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September 18, 2015

Jason Day

Lake Forest, Illinois

DOUG MILNE: Jason Day, thanks for joining us, 61-63 start, 18-under, 124, spectacular start through 36 holes. I believe it's a tournament record through 36 and ties the TOUR record through 36. It's kind of a continuation of how you've been playing, I believe.

JASON DAY: Yeah, I came in this morning, and obviously didn't shoot 59 and I felt like everyone was disappointed in me. It was just something -- it's hard to back up a big round -- usually it's hard to back up a big round and shoot a low one again. But fortunately for us, we had calmer conditions today. The greens and the fairways were very receptive. The course superintendent and his crew are doing a fantastic job with the golf course, especially with how much rain we had over -- especially yesterday and overnight, as well.

I don't know how else to explain the way I've been playing. I feel very free and I feel like there's no stress, but there's obviously stress, but I'm enjoying it. It's good pressure, and I'm loving it. It's a good position to be in. But once again, today is finally done, and I can start focusing on tomorrow and trying to focus on what I need to do to play well tomorrow.

But there is 36 holes left, and I'm looking forward to playing over the next couple days. But we're looking to a pretty strong wind tomorrow, so I've got to be very patient with myself tomorrow.

Q. You always said you wanted to be like a dominant Tiger Woods. Are you heading in that direction now?
JASON DAY: I hope so. That would be nice. That would be great. But right now I'm just trying to get the ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes. Right now it seems to be working, which is good. All this stuff we talk about, we just can't focus on. Obviously being that dominant person, but really understanding that these old clichés with one shot at a time and all that stuff is actually very true. Trying to get the process right before each shot and just giving myself the opportunities on the greens.

You mix in good driving with some good iron play and good touch around the greens, it's a good formula for success, and that's what it's kind of been like for me over the summer. I've just been very happy with how things are going.

But he's won 79 times and I've only won six, so it's hard to say I've been dominating. But it's something that I can shoot for, and that's what I'm trying to do every day.

Q. Your other obviously big goal, the numbers are in, if you win this tournament, no matter what anyone else, you will be world No. 1. How much will that be in your mind given you said it's a career goal?
JASON DAY: It's obviously a career goal, but it's not something I'm going to live and die by because hopefully I'll have plenty of opportunities to obviously achieve that goal. But like I said earlier this week, I'm trying to get to No. 7, and hopefully if I get to No. 7 this week, I'm trying to get to No. 8 the next week. I'm just trying to rack up as many wins as I can, and that's my main focus, because if I win, then everything takes care of itself, and that's what I kind of got to focus on.

Q. Can you explain what the zone is for a golfer, and have you ever been in the zone, and are you in a zone right now?
JASON DAY: You know, I feel like I'm in the zone. I mean, I don't know. I couldn't even tell you what the zone feels like, because I'm out there just -- I enjoy playing with Jordan and Rickie so much. I feel like every time I play with them, I play good because it's just the back-and-forth between us. I think we all enjoy each other's company and we feed off each other.

But the zone? Something that you're not really thinking about mistakes, you're thinking about pushing forward, you're thinking about things that happen or things that could possibly happen, you kind of wash it out of your head. Like I said just before, there is a number of times where I backed off shots because I was walking and I'm thinking, you're going to hit this in the crap, and obviously not very good thoughts going into a golf shot.

Those are the times where you back away, redo your pre-shot routine and go and hit a good shot and focus on that. That's kind of what I'm getting at, when you're in the zone, you're aware of things, you're aware of what your thoughts are, but you're not aware of anything else around you, and that's kind of how I've been feeling.

Q. Just before you came in, they announced that your 124 ties the PGA TOUR all-time 36-hole record. What's that feel like?
JASON DAY: I should have got to 19. That would have been nice. Yeah, the bogey -- I'm in good company there, I think, with David Toms and Pat Perez, which is great. It's a good stat to have or be a part of, but it's only 36 holes. I would like to have the scoring record for 72 holes. That would be nice this week.

But it's just something that I can rack up to an achievement. It's been great over the last couple of days, but like I said, it's over now, and I've got to look to tomorrow's round now and try and focus on what I need to do to keep my lead, and that's kind of what I'm trying to do.

Q. You talked about your pre-shot routine a little bit, which seems a little bit elaborate, and I'm curious if that's evolved at all recently or what point you're trying to get to before you pull the trigger.
JASON DAY: I'm trying to make sure that I'm 100 percent comfortable with the visual that I see, walking into the shot, being aware of my target but also being aware of the golf ball because I look at my target and you know that I never look at the golf ball when I'm walking in but I'm just aware of it so I know how far to walk.

But it has evolved over the years, but the biggest thing for me is to not hit a shot until I'm 100 percent ready, because I always used to think that I need to play quick because pace of play is huge out here on the PGA TOUR, and the faster my pre-shot routine went, the more terrible shots I hit, and the slower I played because I missed greens and I'm missing up-and-downs.

The key thing for me was to take my time over my shots, try and hit as many fairways and as many greens and hole the putts because, I mean, shooting a 63 is a lot better than shooting a 73 and you're 10 shots less, so that's 10 shots that you have to focus less on.

It has evolved over time, but the main thing is just to go into a shot and not hit it until you're ready.

Q. I've seen you close your eyes before, too. Is that something you do on every shot?
JASON DAY: Every shot. Chips are a little different now. It just depends on how I see the shot. Sometimes I can see the shot better with my eyes open. Most of the time I see the shot better with my eyes closed. But I've been using that ever since I was 14 years old, yeah.

Q. Jordan just told us how much fun you guys were having playing together, feeding off one another, and I know you were just asked about the playing zone. Could you talk about the comfort zone of being with guys like that, how much it helps on the golf course, and he also said, by the way, if you don't back up and help the field, no one is going to catch you.
JASON DAY: I'm going to try not to back up.

But just playing with -- like I said, playing with Jordan and playing with Rickie is -- I enjoy those two guys. I feel like we get along.

But when something -- when you're playing with guys that you really enjoy, those guys are out there playing to play well. They're up obviously on top of the FedExCup, so they're trying to -- I think myself and Jordan are going to stay there no matter what, and Rickie is trying to keep himself in the top 5 for next week. We're all out there trying to play the best we can, and when you have guys like that out there, because they're trying to improve their score, you can't help but feed off that, and when they'd make a birdie -- I just know they're going to play good golf, and when someone plays good golf in your group, you tend to follow that. It's hard to really get things going when the whole group is playing poorly and the whole mood is down and no one is talking to each other.

It's a nice little thing when we're in between shots and we're kind of having fun and just really enjoying ourselves, and then we'll go and try and hit the best shot possibly can, and then it's back at it enjoying ourselves, and a little bit back-and-forth, and it's neat.

Q. Jordan has had a front row seat to a lot of your great rounds over the past couple of months. He said it can be a bit demoralizing to play with you because you put so much pressure on the other players in your group to kind of keep pace with you. What do you think it's been like for your playing partners over the past three months with the way you've been playing?
JASON DAY: Kind of what Jordan has done most of the year, too, but instead of playing with him, I've been watching him on TV. It's been good. I mean, I can't lie, but the summer has been fantastic for me. I'm sure it has some part being able to hit drives as long as I can and as straight as I can and the way I'm hitting my irons, and then on top of it holing the putts that I needed to hole. Very crucial and clutch putts at times.

Sometimes when someone feels like they're getting the upper hand and you're able to roll a 20- or 30-footer in and they don't get any ground, I feed off that. I think it's a lot of fun to do that. It's something that I look forward to doing every time someone has the opportunity to do that. So I think I feed off a little bit of that, and right now mentally I just -- I feel confident with how I'm playing.

Q. Knowing Jordan's game like you do, after you missed the last two cuts, did you feel like you would come in with a different mentality just because he's coming off two weeks or two tournaments where he struggled and now he's kind of trying to keep pace with you?
JASON DAY: I think the last two tournaments that he played, he was just done. I think he was mentally and physically tired. He's had a lot of stuff to do that a lot of people don't know behind the scenes, a lot of trips for media, a lot of fan stuff, a lot of sponsor stuff. I mean, it just doesn't stop for him, especially he's a young, 22-year-old American who's just won two majors this year, so for me to win a PGA Championship and know how busy you can be, for him to win two and be an American, kind of like the poster child of the PGA TOUR right now, it's busy, and he's not a machine, he's a human, and it's okay for him to be tired and kind of wanting to be somewhere else.

But over those last two tournaments, I just know that no matter how physically ready he felt or how tired or not tired he felt, it's all upstairs for him. I think he feeds a lot off being mentally strong, mentally tougher than most opponents, and it just didn't look like he was quite there. But I think it was good for him to have a week off and come into this week knowing that he's got a good push at winning the FedExCup. But I'm going to give it a good run at it, too, and I think a lot of guys behind me are going to give it a good run. But right now we're just trying to get off to a good start and get into the top 5 next week and try and win it.

Q. I realize this is a hypothetical question, but if you hadn't won the PGA, do you believe that you'd be playing as well as you are right now?
JASON DAY: Probably not. I think I would have been a little bit more mentally scarred if I didn't finish it. I think I would have been playing great, but I don't think I would have playing the golf I'm playing right now. In a nutshell, no, I don't think I would be playing as good as I am right now if I didn't win the PGA because having -- the last three majors, having the 54-hole lead going into the last three majors and not winning any of them would have been very tough.

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