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March 11, 2020

Patrick Reed

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

NICK PARKER: We would like to welcome Patrick Reed to the interview room here at THE PLAYERS Championship. This is your seventh start coming in here at THE PLAYERS. Just talk about the challenge that awaits this week.

PATRICK REED: I think the biggest thing is kind of getting used to the firmness and softness of the grounds. The greens yesterday were relatively soft, but today you had some more skip and bounce in them, but with the fairways being soft, you can kind of adjust your line a little bit more off tees. You're hitting a couple longer clubs off the tee because you're not worried about the ball rolling or running through. That being said, the longer club you hit, the easier it is to hit it in the rough, and that rough out here, even though it's not very long, it's really thick. So it's a golf course that is going to take a lot of thinking, a lot of really quality ball striking and if you get out of position some good short game.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.

Q. You're rarely among like the few favorites gambling-wise. I'm wondering if you pay attention to your odds whenever you play and if you take it as a sign of disrespect that you're 35 to 1 this week when you win just as much as anybody out here?
PATRICK REED: I honestly don't pay any attention to the gambling or any kind of odds. Does anyone know what my odds were at Augusta? How about 40 to 1? How about WGC?

Q. You were same thing, like 25, 30.
PATRICK REED: Okay. I like my odds then. Those are good odds. So no, I mean, I don't. I don't really ever focus to that because at the end of the day when you come out here you have fields on the PGA TOUR now are so deep and you have to play your A-game in order to win golf tournaments out here, especially at an event like this at THE PLAYERS where you have all the top players here playing, and when that happens you have to go out and you have to play really good golf from top to bottom.

So at the end of the day to me it's just like any kind of during the March Madness or anything like that; when you start playing, all those odds go out the window. It all determines how you go out there and what you do when your name's called.

Q. Do you have events like THE PLAYERS or the majors circled on the calendar and does that affect your prep for those weeks at all going into it or maybe a couple weeks out?
PATRICK REED: Well I mean everyone -- I mean, for me I circle -- there's nine events that I circle, all WGC's, majors and THE PLAYERS. And with having those nine circled, I try to treat all nine of those the same. My prep work will be the exact same, everything kind of leading up into the event will kind of be the same, and at that point I know that I'm not going to get too amped or too excited compared from one to the other because once you start over-prepping or trying to take such a big moment and turn it even larger and start thinking of it that way, now all of a sudden mentally you're not going to have it and you're going to put more pressure on you than you really need when you're out there trying to play.

Q. When you're out there, talking about the mental game, is that something that you consciously think about, okay, this is what I want my mental strategy to be this week, I want to bear down or whatever, or is that something that comes naturally to you?
PATRICK REED: Now it comes naturally. It's something as you grow up and as I was a junior golfer growing up I would always write down a game plan in my yardage book and how I'm going to play each hole. But then I get to that hole and if I made bogey on the last hole, I come up to the next one, if I'm supposed to hit 3-wood off the tee I would hit driver because I was like, oh, I got to get that shot back and so I would kind of veer off the game plan, and nine times out of ten it never really worked.

So I've really gotten used to now just kind of always sticking to the game plan. I always have usually two game plans on each hole. I have an aggressive one if I feel like I'm playing really well and then I have a more conservative one if I don't feel like I'm swinging the way I'm supposed to be swinging.

But with having that, it just kind of allows me to stay in my own mental space to really just focus on the then and now and not really what happened a hole ago or a shot ago or what's coming up. Instead I'm able to really focus on what I'm trying to do right then and there.

Q. When you made the top-five-player-in-the-world comment a few years ago, obviously it generated a lot of noise and attention. You're now very close to actually that position and you've won significant events. Do you feel even now better placed that that's exactly where you should be and where you're headed, and what would that mean to you if you get there?
PATRICK REED: It would mean everything. Every golfer and every competitor that's out here playing, they're all trying to get to one spot and that's to be the best player in the world. And all of us are working very hard to win golf tournaments to get to those positions, and the only way you get to top five, top one, or the best player in the world is by winning golf tournaments and winning big events.

The biggest thing is to not only are you trying to win those golf tournaments but you're trying to turn those off weeks into top-25s, top-15, top-10s, and I think that's the biggest thing is as we have been getting closer to the top five number, for me really it's just continue to try to grow on the golf and continue to try and play better and more consistent because all of us when we're on we're on, we can go shoot some really low numbers. And it's those days that you're not -- you don't quite have it there that you need to kind of be able to turn a 3- or 4-over-par round into even or 1-under, and the top players in the world, that's what they're able to do. So that's more kind of where we're striving.

Q. When you win a tournament like the WGC, clearly it makes it more likely that you could qualify automatically for the Ryder Cup. Is that something you'll think about? Will it register for you as a great bonus of having done that, and are you somebody who would maybe look at the standings throughout the year to see who is kind of it in it?
PATRICK REED: I think we all look at the standings. Every player does because there's nothing like going to represent your country and playing for red, white and blue. And the biggest thing is the easiest way to do that is by giving yourself chances to win the big events and really giving yourself chances to win every tournament and to be able to cap off a WGC and hopefully to have a chance this week and to hopefully have a couple chances in the majors and maybe cap off a couple of those, I mean, that is how you qualify for the Ryder Cup and for the Presidents Cup, and because of that you just have to continue to grind and continue to work and try to get to that point because, you know, the only way to get to all your goals and to succeed on all these things is by one thing; it's working really hard and playing great golf. If you do that, then everything else takes care of itself.

I think that's kind of where I've always felt like I've been good at is never really looked too far ahead. Just try to look right stay in the present and try to improve each and every day, and I feel like that's the reason why I've been getting a little bit more consistent and something that I've been really working hard on.

Q. You've come into a bit of heat this year. I'm just wondering, does the heckling bother you at all?

Q. No?
PATRICK REED: No, I mean, I think the PGA TOUR has done a great job on the security and the fans. I feel like, as a whole, the fans have been pretty good. You're always going to get a couple people here and there that are going to say something. That's normal, any sport you play. For me when I get behind the ropes and I get inside those ropes it's I have a job to do and that's go out and play good golf and to have a chance to win on Sundays and to provide for my family and to go out and represent myself the best way I can, and I feel like I've been doing that.

Q. The 17th here, the island green is notorious, especially on the Friday afternoon. Are you worried at all that you'll pass through there Friday and come under a bit of fire?
PATRICK REED: I mean, no, not really. For me the biggest thing on 17, it was today -- Kessler, it's the first time he's actually hit the green. Normally he hits it in the water, so that means I cannot hit it in the water the next four days because if I do, if I hit in the water once, I won't hear the end of it until next year. So I just got to go out there and I've always played that hole somewhat conservative, I've never really taken on too many of those flags. The front flag is obviously -- you're trying to fly it past and kind of bring it back down to it. And back flag you're trying to hit to the middle of the green. That right flag being a drawer of the golf ball I don't ever really go for, so for me it's just kind of put the ball in the middle of the green and let my putter try to work.

I've heard horror stories, guys hitting 7-irons, 6-irons to that hole in the past. Besides for last year, every year's been 100 degrees because of the time or the time the tournament was. So I've hit lob wedge there one year every day. So it's just kind of one of those things that for me it's just hit it in the middle of the green and take your medicine.

Q. Are you a Pete Dye fan and is there a particular hole out here that you find visually disturbing?
PATRICK REED: Oh, I am a Pete Dye fan. And a hole that is disturbing? I've never -- well, when the golf course is firm and fast, 18 for some reason, that tee shot, just even being a drawer of the golf ball just never kind of suits my eye. If it's a little softer this year, my driver or 3-wood down that right side doesn't go through if it's into the wind, so that one this year hopefully is going to be a little nicer to me.

But when it's firm and fast I seem to never be able to get the ball far enough left and I'm always in those trees and having to give a fan something to either cheer about or kind of scratch their head about.

Q. Rory said yesterday his favorite was No. 12. Do you have a favorite?
PATRICK REED: Yeah, of course he likes 12; he can hit 3-iron on the green. I mean, yeah, I've always thought No. 2's always been a great par-5. Off the tee you see guys hit everywhere from 5-wood to driver. The guys who fade the ball sometimes they don't really feel comfortable with driver because they kind of turn it, but then after stepping up and hitting a draw or whatever shot there, then from the second shot you have to work it the opposite direction. So it's kind of a double dogleg, and for the most part everyone can get home in two, but going for it you put yourself just in the wrong spot. Even if you're only 10 feet off the green you're struggling to make par. You're hitting it to 30, 40 feet to some of the flags, so I feel like that's a hole that is just an amazing design from tee to green that really just makes you think all around.

Q. Going back to what you were saying earlier about the noise, if you will, two things, one, have you had a chance or have you talked to Brooks since a few weeks ago?
PATRICK REED: I haven't. I don't -- last week he played in the same event and I don't think I saw him once last week.

Q. Secondly, do you think that noise ever goes away at any point or does winning maybe help eliminate that?
PATRICK REED: Well, winning always helps everything. But really at the end of the day the noise goes away once y'all decide it goes away at the end of the day. I mean, I feel like the players and all of us have moved on, but at the end of the day all we can do is go out and continue playing good golf and doing what we're supposed to do.

Q. Is it going to be easy for you to come back to Augusta as not the defending champion?
PATRICK REED: Definitely.

Q. And why is that? Not many people successfully defend that tournament.
PATRICK REED: I think the biggest thing is so for me in particular being my first major, my first one I won, I didn't know what to expect. And then kind of showing up and getting back on-site, just kind of the extra kind of a adrenaline and just kind of hype that was going on on the week, all the extra pressures you put on yourself to play well to try to defend and have a good defense, whether -- just have a good finish.

And with having to be the host of the dinner, having all these extra little things that you don't realize what to expect when you come in, you feel like your day starts at 6:00 a.m. and doesn't stop until 7:00 p.m., and then on top of it you got to go out and play solid golf.

So it was kind of -- it's awesome, it's amazing to defend, but the good thing is now that I have won my first major, I know what to expect when I have the opportunity to win another one, what to expect if I'm going to defend.

Q. When you're playing the 17th on a Friday afternoon and you're doing that walk, as a player now generally, I mean, do you have to prepare yourself mentally that somebody's going to say something?
PATRICK REED: No, not really. When I'm out there and I get inside the ropes I'm full on focusing about golf and either talking to Kessler about what we're about to do, whether it's a putt, iron shot or chip like where the ball sits on the green, if it's going to be fast, if it's going to be slow. That's all the preparation we do during the week is to figure out, okay, what greens are faster than others, what putts are faster than others and vice versa, and for us we get so in tuned in golf that everything that goes on around us it doesn't matter, we're out there to grind and to go out and play good golf.

Q. Noticed you stopped wearing red on Sunday; why is that?
PATRICK REED: You know, I mean just kind of one of those things that I've always I used to always wear red and black but whenever I'd signed with Nike and everything, we want to make sure that we wear the current product so we keep up with what the fans and what the people who see us on TV, what they can go to the store and what they can buy.

Q. So now you've won in black, will that be a new look on Sunday?
PATRICK REED: It could be. That shirt that I've worn the past couple Sundays is one of the current products, so it works, it's current and most likely it will be in it.

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