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February 8, 2020

Nick Taylor

Pebble Beach, California

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Nick Taylor into the interview room following a 3-under par, 69 today over at Spyglass. Nick, if we can get some comments on your day.

NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, it was very cold this morning, took awhile to warm-up. Didn't get off to the best start, bogeying my first hole and the 4th hole, but I wasn't hitting that many poor shots, just a relatively short putt missed on my first hole and the 13th is a tough hole. But kind of managed to right the ship, hit some good shots, capitalized on a birdie on 17 and putted great second nine, made a long putt on the par-3 and hit a great 3-wood in for eagle on 7, so it was a great nine.

JOHN BUSH: Currently a two-shot lead. You've got some golf still to play. Talk about your mindset going into tomorrow's final round.

NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, it will be, I haven't been in this spot for awhile, but again, easier said than done. But just play my game, keep my head down. If I end up playing with Phil, I'm sure I won't be the crowd favorite, so just got to keep my head down, do my thing and keep playing, because I've been playing well.

JOHN BUSH: Before questions. Should beat last year's final round. Talk a little bit about that.

NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, I was on 9 last year when it started to hail, so it should be a little warmer, so I'm looking forward to that.

JOHN BUSH: Questions, please?

Q. Is Sanderson something that helps tomorrow? Is there something you can think back or draw upon?
NICK TAYLOR: Definitely. It's been awhile, but even the most recent experience, Napa in the fall, I was in contention there for a lot of the week. I can draw back on that experience, having still some golf to go. But if I do have the lead going into tomorrow, then I can draw back on Sanderson for a lot of that final round, maybe the back nine and do that. But, yeah, I'll just be trying to do my own thing and not pay attention to anybody else I'm playing with.

Q. Do you know the last time you did play with Phil?
NICK TAYLOR: I never have.

Q. You never have.

Q. What will be the keys, when you say try to do your own thing, what are the keys on trying to do your own thing when you know you're going to have massive crowds if it is with Phil and, like you said, you'll be the second favorite.
NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, not playing with Phil, it's, again, it's going to be a new experience for that reason, but again, if I am playing with him. But yeah, not really trying to pay attention to what he's doing. Obviously, if he makes a putt or great shot the crowd's going to go wild. And again, I've just got to do my own thing, try to block all that out. Easier said than done, again, without having to do it before, but I'll do the best I can.

Q. Have you ever played with Jerry Tarde?
NICK TAYLOR: I have, three straight days.

Q. I wanted to ask you about this start of your round today. You said you were hitting it good and it was cold. Was there any part of you that felt a sense of panic or trouble setting in?
NICK TAYLOR: I wouldn't say panic, no. I feel like I had to remind myself a couple times that it's fine, just give myself some opportunities and try and make some putts. I think Jason got off to a decent start, so I was already a couple behind, I think, through five or six holes. But I think the birdie definitely settled me down on 17. I had a really good chance on 18, just missed. And then to get back to even for the day, I think was pretty big on 2, and then kind of a bonus putt on 5 there, and to make the eagle on 7 was huge, obviously, to turn a kind of mediocre round out there into 3-under was a really solid round. So I feel like the second nine I played really, really well and just kind of held it together that first nine.

Q. This is probably a short wedge, I guess, into 2, but if you miss that by a little bit, you're in a bunker looking at 5, and if you go long, you're behind the green.
NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, the fairways slope. It's really tiny, you push that ball right and go in the bunker right of the green. If you pull it left, you got a really downhill tricky chip. So I hit a great 9-iron in there to 6-, 7-feet, so it was a nice birdie.

Q. The golf course itself tomorrow, if you are in the final group or leading on a Sunday at Pebble Beach, is that a factor, a motivation? How does that affect you tomorrow?
NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, it's definitely an iconic course but it's one of my favorites. I played well there yesterday, so I can draw back on that, again. But I feel like I've played here a bunch. The last year, I played the U.S. Open, I played the pro-am last year, so I feel like I have a lot of experience at this golf course. It's playing firmer than it definitely has this time of year. So a big thing tomorrow will be missing in the appropriate spots if I miss the greens and try to up-and-down from there. But the first seven is where you try to get off to a good start and hold on in the middle and push at the end. But, yeah, again, I'll just try to draw back on experience of playing this golf course and just putting it in the right spots.

Q. Just curious, what's working well or maybe significantly better this week than maybe had been missing the last few weeks and why is it better, if there is something?
NICK TAYLOR: I definitely putted well this week, which I think if you talk to anybody who has had average weeks then all of a sudden in contention to win, that's usually a big reason. I've been driving it well for a long time. And this course being a hair shorter, I think it just suits my game a little bit better. I'm definitely not bomber but just putt well. Last week, you know, I live there and I still have trouble reading those greens. So that's just, I think last week was my best career finish at that tournament, so I wasn't really worried about last week. So, yeah, I think once some putts started to drop this week, confidence started getting back and rolled in a lot of putts.

Q. Can you just try to explain, and I know you've probably have done this for a good chunk of your career, what it's like to tee off at 8 o'clock in the morning when it feels like it's 20 degrees outside. What do you expect from your swing, what the ball sounds like when it comes off the club, and how easy it is to not hit it great?
NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, it doesn't feel good when you thin it. That's the No. 1 thought on the range in the morning, the first ball, don't thin it. But yeah, I had the cart gloves on, I had a beanie on this morning just trying to keep your hands warm as well as possible. The ball's going much shorter which you have to factor in. They added a few tees on the par-5s out at Spyglass, so for me they're borderline reachable, which kind of I feel a strength of my game is driving it straight and my woods into the green. So when I can't really reach those it took away maybe a couple opportunities there. But it was cold, once the fog kind of went away a little bit, or the overcast, it warmed up a little bit, which was nice, but it was definitely cold this morning.

Q. 18 at MPCC yesterday was a monster. I saw a lot of people have some really bad shots over there yesterday. What for you -- how did you do there yesterday and what for you is the toughest green on the course on the three courses?
NICK TAYLOR: 18 at MPCC, we actually had a really long wait there, the group ahead of us somebody hit it in the right trees and there was a miscommunication with the rules official. We were on the tee for 15 minutes. So we, I had a shot in the fairway and just right of the green in the fringe and made a par there.

But the toughest green, there's a lot of really tough greens at Pebble Beach. I feel like 11 definitely comes to mind quickly. 14, that approach shot, that false front is very severe. So there's, Pebble Beach is probably the golf course where, if you're above the hole, it's the most difficult out of the three, and especially this week, it's a little firmer, a little faster and very difficult to stop it if you get above the hole.

Q. Obviously when you win for the first time wonderful things come with it. Were there any challenges that came with it that surprised you?
NICK TAYLOR: It's all great stuff, but I think mindset -- talking with Doug the other day -- I think my expectations might have been a little higher, thinking that I was going to be in contention every week, if not very often. And it's very hard to be in contention, it's very hard to win, so I think that took a bit of time to realize that it's about even the small stuff gets you in contention and not really expecting to be there every week. But a week like this, where I don't feel like I played that much different maybe than this season, but a few putts drop, a few shots here or there and just kind of not shooting myself in the foot when I've, when I get out of the position, just trying to make pars or if not bogeys, just don't do anything stupid is I feel like been a big part about my game is managing mistakes.

JOHN BUSH: All right, Nick Taylor, best of luck tomorrow.

NICK TAYLOR: All right, thanks, guys.

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