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March 31, 2019
NICK PARKER: I'd like to welcome in the champion of the 2019 World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner.
Your first World Golf Championships win, what's going through your mind at the moment?
KEVIN KISNER: I'm not sure. It's racing a little bit. It's a big week, long weekend. Grueling, not only from the mental side, but the physical side. A lot of golf and a lot of stressful holes and stressful putts that I was able to prevail and had a great week. Love Austin Country Club, love Austin, Texas, and love being out here.
NICK PARKER: This moves you inside the top 10 in the FedExCup standings and greatly improves your chance of getting on the Presidents Cup team. Just how big of a week was this for the rest of your season.
KEVIN KISNER: A win is always huge. That's what we play for, is wins and trophies. But we want to be in that FedExCup playoffs. We want to have a chance in Atlanta to win the FedExCup. And we're always working the entire year to see where it goes. And it's going to do a huge deal for the rest of my season to have a chance in Atlanta, and to hopefully play on Tiger's team in Australia.
Q. You talked about how grueling it's been. What was kind of the turning point today, when you look back at last year and you said the importance of rest. Did you get that and kind of what was different?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, so last year I felt like I rushed around to get ready to play in the second match. I ran around in eight really fast, ran back out. Tried to go through my whole normal routine in an hour to get ready, and that's just not feasible and how much golf you played. I hung out, took a shower, chilled out, got some treatment on my body and really went to the range at 2:05, and teed off at 2:25. I just went and hit 20 balls and went to the tee. I think that greatly helped my mental side of the game as much as anything. I wasn't overhyped for it and just tried to go play a casual round of golf.
Q. How did you prepare this afternoon, regardless of scores and status and all that stuff, your game this morning and afternoon?
KEVIN KISNER: I don't think I played my best all week, really. I don't think you really -- it's so hard to tell because you're not really playing for a score, you're playing more to situational golf in match play than you are trying to go shoot 68 or 9 or 7 or whatever.
I feel like I just did what I needed to do. I know Matt didn't play well today. Him making only two birdies the entire day is unlike him, and he gave more bogeys than I've ever seen. I thought it would be a big par and birdie-fest out there.
But the golf course is hard and it's a long week. A couple of bounces in the wrong section of the greens, and it's a difficult two-putt for par.
Q. You mentioned the Presidents Cup, what did that Presidents Cup at Liberty National do, not just for your confidence but how much you like this format?
KEVIN KISNER: That's the most fun I've probably ever had playing golf was playing team golf. I played team sports growing up and missed the camaraderie of team golf and being a part of it, especially the way we won. It was so much fun. And having it in New York is also huge.
I'd love to get a try on foreign soil and see if we couldn't be the bad guys.
Q. Rory McIlroy mentioned about how the mental aspect of this tournament seems to almost be more taxing than the physical aspect. Would you agree with that?
KEVIN KISNER: A hundred percent, because I feel like bogeys in a stroke play event, you feel like you can come back from them. Here you feel like you're giving away a hole. A hole is a hard thing to attain, for some reason, in match play. So the aspect of the mental side of dealing with that is a lot different.
I'm always out there trying not to give away holes, and then when you do, it would just beat you up. And I think over the course of six or seven rounds, I think he's right.
Q. How long did that loss last year to Bubba stick with you? Were you able to get past it pretty quickly? And did it linger for a while?
KEVIN KISNER: I felt I got past it pretty quickly because I was in contention at Hilton Head a couple weeks after. I was most disappointed with the way I performed. I felt like something was amiss if I came out and played the way I did. It didn't feel like a quirk to me. That was the hardest part to get over, is something wrong with my golf swing and my chipping and putting? And to work through that was the toughest mental side.
Q. And also I wanted to ask you, did you feel like you and Duane played with a bit of a heavy heart this week?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, you know one of his good friends passed away this week. Been battling ALS for a number of years. He had been wearing it on the side of his cap all week, and I actually didn't know he passed away until I looked on the side of his cap on Tuesday or Wednesday and saw "RIP" under it.
So he was our biggest fan. Duane said he sat there every day and watched us. Even though they'd never show us on TV, he was always looking for us. So we had a little guardian angel watching over us for sure this week.
Q. The elements were not ideal today. It felt like a December day in Austin. Talk about or describe battling through the wind, the overcast. Did it feel like you were in Britain?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, it felt a lot like the British Open early. The north winds was brutal. The front nine for sure this morning, just chapping your face, and you couldn't get away from it. Holes 5 and 6 straight in the wind, it was freezing. It had to be in the low 40s and the wind chill. And then when we got to the 15th tee this afternoon I was out there sweating.
What a day, you know? Welcome to Texas. Wait a minute and it will change.
Food is better here by far.
Q. Kiz, do you ever look back to the days you were playing on the back roads of professional golf? And what's it say about you about how far you've come from those days to now?
KEVIN KISNER: For sure. If you'd have told me I'd be sitting here ten years ago, I would probably have told you you were crazy. I think it shows in my grind. That's what I do. I'm just a grinder. My whole career I've grinded. I've had ups and downs throughout it. I've won on every tour, every level. And had tremendous downfalls on every tour and every level.
So I pride myself in the way I pick myself up and keep grinding.
Q. If you pick one match, what would be the most important one?
KEVIN KISNER: You know, I told the guys earlier that losing to Poulter put me behind the 8 ball huge, I felt like. And then obviously meeting him on the first tee in the playoff, winning that playoff I felt catapulted me to having a chance to win the golf tournament. That's when I finally felt like we can do it.
Q. You talked about playing on foreign soil, not getting the chance to play in Paris. How much of a driving factor has that been or kind of a bit of a chip on your shoulder?
KEVIN KISNER: There's two sides to it. I don't think it's driven me to do anything more. I'm probably the most driven personal guy there is. I'm striving to be the best all the time for myself. But I didn't play well in the playoffs. I gave Jim no reason to pick me. And that's what I told Jim. He kept calling me all week, I'm like, "Dude, these golf courses are terrible for me, but I'm trying my best."
I was not on form to go over there. I know the golf course suited me perfect. He had a terribly hard -- who was he going to take out? Was he going to leave Phil at home and take Kiz? Nobody is going to do that, right? Even though hindsight is 20/20, everybody should have taken Kiz (laughter). I loved Westwood's comment this week, being a little cheeky.
Jim and I are great friends and I kept telling him, "Jim, if I could just play well, it would help me out," but I never did. So I have no problem with that.
Q. With the quality of American players right now that we have on Tour, how much more difficult is to get onto the Presidents Cup team? And with Tiger being captain, does it add to the motivation? And how much fun would it be to play under his leadership?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I can't wait. I look forward to Tiger having to sit himself down. That's going to be the most fun is, hey, you can't play this week. You can't play today, Tiger, sorry.
I think there's no doubt he'll be a playing captain. I hope to be a part of it. And I think it would be really a cool team atmosphere to have a playing captain. Only playing in one, I think it would be a really cool deal. He would really be in the grind and understand what was going on, and I think it would be awesome.
Q. Is it harder to make his teams with the quality of American players?
KEVIN KISNER: A hundred percent. Every kid I see hits it 350 that makes putts now. It's not going to change, and the quality of golf is going to only get better. The game is in great hands. We just need the superstars to keep playing well.
Q. I had a couple of things: You had an easy time with Poulter last year. That was the quarters, though, wasn't it?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I think it was Saturday.
Q. When you play such a strong opponent and a good match against Frankie in the morning, can you suffer any kind of letdown or do you worry about that?
KEVIN KISNER: No, I didn't, really. I felt like Frankie is probably playing as good as anyone on the planet right now. And that was going to be a very difficult match. And much like Kooch this afternoon, he probably gave me more holes than I ever imagined would be possible, and I was fortunate to take advantage of it.
It's one of those deals, I tell people all the time, when you win things happen for you. You can go along and finish 30th on this Tour and feel like you're playing great all the time. But when you win, good things happen. And this week they made bogeys when I needed them to make bogeys.
Q. The other thing, when you go back to the road you took to get to the Tour, which was a long, hard one, and you win and then you win again. When you have spells when you don't win --
KEVIN KISNER: It sucks.
Q. What does that do for you, besides sucking? Does it make you drive harder? Do you ever worry about, man, I can't let up?
KEVIN KISNER: I think you've just got to appreciate the wins more. I think the era of the Tiger winning every week or six times a year is going to be hard and harder now with the quality of golf. And you've got to appreciate it. You've got to appreciate the grind when you finish 40th or 30th, like I have every week this year. You have to keep grinding and know that sooner or later that bounce is going to happen for you.
NICK PARKER: Is it even a little sweeter to get the win over a Yellow Jacket.
KEVIN KISNER: Hundred percent. Go Dogs.
Q. Given some of your wins, are you a player that feels like you can beat anyone on Tour, that you're as good as anyone out here or does it depend on courses for you?
KEVIN KISNER: Courses a hundred percent. I mean, I just don't have the tools that some guys have as far as distance. My type of game suits me well in certain conditions, and this is one of them.
Q. Jokingly I asked the fans here today, there was no Tiger, we already touched base on the weather and the elements. So that decreased the attendance a little bit today. But the sun broke out. When looking back on this whole week here in Austin, what is it about this Austin crowd and gallery that sets its itself apart from the rest of the Tour?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, traffic is pretty fun, No. 1 (laughter). They say "Keep Austin weird", I say it's plenty weird with the traffic.
No, Austin or Texas in general to me is a lot like where I grew up in South Carolina, a lot of the same type of people. And Austin Country Club is a great venue and beautiful backdrop and the people are so similar to what I grew up with that I feel right at home here.
Q. Talking about the courses, would you compare this to Colonial or Hilton Head as far as if you played a stroke play event here would you have the same feeling that you do there?
KEVIN KISNER: It's a Pete Dye, which I do pretty well on over the course of time. But I'm not sure. I'm not sure that I would. There's too much room off the tee. Guys I see that there's not as much rough and guys can play from odd areas that I've noticed this week. But the Hilton Heads and the Colonials you don't play from there. I think that's the biggest difference is there's more room here. Now the speed in the fairways that's my cut of tee, when I see that ball tumbling, that's what I'm talking about, exactly.
Q. At this stage in your career does money matter to you? In other words you won --
KEVIN KISNER: (Nodding.) (Laughter.) Yes, sir.
Q. Can you elaborate?
KEVIN KISNER: When I started golfing I had 16,000 bucks.
Q. That much?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah. And my dad gave it to me. And I never asked him for another dollar. And I think that's probably the coolest part of my career is I had to make putts when it mattered starting at a young age and I learned to do it. And when you've got to make a putt to clear money for the week to fill your car up or drive back home it makes you a stronger person. So money has driven me my whole life.
Q. How low did that 16,000 get?
KEVIN KISNER: Never went low, I won my third event.
Q. How high did it get before you got through it?
KEVIN KISNER: Man, I had like 40 grand, I thought I was the richest guy in the world (laughter).
Q. I'm sorry, what were the -- were you paying for your entry fee or was it one of --
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, you pay your entry fee on the Mini Tour. So when I started it paid my entry fee.
Q. For each tournament or for a series of them?
KEVIN KISNER: No, I just paid by the tournament and I won money on each one and then I won my third one.
Q. So you won your third tournament?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah.
Q. Congratulations belatedly. How much was that paycheck?
KEVIN KISNER: I think 16 grand (laughter). Ironically, I think it doubled my money.
Q. Do you know what you won today?
KEVIN KISNER: No idea.
Q. One million, seven hundred --
KEVIN KISNER: That's it? We need to get bigger purses (laughter). That was a lot of work.
Q. I guess my point is before you interrupted me a long time ago --
KEVIN KISNER: It's not the last time I'll interrupt you.
Q. But you won your first biggie at Sea Island, another check and some other nice finishes and money is starting to pile up. Was there ever a shock value or a deep appreciation value at the first big one?
KEVIN KISNER: No, I'm the cheapest guy in the world. I hoard that money like crazy, because I don't know when it's going to run out, and I don't want it to run out and I don't know how long I'm going to be able to make ten-footer.
Q. Do you know what your career money is?
KEVIN KISNER: Probably about 19 million.
Q. Thereabouts. I think you're overstating it a little bit by a million.
KEVIN KISNER: I don't know. Yeah, I've got about 700 on the Web Tour. You gotta add into that.
Q. Sorry, you've got about 19 million.
KEVIN KISNER: There you go.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports