What they said: Jay Don Blake

November 01, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

COLIN MURRAY: We would like to welcome our defending champion, Jay Don Blake, into the interview room at the The Charles Schwab Cup. 6 under, 64 today, Jay Don. Maybe if you can just start us off and talk a little bit about the round and then we'll go ahead and go to questions.

JAY DON BLAKE: You know, I started off the first hole, I hit a good drive down there and kind of missed the green and it's nice to get up and make par. I didn't want to start with a bogey. From then on, me and Corey kind of made a few birdies on the front. I drove it really well. I hit it in a lot of good spots. I had a lot of good chances to really make some good birdies. Iron shots weren't real spectacular but made some putts from 20 feet, a couple of them. I just played solid. Like I said, I drove it really well and the balls were going so far out there. The hard part right now for me to figure out is what iron shot, whether I need to hit a hard 8 or an easy 7. You know sometimes I hit a hard 8 and it goes 175. It's going so far, it's hard to really know how far they're going. I mean, like 15 is a par 5, I had 225. I hit a 5 iron. So it's going a long ways. I'm hardly really trying to gauge how far they're going. I feel like I'm making some bad swings on some of the irons because I'm a little leery of the distance it's going to go.

COLIN MURRAY: If you could take us through your birdies and bogeys that will be great, then we will go to questions.

JAY DON BLAKE: It's a long time ago. No. 3, I hit it down there, hit a sand wedge about 116 yards to the pin. I ended up no that was on No. 3, wrong hole. No. 3, I actually hit a 9 iron into the green, just left of the pin, 30 feet or so, a little more than 30 feet. That putt, if it didn't hit the hole, it might have went off the green. So I got lucky with the birdie on that one. Then I turned around on No. 4, that's where I drove it way down there and had a sand wedge in and made that one.

COLIN MURRAY: How far was that putt??

JAY DON BLAKE: That probably was 20 feet. And No. 8, par 5, I hit another good drive, get down there, I got 5 iron to the green. I didn't hit a good 5 iron because I was debating between 5 and 6, and I eased off on a 5 and hit it out to the right and chipped it to about 8 feet and made that for birdie. The next birdie was on 13, a short one down the hill. The wind kind of picked up so I actually hit a little chip 9 iron in there probably 20 feet and made that for birdie. 14, I made bogey. I drove it in a perfect spot. I've got 9 iron into the back pin and missed it to the right. It rolls way down off. A very tough chip, chipped it about 20 feet by, 25 feet by and missed it. And on 15 I hit driver, 5 iron just passed the pin about 25, 30 feet and lagged it about a foot and made that for birdie. 16, I hit 3 wood off the tee, hit a 60 degree about four feet and made that for birdie. 18, I drove it down there in a good spot, hit 6 iron just off to the right side of the green, just kind of short and chipped it about a foot and made birdie.

COLIN MURRAY: Questions??

Q. So being the defending champion you have a good round like you had today, how much is being the defending champion contributing to your confidence, or was that then, and this is now, it's like two different things??

JAY DON BLAKE: It's in the back of your mind all the time, you know. It's a long time since I've been able to defend a title. It's a little nerves, a little jittery. People always keep saying, you know, go out there and defend so you never avoid it. So you got to kind of deal with it. I have to admit I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I was hoping to play well. I wasn't trying to put a lot of pressure on myself. I just wanted to go out there and try to have some fun. And playing with Corey Pavin, it is a good guy to play with to have some fun. It's in the back of my mind, you know, what happened last year. I've played well the last couple of months, the last few tournaments so, you know, I've had some confidence coming in any way.

Q. So you were playing a long time, what do you do when you get nervous and jittery, how do you handle it??

JAY DON BLAKE: I just got to slow myself down. I just got to not really get to ahead and try to hit a shot too quick. I got to kind of play a smarter shot and not get really too aggressive. You're the defending champion, and it almost feels like every iron shot you hit, you have to hit at the pin. And every putt you got to make from wherever it is. You got to make it, because, oh, he won last year and he should win this year. That's stuff that I'm trying to avoid. I'm just trying to execute my golf shot and play my game. If I don't have a good lie from the fairway or side hill or even in the rough, I'm going to be playing a smarter shot to the center of the green. Just kind of pace myself and see if I can perform and play well.

Q. It's been 10 years since the Champions Tour had any kind of event here, I'm wondering what the atmosphere was like out there and the course conditions and just kind of a feel of things??

JAY DON BLAKE: You know, I think all of the players are very satisfied with the conditions of the golf course. I mean the fairways are perfect. They over seed it with Bermuda and it makes it a good grass to hit off of. The greens are very smooth. They are very true to what you see. Not many bumps out there. There is a lot of undulations that are hard to read because of the Pinnacle Peak, I guess, they talk about that where the ball always breaks towards there. So you have to read the putt and then consider that in effect. I think probably the only downfall is walking from the tee to the fairways and then from the greens to the next tee, always trampling through the desert to kind of get where you got to go. It's quite a walk. A lot of up and down hills. But we shouldn't complain, we are here playing for a lot of money and having a chance to do this. There is no reason to complain.

Q. And it's 80 degrees??

JAY DON BLAKE: And it's 80 degrees and perfect weather and how about the beauty that's out there, too.

Q. Aside from kind of the distance control with the clubs because of how far the ball is flying, is there a comfort level with this course for you being from St. George. You talked about at the media day, just kind of playing desert golf.

JAY DON BLAKE: You know, I was thinking it was going to be very close to the yardages, say I'm 160 yards, that's about an 8 iron for my shots back home. And I was thinking that would be very comfortable for what it is here. I think with the heat, a little hotter. I'm sneaking to 65, 70 with an 8 iron. It's not like I'm trying to hit it any harder. I hit easy shots and you catch it and it goes farther. I know I missed a few shots just being tentative on trying to hold back thinking I might have too much club and hitting and making bad swings. But the visual affect I see a lot what I see back home, so that's not the intimidation factor at all on that aspect. But just, you know, the comfort zone is trying to figure out the distance that I'm hitting these things.

Q. Are you going to go work on that??

JAY DON BLAKE: There is not really any markers that I can really fire at on the range. It's kind of an uphill kind of range. I don't know if there is any markers out there. I guess they could probably laser them and get a little ballpark. I'm not that far off. That little uncomfort zone gets in your head, and you get a little bit kind of wishy washy which iron to hit and what shot to hit. And when you are undecided, you hit and you make mistakes.

Q. So given that there are some holes that are hillier, by the time you get done, are you feeling tired? Are you still able to stay in your shots?

JAY DON BLAKE: No, I feel like I'm able to, you know, healthy, strong enough to where I can maintain good energy out there to play the full 18 holes and kind of execute the shots that I need to. But when the round gets done, like now I feel the fatigue. But you just get kind of the hype out there and the adrenalin flowing and that kind of keeps you going pretty good. You might get a little bit week legged a little bit. But it's not that bad.

Q. Birdie in 3 of the last 4, it looked like you got stronger at the end. Was that just more getting a feel for the distances and some of that at the end??

JAY DON BLAKE: Two of them were par 5s that I was able to hit 5-irons to one and 6-iron to the other. Making birdies on them, I guess, is like par 4, kind of making par on par 4 in a way. And then the other one, I had a 60 degree sand wedge into it. But I mean any time you make three birdies out of the four holes I'm not good go to complain, whether they are par 5s, or what holes they are. You think hitting a 6-iron to 18 you might have a chance to eagle. And having a 5-iron, I had a chance at eagle there. I'm not saying I'm giving any shots away. I have eagled tries potentially. I'm not saying I threw any shots away. But it was nice to finish that strong.

COLIN MURRAY: Anything else? Jay Don, thanks for your time. Good luck tomorrow

JAY DON BLAKE: Thanks, guys.