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THE PRESIDENTS CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 26, 2011
CHRIS REIMER: We want to thank Jason Day for joining us today, No. 1 in the standings for the international team for this year's Presidents Cup. Excited to get back to Australia, hosting the event for the first time since 1998 at a fantastic golf course at Royal Melbourne.
Jason, some opening commenting about leading the standings and leading the team in your first Presidents Cups in your home country of Australia.
JASON DAY: How you going, guys? Obviously good to get here. Let's get underway. I'm really looking forward to getting back down to Australia and playing obviously the three events I have down there.
I'm really looking down to getting down and playing the Australian Open. I know it's going to be a strong field. A lot of the guys that are playing in the Aussie Open are going to play in The Presidents Cup, which is kind of going to feel like a PGA TOUR event, which is nice. It's a good, strong field. It would be nice to get off to a good start there and head over to The Presidents Cup down in Melbourne.
It's obviously an honor to be on the team for The Presidents Cup. To play down in Australia for the first time, in the team, to get the No. 1 pick is just amazing, it's an amazing feeling. If you asked me at the start of the year, you're going to be on The Presidents Cup team, I would have been happy. To be the No. 1 pick is an amazing accomplishment for myself. I'm just very happy with how everything has kind of panned out.
It's been an amazing year obviously. I'm looking forward to having a good stretch of tournaments down there.
CHRIS REIMER: We'll go ahead and open it up for questions.
Q. You mentioned about coming into the team with the No. 1 pick. Does that bring any sort of extra pressure to perform than you might ordinarily have when you tee up in tournaments weekly?
JASON DAY: You know what, it's great that I achieved the No. 1 spot. But, no, it doesn't. The team that we're playing for, it's not an individual kind of event. It's more about the teamwork, getting the job done with teammates.
I'm just out there trying to do the best job I can. If I can play golf the way I know I can play, kind of help my team out any way that I can possibly, that's all I'm asking for. Obviously I'm just asking to play well.
There's so many other players in the team, you can't control. So I just have to go out there and play my game. If I play well, that's great. If I don't, obviously I'll be a little disappointed. But I'm looking forward to getting down there and playing some golf.
Q. There's been a bit of talk about the Aussies having some local knowledge. Some of the other Aussies have more knowledge about Royal Melbourne than yourself. Can you give us what you know about it?
JASON DAY: The last time I played Royal Melbourne was at the Heineken Classic going back a few years, I don't know if I was 15 or 16. I played it before. I know of the course. I played a lot of different golf courses down there in Melbourne.
It's been a while since I played there, but I'm really looking forward to getting back down there and playing. It's going to be very, very intense. We're going to enjoy ourselves. I know we're going to have a lot of fun.
Q. Have you been talking to the other Aussie players at all while you're in the U.S. and what you can get done down here?
JASON DAY: You know what, I've talked to Scottie and Badds. I talked to Greg about it. The last conversation I had with Greg, I said to him, I want the team to win. We really want to win it really bad. Greg said, You know, that's good to hear. I've been hearing it from a lot of the guys on the team. I think a lot of the guys are pumped up to play down there obviously at Royal Melbourne and on the team.
I've talked to some of the guys and they're excited. I played with Badds at the BMW, I believe, either the BMW or the Deutsche Bank. He wanted to be on that team so bad. It was good to see him play really well.
Q. Could you give us any insight into how your life changed on and off the course after Augusta this year.
JASON DAY: You know what, the only thing that's changed is people are recognizing me a lot more in airports and that's about it. Obviously I haven't changed at all personality-wise. Nothing really changed at all in my life.
Obviously I've had a few more obligations to do. That's great. If I'm not doing these kind of things, it just shows I'm not doing the right thing. But I know I'm heading in the right direction, I'm playing good golf, trying to be the best person and golfer I can be.
Obviously, you know, it's been such a whirlwind since the Masters, because I didn't know I was going to go in there and finish second, and the year I've had has been an amazing year. I'm a little disappointed I didn't win, but it's been great.
Nothing that much has changed. I'm the same old guy.
Q. You had a great start to your year. You're still young. Was there a moment where you thought, I really belong at this level?
JASON DAY: Well, when I won the tournament last year, the Byron Nelson, obviously here in Dallas, I won the tournament and I was very, very confident after I won the tournament. Looking back at it, obviously I won the tournament, I wasn't saying to myself, I belong. But obviously after this year I feel like I've played well enough, I'm in the top 10 now in the world, one of the goals I've had in the past, but especially after this year it's been one of those years where I've gone, Okay, I've played well on the big stage, I enjoy playing on the big stage, I'm starting to feel a lot more confident and comfortable in my own shoes.
Q. You made the breakthrough. With the game becoming more global, how much more tougher is it for New Zealanders and Australians to make it out there?
JASON DAY: It's getting tough. You look at the fields these days. There's a lot of young guys coming straight out of college or not even straight out of college but turning professional very young and playing professional golf at a high level and succeeding. There's a kid over here, Bud Cauley. He's played seven or eight events and he got his TOUR card for next year. Just goes to show, he's 21, 22, goes to show how the game is evolving and changing.
Before if you looked at it, even in my time when I was like 11 or 12, my friends or someone would ask me what I did for sport, I said, Play golf, they would think I'm a dork. You know what I mean? They would think golf is a girl-ish sport.
Tiger Woods came along, changed the game. It's an athletic sport. It's getting a lot of media. It's becoming a very, very global sport. That's a good thing. Obviously there's a big push in Asia and China to push golf in the right direction.
Q. I was reading your favorite international course is Gulf Harbour here in New Zealand.
JASON DAY: 16 and 17. Best golf holes I've ever played, by far. Obviously hitting over the ocean, because you have to hit over the ocean, I believe it's 16, you hit over the corner of the ocean. I think I played the New Zealand Open one year there. The scenery, just the views that you capture. We played it in terrible weather, but it was the best feeling, best round of golf I ever walked. It was a long walk, but it was a very, very fun event. I really enjoyed playing the golf course there.
Q. You've had a long year where you've contended a lot. What have you done to freshen yourself up the last few weeks?
JASON DAY: You know what, I've actually done nothing. I've really had a good solid month off. Actually I spent most of my time up in Ohio. I pretty much worked out pretty much every day. I've worked out very, very hard with my trainers up in Ohio.
Now I'm down in Texas for a week before I head over to Australia. I'm looking forward to getting out and practicing and working on obviously a few things that I need to improve.
I've really done nothing. It's good to do that once in a while. You just need to turn the mind off, not even think about golf. After having a month off, I'm really hungry to get out there and play golf.
I'm excited to get back obviously to see my friends but to play golf in front of the home crowd, in front of the people back in Australia. I'm just excited to see how I go. It's going to be a tough few weeks, but it's going to be fun.
Q. Did you put the clubs completely away, not touch them for a month?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I put them away. Obviously I work on other things. I'll put the clubs away and not work on my golf swing or anything like that. I'll try and work on my mental game, try and work on my physical.
Like I said, I go to the gym a lot. I'm pretty much in the gym nearly every day. I have a couple days off a week. I've been working out very, very hard, try to work on a lot of things. Just try to become an all-around great player.
It's been a work in progress. But it's been a great year, like I said, but obviously a better month to have off.
Q. You grew up in the Tiger Woods era. We know how the book inspired you. You're on a team captained by Greg, a great influence on Australian golf. Sounds like you've spoken to him. Can you tell us what that's been like? Has that influenced you at all this year?
JASON DAY: We're trading text messages back and forth obviously over the last couple months. Greg has always been great to me. He's a very, very busy guy. He's got a lot of business around the world. He's always flying in and out of everywhere.
But I talked to him after I made the team. I talked to him the TOUR Champs week, talking to him about who he was going to pick, who he was thinking about picking, all that other stuff. We were kind of getting along the lines of we really want to win one. We really want to win the Cup, take it home, hold onto it for a couple years.
Obviously I think it's - I don't know how long it's been - six Cups since we won it. It's been a while. I think our whole team is very hungry to go down there and perform. We have a unique team, a lot of young guys, a lot of old guys. I think it's a good mixture of guys that we have on our team. I think hopefully we can kind of all mix in together and play as one and try and win this thing.
Q. You spoke earlier in the year about wanting to play or be paired with Tiger at the Open. Has anyone from your camp approached the Open about getting that to happen?
JASON DAY: I've talked to my agent about it. But obviously I'm not too sure if he said anything to Golf Australia or anything like that. I wouldn't put it past him if they paired me with Tiger. I know it would be very, very fun. There would be a lot of people out there, no doubt.
It would be a very, very fun couple of days - hopefully four days if we can play well. But it would be fun. Obviously probably hasn't had the best year, knee surgery, obviously the other stuff that's gone on. Been a little disappointing to see him not play as well. I think golf obviously needs him. It would be fun if he can come out and play well. I think it would be a good warmup for him for Presidents Cup.
Q. I spoke to both captains last month, Greg Norman and Freddie Couples. Out of both teams they predicted you as a future world No. 1. Where is that on your radar?
JASON DAY: You know, it's always been a goal of mine to get to the No. 1 spot. But I know it comes with a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication to the game.
Obviously, if you look at Luke Donald, it's amazing, four wins worldwide, two wins in America, he won the Disney tournament to beat out Webb Simpson for the Money List.
It looks like he's going to win both Money Lists and no doubt he's going to win Player of the Year. I'm No. 7 in the world right now. There's six other guys that are really strong players that I have to try and beat. I'm the 7th ranked guy in the world. I just need to get out and work really hard, work on a lot of things, work on the little things that count, and keep moving in the right direction.
It's small little steps. At the start of my career I thought I was going to come out and kill it. Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way. I've slowly worked my way back up to where I believe I can be. I know that it's going to take a while. But hopefully I can get that No. 1 spot in the next five years, and that would be nice.
Q. You also said you found it a little hard getting used to the extra attention that comes after the runner-up finishes in the two majors. What about when you get to Melbourne? You're going to be treated like a rockstar. Are you ready for that?
JASON DAY: You know what, it's been great. We've been spoiled rotten over here. Like you said, it's been hard for me to try and adapt to certain situations that I've been put in. They're added distractions, but good distractions to have. Means I'm doing something good in my golf career.
It's going to be exciting when I get down to Melbourne. I just hope we can kind of get something going and we can win. Right now I'm not worried about how good I'm going to look or how fun it's going to be. I really want to play well for the team. I just don't want to let my teammates down. I think that's the main thing.
Q. We heard a bit on Tiger before. Greg Norman has come out and said Fred Couples made a mistake by not picking Keegan Bradley. Do you think Tiger would be a liability for the States?
JASON DAY: Tiger has dominated the game for a good 10 years. It's hard not to pick him. Keegan, they have a two-year period to pick the teams. Keegan has had a great tournament. He's won a tournament and a major and it's his rookie year. If they picked him, it would be a great addition to the team. It's very hard not to pick Tiger Woods because of what he's done in the past, obviously winning 73 PGA TOUR events, 14 majors. It's kind of hard to not go, Okay, Tiger, you're not on the team.
It's kind of a touchy subject. Whether it's Keegan or Tiger, we still have to beat that person. I think as a team, we got to keep playing one shot at the same time and try to beat the person in front of us.
Q. Can you confirm that the Australian Open will be your second event as a professional in Australia? You played a Nationwide event in Adelaide, didn't you?
JASON DAY: Yes, I did. Been so long ago that I totally forgot about it. It's going to be my second event as a professional. But obviously it's going to be my first event as a professional on the big stage.
I haven't played the Australian summer of golf as a professional yet so I'm really looking forward to getting there.
Q. How frustrating has it been for you? The TOUR school, the injury, honeymoon. How frustrated have you been by not being able to get down here earlier?
JASON DAY: It's been frustrating. Like you said, it has really been frustrating. I don't plan to get sick or get hurt, having to go back to Q School. That's not on the agenda. I don't want to go back there ever again.
Obviously being hurt is the worst thing that can happen. But you know what, it's been a good four years for me on the PGA TOUR. Finally I'm looking forward to getting back and playing as a professional. Like you said, it's been annoying. Right now I'm just trying, as I said before, a week earlier in advance to play as best I can.
Q. You mentioned how you haven't got down and played a lot of golf in Australia over the last few years. How much do you have to change your game to adjust to the conditions?
JASON DAY: You know what, I played Lakes before, but I haven't changed since the change. Obviously more of a links kind of golf course. Royal Melbourne is similar to that.
I'm not going to change my game at all. I want to believe in myself that I have all the shots that I can in my golf bag that I can obviously take out to the golf course and try to hit any shot that I want to. Right now I'm just going to try and work on the little things that need to be changed here and there.
Not at all. I'm just going to go out there and try to just adjust to the golf course and go from there.
Q. We've seen in the Ryder Cup how the Europeans have had success with a unified team approach on and off the course, perhaps a bit more so than the American Ryder Cup team. Do you have any idea how you can achieve that with the international team? Have you had any chats to Greg along those lines?
JASON DAY: You know what, it's been a while since I played team golf, team events. Like we said before, golf is a very individual sport. We had a few meetings during the year, but I think what we could do is have a really good bonding session like all teams do, just try to get to know each other a little bit more personally so that we want it a little more.
I know it probably hasn't been done that much in the past. But Greg has already had a year of experience as a captain, but he's played in Presidents Cups before as well. He's been there. I think the biggest thing we can obviously do is ask Greg for past experiences, ask for help on what we can possibly do, so...
Q. A line came through saying the amazing thing about your wonderful year is it actually followed a period where you were quite down in the dumps. I didn't know whether it was true, but he said it followed a period where you were quite frustrated with your game. Was that true?
JASON DAY: Yes, definitely. That was right around the time when I hired Neil Smith, who is a mental coach. That was right around the time of the L.A. Open. I was down in the dumps, so I wasn't playing great golf, wasn't happy on the golf course.
Things have changed. I worked with him the whole year. It was a great year working with Neil. But I've got back to enjoying the game, loving it a lot more. I also talked to Scottie about it. I said, What got you from not being as motivated to play golf to getting back and winning tournaments? This was later in the year when he was on the WGC. He said, I'm enjoying the game a lot more. When I'm out there practicing, I'm practicing stuff, trying to set goals that are fun. Instead of getting out there and grinding and hitting ball after ball, he's out there actually having some practicing. That's pretty much how he got back into playing better golf, is he started enjoying himself more, practicing.
That's what I'm trying to get back into now. Over this year it's been a very successful year. That's what I'm trying to get back into. I'm loving the game a lot. It's just fun where I am right now. I'm very, very blessed to be where I am right now.
Q. Were you quite low thinking the game was on top of you?
JASON DAY: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's very hard to get up in the morning and go, You know what, I want to go play golf. I wasn't playing great golf. I was very disappointed, down on myself on the golf course. I'd go, I don't want to be here. I'd go home for a week or two weeks. I'd be bored. I'd go out and practice. It wasn't fun. I'd go back out and play. That was even more disappointing. It was kind of like a vicious cycle of me losing to myself.
That's why I employed a mental coach. I've never employed a mental coach before. It worked out great for me. I got back to playing very competitive golf. Every golfer goes through things like this, where they're not motivated, they don't want to get up in the morning and practice or go to the gym. Everyone goes through that. I've had Nick Faldo say that before.
Golf is a very individual sport. Sometimes you want to get out there and win, sometimes you don't. Right now I'm just looking forward to the future and I'm just trying to work as hard as I can.
CHRIS REIMER: Jason, we look forward to having you on the international team, playing your first Presidents Cup down in Melbourne. We look forward to seeing all our friends in the Australian media. Thanks for taking time from your schedule to join us in today's call and good luck in the upcoming Presidents Cup.
JASON DAY: Thanks, mate. Cheers.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports