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November 10, 2020

Tony Finau

Augusta, Georgia

Q. What's it like when you see it and it's so different?
TONY FINAU: Oh, so different. But I mean, the golf course is still amazing. But it just looks so different. I think the last time I played a competitive round here was in the final group with Tiger in '19. The difference between that and being out here in a practice round and getting ready is like night and day when it comes to how many people are around, just in general the energy and stuff. So it's going to be quite different. My two competitive rounds back‑to‑back are going to be quite different.
We're going to miss the patrons out here, but the golf course is amazing. Having it be played in the fall, some different colors around the golf course, the greens are great. The golf course is playing a little longer, a little softer, but overall still an amazing‑‑ it's going to be an amazing test.

Q. You mentioned being an eyewitness to history with Tiger, right. Is there something to be said about Tiger‑‑ of course it was April 2019. He's been defending champion now for about a year and a half. Is that kind of fitting for Tiger Woods?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, no question. What he's done for our game, I think I've been quoted many times saying as a seven‑year old in 1997 watching him win that Masters probably changed the course of my life, just in that he made golf look pretty cool for me as a kid. I think I could speak for a lot of guys out here that he's just that guy for our game, and he carries that torch and has been doing it for over 20 years.
Yeah, I don't think anybody deserves that spotlight more than him. Happy that he's had it this long, but hopefully I can take it from him this week.

Q. What do you do to make up for the fact that you won't hear roars on Sunday, that you won't have that rush of energy and enthusiasm?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, as I said before, I think we're going to miss the patrons' energy, especially down that back nine. But we all know what we're playing for. There's no‑‑ we know what's at the end of the tunnel this week. Somebody is going to be wearing a green jacket on Sunday on the 18th green.
That's more than enough for any of us to hype ourselves up and have the excitement and energy that's required to play at a high level. We'll still have the juices flowing, no question. We have experienced already‑‑ we've already experienced a couple majors without the crowd, and we definitely miss the energy, but there's no shortage of excitement when it comes to playing major championship golf, whether people are there or not.

Q. Does it lessen the pressure when you're not looking up at a crowd at 9 or 18?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, it doesn't lessen the pressure in my eyes. I think what it does is your adrenaline isn't as high, I think. So you don't have to calm yourself down as much. I don't think your heart rate is as high just because the energy and the people. I don't know that it's nerves as much as it's just that, just the noise makes you a little more amped. So sometimes you've got to calm yourself down a bit, and that's not the case when nobody is out here.
But again, when it comes to major championship golf, we all know what's on the line and that's more than any of us‑‑ for any of us to get us going.

Q. Have you found that you've hit balls further here particularly when maybe a crowd on a Saturday or Sunday and you were like, where did that come from, that maybe you were so pumped up‑‑ hit something a little further than you thought you could?
TONY FINAU: Yeah, sometimes that's the case for sure. You hit some tee balls and get up there and it's 15, 20 yards further than you hit in the practice round. That seems to be the case quite often actually. Yeah, not having them out here this week is definitely going to be different. But any time you can play Augusta National, I'm excited that they're still holding the event. Like they say, it's a tradition unlike any other. I'm excited to be here playing the Masters this week.

Q. How many times during the course of this year have you thanked yourself and been thankful for the fact that you're a golfer because you guys of course were social distancing before there was social distancing. So many sports have gone through fits and starts and golf has been able to keep going pretty much.
TONY FINAU: It's been amazing. I think the winner‑‑ I'm taking this quote from Ian Baker‑Finch. I had a good conversation with him just yesterday. He said, the winner in all of this during the pandemic has been golf. I think our game has grown. We've shown that we can play it in a healthy way, play an outdoor sport in a healthy way with social distancing and what's required to be safe. So I think our game has won tremendously throughout this pandemic, and we're showing that again here at the Masters this week that we're able to play our sport. We're still able to give our fans what they want through broadcasts and still be competing for a green jacket. That's really exciting for me, and I'm definitely grateful for that and being a professional golfer during these times.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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