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August 4, 2013

Gary Woodland


THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome the 2013 Reno‑Tahoe Open Champion Gary Woodland.  Your second career PGA TOUR victory in a modified Stableford format at that.
We'll turn it over to you for some opening comments.  With the win, you pick up 300 FedExCup points.  If I understand correctly, you said you didn't realize you were in a PGA championship until the scoring trailer tonight.
GARY WOODLAND:  It's been kind of a whirlwind obviously.  Today was tough.  I knew I had to come out and play well.  I knew I had to make birdies.
The wind definitely made this golf course today.  Jonathan Byrd's round was phenomenal.  Obviously he got off early.
I couldn't get any putts to go in early.  But I was hitting great shots.  I was hitting great putts.  And I just kept telling myself:  Just keep grinding, keep grinding; you'll get something to drop.
And I got lucky to find my ball on 14 there in the hazard and kind of chopped it out, and the chip that went in was‑‑ I was just trying to get it on the green, let alone to go in, was one of the best shots I've ever hit.
And to follow it up after Brendan Steele made the putt on 15, to answer him was huge.  I mean, that was‑‑ he had a lot of momentum.  And I kind of stole it all back and kind of rode it the rest of the way.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  You got up and down a lot of times today.  Have you ever been that good of a scrambler before?
GARY WOODLAND:  It's been coming.  I hired Pat Goss, Luke Donald's short game guy, the week of Augusta is when we started working together.  I led Memorial in scrambling.
I feel really comfortable on fast greens.  These greens were really fast this week.  Unfortunately, I missed a lot of greens.  But I was hitting the ball well enough, I hit it in the right spots.  And I gave myself opportunities to get up and down.  And that was the key.  Even though I wasn't hitting greens, I was hitting in the right spot.

Q.  When you look at what you got from this win, the money, whatever, how big is the two‑year exemption?
GARY WOODLAND:  It's huge, obviously.  I mean, that definitely gives you some comfort.  More importantly for me, it just validates what I've been doing.  It's been a long process the last couple of years.  But I felt like we're moving in the right direction; we just didn't have any results.
Now we have results that we're doing the right things.  We have a long way to go, but we're doing the right things and we'll continue to get better.

Q.  I guess I was curious a little bit, I think you had one birdie through the first 13 holes.  Did you feel like you were kind of letting guys back in?
GARY WOODLAND:  I mean, I felt that way but nobody was making a run at me.
I knew Jonathan Byrd, he posted early.  So I knew 35, I knew I was safe there.  It played tough.  It just did.
And I felt like I was playing good.  I gave myself a bunch of opportunities to make putts.  And I felt like I hit every lip and lipped out every hole.  And that was the big key for me was just to stay patient.  And finally I missed a bunch of putts obviously but the chip was unbelievable on 14 because that gave me some momentum.
And obviously I finally made a putt there on 15.  So it was definitely a struggle.  But I was surprised nobody made a run.

Q.  I've seen this all week.  You chew gum during your round pretty consistently.  Is that a tempo thing?  You just like gum?
GARY WOODLAND:  No, I just started doing that.  Was trying to keep me calm, trying to relax me a little bit.  Helps me breathe a little bit.  Just kind of helps me relax a little bit.  I just started doing that.  I'll continue to do it now.

Q.  You made a reference a couple times of feeling good about your game plan, that you sort of had a plan.  Can you talk about in general what that involved?
GARY WOODLAND:  It was more of a mental game plan, really to stay in the moment.  It is what it is.  But for me it was more of staying focused on what I was doing.
I knew I'd been playing well.  I made a bunch of cuts.  I haven't missed a cut since the beginning of March.  I had one withdrawal in the middle of that.  But I've been playing really well.  I just had to relax.  And I've been putting too much pressure on myself.
And once I was finally able to relax this week, I got an unbelievable‑‑ my whole game plan coming into this week was to stay mentally focused on every shot and really to let everything go, the bad shots go.  If I missed club or missed putts, whatever, I told myself all week:  Let it go, let it go.  And it paid off.

Q.  In some way having to do all the math and the wind and all, do you think that helped in a way to keep you kind of focused?
GARY WOODLAND:  It helped me to slow down, because I like to play fast, I like to move, and it was definitely a lot of numbers.
I definitely played a lot slower this week than I usually do.  But the calculating and the altitude, we were trying to play 10 to 15percent depending on what club I was hitting.
My caddie and I talked a lot more this week than we usually do.  It was tough.

Q.  Was there a moment, might have been 15, but was there a moment when you said "I have this tournament"?
GARY WOODLAND:  No.  I mean, because even‑‑ I didn't know where everybody really stood even coming down the last hole, I asked my caddie where we were.  And he said:  I think Brendan still has a chance to make two.
So that kind of kept me focused, and I made a really good swing, second shot on 18.  So I knew I was in good position.  I knew I definitely didn't want to make‑‑ I made a three‑ or four‑footer for bogey on 17.
I knew I definitely didn't want to miss that and give away three points.  That was nice to save that point there, because I think‑‑ I don't even think Brendan could have made two and still caught me.  I think as long as I made par I think I was good.

Q.  And I watched the late broadcast last night, and I think they mentioned that you hit yesterday, you hit a 310‑yard 5‑iron at one point and a 340‑yard 2‑iron; is that accurate?
GARY WOODLAND:  Maybe.  Sounds about right.  I don't know how far the one went on the last hole.  2‑iron felt like it went forever.
My caddie told me to hit 2‑iron.  I figured he wanted me to play it as a three‑shot hole.  When I got down there, I had 8‑iron into the green.  I was definitely surprised by that.  A little adrenalin rush.

Q.  People have torn this course up before but not like that.
THE MODERATOR:  Congratulations.

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