What they said: Ken Duke

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July 07, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE: The Greenbrier Classic transcripts archive

MODERATOR: Okay. We would like to welcome Ken Duke in. Currently 11-under par through three rounds at the Greenbrier Classic, 5-under par 65 today.

Ken, great playing. If we can just get comments on a good round and a hot day.

KEN DUKE: Very hot day, but it was a good solid round. Didn't get off to a very good start, but made a couple of birdies on 5 and 6, kind of got the round going. Hit some really good shots in that little stretch right there, and got 10, 11 and 12, so it kind of got the day going and having fun out there and that's what it's all about.

Q. We've got Mr. Toski here with us today. Talk a little bit about the influence he's had on your career and also just how important that would be to be able to win with him here and also with the history that he has with Sam Snead.

KEN DUKE: Well, it's amazing, me getting a chance to work with a legend like this. You know, he's 85 years old and still can show you how to hit it and tell you how to hit it. Just sitting and talking to him means more than maybe just showing me how to hit it.

But flew him up this morning and played a lot with Sam Snead, and a lot of it here at the Greenbrier. He's played here a lot and he was telling me how to play the course and he probably hasn't played here in 50 years. But it's just great, special to have him here. He's really close to me.

MODERATOR: Okay. We'll go to John.

Q. Two-part question. First of all, talk about your hunger to win because you've been so close, and second part is, talk a little bit about the concert last night. I understand you went there??

KEN DUKE: No, not really. You know, I came into this year really excited about playing. I had a few good years on the PGA TOUR and then I lost my card and felt like I had a second chance this year. So I really wanted to be ready to come out here and play and play at the consistent level that I've played in the past, and that's kind of what I'm doing.

I had a chance to talk to Jim Nance last night at the concert and that's what he was saying. You know, you've been really consistent this year and you've been really close.

Yes, I have, but there's something missing. I'm working on it. I'm not focusing the whole day like some of these guys that's winning, like Tiger's winning and all these other guys. I'm not focusing the entire day, so there's about an hour or so in there that I'm not focused, so I'm working on that. You know, if we keep knocking on the door, maybe it will open, you just never know. The main thing is my caddie and I are having fun, and when you have fun, you play good golf and that's what it's all about.

Q. Ken, you mentioned being in contention a handful of times already this year. One of those was Pebble where Tiger and Phil were right in front of you the entire day. Without them here this weekend and without them on the leaderboard, is it sort of more comfortable for you??

KEN DUKE: I like to see those guys in the field, to be honest with you. That day was special. Charlie and I were back there just kind of soaking in what they had going on in front of us was really -- Pebble Beach, final round, Tiger and Phil in front of you was really nice. We didn't really play that well, but it is what it is.

But I was talking to Scott Piercy walking down No. 7 today, I said, There's no one out here following anyone, Tiger and Phil's gone. Most people was with John today, which was awesome, he always gets a good crowd. But it's always special when those guys are in the field.

Q. Is the comfort level for you personally better if you're playing against guys that you know from the Nationwide Tour or guys you've played against for a long time??

KEN DUKE: I don't think so. I mean, I've played with some big-name guys out here and I've played with some guys off the Nationwide. I think if you're comfortable with your game, you're going to play well. If you're not, you're not going to play well, it doesn't matter who you are. Obviously some of those guys might have an effect on you, but if you're comfortable with your game, I think you can step right up there and do it.

Q. Talk about the losing the focus. Can you be more specific about kind of how that --

KEN DUKE: Well, I might have two or three holes that I have an easy shot, maybe a pitching wedge into the green or an 8� iron into the green. I might hit it 30 or 40 feet instead of trying to hit it 10 or 12 feet to have a good opportunity. That's kind of where I think, Oh, it's an easy shot, so I rush and hit it. So sometimes I get ahead of myself instead of slowing down a little bit more, and that's kind of what we've done since Memphis and we had a good tournament in Memphis. That's -- you know, everyone has their faults out here and everyone has to deal with what they have to deal with, but we're just trying to work hard and see what happens.

Q. Also, when you have heat or something like this, extreme conditions, does that make it harder to keep the focus for the whole round??

KEN DUKE: Yeah, I was getting a headache out there on No. 17. I was telling my caddie it's just so hot out there. Growing up in Arkansas it's really hot, and living in South Florida it's really, really hot, too. So I don't know if you can ever get used to the heat, but I like the heat better than the rain, I'll tell you that.

Q. Ken, important stretch there at 9, 10, 11 and 12. Take us through that with the bogey on No. 9 and then three in a row.

KEN DUKE: Yeah, just hit a bad tee shot. I got really quick and that's my fault. That's what Mr. Toski and I have been working on. I get really quick and come out of the shots and just hit a bad shot there.

But I hit some good shots on 10, 11, 12, all hit in there close and made the good putts, and that's what it's all about. If you can get some good numbers and make some good swings, not rush swings, the ball should go where it's supposed to go.

MODERATOR: Anything else? You've got a question?

Q. Ken, what club did you hit on 9??

KEN DUKE: On No. 9 or No. 18?

Q. No. 9.

KEN DUKE: No. 9, I hit a driver off the tee.

Q. The one that you put in the bunker??

KEN DUKE: Yes.

Q. And the other two players had a driver, didn't they??

KEN DUKE: One hit driver, and Scott Piercy hits it a long ways, so he hit 3-wood.

Q. I had thought when your ball went into the bunker and their ball was so far beyond that bunker that you had hit a 3-wood, and you did hit a driver??

KEN DUKE: I hit a driver because the bunker on the left is 300 yards to it, the one on the right's 270 to carry, and 3-wood for me, it's iffy if I hit a 3-wood to carry that right bunker. The last two days I've hit just a soft little fade down the fairway and had sand wedge in both days.

Q. With a driver??

KEN DUKE: With a driver.

Q. And today you caught the bunker??

KEN DUKE: Yes, and I was really quick on it.

Q. And your lie in the bunker, I was watching from a distance, you were up close to the lip. I didn't know what your lie was --

KEN DUKE: It was plugged. It came down from the hill and --

Q. You had to get the ball up real quick??

KEN DUKE: Right.

Q. And you -- and you didn't advance the ball more than 20, 30 feet, right??

KEN DUKE: Right.

Q. Did you hit the ball fat??

KEN DUKE: Well, it was plugged, so I was trying to --

Q. Oh, you were plugged.

KEN DUKE: Plugged, and when it came out, it hit the top of the lip.

Q. Then you had no chance --

KEN DUKE: No chance.

Q. -- if your ball was that close to the lip of the bunker.

KEN DUKE: I was trying to just get it out, that's it.

Q. You were trying to get the ball out up quick and high, and the ball must have caught the top of the bunker??

KEN DUKE: Right.

Q. And unfortunately after that shot, your ball never did get to the fairway??

KEN DUKE: No.

Q. Now you're in the rough again out of the bunker. I'm looking at probably 6 now. I'm standing there, he makes 6, his ass is going to burn big time.

KEN DUKE: No.

Q. But you did make 5??

KEN DUKE: Yeah, it was good.

Q. That was -- my thinking there was you either take a driver and try to carry it over that bunker or take an iron and lay up short of the bunker, because the shots that you would have short of that bunker wouldn't be more than a 7- or 8-iron.

KEN DUKE: Right.

Q. That was your only bogey??

KEN DUKE: Yes, sir.

Q. I don't think these gentlemen knew that I told him to shoot 64 today. He didn't tell you that, but I'm sorry, I missed it by 1. There's a lot of psychology involved in teaching golf. Everybody talks about the mechanics of the swing and the core.

Well, I'll tell you one thing. The mind and the heart have to be compatible, and there's a harmony between that and how you control a golf swing and he's getting that. He's starting to play golf with his mind and his heart and he's competitive. I told him this, gentlemen. I'm 85 years old and the older I get, the wiser I get, and I said, You're 43 years old, how many players out here -- gentlemen, how many players at 40 and over are playing on this Tour??

KEN DUKE: A bunch.

Q. How many? 20? I asked Faldo, he didn't know. I said, You had better do your homework. How many players 40 and over are playing?

Q. Ken -- (inaudible.)

MODERATOR: Sir, Mr. Toski, if you're finished, we've got another player coming in.

Q. Okay. What I tried to tell Ken is, You're 43 years old and you're playing against these young kids. Have fun. They don't expect you to play that good. You're 43 years old, they're hoping you make the cut and make a check. You've got nothing to lose. Go out there, shoot the lights out and show these kids you can play. That's why he's having fun. It's psychology. He's got nothing to lose, he's got everything to gain.

MODERATOR: Rich?

Q. Ken, what I find interesting about you is you're 43, you're sitting up there as if you're like 23, 24 years old, at least the way you're talking about things like he says, you rush your shots, things like this. You're a perfect example of golf every day being you learn something, is that fair to say??

KEN DUKE: No question. I mean, I even try to learn from the guys I'm playing with every day in the tournament or the practice round. I don't think you can ever stop learning, especially out here. It's a great family to be out here, to be a part of and I'm thankful to be out here.

MODERATOR: Ken, appreciate your coming by. Play well tomorrow.

KEN DUKE: Thanks.

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