What they said: Ken Duke

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February 11, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am transcript archive

JOHN BUSH: Ken Duke, thank you for joining us the interview room after a 5-under par 65. Ken, good round, get your comments if we can.

KEN DUKE: It was tough out there at Monterey Peninsula. It was very windy, and the greens were speeding up as the wind was drying them out. It was tough out there. It was fun. Made a lot of good, key par putts but made some good birdies, as well.

JOHN BUSH: Three shots back going into the final round, just comment on your approach tomorrow.

KEN DUKE: It just an honor, with the start I got out on the first day, so just to be here and playing and competing at Pebble. First time I've ever been here that the weather has been good, so it's always a great time. Just enjoying; I've worked hard to get back here and just enjoy it.

Q. This is a big-boy leaderboard. How does it feel being up there with big-name guys??

KEN DUKE: It is a big deal, it is, but I've met those guys before and I consider them a friend. We are going to have fun and see what happens. It's not like I've never been here before. You prepare for this, and you have to just be patient and take what the course gives you.

Q. How much more fun is it going into a final round in contention, as opposed to back in the back and starting on No. 10 or something like that??

KEN DUKE: It's really fun, especially when the big guys are up there. That's when everyone is out there watching. If you do perform well and play well, they will be watching you as well. It's going to be fun. You know, who knows what tomorrow brings, but I hope it's going to be some good weather and sunshine and make a lot of birdies and pars.

Q. Looks like you're going to be in the final pairing tomorrow. When is the last time you were in that position and what's that like??

KEN DUKE: Wow, that's a tough question there. It's been a while. I think maybe back in 2008 when I had my best year out on the PGA TOUR, I was in the last group two or three times there. That was fun.

I played the Nationwide last year and was in the last group a couple of times there. I consider that the same. Obviously this is a bigger stage here, but you prepare for it and take what the course gives you.

Q. Have you ever had to play in a group right behind Tiger, and if you have, what is that experience??

KEN DUKE: Just everyone is out to see him, and it's great for the game. I'm glad to see him back. Obviously he's worked hard to get back to where he's supposed to be, and it's just going to be fun to watch how everyone -- I think it's always better to be behind him than in front of him because when he's done, you know, everyone is going to rush to the next hole.

So hopefully everyone will keep going and Charlie and I will be back there and maybe just slip up the leaderboard.

Q. How big was your gallery today??

KEN DUKE: I had four or five people out there, not 15,000 or something. I just got my trainer here and my manager is here and a couple friends and it's good.

Q. Is there a greater appreciation, you having dropped down and then now you're back up on the big show, do you think there's a greater appreciation that might carry you forward stronger than before??

KEN DUKE: I just think I had a lot of things to work out in, my workout area, getting fit, and even my mind game with Mr.Toski, I think I wasn't ready for it. I think I put really hard work the last two years to really get back to where I'm supposed to be. I feel comfortable out here. I feel like my game plays well out here. This is where you want to play.

Q. Does it feel strange being on different courses as the other leaders and not really seeing everybody the whole week? Does it feel like you're playing your own tournament out there?

KEN DUKE: It's good, I had 15, 20, 30 texts tonight that said, "You're going to play the easy one tomorrow." To me, there's not really an easy one. You have to let everyone finish the first three days and then see where you are. You can catch Pebble on a good day like we did Thursday or on a day like today or yesterday and it's a totally different ballgame.

Q. My friend, Tommy D, did he knock any in today??

KEN DUKE: I think Tom was slowing down a little bit out there. But we played good. We finished 10-under today, which I think we are going to make the cut hopefully.

We had a great time. On the first hole, the house that we have rented, there was a Dean Martin statue in there that played a couple of songs. So we brought it out on the first tee and surprised him and he made a par on the first hole. He's a great guy, played with him at the Bob Hope before and he just loves to entertain everyone and see everyone. It's really great.

Q. Thinking back to your first round at Pebble, is there a comfort level there that extends beyond the other two courses??

KEN DUKE: I don't think so. Obviously the course is not going to play like it did on Thursday. I promise you, I probably won't be in a short-sleeved shirt like I did Thursday. But it's always good when you're playing a good round, and you have the good vibes when you go back there. So we'll look forward to that.

JOHN BUSH: Ken, tomorrow should be fun. Play well.

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