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January 14, 2020

Patrick Cantlay

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Q. Why don't we start with your first visit to the Middle East. Just give us your impressions on the place and how have you adjusted so far?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I've only been here a couple days, but everything seems great. I played nine holes on the golf course, and I'll play nine more this afternoon. Golf course seems good. So excited for Thursday to come around and start off my first European Tour event.

Q. Is this kind of a plan to become a more global player and play outside the United States more often?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I think it's important to play all over the world, not only just for growing-the-game purposes, but I think it's good as a golfer to see different places and get comfortable playing all over. I think that's part of it.

I think both The European Tour and the PGA TOUR play more of a global schedule, especially in the last decade. I don't think that's going to change. I think it will continue to be more of a global game, and we see that with the World Golf Championships. I think it's all good, and it's good to play in different places and experience different cultures and see what the world is like.

Q. And I know when you guys come for a tournament, you don't have much time apart from just seeing the golf course, but do you have something in mind that you want to experience in this region?
PATRICK CANTLAY: You know, for me, it's pretty hotel, golf course. I'm here first and foremost to win the golf tournament, prepare my best to do. So.

So on a long travel week like this, it's hard to get enough sleep. So my priority is really there. But there are definitely some times where I'll be at a place for a golf tournament and hear or see something that I may want to go see, and book it into the time the next time I'm back, or maybe earmark it for if I want to take a vacation some day.

Q. Can I ask you, I'm not going to mention the Presidents Cup, because you ended 2019 on a pretty good note, but looking ahead to 2020, I mentioned to Bryson when he came in, it's a jam-packed year in terms of golf, four majors, WGCs and Olympics and Ryder Cup. Is there one sort of thing, here we are now in the second week of January, that you really would love to be in, or is it all the package of the year?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Sure, well, I'm into everything except Ryder Cup and Olympics. Olympics is going to be even more of a difficult tournament to qualify for even than Ryder Cup.

I'd love to be in both those events, especially after having my experience at the Presidents Cup. I really enjoyed the team golf. I've only done it twice with Walker Cup and Presidents Cup and I love that atmosphere. I love being able to pull for the other guys that are on my team and feel like it's a team event, especially when in golf we never get those team events.

So that would be great to see, and also, Presidents Cup was away, so I would love to see what it's like at a home event when I have guys pulling for me. Walker Cup was away, as well. Those I would like to qualify for.

But for me the emphasis is on the majors. I love major championship golf and I had some success in the majors last year. That's where my emphasis is, and that's what I'm going to prep for, and if I take care of business there, I should qualify for Ryder Cup and Olympics.

Q. This is your first European Tour event. What made you come here? Did anyone twist your arm? Obviously other Americans have come here and played well. Did anyone say anything specific to you?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I talked to Rickie. He said he enjoyed his time here. Obviously he won; he told me how great a list of champions this place had, kind of needling me a little bit.

Yeah, it's kind of desert golf, which I think it's a good way to start kind of the year back in January, playing some desert golf, which is more target golf. It just fit in a good part of the schedule. I've heard a lot of great things about the event, and played nine holes on the golf course. Seems good so far, so all good.

Q. How familiar are you with some of the competition, obviously there's a good deal of European Tour players. You play on the PGA and the majors, but obviously there are another 50 or 60 that play week-in and week-out. Would you remember any from the Walker Cup days like Andy Sullivan?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I think Tom Lewis might have been the only guy on the Walker Cup Team that I played against. I don't know all that many European Tour players, but I do know the guys that play WGCs and everything. I've seen some friendly faces out here the last couple days.

Q. And what are your initial impressions of the course so far? Have you managed to get out there?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I just played nine, but it's in good shape and looks like the fairways are narrow, which I like. So should be all good, yeah. Seems good. I still have to see the front side.

Q. Given your history because of the injury and then obviously the tragic death of your friend in front of your own eyes and you missing so many years of competitive golf at that time, has that made you more hungry or what kind of perspective has it given to you when you come to play events like this?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Well, I don't think I ever wasn't hungry; so that's still there. I still really enjoy competing and I really enjoy playing tournament golf. It's one of my most -- one of the things I enjoy most doing is playing any type of competitive sport, but especially golf.

And so that's always been there. The perspective is more on -- the perspective gained was more of a life experience, stuff that translates not just to the golf course but throughout your life.

It's really that you have to enjoy whatever experiences you're having with those that you really love and those that you want to spend time with. That's the most important thing, regardless of winning golf tournaments or losing golf tournaments, but being able to, for example, win a golf tournament and then celebrate with those that are really close to you, whether that's -- for me that's winning golf tournaments, but for somebody else it could be a variety of different things.

Spending time with those that you love and those you want to spend time with is by far the most important thing, and going through all that, being out for a long time, and the death of my friend, Chris, it's something that really -- I don't know if I was expecting to learn it, but it's something that I definitely learned and hit me in the face after some time reflecting on it that that really is what life is all about.

Q. And do you find -- given the number of injuries we see in the sport now, do you find people coming up to you, seeking your health guidance, because you went through a pretty bad phase, also, and then came back like this.
PATRICK CANTLAY: I haven't had too many people -- everyone is dealing with so many different injuries and it is becoming more common, and I think with guys trying to swing the golf club faster and playing so many events, that's going it continue to be the norm.

No, I haven't had too many people come up to me asking me for advice. Everyone's got their own issues.

Q. You're world No. 6 today. Did you expect to be in the Top-10 at the beginning of last year, and basically, what are your goals for this year in terms of World Ranking?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Obviously the goal is to be No. 1, and I'm doing everything in my power to prep for events to win, which is the way to get there.

I don't know about if I expected -- I don't know if I expected to be there. I don't really think of it in terms of that, but I definitely prepared like I was going there. That's the plan, and that's going to be how I continue to prepare for all the events. I think if you show up to every event ready to win and prepared to win, it's as good as you can do.

Q. I need to ask you about that little storm that was created in Hawai'i. What do you think of the whole situation? Do you think that kind of -- some talk that is going on between two players, being heard all around the world, what were your own thoughts when everything happened?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Well, I didn't hear until after the round and still I was unsure what they were talking about. I obviously didn't know that I was on camera, or on camera and mic'd up. Now that I know that it's happening more often, I'll definitely be more aware of it, yeah.

CLARE BODEL: Thanks, everyone.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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