, kind of came out of nowhere. But I'm not probably to the point where I'd like to be, but I feel a lot better, a lot more energy than I did at the end of last week, that's for sure.

Q. This is kind of a low pressure event just because it's so unpredictable, you can sort of get your hopes up?
JUSTIN THOMAS: A little bit, but at the same time, though -- I don't know, it's hard. It really is. Just because I feel like most tournaments, especially now with where my game is, I can get it around well enough over four days to at least scrape a top-10 out or a top 15; where here it's like, no, you just lose, you know what I mean, and you're not going to do that. So in that aspect, no. But it's just so weird.

Sometimes you're going to -- Jordan and I were talking about that last night, you could be playing great and you play two guys that shoot 6- or 7-under, you could lose or be playing terrible and you just happen to get six guys that played worse and you win. So it's a pretty bizarre format now.

Q. Do you feel like you deserved to lose all five of those matches?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just haven't played well here in the past. There's definitely times I could have won. But at the end of the day, I just didn't play very well those matches.

Q. Did you watch any of Sunday's final round? Tiger said you've already arranged a practice round with him. What does it mean to you that you're going to go to Augusta as one of the favorites and so will he? You probably thought at one time that would never happen again?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Well, if he's playing, you know he's going to be up there as a favorite, especially in Augusta. And with the form that he's shown lately, I didn't expect anything less, to be honest. If he was showing any sort of form, not -- trying to say this in the most non-gambling way -- but Vegas just isn't going to let you get those kind of odds on Tiger Woods. He's probably not a 7 to 1 or whatever he may be in terms of if any other golfer in the world would do that. But he's Tiger Woods, and there is a point there for a while I remember seeing where he was like 3 to 2 to win tournaments or whatever. I mean it was just unbelievable.

He's played well, but it will be cool to go there and being one of the favorites, although in reality it has no impact whatsoever on how you're going to play or what you're going to do. If anything, it may just add a little bit more pressure because more eyes and more spotlight is on you.

Q. Definitely more of a buzz?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, this year is going to have an unbelievable buzz. And just the amount of story lines that are there. The amount of guys that are really starting to play well and peak. And I just have to somehow hope that I'm the one that comes out. But you never know.

Q. Do you think there's a mental component for learning to be more successful at match play or is it a matter of just play well?
JUSTIN THOMAS: It's just play better, I think. I played pretty well in all my previous match play tournaments, and I played well in the U.S. Amateurs and the U.S. Junior, Palmer Cups, Walker Cups, Presidents Cup, even.

There's a decent amount of holes here that don't fit my eye well. I don't dislike the course, it's a beautiful course. It's fun, because it can just play so differently, but I just haven't played it well. But like I said earlier, I just wasn't playing well in the last years. I would like to think I'm a better, more mature, more complete player this year than I have been in the past two years, where if I don't have any best stuff I can get it around and make a couple more birdies than I have in the past. In terms of a match play, there was something I learned that will help me improve. But winning more holes than I have is going to be a good start.

Q. I know you've played with Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth before in team competitions. They're playing on Friday against each other. What's it about these two that make them such strong match play competitors?
JUSTIN THOMAS: They're really good, first off. And their short games are unbelievable. And they're fiery competitors.

I think Patrick has made it well-known that he loves to win and he's very competitive. Jordan is the same way, he's probably just not as outwardly emotional as Patrick is. Patrick gets fired up out there, which is not wrong, everyone has their own thing. I think they do so well in match play because of their short games. That just wears on an opponent. When you're hitting it better than your opponent and he keeps getting up and down for par, up and down for par, and then all of a sudden you're a couple down, you're like, I'm playing better than this guy, how is he beating me? That can wear on you, and I think over the course of their careers thus far that's why they've done so well in match play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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