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August 10, 2018

Gary Woodland

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to Friday at the 100th PGA Championship Bellerive Country Club. I am pleased to be joined by Gary Woodland, who is currently leading the championship. He posted a second round 66 today and has a two-day total of 130. He is 10 under par. His round today included four birdies, an eagle that we will ask him about, and a couple bogeys.

So, Gary, let's start out, you and Kevin are kind of doing something that's not often seen on a Friday morning at a Major championship. Are you feeding off each other, drafting off each other? It's a pretty nice dynamic out there.

GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it was nice. Kis played beautifully today. He drove the ball unbelievable, and he gets that putter rolling quite often. It was nice to feed off that energy. The crowds have been massive, which is awesome. So it's good to have that energy out there as well.

I probably didn't play as well as I did yesterday top to bottom, but the iron game really kept me in it today. I didn't -- I got a little wayward with a couple of drives and hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in. So I can live with that.

THE MODERATOR: And maybe describe how the golf course you experienced today, was it different? Was it the same as what you experienced yesterday afternoon?

GARY WOODLAND: I mean, you could definitely tell the greens were a little fresher this morning, which was nice to get out on fresh greens. But the golf course is trying to dry up a little bit. It looked like the fairways were cut down a little bit lower. That poses a little different challenge with the fairways a little lower. You get those in the grain shots in that zoysia, and it really comes out spinny. So that's just another element.

The golf course is good. Get in the fairway, the greens are still soft enough you can still attack. The key is get the ball in the fairway and attack from there.

THE MODERATOR: Maybe just describe your eagle on hole 17.

GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, that's a good hole for me. It sets up perfect for me to cut it off the bunker with a drive. I've had -- almost had an identical number in there as I did yesterday. It was a little cut 3 wood back into the wind. I was telling it to go. I didn't know if it was going to cover enough, but it looked like it just covered the bunker and rolled up there to about 5 feet.

That was nice because I made the birdie early and then had the three-putt, which was a little frustrating. It was nice to make that eagle because Kis was on a little run there. It was nice to maintain.

Q. Gary, you told us in Phoenix after winning that you felt like you'd maybe underachieved a little bit in your career. I was wondering about the influence -- I guess it's the Phil Kenyon as your putting coach kind of thing. I was wondering about the influence that Molinari having the year he's having and doing to his career what he's done at age 35, have you been inspired watching that? Because he's brought it to a completely other level. And was his success in any way responsible for you going to Phil Kenyon?
GARY WOODLAND: His success wasn't -- my agent is the one that called Phil. So that was kind of out of the blue. It's funny with Francesco. I mean, I played a lot of golf with him. We were with the same management group back in the day. Every time I played with him, he plays unbelievable. So I'm kind of surprised he hadn't done it earlier than he has. His game is rock solid from top to bottom. It's awesome to see him in that final round at The Open. It was unbelievable.

For me as a whole, the putting was kind of just the last piece of the puzzle. Butch and I focused so hard this year on driving the golf ball because, when I drive it in play, I'm playing a game a lot of guys aren't playing out here, and that's a huge advantage. Once that started to come around, really the putting was the last piece. When I see putts go in, I'm a completely different player, especially with as aggressive as I'm playing right now. So it was nice to get some work in with Phil at The Open, and then I've had a couple weeks to work on it.

It just feels comfortable. Today I felt like I putted it as good, if not better, than I did yesterday. I just didn't see putts go in, but I can live with hitting good putts.

Q. Gary, you come in now with two really good scores, but you can't feel safe with the way things are going out here this week. Is it a strange feeling knowing that you could see a 64 or 63 back you later this afternoon?
GARY WOODLAND: I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is. I'm not too worried with what anyone else is doing out there. The golf course is gettable, I think. If you drive the golf ball in play, the greens were rolling a little bit better today, maybe a little bit quicker. So guys, I think we'll see some putts go in.

For me, I'm very happy with where I'm at. I'm very comfortable with how I'm driving the golf ball. The iron game, the distance control this week has been phenomenal. And when I stand over a golf ball putting as comfortable as I am right now, I'm pretty excited.

Q. Congratulations, Gary, on what you've accomplished so far. How would you compare your putting today versus yesterday? You already alluded to it, but how would you compare it today versus yesterday?
GARY WOODLAND: Today I just didn't see putts go in. It was nice to see one. I made a fairly pretty long one there on 8, my 17th hole. I thought I'd made the one on the last two days in a row. I hit it right in the dead center, but I hit a lot of good putts. I had a couple lip outs, and if I'm starting the ball on line and hitting solid putts, that's the key for me. I'm not too worried, like I said yesterday, about the result as much anymore.

Focus, when you're not making putts, it seems like that's all you're thinking about is making putts. Right now I'm just trying to hit putts solid, and when I do that, it seems like things are coming together and coming together pretty quickly.

Q. Gary, you said the crowds were big and you fed off the energy of that. Can you elaborate how that might help you? And also just your experience in general in St. Louis this week?
GARY WOODLAND: The crowds are as big as I've seen. They were massive on Monday. For me, being this close to home, I have a ton of friends and family out here, a ton of KU people, which is nice, but we are in Missouri territory. I mean, there's a lot of Mizzou people out there. I'm getting more M-i-z's than I am Rock Chalks, which is very rare. It's funny. It's nice. Good banter back and forth between the Kansas and Missouri fans.

But the crowds are awesome. There's a lot of energy out there, and it's positive energy. It's fun to come here. I think this area is striving for an event like this, and it's pretty special to get one here.

Q. Gary, you've worn the Folds of Honor cap the past couple days. Could you tell us how you got involved with that and what that means to you.
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it means a lot. Major Dan, who started Folds of Honor has been a close friend, played golf at the University of Kansas. He married my wife and I. I mean, he's been a really close family friend. He got me involved when he started the Folds almost ten years ago.

It's pretty special to give back. I'm wearing this Volition line right now with Puma. 13 cents of every shirt sold goes back to Folds of Honor. It's just nice to give back to the military. Those men and women sacrifice so much for us so we can come out here and play golf and enjoy our dreams. It's nice to give back. They hold a special spot in my heart, and it's nice to give back to the military.

Q. Compared to where you were on the Saturday night at The Open Championship both mentally and physically with your game, are you at all surprised how quickly you were able to get to the place where you are now?
GARY WOODLAND: Not really. I told Phil, when I started working with him a little bit, if I start making putts, things are different because the rest of the game was where I needed it to be. I think I've done a lot of work with Pete Cowen, obviously, chipping, and I think I'm a pretty good chipper, but out here on this grass, I'm a really good chipper. When I get out here on zoysia, and I grew up with it, when we spend summers in Kansas, this is the only kind of grass I see. So I'm very comfortable with this kind of grass, and that allows me to be more aggressive with the iron play.

I'm not surprised because I knew, if I could make putts, everything else comes together pretty quickly.

Q. Maybe this is going to take too long, but could you go over your crew and who's here with you this week.
GARY WOODLAND: I mean, I have a lot of friends. A lot of college teammates, a lot of people from college. My parents are here. My sister's here. My wife and my little guy are here as well. I have more people coming in this weekend. It's nice. We rented a house right down the street. I have a lot of people, so it's nice to get away and just spend time with my immediate family and kind of get away from everything.

So it's pretty cool. It's pretty special to be close to home where everybody can come out and watch because I have a lot of family who have never seen me play in person. It's pretty cool to have them out.

THE MODERATOR: Gary, appreciate your time and best of luck through the weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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