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August 13, 2019

Harold Varner III

Carmel, Indiana

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Harold Varner III into the interview room. He makes his first appearance at the BMW Championship, comes in 289th in the FedExCup standings. Harold, you may have mentioned a few weeks ago, TOUR Championship obviously is on your mind, but you wanted to get to Chicago first. Welcome to the BMW Championship.

HAROLD VARNER III: Thanks for having me. Yeah, like I said in Greensboro, you can't get to East Lake without going through Chicago, and so excited to be here. It's another great opportunity, and last week was a lot of fun.

JOHN BUSH: Talk about last week, your play, and then also your goals for the week.

HAROLD VARNER III: Obviously the end goal is now that we're in Chicago is to make it to East Lake. Last week was just a lot of fun. I like playing in New York. I don't know why. Obviously I've played well and I've played bad there, but it's just a great environment to be around. No one knows who I really am, so it's even better. They just yell when they see good shots.

Looking forward to just getting out to the course, honestly. I haven't been out there, so yeah, that's about it.

JOHN BUSH: With that logo on your shirt, what took you so long to get to this city?

HAROLD VARNER III: Yeah, I don't know. I just never been to Chicago. I can't really say why or why not. I'm not a big tourist person. I like to -- in my downtime I like to go get on equipment and try to tear stuff up, so the last thing I'd really want to be doing is traveling somewhere else.

Q. When JT posted and won in Greensboro, he spoke about watching Keith Mitchell and it helped him out a little bit; I've beat this guy, I know I can do it. What did it mean to you to see JT post a win because you've beat him before?
HAROLD VARNER III: I've never really looked at it like that. I think everyone has their own journey. When it's their time to win, they're going to win.

The biggest thing for me about JT winning is the stuff that JT is going to do for Hickory, North Carolina. It's not far from where I live. We're working to get this junior tournament that we grew up playing in back running, but -- so that's what -- stuff like that goes through my mind, but yeah, I was so excited for him. I've played against him a few times. I like talking smack to him. I love gambling with him. We think alike, and just being so close to where we grew up so close together, that's the stuff that usually comes to my mind. I don't really care when someone wins because 30 years from now, who's going to -- I mean, I'm not. I could care less who wins 30 years from now because that's not really what's going to matter. What's going to matter is how we affected the people in our community and who we reached out to. That's something a kid is never going to forget.

Q. 2019 marks a year of change for the FedExCup. Number one, in the increase in money, number two, in the shortening of the weeks, and number three, the handicap setup for the TOUR Championship. Can I get your thoughts on those three areas?
HAROLD VARNER III: I'm so bad at this. I apologize. I've seen it on TV about the handicap thing. But I mean, I'm looking forward to -- I want to find out how it plays out. I want to be the one playing it out.

In the grand scheme of things, everyone is trying to do the best they can, put on the best show they can, and I stand behind our TOUR. Jay has been -- if I ever had any questions, I can ask him. But obviously a lot of people think it's going to be really good if they changed it.

The money part, yeah, that's awesome. I like that a lot, too. But the biggest thing for me was just playing well, just getting here. I wanted to give myself a chance to be here. At the end of the day, I just need to play good golf, and the rest of that will take care of itself. It's not like it doesn't give you a chance to win the FedExCup with the new changes. It might make it harder, but I don't really know. I just want to go to East Lake. I want to be in the 30 there.

Q. You played a practice round last week with the current No. 1 and two former world No. 1s, and I was wondering what in your background made you so comfortable in that setting? There are some players who would have shied away from that, maybe would have felt a little intimidated, but you seemed very comfortable with that.
HAROLD VARNER III: I don't really struggle with asking questions and wanting to play with people. I enjoy being around people. I don't know, you think they would -- you think so?

Q. I think some people would have been intimidated.
HAROLD VARNER III: Well, they're not going to kill me, so I think I would have been just fine. I wanted to play with Tiger. He's played really well there. I love picking his brain, so when he's at a tournament I want to get the best knowledge, I want to get his knowledge. He's been really good to me, and obviously I've played with Dustin in West Palm a few times, and after playing with Brooks in the PGA, so I've just been around them, so I don't really care. I just like being around good players, and they're all good on the PGA TOUR. So it just happened it worked out like that.

It was pretty weird, though. I didn't know until the 7th hole that there were no spectators out there. Yeah, I don't know what I was doing. Maybe I was intimidated. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you find yourself at all surprised to be in this position now, making this huge jump that you did in the course of a week? And where does making East Lake and the TOUR Championship kind of rank for you on a career to-do list, I guess?
HAROLD VARNER III: What was the first question? That was a lot.

Q. Are you surprised?
HAROLD VARNER III: Surprised? That almost pisses me off. But no, I'm not surprised because I've been talking about it, and I believe if you speak it into existence it'll happen. It might not happen when you want it to happen, but it'll happen. Always think good things will happen, and some good things happen.

I told him in Greensboro, I was like, it's just a matter of time. It just doesn't happen when you want it to happen. That's what makes Tiger so impressive is that a lot of good things happen all the time, especially under the gun.

I don't know, I think I have one of the -- you've got to have one of the best attitudes to be good, and if I talk about it, it'll happen. So surprised? Not really. I'd been talking about it a lot. Surprising would be not being here, especially the way I've been playing. That would be surprising.

Q. As far as the TOUR Championship, where is that on your --
HAROLD VARNER III: That's number one. I want to get there. I want to have a chance. It's like a longer tournament. I just want to have a chance to win it. I've never been there, and obviously the stuff that comes with it when you get there, I love talking about it. I think you get into the majors, you get a lot of money. I like knowing it's there. That's good. It's good for you to know because that pressure, that stuff -- that's what molds you.

Q. You seem like you have a very broad view of success, that it's about the journey and not just the destination. How do you reconcile that with golf at this level that's very bottom line-oriented? Second place is the first loser to some people, 31st is an also-ran in this situation. How do you deal with that and keep your --
HAROLD VARNER III: No, great question, awesome question. Here's the deal: At the end of the day, your definition of success is going to be different than mine. My job is to make sure that my definition of success stays the same. My definition of success is helping people out, and the best way I can do that is to play really good golf. If I keep playing really good golf I'm going to help out a lot of people. I think it's pretty easy if you have the right people around you.

Q. Last year, how intently did you watch last year, and what were your thoughts when --
HAROLD VARNER III: What happened last year?


HAROLD VARNER III: Oh, yeah! No, I didn't watch it. Obviously I saw the highlights. I don't really watch a lot of golf. But for the sport that was unbelievable. Like it's the reason why people keep -- as long as he's playing, man, the TOUR is going to be in good hands. It's hard to -- he's done such a great job of obviously being good at golf, but like handling his business and being good when the pressure is up. And then all of a sudden he comes back. It actually worked out perfect, he went down and he came back. America loves a frontrunner, and the rest of the world loves an underdog. So it's like he's been in both realms of it.

Q. Did you watch either one of the PGAs, speaking of Tiger, either one of the PGAs that he won here in '99 or '06, or did you watch any of the Ryder Cup in 2012?
HAROLD VARNER III: No. No. The only thing I've seen is when -- I think it was here when Phil was on the tee and they're talking about the accolades of Tiger and Phil like stops them -- is that here?

Q. TOUR Championship.
HAROLD VARNER III: Oh, messed that one up. So here. And then Sergio running around there. I'm excited to get out there and find out Harold's Medinah experience.

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