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July 19, 2018

Kevin Kisner

Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom

MIKE WOODCOCK: Good afternoon, everyone. We're joined by clubhouse leader at 5-under, Kevin Kisner, two-time winner on the PGA TOUR.

Kevin, you must be delighted to get off to a great start, and I believe you eagled the 6th today. That must have been a real springboard for you.

KEVIN KISNER: Absolutely. I was 1-over going into the hole. Hit a great drive and a 3 iron and holed a long putt, which was kind of the theme of the day. It jump-started the round and continued to make birdies and finished it off with really nice pars on the last three.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Your best start in The Open. You must be delighted to get off to such a good start.

KEVIN KISNER: Absolutely. You never know what the weather is going to hold, the golf course is going to hold. You're always trying to get it in and get it in as low as you can because you never know what the next day is going to have.

Q. Kevin, 22 putts. I mean, something different today or just one of those days when it went in?
KEVIN KISNER: I putted so badly at the Greenbrier, and I just really worked hard at it. I felt like my ball position got too far back at the Greenbrier. I was missing every putt to the right. So I came here Monday and worked really hard on my speed, which is always the hardest thing for us to get accustomed to here. I felt like the greens were not as slow as we've had in the past because the wind hadn't been up yet. The transition wasn't as big a deal. And the ball started coming off on the line, and when I'm doing that, I feel like I can hole them all.

Q. Kevin, guys were talking about how they were going to play this golf course, and a couple said they were just going to take out driver and try to bomb it down the fairway. What was your philosophy?
KEVIN KISNER: I think I only hit four drivers all day, maybe five. I just want the ball on the fairway because it's not an overly long golf course. Maybe 5 iron was the longest. I hit a hybrid into 12. You're not going to have that many long clubs into the hole. If I can keep it in the fairway, I feel like I can control my golf ball around the green. The greens are calm, and around the greens are flat. I feel like any time I'm around the green I'm going to make 4 or par at the worst. So that's been my game plan.

Q. I saw you working with Pete Cowen the other day. Was that an impromptu thing to work on the bunkers?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, impromptu bunker game, and it worked today. I'd better go back out there and try him again.

Q. Kevin, Carnoustie, everybody talks about different conditions and trying to prepare for the game plan. How many game plans, if any, did you have coming in this week?
KEVIN KISNER: I'm not sure that I said I'm going to hit this club on this hole every day, no matter what. It's more of feeling it out with the wind. I felt like the wind was different today than I'd played. I stood up on 4 and hit driver. I hadn't hit driver all week and blew it 50 yards right. So you never know what you're going to do.

It's just so difficult to see how far the ball's going to roll until you get into the round and start feeling like you're comfortable with how far the ball's going, it's hard to get off to a good start.

Q. Those Aiken courses get really crispy in summer. Is there any way that can prepare you for what you're seeing over here?
KEVIN KISNER: Absolutely. Palmetto is a great golf course for British Opens. It's firm, fast, and undulating around the green. That's why I feel so comfortable here around the greens because I see the same type of shots at home often.

Q. (No microphone).
KEVIN KISNER: Every year I've come over, I felt that way. And every time I have to hit a putt, I feel I lose conscious of the line and don't start on the line. But this week, they're not as slow as they've been. 10 is only a foot slower, foot and a half slower than what we were accustomed to. So it hadn't been that difficult in transition for me this year.

Q. I understand you've recently been to France on a Ryder Cup spying mission. How much is that an inspiration and an incentive to you?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, there's no doubt that I want to be on the team. I would hope every American player would want to be on the team and European player. But it doesn't matter if you don't play well. So you've got to earn your way onto the team, or you've got to prove to your captain that you're worthy of a pick.

The way I've been playing coming in, it hasn't really even been on my mind, but I knew if I had a four-week stretch here, if I played well, it would be a great opportunity to move up the list. So I'm looking forward to playing over there. The golf course was sweet. I think it's perfect for my game, but like I said, I have to go make the team.

Q. Kevin, as was mentioned, that's the best start you've made to an Open Championship. How much self-belief can you take from that? And given the start you've made, is there any reason why you can't really go on and mount a serious challenge here over the next three days?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, I certainly would like to and hope I can. If you don't believe in yourself out here, you're going to get run over pretty quickly. So I'm pretty sure everybody has a lot of self-belief, or we wouldn't be doing it.

The golf course is great for me. The conditions have been fine. Going forward, you never know what you're going to have in Scotland. I know the rain is coming in tomorrow. I don't think the rain is going to affect how the golf course is playing in one day, but I have to just keep doing what I'm doing. If I have 22 putts the next three days, I bet I'll have a pretty good shot.

Q. Kevin, have you always been a fan of links golf? And secondly, can you give us a flavour of how far the ball was running today with the drivers you had.
KEVIN KISNER: I think getting accustomed to links golf is something you have to do for where we come from. It's taken me a few years to understand that. You've got to just be really good with your long putting and your long shots around the green, in my opinion. Getting the ball in the fairway and making 4s or 5s, whatever par is, when you're a little bit off. The ball's running 50 to 80 yards on certain shots.

I didn't think it was as firm today as it has been, but I also played at 7:50 in the morning. This afternoon, I would imagine it's going to roll out some more with that wind picking up. But it all depends on where it hits on the fairway too. You hit an upslope, it's not going as far into the wind. It's not rolling as far. We hit a few tee balls today that landed in the fairway and one-hopped in the rough, so it doesn't move. Then you're 50 to 70 yards further away from the hole than you expected.

Q. Kevin, what did you take away or learn from the PGA last year?
KEVIN KISNER: Everybody's really good at golf (laughter).

Q. About yourself?
KEVIN KISNER: The PGA, I only hit one bad shot coming down the stretch. I kind of got out of the lead and fought back to get back to the lead and hit a poor second shot on 16. 18, I played to win. I was trying to hit a high-hook 5 iron to the back left of the pin to win. I missed it ten feet into the water. So I'll never be upset with myself for that.

I love myself under the gun and down the stretch. So I'm looking forward to that opportunity.

Q. Kevin, I understand you're sharing a house this week with all the guys who have won, I think it's eight major championships between them.
KEVIN KISNER: I have zero, so I don't know how many they have.

Q. Exactly. Can you tell us how intimidating or inspiring that is? And if you're the best guy on the day, do you get any special house privileges tonight?
KEVIN KISNER: I probably get to eat first. It's not intimidating at all. They're all great people. That's the best part about it. I mean, we're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out. Everybody is just really chill, and it's a lot of fun to be around those guys. There's a lot of great players. It's really cool just to hear what they have to say.

Everybody's sitting around at night scratching their head on what club to hit off of every tee.

Q. Do you play soccer?
KEVIN KISNER: I just try to smash Duff in the face. He's all the time goalie.

Q. On a similar theme, have you had the Claret Jug the last couple of years in your possession?
KEVIN KISNER: I spent a lot of time with Jordan and the Claret Jug. I flew home with him after he won. And then over to Paris with him. And I'm staying with him this week and he no longer has it. He gave it back on Monday. It would be cool to return the favor and let him look at it a little bit.

Q. Growing up in Aiken, I would suspect that the childhood dreams on putting to win were always to win the Masters. Where did The Open Championship fit in those dreams?
KEVIN KISNER: The coolest thing about The Open Championship growing up was being able to wake up early and have it on. Every other tournament, you had to wait until 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon and see what's happening. Over here, I could wake up and watch it every morning.

My fondest memories are with my dad watching it and getting to skip church on Sunday and getting to watch The Open Championship.

Q. Kevin, football, as we call it, rather than soccer --
KEVIN KISNER: You do use your feet.

Q. Jordan Spieth, he obviously knows -- he's good at golf, but is he any good at football?
KEVIN KISNER: The thing that impresses me with all those guys is, when you're out here and you grew up with all your buddies, you're pretty much the best at everything. And when you get around those guys, everybody is really good. So it's pretty cool to watch how athletic a lot of those guys are -- except Duff, really. No, I'm just kidding. Duff is athletic too.

Q. So he's actually quite good at football, Jordan Spieth?
KEVIN KISNER: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on neighbors' doors for the soccer ball.

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