2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: JASON DUFNER
KELLY ELBIN: Jason Dufner joining us at Oak Hill Country Club in with a round of 1 over par 71 today.
Jason, a little hiccup there on No. 5, but a great par on 18 to finish the round. Comments on today, and your position with one day to go.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, obviously the golf course played a little bit more difficult today. The wind kind of dried it out a little bit. The wind was tricky out of the northwest. It's a different direction than the first two days, which made your strategy a little bit tougher, but hung in there. Kind of avoided a poor round there by kind of getting it together after the fifth hole, things could have gone really south there. It's not very good to play from that seventh pond on the fifth hole.
But I hung in there. It was a tough day. Scoring wasn't all that great. Not really sure how many guys broke par, but I would guess less than the last two days. I'm happy to be in the position I'm at, playing with Jim tomorrow, looking forward to it on a great golf course.
KELLY ELBIN: If you would, please go through your birdies and bogeys. First of all, the length of the putt on 18, please.
JASON DUFNER: Probably about seven feet or so, went in the back door.
KELLY ELBIN: And then unfortunately, start with what happened on 5, with the double bogey, please.
JASON DUFNER: On 5, I hit 3 wood off the tee. I was trying to get the wind to change. It was down and I was trying to get to where I hit my driver earlier in the week. Hit a poor shot. Got a bad break. Hit some trees. Bounced in the hazard. Like I said earlier, not very easy to play from that side of the golf course to that hole. Hit it up by the green, got it on the green, 2 putted.
7, I hit 5 wood off the tee, a 3 iron to about 15 feet, made that.
8 was a driver, 9 iron and I think I 3 putted from about, 35, 40 feet.
Then 10, I hit driver and a sand wedge probably to about 18 feet, made birdie and parred in from there.
Q. Would you have an earliest memory of watching Jim Furyk on TV or in person?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I was fortunate to play on a golf course in the early nine tees, The Honda Classic at Weston Hills, I believe he played some out there. And Jim started his career, I remember watching him possibly win his first event in Las Vegas right around that time. Jim has been out here for a while. Guys like me always looked up to him when we were in college and playing, and I've been lucky enough to play with him a good bit out here. Played with him on The Ryder Cup Team, so he's got a lot of experience. He's played a lot of big events, and it will be a lot of fun to play with him tomorrow.
Q. You obviously had an amazing round yesterday, and came back today with a 71. What do you think was the biggest factor between yesterday and today?
JASON DUFNER: I think if you look at my stats, probably putting. I think I had 25 or 26 putts yesterday, and looking at this sheet, I've got 33. I don't see much different between the two days, other than I had seven or eight more putts today, so that would be the difference.
KELLY ELBIN: Correct. He had 26 putts in round two.
Q. After that disaster on 5, how did you manage to stabilize your round? It was such a big thing early in the round, and significant?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, you know, through the course of 72 holes, things like that happen at majors. You're going to hit poor shots. You're going to get bad breaks. You've just got to move on past it. Those are the type of things that can really get you unnerved and settled, and all of a sudden you can make two or three bogeys and maybe another bogey, and all of a sudden you're out of the tournament.
I was determined that I was going to try to put it behind me by the time I got to the par 3, hit a good shot there and just keep moving forward. I wasn't going to let that deter me from having a good round and from having a chance to win this on Sunday.
Q. What can you learn from your experience two years ago in Atlanta that you think can help you, if anything, tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER: Patience. There's a lot of guys that have a chance to win this tomorrow. It's a tough golf course. Guys are going to make bogeys. Guys are going to make birdies. You don't have to play perfect to win these events. You'd like to play perfect, but, you know, I just think patience is of the utmost importance on a Sunday in a major. You're never really out of it, even if you make a bogey or two in a row, you can always come back and have a chance to win that thing on the back nine.
Q. Is that the suggestion, that you were maybe a little impatient coming down the stretch in Atlanta?
JASON DUFNER: I don't know if I was impatient there. I just hit some poor shots coming in. Keegan made some birdies and put pressure on me. It was a tough situation and the first time I've been in that situation on a very difficult golf course, those four finishing holes, very, very difficult.
The four finishing holes here aren't easy by any stretch. 15 is very difficult, and 16 you get a little bit of a break, and then 17 and 18 are very difficult. But Atlanta, you can hit one bad shot and make a double or triple pretty quick. These holes finishing up, I think you'd have to work hard to make a double on those. You can make a bogey, but you'd really have to mess the hole up.
It was just a tough situation. I was young, new to doing the majors. I think that was the third or fourth major I played in. So hopefully the experience I've had since then will pull me through and give me a chance to win tomorrow.
Q. After yesterday, all that went right yesterday, just an historic day, almost, really; is it almost like today, the golf gods kind of got back a little bit, and you had some tough breaks out there and it was not nearly as smooth obviously. Do you believe in that stuff? Was it your day to maybe have some things go against you?
JASON DUFNER: Maybe a little bit. I think I hit it pretty good today. I hit a lot of greens again, a lot of fairways. So I hit it pretty similar today than I did yesterday, so the golf course definitely played tougher. I think that was somebody smiling down on us trying to even it out after what happened yesterday, a lot of low scores yesterday. So I expect it to be just as tough a test tomorrow, too, with the conditions and the golf course. So I think, you know, it kind of evens out for the week.
Q. You're playing with obviously Jim tomorrow, and you both were on The Ryder Cup Team the last time out; does it matter who you play with, will you have the blinders on and stick to the task, or is it beneficial to play with somebody you have history with?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think it's good to play with guys you're familiar with and you're close to. You feel a little more comfortable, obviously there's pressure on a Sunday, final group in a major. But I would always want to play guys that I knew or was familiar with or comfortable with. I think that makes the pairing a little bit easier and I think it makes the day go a little bit easier.
Q. Coming off of last year and with the success you've had in The Ryder Cup individually, I think a lot of people expected you to be right there at the start of the year. What are you doing well now that you weren't doing so well earlier in the year?
JASON DUFNER: That's a good question. Shooting lower scores (chuckling).
You know, I've struggled; I obviously haven't had the finishes I want. But if you look a little bit deeper into it statistically wise, I'm hitting the ball just about as good as I was last year. My short game is a little bit worse and my putting is a little bit worse; those two things, you're throwing away a shot or two a day, those add up to four or eight shots a week and that's a lot of shots to give these guys.
I think other than today, I've putted pretty good the first two days. I scored really well the first two days. I chipped really well. So I think I'm doing the scoring aspects a little bit better this week, which has helped me hang in there. And then the scores are a little bit higher usually at majors, and that's generally why I don't shoot too many scores over 72 or 74, so I'm able to hang in there a little bit better because the guys are not running away with the tournaments in these major championships.
KELLY ELBIN: You've hit 43 of 54 greens in regulation; do you feel like coming in here this is playing to your strength in terms of being able to hit solid iron shots in?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think so. The fairways are pretty generous out here, and then you've got a little bit of what they call intermediate rough, I guess, that you can play out of. So I haven't been in that thick, thick stuff too often, which is a good thing here, because if you get in that, it's a wedge out. And I think that's been the key to me hitting a lot of greens is being in the fairways or in the rough where you can play. I've been able to hit a lot of greens and I've made a lot of pars because of that, and had some birdie looks.
Q. I might be wrong here, but it looked like you thought you missed that last putt on 18, is that correct?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I thought I hit a pretty good putt. Probably one of the better ones that I hit today. I was just trying to have dead speed where it would go over the lip, maybe just fall in. Hit it right on my line and it never broke left for me until it got behind the hole and it fell in. I definitely thought I missed it as it went by the hole. But gravity kind of took over and it was perfect speed to fall in that back lip.
Q. And how important was that putt going in for the momentum to carry over and to sleep on that and to be in that final pairing tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, the momentum thing doesn't really mean much, but it did save me a shot. I'm one shot closer to Jim than I would be, and it will be fun playing in the final group with him.
Q. You've talked about being in a comfortable pairing with Jim Furyk tomorrow, but is it also a good thing to be looking the guy you're chasing in the eye?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, but that could change. Some guys could make a lot of birdies and then all of a sudden, they are leading the tournament and you're not playing with them. But ideally, if you're coming down the stretch, I think most guys would like to be playing with the person that's leading or they are trying to chase.
So it could work out that way towards the back nine where me and Jim are battling it out. Hopefully that's the case. But it could change; like I said, guys could be leading with us or pull ahead of us and we could fall back. So it really just depends on how the day goes.
Q. To follow up on the putting, were you having trouble reading the putts today or feeling as comfortable with your putter overall? Was there anything different today than yesterday?
JASON DUFNER: My speed was pretty bad today. I couldn't get balls to the hole. I think the speed dictates your line. I felt like I was hitting the lines that I wanted to but the speed was poor. I was leaving a lot of the uphill putts short. I think I got most of the downhillers to the hole. But the speed was a little bit off.
It's difficult to putt I think in the later groups. The greens get chewed up a little bit. They are still pretty soft for a major championship I think, so there's a lot of moisture on them. It's something that I've got to try and figure out tomorrow before I head out. I need to be a little bit more aggressive and realize that the greens are not quite to the pace that maybe they were earlier in the week.
KELLY ELBIN: One back with one to go, Jason Dufner, thank you.
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