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October 21, 2006

Joe Durant


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Joe Durant, thanks for joining us here for a couple of minutes. A great round today on the Magnolia course, 64. Just lipped out one on 18 for a 63, but obviously a great day for you and a very good week so far. Maybe some opening comments.

JOE DURANT: I played very well today. I felt the golf course was pretty prime for scoring. The greens seemed a little softer today than the last two days. I don't know if they put a little water on them or not last night, but it sure seemed like it. No wind. It was perfect.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk about front nine 29 with five birdies and an eagle.

JOE DURANT: Just pretty much routine pars on the first two. I hit a 7 iron on 3 to about 15 feet or so and made that.

Then hit two really good back to back shots. On 4, hit driver, five wood to about three feet and made the eagle there.

Then birdied 5, which is like stealing one, because I think that's one of the harder holes on the golf course. I hit driver, 6 iron to about 15 feet, 18 feet, made that.

7, driver, wedge to about three feet.

8, I hit driver, fairway wood, chipped it up to I didn't hit the best pitch, but I made about a 15 footer there.

And 9, driver, 9 iron, to 5 feet and made that.

Bogey on 11, I drove it through the fairway left and I was behind the tree. And I tried to hook a shot around the tree and it went in the water. But I made a really good bogey. I got up and down from 85 yards or so and made about a six footer.

13, driver, wedge, to about 5 feet.

14, hit driver, 5 iron, sand wedge to about 8 feet, made that, and just parred in from there.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll take some questions.

Q. As straight as you hit it and as many greens as you hit, I would think that the annual putting contest that this thing is wouldn't be that conducive for you, as the fairways are nine miles wide, and the greens can be measured in acres, I would think you would be more of a Colonial type dude and here you are at the top of the board.

JOE DURANT: This is Bermuda grass. This is what I grew up on, so I'm very comfortable on Bermuda. The last three tournaments I putted the ball very well. I putted good at Jackson, which was Champions Bermuda, and at Greensboro I played well. I'm just feeling good on the greens right now. It's been a long time, so it's nice to make some putts for a change.

Q. I think you started 7 back today. Were you thinking of being in this position at that point? Did it occur to you that somebody who had gone low for two days might have more of a normal day than the first two?

JOE DURANT: We've all seen it happen. But Justin played great the first two days. It's difficult to follow up those two kind of rounds with another mid 60 round.

And the Magnolia today probably didn't show much teeth, but it's still a good golf course. If you don't drive it straight and if you're not hitting your irons in the proper place, it can still be tricky. You have to keep playing golf, no matter what you shot the first two days, you still have to go out and step up and make birdies the next day. He obviously didn't get off to the greatest of the starts today, but he still hung in there.

Q. Since it's been a while since Doral '01, I think most of the us were there for that thing, did you wonder whether you were going to be putting yourself back in these types of positions? I know you almost one the Farm Bureau a couple of weeks ago, and here you are, probably in the last group again tomorrow. Was there doubt as to whether you could climb that mountain one more time?

JOE DURANT: You're always doubting, especially when you go through some periods like I went through at the beginning of this year. I was going crazy. I felt I wasn't playing terrible golf, but I was finishing 40th to 60th every week and it was just driving me nuts. You always go through periods of doubt. The guys are so good and you wonder if you can still cut the muster at all. You just keep grinding, you keep playing, you keep working on your game, and hopefully you'll start to see some positive signs.

For me, I think at Flint, I started to feel like I was going to start playing good golf. I played four really good days there and it just carried over from there really.

Q. For a guy contemplating getting out of the game as a competitor, the longevity that you've shown since breaking into the spotlight is surprising to a lot of people.

JOE DURANT: You know, I love to play golf. I love to compete. After I quit playing and went back to playing, I was just playing on the mini tours. I was playing on the Hooters Tour and just anywhere I could play. And I was just thankful to be able to playing golf. I think that helped me more than anything in my career, just getting away from it and realizing what a fortunate job I have, No. 1, what a great thing to do in your life.

If it came crashing down tomorrow, I would be so thankful for what I've been able to get out of it. I still have good golf to play and I feel I can still win again. And if I play well tomorrow, hopefully it will be tomorrow.

Q. Do you ever think what might have been if you actually sold a couple of insurance policies?

JOE DURANT: I don't think it was in my heart. I don't think I would have lasted very long anyway. Fortunately, I never crossed that. It never happened. It's been fun. I've been very fortunate to be out here for as long as I have been. It's a great time to be on tour.

Q. How far back is too far back tomorrow. Five shots if you do what Ryan Palmer did, shoot 62? Is that realistic?

JOE DURANT: I think it is. I think it's a different animal tomorrow, because you had Justin out there by himself going into today. It's really bunched now. If a guy comes out and shoots 62 or 63, which can happen, it's virtually anyone's game within five or six shots, I would have to say.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Joe Durant, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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