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November 9, 2020
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, it's our pleasure to have Matthew Wolff in the interview room. Matthew, welcome to the press building. This is your first Masters appearance. Tell us about what this means to you.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I think it's more of a dream come true than playing in any other tournament. It's the one tournament that as a kid, you always know exactly when it is, you watch every single shot that you can, and it's kind of the mecca of golf. To be here in my first Masters is unbelievable, and it's a place that I've not only dreamed of playing but playing in the Masters. Like I said, it's more of a dream come true.
I've been told so many times, you know, all the expectations that you have when you get there, they just go above and beyond. There's not one expectation that has not been at least gotten to or exceeded. It's an unbelievable place. You don't know what it's like until you're here. It's pretty awesome.
THE MODERATOR: You had a great showing at the PGA with a fourthÃ¢â‚¬â€˜place finish, and you followed that up with a fantastic showing at the U.S. Open, finishing second. What is it that you have learned the most or what is it that you took away from the U.S. Open that you think will be most helpful here at Augusta National?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I think the greens at Winged Foot, first off, are, you know, probably the most extreme greens that I've played. And that's the one thing about this course that all I hear over and over again is just how fast they get the greens, how slopey it is, and I think even in college, the course we played in college, the greens were extremely sloped.
Even the few holes I played today, I was talking to my caddie and I was telling him on every lag putt, you always just try to play more break than you think, because the last two or three feet, it's just going to keep on trickling and trickling, and if you play high, it gets closer to the hole; and if you play low, it just keeps on getting farther.
I think, you know, that, and also just the major championship experience, I've only played in two of them, but just kind of approaching it like every other tournament. Being here it's kind of hard to do that, every single building you walk into, you see all the history and all the great players that are on the grounds this week. For me, it's just to keep my head on straight and not get too far ahead of myself and stick to what I know.
Q. Obviously, distance, power is part of the game, but for you and Bryson, like you displayed at Winged Foot, it's a big part. How do you think the power angle is going to help you all year, and can you address the impact it might be having on the elite game as a whole, what you guys are doing?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I think the distance aspect this week is going to play into our hands more than even in April. I haven't played a Masters in April, so I can't say that for sure.
But from what I've heard, it's a little bit firmer. The fairways are rolling out a little bit more, and I think it's probably a little hotter. Ball might be going a little bit farther.
But I think, yeah, this course, especially, you know, this week, it's going to play pretty soft, pretty long, and it's supposed to even rain. So the ball is going to even go shorter. I think that extra distance that I have, not only is it going to help me off the tee, but you know, hitting shorter clubs into second shots, because with the SubAir that they have here, they can still make the greens as firm as they want. So instead of hitting 6Ã¢â‚¬â€˜iron into holes, I could be hitting 8Ã¢â‚¬â€˜iron. So I think that's definitely going to play in my advantage.
But I think, you know, the way that me and Bryson and other people are going with hitting it longer, you know, I didn'tÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ my goal is to not overpower a golf course. It just so happens that sometimes that I can do that because I do hit the ball far, but golf is so much more than just hitting the ball far, and I think that if you're going to see that, this week is definitely the time to see it.
Like I was talking about the greens being extremely slopey and being able to place the ball in the right positions on the greens, and once you'reÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ even once you're on the greens, just making putts is hard out here. I think, you know, to win not only a major, but especially the Masters, you have to have every aspect of your game firing, and I think that's what makes it a major championship.
Q. You said you don't necessarily go out to overpower a course. From having seen Bryson up close, do you think he does try that?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, he's using a 48Ã¢â‚¬â€˜inch driver. That's a pretty good sign of he's trying to just take everything out of play.
Yeah, I mean, I don't really have much to say on that. If he thinks it's going to work and he wants to do it, then go for it. But you know, for me, I'm going to stick to the way that I know how to play. It's brought me a lot of success.
Q. With two firstÃ¢â‚¬â€˜time major champions this year, what's that say about the young competition and the quality of play among the younger players, and does it feel like the opportunity is ripe there for you?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, the level of play that it takes to win these tournaments now, especially these majors, is a very high level.
I think that the players that are starting to be out on the PGA TOUR, including myself and Collin and Bryson has been out here for a little bit. I feel like there's so many, nowadays at least, there's so many more people that have a chance to win. And I'm not trying to bash on, you know, any players before me or any tournaments before me. But I feel like golf is at its highest peak right now, and there's so many people each weekÃ¢â‚¬â€˜in and weekÃ¢â‚¬â€˜out that when they tee it up, if they have a good week, they can win.
You have to go out there, have your A Game, but you know, it gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I can do it and I've contended in majors and had the lead in majors, and I know I can seal the deal because I've had a win out here.
But yeah, the younger players now are definitely making a statement and saying that, you know, there's a new generation coming in, and you know, the older players, even though they are not really that old, they are stillÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ they don't want to be looked at as older anymore. They are still trying to look at as in their prime and dominating. The competition, you know, is at an allÃ¢â‚¬â€˜time high right now, and it's a great time to be on the PGA TOUR.
Q. You mentioned this being a dream come true, competing in your first Masters. What were some of your early childhood memories of watching a Masters or maybe going out and trying to make a putt to pretend you won a Masters?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I feel like every single time I practiced, if I was practicing with my friends and we were putting, it would always be like that. We would have a putting contest and we would have that one putt coming down to the end, it was like, oh, this is to win the Masters. If you make it, you win. I feel like every kid kind of did that growing up.
But yeah, I mean, there's a lot of memories that I had. Mainly they were just on my couch sitting and watching TV. But yeah, seeing all the great people win and TigerÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ I'd say honestly, of all the years watching the Masters, I know there's beenÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ I saw Louis hole outÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ I was watching TV ten minutes ago and they said Louis made an albatrossÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ or a doubleÃ¢â‚¬â€˜eagle, my bad, on 2, and I remember watching that on my couch. But I think the most memorable Masters experience I had not being here was last year when Tiger won. He won on Sunday, which was April 14, and that was my birthday.
That was pretty cool. Obviously I can't win this Masters on my birthday, but I'm sure there will be times in the future that I will be in the Masters and one of the days will land on my birthday. I guess thanks, Parents, for having me when they did. I guess it's going to be awesome.
This is my first Masters and I'm going to soak it all in, but I'm definitely going to be back. I think I'm already in the field in April, and you know, I'm looking to continue my good play and be here for many, many years.
Q. Would you play this course very differently than previous champions, and what type of advice have you sought from them, if any?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I don't really know how to answer that. I think I'm more going to play it how I think I should play it. I think it's a courseÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ what I really like about it is it's more of a course that you step up and you know what you're going to hit off every tee. There's not a lot of holes here where you're questioning, oh, is this an iron off the tee or is this a 3Ã¢â‚¬â€˜wood. It's like almost every single hole is a driver. Maybe 10 is not a driver because it's a sharp dogleg, but you step up on 11 or 14 or any of those holes and you're like, it's always a driver.
And that's what I really like about it is because it's right out in front of you. It's challenging, but it'sÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ there's not much hard decisionÃ¢â‚¬â€˜making. And that's off the tee. Into the greens is a whole different story.
I'm just going to play it the way I feel comfortable playing it, which is just hitting driver a lot. I was talking to Tom Watson on a Zoom call, we did a little Masters Zoom call a couple weeks ago, and I think one of the bestÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ the best advice that I got from him was more just to make sure to not only just spend a lot of time on the greens and around the greens, because that's where this course can really get you, but he said that everything breaks towards Rae's Creek and Hogan's Bridge.
I don't know. I think that I'd like to go out and get advice from people, but I think that everyone plays the course differently, and everyone kind of approaches this course or the game differently.
And so I've noticed that recently, I've kind of just been doing what I feel is, you know, the way I feel comfortable playing it, and like I said, it's worked out and I'm just going to keep on sticking to that until it doesn't.
THE MODERATOR: Well, we certainly enjoy watching you hit the driver.
Q. It is wellÃ¢â‚¬â€˜known that Fuzzy Zoeller is the last player to win in his debut in 1979. With yourself, Collin Morikawa and others, is now the time for another debut winner?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Going back to the question I answered before, I think right now, if there was a time, it would be within the next, you know, few years because I think the level of golf out here right now is at an allÃ¢â‚¬â€˜time high, and just there's so many people that tee it up each week; that if they go out and they play how they got to theÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ at their level or at the top of their game, that they can go out and win.
And I think that not only is that true, but there's also so many guys that I feel like can handle the stage now, whereas, you know, when you first got out here, the Masters was, you know, more of aÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ for your first time, it's not that you couldn't play well, but it's just, you know, with everything going on, with how many people are here, Tiger and Phil, they are still here, but the level of play that it takes, I feel like there's a bunch of young guys who have that level of play now and that have proven that on the highest stage they can perform and not get flustered or anything like that.
And along with that, I think, you know, because of COVID, it's unfortunate, but since there are no fans here, I think that can definitely change the dynamic of everything, and coming down the stretch with a oneÃ¢â‚¬â€˜shot lead, it's definitelyÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ in my opinion, I think it's a little more relaxing coming down without, you know, thousands and thousands of fans sitting behind the green watching your every shot. Even though they are all watching behind that camera, you know, it's a little different when you're inÃ¢â‚¬â€˜person and you see all them.
I think that if there was a time, it would be now, but we'll see. Experience is a great tool out here, and there's a bunch of really good players. And there's young players and players who have been out here for a while that all want to beat each other, so it's going to be a good week, though, and I'm excited. I'm excited to see who I'm played with. I don't really know who I'm paired with. Yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun.
Q. Is there anything that surprises you about being here, not necessarily like the golf course, but the property, having seen it on TV so many times, is there anything different or surprising about the feel of the place?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I think there's a lot of buildings, honestly. I didn't really think there would be that many, which is awesome. Like all the cottages on the course are all, you know, there's justÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ there's just a lot of them. I didn't really think that, and it's notÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ in no way is that like me talking bad about Augusta. When you're watching it on TV, you don't really see any of that. You just see the clubhouse behind you and that's pretty much it.
Also when I was here, you see the practice range, but when I was here a couple weeks ago for my practice rounds, we didn't go on that player range. We just went on the member range, and it's pretty cool how they have like so muchgoing on based around this Masters Tournament, and they have the top of the line for everything.
It's pretty cool to see how it's like, you know, Augusta National is still the most prestigious club in the world, but then once it goes to Masters week, it's like you don't even see that other side of Augusta that all the members see. You see like the side that, you know, they have for the Masters. I think that's pretty amazing that they do all that, you know, for this tournament. It just speaks to how important and how, you know, amazing this tournament is and it's the Masters and it's Augusta. It's pretty exceptional, and I'm happy to be here.
But yeah, I mean, for them to allow us to play here in November is unbelievable, and thank you to them, thank you to Commissioner and everyone who is doing that. And like I said, it's going to be a really fun week. I'm still soaking it all in.
Q. There are a lot of buildings, no doubt about it. Including this one?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I know. I was talking to Rickie about it earlier and he was likeÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ I told him I had a press conference, like a rookie press conference. He said, "See that building with the block windows in the back of the range?"
I go, "Yeah."
He goes, "They built that just for press conferences."
I was like, "Pretty cool."
Q. You mentioned Tom Watson a few minutes ago. He often talked about how much he learned from logs that tough U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 1974. As much as it might have stung to come up short in the last few majors, how much do you think you learned from being in that position and just coming up a little short?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I think I learned a lot. Obviously you wanted to come out with a win, but I think even the weekÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ or not the week after, but the next tournament that I played at Shriners in Vegas, I was in a playoff. And coming down the stretch, it was almost more comfortable coming down the stretch really close to the lead or even in the lead, and it doesn't get bigger than having the lead or being close to the lead in a major championship.
I was watching Patrick Cantlay's press conference before I got in here about 20 minutes ago, and he was talking about how he's very consistent, which he is. But he said that recently if he could just get a little better and be more by the lead, he can get more comfortable in that situation; and if he get more comfortable in that situation, he can have some more wins.
You know, if you're constantly up there at the top of the leaderboard, you're going to start getting more comfortable. And so I think, like you said, with meÃ¢â‚¬â€˜Ã¢â‚¬â€˜ with how I played at the PGA, I birdied the last hole, I made a 6Ã¢â‚¬â€˜footer on the last hole to get the clubhouse lead, and even though I ended up losing by three or something like that, at the time, to have the clubhouse lead and know that I looked up at the leaderboard and had to make that putt, that was a big step for me.
Obviously the U.S. Open I didn't get it done and Bryson played really well. Just being in that situation over and over again, not only does it give you a lot of confidence in your game, but it also just makes you a lot more comfortable in these situations.
Like I said, the next tournament that I played when I was in that situation, I definitely felt more calm than I had any other time. I'll definitely look at those experiences as something to have in my back pocket to where if I do come down the stretch with a lead or near the lead, I can, you know, feel a little more calm and know that I've been in this situation before.
But with that being said, I don't think it's ever going to get to a point where you're, you know, not stressed or not nervous. You know, you go out there to win and you go out there to compete, and yeah, if you're coming down the stretch with a lead and you don't care what happens, you probably shouldn't be playing. That's kind of the way that I look at it.
I look at nerves as a good thing. I think it's awesome. If you're in that situation, you know, you worked really hard to get there. And once you're there, you've just got to relish the moment and do your best, and that's all you can do.
THE MODERATOR: Matthew, thank you for your time and best of luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports