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August 9, 2017

Jason Day

Charlotte, North Carolina

JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 99th PGA Championship. Pleased to be joined by 2015 PGA Champion, Jason Day.

Welcome back to your eighth PGA Championship now. You won two years ago and a real, real, real close second last year. What is it about your game that fits well on PGA Championship golf courses?

JASON DAY: I guess it's tough to answer in a sense. I feel like I've had pretty good success in the other majors, as well. You know, especially over the last two years, winning in 2015 and then coming off the back end of that and finishing second at Baltusrol; obviously, when you look at it, I think it's fair. The PGA set their courses up to play fair and reasonable, whereas if you go across to The Open Championship, you have weather, and all those kind of factors to deal with.

U.S. Open, other than this year, usually even par is winning that, so you're always constantly grinding. Augusta National is a different beast in itself. So to be able to come to a major championship where there's some tough holes, but also there's some holes that you can get at; and it really rewards the guys that are on top of their game right now. I think that's -- you know, coming off 2015 and 2016, I thought, really, at the height of my career, being No. 1 in the world, to be able to go there and play well was pretty special. But you know, obviously I've gone through a little bit of a plateau here, and hopefully I can change that this week, especially with the past experiences that I've had competing in the PGA Championship.

JOHN DEVER: Want to ask a little bit about your accommodations this week. I assume the RV is here? Did you get a good parking spot? Is Jimmy right there?

JASON DAY: Yeah, Jimmy and Martin Laird are with me. I'm enjoying it. We got in late last night.

It's fun to be able to have a couple of buddies out there with you. The families every now and then hang out with each other, too, if the tee times are right. It's a perfect spot we're in, like ten minutes away. I've done it since 2010, so I've been in the bus.

Obviously having the family with me is special, so to be able to have them with me as I compete and play against the best players in the world is cool. So good parking spot, good week for it and hopefully a good finish.

Q. Can you talk about your expectation this week and talk a little about your game right now?
JASON DAY: Yeah, you know, I feel -- coming off last week, I think I started driving it -- I didn't drive it as straight as I'd hoped to do, but I feel like my speed is coming back. I feel like I'm starting to get back to the length that I had in 2015, which is great. I feel like that explosive power is coming back, which gives me confidence.

Explaining this last week, I haven't had the great putting years that I've had, like I did over the past two seasons. When you don't have -- if one of your strengths is putting, which it is for me, I rely heavily on that confidence-wise, knowing that, okay, well, even if I don't play well, I'm going to get up-and-down and I'm going to shoot a decent score. Because my game may not be great one day, and I can save myself with the putting and chipping.

Unfortunately, this year, my short game has been pretty poor. My putting has been the same and that's kind of added a little bit more pressure on the rest of my game. Trying to hit greens and trying to hit fairways, there's been a lot more pressure because of -- because I'm putting poorly.

So I've been working very, very hard, trying to stay very disciplined with trying to stick to the process of getting better with my putting again and all throughout the whole game.

But I'm looking forward to this week because I feel like I'm starting to turn the corner with regards to this plateau, and hopefully from there, I have a good finish. Because really, this has been a very, very poor year for me. So hopefully, yeah, I can turn it around and start playing some good golf here.

Q. Still trying to figure out how to word this. You've had a lot going on this year, but you start the year No. 1 and now down to -- and you've talked about the pressures you felt of being No. 1. What's it like at No. 7, and how much does that -- does that annoy you or motivate you?
JASON DAY: Yeah, it does. It annoys and motivates me at the same time to be honest. Because I know how good I can be, because I have got to No. 1 in the world.

But I think through the latter part of last year, I got a little bit burnt out. I was trying to do too many things, and my mind got a little bit away from what really made me, you know, good to get to No. 1 and how much I practiced. I just solely focused on playing golf.

Then you add being No. 1 in the world and then there's a lot more time taken away from you. So with that being said, I think I would definitely handle it differently once I get back there.

Right now, I'm just trying to get -- it is frustrating to me because I'm sitting there and I'm like, my game is not where it should be. I'm not doing the right things on the course. I really haven't had the greatest year. You're not panicking or anything, you're just wondering why. You're up at night thinking about, okay, what do I need to do to get back to that winning form.

I think once I minimize the distractions that I've had in my life and can focus more on just playing golf and focus, and single-focus on golf, then everything will take care of itself.

Q. Following up on that, emotionally, how have you handled the last 12 months, on and off the golf course, if you could sum that up?
JASON DAY: It's been a mixed bag of everything, really, to be honest. I think with what happened at the start of the year with my mom, I mean, it was very difficult for me to be on the golf course and even think about actually playing at the time. You know, when you're not playing well, you feel like, okay, well, when will I get out of this kind of plateau that I'm in?

But once again, you just know that -- I've just got to work hard. When it comes down to it, it's like, you know, motivation will come and go, but the discipline has to stay. If I stay disciplined over the period, then it will come out of it.

But I think I've handled it okay. I just haven't been much in the media because I haven't been playing that well. The last two seasons, I was in the media a lot because I was playing well. I'd like to change that this week.

Q. You've touched on this a little bit, but in a word how would you describe your year to this point --
JASON DAY: Getting crushed here (laughter).

Q. And secondly, does anything less than a win make this a lost year?
JASON DAY: Well, it's not a lost year because actually the years leading up to the 2015-2016 season. I always talk about it. They weren't lost years; it's just that I was working towards something and it ended up happening all in those two seasons.

And it's the same this year. If I don't win, I don't win, but obviously I'm focusing on trying to win each and every week, and trying to get back to the way I felt, how sharp I was on the golf course, how sharp I was off the golf course and how motivated and disciplined I was off the golf course.

I'm just trying to get back to that. I think if I could describe a word, the first word that comes to my mind is disappointment of -- not because of the actual level of play. It's just that I didn't give myself a shot to play well. And I'm not giving my mom an excuse or anything like that; it's just that everything I do on the golf course is solely because of me and what I do off the golf course, as well.

But, if I had to give it another word, it's improving. I'm improving each and every day now, and actually I'm hungry again and I'm looking forward to trying to beat these guys here in a bit. But I'm very motivated right now. Like I want to win again. So I'm excited about that.

Q. You just said that if you get back to the top, you'll do things differently. What do you mean specifically by that?
JASON DAY: I think I'll handle -- I guess I'll handle everything a little bit differently. I still want to be able to be accessible with regards to media and everyone else, like the fans, as well. But I think I'd probably spend a little bit more time at home. I may arrive to a tournament a little bit later on than expected.

Just so that, say, for instance, if I get here Sunday, or, you know, if I get to a major championship Friday or Sunday before, then I'm practicing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. That's a lot of time that media can get ahold of you or the fans can get ahold of you. There's a lot of -- even though you're practicing on the golf course, there can be distractions.

Today, I actually got here this morning and I registered. I got in late last night. I did some good practice at home because the weather was great up in Ohio. Kind of things like that. I think I know what I expect; if I get back to No. 1 in the world, I know how to feel and what it feels like, and I know exactly when to say no and say yes. Because the hardest thing for me when I was No. 1 was to say no to people, and I felt like I needed to give people time because I'm here. You know, everyone wants a piece of me, and I think they deserve it.

I think kind of giving too much of me out, it kind of -- I was kind of exhausted at the end of it and I didn't have enough time to, I guess, reflect on what I accomplished, but also give me time, myself time, to kind of relax and try and replace all the energy that expelled during the week or the year that I had. I think I will do that a lot differently.

Q. When did you arrive last year?
JASON DAY: Last year arrived on Tuesday night and played a practice round on Wednesday at the PGA and finished second there. You know, there's been tournaments where I've walked up and haven't even played a practice round and I've played well.

It's not a matter of -- preparation is huge, I understand that. But it's a matter of how mentally switched on I am and how much I want it will determine my week.

Q. Just exploring the player/caddie dynamic, what for you are the key attributes a caddie brings to the table when it comes to the mental aspect of the game?
JASON DAY: I think always constantly pushing forward. You know, sometimes we'll sit there and we're having a bad round and they are trying to encourage us, and the last thing I want to do is even listen to someone that's trying to encourage me right now.

I'll be like still complaining. Even though a caddie -- you can be the best caddie or a guy that's just picking up the bag for the first time. Regardless of what you do, you've always got to put your player first. It's easy for me to say that because I'm a player. But if you're a team and everyone is pulling in the right direction and the same direction, the caddie will sacrifice what he thinks to make sure that -- and I'm not trying to say a caddie should just go yes, yes, yes to every answer or to every question that the player says. You don't want to have a yes-man as a caddie.

You want to have a caddie that is strong enough and strong-willed enough to be able to give you a right answer when you don't want to hear it, and not have to worry about his or her job in regards to losing it. Because a lot of people will ultimately say what the player wants to hear just so they can keep a job, and I don't think that's the right way to go.

It just shows that if you're a caddie and if you're willing to honestly be able to tell the player exactly what you're feeling and what you're thinking, and just know that they are there for you, I think that's the biggest thing. If you have a person on your team like that, that's a perfect way.

I've got a guy in Col, I've been with him for ten years and he's been my coach for a very, very long time now, but you've just got to find someone that you can always, you know, keep fighting in your corner.

Q. Leading up to Whistling Straits in 2015, you were in a great run of form. You had Top 10s in the previous two majors, win a couple weeks earlier, you were in your mid-20s looking for your first major and you got it done. Do you see any parallels with Hideki Matsuyama who ticks off all those same boxes this week?
JASON DAY: Yeah, he shot 61 last week. It's funny, because you see him, he wants it, because he's on the range every single night beating balls. He's putting. He's practically the last guy there every single day.

When I see that -- he's very quiet. Obviously the language barrier is tough. But he wants it. You can see it in what he's doing and how he's practicing and how many people are there watching him practice that it's going to happen sooner or later. With how he's played this year, three wins, coming off great form from last week, this course sets up perfect for him, especially his ball-striking. His improvement in putting has been off the charts. It's a good formula for him this week to grab his first major.

Q. On a more positive note, you talk about the year that's been, but there's still quite a bit left to play.

Q. There's the major this week, the Playoffs. Talk about how you can still ignite this season.
JASON DAY: That's the thing. You can't write yourself off, ever. It's hard, because when you're playing, and you feel like the year's kind of gone, it's hard to kind of pick yourself up. But, once again, there's the PGA and there's four FedEx playoff events.

I remember Rory winning two events in the FedExCup last year and he ended up winning the FedExCup, coming off a year that probably he wouldn't think it was the greatest year until the FedExCup Playoffs. You never know what's around the corner.

I was talking to Phil last night about this. We were talking about plateaus and he was talking about a book. He was explaining this in a sense where we're all in plateaus to a certain degree, and the way he explained it, you just never know when you'll go from here to here, but you've got to all keep practicing and keep staying disciplined. Because it could be next week, it could be six months down the road, it could be six years from now. But as long as you keep improving it'll jump up and you'll have that great run again.

You just never know what's around the corner. I've just got to focus. I feel confident about my game right now. I'm excited about this week. I'm very calm, which is good. Saying that, there's a good chunk of events that I could play well in here and do quite well coming home.

Q. How do you think the identity of this major will change in 2019 if it's no longer the last major of the year and the last chance to get a major for eight months?
JASON DAY: To be honest, I haven't even really thought about it. I think you can have -- as long as it's not -- you know, we don't have a bad winter, you can pretty much hold this event anywhere now instead of really kind of holding it over on the east side of the United States. I mean, you can kind of push it anywhere.

I think it will do just fine. I mean, every month now has probably got a major championship. But to be honest, I really -- I don't know what the guys have been saying. I haven't even really thought about it. I'd love to give you more than that, but I just haven't thought about it, mate, honestly (laughing).

Q. Branden Grace shot a major record 62 at The Open Championship last month. Can you describe what it felt like for you during your best round ever?
JASON DAY: All the 63s that have been shot in the major championships are nothing now, aren't they? That's still tremendous shooting, but what Grace shot at Birkdale was amazing.

Once again, the wind was a little bit down, but you've still got to go out there and play, and it's a tough golf course. It was amazing. I was actually sitting -- I can't remember, I think I was in the clubhouse watching him finish out. I was actually in the gym watching him finish it out, and the way he was playing was just off the charts.

I remember when I was playing the Queensland Amateur, and this is way back when I was like 15 or 16, and I had a chance to shoot 10-under. I never shot double digits under par before. I think I started off the week, I shot 2-under and 2-under, and then the third round. So I was 4-under. Then the third round, I was 9-under standing on the last green, and I had an opportunity from like ten feet to birdie. I was nervous, right. Ended up missing it and ended up, I think, shooting 7-under and winning the tournament the next round.

I never thought I'd ever get to double digits, and then I finally got to double digits at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. I think I shot like 11-under or something like that.

So when you're in the zone like that, you're nervous at the same time but it's good nerves because if you don't have nerves, then you don't get in the zone, do you know what I mean? You need to have nerves to be able to get into the zone. Because if you're out there and not really focused, you're never going to get in the zone. If you're not feeling anything, you're never going to get in the zone. It's always good to have those nerves because you're able to reach to a higher level.

When you're like that, that's the best way to play golf, because you're not worrying and you're always thinking about pushing forward. Even if you do miss a shot, that next shot is going to be great and you're going to get back into play and you're going to probably par it.

That's kind of the mentality for me when I'm playing good golf.

Q. You received a telescope as a gift last night. Have you ever used one? Will you need Dash to show you how to use it? What do you think of it?
JASON DAY: Probably see Uranus from here, mate (laughter). Yeah, I've never used one, so I'm looking forward to setting it up. Jimmy was actually explaining it to us. You know, you can set your iPhone up to it, which is pretty cool, because Dash is going to be able to -- we are going to be able to take photos of space. I'm actually intrigued by it. You're actually able to set your iPhone up to it and take photos of space, which is fantastic, on your iPhone.

Probably beats my little YETI cooler that I had last year. It was a great gift. We had a fantastic night last night. The PGA did an amazing job. Quail Hollow hosted a great event and Jimmy said an amazing speech. Very happy to get the telescope. Cheers.

JOHN DEVER: Thank you for your time, sir.

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