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May 8, 2019

Eddie Pepperell

Hillside, Southport, England

THE MODERATOR: Delighted to be joined by our defending champion, Eddie Pepperell here at Hillside. Eddie, welcome. It's your first European title defense. You must be looking forward to this week.

EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, I am. It's a shame for Mr. Todd, but certainly being back here is nice, and the first time playing Hillside, as well. Played nine yesterday on the back nine, and good to see it for the first time. Yeah, good draw, as well, playing with Thomas, and Stevie, of course.

Q. Had a few weeks off since Hilton Head. Nice to be home?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, it was. When I said I enjoyed every second of it in America, it was probably true. Yeah, I mean, a good experience to be out there, to be fair, and enjoyed that part of it, but yeah, I was more than ready to get home. My body was a bit beaten up from the travel, and yeah, it was nice to spend a couple weeks there.

Q. With this being your first title defense, is there a change of mentality, or just looking forward to the week ahead?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, there's no real change. I'm curious to see how I feel tomorrow. I'm expecting to feel quite relaxed, but I might not. It certainly felt a bit strange coming back this week having not been in Europe for ages, and just being in a completely different environment and getting used to that, when you come back here, it just feels quite strange. There may be a bit of getting used to that tomorrow, but I feel quite relaxed, and as always -- well, I try to always focus very hard on my game, so that's occupying my mind.

Q. Have you analyzed what's strange?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: About this -- I guess just -- well, from everything, just the registry process to seeing faces I haven't seen for a while again. It's a bit like going back to school for the first day in a way. Yeah, it's felt a little different. I've never come to a Tour event feeling like this, or like that I should say. So there's that, I think. But it's been nice to see everyone again, and yeah, it was just that kind of feeling I had during registration, I guess.

Q. What did you learn from your time in the States, and has it sort of reaffirmed your desire not to make that full time?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, they don't do -- well, there's another thing they don't do that I think we do well here. The one thing I realised when I spend a lot of time over there is how much I love Europe, and Europe is a continent, all the places we travel to. Listen, the events were brilliant, and I really enjoyed testing myself in that environment on those courses. I found it challenging, and that was nice. I felt like I was ready for that at this point in my career. So there's certain aspects of it that I really loved and I felt were valuable for my game. But you know, I do like (inaudible), so it was just nice to come home and eat proper veg and proper meat and just the things that we have over here that maybe we don't have over there. No, it was certainly on the whole good.

Q. You say you only played nine holes today --
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, so I played the back nine yesterday, and that's the first time I've seen it. Yeah, it's awesome. I see why so many golfing greats have said what they've said about the back nine in particular. Visually it didn't feel like a links -- it reminded me a bit of form by, which I played years ago. I don't remember it very well, but it seemed to have a similar look to it, just lots of -- what do you call it, it's not gorse. You know what it is, it's the stuff around there. Yeah, the framing of the holes are beautiful.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about (indiscernible)?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, watching it when Stevie won (indiscernible) until the last hole, it was great to see. I know he's had a bit of a rough spell, but the last couple years he's made it up as well as he can, and certainly with his dad on the bag I thought was particularly sweet. So great to see that. Yeah, I've always liked Stevie's company, to be honest. It's great for him. Yeah, Stevie has always been a good guy to me.

Q. (Indiscernible).
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Yeah, I mean, this week I feel like I'm close to -- it feels pretty close in practice. It certainly feels closer than it did on the Wednesday of British Masters last year. That was terrible that day. The way things can change, I never like to feel too confident on a Wednesday because it doesn't last. Yeah, I don't know what to expect from my game. I know there's a bit of weakness at the moment in there somewhere, but I feel like around this course with the conditions, I can skirt my way around that and manage to shoot four good scores. This week I'm quietly confident I guess you could say, but I don't feel like I've played well at all this year. I haven't swung the club as well as I have last year and the year before that. So to have done what I've been able to do so far over the span of a year, I've made the most of it, and that's a positive. So if I can find some form swinging like that, then I'm pretty confident I'll come out this year better than last. Yeah, quiet optimism.

Q. The conditions, do you think four days of this (indiscernible)?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: Well, it was only a Sunday when it rained, and the rest of the week was just breezy. It's lovely. I like playing in the wind, and I think the forecast we've got probably is going to be similar. I don't see much rain but obviously a fair bit of breeze. Yeah, I think that's great. You want to come to these courses and be playing these types of courses in windy conditions. When you get flat, calm conditions the course becomes something it shouldn't be. I've got the driver in the bag and then a 1-iron, so my plan is to keep it as low as possible for four days.

Q. Can you tell us what your weakness is?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: I've just been suffering a little bit lately with, technically speaking, a bit of a weakish club face. The one positive is I haven't been able to hit it left, so when I think back to Sawgrass, and it might have been back to the Open last year where I don't remember hitting one shot where I wanted to hit it really, but I never hit it left, so I could stand on the 18th at Sawgrass and think, well, I'm not going to make a double at least. In a funny kind of way, Heritage was exactly the same. It wasn't like I was playing well. I wasn't. But when you're never hitting one side of the golf course, you can get around the golf course. That's where I've been living for a little while, and I think that's why I've been able to make cuts, but I haven't been high up because I haven't been hitting good golf shots. Yeah, I want to fix that without obviously bringing in the miss. So that's probably why this week I'm probably not going to play with my 3-wood. Whenever the wind has been off the left, that's when I've brought my 3-wood out to keep it low, but I've been stroking it lately with my 3-wood high and right, so I'm going to put the 1-iron in for left-to-right wind and use my driver when it's suited. But I haven't seen the course and I don't want it to rain too much because I want it to be a bit firm on the fairways. Having played the back nine yesterday, there was really only one tee shot where you have to probably hit driver, and that was on the last, 18th. It's not long, but it does suit a positional play. 250 off the tee is quite right. So I think, yeah, that's my plan.

Q. When can we expect an Eddie Pepperell hosted British Masters?
EDDIE PEPPERELL: I don't think that can happen for a while for a number of reasons, (indiscernible) probably being number one. No, listen, I mean, firstly, I don't think I've had the career to host this tournament, so there's that, and there's other stuff, as well. Yeah, it's nice to be here for Tommy and support him. Yeah, it's good.

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