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January 5, 2019

Gary Woodland

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

RACHEL NOBLE: We would like to welcome 54-hole leader, Gary Woodland, to the interview room here at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Opening comments on your day out there today.

GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it was a good day. I played solid all day, got off to a nice start. Nice to make the birdie there on 4. Obviously birdied 5. I would like to have not made the bogey there on 12, kind of got a little unfortunate. Hit a great drive down there, just plugged, and then kind of got bad second shot came up and it was in a divot, so that was unfortunate.

But outside of that bounced back. It was a nice eagle there on 15. It was nice to see a long putt go in. And then finished with a birdie, was a big putt on the last hole.

RACHEL NOBLE: Questions, please?

Q. Going back to 15. So you miss a birdie attempt on 11, I'm sure it's in your mind. When you do something like that, you make a long putt like that, does it almost reenergize you?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it kind of makes up. I missed a couple short ones there. I thought I made the putt on 10, thought I made the putt there on 11. Like I said, bad bounce there on 12. So it was nice -- I thought I made the putt on 14 as well. So the 15, I was just I was trying to get it past the hole because I didn't want it to come back to my feet. Obviously it hit the pin and goes in, it was nice. But that's definitely a big bonus with the eagle there.

Q. Did you think about leaving the pin in on 15 when you putted?
GARY WOODLAND: I saw Bryson do it a lot today, so I did it a lot more today than I had the last couple days. Obviously you are just trying to use the rules to your advantage. That's one I would definitely have Butchy tend in the past. And you leave it in, I don't know how fast it was going, but it seemed like it hit it dead center.

Q. And what was it like watching Bryson putt with the pin in?
GARY WOODLAND: He's a lot smarter than I am. He was throwing out some numbers and stuff today. He was, it's interesting, I've never played with him so it was fascinating to see the way he works and he obviously does it very, very well.

Q. So obviously it's not match play, but you're playing with Rory tomorrow. I guess you couldn't think of a better scenario coming in playing in the final group and with a three-shot lead, so there's no different approach. I know the wind's going to be a little different, so how do you just approach that knowing that the last time that you've had 36-hole leads you haven't been able to finish it off?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, I think the difference is I'm a completely different player than I have been in the past. I've obviously been in the position multiple times. It's nice to build off those and take certain things out of them. But it's nice playing with Rory, because one he plays really quick, we hit it similar distances so we can club off each other. And he's a great guy so that definitely helps tomorrow. But tomorrow I've got to go out and play aggressive. I'm playing well enough where I don't have to play conservative. I can attack and continue to trust what I'm doing and should be good.

Q. Is it true there's some extra family emotion that you'll be playing for tomorrow?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, well I lost my grandma last night. I got that phone call late last night. That's been tough. She's been downhill for a little while now. It's been tough. And you try to prepare for that but you never really can. So that, definitely have a little extra emotion with me, but we'll get through it.

Q. Having two parts here: Rory's obviously a great golfer, but first time here. How impressive is what he's done this week as a first timer here, how impressive is that?
GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, it's obviously very impressive but it doesn't surprise you with Rory. His game I think is as good as anybody's. When he's on his game I think he is probably is one of the best players, if not the best player in the world. So he hits it so far, controls his game, he really doesn't have a weakness. So any time he gets on a new golf course, especially on a golf course like this where you can let it, let the driver go a little bit, you got big greens, the golf course sets up pretty good for him.

Q. He talked about between shots looking out at the ocean and he hasn't seen a whale yet, he said. But he said that that's a nice distraction. Do you find yourself looking it at the ocean when you play here?
GARY WOODLAND: Absolutely. I've seen multiple whales out there this week. It's been pretty cool, especially playing by myself on Thursday. If you're ever going to do it this is a place to walk slow, take the scenery in, it's pretty special place.

Q. After that final round at Bellerive, is it almost like you've seen all there is to see?
GARY WOODLAND: I mean that, I never have seen anything like that, playing with Tiger on Sunday. Obviously that's where you want to be, in contention, beating him on a Sunday. But those crowds were as big as I've ever seen. It was as loud as I've ever seen. He shot 64 and made it look so easy. He didn't hit a fairway I think on the front, but on the back it just his distance control everything was so awesome so it was nice to be in that arena, I got off to a little slow start, but it was nice to fight back, definitely take a lot from that.

Q. With the expected change of conditions tomorrow how hard is that to adjust to in a final round when you played it the same all week?
GARY WOODLAND: It just allows you to be more aggressive. I'm very confident with where my game is, in the past it might have affected me a little bit, but I feel very good changing. I think it suits me, when it's not blowing it suits me as much as it does when it is, so I'm excited about it.

Q. If you're such a good putter now why did you look so shocked when that eagle putt went in?
GARY WOODLAND: I wasn't as shocked, I just saw somebody's face in the background, they weren't too happy that the ball went in, so it made me laugh. I enjoyed that.

Q. Who was it?
GARY WOODLAND: I don't know. It was somebody in the crowd.

Q. It wasn't a relative, was it?
GARY WOODLAND: No, it wasn't. So that made me laugh. That was what, more than anything, it was nice to see that go in just to make them not happy.

Q. Did you have any sense that your lead was, you were tied at that point?
GARY WOODLAND: I didn't. I saw a couple holes before me maybe Rory was playing well, but I was just out there trying to make birdies. I knew I had a couple par-5s coming in. Conditions were a little down today so I could play a little more aggressively and you're just out there trying to extend the lead, I was just trying to get as many birdies as I can and hopefully I can out birdie everybody.

Q. A little weird to be sitting on a 54-hole lead at 3 p.m. what do you have planned for the rest of the day with all this time off?
GARY WOODLAND: I'll get back and watch a little bit of the football. I know there's a little bit of the last football game's on right now. But it's pretty easy to rest after walking this golf course every day. You don't have to worry about that here.

Q. I know that schedules factor into whether or not guys come here and play, and depending on what kind of schedule. Can you ever imagine being qualified for this event and not playing?
GARY WOODLAND: No. I love coming over here, I love the golf course, it really suits me well, it allows me to hit a lot of drivers. I like next week as well. So I love coming to Hawaii, I brought my family every year I've been here, so it's kind of been a family trip as well. But I like to get going. I don't like to take too much time off. And this is obviously a short field, you got to think it's one of your better chances to win with only 30 guys in the field, some guys probably haven't been here before and maybe have taken some time off and are a little rusty coming in so I think it's definitely one to come out and be aggressive.

Q. I asked Rory the same question, just different location. How much did you develop your game in the wind in Kansas compared with Florida? What had more of an impact?
GARY WOODLAND: The wind blows, I grew up, the wind blows 25 miles an hour a day. I'm just used to the wind. It's just something in college you are out there hitting balls, it's blowing all over the place, a lot of people probably aren't practicing in that weather, we had to. So I'm very comfortable in the wind I enjoy the wind and I think that's, one, it's more of an attitude than anything. Everybody can hit the shots but coming in with a positive attitude and really enjoying it and taking in the moment definitely helps in that kind of conditions.

RACHEL NOBLE: Thanks for your time, Gary.

GARY WOODLAND: Thanks, guys.

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