Valspar Championship

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Palm Harbor, Florida, USA

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)

Davis Riley

Quick Quotes

Q. This was a Roll Tide day out there for you.

DAVIS RILEY: That's right. It was nice to hear some Roll Tides out there, for sure.

Q. What was the comfort of the pairing for you and at what point did you feel like it could be something special?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah. No, it's always fun when you get to play with a good buddy and Justin obviously is one of the best players in the world and for him to be a friend too.

So, no there was definitely a level of comfort there for that. And, you know, it was nice. I felt really comfortable. I got the chance to play with Jon Rahm pretty late on Sunday, so I was, that was a really good learning experience for me to get used to those big crowds. So I think that really served me well today.

Yeah. No, it was a comfortable day and I felt like we were kind of feeding off each other, which was really fun, and we kind of pushed each other and played some good golf.

Q. A lot of people talk about the slam dunk at 9, which was big, but can you talk us through the shot at 7 and what you had in there?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah. I hit 3-wood off that tee, pulled it a little bit. It was close to being a good tee shot. But, yeah, me and my caddie kind of went back and forth whether we wanted to go up and around the tree or under just because it was sitting down.

I decided to go down with it and, yeah, that's just one of those shots that you try to judge, and I judged it perfectly and it rolled up there nicely up there to about 12, 15 feet, and to make that putt was just icing on the cake.

Q. 7-iron?

DAVIS RILEY: It was a 7-iron, yeah.

Q. Number 9. Were you trying to hit it that far back, that deep?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah. It was on the up slope of the bunker, so I knew I had to hit it pretty hard because it's just so easy to hit that one and leave it 25 feet short.

So I just really tried to make sure I hit enough on it and maybe I got a little too much of it. But, yeah, for it to slam dunk it was crazy. And I don't know how far it would have gone but it did have some spin on it. I felt like it would have been remotely close but just to make it just, yeah that was pretty lucky.

Q. Do you and Will have any bet on who wins first out here?

DAVIS RILEY: We don't. I don't know. Yeah, the way he's been playing, he's had a few good chances. But I don't know. We don't have a bet on it.

But no, anytime we both, he texted me last night, and just anytime we're both playing well we're rooting for each other really hard. And, you know, whoever wins first it will be great and we'll be happy for each other.

Q. What did he say last night?

DAVIS RILEY: He just said, man, keep it up, good playing. It was fun to watch. But yeah, so hopefully I can keep the good play up and maybe have a chance to win this thing tomorrow.

Q. You've kind of been groomed for this a long ways at different levels coming up. How prepared do you feel for a day like tomorrow?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, winning twice on the Korn Ferry in 2020, yeah, it was a really good experience for me, just getting in contention. No matter the stage, it's hard to win a golf tournament. Just being in contention and having those, that blood flowing is huge. Any time you can get just a pinch of that and get that experience is huge, and just winning twice served me well.

And then having some really good parings, Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Jason Day, where they're having those big crowds, just having those experiences early in the year really helped me today and just because it's so easy, it is a little bit of nerves but it's just like you have an adrenaline going so you're starting to hill the ball a little bit further and it's just like different just trying to navigate that and I was prepared for that today and those experiences really helped me.

Q. How would you describe your rookie season up to this week?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, you know, I felt like I've been playing good golf for awhile, I just haven't gotten the results I want to. I haven't been too happy with it, but yeah I've just been trying to be patient, I know I've been playing good golf and I've been hitting it well and now I finally got the putter rolling and kind of right where I wanted it to and that's kind of why I'm playing well this week, the putter's been really good to me and the driver as well for the most part. So, yeah, it's just, it's nice to get up there.

Q. Did you do one thing when you hurt your knee what was it?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah I was walking off the back of 6 green and there's a run off that at PGA National and it just went out too far and with all my body weight kind of landed on it and just really jammed that joint.

Yeah, it was tough for awhile, I didn't think I was going to play at Bay Hill and then I got back from Bay Hill, got a PRP shot in it immediately and that really sped up the process. And, yeah, I was super happy that worked out so I was able to play this week.

Q. That was a really fun round of golf to play.

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah. No, it was super exciting. It was, obviously just beginning of the day I was excited to play with Justin. He's a good friend of mine. We've kept in touch. And obviously he's a one of the best players in the world so, anytime can you do that, and I played with him, and playing with him was really fun.

Q. It was so steady but it was so impressive on the greens today. The hole is four and a quarter inches wide, but it looked like it was about a foot wide today. How confident are you on the greens?

DAVIS RILEY: I had a really good day putting on the first day as well. But, yeah, unless, you know, I struggled a little bit with my approach play. I wasn't as clean as I would like to the first two days, but thankfully the putter was there.

And that's what I've been telling myself is just give myself look. I feel really comfortable with the putter on these greens and if you just get me on the greens I have a chance.

Q. Didn't need the putter on 9. What was your mind thinking when you made contact with the ball?

DAVIS RILEY: It was on the up slope of the bunker so I knew I had to hit it pretty hard to get it back there to a back pin and I actually clipped it pretty good. I don't know exactly how far it would have been, I feel like it would have stayed pretty close, had a lot of spin. But for it to slam dunk that was icing on the cake that's one you don't see very often it was funny because I was walking up to get it out and Justin is just looking at me laughing, I'm like, yeah, that's pretty lucky. So, no, that was fun.

Q. Rookie year you don't get a chance to really dictate your full schedule you know you're going to get starts but you can't pick the perfect schedule for you this feels like a perfect golf course for your game. How has this week felt in terms of the comfort level?

DAVIS RILEY: Yeah, I've been telling so many people and obviously I don't have the results I was kind of playing through injury last week and just this Florida swing I love it. I love these golf courses, the PGA National, Bay Hill, this place, I feel like they fit my game really well where you got drive it well, kind of a ball-striker's kind of paradise. No, ever since I stepped foot here Monday I just felt really comfortable and now I'm feeling like I finally got the putter rolling so that's nice to see some putts go in.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
118409-1-1044 2022-03-19 22:18:00 GMT

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