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August 11, 2017

Jason Day

Charlotte, North Carolina

JOHN DEVER: Good evening, everybody. Welcome back to the 99th PGA Championship from Quail Hollow Club. Pleased to be joined by Jason Day, 2015 PGA Champion who posted a second round 66 today and is currently alone in third place, 6-under par, 136.

Jason, maybe just your initial thoughts on the day as it was. What comes to mind when you think about round two?

JASON DAY: I was actually quite surprised once we got delayed. I was actually surprised with how late it was. It took us forever to play the front side. The greens were firm and fast at the same -- it's really hard, and with how the pace of play is out there.

I mean, the guys in front of us were a hole and a bit in front, which is quite amazing. It just felt like we were always kind of struggling to make par or something like that, you know. Because the pin locations were all on the spines, pretty much, that's what it felt like, of the green.

So when you try to lag a putt up there, if you didn't hit it stone dead where you can tap it in, it was always going to either pull up short three feet or go past three feet. It was really difficult.

And when we got delayed, the whole course changed with regards to how receptive it was. And to be able to go out there and hit driver as far as you can, knowing that the ball is not going to bounce off the fairways; if it does, be able to hit the fairways, get yourself on the greens and give yourself opportunities, because the greens are in phenomenal shape.

Being able to shoot 66 today, I know that we're going to have some, you know, it's going to be hard work over the next two days because of how Hideki and Kevin are playing. So it will be interesting to see, you know, how the weekend pans out with the weather, but hopefully we get some nice, sunny weather over the next two days and we can finish strong.

JOHN DEVER: We'll work on that. Let's hit the floor for some questions.

Q. What was that little moment you had with Dustin coming up 18, and secondly, how much do you feel your confidence building?
JASON DAY: Where I was hugging him?

Q. You said it.
JASON DAY: Yeah, I was hugging him. It was because he -- because I was way right -- well, not way right but on 17 I was off the green. And we were walking up, and we were talking about like if we can get a tee shot on 18, we could finish the round. And DJ is like, "I'll do it."

And I'm like, "That's great." I'm going in -- from 16, he lag-putted from 50 feet away, he hit it to 20 feet. I'm like, oh, just hopefully he either holes it or hits it stone-dead, and he did, and then he ran out there and teed off. As soon as he teed off, you know, we all kind of flushed it down 18. And I just walked up to him and said, "That's the biggest, or most clutch thing I've ever seen anyone do for me" (laughter).

I had to give him a hug for it. He was happy, as well. Obviously to be able to finish and not have to wake up at 5:30 tomorrow, get some rest. Because it is hot out there and it does take it out of you, even though you are waking up early, you don't feel like it did, but it really does. To be able to get that extra sleep and relax a little bit in the afternoon; it goes for Henrik, and Dustin, as well. They wouldn't have that quick turnaround if they needed it -- what was your second question?

Q. Your confidence growing.
JASON DAY: Yeah, a round today, it's growing. Eagling 7 and having three birdies after that was nice. It's just unfortunate that we -- because I was actually in a rhythm and the momentum was going my way, and unfortunately we got called off, and I bogeyed the first hole coming back out after the delay.

But to be honest, I felt like this was always -- it's been slowly building. It was nice to be able to drive the way I did today and set myself up with the opportunities and being able to capitalize on those opportunities felt even better. Because they were the two things that were missing pretty much the whole year is my driving and my putting, and being able to combine that today, just felt like the old days, which is only last year (laughter).

It just feels likes it's been ten years ago because I have had a pretty poor year. Very pleased to be where I'm at.

Q. To be back in contention on a weekend, like in the old days of last year, is it like a bicycle you never forget, or are you going to have to battle anything anew? Is it in any ways fresh?
JASON DAY: When you're in a position that you've done it before and you've done it and you know what you did to finish off strong, like what I did back in 2015 and the way I finished the PGA in 2016; you know what you have to do to finish strong.

But you still have to grind, because every day, you don't wake up the same every single day. Some days you wake up a little bit slower and your body is not really reacting the way it is; and some days you wake up -- this morning, I felt really kind of, just everything felt like it was a lag today on the driving range.

In the back of my mind, I'm sitting there like, I'm going to go out there and hit it as far as I can out there. I just know; I've got a feeling. Where the first day, had a tremendous warm up and felt strong and felt like I was hitting it hard. And I hit it decent, but I hit it further today than I did yesterday.

So you know, going back on the previous experiences that I've had in the PGA, obviously different venues. I know that I can do it. But I've just got to focus on just trying to control what I can do out there, which is obviously one shot at a time, which, very cliché.

But at the end of the day, that's a hundred percent true when it comes down to being in contention. You've just got to try and make sure you get the momentum rolling your way, and it happened to me, you know, from 7 on today, and 7 on yesterday, I come home strong.

Hopefully I can take that into tomorrow's round.

Q. So how did you like playing speed golf? Take you back to any younger days where you're hustling around the course to finish up?
JASON DAY: I do remember finishing in the dark a lot when I was a kid. Not thinking that it was going to be -- I was running down the 18th hole at a major championship. But being able to, you know, the great thing was, is that there's this big, massive screen on 18 which lit up the whole putting green. So it was kind of like you're playing under the lights, which was nice.

I mean, I looked at it on the screen and it looked like we were playing in daylight. It was really dark out there. So being able to, and to be honest, we were kind of slow the whole day, and you know, we played really fast the last two holes.

Thinking about it, if I went bogey, bogey, I'd be very devastated right now sitting here. But at the end of the day, I finished strong with two pars. Just missed a birdie on 18. So very pleased with how I played today.

Q. What impressed you most about yourself today?
JASON DAY: I think, that's hard, because I know that like it's always been there. I think the biggest thing for me is that my confidence level hasn't been as high as it should have been over this past year with how I've putted, how I've driven the ball.

Like I said earlier this week, putting is huge for me. It gives me a lot of confidence. If I'm putting well, I feel I can get into my where and get up-and-down from anywhere and it not affect me. And I haven't had the greatest putting year, and it's kind of affected me a little bit and it's kind of trickled off into other parts of my game.

So that was there for the lack of confidence. And today, I was actually quite pleased, because you know, you just try to keep getting back to the, you know, to what I did a couple years ago. Like you just want to keep pushing forward. And I was pushing forward for a good while there. Had a hiccup at 11. But to come back at 13, 14, birdie those, just missed the birdie on 15, and they are the opportunities that you just have to give yourself. Fortunately I capitalized on them and I'm in third place right now.

I'm pretty happy with, you know, where my mind-set was at. Instead of like worrying about where it's going or how I'm putting, or is my swing good, I was actually just focusing on what to score; I need to get better and better and better, and I was happy about that.

Q. Hideki mentioned that you sent him a message after his win last week. Can you share what that was?
JASON DAY: (Reaching into pocket for cell phone). Let me see. I've got it down. One second. No.

Q. Was it in Japanese?
JASON DAY: No, it wasn't in Japanese. I said, "Congrats, Mate. Unreal playing. See you next week."

It's nothing special. He just said, "Thank you, JASON, see you at Quail Hollow." But he did put it in all-caps, so that made it feel special (laughter).

He's been a good friend for awhile now. We played a couple of Presidents Cup teams together. The language barrier is always kind of difficult but his English is getting much better. Bob, his interpreter is fantastic with it. So the guy deserves it.

I was talking to Sean Foley today in the delay, and Hideki was sitting right next to me. I didn't think he knew that I was talking about him, but I was. He was sitting right next to me and I didn't think he understood what I was saying. It just looks like that guy right now has his priority set on playing good golf.

Last week when he was winning that tournament, or even before he was winning that tournament, he's on the range and he's the last guy to leave. He's always putting. He's always doing something. He's working hard. And I feel like he's the hardest worker out here right now, just because he wants to win. And there's no surprise that he's obviously won last week and he's up here again.

Q. You might have just answered this, but what impresses you the most about Hideki, particularly when he is playing the way he has been and so forth, end of last year and this year?
JASON DAY: Well, you know, he's always been a phenomenal striker of the golf ball, and I think everyone knows that. You look at his swing, with that pause at the top, you know, he comes through and takes one arm off the club and you think it's going in the trees, and it's ten feet from the hole. It's quite impressive because if I do that, it's definitely in the trees.

But for him to realize that, you know, one of his weaknesses was his putting, and being able to strengthen that to where it is right now; not only through what he's done but through the sheer hard work that he's put in, that's very impressive, and that's why he's playing the way he is because he always gives himself the opportunities because of how good he hits it. But to be able to change that weakness into a strengths now is why that he's so dominating right now in this current period that he's in. So that's always been impressive to see that.

And his mental game actually, he's very strong. His mental game's very, very strong. You could just see that he doesn't get very high or low. He's not one of those -- and I think that's just the Japanese mentality. They don't get very high or low. They are just very even keel the whole day regardless the chaos going on around him. I think he's always been kind of, push forward, and that's how he's always been.

Q. Col was saying he saw some nice since in Birkdale and nice signs at Akron but all the pieces weren't quite there yet. Why do you think it meshed together today and at this moment? And can one swing really ignite your confidence, like the shot into 7? What can that do confidence-wise?
JASON DAY: I think it was -- yeah, I think it was several swings beforehand that really kind of ignited it. I mean, I hit a tremendous drive down 5. The wedge shot wasn't -- I mean, well, actually the wedge shot was decent. It just bounced 20 yards over the green.

I think it was just leading up to that shot to 7, the tee shot was just -- that put it over for me. Like I think I hit a 325 or 330--yard drive in the air over that bunker, and being able to hit 8-iron into that hole location, which is a very tough location to get at, I think I had all the confident in the world from that drive.

But there were signs coming from Royal Birkdale; there were signs coming from last week in Akron. Being able to piece it together is difficult, because, you know, like I said earlier, the driving and the putting has been lagging behind, but I've been working very, very, very hard and I was in this current plateau of not really doing good in either, but I was just waiting for it to just jump up, which it did today.

So hopefully it would be nice to be able to keep that going over the weekend. And I know I need to keep it going because of how good of, you know, of the calibre of players that are up and around the lead. I need to focus on trying to do the same. So hopefully it works out.

JOHN DEVER: Thanks, Jason. It's late. Let's get out of here.

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