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March 2, 2016

Jason Day

Miami, Florida

JASON DAY: Where's Ben Everill?

MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Jason Day to the interview room here at the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship.

Thanks for joining us. This time last year, you had already posted a victory, and you've played three tournaments in 2016 already. Do you feel any pressure to get off to a good start at the start of the year.

JASON DAY: It's obviously easy to kind of, when you're looking kind of on the outside of it and looking in and saying that Jason Day has only played three events out of the 16 events, it's quick to say, okay, he needs to get something going.

But I do this every single year and I don't try to play any in the fall. I don't go over seas to China or Malaysia, and I haven't been back to Australia at all the last couple years.

It's obviously not the way I wanted to start. I wanted to come out pretty strong and keep that momentum going on from last year, but the three-month break that I had, it's hard to keep that momentum rolling when you go from playing such great golf and then having three months off and only picking up the golf club once, which is obviously on me, because I needed that time off to spend with the family. And then obviously coming back out and trying to play the way I did the second half of the season last year, is going to be tough.

But I'm not panicking. I know that I've got a set schedule. That's just how I've always been. I feel like I kind of try and set myself like an Adam Scott or a Tiger Woods or someone like that, just because I'm able to prepare the way I want to.

The body feels good. There's other guys out there that want to play their way into form. I'm just taking it a tournament at a time and really just trying to prepare the best I can for this week.

MARK WILLIAMS: Just before we open for questions. Just your thoughts on Trump National Doral. It's a golf course that's difficult.


MARK WILLIAMS: You haven't really posted a great record here.

JASON DAY: No. Thanks. (Laughter).

MARK WILLIAMS: I know you're aware of that (laughter). What do you need to do to get comfortable at this golf course?

JASON DAY: Yeah, like you say, I haven't really played that great here, and there's a lot of water at Trump National.

I mean, I had a lot of double-bogeys last year just because I hit it in the water all the time. I think I'm going to just be -- I was talking to Benny yesterday, I'm going to try and be a lot less aggressive on the golf course because this golf course tempts you so much to take a tighter line along those waterlines, especially on the par 5s.

It's hard, because the golf course is very long. The guys that are shorter, they know you can't get there, so they are going to probably lay up. But the guys that are longer are tempted so much because you're either coming in with a long iron or a 3-wood to par 5s. You get anything a little bit close to the water, everything kind of funnels in there.

Unfortunately I was too aggressive last year, so I think a little bit more conservative on the par 5s. I don't play the course that bad. It's just the mistakes that kill me. I've just got to try and be a little bit more conservative that way.

Q. Would you talk a little bit about the mental challenge or take us through your confidence level, you kind of addressed it a little bit: This is your schedule, the way you do it. If you have a confidence level that you're going to be able to pick up where you left off last year, or if there's any mental game that you play for yourself, any little demons that say, what if I don't, and if it doesn't work out -- or do you just have to be confident with the way you put your schedule together?
JASON DAY: I get a lot of my confidence through the practice that I do. So I touched on it a little bit, like Phil Mickelson likes to play his way into form. He plays a lot and plays that way, and definitely does that playing into the Masters. He plays the week before and stuff like that.

I get a lot of my confidence from what I do away from golf tournaments in my off-weeks practicing putting a lot of hours. I have to really work really hard just to get that confidence.

But obviously I don't think the mental game is as sharp right now, but it will be. I'm not going to be playing like this for the rest of the year. I know I'm going to pick it up here in a bit and I feel like the work that I'm putting into the game right now, it will pay off.

I've got to just wait for it, and I've got to go in each and every week that and make sure that I prepare the best I can and hopefully execute the shots.

But once again, it's hard. Did you ask Rory the same question; we both got off to a pretty slow start, and we seem to kind of pick it up the later on half of the year. I don't think he's worried about it and I don't think I'm worried about it right now. Just got to keep focusing on working hard, doing the right things with my body in the gym and obviously out of the gym and what I eat and all that stuff.

I've just got to put the effort in, and I've made sure that when I go out there, I'm there to play golf and win.

Q. Golf-wise, you're in the same place as Rory and Jordan. But off the course in life, you're in a different place with -- married with kids. Do you see that as a challenge for you or do you see it in some way as an asset?
JASON DAY: I think it's an asset. Definitely an asset. I mean, I've got two kids, and I feel like I'm old now (laughter). My body definitely feels like I'm old.

I touched on this, I think going back a few weeks, where Jordan and Rory, Rickie, those guys, they are not married yet. They are not -- they don't have kids. They have got all those new experiences, if they want to do it, to look forward to. Some are great. Most of it's great. Some are very difficult to deal with, and that's the balance that you have to do.

So I kind of -- I've got all that stuff out of the way, and I think the best part about it is that I'm able to balance that family life out, and then also play competitive golf at a high level. It took me awhile, but it's a hard balance to learn. And some weeks you're there and the kids are crying and you're up with them. It's not a lot of fun, because then you've got to go out and tee it up in front of a lot of people. That can be difficult at times.

So I'm looking forward to seeing how those guys react to that. I know it's going to be tough, but may not, because all kids come out differently. My second one is an absolute angel compared to the first one with sleep. But I think I've done it the right way. I've never planned to do it like this, but it just happened, getting married young at 21 and having kids and now I'm 28 and got two kids.

There's no set plan, but I am definitely enjoying being a father and it's great to have them on the road with me.

Q. You spoke about your schedule and kind of working your way into the year. We often hear players, especially top players, trying to peak four times a year for the majors. Is there a secret to trying to peak at those certain times?
JASON DAY: I don't know, man, you tell me, because I'm still trying to work it out.

I think the biggest thing is -- I've never really talked to anyone about peaking and what they do to peak. Obviously I want to peak every week. That would be great. Try and win every week. I don't see -- obviously you want to be peaking at those events, but, how come Tiger won all those times, you know. I think you can do both, and it's all the mind-set and effort that you put into it.

I talked a little bit to Tiger last week on the phone, and just speaking to him about -- with regards to all this stuff, practice and balancing and dominating for so many years. If you're going to pick a guy's brain, he's the guy. And every time -- I can't count how many times he said effort and mind-set and everything, had to do a lot with the mind.

So just goes to show how strong his mental toughness was when it came to not only playing PGA TOUR events but playing major-level tournaments, as well.

So I think that's the last piece for me. Because I know that my body is -- I'm slowly changing the way my body looks with regards to obviously the outer shell right now, but the inner stuff, like my core and everything else is coming along nicely. I'm eating the right stuff and I'm practicing very, very hard.

From there, the last piece, I think the biggest piece for me is to not get in my way. I think once I've realized or once I learn to control my mind, especially out there, it's going to be, I'm not going to say -- I would say that it's going to be a lot easier for me to go out there and play golf instead of fighting myself, yeah.

Q. On that, you said all last year, and when you were winning or whatever, that when you went out there, no one was going to beat you; you had that confidence, bravado, and you were just like, here I am, you can't beat me. Where did that go since then and how do you get it back if it has gone?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I've said it before, there was no one on the golf -- that's the way I felt. I put a lot of work into it. In that second half of the year, no one was going to beat me. You know, it kind of showed with four out of six weeks that I played, I won.

If you were here early enough, Ben, you would hear my first answer. I had the three-month span off and it's just kind of difficult to play great golf and then have three months off and then try and pick it up again.

Q. It's a momentum thing, right?
JASON DAY: Yeah, still, over time, if you don't go to the gym, you start losing muscle mass and you start losing all this stuff. It the same thing; if you don't keep the mind trained, you start to slowly lose it. That's why you start to slowly lose it as you age. You've got to keep the mind ready, going, and keep it sharp that way.

Q. Two questions now. How did the conversation with Tiger even come about?
JASON DAY: I called him. Yeah, I just called him.

Q. Why?
JASON DAY: He had nothing else, I guess (laughter). He was just sitting at his home and I just called (laughing). I actually tried to call him the week before, and like I was busy with kids autumn weekend and he was busy with the kids all weekend, so we just hadn't had the time to actually catch up.

But yeah, I just texted him. I said, can I call you, just regards practice and what he did back in the day, mind, mental mind-set and certain little things that he did. It was a good call. We were on the phone for about 50 minutes, yeah, which is a long time.

Q. Original question I had is with the pairing you have this week against obviously 1, 2 and 3, being in the same group, you've been in this situation before. Do you get any added motivation with these types of head-to-head pairings with Rory and Rickie?
JASON DAY: There's going to be a lot of people out there. I've just got to try to get in my own little world out there. I really want to play well this week. I don't know if it's the last -- is it the last time we're going to be playing here at Trump? I'm not sure. That's a big question that everyone's up in the air about.

Q. That was my third question.
JASON DAY: Oh, no worries. I really want to play -- if it is the last time that I'm going to be playing here, I really want to be playing well and go out with a boom.

So I feel a lot different this year compared to the last few years. Going into it, I was kind of nervous because on previous experiences, I've hit a lot in the water.

So this year, with saying that, I'm going to try to be a little more conservative on the par 5s. That takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Because with my length, I should be taking advantage of those par 5s, and going out there and going, okay, I need to take advantage. I need to start taking tighter lines. And once I take tighter lines, I start hitting in the water and then I'm walking off with a double instead of a birdie, three-shot swing, and I'm just scratching my head, like what did I just do.

If I can just be smart around here, I know that I've got the game to win around here. But I just -- yeah, I've just got to not get in my way.

Q. Since you were a kid, you wanted to be No. 1 in the world, you did that last year. Now you're not No. 1 in the world. Since you've had that taste --
JASON DAY: You guys are harsh this morning, geez. What did you guys drink? (Laughter).

Q. Since you've had that taste of being the best in the world, do you have a greater hunger to get back there than the previous time?
JASON DAY: Yes. I would say it's more, like I just don't want to touch it this time and I got there for four weeks; I'm playing good golf but I got there for four weeks, and not have Jordan actually have to finish inside the Top-10 or Top 15 or whatever it was just to, you know, overtake me.

I want to be able to be there and be like a Rory McIlroy who was there for like 95 weeks or a Greg Norman. Not say I'm going to be there for that long but that's main goal is to be one of those era players where you were dominant for a longer period of time than just four weeks. And not just say, oh, yeah, he was former No. 1 in the world but he was only there for a month.

It would be nice to be going, oh, that guy is a former No. 1 in the world and he was very dominant in that time period. That's why I'm trying to improve and that's where all this stuff; you look at Rory and you look at Tiger and you look at the guys that were No. 1 in the world, they were kind of doing everything they possibly can to stay there and be there.

I think for me right now, I'm very, very motivated to get back there. I'm very, very motivated to play well and win and win more consistently. I kind of like last year, but right now, I'm just trying to work my butt off to get back there because I know it's very, very difficult.

I know exactly how much work I put into the game to get to that point, which is a lot. Looking at it right now, it sucks. But I mean, it's what you have to do to be the best. And if you want to be the best, then you have to put the hours in, you have to sacrifice the time, sometimes away from the family, sometimes your social life. But at the end of the day, it all pays off when you're the best in the world and you're dominating.

Q. Since you brought up the conversation with Tiger, which I know was part of you getting back to No. 1 in the world, can you give me a specific or the biggest takeaway you took from that conversation?
JASON DAY: Right, just trying to think. I had my stuff written down. I think it's just -- I've always said it: Once I improve the mental game for myself, this is the last piece of the puzzle for me, I believe, and I think I'll be able to go out there and just kind of kill it.

Talking to him, every time that I talk to him, it's just every time it comes up, it's mind-set, mental, mental toughness, effort. It didn't matter how bad it was; if it was a course that he did not like, he was just going to flat out-execute you. It did not matter. That's that killer instinct that I need to get back like I had at the second half of last year, get back and take it into this year and go through with it.

Because right now, if I said that I have the killer instinct -- I do, it's down there, but it just hasn't come out yet. Once it does, I'm hoping that I can replicate the second half of last year. But it's amazing to be able to talk to someone that's done it for so long, because he did it for 14, 15 years of just absolutely dominating and killing it. If there's a better person to talk to about it, that was him.

Q. How do you describe the balance between the confidence, the back end of last year game you, and the pressure it created for now?
JASON DAY: There's a lot of pressure, and a lot of people I guess don't realize how much pressure there is. Everyone's expecting you to play a lot better, and play and win, and regardless of how you feel, because they don't know how you feel. I was sick at Torrey, and people still expect you to win. But once again, I'm expecting myself to win, and I think it's more self-induced pressure more so than the outside agencies that come along with that sort of pressure.

That's one of the main reasons why I called Tiger was to ask him about stuff like that, because he dealt with it so great and he wanted it for so long, and that's the biggest key was want. I don't know how to explain want.

Because I always say to people, you can always -- for me, personally, I can always tell when a player, if there's like 144 guys on the range, I can walk up the range and say, okay, this guy wants it -- it may not show right now, but he'll play well. Because you can tell the way he walks, you can tell the way he's practicing, you can tell the way he's talking, everything, he's motivated to play well compared to the other guys. So you can always tell.

I'm struggling to find a word to describe how -- wanting it, and explain it to you guy, because it really comes from within. But once again, I'm talking to Tiger about it and just I have to make sure that I go out there and go through the process right and do all the little things that got me to that point of dominating the second half.

It's all the little things that I was working on and all the stuff that I was putting in my body, all the gym sessions, all the stuff that people like yourselves don't see but I'm doing. To get me to that point, and that's the delayed gratification.

So I've have to keep doing it, mate. It may not work out. It may not work out this week and people are going to talk even more about it, like what's going on with Jason Day's game. It may not work this week. It may work this week. But I've just got to keep at it and know that I'm working towards that goal of becoming a lot more of a hopefully player that stays at No. 1 a lot longer than four weeks.

Q. Continuing this theme with talking to Tiger Woods, was there a tournament or occasion that you recall where you were brave enough to ask Tiger about his game and maybe ask him for his cell phone number, and in the discussion of Tiger last week, are you getting a sense of how much he's working his butt off to get back to the tournaments?
JASON DAY: I can't remember. I played with him one time. I think it slowly just started. Obviously he's my idol growing up, but he kind of slowly started -- once we started playing, we would play a practice round.

Obviously Tiger Woods is kind of a guarded person in nature because of who he is. He was the most known athlete there for awhile in the world, which is understandable, because a lot of people want to take so much time away from what he needs to do.

I can't remember how it came along getting my number. I think I got it through -- or I think I got it through his caddie, and then I just texted him and went from there.

I can't really comment on what's going on with Tiger with regards to practice and how far he is away, because obviously it's not my thing. If he's going to come out and tell you guys, it's on him and I don't want to, I don't want to be able to be, okay, he's out there playing and everything's great, and then he hurt himself or vice versa. But it's not my place to comment on how he's feeling.

Q. A quick follow up question if I may. Before these Tiger questions came up -- but in the last six months, you know you've been balancing being a new father for the second time, but has there been an occasion where you looked at the Wanamaker Trophy and thought, that's a reflection of how good my season was?
JASON DAY: It's up in the office. It's too far of a walk up there on the stairs (laughter). I haven't been up there, it's too much, and it's messy, too. So I don't even want to bother with dealing with the mess that's up in the office right now.

Yeah, I haven't been up there. You know what, it's good to see the replays of how I played and how I win. That's more exciting for me to watch the replays, except for the bogeys, I don't like watching those, so I'll fast forward them.

Yeah, it's cool to see all these wins that I accomplished last year and more so looking at them at home. It's great to watch them on TV.

MARK WILLIAMS: Jason, we appreciate your time. Thanks for coming in. Good luck this week.

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