RBC Heritage interview: Jason Day

April 18, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: RBC Heritage transcripts archive

Jason Day, thanks for joining us, after a successful 4 under 67 in Round 1 of the RBC Heritage. Coming off a third place finish last week at Augusta. I know you mentioned you're tired, but it obviously isn't showing by evidence of today's round. A few comments on that and we'll take a few questions.

JASON DAY: Yeah, I mean I think the biggest thing for me this week was to try to get enough rest as possible, even with preparing the best I could. I had pretty good sleep last night, which was nice. Coming into this day, you know, we all played great. Webb, Marc, myself, we were all out there. I don't think any of us had bogeys. Obviously when you're making bogeys, it can kill the momentum. But when your playing partners are playing great, sometimes you can feed off what they're doing, which is nice. And all of us played really nicely today.

So I hit the ball great from tee to green and I missed a few opportunities for birdie. But overall very happy with how the start is did you.

What is it about Harbour Town? You didn't play last year but you had a top 10 in 2011. Your thoughts about your game and how it suits the course here.

JASON DAY: Today looking back at it, my whole round, I stuck to the game plan, which was nice. I hit a lot of 4 woods off tees, a couple irons off tees, but I think I only pulled the driver out maybe once or twice.

So this golf course requires position off the tee, so you can attack the second shots. And I hit a lot of fairways today, which was nice. I put it in the right position on the fairway and gave myself an opportunity to get close to the flag. From the second and third shots into the greens through par 4s and par 5s, I played them really nicely. And like I said before, I can't hole all the putts out there, but I played very nicely and capitalized on the ones that I should.

Q. A round like this, do you feel almost no pressure compared to what you were in the middle of last week, is this like a fun round?

A little bit, yeah, it kind of felt like that. Playing last week it felt like there was pressure the whole week. And coming into this week it's pretty laid back, but it is a Tour event and I want to do well and I want to play well here.

But the focus was still there, just I want to make sure that the mental process before each shot is a hundred percent. Because if I don't put that full focus into it and I start hitting bad shots, then I'm going to leave myself in bad positions out there, and that's not what you want to do, especially around this golf course.

Q. Is there a difference between focus with pressure and focus without pressure?

Focus with pressure, yeah, you're pretty much crapping yourself (laughter), but you're trying to hit a good shot. Focus without pressure, you're focused, but you know that you're going to hit the good shot.

So the best thing is to try and learn from the experience of last week and hopefully when you go into a Major or tournament, that the same pressure is the same amount throughout every single shot that you hit. So pressure is only added because you're holding it above something else or holding it above another shot. That's why you just add pressure to your shoulders, and it makes it difficult in Majors, because you add more pressure to yourself.

Coming off last week, there's not as much pressure here. It is a Tour event, but it's more relaxed.

Q. Just curious, how did you get over the two bogeys you made late at Augusta Sunday? And then secondly, did it help to really just not have much of a break coming here straight away, not give you time to think about the missed opportunity?

16 last week was a poor bogey. 17 wasn't too bad. I hit quality shots from tee to green. So I wasn't too disappointed with that. Obviously I was disappointed that I made bogey, but from 18 I hit a good quality shot down 18, then hit a good shot onto the green. Looking back at that last week, I played well. I swung the club well and the short game was really tight.

I just had to come into this week, make sure that I got enough rest and just try to keep that momentum rolling, that confidence rolling. Normally when you see guys playing well, normally it goes in bunches. So you'll see them play well for a while.

Q. Would you mind discussing the uniqueness of Harbour Town as a golf course in comparison to other Tour courses throughout the year.

It's short. You can't overpower this course, that's one main thing. Normally there's some courses that are shorter, but you can cut corners and overpower it. Here it's really difficult to do that. It's pretty much impossible to try and overpower a golf course. You look at the par 5, what is it, 15, I've got enough firepower to get it down there, to hit an iron in the green, but there's a tree in front of me to get to the green. So it's really difficult to try and overpower it.

But it's a short golf course that demands position off the tee for your second shots and your short game has to be sharp. You can hole a lot of 15 to 20 footers, because the greens aren't so severe. That's probably why you see a lot of the stats here, you see the most 1 putts or the putting stats are pretty good here, usually. But overall it's probably one of the only old school golf courses that we play during the year.

Q. Is there any concern last night, this morning before you teed it up, that the adrenaline would run out, the momentum would run out? And was there a moment that you knew, I've got it together right now and I can keep it going?

I think it's all how you look at things. If you're telling yourself that I think the adrenaline is going to run out, sooner or later it's going to run out. If you pick yourself up and say, you know what, I had a good week last week, I'm moving on now, I've had good rest, I'm looking forward to this week. Go out there and play to win and try and win. And that's the mentality that I'm trying to go out there with. I'm trying to play to win and just really focus on trying to play this golf course.
I know I've got two weeks off after this. So I can rest as much as I want after this week.

Q. Best shot you hit today?

It was pretty boring, actually. I like boring rounds, though, right? Boring rounds are pretty nice to have.

My birdies were pretty boring. Probably the 4 iron on the par 5, the fifth hole. I was in between shots there, I didn't know because that tree overhangs, so you just don't know whether to go underneath it or if you can go over it. I thought I'd go left of it and hit a nice 4 iron just short of the green and got up and down, which was nice.

Q. Does it mean something more to you and the other pros when you go through a whole round bogey free? Is it similar to a pitcher when he has a great outing and he wants to get that shutout? Is it a similar feeling?

All of us really enjoyed the company that we had today. We're all pretty good friends out there. And I was just saying before, you kind of feed off the momentum that everyone else is putting out there. If Marc and Webb are playing well, and they haven't had a bogey in the round and they're just hitting fairways and greens, that kind of spurs you on to hit fairways and greens and try and hole putts.

All of us today, there was only a couple of times where Marc and myself, we put ourselves in some tight positions. But other than that, the short game was pretty sharp on Mark's side. And myself and Webb hit the ball pretty nicely.

Q. I heard Brad Faxon make an interesting analogy, that Scotty and Marc made a great pairing, probably like a NASCAR race in that they would draft on each other. Did you feel any of that today? I just asked Marc the same question. He kind of snickered and said you guys have a lot of lingo and internal language that you talk to each other, that we would have no clue what you're talking about. Is that fair? Does that relax you and make it easier for you around the course?

I think we just want to get off to a good start. We're coming off a good week from last week. Webb missed the cut, but he's always solid around here. We just want to come out here and play well. We're coming off a couple of the best finishes that we've had this year, myself and Marc, we're just running off confidence right now.

It's a different feel this week. There's not as much pressure, but I want to say that the confidence is running high in both of us, and we feel good about our game. We're both hitting it well and the short game is tight.

Like I said before, when someone's playing really well, they're normally going to play well in bunches.

Q. Obviously Jason, what Adam did last week was historic for your country. What would it say about Australian golf if you or Marc could kind of keep this round going here at the Heritage?

For a population that I think it's around 23 million people in Australia, and the last time I checked the land size is a little bit bigger than North America, we do pretty well in sports. The one thing that we didn't have in sports was the Masters. And Scotty picked that up last week, which was a tremendous achievement. I'm very happy for him.

It would be great to win this week. That's what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to come out here and win. And I'm sure Marc is doing that as well. But it's tough to tell. The weather is going to be a little iffy over the next couple of days. Right now we're both in good position to attack that lead. And I think with how the weather is going to be, we have to be very patient with ourselves out there.

The course is very tight, very hard, very difficult to hit greens when it's really gusty out there, and swirls through the trees; just like Augusta, as well. In effect, it's kind of similar that way, as well.

We've had a week of experience where the weather winds can swirl, and we can take it from that week and put it into this week.

Jason, thanks for your time.