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July 11, 2019

Roberto Diaz

Silvis, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: Roberto, congratulations on a fantastic start, 9-under 62 to get the week going here at the John Deere Classic. Did you feel a round like this coming on? Have you kind of been trending in this direction?

ROBERTO DIAZ: Yeah, I've been playing pretty good the whole -- since February I've been playing really solid. I changed my clubs around the end of January, and I put new shafts in it, and they've been working great. I've had a lot of solid rounds throughout the year. I played good in San Antonio the first two rounds, played good in the Wells Fargo, also. I played good at Travelers.

I just feel that everything clicked today. You know, I've been playing pretty solid throughout the year. The driver has been awesome. I've been hitting a lot of fairways, and today I hit good numbers all day, and that helps.

Q. Your chip on 17, that seemed to be a pretty delicate one. Tell us about that, what you had to think through.
ROBERTO DIAZ: Yeah, so this morning I saw a couple guys on the app. I follow the PGA TOUR Live, and I saw that that putt was pretty fast going down the hill. A lot of people were hitting that putt by, and I told my caddie that I needed to get it on the hill and just let it trickle. Luckily I had a good lie. It was not into the grain at all. It was side grain. So I was able to clip it nicely, and it just rolled down the hill.

I didn't expect to hit it to three feet, to be honest. I was going to be happy hitting it to 10 feet, and it went to three feet, and luckily I made the putt.

Q. You were No. 1 tee to green and in scrambling today, had a clean card, no bogeys. Talk about how everything was working for you from tee to green today.
ROBERTO DIAZ: Yeah, for the last three weeks, I hit the driver awesome. I hit the driver great at the Travelers. I think I was No. 1 in driving in Detroit. I just didn't take advantage of my wedges. And from Detroit on, I just started smashing wedges on the range and trying to get them dialed in. That's the best part of my game.

Today the work paid off. I made one from 100 yards on 10, and I would hit it to five to ten feet pretty much every time that I had a wedge from the fairway. I think I had a wedge from the rough on 5 or 6, I can't remember the hole, but it was from the rough. I caught a flier, but I got a good number.

I think the work that I've been putting in in the last couple weeks, it's starting to pay off, and obviously it's crunch time. We have four more tournaments to go, and I'm trying to get into the Playoffs.

Q. I was going to ask you about that eagle. That pin was back. Did you have a taste for going at that pin or were you that dialed in with your wedges that you could hit that shot?
ROBERTO DIAZ: No, pretty much if it's inside 100 yards, I'm trying to make it.

Q. You mentioned playing well at the next tournaments. What do you need to do to stack another round like that on today's round?
ROBERTO DIAZ: I think if I keep doing what I'm doing from tee to green, I think if the putts keep falling in, I just have to be patient. I just haven't been patient throughout the year. I tend to be impatient whenever I'm putting, and I don't really give myself a lot of chances to make the putts.

I think that if your speed matches your line, you have a better chance to make them. As soon as I don't see one go in, I start trying to hit it firmer and firmer and firmer, and then when you have four or five feet coming back this late in the afternoon when the greens are all with spike marks and stuff, it's tough to make those five-footers coming back.

Today one of the things we talked about on the way here, actually I MDF'd last week, and on the way here, my caddie told me, try to dial them in, so we've been working all week trying to dial the putts in and dial the putts in, and I don't think I had -- one putt I hit it really firm, and other than that I had two, three feet all day for par, and that makes your rounds a little bit less stressed.

Q. How satisfying is it to have had a couple good weeks?
ROBERTO DIAZ: Oh, it's a lot of fun. This is what we practice for. It's awesome to get it going, and once you get it going, you just feel that you have to put the pedal to the metal and keep going because on this TOUR, the best players in the world. Tomorrow it might be somebody else shooting 62 or 61. I don't think there's room for like holding back. I don't think this TOUR allows you to hold back and be relaxed. So you have to be focused the whole round.

Q. In the back of your mind do you think about racing to the airport to get on that charter Sunday if it all worked out for you?
ROBERTO DIAZ: Not yet. I think I can worry about that on Sunday. I think that my goal right now is not to get into the British Open, my goal right now is to play the best golf I can for the next three days and hopefully get enough points to get into the Playoffs. I mean, my goal right now is to be on those Playoffs and try to make a run for the TOUR championship. I feel I've been playing pretty good the last four months and I just keep making the same mistakes coming into the weekend. I learned a lot throughout the year. I made the same mistake six times this year. I mean, I can count it with my fingers. I made the same mistake every tournament that I put myself in position, I try to press and press and press, and I don't think that's the right way to approach it.

I think that I can worry about the British -- if I don't get on the charter I can get a flight on Monday. I mean, I'm sure I've -- it's enough flights from here to Ireland to get there before Thursday. That's not in my mind right now.

Q. Talk about the conditions out there this afternoon. Was it really windy at some point, and did the wind lay down, or how did that play out for you guys finishing late?
ROBERTO DIAZ: It was windy. Not much, though. It played a couple yards from in or a couple yards down, but basically pretty mellow throughout the day. The course got really firm. I was thinking of hitting 3-wood on the last to not get it to the bunkers. The course played firm. I think if -- hopefully knock on wood it doesn't rain so the course keeps getting firmer and firmer, and that way we can see a more difficult test coming through Sunday. But I mean, I feel the course is in great shape.

I don't remember much from last year. My caddie was telling me that last year was not a lot of rough, and the conditions were wet. I don't remember much. That was one of those weeks that I just didn't have it, and I don't remember much.

The course played good, very fair, if you hit your lines, if you had good clubs in. I think the course is in great shape.

Q. Are you looking forward to getting on it early tomorrow?
ROBERTO DIAZ: Right now I'm really hungry. (Laughter.) I just want to go eat. I'm hungry, and I think I'm late tomorrow anyway. I'm like 8:50 or 8:40. No, I mean, yeah, by tomorrow morning I'll be ready. Tonight I just want to have a good night's sleep and wake up tomorrow morning and do my routine and be ready.

Q. These golf courses are not easy no matter how you look at it, and you're the fifth player in as many rounds on the PGA TOUR to shoot 62. There was a 62 every round last week. You picked it up with a 62 this week. What does that say about the quality of play out of you guys? Obviously you're getting better or you guys are getting more fearless when it comes to firing at pins. Does that speak well to the caliber of play out here?
ROBERTO DIAZ: Yeah. I mean, I was very surprised last week. I thought the course was very long for me, and when I saw those 62's I was very surprised. I think Nate Lashley in Detroit shot 62, also, so it's been three weeks now. But am I surprised? No. This is the best TOUR in the world. The best players in the world are here. I'm not surprised at all. I think the game is just getting better. Kids are more prepared. We saw it with Matthew Wolff last week. Coming out of college, he's prepared to play out here. I wasn't prepared. When I turned 21, I was not worrying about winning on the PGA TOUR, I was worried about getting my essay ready to go to school.

I think the quality of golf has improved. I think the quality of instruction has improved. I think it's not all related to equipment. I mean, they held back equipment, people are still going to hit it a mile because they are more prepared, and I just feel that the preparation every week and the instruction and the fitness and the health and everything has improved throughout the years. So right now we're seeing probably the best quality of golf since golf has started. It's only going to get better. I mean, I don't think it's going to get worse.

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