March 22, 2021
Austin, Texas, USA
Austin Country Club
LAURA VESCOVI: Welcome to the virtual interview room at World Golf Championships Dell Technologies. We have been away for a year with the cancellation in 2020, so let's talk about your excitement to return to a place where you had such an exciting finish and you have a lot of great history at.
KEVIN KISNER: Thank you. Obviously I love coming back to Austin Country Club. I love the golf course. I really enjoy playing in the match play format. I had a lot of success in it in 2018 and 2019, so after the grouping reveals, looks like I have the test cut out for me here in the next few days, but looking forward to getting back and playing this great golf course.
LAURA VESCOVI: Is match play a format that you enjoy?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I enjoy the difference in strategy, I enjoy playing one-on-one, not just playing the golf course, I enjoy changing up through the round how the match is unfolding, a lot of different variations throughout the day, and I enjoy having to make a few pressure-packed putts to keep the momentum on your side.
LAURA VESCOVI: We'll go ahead and open it up to questions.
Q. Are you ready to play five days again? It's a lot of golf.
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, absolutely. I had last week off and I have next week off, so I'll get my rest afterward, if I can make it that far. It's obviously a grueling, grueling test to play 36 at that level Saturday and Sunday, but I learned a lot in the last two times getting there and obviously prevailed better the second time.
Q. What did you learn in that final against Bubba that you were able to kind of translate into 2019 as you went into the finals?
KEVIN KISNER: I think I ramped up trying to get back out to the range and get ready to go way too much. Obviously the time frame helped a ton from 2018 to 2019. 2018 I went to 19 holes; I think I had 30 minutes between finishing my match and playing the final, whereas I don't remember who I played in the semis in 2019, but I felt like I had more like an hour and a half between matches. So I was able to get some rest, lay down for a minute, close my eyes, kind of rejuvenate and come back 10 or 15 minutes before the tee time and just hit a few balls, whereas in 2018 I spent a lot of time trying to get ready for the finals and I think I overdid it.
Q. And then just where do you think your game is as you head into this one after two years away from ACC?
KEVIN KISNER: It's not been up to the level that I want it to be, but I've only played five times in 15 weeks, so I haven't had a lot of time to play. I've had a third child and spent a lot of time with the family, kind of more important at this stage in life. But this is my stretch right here; starting in Austin I'm getting ready to play five of the next six and then continue on through the summer where I like to play a lot of golf. So hopefully this is another turning point for me to get the game rolling.
Q. Since we're at the Match Play, I did want to ask about the idea of match play golf being a specific skill that you are good at and do you think that people recognize that? Sometimes it seems like in Europe they do recognize it more or less than in the U.S., and have you ever been frustrated not to get a call or more calls for some of these team events based on how well you played in match play formats throughout the year?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I would definitely say there's a difference in the way the strategy works, the format, how you prepare to play and how have you to be ready to change throughout the match. I think that's one of the biggest things. Normally in a stroke play event I kind of have the same mindset for all 18 holes, trying to -- I know how I want to attack the golf course from the get-go, but added features are if someone's in trouble or someone's played aggressive that I'm playing, I may have to change strategy on the go, so I think there's a huge different dynamic one-on-one versus 72-hole stroke play against 150 others.
On the team aspect, I would obviously want to be on every team possible. I love the team camaraderie. I think the big thing is there's courses for horses and the only one that I really felt really good about going to play was in Australia last year and probably Paris a few years ago. Both those courses I felt like I could compete on, but I didn't show enough to the captains leading up to deserve a pick, so the only way to fix that is to do it on your own merit.
Q. On the first part of your question, do you think, I guess the question would be what percentage of golfers do you think tackle stroke play and match play in different ways and how many just kind of say, hey, golf is golf?
KEVIN KISNER: On TOUR or any golf?
Q. Yeah, yeah, I would say on TOUR.
KEVIN KISNER: Oh, I really, I never really asked the question to other players. I would hope everybody tackles it differently. Obviously if somebody hits the ball out of bounds that I'm playing against I'm going to change my strategy to compete and just beat them on the hole; I don't care if they make a 10 I make a 9, I'm still one up. So that's kind of my thought throughout the whole round is I don't really look to see -- obviously I want to be playing well, know I have control of my game, but I'm just trying to beat you and that's -- I don't care what we shoot.
Q. You won two years ago at ACC then you followed that up (indiscernible) at the Masters. I was just wondering, can one event help you in the other?
KEVIN KISNER: I lost you a little bit, but I think you said can one event help you in others. Obviously I think anytime you're playing well you build confidence. But I go back to certain courses, if I was leaving here and won and then had to go play Bethpage Black, I wouldn't have a ton of confidence.
So it's all about the schedule and the weeks, and if you're playing well it kind of seems to come in waves. So you hope that when you're playing well the courses are ones that you like and you're competing well on.
Q. Also, where do you stand as far as, a lot of players go back and forth as far as playing your way into a major, like playing next (indiscernible)?
KEVIN KISNER: I'll go. I understood your question, I think. I always enjoy playing the week before a major, but I don't enjoy certain golf courses. So it depends on what tournament it is leading up to the major. I'm not going to go play just because I feel like I need to play before the major, I can play at home just as much. But if the tournaments align where I like the tournament before, I will obviously play.
Q. You guys have kind of done it all no fans, some fans, bigger galleries. Going to be limited here; how has it been since you guys restarted back in June?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, it was very eery at first with no fans, obviously total dynamic change to everything we have ever seen out here. It was kind of more like playing with your buddies on Saturday at the local club. Obviously we need our fans back and it's been a great success so far to implement slowly back into it, and we're moving into each local market and doing what their government wants us to do. So we are looking forward to hosting our fans back in a safe way. I really enjoy having the fans. I think it helps us step our game up in every aspect. So I look forward to full capacity, whenever that's available.
Q. And is it a little different even with match play where guys might have a fan -- you might have a fan of you against another guy and just the whole dynamic kind of that Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup feel?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I never felt like I had out here in the Match Play fans that followed you the entire match. I always felt like there was more community crowds on certain holes that wanted to see a bunch of golf. So I know down there by the river or the like on the back nine it's always a lot of fun when the crowd gets going and especially late in the afternoon and so I look forward to seeing some people back down there.
Q. You mentioned the bracket right off the top, but how much more fun is it when you get a bracket like that where it's -- I mean, obviously everybody in the field's really good, but to have JT and Louis and Matt, how much more fun is that for you?
KEVIN KISNER: I would have way more fun if all three of them just forfeited the match, to be honest. But, no, it's fun. If you want to be the best, you got to beat the best, and JT's playing arguably the best in the world right now, so it will be a lot of fun. He's a dear friend of mine. His caddie is one of my longtime best friends on the PGA TOUR. We have a lot of fun trying to tackle him, and obviously the other two players are all longtime TOUR stalwarts that have been out here and played great, had a lot of success, so looking forward to seeing how my game steps up against all of them.
LAURA VESCOVI: Thank you, Kevin, and good luck this week.
KEVIN KISNER: Thanks for having me.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports