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May 7, 2019

Matt Wallace

Hillside, Southport, England

TOM CARLISLE: Welcome to the Betfred British Masters. You've had a few weeks off since your last appearance. How has that time been off and have you been working on anything in particular

MATT WALLACE: Yeah, I had to. Didn't feel like I swung it great at all from be probably the Match Play up to the Masters, and then Hilton Head. Worked hard, as I normally do, but probably needed that break to really look at the swing and dive into that and trying to figure out a way to get it back on track to what it was, and done some really good stuff in the two weeks. Rocky and me, we're very happy with where we're at.

TOM CARLISLE: Nice to see the golf course this morning?

MATT WALLACE: Yeah, back in 2011 when I played the British Amateur, different player than I was then. Great golf course. Fantastic quality. I mean, I played out there this morning, 7.30, and I mean, beautiful. The greens are really good this morning, as well, so yesterday, not so much. Today, a lot better. Really good quality. So come Thursday, they should be perfect.

TOM CARLISLE: Nice to play a tournament on home soil in May, as well?

MATT WALLACE: Yeah, to come back after long trips way and to come here, drive up here, back on The European Tour, and I'm ready to get going.

Q. How was your experience when you won the Par 3 Contest and the curse is still alive?
MATT WALLACE: Yeah, the curse is still strong. Loved it. I probably had the best buildup anyone could ever have playing Sunday, first-ever time, playing on my own on Monday, back nine in the morning, just perfect. And then playing with Rory on the Wednesday for nine holes, probably the favourite for the week, and never played with him before. We set it up a couple weeks in advance and to be able to play with him was special, and with the crowds, as well.

Long day on Wednesday in the end. Obviously having to play three extra holes, and then do the media stuff, as well. I'll learn from that next time, as well. Should be better off next time.

Q. Did they give you the option of not coming?
MATT WALLACE: No, not at all. Go and get on with it. I wish I had finished a little bit sooner, but I had to walk up those stairs from 9 to 8 twice, which is quite long, but no, to win the Par 3, I've watched it all my life. It's so nice and pretty special to win that one. But yeah, didn't play well in the tournament. Didn't swing it great. Didn't really have a game plan, backup plan, if I didn't drive it well and I didn't put myself in position.

You're always learning from these mistakes and taking them forward to next year.

Q. How did you get --
MATT WALLACE: In the second round. I qualified -- I think I came up against the No. 1 seed in the first round and beat him, but then I lost actually in the second round.

Q. What's changed in your game from 2011?
MATT WALLACE: Ball-striking. Driving. Yeah, I used to hit some horrendous shots, some really bad shots. Just really swing-based. Mentally, I was good, but mentally I could see the shot I wanted to hit but I couldn't execute it, so I had to change a lot of stuff to be able to execute shots.

I'm able to do that now. I wasn't able to do that two weeks ago. This is what I said, a lot of people say, why do you think so much about the swing and blah, blah, blah. I feel the execution needs to be right for the ball to be able to do what you want it to do.

Q. Last year, you won, and your career started zooming up. The same week this year, you're playing the Match Play. Justin Harding had a similar rise and now he's your stablemate. Do you have any advice?
MATT WALLACE: I don't think he needs any advice. He's got his own plan. He's playing over in the States quite a lot. Feels it's suited to his game.

But he's done a rise that I'm familiar with, so I can understand what he's doing. He's just playing everywhere and anywhere he can trying to get in every tournament. That's the only way that he'll be thinking right now.

Of course, I remember India last year. Still to this day, probably the biggest tournament I've won. To get to where I am today, I had to win that event to then set me up for the rest of the year. Being my second European Tour event, the first one wasn't a fluke sort of thing, and this one backed it up in India, and to finish it off the way I did, as well, in my first-ever playoff was pretty special.

Q. Thoughts on defending?
MATT WALLACE: I wanted to defend it but I think playing the WGC was a progression that I needed to go and do. I needed to play against the best players in the world and see where I'm at, and those weeks, I obviously was a little bit further away than where I want to be but I'm on a progression now where in a few -- well, hopefully in a couple years' time, I'll be winning some majors and then I'll look back, the Hero Indian Open was the start to all that.

Q. What you were saying about executing shots, at what point in your career did you feel that you had turned the corner in that respect?
MATT WALLACE: When I started working on my swing. When I started -- I went to go and see a swing coach called Matt Belsham and the first thing he said to me when I went for a lesson was, "You must be a good chipper and putter, because your swing isn't."

I was like, wow, no one's ever said that to me, like brutally honest. But I needed that because there's so much wishy-washy coaches out there that say, oh, no, you're good, or giving the positive boost that someone might need, when actually, I'm a straightforward guy, you tell me how it is and I'll get working on it.

So working with Rocky and Liam, if it's slightly out -- well, during the middle of the round in México, changed my grip. I didn't want to hit it left and I had a strong grip and we had to change this during the tournament. I'm not scared to do that because I know in the long run, it might be better for me.

I can still produce and I can still execute and still play, but I might give up that week with a chance of winning to where down the line, I'm going to be able to win the big tournaments.

Q. How good is it that this tournament seems to be opening up good golf courses?
MATT WALLACE: Amazing. To be able to travel around this country, Walton Heath was great last year, and then to come up here, playing Northwestern, showing the crowds hopefully a fun week, and Tommy being the host, as well, he's going to be a fantastic host. Hopefully somewhere down the line I can emulate that and copy what he's done and hopefully have a Matt Wallace British Masters.

Q. As a kid, were you interested in technique at all? Did you look at books?
MATT WALLACE: Yeah, funny enough, I wasn't -- I think I got Tiger Woods's book, and maybe one of Jack Nicklaus's books. When I Tiger won, I was religiously looking at it but it was more about shots than actual technique, whereas now I dive into it the technique a lot. Mac O'Grady, the M.O.R.A.D. sort of system, position-wise, which I think is really good for the swing. I think if you can hit positions in the swing, you can hit the shots that you need to do.

For me, if I can execute, if I can pull off swings and let my passion and my take over for the last nine holes, both of those together can match up quite nicely in tournaments.

Q. Can we expect a British Masters at Moorpark?
MATT WALLACE: That would be cool. I've got a few affiliations and attachments, I think The Belfry being one. It's had the British Masters there. It's held numerous Ryder Cups. I know they want the tournament back there. I know they do.

I mean, it's just a brilliant matchup. It's the middle of the country. It's easy to get to. It's got everything set up to hold a big tournament. Hopefully we can get a tournament there. I mean, even if it's not attached to me, I mean, to get a tournament back at The Belfry would be pretty cool.

Q. How big a factor has David been in your success?
MATT WALLACE: He's the main guy, isn't he. He's my side kick. We do everything together. There's two things I see in David. One thing, he let's me go when he knows it's the times that we go with experience, which is what he does. And the second time is to kick in, either tell me to give myself a mental slap to get myself going because he knows I'm not up for it. And secondly, to use his experience to plot his way around golf courses that know other caddie can sometimes do.

Some places he's been to and I just can't believe how good he is at strategizing his way around golf courses because he's been around there so many teams. Next week, he's been there plenty of times and nearly won those tournaments. It's so key for me to turn up next week knowing that he's done that, and I can just rely on him massively.

Q. It's great that you and Tommy and Eddie are here, the young wave coming through, but do you think it's a bit of a shame because of where it is in the schedule that it hasn't got some of the Top-10s and people like Rory and Justin?
MATT WALLACE: Yeah, it changed from last year. The PGA's changed, as well. I was talking about it in the clubhouse, it is a shame, a massive shame. I see the British Masters probably just behind the PGA in the rankings for myself, so this event is huge. I've struggled to miss this event.

They have done a great job in getting the players here that they can. But it's just like any national event, even Denmark the week after the PGA, you've got most of the Danish guys there playing. I wouldn't say this is a lesser event or a bigger event than Denmark. I would say it's come at a time that's unfortunate in the schedule, but I would never miss this event.

Q. Eddie got a lot of publicity for winning last year and there was rumours that the tournament was dead and his victory helped, having another home winner?
MATT WALLACE: Yeah, Eddie, he's a massive character and that can only help the game of golf. He's a brilliant player, but I think Tommy forefronting this event, in the position he's in at such a young age; he said it himself that it's such an honor to be able to host it, and around here; that I think that gives its own sort of uniqueness to this tournament. It means so much it to some players, it definitely does myself and it will to Eddie and to Tommy. That's why we're here. He's a huge British fan and obviously European Ryder Cup player, and he could be one of many that will hopefully carry this tournament on.

I think if we can try to carry on the British Masters, it's such a big event, maybe make it a Rolex Series Event or something and get people back.

Q. You touched on it earlier on when you talked about winning majors a couple years down line. What do you think is missing for you to be able to do that, if anything?
MATT WALLACE: Currently I've now got a new team, literally in the last couple weeks. I've managed to get Steve MacGregor on board. Helped Rory and Lee Westwood get to world No. 1 in their time they worked together, and Steve's been brilliant. He's already helped me elevate where I've got to and where I want to go to, and we've got a system and we've got a plan now. So it's not going to be when I've come on to The European Tour; it's always been like this week is going to be my last week on Tour, sort of thing. That was the strategy.

So I would get so hyped for it, but if I did miss a cut, it might take me two or three weeks to get over it. Like it's shown where I had a couple missed cuts last year where it might be three or four in a row, but then I want to get the week -- after which people go out and do that. I was very particular for that week, "I want to win, I want to win." Whereas now, it's going to be more of a bigger picture in the long run. We're going to win these events. It's going to happen. It might take a bit of time. It might take a bit of process. We've got that in and on board now, and that's my plan.

I've always planned I want to be Top-10 player in the world. That's always been my goal, because once you get there, you've got a chance of being No. 1. So my plan is to try and get there, somehow, some way, and I'm going to give it my all for these next few years.

Q. Was there any particular problem you had that you got Steve on board?
MATT WALLACE: Well, himself, it was through Chubby and myself that we wanted someone on board who could help us really take our next step. Not saying it got to a point where I felt like I wasn't doing things right, but I wasn't doing it in the way that I wanted to do and the way that I thought could get to Top-10 in the world. We had most things in place.

I said to Chubby, I have everything ticked off but it's in pencil rather than pen. I needed it confirmed. I needed it nailed, like this is the approach we're going to take and we're not messing Arnie more. We've got a chance to really take this on and take it to the next level, and Steve, he's one of the best at doing that. A lot of you guys know who he is, and he's been around and he's been out of the game for a little while and now he's back in.

I'm stoked to have him as part of my team, and it's given me that extra bit of energy and a bit of a buzz to know that the next few years, we could do some big things, and that's nice to know.

TOM CARLISLE: Thank you very much for your time and good luck this week.

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