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May 18, 2021

Kevin Kisner

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Pleased to be joined by Kevin Kisner, who is playing in his seventh career PGA Championship. Kevin, is it safe to say as a South Carolinian that you've had this marked on your calendar for a little bit of time and kind of looking forward to maybe a special week for a hometown guy?

KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, obviously being from South Carolina this is definitely a tournament I look forward to. I'm fortunate that my sister and brother-in-law have a beach house here, so I reserved that many years ago when it came out on the schedule.

We're having a great week with my whole family here and my parents and their family. Got a sweet setup and a great venue and obviously glad to be in my home state.

Q. We came in to listen to you tell us about the 100 times you've played out here.

KEVIN KISNER: I wouldn't say the Ocean Course is one that you venture to for fun. I come down here for vacation with my family. I think I've played it one other time with my wife's side of the family, her dad and my brother-in-law on that side. They wanted to come and play and see how difficult it really was, so we came out here and laughed at them one afternoon.

I don't play much golf when I come to Kiawah. Rather be there by 14 tee at the beach club hanging out than standing on the 14th tee.

Q. How much of it have you seen this week and what's the biggest thing it asks you to do?

KEVIN KISNER: Well, obviously today is the windiest day. I got here on Sunday and played them all. The golf course is absolutely pristine as far as condition. I don't know if you could ask for it to be better. I don't think they need to dramatically change from here to Sunday.

It's just great test overall. It's visually tough off the tee but there's plenty of room, and then when you get winds up in the 15 to 20 it makes the into-the-wind holes that much harder. We played the back nine today and you turn on 14, and that stretch, those last five, it was just wearing you out with the long clubs.

You catch the downwind holes you can make some birdies if you can drive it in the fairway and have some shorter shots in. The greens are still somewhat receptive even downwind, which makes it nice to be able to make some birdies. I think the PGA does a great job of setting it up to allow us -- they're not trying to embarrass us or make it unfair. I think they like to see us be tested but allow us to make birdies with good shots.

Q. You've obviously got your sights set on the Wanamaker this week, but what might be the biggest event or championship you've won in this state as you grew up here?

KEVIN KISNER: Oh, man, I don't think I ever won the state amateur championship. Probably just the state junior for the state of South Carolina. I was on a bunch of team events between North and South Carolina or the Carolina versus Georgia matches. Probably the state junior is the biggest one.

Q. Is there something special about growing up in this state when you get on the path playing golf? It seems like it's a state that's really synced up with golf. I think it's treated you well so far through your career.

KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, we were fortunate to have a great junior golf association that ran great events and hosted events throughout the state that we got to travel around and play. Like DJ and I grew up traveling around playing in these different state events and spent a lot of time together, and I think that really is a great training tool for how our careers progressed as being able to play against good competition at a young age, and fortunate to have a great golf association.

Q. This golf course has been mentioned as one of the hardest courses anywhere. Do you agree just on a regular day, and what about now?

KEVIN KISNER: Well, definitely now with -- obviously I don't think we're going to play the back edge of every tee box like we're doing in practice rounds, but it's all wind biased. If there's no wind the long holes are still long but they're easier. They don't dramatically make poor shots worse.

Like 17 straight in is just absolutely brutal, and there's not a lot of bailout. It's definitely one of the hardest tests I've played in my life for sure.

Q. Around the greens, they all seem to be raised a little bit. What particular challenge does that add?

KEVIN KISNER: I was telling my coach out there, I feel like I'm going to have neck problems from having to look up so much on all the pitch shots. The condition around the green is just perfect the whole way, so you get really good lies, and if you hit a good shot you can control your spin and your height.

They give you a chance. I think the biggest key is you're going to see guys, if it blows like this, missing it further away from the hole to be able to chip it into the wind. Because the greens aren't overly fast, they can't be, and they're not overly firm, so you can really get the ball up-and-down a lot with how good they are and the condition if you can use the wind as your friend.

Q. When you played in the state junior, was DJ in the field?

KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I'm sure he was.

Q. Where did you win it?

KEVIN KISNER: I'm pretty sure it was at Lexington Country Club every year in Lexington, South Carolina. That would have to be like 2001. Bob would probably know better than I would. 2001 or 2000, somewhere around there. I graduated high school in 2002, so somewhere around there.

Q. I'm curious how you're adapting to the newly condensed schedule of major championships or how you plan to adapt moving forward?

KEVIN KISNER: Well, I haven't played well in any of them since we went to this super schedule, so I'm hoping that changes this week.

The entire world got turned upside down obviously and we've all had to adapt throughout the last year, so I think we're probably at a point now where we're returning to somewhat normalcy, and I'm looking forward to getting back to playing well.

I think the hardest thing is every event feels big now because we're running around the corner and we're going to have six majors, THE PLAYERS, World Golf Championships. It feels like every two or three weeks we're at a venue where it's super stressful on the game because it's a difficult golf course or a difficult event.

I think that's one of the hardest is you don't get in a flow of playing and shooting 65 like they did last week and then turn around and play on a course like this. It feels like I'm constantly getting beat up out here with the big schedule.

Q. Do you like this schedule, though, in general?

KEVIN KISNER: Well, I think it was just a reaction to all the events of last year. I wouldn't think a schedule with six majors every year would be anything we would try to attain.

I think four is about the right spot with the THE PLAYERS and the World Golf Championships.

I'm more for boosting up the regular TOUR events along the way as well as playing the majors, and that way it gives guys more chance to create their schedule and be prepared at the major championships.

Q. Back to the difficulty of one particular hole, the 17th hole, and what range of club do you think you might be hitting this week and how difficult is that hole?

KEVIN KISNER: Well, the wind is in the same direction today as it's supposed to be through Friday, so I believe we're going to play -- Lord hope that we're going to play a tee up. Today we played it at 202 from the front edge of the back box, so we were trying to hit a 235-yard shot over water to an area about 13 yards wide.

I tried to hit a 7-wood; was unsuccessful. That's not a very easy shot into the wind. Depending on where they play it and where the flag is, I think you have a range from 5-iron to 3-wood. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Q. Last time we routed our championship into the Carolinas was '17 up at Quail Hollow and you were right in the thick of it and made a hell of a push. I think you were leading after three rounds. Was there something about the comforts of being in a familiar area that at least regionally at that point helped you get to that point, and do you hope to recapture that this week?

KEVIN KISNER: For sure. I think any time you're in a familiar area or an area that you're used to seeing the certain type of grass or conditions that we grew up on, it brings back some confidence to your game. Obviously if I fly to the West Coast I don't feel as comfortable on the grass and the conditions there. I feel comfortable in 85 and blowing down here at the beach and on these paspalum greens.

Definitely at Quail Hollow I felt like I could make every putt because it's Bermudagrass and that's what I grew up on. I'm going to definitely lean on that for experience heading into this week.

Q. Any special family members or friends that are here this week that are noteworthy for you?

KEVIN KISNER: I definitely talked my father, who's 70 and still working like crazy. I'm trying to talk him out of there, but I forced him into coming early, so he's already here and he complains every afternoon when I get come about how much phone has been ringing about work.

So we're having a good time. Have a good buddy over at the house cooking for me, so everybody is getting -- being able to hang out, which we don't get to do much. As you know. When you get family somebody is always in the kitchen cooking or cleaning or going to get something.

So everybody is getting to spend time with my kids and my sister's kids. It's a lot of fun.

Q. A 7-wood seems like a trendy club out here now. How long have you had that in the bag and why are all the guys going to it?

KEVIN KISNER: Well, not to beat up on the manufacturers, but they just keep bending lofts stronger and stronger, and so you grab a 5-wood and you're hitting it as far as your 3-wood and it doesn't really accomplish the goal.

I think it's just a fancy number on the bottom of a club, to be honest with you. It's more of how far I'm hitting it. I was looking for something in the 235 to 240 range, and that's where I hit it. That's kind of where our threshold is into the par-5s and a lot of the par-3s, but as firm as conditions are getting these days, you've got to have it coming in there softly, and 2-iron is just not going to get the job done anymore.

Q. How long have you had it in?

KEVIN KISNER: I've probably been playing that since East Lake last year. Put it in East Lake, I believe.

THE MODERATOR: Kevin, thank you so much for joining us and providing the insights of the locals as someone from the area, and we wish you the best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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