2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf Interview: Jason Dufner

JULIUS MASON: Jason Dufner, visiting us, ladies and gentlemen, at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, his first visit to the island of bermuda and his first look at the golf course today. 

Some thoughts on what the golf course looked like today and the Pro Am.

JASON DUFNER:  Yeah, it's good.  It's a tough walk.  A lot of hills out there, a lot of change in elevation.  Obviously the wind was up a little bit today and so that makes pulling the right club a challenge.  Not too difficult off the tee; length shouldn't be an issue.  But there's definitely some spots where you can play a little bit more aggressive, depending on wind direction and hole direction. 

I think the challenge, obviously, will be the wind, being able to control your ball and get the right distances and pull some of the right clubs with all the changes in elevation and the wind, like I said. 

Q.  Could you talk us through some of the holes you like, some you think are harder than the others, where you think the shots are going to come and the birdies? 

JASON DUFNER:  Yeah, you know, right off the bat, obviously 16, kind of a signature hole here.  Very difficult hole. 

Luckily the wind kind of helping us with the distance, you get a little bit of help but it's pushing towards the ocean a little bit, not much room there.  Especially late in the tournament come Wednesday, you could see a two shot or even a three shot swing on that hole.  Pretty easy to make a bogey or a double on that hole and if you hit a good shot, you can pick up a couple shots.

The next hole, 17, a little bit of a challenge, shorter par 5, but they have kind of made it tougher with some bunkering and water hazard there where you really can't get too aggressive off the tee and you have a pretty elevated second shot. 

So you know, those two holes, and then 18 is kind of a birdie hole playing downwind, so you can see a lot of change in the leaderboard.  Hopefully we'll have guys that are kind of bunched up there and give some excitement to the event.  You could see a big swing there where a guy could go through there playing 2  or 3 under, and another guy could play 2  or 3 over.  I think that finish to the golf course is pretty strong. 

Q.  Has the PGA Championship win sunk in yet and had a chance to reflect on it?  Has it really hit you that you won that? 

JASON DUFNER:  I don't do too much reflecting, whether I play good or bad, I think just kind of go with it.  Obviously it was a great achievement in my career, great honor to be able to play in these events, let alone win a major.  That's something I've been thinking about for a long time; to actually make a dream like that come true is a pretty great thing. 

I feel like I've belonged out here for a while, and since the PGA, maybe I feel like I belong a little bit more.  You win a major championship, you've solidified yourself amongst the best in the world.  I've had a pretty good run for the last couple years, so everything's been pretty good with that.

Q.  You kind of mentioned what I was going to ask you next about, about your confidence level; since winning the PGA, you sensed that you belonged earlier but now that you are here do you sense a little more confidence? 

JASON DUFNER:  Yeah, I think so, with what happened in 2011 at the PGA, a lot of people look at that negatively.  I took it as a positive.  It gave me a lot of confidence going forward that what I was doing was right.  I was pretty close to winning that event and gave me a lot of confidence.

The following year in 2012, I won a couple of events on the PGA TOUR and just kind of kept plugging at it.  And Oak Hill, you know, was just a great week, a great fit for me, and it's given many he a lot of confidence. 

I think the last couple years, just given me a lot of confidence going forward, knowing that I can play at a high level out here.

Q.  What's it like to come to this event?  It's just four guys and the PGA does a great job with all the signage and you drive up here and see your picture in a lot of different places.  That has to be a special feeling for you. 

JASON DUFNER:  Yeah, it's neat.  I think I told somebody earlier in the week that I can remember watching this event on television.  It was on primetime, so I wasn't on the golf course practicing or playing, and I got a chance to watch the event.  It's always been a great event. 

I think the PGA does a great job putting on the event, and to be one of the four guys is pretty selective company obviously; to be part of this event, it's just a neat experience.  Me and my wife and my coach and my caddie are enjoying this.

JULIUS MASON:  Jason is actually building a new home, and he actually asked The PGA of America if we could to send all the banners with his name and pictures on it to his home so he can put it around his property when he drives up   

JASON DUFNER:  My wife will love that. (Laughter). 

Q.  If you can talk a little about your year, not only did you win a major, you played well at the U.S. Open, as well.  Can you talk a little about how the year went in your assessment? 

JASON DUFNER:  Yeah, a bit of a struggle for most of the year.  Played pretty well in the Majors, which is kind of a goal the last couple years, to try to get the game in good shape for those four weeks.  It's a tough task to do but I think I played pretty well in all four Majors.  Struggled a little bit.  Got off on my schedule a little bit.  I went overseas earlier in the year and played a couple of events I probably shouldn't have played and maybe was a little fatigued. 

But since the U.S. Open, I think I've played some pretty good golf.  Most of my good finishes have been since the middle of the summer there.  Had a couple good finishes in the FedExCup finals there, or the Playoffs, excuse me, and played pretty good in The Presidents Cup last week. 

So it's coming around.  I think I'm not playing that much this off season.  I've just got this event, China, Tiger's event.  So I think I'm going to see if that helps me a little bit next year for the start.  I think I played a lot through October or September last year.  I played five or six events. 

For us a lot of it is just scheduling.  You get so many opportunities when you're a Top 50 player in the world; to find what's going to fit right, sometimes you go through a little bit of a learning experience with it.  So hopefully next year, I will pick up with my form to stop the year and keep it going for the full year. 

JULIUS MASON:  Thanks for spending some time with us, and we'll see you tomorrow morning.

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