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August 8, 2019

Troy Merritt

Jersey City, New Jersey

Q. Did you think and have a strategy that you could attack this course, given all the rain overnight?
TROY MERRITT: We were wondering how the course would hold up last night, and it was nice and soft out there. We had some mud on the ball, but just a splatter and didn't really affect anything.

So it was a little bit easier to control the irons. The greens were real receptive and they were rolling beautiful this morning. You just had to get it on line at the proper pace and it was going in. Wasn't bouncing around anywhere. Hit some quality iron shots but the putter, made some nice putts today.

Q. You had a runner-up finish a couple weeks ago. Have you been feeling this coming on or did it just come out of nowhere for you today?
TROY MERRITT: It's been feast or famine the last six weeks. It's either been missed the cut or Top-10. Hopefully keep it going tomorrow and hoping we make the cut means Top-10.

We're in a good position now to contend for the championship. That's why we tee it up each week. Obviously this week, it's a little bit different with just trying to get into next week, you know, us being just outside the bubble, and now we can shift our focus from winning the golf tournament.

Q. How have you been playing?
TROY MERRITT: I've actually played pretty solid all summer. The missed cuts I had just really wasn't making any putts. At times, not quite getting it in the fairway enough, and not hitting it close enough. You don't do that out here, especially with 4- and 5-under par cuts for the last four or five weeks, it's hard to compete. It's hard to compete for a championship when you're not making putts.

Today was a little bit different. Hit the ball in the fairway. I think we had 11 fairways hit and hit 14 greens and putted twice on the greens that we missed, but that putter was hot today and the greens were rolling beautifully and just took advantage of it.

Q. How does it feel to be bogey-free?
TROY MERRITT: Usually if I can get through nine holes bogey-free I'm pretty happy. We put together two nine-hole rounds of bogey-free golf today and we'll focus on just getting the ball in play tomorrow and hitting greens, and see if that putter stays hot.

Q. You weren't supposed to play this season, that surgery has a 9- or 12-month recovery. How were you able to come back so soon, and does it feel like house money that you're able to play?
TROY MERRITT: Yeah, we were fortunate, the doctor at Baylor said it would be three to six months, and I came back about seven or eight weeks after the procedure, much earlier than expected. I guess when you don't have a lot of muscle to start with, you don't have long to build it back up. Everything's been feeling pretty good since then, no issues, and the golf has been pretty solid since having that rib out.

Q. When did you start feeling like yourself after that?
TROY MERRITT: Well, I've always felt like myself. You know, I think the swing's felt a lot more consistently better sense having the rib out. So maybe not quite like myself, it's been a little bit better, but for the most part, our season's been living and dying with the putter. If we rolled it well, we've played well; and if we haven't, we struggled, and hopefully this week we'll just continue rolling it well.

Q. One year ago this week, we were talking to you out at the PGA and you were like six days removed from emergency surgery. How did you feel back then, and how do you feel now compared to how you felt back then?
TROY MERRITT: Yeah, August 3 was the day it was removed -- yeah, just over a year. It was extremely painful, that implant all summer, and after having it out -- it was really painful around the elbow where they had the clot out. I'd prefer never to experience that again.

Q. Have you compared notes with any other athletes that had that surgery?
TROY MERRITT: You know, I spoke with Jason Vargas, a pitcher for the Mets that got traded. I played with him last December and he had a couple friends, pitchers, that had it done as well. Just to hear that they got back out after a few months and had no issues, that was pretty positive. That was good to hear.

Q. Are you able to swing better because the nagging pain is gone?
TROY MERRITT: I tended to get a little bit tight at the top of my swing, kind of where the rib was and I got a little bit quick at the top. Now I don't get tight at the top and I can take my time and that usually helps out my tempo, and as a result, the swing's been a lot better more often.

Q. What advice would you have? Matt Harvey was one of the pitchers and he really never came back from it. What advice would you give to him, to just kind of hang in there?
TROY MERRITT: Yeah, a little bit different, pitchers to golfers. We put a little bit stress on that part of the body. Just keep fighting. You try to stay positive and work through it and build yourself a team that is positive and want the best for you and always makes you keep pushing forward. That's what we had. Got back pretty quickly and with no issues.

Q. What kind of a golfer is Vargas?
TROY MERRITT: He hits it hard.

Q. How do you know him?
TROY MERRITT: Just played -- he was out at King's Country Club. My coach knew him and somebody else that we were playing with knew him, as well. Went out and beat it around for 18 holes. It was fun.

Q. Were you in pain before the thoracic outlet surgery?
TROY MERRITT: I was in pain all last year and after the blood clot, I was in pain for a little while, but just where they made the incision to suck it out. After that, no real pain.

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