March 26, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Austin Country Club
MICHAEL BALIKER: We'll get started, Kevin Kisner, back in the semifinals, third time at Austin Country Club, 2018, 2019 and now '22. Obviously had an incredible morning match comeback and then playing pretty solidly out there this afternoon. Take us through the day.
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, I got off to a great start this afternoon against Will. He made a couple bogeys, and then was able to make a few birdies and kind of gain momentum. Making a long putt on 11 and then birdieing 12 pretty much put the match in my hands.
Glad to get that one finished off earlier, and get some rest for tomorrow.
Q. You talked about the putt on 12, the long putt, and then going back to this morning when you holed out the bunker shot, is there something about this event that allows you to be a little bit more aggressive and to pull off shots like that, or is it just timing?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, 11, I've just had that putt a bunch, so I knew exactly what it did, and I got to see Will before me. This morning on 16 it was pretty much make it or go home or at least give it a good shot. I had to make 4 -- needed a 3, 4 at the worst. I told my caddie I was going to fly it in on 16 this morning. That didn't really happen. I just trickled it in.
Q. In terms of what you did this morning, which we can get to in a minute, but I remember a couple years ago on a double-match day, which was Sunday, you went extra holes with Noren and then you get through and Bubba got you pretty good. My question is when it's that much of a high-energy, high-charged comeback, is there any concern about going right back out and trying to get yourself up again?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, for sure. I felt like I had an advantage this afternoon just from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint. He's obviously played 22 holes. I've been laying around on the couch in the locker room for an hour and he's not really -- I mean, shoving down a sandwich and going to the first tee, 85 degrees, wind blowing 20, greens rolling 14, it's not the easiest in the world to get right back into it.
I've learned a lot being in this position about how you prepare for the afternoon rounds, and I think that helped me today.
Q. If you were being super honest with us, when you are 3-down with four to play, what are you thinking in terms of your chances at that point?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, it's not looking good. But I don't ever give up. I knew I needed to make some birdies. I knew I needed him to start thinking about it. That's what I'm always trying to do is get the opponent to think about what I'm doing instead of what they're doing, and I was able to do that, I think, when I holed that bunker shot on 16.
Q. The bunker shot really stands out and it was superb. I'm curious what you had in on 15. I'm sure it was nothing more than a wedge, but that seems like it was probably equally important and not going to get any highlights.
KEVIN KISNER: No, totally. That definitely changed the momentum, hitting a wedge in there to four feet. He hit a great shot to probably nine or ten feet and hit a great putt, just missed it on the high side, and for me to make that, I knew on 16 that I had the advantage because he had a terrible lie down in the rough and I was in the bunker.
Kind of felt like the momentum was switching my way.
Q. Want to talk strategy here on this golf course and this championship with you. You're Top 40 on TOUR in strokes gained around the greens, top 5 in strokes gained putting. Does that give you more confidence in being more aggressive here, that if you do make a mistake you know you've got a pretty good shot at recovery?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, when it gets like it is this afternoon when it's so gusty and high wind with those greens getting that firm, it's just brutal to hit greens in my opinion. The ball is running off in all these collection areas.
But my home course has all these same looks from around the green, and I just feel so comfortable pitching it into these false fronts or into the fringe and then letting it roll out down slopes. That's kind of what I do at home every day. It looks good to my eye when I miss a green.
Q. You kind of just talked about it, but this is your 20th win here at Austin Country Club. You talked about it all week, but why do you love this golf course?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, I think it's great for match play. I think there's a lot of risk-reward, I think there's a lot of -- I don't feel like I'm behind the 8-ball on the first tee from a distance standpoint. I haven't played a single person yet in five matches that hits it anywhere remotely close to the same distance as me. I'll give you an example: On 11 tee I tried to cut a 6-iron and Will hit a 9-iron and flew it past my ball.
In a lot of events, I'm dead in the water. I'm behind the 8-ball before I tee off. I love that I can work the ball, use slopes, use the firmness of the fairways and the greens to help me.
Q. I wonder if you and Billy ever just want to write a manual on how to play this golf course. Would you think about selling that?
KEVIN KISNER: We could. If the members have any money around here, we could probably help them out a little bit. Billy and I have a lot of similar game. We hit it about the same distance, try to rely on good putting from inside 10 and 12 feet. It was no craziness to me that he won here.
Q. Is your form right now as good as it was when you won here?
KEVIN KISNER: Yeah, at least. I might be playing better now than I did in '19, just from an overall whole game standpoint. The ball-striking has not been as sharp as I wanted the last couple days, but I'm also on a four-week stretch here where I've played a lot of golf in the last four weeks.
Q. Scottie Scheffler is in the same position you were, runner-up last year and trying to win this thing. Did you feel like that was a huge edge, finishing second the year before?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, I felt like I knew how to handle it better, to prepare for the final match, that's for sure. I didn't feel the need to rush back and try to go through my routine to go play, it was more casually stroll to the tee and get loosened up as you went.
Q. You're such a good match play player; do you think you should be on every Ryder Cup team and every Presidents Cup team?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, it depends on where we're playing. I say it all the time, if we're playing at Bethpage, you can leave me at home.
Q. What if we're playing Quail Hollow?
KEVIN KISNER: I can play there.
Q. Your emotions during matches seemed to be a little bit higher and lower here than maybe in a stroke-play event. Are you able to ride those emotions a little bit more this particular week versus other weeks of the TOUR?
KEVIN KISNER: Well, I liken it to trying to win a golf tournament in every match. I really love being in contention on Sunday in a stroke-play event. If I'm teeing off in 30th it's hard for me to get really into it.
Out here it feels like Sunday every day, which is a lot of fun.
Q. Any thoughts on Corey tomorrow?
KEVIN KISNER: Corey Conners?
KEVIN KISNER: He's a hell of a ball striker, so I'll have to have my "A" game on the ball-striking just to keep being around him. He hits it longer than I do and stripes the hell out of it. All I'll try to do is annoy him with my putter.
Q. Do you even pay that close of attention to who's next, and I guess as you get deeper into the tournament, does everyone kind of look the same since they're obviously playing good golf?
KEVIN KISNER: They all look the same to me. No, I have no idea. I asked him on the way in who I was playing next. I asked Brooks Koepka in the locker room after the first match if we were playing each other, and he's like, no, I'm playing DJ in 30 minutes.
I don't ever look, man. They tell me when we tee off, and we'll go from there.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports