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March 12, 2020

Collin Morikawa

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. Another strong start. I want to know the learning curve on this golf course. What did you have to learn about this place through practice rounds or talking to other people?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: I think knowing where to miss off the tees. There's some spots and some tee boxes that line you up in a place where you really don't want to be and sometimes you've got to challenge water and bunkers aren't bad sometimes off the tee. I've got a veteran caddie on the bag and I trust him fully, so just kind of stick to our game plan and keep doing that.

Q. I was talking to Matthew about this group; it's been a pretty wild ride, huh, from college to now?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: It's awesome. I mean, I think we're having so much fun. We obviously kind of fed off each other today, had some pretty good scores, and we're just excited to play with each other because these are the guys we've grown up playing with, and who doesn't love a pairing like that.

Q. How do you see this golf course changing and how do you adapt to it the next couple days?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: I think you've just got to be aware of the wind and certain pin locations. There's a lot of slope to some of these pins, and if you're drawing in with a right to left slope you're going to put yourself in trouble. I hit the ball pretty great today, putted fairly good, and game feels really good for the next few days.

Q. Talk about your first competitive round at Sawgrass.
COLLIN MORIKAWA: I had a lot of fun. Overall I thought today was really good. I had 11 putts on my front nine, which I think might be a record for my golf so far and yeah, I mean, this course requires every shot and you got to be good tee to green, you got to be good around the greens, too, and I was just sticking to the lines my caddie gave me. It was a place -- this is a place where some tee boxes will point you in a direction where you really don't want to be.

When I first stepped on 14 I always wanted to keep going right, I wanted to go right away from the water, but you have to kind of challenge the water, you have to challenge the bunkers. So for the most part I did a really good job of that, and I'm happy with 4-under today.

Q. What was the best line one of the three of you said to each other?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: I have no clue. I really don't know. I mean, we talked about everything. Yeah, I don't know. It might have been right at the end when Matt said his girlfriend bought 10 hand sanitizers in Oklahoma, and I was like, how do you buy that? He's like I don't know, Oklahoma people, you know. And then Viktor's sitting right there and he's like, hey. I didn't realize he still lives there, but I guess he likes it. It's a lot like Norway.

Q. When you look at a course like this, and you talked about 14 and 18 is like this, do you sometimes feel like you're almost in communication with the designer of the course and like they're almost -- can you feel their influence and what they were trying to do, Pete Dye?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: A little bit, and like I'm really bad at knowing sometimes who designs what. Obviously I know Pete Dye designed this and all the work he's done, but for me, yes, to a point there's certain strategies certain courses offer. I've played -- for me like I've played a lot of MacKenzie courses growing up, especially on the West Coast.

Yeah, I think each designer has a certain way you have to play it, but I think what makes TPC Sawgrass great is there's multiple ways to win it. Or not win it, but to play it. There's multiple ways to get around. I hit a cut and someone asked me at the beginning of the week what are you going to do on all these other holes that you have to hit a draw; there's only one hole that I really have to hit a draw, and you don't even have to, on 2. You can hit a straight 3-wood and be fine.

So for me it's sticking to my game plan, sticking to my game, not only here but everywhere else, stick to my cuts, stick to what I do, and I'll have to scale back if I have to on other holes that don't fit my eye.

Q. Do you consider that kind of consistency and focus and determination to be consistent something that distinguishes you even among other pros?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: I hope so. I mean, that's what I wanted to be. That's what I hoped my game would be when I came out here is to be a really consistent player, but not just consistent making cuts but consistently contending. You look at Rory what he's done the past year even, you know, he's contending every single week. That's how I was in college and that's what I want to get to now.

But all these guys are really good golfers, they all know how to play the game, so for me it's just figuring out something really small, putting or chipping or whatever it is for the week, that's just going to save me a couple shots for the rest of the week.

Q. A lot has changed in the sports world and in the country over the past 24 hours. How did you spend this morning as the news was kind of trickling in?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: You know, I was just listening to everything going on. Obviously you don't really know what to do, you kind of got to play it by ear, listen to what everyone else is telling you, but my girlfriend and I, we've kind of been watching everything since it even started in China and we have been pretty cautious just with the way we travel, wiping down our seats on the airplanes and all that stuff. So I know everyone's freaking out now, but we have kind of been on this, on the edge already where it's not we're going from yesterday or two days ago we were completely fine to now we got to go buy all the food in the world. So we just have to be cautious with what we do. Obviously you want to give high-fives, sign things for people and unfortunately we can't, but you just got to be safe. You got to stay clean.

Q. Is there any benefit to being paired with a couple good friends tomorrow when there won't be any crowd out there?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: It will be different. I think the last time that happened was probably Zozo last fall, and no, I think it will be really fun. We're in our own world. We're having fun with each other. We're playing good golf, feeding off each other, whatnot, so it definitely helps having those three guys there with -- or two other guys with you because it just makes a lot quieter day a little more exciting hopefully.

Q. What was your favorite shot you hit today?
COLLIN MORIKAWA: Favorite shot? I hit a really good iron shot on 15 when I made birdie. Actually thought it was going to hit a bird midway, in mid-air. I don't know how close it was, but I'll say it was close. It was a really good iron shot, held it up against the right-to-left wind, and today it just -- I had some iron shots where I tried hitting it a little harder, missed it left where you couldn't, did that a few times, so it was a really good iron shot that I would hit 10 out of 10 times hopefully.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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