What they said: Jason Dufnertext sizeMarch 23, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
Courtesy ASAP Sports.
Arnold Palmer Invitational transcript archive MARK STEVENS: Jason, you got to 9-under, went out in the morning wave. You want to talk about your round this morning and what you expect the rest of the day and going into tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, pretty solid start to the second round. Birdie, birdie start gets you comfortable and feeling like you're going to have a good day. Played pretty solid again, a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. Probably could have played the par 5s just a hair better. I think I played them even for the day. Those are probably some of the more scorable holes on the golf course.
Other than that, nice second round and looking forward to going into the weekend.
MARK STEVENS: Given the conditions, where do you expect you'll be going into tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER: I probably expect to be close to the top or at the top. I think it's playing pretty similar to yesterday. The last three or four holes the wind picked up a little bit, so possibly that could be a factor this afternoon. The greens seem to be about the same firmness, probably a little softer in the morning. I would say equal for each morning/afternoon waves.
So the golf course is playing about the same I think as yesterday; possibly some more wind this afternoon.
Q. Is this your first Masters coming up??
JASON DUFNER: Second. 2010.
Q. What are your thoughts on going back, and is it a place that you're comfortable with that you feel your game sets up for??
JASON DUFNER: It's a great, great experience, you know, to play that event. Last year I definitely missed not being able to play. Actually went over and watched the final round with some of the football coaches from Auburn, so we had a good time. Those guys just wanted to watch Tiger, so we got to watch a pretty solid round of golf there. So it was disappointing to not play but I'm really looking forward to going back.
As far as my game, you know, I think it's a decent fit for me. I don't hit it quite as far as some of the guys that are really successful out there. So I have to be really precise with my iron play, my pitching, my chipping, and obviously my putting.
I think the biggest factors at Augusta are pitching and chipping around those greens. It can be really difficult to get balls close if you don't have the right trajectories and right spin and stuff. I'll be heading over there Wednesday to get some practice for four or five days with my coach, Chuck Cook. So we'll be over there preparing and getting ready for that first major of the year.
Q. How long do you have to be for Augusta??
JASON DUFNER: As long as you can get it. I think that golf course favors the longer hitters. They are going to be hitting some short clubs into par 5s, which is a big advantage, shorter clubs into some par 4s, which is another big advantage; they can spin the ball a little bit more.
It just depends on conditions and weather. Sometimes the weather can even the playing field out a little bit. But in order for me to win the Masters, I would have to be really precise with my game. I couldn't have many errors.
Q. And what did you do on 6 today? Is that a bad swing or a bad decision?
JASON DUFNER: Probably, you know, a little bit miscalculation of the wind. We had 230 to the front, 38 to the pin. Felt like if I hit a solid 3-wood, I could cover that number. Felt like I hit it pretty solid and it just didn't quite cover; probably a little too far left of where I was looking. I was probably trying to err towards that bunker more than the left side of that pin.
You know, maybe I probably could have laid up, pretty easy wedge shot in there, probably would have been a better decision. But I felt good with my swing. I've been swinging it pretty good going in there and it's kind of a hole you want to maybe take a little risk, if you can afford it, pick up a quick, easy birdie. But I was able to actually make a pretty fantastic par, because my next shot wasn't too good, either, right of the bunker.
Q. You mentioned four or five days of preparation before the week even starts next week. Is that unusual for you, or is that a normal thing, or why that many days of preparation??
JASON DUFNER: Well, last year at PGA, I kind of did something similar. I got there Thursday before the PGA. I did a lot of practice. Played nine holes, really took our time kind of learning that golf course. So kind of go with it. I had a good week there. You know, the crowds and the people watching on regular practice rounds, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, can get a little hectic. You get a lot of players out there. So I thought maybe going into the Masters, they give you an opportunity to come out and practice. It will be a good chance to learn something about the golf course and get some really good practice in.
Q. On similar lines, how much time do you spend on the course when you're doing the preparation? Do you map a lot of things out?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, we do a lot of short game stuff. So it could be three, 3 1/2 hours for nine holes. Generally don't play more than nine holes. I might have one day where I play 18 of those four days I'm there. A lot of it is just learning that golf course and trying to practice on shots you need to hit. You get a lot of funky, uneven lies from those fairway positions there. So you're working on different shots from that, and then around the greens, obviously, and putting can be a real key to scoring well out there.
So we'll take our time. It's a good atmosphere. It's a great place to practice. It's I great place to be out on the golf course kind of by yourself for those four or five days before the tournament starts.
Q. You're having such a good Florida Swing; are you starting to get comfortable with being up near the top on a fairly consistent basis??
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think a little bit. The biggest thing is I'm just really comfortable with where my game is at right now. I think any given day, I can go out and shoot a 5- or 6-under and do it pretty comfortably. If the putter were to get hot, I feel like I could go shoot some lower scores. But I'm just really comfortable with how I'm striking the ball, my lines off the tees, my iron shots.
It's been a pretty comfortable Florida Swing for me as far as golf goes. Maybe a little bit frustrating with scoring-wise, just not converting on as many birdies and stuff like that. But there has not been a lot of stressful situations the last two or three weeks.
Q. You mentioned trying to convert scoring-wise, you've had some really strong starts lately but sort of levelled off on the weekends a little bit; do you have an explanation for that??
JASON DUFNER: I think I just have to get better with the putting and be more confident with the putting. You see guys, that's kind of how you glue your rounds together. You make those six- to 15-footers; you make two or three of those and instead of shooting even par like I've been, you shoot 2- or 3-under. If I could have made a couple putts last week on the weekend, I could have been in the playoff or possibly winning the thing; it was only three shots I was out.
I still feel great about my game. It's not like I'm shooting 75s and 76s on the weekends. I'm still right around par. Possibly I only have two or three rounds over par this year. It's been a solid run of golf since the beginning of the year. It's just converting opportunities and turning those days where you might shoot 71 or 72 into a 69 or 68.
Q. Looking forward we have seen how volatile leads can be on a Sunday out here. Can you give us some idea of how difficult it is to close out when you're on a lead or in contention on a Sunday, and what are the traits you think are most beneficial toward that??
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think it's hard for anybody. It's just really hard to win on the PGA TOUR. You see some of the best players in the world; I know Luke Donald had a ton of top 10s last year, that's a ton of chances to win. I'm not exactly sure how many events he won last year, but he won two or three and had close to 15 top 10s. It's just really hard to win on the TOUR. There's a lot of great players out here and the fields seem to bunch up a little bit towards the top.
I think last week there was close to 15 guys within four shots of the lead going into Sunday. So anything can happen between those 15 guys, and it's just a really hard thing to do. You need a lot of skill and a little bit of luck to get it done.
I've played some great rounds out here on the TOUR on Sunday and guys just played one shot better or two shots better and beat me by one or two. So it's just really difficult, and I think, you know, you've just got to stay patient and hopefully your time will come and the putts will drop when you need them in certain situations, and you know, that's about all I can say about it to be honest with you. It's just really hard to win out here.
Q. To follow up on that, when Arnold Palmer was in on Wednesday, he was asked the same question and he said when he played with Nicklaus, Hogan, all the great guys, he said the key was controlling the nerves going down the stretch, particularly on Sunday. What do you do? Do you have to fight your nerves, and how do you try to control your nerves?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, usually pretty good with my nerves. Ball-striking-wise, I'm always pretty confident. I don't get too worked up about the ball-striking. Occasionally with putting, if things don't go well early, I start to press a little bit, and maybe the nerves come into play there. But just really try to stay focused and kind of in the moment. I know that's so cliché, and you hear that from everybody, but that's what everybody is trying to do. You know, it's just a patience thing and learning how to control your body and your mind in pressure situations. The more experience you get with it, the better you get with it; it's kind of just like anything else you do in life.
Q. You and Charlie Wi have the same trainer, I believe.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah.
Q. There's a chance he could be on top of the leaderboard with you or right behind you going into the weekend. Have you guys trained together? How well do you know him? Do you spend time off the course together?
JASON DUFNER: Not off the course. I know him pretty well just from playing with him some, locker room to locker room. We pretty much do our own thing as far as training goes. It's all a separate thing. Actually Song-Moon Bae actually works with the same trainer. I played with him on Sunday last week.
So there's a little bit of friendship there. We are all kind of in it together, but at the same time we are all kind of at each other's throats on the golf course. You know, I know Charlie well, he had a great round last week and I've played a good bit of golf with him. We are friendly but we both want to beat each other pretty bad.
Q. Do you ever throw clubs on the golf course??
JASON DUFNER: Lots of clubs.
Q. Best throw??
JASON DUFNER: Best throw on the golf course? I don't have very good throws. They are usually the wrong way or break when I'm not trying to break them. I've broke a couple clubs out here -- I probably shouldn't say that. (Laughter).
It's hard to believe, but like I said last week, it's usually on the Friday afternoon when you're 5-over and nothing is going right, and your wife and two other spectators are watching you and you're about to miss the cut is when you see it.
Usually when you're playing good, you're not throwing too many clubs.
Q. So we should come watch you when you're 7-over??
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, come watch that. That's exciting.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Jason.