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October 30, 2018

Aaron Wise

Las Vegas, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: Go ahead and get started with PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, Aaron Wise. Aaron, we figured with you recently taking up residence in Las Vegas this would be a perfect opportunity to go ahead and make this announcement.

This is voted on by the TOUR's membership, so obviously a strong testament to your play all season. You picked up your first win at the Byron Nelson, and you're joining a list that includes Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and more recently, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. You're the only rookie to advance to the TOUR Championship.

Just a quick reaction to being named Rookie of the Year.

AARON WISE: Yeah, it's awesome to get this award. The coolest part about it for me is that all my peers voted on it, all the other golfers I've played with. To be able to know that they followed my career and knew what I did and I kind of had some of their respect to get this award is pretty cool; probably the best part.

It was an up and down year. It was crazy filled with lots of highs, lots of lows. Happy I was able to finish it off really strong and get to Eastlake like you said, and kind of walk away with this award. Something I'm always going to remember. You only one year to win it, and for me to be able to do it is pretty cool.

THE MODERATOR: You came became just the second player to win on the PGA TOUR Canada, the Web.com Tour, and on the PGA TOUR. Could you just summarize your journey to this point to accomplish all that you have at such a young age?

AARON WISE: Yeah, crazy how fast it's all happened. I remember sitting down with my team summer 2016 and figuring out the best path to get out here. It was through the Canadian Tour. I am happy we did it. I learned so much. I learned how to travel, how to compete; had a lot success out there. It gave me a lot of confidence.

To be able to kind of go through that tour, the Web, and have success the whole way, it really helped me when I finished second at Wells Fargo and won Byron Nelson. It was pretty cool just how confident I felt. I don't think I would've felt anywhere near that calm and confident if it weren't fore going through those two other tours before that.

THE MODERATOR: Going back to your appearance at Eastlake, you were the 12th rookie ever to the advance to the TOUR Championship, the final event of the FedExCup playoff, with then of them having gone on to win Rookie of the Year. So where does the TOUR Championship stack up in your goals? When you started the season that surely was one of your goals. What did it mean to get there?

AARON WISE: Yeah, it was one was my main goals early on in the season. I got asked about a lot about that when I was at Eastlake. I kind of looked back and laughed. When I set the goal I don't think I knew how hard it would be to get there and what an honor it would be to be there.

Once I was there and I knew how well I had to play all year and how well I felt I did and how I felt like I grew as a golfer, to be able to be in that spot it was pretty cool. I kind of laughed at myself a year before thinking I could do it making a goal and not knowing how hard it would be.


Q. How important was the loss at Wells Fargo going forward? Obviously won the next week.
AARON WISE: Yeah, it was huge. You know, gave me all the confidence. That was the first time I was able to try to win a PGA TOUR event. You know, I had been in a bunch, but never been close with three, four holes remaining and have a chance.

You know, even when you say loss, I didn't feel like I lost there. It was one of those things I played amazing. I felt like I did great. I par'd the last three holes which are some of the hardest finishing holes on tour.

To be able to do that being in that situation for the first time gave me a lot of confidence. Then I had the week off right after that and was able to reflect just a little bit. Just showed up at the Byron Nelson so confident, so ready to go. When I was immediately back in the same situation with a chance to win the tournament, it was amazing how calm I was and just knew I could kind of pull it off.

Experiencing that two weeks before going up against Jason and coming out second was a huge factor in that.

Q. You moved to Las Vegas shortly after winning the NCAA title. What went into that decision? Talk about how you worked with Jeff Smith and now there are several Oregon players now living here in Las Vegas.
AARON WISE: Yeah, they all followed me. I joke about that. When I was going into college as a senior in high school, I hadn't really worked with anyone specifically. Talked to Casey about who he thought I can work with to take my game to the next level. I knew I had to get better to compete in college.

He referred me to Jeff Smith who worked out here. I worked with him all way through college, as soon as that senior year of high school, and as I turned pro felt like I hadn't had enough time to really implement what I needed to.

Kind of a pretty simple decision for me to move here and be able to work with him and get better at golf. The weather is pretty good here and I can play year-round. It was kind of an easy decision.

I feel like a lot of Oregon guys who have known me, and a couple have them have worked with Jeff, have just seen the same thing. This really is a great place to live, to develop your game, be around him, learn from him. It's just a good hub for golf, and it's kind of grown really fast.

Q. Who are the other Oregon players?
AARON WISE: Norman, Wyndham, and then there is a bunch of other Web guys and guys out of college who we all know that have moved out here. Mav and all those types of people. It's funny how there is a bunch of young, really good golfers, and we can all go out and compete for fun when we're home.

Q. Your rookie season being a success, what does season two look like? What are your expectations? What does success look like for season two?
AARON WISE: Yeah, I don't know. I'm looking to get better every day. I can't quite tell you what would be a success yet. I haven't even started the season. Looking back at last season it was crazy how my goals changed as the year went on. Went from just trying to make a cut to competing with them to getting in contention and then all of a sudden I won.

So I don't know what would be a success at the end of this year. Going into it just trying to be better. A lot of my goals are just trying to be more consistent. I know I had a really up and down rookie year. I want to maybe miss a few less cuts this year, but still keep the highs. I want to win, be up there, and compete. That's kind of what's driving me. I feel like if I'm able to do that, able get into the hunt and close out some tournaments, it would be a great sophomore year as well.

Q. Are you aware of second-year syndrome, sophomore slump?
AARON WISE: Hasn't crossed my mind. I'm aware of the terms but it's not something I've thought about. I had five weeks off now since I last played at Eastlake. A lot of that time has just been trying to get better. That's the way I am, the way I think. I've I'm never going to try to stay the same. I don't feel like I can do that.

I'm going to try to get better. I'm only 22 now. I've got a long ways ahead of me. I look at it if I'm going to be out here until I'm 40, how am I going to get better as it goes on?

That's all the things that go into everyday life now, is just trying to get better, compete more, be able to be up near the lead, win more tournaments.

Q. (Regarding the Mackenzie Tour.)
AARON WISE: Yeah, it was amazing to get a sponsor exemption here just to get that experience, like you said. I had no status. I was on the Canadian Tour playing at the time. It was pretty cool. I finished T10. I was able to get into Mexico. So it gave me a ton of confidence. That was the first time experiencing the big stage for me. Coming down the stretch, I remember I had a par putt on 17, the par-3, from about 12 feet.

I looked up at the leaderboard and it was like if I made it I was still like T9 in the tournament, go into next week making a bunch of money, and if I missed it I dropped all the way to like T20. I knew that wasn't going to do anything for me.

Just to have that experience to go on, make that putt, par the last hole, get into Mayakoba, was awesome. Bunch of good memories here for this to be a place I live. I love this golf course. It's always been a big part of me being here, and it's pretty cool to get this award here, too.

Q. You've won a lot of tournaments at a lot of levels. What goes into winning and how does that transition to winning on the PGA TOUR? What's the first thing to comes to your mind?
AARON WISE: Yeah, it's a culmination of a ton of hard work and things just coming together. You know, I feel like to be able to win you got to get a couple lucky breaks. You've got to be playing really well. You've got to -- it's just one of those weeks where everything clicks, just almost like know it's going to happen in a way because things are just going your way. You get the break that it bounces off a tree back into the fairway or something random happens.

That seems to be always what comes when you win. It's cool. To be able to do it at every level is amazing. It's just a testament to I think me and being able to block out some of the distractions. I feel like as you go up in levels the distractions get bigger and bigger. Out here it's pretty much as big as it gets.

To be able to be in that situation and calm myself, focus on my breathing, stay level, to be able to do that at the highest level gave me a lot of confidence.

Q. Since your in Las Vegas now... (indiscernible).
AARON WISE: Be pretty cool. It's a cool thing for golf. Two legends of the game, the two best of our generation going head-to-head. I know Phil loves gambling; it's right up his alley. I'm sure he'll be ready to go.

For it to be here is cool. A lot of people love to come here. Vegas is kind of a fun destination for a lot of people. I think it'll be awesome. I don't know why they didn't do crowds. I think I that could have been awesome. I think it may develop as they go on. I'm sure this isn't the only match. They've talked about there being a few. They'll learn as they go.

But I think it's awesome. Reminds me of when they did all those greats playing the skins game or something like that, a made-for-television match. I think those are the only two that can do it now because of how big they are. It's pretty cool to watch them joke around with each other and make some side bets. Fun that all that money is going to charity as well.

Q. (Regarding playing under the South African flag.)
AARON WISE: Playing as what.

Q. ...under the South African flag?
AARON WISE: You know, it was one of those things. I moved away when I was three. It never really crossed my mind. For all I can remember, I grew up in Southern California. I've always been an American guy. I know I have a lot of idols in Ernie and Retief and all those guys and my dad has always talked about them and they're idols, but as far as how I view myself, I've always been an American and played under that country.

Q. So speaking of the American flag, there are two people that happen to be captains of the Presidents Cup. (Indiscernible) As far as goals, team golf, have you allowed yourself to think that far, playing for Tiger's team?
AARON WISE: Yeah, absolutely. I would love it. It's a big goal of mine to be able to make it. I was close to making the Ryder Cup at one point this last year. Watching them go over there and not play so great, I wanted to be a part of it. It got my juices flowing. I hear everyone talk about how that's the greatest achievement is playing for your country. I've never really gotten the chance to do that at that level.

That's a big goal of mine going into the next year, is to try to get myself to be able to be on the team. Whether it comes this year, a year later, five years down the line, I feel like that would be such a cool experience. It's definitely one of the top goal of mine is to make a team playing for my country.

Q. Have you played a lot of match play?
AARON WISE: Yeah. You know, I played a bunch of match play. A lot in junior golf. NCAA was obviously match play, and a bit in college. I feel like I'm great. It's totally different, a different style of golf. You can play a lot more aggressive, make a lot more birdies. That's kind of what I do. I feel like I suit match play really well.

Another reason I would love to be on this team competing fighting for our country.

Q. You've won at every level. How do you define the word excellence?
AARON WISE: Excellence to me is being the best at what you do. You know, it's putting in a lot of hard work, sacrifice. There are so many things that go into it.

But I would say that's kind of the most important, is I don't think people realize how much we sacrifice on a daily or yearly basis to be the best at what we do. It's become more apparent as I move up in stages that I miss out on certain things because I need to go practice or I need to go work out.

Those are just things that are going to happen. My goal at the end of the day is to be the best golfer I can be. In order to do that, I'm going to have to sacrifice some stuff; I'm okay with that.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you as always for the time. Congratulations on the award, and best of luck this week.

AARON WISE: Thank you.

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