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July 10, 2019

Matthew Wolff

Silvis, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Matthew Wolff to the interview room here at the John Deere Classic. Thanks for joining us for a few minutes. Obviously coming off a pretty remarkable past few days, winning last week's 3M Open. There's all kinds of things I could rattle off, what you did to get that victory. Among other things, PGA TOUR membership with a two-year exemption and that bumps you up to 72nd in the FedExCup standings, and the way you won last week was obviously pretty remarkable.

I was standing with Bryson when the roar from your antics on the 72nd hole dropped, and his comment was, "This guy has made everything this week."

With that said, just a few comments now that things have had a chance to settle in and get your thoughts on the win.

MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I still don't know if it's settled in really. It's been pretty unreal the last few days have been summed up as not a lot of sleep and a lot of moving parts and everything. But yeah, I'm really thankful for the ability to play on the PGA TOUR, and now that I've gotten my card, it's a lot of weight off my shoulders. Those six starts or seven that you get, but I only got six, are a pretty quick, I'd say, little run that you have to play in order to get your card, and just thankful that I only took three of those.

But it was an unreal experience. Bryson and Collin really made me a little nervous coming down the stretch, and kind of just soaked everything in. Obviously it turned out my way, but it was an awesome learning experience, and just happy that that putt went in on the last hole.

THE MODERATOR: With that said, just some thoughts on being here at the John Deere Classic this week. I know you were originally slated as a sponsor invite. I'm sure you probably heard great things about the course and the tournament and so forth. Just some initial thoughts on the course and how you kind of see it setting up for your game.

MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, my caddie kind of told me that this course is a little bit like last week, just the driving aspect and kind of the way it sets up. I played it for the Monday pro-am, and I kind of realized that it was more of a course that suited my eye pretty well, and I like the look of it.

It's in amazing shape, and obviously the past champions are pretty decorated, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker. Jordan Spieth had his first win here, Ryan Moore and Michael Kim last year. It's an event that people know about and people rave about, and obviously I'm playing this as an official PGA TOUR member now, but the sponsor exemption that Clair Peterson gave me, I'm really thankful for that, and it was just a really cool experience.

Like I said, it's an honor to be playing out here against the best players in the world, and hope to maybe get my second win this week.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned Jordan Spieth. With your win, you became the youngest player to win on TOUR since Jordan won here in 2013. Was that ever anything that ever entered your mind in terms of winning as quickly out here as you did?

MATTHEW WOLFF: I wouldn't say it entered my mind until after I saw the stats. I was 20 and a couple months, and I think he was 19. So he clipped me by a little bit.

But I think that just kind of shows the NCAA and how strong it is now. We're so ready as soon as we play to come out here and compete against the best players in the world, and it gives us a lot of confidence. Knowing that Jordan won so quickly out here, knowing that I can do it, Collin, Viktor, they've all had great finishes in the last couple weeks, and even though I didn't play great in my first couple starts, it gave me confidence knowing that in college we kind of battled it out, and I can compete with those guys, and they're doing it, so why can't I.

You know, like I said, just gave me a lot of confidence, and it's a cool experience playing out here with guys that I played in college with.

Q. A couple months ago we get the press release from Clair that Viktor, Collin and yourself were going to be the sponsor exemptions. As you go to Vegas and you look at the odds-on favorites to win the John Deere Classic, you three are at the very top. Did you know that, and what are your thoughts on going from sponsor exemptions to being the odds-on favorites to win?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, it's really special. I didn't know about that until I saw it on Twitter last night, and I think Viktor was like 18:1 and then I'm 25 or something like that. It's not extremely important. Obviously Vegas isn't always right. But it's really cool to see that. Knowing that our games translate really well to the pros and so many people have belief in us to play well. That gives me a lot of confidence seeing -- because sometimes you feel like coming off last week, I feel I have a lot of confidence, but knowing that other people see that, as well, and have belief in you just gives you more confidence, and I'm really happy to see Viktor and Collin playing well, and hope that we can make those odds go down a little bit.

Q. You mentioned all the text messages that you had on your phone, and I was wondering if you've actually made your way through all of those yet, and maybe one that sort of stood out to you from someone that you didn't think had your number or somebody famous or anything like that?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I haven't gotten through all of them, not even close actually. I've actually gotten double texts from people that I haven't responded to yet, and I'm like, I'm sorry, man, it's a -- I think I still have 200, 300 texts to respond to, and I'm trying my best to get to all of them, especially because they're all people I know and all my friends. But it's a long list.

I'm trying to think -- Nick Price is friends with Hollis Cavner who gave me the exemption last week, and Nick Price texted me and said congratulations, and Greg Norman, all the greats in the game really. I played with Tom Lehman last week, and that was just an unreal experience and a real honor to walk the fairways with him and hear all the stories of what he's been through, which was really cool. But those two really stood out to me.

It's also cool, Kyle Rudolph after I won, he was there giving me -- shaking my hand after I got the trophy and Cole Swindell. There's a lot of people who kind of -- I feel like aren't in the game of golf that still have such a strong following to it. I think that's what's so cool about this game is it reaches such a broad spectrum, and I've been in contact with so many people that I never really would have thought I would have talked to or had anything in common with, and that was really cool to see, and hopefully it keeps on going that way.

Q. Where were you when Jordan won, and when did you first become aware that he won as a teenager and earned his card out here, and was that like an aha moment for a 13-year-old kid?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Well, when I was 13, I don't think I was thinking that. I was probably just finishing up middle school or something like that. Actually that's when I started working with George. I think I was 13. Yeah, freshman in high school.

To me it was just cool to see that, seeing a young guy win out there was really awesome. You see a lot more of that now, but I think he's really one to start that, and now you see all those young guys winning week in and week out, and it gives you a lot of belief and a lot of confidence that you can do the same thing. By no means is it easy. I'm not saying that these young guys are going to keep on winning. Yeah, like I said, it's not easy to do this, but seeing him do it, what I did last week, and just -- I feel like it just gives that kind of boost and that motivation to the younger generation. I'm talking about the younger generation, like I'm not in it. (Laughter.) But it gives you a lot of confidence to be able to do that and reach your goals like these young guys have.

Q. Talking about having teammates whether it's you and Viktor playing in the same tournament coming up together or Collin said him and Michael Kim, how much does that give you guys a sense of comfort out here when you are as young as you are playing on TOUR?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, it gives you a lot of comfort. I talked about it Saturday night when I saw that I was going to be playing with Collin in the final group, and I've played with Collin not only in college but in high school, as well. He grew up about 45 minutes to an hour or maybe three hours, depending on LA traffic. But yeah, we grew up pretty close to each other. We played high school golf together. We played junior golf together, and then we got to the college level, and now we're at the highest level.

I don't know if I would have been talking to Bryson coming down 17 if we were all tied like I was Collin, but just little things like that, it just makes you a lot more comfortable knowing that you have someone who you've been through all the stages with, you know how they are. Collin is an amazing guy, one of my favorites, throughout everything that we've been through. It was cool to share the moment with him. I've said that before, it kind of sucks to win against him because he's fighting for the same thing, but he was really gracious and happy for me as I would have been for him if he would have won, and when he gets his first win, when Viktor gets his first win, I'm going to be extremely happy for those guys and hope they can join me out here soon.

Q. Last week you mentioned you talked to your coach before the final round and he gave you some confidence. Can you talk to him after?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I FaceTimed him in the car ride over from Minneapolis to here. It was really cool to chat with him. He had Sung Kang who won -- are you talking about George?

Q. Yeah.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Okay, yeah. He had Sung Kang who won I think this last year, too, but I've been working with George for so long. Like I said, when I was 13 years old, freshman in high school is when I first started working with him. As soon as we started working together, we were talking about winning on the PGA TOUR and becoming No. 1 player in the world.

To finally be here after that long journey, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, and just to share that moment with him was really special. I wish he could have been here, but I'm sure he'll be coming to a lot more events now. And like I said, he's given me pretty much everything. He was more like a father figure to me. He picked me up and -- I would talk to him about other things than golf, too. He was there for me 24/7. Every single time he comes to events, he tells me, I'm here for you. He's obviously the most amazing guy. Like he'll help anyone who asks him and stuff. But when I need him, he's always there for me within -- he'll do anything to pretty much help me out, and it means a lot that I can share this moment with him and with the rest of my family that was there, as well.

Q. Give us a breakdown of Collin's swing and your analysis of his play.
MATTHEW WOLFF: I saw this on Twitter actually. I forgot who was breaking down his swing, but I feel like our swings are very similar but very different. And what I mean by that is in the places where you need to be coming down, in the slot, as he shovels it out, once he brings it back, and he has a very close stance, but he needs to be in all the right spots when it calls for it to hit a good shot. And I think that's the same thing with me. I've had a lot of criticisms with my swing about how I bring it back or my -- lifting my leg or little things like that. But if you break it down to anyone who knows golf, like my coach George or anyone out here, they know that at impact and in the spots that you need to look good, you do look good. And for him, I think that's the biggest thing because of how he finishes and how he rotates through the ball and just keeps on rotating.

It is pretty funny to the eye, as I would say my swing is, too, but I can see why he's had so much success, because in all the right spots he's where he needs to be. I mean, I love his swing. I think coming from me especially, you need to swing what you feel comfortable with and never change it because this is what has gotten him here, as my swing has gotten me here, so if it's not broken, don't fix it.

Q. No one knows your game better than you; what is your mindset approaching this week?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, it was -- I feel like I did that in college a lot, and I know my game better than anyone, but there's also people that do know my game extremely well or maybe just as well as I do. My coaches at Oklahoma State, Coach Bratton and Coach Darr, George does, and my caddie now Steve, he's been in contact with me for four or five months and watched me play numerous times before he started caddying for me. So he's learned a lot.

I think, like I said a thousand times, I had a lot of success in college, and I just played my own game. Didn't matter -- I didn't feel like I needed to conform to play any better against those college guys, and I feel like once I got out here that was tweaked a few things. I put a new driver in the bag as soon as I turned pro, new driver and 3-wood actually, and my stats went down on both, and I kind of just told myself, I need to go back to what I was doing and what brought me all the success in college. It's the same thing going back to my swing. If it's not broken, don't fix it. Why would I change what brought me all the success and what got me here, and so last week I did that and took a lot of drivers. George has told me a lot about be okay with all outcomes, so if there's water there, don't shy away from it. If you hit it in the water, it happens. No one is ever perfect. No one is ever going to never lose a ball or anything like that. It's part of golf, and it helped me kind of relax out there and do what I know how to do.

Q. Recognizing your focus is on the here and now, the top 5 players have an opportunity behind the highest ranking player who hasn't already qualified for the Open Championship to get on that charter Sunday night. Is that in the back of your mind?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I'd say it's in the back of my mind when I'm off the course. When I'm on the course, I'm not thinking about that, and that goes with anything. Getting my PGA TOUR card in those six starts, the money that comes with it, the endorsement deals that I have, none of that is in my mind on the course. The only thing that's in my mind is sticking to my game plan and doing what I know how to do and what I love to do and enjoying every moment of it.

When I'm off the course, I'd be lying if I was telling you it wasn't on my mind, but when I'm out there I'm just trying to hit every shot as good as I can, and being okay with all outcomes, which is what I just said.

Q. How much of that experience and that success from 3M do you think will help you this upcoming week?
MATTHEW WOLFF: A lot, definitely, knowing that I can handle the stage. And I know that pressure and trying to get my first TOUR win last week, it's kind of nice that I sealed the deal and know that I have that confidence to do that.

But just like I said, again, proving that I can play with these guys out here. They're very good, and you have to have your "A" game every single week if you want to contend or try to win. But at the same time, I know I can do it. I just did it, and I think there's a lot of guys, I guess, who kind of want to take me down, just like I want to take them down. I think I might have put a little target on my back, but at the same time, how do you think Brooks Koepka feels or how do you think Dustin Johnson feels? Everyone wants to take them down. So having that pressure, I feel like I live up to it, and I can deal with that. It makes me, I guess, play a little better, which is something that I pride myself on.

THE MODERATOR: Just some thoughts with the win, you have the two-year exemption, the events that you get into, the century Tournament of Champions in Maui, PLAYERS Championship, Masters, just some thoughts on that job security and also what your schedule is looking like coming up, the things that are available to you?

MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, it's a dream come true. I'll say that over and over again. My life changed as soon as that putt went in. Just everything, you know, the TOUR card, the Tournament of Champions, the Masters next year, THE PLAYERS, PGA TOUR. There's so many things that changed in my life, and I'm so thankful for it all. It really means a lot, and like I said, just that weight off my shoulders.

But the biggest thing for me is I can celebrate that win and I can live off of that, but it only lasts so long, and like I said, my goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world, and I think I recently just got into Memphis, so I'm going to go and play that. Hopefully I get into the Open. It might be a busy schedule for me, but just trying to keep on moving that World Ranking up, and the most important thing is this might be big goals, but FedExCup, that's a huge thing. It's a season-long race, and to be able to be so high so quickly just gives me more confidence to keep on going up. That Wyndham Rewards Top 10, like I said, on the course, I'm not thinking about that, but when I'm off the course that's in the back of my mind, and just what they do for the players that make it to that top 10, they've worked hard all year and played really well.

I've set myself up really nicely with winning the 3M Open to be able to get into the WGCs and the higher-end events that offer more FedExCup points, but I know if I play well in those, I can keep on working my way up and hopefully make it to the top.

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