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July 19, 2018

Matthew Southgate

Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom

MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: First few I felt a bit like a zombie, which I think is quite normal when you wake up at 4:00 in the morning to play golf. After that, we sort of sprung to life with an eagle on the 6th and started playing really nice stuff after that. It's demanding out there. I don't think too many people are going to go round without making a couple of mistakes.

Q. Would you have taken that this morning when you woke up?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: 100 percent. I think it's very easy for spectators to watch and just take for granted how tough this golf course is. We're hitting irons off the tee to miss bunkers, and people think, oh, it's only an iron. But if you get it slightly wrong, you're right in the face of the bunker or in the rough with no second shot. It demands a lot out of your game. So anything in the 60s is fantastic, I think.

Q. (Inaudible) whole Carnoustie thing and as far back as when you qualified to a month ago. Has it lived up to expectations?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, it has. I think, when I first arrived, I was a little disappointed. I think I built it up too much in my mind from the age of 10. A couple of things that you saw play through in your imagination, where you sort of saw things happen, and it unsettles me when things don't quite go that way.

For one thing, I always have this sort of vision in my head the little old Scottish fellow would meet me at the front door and call you "Mr. Southgate" and you would feel all excited and stuff. It wasn't. It was a young American girl sort of flashy, "Let me show you around." And I thought, I don't really need showing round. I've been a member since I was 16. It kind of threw me a little bit.

Once I went in the clubhouse and met a couple of members, I settled down. And even more so when I got on the golf course, and the first round has lived up to everything.

Q. Excuse me, Mr. Southgate. Do you think a local (inaudible)?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I don't think you can know a golf course too well. I think it helps when you know, you kind of know what's the miss. You miss a green to the right, and you know exactly what you're faced with next. I think that's kind of settling. So walk another 100 yards knowing what's coming up next. I think just for experience, you kind of look at certain holes, and you think this is drive or go. All the boys would hit driver right now, so hit driver. That's what they do.

The local boys, they get it round there in good scores. They play aggressive when they need to, and they lay it up when they need to, and I think watching them, getting beat by them for a long time when I was a kid, it definitely helps, yeah.

Q. How many rounds have you played the course?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I must have played 50-odd rounds there or thereabouts and watched a couple of Opens every day. I don't think you can know the course much better than I do. Still I don't know the greens by heart. I'd be lying if I knew every break on every putt, but I'm not far off it.

Q. Are we talking about dozens of people came in from around these parts?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I think the whole town know me and my dad. I think it's lovely. It's like a home away from home. Carnoustie is a completely individual place. I've played golf all around the world, and I've never seen anywhere like Carnoustie. It doesn't matter if you're the milkman or a lawyer, as soon as your golf clubs come out, you're all just equal and you're all square on the 1st tee, let's play golf. And I think they deserve a huge amount of credit for that, the lads up here, because they've kept the true etiquette of the game and the true spirit of the game, that raw sort of talent wins and good scores win, and they don't bitch and moan to each other. They just go head to head and play, and in the end shake hands in the right way.

I think a lot of golf clubs around the world have lost that. Not here. I don't think they ever will here.

Q. You don't have to give them shots?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: They'll play fair. They wouldn't want to beat me with shots, a lot of the guys here. They'd like to take me on and play. I'll tell you this, there's a lot of people up here that you wouldn't want to give shots. There's a few people, Keon McNichols works in the pro shop here, and he was a plus 6 when he tried to turn pro and never got it. You play him in his own backyard, and he's pretty special to play against.

Q. Last week a few of the games as well (inaudible).
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, I've seen -- what's nice for me is when you sort of walk to the local Chinese to pick up a take-away and bump into two, three people you know. It does feel like a second home. Dad's the same. There's not one pub in the town that we can't walk in and find someone with an old golf story and sit down and have a chat with. That's lovely for all of us.

Q. Do you feel you've done everyone proud?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I think so. I've certainly tried to do them all proud. I don't think there's anybody that would judge me off of one week. I think a lot of people will judge me for the last sort of eight years as a pro, and I think I've done all right so far. The next eight years is better than the last eight years, and there's no reason why there's not going to be a whole host of things to be proud of.

Q. Given you've been here since you were 10 years old, and you said no one's called you "Mr. Southgate" this week, but did you envision winning The Open when you were 10 years old?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I think, as a kid, I envisaged winning The Open. I envisaged me standing there with a Claret Jug. Now, being older, I don't. I see the professional that's got the ability to shoot four good scores on a really tough golf course, and some of them might just give you the Claret Jug. I don't think you can stand on the 1st tee and say, right, I'm going to win The Open this week. But you can stand on the first fairway and hit the first fairway and go from there and see what you get.

It's the old cliche, "one shot at a time." If you feel you're good enough to hit one shot at a time and hit good shots, and good shots end in good scores, and good scores beat good players. So do I care that Rory and Tiger are playing? No. It's me on the golf course and shoot four good scores. I've got one out of the way today.

Q. Do you give yourself a pat for your round?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, you shoot four rounds in the 60s, you're going to be there or thereabouts. We've done that and you enjoy that for that. We've got a nice sort of 24 hours until we're teeing off again. I'll enjoy the rest of the day with my family and come out and do the same sort of thing tomorrow. Just get the ball around as good as I can tomorrow and try and stay in for long haul.

Q. Where's the best place to eat in town?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I think the food in the clubhouse is pretty good, to be fair.

Q. You're not going to tell? You don't have a favourite place?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I like the Chinese here. I think it's called The Oriental. It's just in the middle of the High Street there. It's all great. It's all good up there. You've got to have a smoke.

Q. Staying in town?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yes, we're walking to the golf course, which is lovely. This morning I'm walking out, and there's no one around. The whole town was like a ghost town, and you just know in the next couple of hours, there's going to be that hustle and bustle, and the crowd starts swelling. If you're on a good score -- I played with Erik Van Rooyen today, who's obviously leading. It was brilliant. Great, great cheers from the crowd. We love that. That's what you live for.

Some people get nervous, but I just kind of -- I just love it. It puts me into a good frame of mind.

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