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June 18, 2014

Ken Duke


MARK STEVENS:テつ Like to welcome our defending champion, Ken Duke.テつ Ken, it's hard to believe it's been a year.テつ If you want to kind of talk about your thoughts coming back here to Hartford where you got your first win, and we'll take some questions.
KEN DUKE:テつ Yeah, I agree, it's gone by pretty quick.テつ I've enjoyed every minute of it, to be honest with you.テつ There are a lot of people congratulating me on winning the Travelers Championship, not just winning a tournament, but they always include Travelers in it, which is pretty neat.テつ When I went to the British Open, the same thing.
It's been pretty awesome for me with all the exposure I've gotten for it.テつ It's just a great ride, and just kind of feels like you belong out on the PGA TOUR now finally winning an event and just having fun out here.テつ Travelers is a great organization, a great sponsor, and I'm thankful I won an event.

Q.テつ Talk about that par save last week?テつ Is it something you had to think twice about going sideways with the putter?
KEN DUKE:テつ That's the U.S. Open for you.テつ In an Open Championship, you never know what that golf course is going to bring to you or really just any golf course, any kind of shot.テつ You never practice shots like that.テつ You really don't think about it because you don't want those bad breaks.テつ But seemed like that's kind of how it worked a lot last week when I hit it in the rough, which wasn't much or very many times, I got a bad break like that.
But I wanted to go to the left and just putt it back up there instead of try to get it up out of the bunker.テつ But that grass was all down grain.テつ If I hit it a little bit too hard, most likely it might have run down the hill and it might have had a 30‑yard chip.テつ I'm a pretty good bunker player and most of the guys out here are as well.テつ That was my best opportunity to get the ball up‑and‑down and maybe even hole it.テつ It was a no‑brainer and obviously hit a great shot.

Q.テつ Is there a comfort level when you come back here?テつ Are the memories flooding back or is that an exaggeration?
KEN DUKE:テつ No, it's not.テつ I was just telling someone earlier it kind of feels like my home course and I've only played here four, five, six times.テつ I think this golf course just sets up good for me.テつ There are some short holes, some longer holes, and it just sets up with my eye.テつ As you know out here on the PGA TOUR, guys play courses that suit their game, and this one suits my game.テつ But all the great memories from last year and other years that I played here, it's been really special.

Q.テつ We know about The Masters invitation, the two‑year exemption, the money is nice.テつ But what is the best underrated part of winning a tournament?
KEN DUKE:テつ I think maybe the recognition.テつ I know a lot of guys knew who I was, but I didn't think they did, players, fans.テつ But I get a lot of, "That is the old guy."テつ That is the guy that won the Travelers.テつ When is he going to play the Champions Tour?テつ He's on the Champions Tour.テつ That kind of stuff is what I get more than anything.テつ Sure the perks that you mentioned are really special, but I think the recognition you don't hear much about that as much as any.

Q.テつ Being the week after the U.S. Open, you would think that this tournament, any tournament would have a difficult draw, but there are four of the top eight players in the world are here and it's got a great field.テつ Why do you think that is?
KEN DUKE:テつ I'm going to say one word, it's Travelers.テつ Travelers do a great job.テつ They're out there campaigning week‑in, and week‑out.テつ Nathan Grube and Andy Bessette does a wonderful job out there recruiting players and have a great relationship with players.テつ I think there's no question why guys come back here.テつ And it's a golf course that you do have to think, but it's not like last week's course where you're mentally drained after two or three holes.
But no question, it's hat's off to Nathan and Andy, what they do and the respect they've gotten from the players.

Q.テつ You've been on plenty of leaderboards throughout your career here on the PGA TOUR.テつ What was different last year on Sunday?テつ How could you finish that off and you did it in spectacular fashion on the playoff hole.
KEN DUKE:テつ The year wasn't going as well as I thought it was throughout the year.テつ A lot of good‑‑ I've had a lot of good rounds throughout the year, and nothing really panned out.テつ But I knew my game was getting around pretty good.テつ Seemed like this week I had a week off before that, and I didn't touch a club the week before.テつ I was so relaxed and just enjoying the ride.テつ I felt good about my game and I knew where the golf ball was going, and that's what happens sometimes.テつ You hang around and hang around, and next thing you know, you're at the top.テつ I think that's kind of what happened.
I know Chris hit a great shot in there to put it in the playoff, but a lot of people talk about the mess‑up that Bubba had on 16 the last round, but Bubba was three or four ahead on Saturday, and he messed upcoming in on Saturday.テつ Could have gotten way ahead on Saturday and we might never have seen him again.テつ Lot of people don't really realize that.
The memories here are just special.テつ Just a golf course that's fun to play.テつ There are a lot of risk‑rewards here, and a lot of guys really enjoy it.

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