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June 11, 2018

Noah Goodwin

Southampton, New York

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome again to the 2018 U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. It's my pleasure to introduce this afternoon Noah Goodwin, who won the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur last July at Victoria National Golf Club in Kansas. He was also the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Last year, Noah rallied from four down with eight holes to play to capture the U.S. Junior title with a one-up victory.

Noah, can you talk about playing in the final and what you pulled out to come up with the win last year?

NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah, after the first year losing in the final, I really had to reflect a lot on my game because at the end of the day, I just got beat by a better player. So I really had to dig deep to realize that and then motivate me to come back the next year.

The entire next year was all about giving me the opportunity to put myself in the same position the year before. And after I was able to do that, I was finally able to look past and say, I've been able to do this two years in a row. I have what it takes to just kind of gut it out the entire time.

Q. And after your victory, in the fall, you learned that the USGA was going to be granting a special exemption to the winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Mid-Amateur, meaning that you would be exempt for this championship.
Can you tell me your reaction to finding out that you didn't have to go through qualifying and you were in the U.S. Open field?

NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah. It was just a rush of emotions, and it was a dream come true. I mean, any teenager dreams of playing in the U.S. Open, and you all visualize making that putt win the U.S. Open. So to have that dream come true at just 17 years old is something I could have never wished for.

THE MODERATOR: We're very, very glad to have you here.

NOAH GOODWIN: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Talk about how the allure of playing for a U.S. Open spot is going to affect the U.S. junior. Would the match play bracket have looked any differently last year because there's that extra pressure of playing at Shinnecock?
NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah. It changes everything, pretty much. It's absolutely awesome for junior golf that they're doing this. Just giving -- it's opening up a whole new world.

In the past, we've had U.S. Amateur champions. You see them at the Majors. But the line between junior golf and amateur golf is becoming very, very blurred.

So to give juniors this opportunity is awesome, and it will definitely change match play greatly because, at the end of the day, everybody has one goal in mind, and it goes beyond just winning the U.S. Junior. You're fighting for a Major championship spot. So it will definitely be added pressure, especially as matches progress further and further towards the final.

Q. What did your kind of lead-up to this tournament look like? Because obviously, the team didn't make it to Karsten. Just kind of talk about the lead up and how you prepared for this event.
NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah. After the Byron Nelson, I was able to learn a lot about my game. The weaknesses that I have in my game were exposed at a high level, and I just kind of had to take that and run with it and really just break down what I needed to do to become more successful this week.

So it was just a lot of work on the little things, like putting, chipping, because I know how tedious it's going to be around these greens this week.

And also it's just how tight Shinnecock is. I had to make sure that everything from the tee going forward is in play because if you can't get in the fairway out here, then you don't even stand a chance. The rough's too long, and the fescue's too brutal.

THE MODERATOR: Noah, you mentioned you've been here since Friday, and you've played nine holes here and nine holes here and there. Can you talk about did it feel a little different today, now that most of the field is here and the spectators are here? A little bit of a different sense today?

NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah, it's a little different vibe, and it starts as soon as you walk out on the golf course. Last few days, it's been pretty quiet. There's been a few pros here and there, but then as soon as we arrived today, it's a whole different atmosphere.

There was already people out there ready to go watching at 8:00 a.m., and I got to play with Jordan and Theo Humphrey today. So that was awesome, having people follow us the entire time. It really allowed me to get a feeling of what it's going to be like later on this week.

Q. Do you see Jordan much? Obviously, you guys play out at Trinity Forest and you have the same coach. Just kind of talk about your relationship with him.
NOAH GOODWIN: This is actually the second time I got to play with Jordan today. I played with him in a practice round at the Byron Nelson. Besides that, we see each other here and there for -- sometimes I have a lesson right after him or vice versa. So I'll see him then, and then also just crossing paths as we both practice out at Trinity.

Besides that, not so much.

Q. Also, talk about the caddie that you have this week. I understand that he's caddied for you before in some pretty big events. Just what it's like to have him on the bag.
NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah, Craig, he's been with me since my very first U.S. Am. He's caddied for me in the last three U.S. Juniors -- yeah, three U.S. Juniors. So just to have somebody on the bag that knows me so well as a person and also as a player is just very comforting for me because, at the end of the day, there's high stakes out there, and the pressure gets to people.

So to have somebody that can just talk to me as a friend instead of as an athlete or a player, that's huge.

Q. Yeah, I noticed that some of the golfers were a little bit worried about how they were going to get in and out of here just because of where the course is situated.
I was just wondering whether you're staying locally and whether you had any trouble getting in here this morning.

NOAH GOODWIN: The drive that we had this morning is supposed to take 16 minutes, and it took an hour and 40. I left 6:15 a.m. this morning, and we missed my first tee time that was scheduled.

Q. Where are you staying? West?
NOAH GOODWIN: Yeah, we are. We're staying at the Hyatt Place, the host hotel. So definitely need to take that into consideration going forward.

Q. Another question. Noah, tomorrow you'll be playing in the inaugural USGA Celebration of Champions, which brings together all of the 2017 USGA season champions to play a four-hole outing here at Shinnecock Hills. Can you talk a little bit about that and what it means to play in the very first one of those?
NOAH GOODWIN: It's a huge honor to play in the very first one. I also think it's just a great thing for golf because USGA is allowing all these champions for the different tournaments to come together. And people who might not see that side of golf will all of a sudden become exposed to it.

So I think it's just great, just opening up that door for so many people out there. And then to be able to play against -- or play with the people who won last year and against them in this, it's just going to be an awesome experience I'll cherish forever.

Q. Just curious, with so many juniors in the field and a couple guys, Will Zalatoris and Barbaree and so forth qualifying, wondering if you could speak to just the validation of the juniors and their ability to see their game evolve and raise it up to this level.
NOAH GOODWIN: I think you're seeing a lot more of an amateur golf. You see a lot more juniors qualifying for tournaments like the U.S. Am, and you see a lot more juniors going far in tournaments like the U.S. Am.

I think the biggest thing is that the tournament at the junior level, such as the AJGA, U.S. Junior, they're finally preparing kids at a much faster rate than ever before. So that's what I mean by the lines are starting to become more blurred.

You also notice that whenever you look at stuff like the world amateur rankings, the lines are very blurred with that, with what juniors are at the top or rising towards the top of that list. And then each year, more juniors start to qualify.

I mean, I remember my good friend Cole Hammer qualifying just a couple years ago, and that really blew up for the junior golf world. And ever since then, it's just becoming more and more people. Walker Lee last year, and then Philip and everybody this year.

THE MODERATOR: And two notes along those lines. I should mention that Noah is one of 20 amateurs in the field this week, which is the most since 1962.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that Noah is a two-time AJGA Player of the Year. He's one of only five to earn that honor, joining the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. So incredibly well played and great experience to bring you to this point.

NOAH GOODWIN: Yes, ma'am.

THE MODERATOR: Noah, thank you so much for joining us today. Congratulations again in your victory on the junior and being here in the field this week. We wish you well and look forward to having you play Shinnecock Hills throughout the week.

NOAH GOODWIN: Thanks for having me.

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