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January 1, 2020

Xander Schauffele

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

RACHEL NOBLE: We'd like to welcome Xander Schauffele, our defending champion at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, to the interview room. Xander, just some opening statements on what it's like to be back and to defend your title here.

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: It's awesome being back. Obviously I have great memories. It's a new year, it's a new decade, a new golf course. So a lot to look forward to.

Q. How different is the course? Is it playing a lot different from what you remember from last year?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, the greens are new, so they're firm. They haven't settled in yet, obviously. The course is really soft, not necessarily from the rain, but it's just brand new, as well. Hasn't really settled in and firmed up. It's playing a lot longer. There's new tee boxes, new bunkers, green complexes are pretty much different on almost every hole, so besides the green being in the same location, the surfaces seem to be completely different. So it's sort of a whole new feel.

Q. Are there any 62s out there anymore like you were able to do last year?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Man, I'm sure there's a 62 out there, you're just going to smoke the field when you do it. It would be a very special day to do a 62 out here now with the added length. It all depends on where they decide to put the pins and the tee boxes.

Q. Who do you think has the best attitude in golf?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'd love to say myself. Probably Webb Simpson. He's sort of my stroked gained attitude guy. I told him that at the Presidents Cup. He was honored. He kind of knew it, as well.

Q. What keeps it from being you?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm getting there. He's been out here for a lot longer, which would mean I think the longer you're out here the harder it is to have a better attitude.

Q. What makes Webb lead the field in strokes gained in attitude, in your view?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I don't know. I don't know what his outlook is. Him and Paul just are very positive. I think it's a choice. You wake up in the morning and you can either decide to be a grouch or decide to be happy, and snowballs could be thrown your way and you can either be a grouch or be happy when they're thrown at you. I think Webb just takes the high road on everything, and it's pretty cool to watch.

Q. What percentage of days are you a grouch or are you happy?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Depends. You could probably ask my dad that question. Recently I'd like to say -- I don't know if it's happy really. It's just very level-headed I'd say is kind of where I try to live. I don't need to be the happiest, laughing guy on the planet. I don't need to be the saddest, mopiest guy on the planet, either. Just kind of be level-headed and kind of take the shots from that position.

Q. Are you still trying to find that underdog status somewhere?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I think I've still got it, know what I mean?

Q. Lanto Griffin was in here, just so you know, it was interesting that he threw your name out as one of the big guns immediately, just naturally. So others feel that you're a big gun now. Do you try to hide that?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I think what makes you feel like a big gun would be your competitors, so thank you, Lanto, and I just -- I feel like the way my team and I assess myself, it's not that I haven't earned the right, we just don't feel like I'm there yet. Still got a lot of work to do.

Q. What's going to happen when you a big gun?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm going to be a pain in the ass in this room. I'm just kidding.

I don't know. That's a great question. I'd love to find out.

Q. Curious what you did with the long layoff between Presidents Cup and here.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Oh, I went to bed at about 3:00 about six nights in a row coming back from Australia. I played golf, a little bit of golf. I played a little bit. I've got new equipment in the bag, so did a little bit of testing. Was satisfied with it, and then decided to fly over here.

Q. What's the longest you've ever gone without touching a club that didn't include like when you were hurt?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I don't know, a week? Nine days maybe? I love playing golf. I love it.

Q. What's the attraction? We know why some people do it. What is it for you?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I'm really competitive, and it kicks your ass every time you play it. Usually I think the times I'd play less golf is when I shoot 63 or 64, kind of walking around saying, it's pretty easy. But the days where you'll shoot a gritty 68 or 69, you're sort of sitting there saying, you've still got so much to work on, and there's always moving parts.

Q. One of the Sentry officials yesterday in his press conference called this place the happiest place in the world. I was just wondering, how happy are you when you're here?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Pretty happy. It's a nice view. You know, I was riding in a cart today in a pro-am. That's a big bonus for a smile. I sat there with my caddie, and I told him, every time I'm up on that mountain, you look back and you're just like, this is pretty special. It's kind of a nice reward coming back here, and it definitely makes you want to work a little bit harder.

Q. How much do you know about Harding Park? It seems to me that three of the major venues will be fairly new to you. Have you been to Harding?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: No, I don't know much. I know there's a little bit of history there. Most of it I'm not too aware of. I think there was a Presidents Cup there.

Q. A Match Play and a WGC.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Yeah, I remember a few shots -- I think I remember Tiger wearing a cream sweating hitting a couple shots on -- there's been some clips of it.

Q. Was he holding a club maybe?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Probably. You know, social media these days will get you when you go on some random explore, so I think I've seen some shots of Harding, but I couldn't tell you what the 12th or 15th hole looks like.

Q. And Winged Foot or Royal St. George's you have no --
XANDER SCHAUFFELE: I couldn't tell you. I've just got my attitude.

RACHEL NOBLE: Thanks, Xander, for your time. Good luck this week.

XANDER SCHAUFFELE: Thank you. Happy new year.

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