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September 20, 2018

Gary Woodland

Atlanta, Georgia

Q. Can you just talk about the eagle on the 6th hole, sinking a 40-foot putt, how important that was to have success for the rest of the round?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it was nice to see the putt go in on the hole before because I hit some great shots on the first couple holes, but I just got it above the hole. I was hitting 10, 15 feet on the first couple holes, and the greens are so fast, you're putting so defensively, just lagging it down there, and that's hard to do. I finally got one kind of below the hole there on that par-5 and was able to be aggressive, and it was nice to see a long one go in. You're just trying to lag it up there, and it's a bonus when it goes in.

Q. Are you playing the best golf of the season right now?
GARY WOODLAND: I'm starting to. Well, the putting has been a huge deal. We started -- Phil, Kenny, and I started at the British Open, and it's just been a process. And the last piece of that puzzle was at the BMW with the setup. And it's just coming together. I feel as good standing over the putter as I ever have. Even the putts I don't make, I'm giving myself chances, which is awesome. The ball-striking wasn't great at the BMW, but I was positive strokes gained putting in all four rounds. That might have been the first time I've done that all year. It's been kind of my Achilles' heel for a long time, and now it's starting to feel like a strength of mine, and that's pretty exciting for not only right now but going forward, as well.

Q. Does it make you realize how miserable the game used to be?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah. Ball-striking, I've always been pretty danged good. You focus on that. When you're not putting well, you just kind of want to stay away from it. And the more you go out and practice, you make putts on the putting green, you get more frustrated. But he was the first -- I've worked with a lot of guys. He's the first one that told he me he didn't like what he saw with my stroke. Everybody always told me I had a good stroke, and he told me he didn't like it. We made some setup changes, grip changes, all of the above, and like I said, it's as confident as I've ever felt.

Q. What you felt like you were doing was the total opposite?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, he told me pretty much everything I've done my whole life was wrong, so we changed everything. I was very pleased that he didn't change it all at once. He saw a bunch of stuff he didn't like at the British, and we started one thing, I worked for two weeks and we went and did another thing. And like I said, the last piece of the puzzle was the BMW. Now it's all about practice, and that's what we've focused on the last two weeks.

Q. What was the grip?
GARY WOODLAND: The grip, it was moving it more into my palm. I held it kind of like I held a golf club, like I hit an iron shot and he changed it more into my -- probably the way everybody else holds it out here. I just wasn't smart enough to do it. He changed it -- grip changes are hard for a lot of people, and that's something a lot of people don't like to change. But he wasn't afraid to go ahead and tell me to do it, especially in the middle of the season, and luckily he did because it's paid off.

Q. I think four out of the last five years you started the Playoffs outside the top 30 and got here. Are you aware of that, and --
GARY WOODLAND: I mean, I knew the last three years I've been 29th or 30th going into BMW. This year just felt different because I feel like I'm playing really well. The last couple years, I kind of felt like I got to 29th and I was just kind of hanging on. This year -- getting here is a huge deal for setting your schedule for the next year. This year at the BMW, I didn't put as much pressure on myself because I knew I was playing well, and I feel like I'd be in everything next year anyway. That kind of freed me up, I would say, at the BMW, and I played some very solid golf. It was nice to have an off week too. The last couple years, I've gone straight from the BMW, being on the number and probably mentally tired being here and exhausted. Getting fresh with a week off last week it was nice coming here feeling a little bit better than I have the last couple weeks.

Q. Considering what you're doing the last maybe month or two of the season and it's been a long year, is there any part of you that can't wait for next year to start?
GARY WOODLAND: I mean, I'm as excited about my game as I've ever been so that's exciting. So usually I'm ready for this week to be over and ready for some downtime. I'm getting ready to go to Asia here in a couple weeks, so I'm excited about that. I would say my mind is a little different than it has been. I took a lot of time off this summer. I had a bunch of three-, two-week breaks which I've never done, so I feel more fresh right now than I probably ever have, which definitely helps.

Q. It was Mark's idea for you to go see him, correct?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah. I wanted to leave the day -- I was so mad that day at the British, Saturday night, and he made me stay and made we work with him really. I take credit that it was my choice, but I just don't want to say thank you to him.

Q. What are you doing in Asia?
GARY WOODLAND: I'm going to play the first two, skip China, and then play Vegas and Mexico, so I'm going to play four the rest of the year. I'm going to play a lot, but like I said, I'm excited about where my game is, and just keep working. That's a big deal. Obviously it's trending in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Q. How do you decide which of the two Asia things to do?
GARY WOODLAND: I've played well in Malaysia. I've finished second there twice. In Korea, I liked it last year. I didn't play great, but I thought it was a good golf course. China, I've just never played well. There's a lot of dogleg lefts, where I'm teeing off aiming in the middle of a hazard trying to cut it back into play. I'm just not a fan of the golf course. That's unfortunate. Obviously you don't want to skip a World Golf event, but I don't want to go there and not play well.

Q. Have you ever had a case where you've gone to Asia, come home and gone back?
GARY WOODLAND: No, I almost did for the World Cup in 2011. I played Japan, played Dunlop Phoenix. Ended up we stayed over there. Fortunately, I've never had to do that trip. The European Tour they do do that. I've been around those guys, Lake Nona, Poulter and those guys when they were just playing over there going back and forth all the time. We get pretty spoiled here only going a couple hours in the States.

Q. How happy are you to be out there and just --
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, I didn't make a lot of putts today, but I hit good putts. Putting makes everything better. I sleep better, I eat better. Everything is better when you make putts, and that's what I'm excited about right now.

Q. Did Phil tell you anything that you pushed back on like oh, that's crazy?
GARY WOODLAND: No, a lot of the stuff I've heard, he just told me in a different way. I've talked to Stricker, I've talked to Faxon, I've talked to Stockton, I've talked to Utley, I've talked to everybody. He's really not telling me anything I've never heard besides one little setup deal, which is -- everybody always told me I've been boarded. He's found a way to make me feel more relaxed over a golf ball and that kind of frees me up.

Q. How many more wins before KU becomes a football school?
GARY WOODLAND: A couple more years. A couple more years.

Q. Did you see this coming today?
GARY WOODLAND: I did. The game has been feeling pretty good. It was nice to have an off week last week, kind of get recharged after being on the number the last couple weeks. It was long mental weeks there for three weeks in a row, so nice to get on off week and come out here fresh, and the golf course is as good as I've ever seen. You get the ball started on line on the putts, and there's nothing to complain about if they don't go in.

Q. You came in at 28 in the standings this week. How does that make your approach? Are you coming in with a lot of aggression, or is it more just kind of play your game and let it come?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, I mean, you've got to play it out. Hopefully you win the golf tournament and see where everybody else stands. Next year I'll be 10 shots back. So today I feel a little more at ease with everything. You know, main thing is to come out and try to play aggressive. I really have nothing to lose. Just trying to move up and hopefully have a good week and build towards next season.

Q. The golf course is really set up tough, but if you put a ball in the fairway, it's kind of gettable, isn't it?
GARY WOODLAND: You hit it on the head right there. You've got to drive the ball in the fairway here. The rough is so brutal, and the greens are so fast, it turns into a ball striker's paradise. If you drive it in play, you've got to find a way to keep the ball below the hole. I was hitting great shots early in the round and I was just above the hole. You're putting so defensively, and that's hard to do. If you get it below the hole, the greens are perfect, but you've got to do that from the fairway.

Q. I heard they're going to be 12 and a half. They don't look anywhere near 12 and a half. Are they 13 and change maybe?
GARY WOODLAND: Downhill they're way faster than 12 and a half, I can tell you that. They're as fast and as good as we've seen all year. They are absolutely perfect. So the key is you've got to find a way to stay below them. They had some front pins today that were just really nasty. Really you hit good shots to 10 feet above the hole, and you're almost lagging it down there. That part is tough, but it's hard to complain when they're this good.

Q. I've never seen a golf course in better condition and more fair in the rough, especially with Bermuda.
GARY WOODLAND: There's no doubt about it. It doesn't happen. The golf course is perfect. This is my sixth time here, and it's as good as I've ever seen. The greens, we don't see anything like this. These are absolutely perfect. It's nice zoysia fairways, too. You can spin it out of the fairway, so you've got to drive it in play and then attack from there.

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