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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP

July 22, 2016

Jack Wagner

Stateline, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: Jack, 27 points; you're up by three. Solid round. I understand you ran a few in. But I gotta think you hit the ball pretty awful good to have just one bogey for the day.

JACK WAGNER: Yeah, I started off on the back nine today. So I went through a run of holes, 13, 14 and 15, that I think made my round.

I made a 10-footer for par on 13. I made a 20-footer for par on 14, and I made a 67-footer for par on 15. So when I got through the area that could have been really ugly, I kind of played 5-under from there on out until a sloppy bogey on the last hole.

So I think sometimes par putts, as we watch pros play, when they make a few par putts, it gives them a little momentum. And that gave me some confidence today.

Q. Can't help but notice a "4-Jim" on your hat. I heard you explain it, I heard partly your explanation. Tell us about that. And is that your inspiration for this weekend?
JACK WAGNER: Yeah. This weekend is dedicated to Jim Powers. He was my best friend for 46 years, personal assistant for 34 years, and he passed June 4th. And he's been up here all 26 years, worked with Phil a lot, NBC guys, American Century people, just handling my stuff.

And I tried to put this on my back because he always had my back, but it doesn't stay on. So it's going to be on the hat this week. But, yeah, I have inspiration this week. So this week's a tribute and dedication to Jim.

Q. You mentioned the greens were rolling fast. So did J.R. and Mike Modano, as I've heard. What do you think the reason for that is this year?
JACK WAGNER: I think they've gotten them where they should be. These greens should be this way. They shouldn't be soft and spongy, which they usually are. And short putts are very difficult because there's a lot of footprints. But these greens are firm.

If you hit it right, it will stop. If you don't, it will run out. And I think it will separate good putters, good ball-strikers. And you have to play more shots. You have to play about five or ten yards short sometime to let the ball release up, as opposed to flying everything to the hole. So I think it's a bit of a different golf course than we've ever played because the condition of the golf course is so good.

Q. Do you think the big heavy linebackers and guys like Charles Barkley and Larry the Cable Guy will sponge that back up by the end of the weekend?
JACK WAGNER: No. The greens are too good. They can't get to it. Jerome Bettis and Charles, I don't think they can dig in and hurt these greens, that's how good they are.

Q. You're the only wire-to-wire winner here in the tournament. And what do you know, you're on top right now; you have a shot to repeat.
JACK WAGNER: Amazing. I forgot about that. Thanks for bringing that up to me. (Laughter).

I remember that, in 2011, that's right. So we'll see what happens this year. But I'm happy with the start I had.

Q. Before the round, during the practice, you were grinding on the putting green. Looked like you were really intense, trying to get your lines down, dialed. Is that the case? Do you really, really work hard on your putting?
JACK WAGNER: Especially when I get up here. Because these greens are different now. Now, if you make a good stroke, the ball's going to roll properly. In the past, you could make a good stroke and it might wobble off. They're a lot like Pebble Beach's greens. There's a lot of poa annua in them.

But I just believe that I've been hitting the ball pretty well. And so for me keeping my nerve and staying still over the putts is the key for me. And today I putted very well today.

Q. You mentioned 2011 when you won. You shot -- you scored 29 points that first round. Today 27, which is your second highest ever in a opening round since we went to Stableford. I don't know, we've got --
JACK WAGNER: I've got to tell you, I realized on 9, when I'm over that putt, it was for 67, and I don't think I've ever broken 67 on this course. And that's why I yipped that out of there. I'm going I had a little score choke there, I think. But I'm going to let that go, though, buddy. Thanks for bringing that up.

Q. You've got a couple of guys that are on the leaderboard that haven't been there before. Modano is at 24, I believe, and so you've got a guy that hasn't had the experience that you have had, obviously, in this event over the years. What do you think that's going to be -- you've been there, what do you think that's going to be like for him tomorrow?
JACK WAGNER: I think Mike's ready. He's such a great player. And he's such a beautiful golfer. He and Mardy Fish both have golf swings you'd see on the PGA TOUR. So I love playing with those guys, because you just kind of pick up on their tempo.

But I think Mike can go very low. It's really more about how you're going to handle being around the lead or being in the lead, when it comes to chipping and putting. I just think that's always what it comes down to on any level of golf, how you're going to handle your nerve when you have to get up-and-down or make a putt.

Q. J.R. mentioned that a little bit earlier when we were asking him, who do you like in this? He goes: Well, the guy that always has a great short game and is good at getting up-and-down, is Jack.
JACK WAGNER: He said that?

Q. He did.
JACK WAGNER: Good. I gave him 200 before the round today, and I said, "Hey, if you're in there, would you give me something good."

Q. It worked.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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