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August 3, 2023

Bubba Watson

Talor Gooch

Harold Varner

Thomas Pieters

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, USA

The Old White

RangeGoats GC

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We are joined today by the RangeGoats GC. We have our captain, Bubba Watson, Thomas Pieters and Talor Gooch. Welcome, guys.

Bubba, you are a former resident of the Greenbrier and you served as an ambassador of sorts in helping the resort recover from the devastating floods in 2016. Can you tell us a little bit about that and why Greenbrier means so much to you.

BUBBA WATSON: Well, it starts with the people, right. Any town you go to and you live at, the Greenbrier represents the whole town. This is a lot of jobs here. This means a lot to a lot of families around here.

Then when I think about the flood, how the people came together, the town came together, I've seen it with hurricanes down in Florida where I'm from, but then when you see it with a flood like this, everybody came together. Beautiful place, beautiful people. They always support their sports around here.

It's been an amazing place to live. Timing wasn't good with my kids, so we moved out of here. But it's been an amazing place to be at, fun for the kids, fun for the family, and just excited to be back here and put on a show, hopefully put on a show for the locals here.

Q. Talor and Bubba, I think you guys have experience playing here and I think Harold has, as well. So having three members of the team with experience at Greenbrier, does that give you guys a leg up on the competition from a team perspective this week and are you guys trading notes and giving Thomas some tips?

TALOR GOOCH: Yeah, anytime we've been to a place, that comfort and that experience, it's helpful. The good thing about this course is it's pretty straightforward. You don't need to play it a bunch of times to get comfortable.

I know Thomas only needs to see it these couple days before we get going. It's a great golf course, and you've got to golf your ball. You can't fake it around here.

I do think that having three of the four of us played here before, it's going to help us for the week.

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, same thing. Really the key around this golf course is putting, getting the ball in the fairway and putting. But around here because of the mountains and the different valleys, the putts can be a little different. You might see one thing and it might break a little more or a little less just because of that. That's really the keys around here.

They've changed a couple tee boxes. They've changed a few things that make the golf course a little bit more difficult. It'll be interesting how they set it up based on whatever.

But I think that he's been doing this for so many years that showing up to a golf course that he hasn't seen and learning it real fast, that's why he has a good team with his caddie on the bag, walks the course and everything. I think Thomas and our team will be where we need to be by the end of the week.

Q. Thomas, your 10th place finish in London was your best result yet at LIV Golf. Do you think you found something in your game, or was it just settling into life at LIV Golf? I know it takes a little bit of adjusting.

THOMAS PIETERS: A bit of both probably. And a bit of comfort level of not having jet lag and playing at home -- kind of at home.

BUBBA WATSON: Shorter flight.

THOMAS PIETERS: So yeah, those couple things. Those two things really. I wasn't hitting the ball amazing. Still am not hitting it amazing. But I feel like after this two-week stretch, everybody gets a chance to kind of refocus and put a lot of practice in.

I'm also looking forward to that part.

Q. Talor, you and Harold are on the leaderboard for the lowest round scores at LIV with 61 and 62. The course record at Old White is 59. Do you think that's attainable for you guys this week?

BUBBA WATSON: 57. Just say it.

TALOR GOOCH: Well, I've never shot in the 50s before, so it would be a nice week to knock that one off the list.

The course is in phenomenal shape, and it's going to be kind of wind dependent, I think, how low the scores are going to be, because the greens are great, you can make a lot of putts if you're in the right spots.

I was talking with a couple guys yesterday. It's not an easy golf course, but if you're playing well, you can get after it.

59s don't happen too often, but it would be a nice week to do it.

Q. The rule of 59 maybe this week?

TALOR GOOCH: No, I'm not jinxing my 67 rule. 67 always works.

Q. The RangeGoats are currently sitting in third place in the team standings with only four regular season events left. As you guys know, only the top four teams receive a first-round bye and then based on your position is how you get to select who you play against. Are you starting to feel the pressure to keep your foot on the gas as you're in third place and kind of on that line a little bit?

TALOR GOOCH: I mean, I definitely don't want to have to play the first round in Miami, so especially coming from Saudi, it would be nice to watch everyone stress Friday and we get to just hang and have a little mai tai or something.

Yeah, we've got a couple weeks left to go and solidify that first-round bye, and that would be really nice to do.

BUBBA WATSON: Are you feeling the pressure of Miami coming up and trying to stay in that position to have a bye?


Q. The RangeGoats have five consecutive podium finishes between Adelaide and AndalucĂ­a. How important is it to keep that consistency going?

HAROLD VARNER III: Yeah, I think it's great. I feel like we need to play well. I feel like we're not making up ground, though, on these podiums, so we just need to play well and win. It's been the same thing since we played in February, and I think we've got a great chance this week.


Q. This will be your first team championship with the leaderboards for both team and individual, and since your team is in the running, since this is new for you, is that on your mind at all?

THOMAS PIETERS: If you're not playing well, then it's more on your mind, the team thing, I think. If you're individually doing well, it's less on your mind because you're playing well anyway.

Q. Talor, you are currently sitting in first place on the individual standings with three wins this season. However, Cam Smith, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson are hot on your trail. They have a combined nine majors and they all want that top spot. How much are the individual standings on your mind each time you tee it up for the last four events?

TALOR GOOCH: Rule of 67. You just go out, shoot 67, and everything will take care of itself. Golf is hard enough. I don't need to worry about whoever is behind me or in front of me or anything like that. I need to go try to hit the first fairway, try to make a birdie and we'll go from there.

We've got bigger things for the year in mind as a team, and like Thomas said, when you're not playing well that's all you're thinking about.

We've just got to continue to play well, and I know if we play well that everything will work out.

Q. Bubba, you were part of the recovery efforts here; since you've been back, have you been able to meet any of the people that you've helped, or have you stayed in contact with many of the people?

BUBBA WATSON: It's a great question. It's the people of here, right. We know some of the staff. Staff has changed over. People move. It's been a few years now, right.

Yes, when we came back -- we've been here for a week, so we've been around the hotel, seen people that we've known for a few years, some of the workers. Played each golf course since we've been here, so we've seen the people that we've been a part of their lives and tried to help. They've been a part of our lives. Yeah, we've seen some people that we've dealt with over the years and partnered with.

We were just a small piece in helping the community recover. We were thankful that we were safe, but we wanted to help other people, so we've been a part of -- a small part of this community that's changed lives after that disaster.

Q. You were at the collector's show, I believe, over the weekend --

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, in Chicago.

Q. Did you pick up anything?

BUBBA WATSON: Yeah, there was this -- one of my things from any childhood that I sent a picture and showed my mom, there was a Mickey Mantle picture. They made 300 of them. He signed all of them, Upper Deck, put it together years ago. I had one as a kid, and around 12 or 13 years old my dad let me have it, and I traded it in. People weren't collecting like they are today.

I gave it away for a bunch of cards, an open pack of NBA cards in '90 or '91, somewhere in that area.



So there was one at the show, and I purchased it just because the memories -- not because of the autograph, not because of the selling it in the future. It was more about the family ties and having that as a kid and then being able to pass it on to my son later on.

Q. Did you see any Harold Varner signed cards there?

BUBBA WATSON: I don't think there was any -- there was maybe a couple of old golf cards. Upper Deck was involved, so Tiger did Upper Deck cards, so there was a couple Tiger cards, and I didn't see many F1s, either.

Q. You're playing with Phil in the first round Friday. You guys seem to have had a lot of fun in the past years, especially on social media. How would you describe your relationship with Phil?

BUBBA WATSON: I think it's good. It's strong.

It's one of those things, this is a guy that I looked up to, and now being -- I wouldn't say an equal, because of his career, but we're equal and we're trying to do the same thing. We're trying to help build this league, be a part of this league. So I'd say we're equal in that stance.

But obviously looking up to a guy like that with his record, his credibility from his record. It's a guy I still bump ideas off of. So yeah, it's always fun to get to hear from him, talk to him, and get notes from him when you do something good or do something good in the community he'll send a text or something.

So that's always good. Spending time with a guy like that that has so much history, you can learn from a guy like that, watch how he reacts to the crowd, watch how he deals with the crowd, watch how he practices. You can learn so much from a great champion like that.

Over the years I've learned a lot from him, and it's been an honor to be able to sit beside him and play against him.

Q. Talor, as Jane mentioned, you're topping the individual champion standings right now. Most of your points have been on the international events. We've got these next three events coming up in the U.S. Do you look at this stretch -- I know it's the rule of 67, but do you look at this stretch as kind of trying to figure out how to get more points out of these U.S. events?

TALOR GOOCH: Yeah, of course you want to go win the individual race, so you know you've got to play well. That's why I keep saying it's the rule of 67, because at the end of the day you can try to focus on everything outside of the golf or who's following you or the type of golf you're playing, wherever. But at the end of the day, you go take care of your business on the golf course, all that stuff will take care of itself.

Yeah, I know that there's a few tournaments left. I know the position I'm in. But again, I'm just going to go try to shoot a lot of 67s.

Q. I know I've asked you this before, but do you just figure it's kind of not playing well, playing as well in the U.S. as opposed to internationally, is that just mere coincidence, or is there something to that?

TALOR GOOCH: I just think it's coincidence. If you look at the type of golf courses we've played in the U.S. versus international, they've been a little bit different. So I just think that the type of golf courses we've played internationally have fit my game just a little bit better.

If we could decide when to channel when putts are made, I think we would all be in different positions. I've just happened to make some more putts outside of the United States, and that's part of it, too. In Adelaide and Valderrama we were playing bent greens, the type of greens I'm very, very comfortable with.

I think geographically where the course is doesn't matter except for the type of grass is dictated by the geographics, and just happens to be we've played a lot of familiar types of grasses internationally for me.

Q. Harold, on the flipside, you've obviously played great the last two events in the U.S.; do you look at this stretch -- you're in seventh right now in the standings. Do you look at this stretch of three tournaments before Jeddah as really an opportunity to make up a lot of ground and apply some pressure to Talor?

HAROLD VARNER III: I think I'd have to play really well to do that, so I think we just work on playing well. I like this place, so I'm just going to worry about this week.

Q. Do you look at the standings, the season-long standings?

HAROLD VARNER III: Yeah, I think every day I look at it. It's important to -- I want to know where I stand. I want to know how I can get to the top, and I think there's a lot of money to be made up there, and I can help a lot of people with a lot of money.

Q. What's the best thing about being a RangeGoat?

TALOR GOOCH: That we're wearing pink this week. Did I reveal the secret?

HAROLD VARNER III: I mean, I think we have a really cool team chemistry. Yeah, it's good. I think we're really good at golf, and we haven't played well, and I want to beat the Aces.

BUBBA WATSON: For me it's just fun spending time with these guys, feeding off their energy, their dedication to working, working towards the goal of being better at golf. It's fun. For me, it gives me energy to -- I'm getting older, so it gives me energy to get out there and work after that knee surgery to work even harder to try to get back to prove to myself that I can play at a high level with these guys.

I need to start proving that. I need to start making some putts, I guess. I need to channel those putts to go in.

THOMAS PIETERS: I mean, everybody likes our team the best. Fans.

Q. You like being the favorite?

THOMAS PIETERS: Well, you know.

TALOR GOOCH: I think we have the best mash-up of four dudes out here. It's fun being around these dudes each week. Every week is different. You don't know what's about to come sometimes, and it just makes it fun.

Q. Talor, you're clearly one of the most consistent LIV Golf League players out here. You've got 137 points; you're in first place, leading the Money List with like 13 and a half million in nine events. That's pretty impressive.

My question is August 20th I think is the drop-dead date to make a decision about the Ryder Cup team. Has Zach reached out to you or your people? Has there been any kind of communication?

TALOR GOOCH: Not yet, no.

Q. If you win this week, do you think that should put you on that team, with four wins in 10 events?

HAROLD VARNER III: I think that's a tough question. No s--- he wants to play on the Ryder Cup team, and some people think he should be on the team. But if he's playing, I would say yes every time. Who doesn't want to represent their country?

He's playing absolutely great golf, so I think it's a great question, but also I think it's kind of hard for him to sit here and be like, yeah, I don't think I should be on the Ryder Cup team. You know what I mean? I think that's very difficult.

TALOR GOOCH: I think that what I think doesn't matter for it unfortunately, so I'll just continue to play good golf and let the people whose opinions matter, hopefully we can sway them a little bit.

HAROLD VARNER III: So it was a rhetorical question.

Q. Talor, you touched on wind making an impact. I heard it was a little firm out there. What do you think that's going to do?

TALOR GOOCH: Yeah, we've been talking about it all week. Hopefully the rain stays away because the golf course just plays better when it's a little bit firmer, got a little bit of a bounce to it.

I don't know what the forecast is for tomorrow, but hopefully there's no more rain the rest of the week and the course will firm up and get firm and fast.

I was just telling TP, like in the afternoons out here when it gets warm, the ball starts going far and it starts bouncing a bunch. That's why I said, if you're playing well out here, you can go and shoot a good score, but if you're not on top of your game, it can be challenging.

The firmer it is, the more challenging it is, when I think plays into this team's game.

THE MODERATOR: Good luck this week. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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