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May 20, 2021

Jason Dufner

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Jason Dufner. Jason opened with a 1-under 71 today here. Maybe if you could talk about the golf course and what was a round well played for you today.

JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I like this golf course. I like these conditions, firm and fast. Generally speaking, this is my cup of tea. I feel like this kind of is a little bit out of the norm for a PGA Championship venue. It's closer maybe to an Open Championship or maybe a U.S. Open. I think hitting fairways, hitting a lot of greens is going to go a long way this year, and putting yourself in a position to make a lot of pars and occasionally get a birdie. I don't think there's lots of opportunities, at least for myself, to chase a lot of birdies. I think you've just got to let the birdies short its way out, maybe hit a close shot, maybe get a perfect number, maybe roll in a 30-footer, something like that. I'm comfortable doing that, so I'm looking forward to the next couple days and then obviously get off to a pretty good start here the first day gets the ball rolling a little bit better.

Q. Rickie brought up the fact it was nice to start on 10 to get the wind at your back to start. Do you have any theories on --

JASON DUFNER: I don't have much preference on that. You've got to play all 18, and we know -- I've been here since Friday, so I've been dealing with this east wind since I've been here. I think the east wind is probably a little bit easier than what we might see possibly Saturday or Sunday because you get that stretch -- once you get through 4, 1, 2, 3 are pretty reasonable holes for this golf course I would say, and 4 is a tough one. But once you hit that stretch where you get 5 and then you get all the way to 13 where you're dealing with downwind, I think that's a lot more manageable. If that wind switches around again, now you're looking at 5 all the way into 13, into the wind for a long stretch.

So you get only short pockets of into the wind, so you start 1, 2, 3, 4 into the wind, then on the back side you get 14 through 18 into the wind, but I thought they were pretty fair and reasonable with tees and hole locations on the back nine today especially to finish up there where we weren't hitting too many, myself, fairway woods into par-3s and/or par-4s.

Q. What iron did you hit on 5, on the par-3?

JASON DUFNER: I think a 5-iron today. I think the hole was about 218 to the hole, roughly 205 to cover that trap. That's one of the ones I was talking about where I had a perfect number for a 5-iron, a little bit of help, and I was able to pull it off in there inside of five feet.

Q. Just curious, do you have a favorite golf hole out there, one that's --

JASON DUFNER: Man, there's a lot of good holes. Let me think for a minute. I think 3 is an amazing shortish medium length par-4. I've heard possibly we might move up to where it's drivable, which I don't think is really drivable when you look at that green. But I think there's a lot of risk on that hole for a pretty wide fairway and a big green. But you can make a mess. I think that's a great design.

Let me think for a minute here. I think the par-5s are really good. I think all of the par-5s are really good. They're all a little different and require a little bit different -- I think that's one thing that Pete Dye did really well is he made you -- most of the golf courses I've played that he's designed make you play through the bag. So I think I've used almost every club in my bag today. So that tests you. You want to make sure that everything is good, and around the greens is obviously challenging, too, a lot of different situations we don't see normally out on Tour, pitching and chipping, and that's why I was here this weekend working on that.

Q. That green on 3 looks especially sort of --

JASON DUFNER: Yeah, you kind of discredit where the pin is and just go for the middle. That's kind of my strategy, and if you can make a 20-footer or so, then great, but you're probably going to walk away with 4 there if you use that strategy.

Q. What have you been working on in your game or waiting to see that maybe you saw today?

JASON DUFNER: Yeah, you know, I've been -- went back and saw Chuck Cook right before Hilton Head. I had worked with him for a long period of time, kind of went away from him for a little bit and struggled. Kind of kicking myself a little bit for that. But since then I've been hitting it a lot better. I talked to Doug -- I guess that was Charlotte we talked a little bit. For me, it's hard. The distance thing is real for me. I've never been a long hitter, and I've never been the best of putters, so you put those two together and you shoot a lot of scores around even par, which doesn't really work much around here. For me to be good I need to have club face control, which I had lost a little bit. I started hitting shots with a lot of misdirection, and for me getting the club face quiet at impact, having a square club face, being stable at impact really gives me a lot of confidence that I can hit the shots I need and keep it in the fairway and hit the greens, and if I get a hot day with the putter then I can score and compete at a reasonable level.

Q. With Chuck do you try to get back to old feels?

JASON DUFNER: Yeah, a lot of it was old feels. For me I had just gotten too shallow. I had always played a little bit steep or on the plane, and I had gotten the other way, and that was really unfamiliar with me, and when you get under the plane, the face is hard to stabilize, and I like to lean the shaft, so if you get under, then you lean the shaft, that's a lot of right bias, and then you've got to use your hands a lot, which I'm too old to do that now. My hand-eye coordination isn't as good as it used to be.

Q. How tough is it to get momentum or consistency going out there with a different course and the wind changing in complete direction depending on what --

JASON DUFNER: No, I think momentum on this golf course doesn't necessarily mean birdies. I think if you can string seven, eight, nine pars in a round, you can feel pretty good. There's a lot of holes where I'm playing for par and trying my best to just get it in the fairway, get it on the green and get out of there, like I said.

I don't think you're going to see a lot of guys run off with a ton of birdies. They may surprise me. Guys do that often out here. But I think we're going to be in that -- 4-under to 8-under for the week, maybe approaching 10, if the wind lays down. But I don't think there's going to be a lot of -- last time we were here the wind wasn't all that brutal except for Friday, and obviously Rory ran away with it, but second place was 5-under. You might have somebody separate like that, but I'm just looking to shoot even, 1-under, 2-under every day and see where I'm at on Sunday when we hit the back nine.

Q. Rory over the last couple months talked about the fact that he was starting to chase length because of Bryson. What was the reason you left Chuck Cook? Was it anything to do with trying to chase some length?

JASON DUFNER: No, there's no chasing length here. I think -- I'm 44 years old. The only way I'm going to chase length is if I get in the gym and do some things to move faster, which I have done since September. I've seen some gains in that, but not near what some of these guys are doing.

I left Chuck for numerous reasons, some of it being just logistics. I went to a guy that worked under Chuck for a long time, and I thought I would be okay, and it just didn't work out.

It had nothing to do with length. I'm not chasing length. I think chasing length, changing your swing is a dangerous proposition to be honest with you because you start chasing it with your driver, eventually it feeds into your irons, now all of a sudden a lot of things have changed. I'm 44 years old. I'm just trying to enjoy these last however many years I'm playing golf out here on the Tour and do the best that I can.

Q. When you were trying to get back to where you were, how much video do you use?

JASON DUFNER: A little bit, yeah. I don't know, it's two dimensional, so you can't really see everything you need to see. I use a lot of other things. I use a lot of the 3D technology. I use TrackMan occasionally if I can trust the numbers. Probably shouldn't have said that. There's a lot of different things that I use to try and calibrate myself, and some of them are unique to me and what I feel. Teaching feels is a hard thing I think for teachers, what something might feel a certain way to one guy might feel different to another guy, so I have a couple keys that I've really locked in on over the last five or six weeks, and I'm sticking with those. And we'll use on off weeks, I try to stay away from all that technology when I'm at a tournament and just compete and play and use the feels that I --

Q. You don't go back and look at the stats and see what your longest drive was today, do you?

JASON DUFNER: Probably not, but if I were to guess, it would be 13. I busted that thing. Oh, no, 12, I went. I get the holes confused.

Q. A lot of people speak highly of your golf knowledge, especially with the swing. Have you thought at all about your second career once your PGA TOUR career is over?

JASON DUFNER: These guys are psychopaths, man. No. Never. First off, there's no money in it, and second off, dealing with Tour players is a nightmare. You don't want to be part of it. That's just fact. Ask any of the teachers.

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