AT&T National interview: Jason DayJune 26, 2013
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THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jason Day into the media center here at the AT&T National. Making his fifth start at this event, and he's finished in the top ten here his last two starts.
Jason, welcome back. If we could get some comments on your week ahead.
JASON DAY: Looking forward to playing this week. Coming off some good form from the U.S. Open. This course, I played it this morning, it kind of feels like a U.S. Open again. It's got some length to it, and the rough is pretty dense out there. I think they cut the rough around 3 1/2 inches, which is not as long as the U.S. Open, but still the volume of the grass, there's still a lot there.
Hitting fairways is crucial this week, and then obviously short game around the greens is very big as well.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go right into questions.
Q. Jason, you're very close to winning. Your form looks really good. I saw you at the U.S. Open. Coming in here, where do you feel your game is, and how close are you to getting another victory?
JASON DAY: Well, I mean, I've only won once out here on the Tour. Although I've only won once, I've come close, very, very close a few times now. I think it's close. I think the biggest thing for me was just trying to feel comfortable in my own shoes out here.
Everyone talks about how ‑‑ that comfort level. Across the board from when I was a junior to amateur to professional, it's always taken me a little bit to feel comfortable in myself, in my own shoes.
I think it's coming along nicely. I've been working hard this year. I came off a pretty average year last year, and I'm a lot more motivated this year, which has been good, and the results have shown in the first half of the season.
This week I finished second here, I think, three years ago in the U.S. Open, and I think it sets up nice. I've just got to make sure that I feel comfortable with the way I'm swinging right now because I was out there today and it was a little loose. I've just got to tighten that up before tomorrow.
Overall, I had a good week off last week, off of the U.S. Open, because the U.S. Open is very mentally grinding and physically grinding. I had some good rest, and I'm looking forward to a good week.
Q. Jason, what do you think gives you a bigger boost of confidence? When you've won in Dallas or the close calls you had at Augusta and Merion?
JASON DAY: Probably the close calls I've had at Merion and Augusta. Just knowing that I can play against the best players in the world with everyone watching around the world. The biggest events of the year, knowing that I can step up and can play against those guys and hit the shots at the right time.
It brings a lot of confidence to my game that the little things that I've been doing in the off weeks and everything that I've been doing in the off‑season is paying off, which is nice.
Q. I heard a number of players talking about just pushing it across the line as opposed to ‑‑
JASON DAY: I think ‑‑ the U.S. Open, it was surprising how comfortable I was in the last round. I wasn't ‑‑ there was a little bit of nerves at the start, but other than that, I felt really, really comfortable. I think that's ‑‑ when you go out there, you've just got to feel like it's kind of neutral, not too high, not too low. That's kind of what my mentality was out there when I was playing the final round there.
I think that's ‑‑ you know, I'm hoping that's what it feels like if I'm close this week again. Hopefully, that's what it feels like in the final round, but it felt like I just kind of turned a corner, which is nice, in my golfing career.
Q. A couple of years ago when you were paired with Rory and Rickie at Augusta and you guys all played well, everyone was saying, these guys are in their early 20s. They're going to win majors. And now you've seen Justin and Adam win the last two majors, who have been out here a while. Do you think it takes some time?
JASON DAY: Oh, yeah, it takes time. Some guys get there quicker than others, but it all boils down to how much do you want it? Really. I mean, if you really want it and there's nothing else in your life other than wanting to win majors, then you're going to do it. That's just what winners do.
Sometimes you feel a little bit more comfortable with the situation you are, and that's the moment you start falling a little bit backwards because you're not practicing as hard and you're not doing the work.
The number one guy that I see in the world, all he wants to do is win and compete and play, and that's why he wins multiple times a year, and he's won 14 majors, and he's definitely going to win one because that's the only thing that he wants to do is win and play.
What I'm trying to say by this is that it does take a little bit, but it totally depends on the person. If you have the will and the dedication that you want to win tournaments and you have goals that you want to achieve, then it's up to you.
Q. How does fatherhood affect that whole equation?
JASON DAY: It's tough. It's a balancing act. Right now it's a lot easier. It would be a lot tougher if he was 10 or so and he's going to play baseball. That takes a little bit of time away from the golf. You try to practice and be the best you can, but family obviously comes first. So that's a tough one. So I'll tell you when he's 10.
Q. I thought you meant it would be tougher if you had ten kids.
JASON DAY: That would be tougher if I had ten kids. I'd have about five nannies with me too.
Q. Have you played Muirfield before? I guess, if not, what do you know about it?
JASON DAY: I've never played it, and I have no idea. I actually looked online the other day and tried to see the course, and I just saw the map of it.
Actually, you know what, I watched The Greatest Rounds Ever Played with Azinger and Faldo last night, and that was the only time. But they were hitting wooden woods. So it's kind of hard to gauge what we're going to hit over there.
Q. Did you watch it sort of any differently than maybe we would?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I mean ‑‑ it was tough because it was kind of misty that last round. They would say how far the yardages were on the holes. I don't know if they've changed since then, and it's kind of tough to gauge what kind of clubs you're going to hit off different tees and all that other stuff.
Q. Have you ever hit a wood wood?
JASON DAY: I was talking to my Pro‑Am partners today. When I started playing golf when I was 6, I had a 1 1/2 wooden wood, and that's ‑‑ my next‑door neighbor gave it to me. He had an old mixed set of golf clubs from Spalding to Rams to everything. I had a 1 1/2 wood wood and then a 3 wood as well, I think I hit. But it was a long time ago.
Q. When you look back on your weekend at the Open, what did you take away that you did best? What that you'd like to tighten up? And the other thing, you said you had more motivation this year than last year. Where did that come from, and did that get you back to what you said a few minutes ago about having it be the main thing in your life?
JASON DAY: I think the motivation came from just playing bad. I don't like playing bad. I think part of it was not having goals. People can write goals down and say, yeah, I want to achieve this and that. But without the process goals and understanding how I need to get there, having the road map to get to those goals, it's very difficult to reach those goals.
This year, I wrote my goals down, and I made sure that I had some process goals to achieve them. Now, it's still half the season, and I've still got a lot of goals to achieve, but I've played very well this year.
And I think having my first child last year was kind of hard. It was a little bit of a distraction. It was a good distraction, obviously. But had a couple of injuries as well. Everything was kind of sidelining performance. I had a couple of good finishes here and there, but it was disappointing because I really wanted to play well, especially after the previous two years that I played.
The U.S. Open, I don't think I changed too much. I would have loved to actually scrambled a little bit better because that was the only thing. I didn't really scramble that well this year at the U.S. Open. I did pretty good and putted okay, but scrambling was a little tough for me this year.
Q. Jason, what is your stance on anchored putting and the upcoming ban in a couple of years?
JASON DAY: They're just going to ban them for, what, three tournaments a year, is that correct? Is the PGA Tour?
THE MODERATOR: We're looking into it.
JASON DAY: You know what ‑‑
THE MODERATOR: That's what we're doing.
JASON DAY: I've never ‑‑ I tried to use Scotty's putter before. I mean, I couldn't do it. That's a tough one. I have no idea what to say. I really don't. I talked to some of the guys about it, and they say that you can still pull and push putts. I know that it can help you from maybe 10 foot, 5 foot in, but at the end of the day, you still have to hole those putts. You still have to read the putts and hole the putts.
Pressure situations on Sundays are going to be just as difficult with a standard length putter to an anchored putter. It may take the nerves out of your hands, but you've still got to hit the putt.
Q. One more question if I could. Slow play on the PGA Tour, it's been going on for a while. Possible causes and solutions. Do you have any solutions to the problem of slow play?
JASON DAY: I'm a medium to slower player, I believe. I've been actually pretty quick this year. I think it's ‑‑ I think I've been okay this year. The previous few years, I've been a little slow.
Don't make the courses so hard. Make them a little easier for us. That might help. Make the par 5s longer so they're three shots.
I think ‑‑ I think the PGA Tour rules officials are doing a good job with how things are going. I know it's a little slow out there, but I think they're enforcing slow play, and I know the big thing is right now ‑‑ you see it all over Golf Channel ‑‑ they want to quicken up play. The USGA heads that as well. I know it hurts the game of golf.
I think the amateurs, I think the biggest key for them is just to not take it so serious because they're not playing for the Masters or the U.S. Open. I can understand professional golf has taken a little bit longer, but amateurs, they can just ‑‑ there's another day for them. They don't have to hole a putt for $1 million or something like that.
Q. A couple of questions. Are you sort of surprised maybe that you haven't won more, or do we kind of make a bigger deal out of that than it is? And secondly, any regrets sort of along the way in that process?
JASON DAY: Yes and no. I think ‑‑ I feel like I should have won more, but I think for some reason I just feel ‑‑ I have a feeling, if I can get past it, this hurdle, and turn the corner and win, I feel like I can ‑‑ I feel like within myself I've got ‑‑ I can win multiple times a year. That's what my feeling is. I feel like I can believe in that.
I think what I'd change is I would just ‑‑ I would just work a little harder. I think everyone can sit back and look at their career and wonder maybe I should have won this and that, but I think, if I worked a little harder ‑‑ I feel like I work pretty hard now. But I feel like, if I put that extra ball or extra 30 minutes in chipping or putting or whatever it is, I think that may have got me one or two extra by now.
Q. Jason, do you prefer to be paired with guys like Adam and Marc, who you know? Is there an extra comfort level there?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I think ‑‑ you know, sometimes I talk, and sometimes I don't. As the tournament starts, Thursday, Friday, the range is kind of a little louder. And then Saturday and Sunday comes, and everyone starts to quiet down, and there's not much chattering on the course.
It's good to see. I've known Scotty since I was 15. And I've known Leish ‑‑ I played amateur golf against him since I was back in Oz. It's going to be a fun week. I know that we'll enjoy ourselves. I played with Leish at the RBC. I haven't played with Scotty for a while, but I'm looking forward to it.
To answer your question, yes, I enjoy playing with my fellow countrymen and enjoy playing with buddies.
Q. Jason, do you prefer ‑‑ you mentioned this kind of feels like an Open. Do you prefer it to be harder?
JASON DAY: Tough, yes.
JASON DAY: Just takes out the riff‑raff, I guess. No. It's a good tough golf course. Everyone here has a legitimate shot of winning the tournament. You just have to hit your golf ball. You have to drive it well, and you have to chip and putt well because, if you're not hitting the fairways, you're going to miss greens, and you have to make sure your short game is on.
Hopefully, I have a good week this week. I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I play well.
Q. A lot of talk about Melbourne having back‑to‑back events this year, the World Cup and I think the Masters. Are you giving any thoughts to playing in the World Cup?
JASON DAY: We're talking about that right now, but it's so far away.
Q. Time‑wise it's far away?
JASON DAY: Time‑wise, it's far away. Probably make a decision pretty close to soon, but we'll let you know.
Q. Or here.
JASON DAY: Sounds good.
THE MODERATOR: Jason Day, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.