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March 15, 2016
JASON DAY: It's good to be back. I mean Florida usually is one of my stops I struggle with, I think the West Coast is a better swing for me but, again, I'm looking forward to changing that this week.
I feel really good about the game. I mean the swing is coming along nicely. I think if there's one thing I'd like to improve upon over the next couple weeks is really from tee to green, trying to improve that, hit more fairways, hit more greens and then I think putting has actually been pretty good for me.
I just got to keep doing what I'm doing on the greens and if I hit more greens give myself more opportunities, I think I'll play a lot better this week.
JOHN BUSH: Just recap your season for us, making your 5th stop. Talk about your first four starts.
JASON DAY: It hasn't been the greatest. I mean with the expectation of everyone and then obviously the expectation of myself thinking that I should be coming out here and contending and competing even after a three month layoff, it's still pretty high. I mean it is what it is. It hasn't quite panned out the way I obviously planned to but, you know, I still have to kind of psych myself up in the process of what I need to do to get back to what I was doing last year and that's obviously competing and playing and winning at a high level as well.
So, I was hitting it a lot better last year but, you know, it's only early on the season and, you know, I've got two weeks in a row here that I can get things going.
JOHN BUSH: Sounds good. If you'll raise your hand.
Q. Jason, can you recall when you first heard or learned about Arnold Palmer and his record and then your first meeting with him?
JASON DAY: Record as in --
Q. When did you remember as a kid first learning about Arnold and what he accomplished and then your first meeting with him, how did that go?
JASON DAY: Back when I was growing up the only way we could actually read or even like get to know golfers and the history was reading books or something and I wasn't too much of a reader, unfortunately.
But, you know, there's one book that I had and it was about the greatest golfers and it had American golfers in it and obviously Arnold was in there.
Everyone knew Arnold, especially when I was growing up, I grew up with five channels in a turn dial bloody TV back then with little bunny ears. Wasn't really where we could grow up and have the technology and especially I guess the capability of seeing what Arnold has accomplished in his career.
I think the biggest thing is the impact that he's left and I said this yesterday, is that he's impacted the generation after him which impacted the generation after them and then impacted us.
So, without his innovation to the game with how he was on the golf course and how he was off the golf course, giving back to charity and how giving he was, there may not be a Greg Norman or a Faldo or Seve. There may not be a Tiger Woods or, you know, a Phil Mickelson and may not be a Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, myself or Rickie Fowler.
Without influential people such as the King, there may be a few less golfers in this world today because he did have a huge impact on what golfers or how people looked at golf because, let's be honest, it's kind of a nerdy sport, it really is. It's not like you're out there beating each other up on the football field or something.
Walking around, chasing a little white golf ball. Unfortunately that's just how it is and don't get me wrong, we all enjoy. Arnold Palmer made golf sexy.
Q. Do you remember your first meeting?
JASON DAY: Here at this tournament, I think a few years ago. I can't remember the year but I was out playing the 4th hole and back then it was a par 4 which was brutal and he came up and he was driving around in the cart and I got to meet him and talk to him for about ten minutes, which was pretty nice.
I was the only one out on the course. I was out there by myself and I got to talk to him for ten minutes, which was nice. I mean obviously he enjoys seeing the players and he's one of those guys that I think loves going out and seeing every player regardless of who they are.
You know, could be 125th on the FedEx but he loves seeing the players and hopefully passing a little advice here and there.
Q. Jordan talked last week about maybe struggling a little bit with the spotlight that comes with being world No. 1 and winning a Major championship.
When you were in that position, when you were world No. 1 after winning a Major did you feel it difficult at all to deal with it, the social media buzz?
JASON DAY: I think I said this the other week, maybe it would have been tougher but it's kind of I played, got to No. 1 in the BMW, then I played a week later and then I was done for like three months so I couldn't really -- I couldn't really go oh, yeah, man, this is really high pressure situation.
Want to get back there, hopefully I get back there with the hard work that I'm putting into it is. I have to let you know. Obviously it's a different, different beast.
I played a few holes with Adam Hadwin out there yesterday, the Canadian player and he's just asking me a few questions and we're just talking about how there's guys out here that are just comfortable from 50 to 100 on the FedEx and enjoy that spot, you know.
I was just telling him you got to be okay with feeling uncomfortable because if you're uncomfortable it usually means you're doing something right, especially out here.
And the times that you're uncomfortable is the most you'll learn in that situation and I just told him that I was looking forward to being uncomfortable for the rest of my life because I'm uncomfortable out here and I'm in that spotlight, I mean it goes through everything here, your recognized everywhere you go.
Kind of thing if you're No. 1 in the world, go down the supermarket or kind of got to watch -- put your head down or something like that or you're out in the golf course, fans want you, media want you. There's a lot of spotlight that comes along with being the best in the world.
And I was just -- I guess my advice that I was trying to pass to him, there's a big balancing act when it comes to that. So, I haven't had the experience of -- you know, obviously getting to No. 1 and then playing and going through what Jordan or Rory went through, so, I'm looking forward to that experience.
Q. Do you ignore social media?
JASON DAY: Kind of. Unfortunately I'm terrible at it. I think I've done 23 posts or something on Instagram and I've had it for a long time and Twitter. I told -- my wife tweets for me.
Q. She's pretty good?
JASON DAY: She's very good. But, yeah, I'm really bad. I think that's one thing that you have to watch out is that I was reading an article, I think it was maybe it was from you, Rex, about social media was that you, one of the guys in the room? Okay. So social media.
It's just -- that's a tough one because I got into social media because everyone -- not everyone but a lot of people started to imitate me and try and take my identity on there so there would be people tweeting stuff and acting like it's Jason Day but it wasn't. So I had to start those things up.
Yeah, I mean I don't read any comments, I don't read any articles about myself, just for the sheer fact I don't want to read negative comments because there are a lot of people that -- in unfortunate situations like to bring people down and I like to see people succeed and I don't like to read that stuff so I just kind of stay away from all the comments and even if someone says something bad about me on social media it doesn't worry me at all because I'm not going to please everyone. I can't please everyone.
The only thing that I can do is please myself and only way I can please myself if I work hard, get the results, get my confidence and start winning more tournaments.
Q. Jason, a few years ago Tiger said the closest he had ever come to a panic attack was the birth of his kids, the doctor hands the baby over to you and says, "Okay, good luck, have fun. There's no instruction manual."
In the conversation that you had with him recently, did parenthood come up at all and did you pick his brain at all about how do you manage world class golf and parenthood?
JASON DAY: I guess I don't know, I mean I talk to him every now and then about his kids. That's his private life and when it comes to -- when it comes to that sort of stuff his personal stuff is his personal stuff.
I don't want to ask him what happened in the past and especially with -- how he balanced out and, once again, I just never really asked too much about that because let's face it, if you're the best player in the world at the time you're so consumed in your own self with time with regards to practice, media, fans, sponsor obligations, that by the time you get a moment -- yesterday I was out here early morning and I didn't get home until 6:00. I had about an hour and a half to spend with Dash to go to the playground. Non-stop every single day.
Unfortunately like, once again, you're trying to balance it out. You're tired by the end of the day but you got to suck it up because the more I neglect one side of those is the more that, you know, sooner or later will start kind of moving away from me and I don't want to miss Dash growing up or Lucy growing up so I can't neglect that and then obviously on top of it trying to be the best player in the world, you can't neglect that, either, because there is so many expectations to the game of golf that you have to spend a lot of time trying to hone those skills.
So, I mean it's kind of a double edged sword. You got to really balance it out properly if you have a family. Right now if you don't like Jordan or Rory or Rickie, it's kind of really easy to be single focused on golf because all you have to do is wake up in the morning and do what you need to do because you have a girlfriend or fiancee or stuff like that, don't have to worry so much, you know, spending time with the kids because obviously to me personally I never had a dad. Obviously everyone knows I didn't have a dad growing up, and that parenting atmosphere wasn't around when I was a kid. I wanted to make sure I'm there for Dash and Lucy.
Q. Jordan was talking about No. 1 and how he handles it. When you hear that or see that, what goes through your mind. It's hard for him still.
JASON DAY: It's a little different because for me I'm not as popular as those guys and I understand that. I'm kind of a boring person whereas Rory is really -- I mean Rory, Rickie are very popular. They're the popular kids in school. Jordan is getting that popular, starting to become a lot more popular and I'm just a nerd in the back which is fine (laughter).
I'm totally fine with it. That's just kind of my personality. I'm kind of the quiet person. Like I say, I'm not much into social media and these guys are big into it.
You know, dealing with all this stuff, it is difficult. I think the biggest thing for him is to embrace, you know, like I said before, embrace the challenge of being No. 1 because, you know, there's no -- if you look in the Hall of Fame there's no one out there that is terrible, you know, and for him, I mean he's got such a long career in front of him.
I'm just worried -- I'm worried about him because I don't know if he's playing too much and he's doing too many things with golf and sponsor obligations that he might make -- may get burned out and go through a rut where he doesn't want to be on the golf course for awhile.
It goes through everyone, everyone goes through that. I'm just kind of right now, I've told a few people on my team I'm kind of worried about him because of what he's kind of putting himself under.
He has played a lot of golf, especially the last few years. You can look at his world ranking and how many events he's played over the last couple years and you can see that he's kind of wearing himself out.
So, I mean that part of it has a huge, huge -- obviously part to it but there's just so much. Once again, there's so much that people are wanting. The timing issue is hard because everyone wants a piece of you. I wish you could multiply yourself because there's not enough of us to really do it.
Q. Jason, you talked about expectations earlier.
How do you compare your personal expectations versus those of the public that they may have for you?
JASON DAY: Yeah. Good question. I have not -- I mean, once again, I have no idea what the public is thinking of me or what they're saying about me which is fine. I haven't read about it too much. I mean it. I really haven't read about anything.
My expectations are always high. I always expect the highest of myself and all I can say is I've been busting my butt, working very, very hard not only on the golf course practicing and consuming myself in the strength and weaknesses of my game but also what I've been putting in my body, what I've been doing in the gym and really kind of the last piece of the puzzle kind of linking that altogether and going out there and feeling confident. Obviously going out there and winning.
The expectations is one thing and obviously playing is a different thing and it's been a little tough for me this year but it is early in the year and it's not easy because, you know, I hear it every week, "How is the year going, how is this going?"
Everyone lives and dies by this week and you got to understand that the year is a very long year and that a career is a very long career. I'm going to miss cuts and miss probably a lot of cuts in my career. Hopefully not a lot but I'm going to miss cuts in my career. It's not the last cut I'm going to miss, like I had earlier this year.
I'm just saying that it's a marathon, not a sprint and I got to just keep working towards getting better each and ever year. I think over my career I've done that and been pretty consistent with that. Kind of had a little bit of a hiccup in 2012 with the way I was and I was a little burnt out on the golf course and didn't really want to be there but, for the most part, I've been pretty consistent with how I've worked and hopefully as time goes on I'll be -- I'll start to become a lot more of a player that contends each and every week and that's the main goal is to be able to contend each and every week and be like the Rorys and Jordans and Tigers and Phil.
Q. As we reach the Major season, what sort of goals have you set?
JASON DAY: None. I haven't set any goals. I mean like I said, last year was the first year that I didn't set any goals. Well, I shouldn't say that. The only goal that I did have was make sure that I didn't cheat myself and cheating myself because you can say I'm working so hard, I'm working so hard until your face goes blue and I'm doing everything I possibly can but only the person that only knows if they're really working hard is the person that is saying it because, you know, I could go, "I'm going to hit ten more balls" or "I don't really do it" or "I can do the extra rep" and I don't do it.
When I find that motivation, how I find that motivation through that is what would the best player in the world be doing? Would Jordan be hitting ten more balls or Tiger being doing more reps that? That's how I find that motivation.
Yeah, it's interesting, really is.
Q. Jason, another amateur had a high finish on PGA TOUR last week. Does it seem like the margins between a PGA TOUR pro and an elite amateur are getting smaller?
JASON DAY: Yes, to a certain degree because obviously the technology is helping these kids so much, the coaching. The level of play in amateur golf is getting a lot stronger, even the level of play out here is getting a lot stronger because of what these young kids are doing.
There's the confidence and fearfulness or fearless approach to their game that they have because they are so young. I mean I wish I was 21 again and I could go out there and be as fearless as possible.
These guys for Lee McCoy who played fantastic golf last week, phenomenal to finish that high, I mean is a great, great achievement. Obviously to play in a PGA TOUR event against the No. 1 player in the world playing right beside him was pretty special. That's something that he'll also remember and take into the future.
But technology is a huge thing. The game of golf and the innovation that we've had in the game of golf over last 20 years has been huge. That's why you see a lot of young players, you know, playing the way that they do.
I'm going to go out and play with Patrick Rogers and Maverick McNealy and Ryan Ruffels today, 9 holes. I'm really old compared to those guys. I still feel like I'm pretty young. I'm 11 years older than Ryan Ruffels. I can't believe it, you know what I mean?
Just to go and just to see how competitive they are and just talking to these guys and back in the day when I was playing, I was like oh, I'm just happy to make the cut, especially as an amateur playing in a professional event back in Australia, I'm happy the make the cut and play well.
These guys are talking about winning. It's not that easy but these guys, they've got that fearless approach and they're talking about winning tournaments and that's what's so great about the game is that they have that confidence and it's going to make it a lot more exciting in the years to come because we do have a lot of young, good players especially from around the world and the States that they're going to give us a shot at trying to take the crown off us. It's fun.
Q. With Augusta sort of a month away, how much of this month do you need to get ready for Augusta, and are you sort of thinking of the shots you will be playing around the Masters?
JASON DAY: I was thinking two tournaments would get me ready, which are the next two. I'm going to play this week, play Match Play, hopefully through Sunday, and then I'll take four days off, go back to Columbus, Ohio.
I've been back to Columbus, Ohio -- since December 28th I've been back there for one week. It's not because of the weather, it's just because of how everything kind of panned out with the schedule.
But yeah, I'll go back there for four days and head down to Augusta like I normally do on Thursday and try and play at least a couple rounds of golf before the zoo comes in and get into it because that's kind of the way I've done it in the past. That's kind of how I've got to play well around there is doing that prep that way.
Q. How much excitement do you get going back to Augusta having won the last Major last year?
JASON DAY: It's good. I'm nervous because I mean obviously this is one tournament that I've always talked about I've always wanted to win but -- and the same breath I just -- I can't get too far ahead of myself because I have to focus on this week. I can't really get to April until I try and play this week and then next week and take it a step at a time, really.
It would be good for me if I could can really get things going and start to play really well, it would be a good trend for me not only for my golf but for my confidence as well going into the Major if I could start really playing good golf.
Q. You mentioned motivation before. Has that been sort -- was there a part maybe earlier in the year where that was kind of harder to come by given the success of last year and, secondly, are you sort of surprised that you haven't had the consistency from last year and was that kind of difficult to try to figure that out?
JASON DAY: I think -- the motivation has always been there. I've always wanted to play and try and win. Out of the three months that I took off and then take some time off here and there, I think I practiced maybe a month out of four and a half, five months of just solid practice.
If you're putting 2 and 2 together it doesn't add up because obviously with the amount of time you've had off and then the time that you've had to practice, the expectations are still high but without the hard -- I've been putting in the work but obviously I took those three months off because of family reasons and that's why I wanted to do it.
I can't be angry with myself for that. I have to understand that once again I'm working towards it and if I'm at the end of the year I've won a Major or two and haven't played that great I'll be over the moon because obviously everyone looks towards a Majors.
Even if I win a PGA TOUR event I would still be happy because obviously you're still winning and still trending in that right direction.
The motivation has always been there. I still want to be the best. I want to get back to No. 1 but these things take time. It's not like something you can click a button and it happens over night because you have to -- there's so many factors that go into playing well out here all the time and once you find that kind of that blueprint or that little moment everything clicks together and start playing well again.
Q. Jason, how would you feel about wearing a microphone during play, say the last two, three groups if you're out there and having whatever you're saying being available for the television networks?
JASON DAY: I don't mind actually the stuff that we talk about is kind of -- I'm trying to think of a way to say it. I have no problems because I don't feel like I cuss too much out there so I think I'm all right.
I'm not like an angry golfer out there. I feel like I'm -- I wouldn't mind it as long as I don't feel like it's hindering my swing then I could probably wear it.
I've always wanted to know what other players say and stuff like that especially it's moreso for my personal use just to really understand what -- probably Rory down at Doral kind of got close on a couple shots just to try and hear what he and JP were going through and saying.
I mean that's just from my personal use. I'd love to hear more on what guys go through the information that they roll -- that rolls through their brain, the information that goes through and obviously the communication between player and caddy, I'd love to hear that because I've only heard it a few times from Rory and Rickie and all those other guys I played with and we're all different, and that's -- I could definitely use that information but I don't know.
I had a microphone on me once at Colonial and I was talking about a '99 Toyota Camry. It wasn't the greatest conversation that I had.
Q. Going back to Augusta for a second, there's talk of lengthening 13. I mean what's your opinion? Should they leave as it is? That's an exciting hole.
JASON DAY: It is definitely is. I can understand where they're going with it. I don't know. I'd like to hit a sand wedge into the par 4 like Bubba did. That would be fantastic to hit a sand wedge into that hole.
I understand where they're going with it. It takes the long players out of it, forces everyone to hit from the same spot. That's an exciting hole because there is that risk/reward that you take because if you hit it a little bit too far left and don't quite carry the trees you're down into the water there and then you're making a bogey instead of a possible birdie or an eagle. Most guys kind of lose it to the right a little bit and they're up in the pine straw.
So, I can see positives and negatives about the change. If I was doing it I probably wouldn't -- I probably move it ten yards back. I wouldn't move it 40 yards back. If you move it ten yards back those guys that hit it over the trees will hit it around the trees then they have a chance to get over. If before just getting over it, you move it 10, 15 yards back they won't get over it anymore.
Q. You were talking about the Camry. At least you weren't talking about that at Cadillac.
JASON DAY: It's been a long time.
Q. One quick Augusta question. You essentially have 8 months to think about and prepare for Augusta because it's the first. How do you balance preparedness versus maybe overdoing it or getting there too early, playing too much?
JASON DAY: I don't think about it at all. Once -- the only time, continuing about it, when people ask me questions and then when I'm actually thinking about preparing for the tournament is when I get there Thursday, the Thursday before.
I've got what is that, ten days or something like that to really just, this is what I'm going to focus on and once it's done it's done and I'm moving on to the next tournament because that's kind of the way I am.
I mean obviously there is an 8 month period. Nothing is so like I guess, so set in stone I got to win this one, that that's what I'm going to focus on because there's other tournaments I want to focus on to try and win as well but, yeah, mine once I get there Thursday then I start focusing and once it's done Sunday I'm done and on to the next one.
JASON DAY: I always do it -- the only -- I always do it at Augusta, I do it at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. I can't do it at PGA because of it's usually right before Akron or right after Akron so that's the only event that I can't do.
Obviously I won so I mean maybe I'm doing something wrong here. Yeah, maybe I'm doing something wrong.
JOHN BUSH: Jason Day, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports