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March 19, 2016
MARK WILLIAMS: Jason, welcome. Round of 70 today to be 15-under. Leading 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds. You were the last guy to do it Tour. You've done it again.
Just give us a quick view of your round today and the conditions were obviously very difficult.
JASON DAY: Yeah. I mean it was kind of a whirlwind day, really just starting out. Obviously we know -- looked last night, looked this morning hoping and praying that, you know, the weather would kind of go around us and the lightning stuff did but the rest of the stuff kind of bucketed down on us.
It was a tough old day starting on the 1st, it was kind of a northerly wind and we finished with the southwest. So, it was really -- I'm just glad I'm in (laughter). I'm tired after today but we got one more day to go.
At least 10 to 20-degree temperature change, 20 yards difference with the same club on certain holes and, you know, my stock standard 4-iron is 220, I'm hitting 200-yard 4 irons out there. It's very, very difficult to try and gauge how far you're hitting things when the temperature change goes up and down and then there's wind and also rain.
I felt like I stayed pretty patient out there and gave myself good opportunities coming in and I think if I can stay patient again tomorrow, we'll see how it goes. But I feel really good about the game.
Q. I could be wrong but it seems at times as the rain started coming down harder, seemed like you kind of maybe not getting comfortable with it right away or kind of feel a little uncomfortable, your rain suit on, took it off.
Was that just a matter of you trying to figure out what was going on?
JASON DAY: It's just hard to get any momentum. I felt like I couldn't get any sort of momentum. Like you hit a good shot and it be a tough shot coming into the green and then miss the green and oh, I got to grind for a par.
You know, whereas in the last two days before this, you know, I was hitting down the fairways and hitting on the greens and holing putts and long putts and I didn't hit a great shot, I hit a good shot coming into the green.
It was hard to get any sort of momentum out there especially with taking umbrellas up and down and rain wear on and off. It was cool and then it was hot and then -- strange, strange day.
But, once again, with all that said, I felt like I stayed pretty patient to kind of grind out a 2-under par which was nice with not being able to get any sort of momentum going.
Q. Does a round of 2-under in those conditions feel more like maybe, say, a 5, 6-under because it was so tough?
JASON DAY: Yeah. Three, 4-under at least. I definitely gave some shots away and that's understandable in certain conditions like that but, for the most part, kind of kept the ball out in front of me especially coming home because you can definitely lose a few coming home especially on 18 and 17, those are tough, tough holes but I'm pretty happy.
Q. You sort of just answered this but given all that you went through at the top, how sort of important was it to have a round like a 70 which you know very easily could have gone the other way a little bit and then, secondly, how important is it to go through all that and still have a two hot lead at the end of the day?
JASON DAY: Yeah. I'm just trying to -- the goal at the start of each day is trying to extend that lead by a shot or two. I knew today was going to be kind of a tough day. I didn't realize what we were kind of in for after that.
To grind out a 2-under par, it wasn't the prettiest but certainly some shots where my short game definitely saved my score out there.
Looking at 8 was a great chip-in and then there's a few other chips that could have possibly gone in, too, the one on 6, the bunker shot and also the one on 10 could have gone in but, for the most part, it was -- I'm looking at Henrik and Justin and from tee to green they're hitting it pretty good, giving themselves a lot of chances for birdies.
You know, I felt like I was the one that was slacking and I was just kind of coming in from behind and just kind of the hacker of the group. I ended up grinding it out and shooting a decent score to keep that lead at 2.
I'll take it. I'm hoping we have some good weather tomorrow so we can -- don't have to go through so many changes in temperature and wind and rain and try to get some momentum going.
Q. Jason what's the burden, if any, of carrying the lead while trying to win?
JASON DAY: This is a good question because you have to leave the course knowing that you have the lead everyday. You also have to sleep on it, you have to come to the course knowing that you have the lead and you have to go out there and -- even though you're going okay, I'm in a good position, it's different pressure.
It's a different pressure when you're 6 back or when you just made the cut. It's totally different pressure rather than, you know, if you've had the lead for the last three days that's -- it's great pressure to have because it only makes you stronger as a player the more times you put yourself there because I think for the more times I put myself here -- it won't be easier, just understand and go through that experience in saying what I need to do to keep that in front of me.
Like I said, it's a different pressure but it's a good, uncomfortable feeling that I've always talked about that I always want in my career because I know that if I've got that, I have a comfortable feeling that I'm doing it right and usually I'm around the lead.
We got one more day tomorrow and it's going to be a very patient day out there depending on the weather but I'm trying to get some good rest and recovery tonight and get into it tomorrow and hopefully try and extend that lead.
Q. Jason, how would you assess your patience throughout the round obviously through the weather changing, how many times did you change while over the ball?
JASON DAY: Up and down at the start of the round, I felt like everything was going really quickly at the start. You know how guys when they're in the zone everything is slow. Today felt like everything was going a hundred million miles an hour, especially at 1 and 2.
This is going back to having the lead and sleeping on the lead and stuff like that. So, you know, you try not to get too far ahead of yourself but you're trying to make sure that you stay patient and things are going and you got clouded thoughts but it's hard to kind of stop and change between clubs.
Once the rain is coming down that's the number and that's the club and I'm just going to go in and hit it. At some points we're standing there and I've got no time to go back, change because my hands are getting wet. You know I don't want things to get anymore wet. You got to go in there and be aggressive to the target and hope that sometimes you calculate it properly.
Q. Rory spoke about at Doral about trying to find the balance between being aggressive versus protecting the lead. You've been in this position a bunch of times in recent months. Where do you draw that line and how do you find that balance?
JASON DAY: If someone goes out to tomorrow and flat out beats me and I play decent, I play good, I'm okay with that because I mean it sucks to not win but if someone beats you and better on that day, they're just better. That's the first thing.
Tomorrow is, you know, all about just trying to take the chances, take the shots when you can get them. Some of the pin locations out there tomorrow are going to be tough so instead of trying to be so aggressive on certain lines, you know, there's certain shots where like on 18 tomorrow if you have the lead and you're going into that green and the pin is tucked way right you got to hit into the fat part of the green.
You got to take the line but be aggressive toward even though you might be hitting a pitching wedge and got to hit it 20 feet, 30 feet left. Sometimes you got to get through a hole that's easy for the field but may not suit your eye and if you're uncomfortable, just get it on the green. If you can hole a putt, great. If not, you got par and moving on to the next.
That's all about being patient because you start looking at leaderboards, you start looking at the scores, you start looking at other players and you're out of your own world. You got to stay inside your own world and just really focus on yourself and not think about anything else other than just trying to extend that lead and keep pushing forward.
Q. Jason, the follow-up on that, what's the difference between Jason Day as a 54 hole leader, say, two years and Jason Day as a 54 leader now?
JASON DAY: I probably would have choked (laughter). That's not to say like I mean I may choke in the future as well. But like that's just how it is.
You learn and you get better and, unfortunately, those times when you do play bad and you don't win, that's when you learn the most because certain holes you got oh, that was it, that's why I didn't play so great because that changed my momentum in my round. I didn't make the birdie, I didn't make the par, bogeyed and shot myself out of the lead.
I feel like I've improved each and every year as a player. I feel like, you know, last year was a huge year for me not only with you my career but mentally understanding how -- what it is and what it takes to win a golf tournament.
It's going to be tough to win tomorrow. I got to, like I said, I got to stay in my own world and just focus on myself and if I hit bad shots, forget about them, move on and try to keep pressing forward.
Q. Jason, in a strange way when you go to a Cavs game and they got four quarters, the team that's leading after the third quarter wins way more often than the golfer leading after the 3rd Round.
So, are you able to glean anything by watching them?
JASON DAY: No. I mean I go to the games and I enjoy watching the Cavs and stuff like that but it's a different based --
Q. Because you guys have so much time --
JASON DAY: There's a team aspect to it as well. Sometimes if you're not having the greatest night another teammate can pick up the slack.
If you're out there and not playing well, I can't hand it to Colin and say, "Finish my backside because I'm playing terrible." Got to suck it up for five hours. If it's bad just suck it up for five hours and just try and get the job done the best you can.
That's what it is tomorrow, just trying to just grind it out. If it's a tough day, keep grinding out and fighting until it's done. When it's done then either if I'm holding the trophy or, if I'm not, it's great.
Q. A quick follow, you were talking about cloudy thoughts, you were closing your eyes a lot on the pre-shot routine.
Do you always do that or were you literally trying to clear your head?
JASON DAY: No, I always do it. Say for instance I'm closing my eyes, I'm thinking what would a draw driver look like. I would take a lot more to visualize today and even so because when it's raining you don't want to spend too much time over the ball or behind the because it's raining because your club gets wet and gloves, the face gets wet and the ball gets wet. If any sort of I guess water on the face and the ball kind of squirts the ball elsewhere.
But that's what it was tough to get momentum because I was rushing into my pre-shot routine. I wasn't able to get -- I wasn't able to get deliberate with my pre-shot routine and I was standing over it and I see a draw and then I see a fade and then I see all sorts of shots.
Okay, I got to make sure I pull myself back and try and refocus and get back on because that's what's staying disciplined is all about. You can't go in there, I see a draw but I see all sorts of shot. I'm not ready. I'll hit the shot anyway.
I got to make sure I'm disciplined and patient with myself.
Q. Just curious, do you ever have trouble sleeping on a lead or have you ever?
JASON DAY: Yeah. I'll probably have some trouble tonight. But I mean today was a very long day so I think I'll be okay sleeping. I enjoy just like closing my eyes and visualizing the golf course for the next day. That helps me go to sleep as well.
I try to play the golf course as much as possible through my head going into the next day and try and prepare myself for certain pin locations.
Obviously we can see where the locations are going because they mark with a little white dot and then you can kind of plan on what kind of shots you're going to hit out there but I've won 7 times on the PGA TOUR.
I slept okay going into the last day of BMW so I shouldn't be too bad but, you know, you're sleeping on a Saturday night and got the lead by two, you're always -- it's always going to be tough to get to sleep.
Q. Do you ever have any nightmares?
JASON DAY: Only nightmares when I see Doug Ferguson in my head.
Q. Let's move on. Given everything you've said so far, what's the difference between a 2 shot lead and a 6 shot lead?
JASON DAY: Four shots (laughter). No. It's definitely different. Obviously game plan does change. BMW I had a very big lead and my lines got further and further away from pin locations especially when they were hard.
Tomorrow I've got a two shot lead. I've got to make sure that I'm aggressive when I'm comfortable and confident on my line and when I'm not comfortable and confident I got to take a little bit more extra leniency on where I need to aim because I was alluding to it earlier that sometimes on easy holes or par-5s it's okay to get through with a par and even still when guys get up to the lead like Henrik today, he got up to the lead pretty quickly and got in front of me quickly on the 6th hole when he eagled and I know that there's still a lot of golf to be played so I just got to be patient.
I'll make the birdies when I can make them and, you know, ended up being -- I'm two shots in front of him at the end of the day.
But there is a big difference between six shots and two shots but, once again, my game plan has worked pretty good over the last few days and if we have some good weather tomorrow, which I'm hoping for, you know, I'll hopefully be able to get a bit of momentum for tomorrow and hit some more quality shots into the greens to give myself chances at birdies.
Q. Jason, it's crazy though, think only been a handful of starts since BMW. How much do you kind of feel anxious about winning again and, secondly, how significant is it to win in this run up to Augusta tomorrow, be it the Match Play?
How much does that mean confidence-wise?
JASON DAY: It's been a few months, been a long time since my last win. Obviously BMW was my last win but it's good to be back in contention. It's good to feel the feelings that go through your body and know that certainly shots you have to bear down and certain shots you have to kind of lean back on. I love the feeling of having the lead. It's great. Now you just got to go out there and push forward and keep pushing forward until 18 is done.
But, going on to if I can, you know, scratch out a win tomorrow, it's going to do a lot of wonders for my confidence knowing that if I've held the lead every single day, won wire to wire it's perfect timing with what's coming around the corner, and we're talking about Augusta.
Does a lot of confidence for me knowing that with the time off that I had and everyone talking about why are you having a slow start, this and that, knowing that I've played the way that I've done last three days and if I can still play well tomorrow and finish it off, I'm looking forward to a nice Augusta.
Q. Jason, getting into a lead and sort of holding everybody else at arm's length was a trademark of Tiger's career and how he won a lot of tournaments.
Have you asked him for advice on how to play with the lead and what has he told you?
JASON DAY: I've said a lot of it actually in my interview. Patience and aggression is what he says and extend the lead by one, two shots everyday. And, pretty much, if it's not going your way, suck it up and just get it done somehow and that's just a typical Tiger Woods comment right there.
So, you know, I remember playing -- I was talking to him one time and I said, "Man, it's hard to crack that Top 50 in the world." He goes, "Play better." Okay.
That's just all the stuff that I've just said is typical of what he says but he means it when he's texting, we're trading texts and he really wants me to do well.
Q. How much are you thinking about his advice when you're out there on the course?
JASON DAY: A lot, actually. I've said patience and aggression so much this week. Kind of getting old and everyone wants to beat my head from saying it.
Sometimes that's what you need to do to win golf tournaments, especially when you do have the lead and that's what he's done around here and won so many times doing with that exact piece of advice that he's given me.
So, tonight is going to be a fun night to go to sleep and it's going to be an enjoyable day tomorrow regardless of what happens. I'm going to enjoy it no matter what and, you know, at the end of the day know that I've played good golf, you know, all week.
If I do have a good day, that's great. If not, don't worry about it. Keep moving on and trying to improve from there.
MARK WILLIAMS: Thank you, Jason. We appreciate the time you've given to us today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports