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October 22, 2006

Joe Durant


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Congratulations, Joe, 2006 Funai Classic at Walt Disney Resort champion.

JOE DURANT: Thank you.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Moved into the Top 30 on the money list and you're in the field next week, so that's good for The TOUR Championship. Just talk about today. You went out there and played your game and came out ahead.

JOE DURANT: I played very solid today. I wanted to go out and hit fairways and greens. I've been rolling the ball well, so I felt if I could go out and play the way I did yesterday I would have a very good chance. And that's pretty much what happened.

I hit a lot of fairways and greens, made some good putts when I needed to. I think the whole key for the day today was No. 2. I hit what I thought was a good second shot in the front bunker, splashed it out, still had about a ten footer, made that for par. Once I did that I settled down and played very well after that.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Questions, please.

Q. You said you guys got here Friday. Doing the math, that's Friday the 13th.

JOE DURANT: That's right.

Q. I think the first shots your kids saw you hit this week was like the last hole today, and they were watching in the back of the room from the media center. Is it possible that they have been over there, buried in the theme parks this entire time while you've been over here working?

JOE DURANT: Until today, yes. We have seen every square feet of Disney World, and I was told it's 30,000 acres, so we've covered it all pretty much. That's the beauty of this week, there's so many things going on, and my family has always been down here with me, but they haven't seen much golf. And that's okay. Truth be told, I would just as soon be over there with them running around the park, so we have a great time.

Q. Joe, it's been five years. Did you ever forget what it felt like? Did it rekindle some memories today?

JOE DURANT: Sure. I think what really helped me was being in a playoff a couple of weeks ago with D.J. Trahan, because I was in the position. It didn't work out the way I wanted, but I knew I was doing the right things. When I got out there, not only today but yesterday too, I was trying to be focused on what I was doing, but trying to have a good time. I knew the kind of round you needed to play on the last day to win, especially when the scores are low, and I was fortunate to do that today.

Q. When did you feel like you were sort of seizing control? Was it maybe on 13 when you actually laid back off the tee and then tossed that wedge in there about two feet? You were playing your smart fairways and greens game and just kind of wearing them out.

JOE DURANT: Yes, I was trying to stay patient there. It was a very awkward play because I honestly believed I could reach the green, but I didn't know what kind of pitch it was going to leave me. And I've been hitting my wedges good distances this week. So I said I'm going to lay it back, give myself a chance to put the proper spin on the ball and I hit probably the best wedge shot I hit this week.

To answer your question, no, I honestly didn't relax until I birdied 16. 15 is a tough par 3 and I almost made bogey there. I had a good pitch to save par. When I birdied 16, I felt like if I could keep it out of the pond on 17 I would be all right.

Q. How does this compare to some of the other wins? Is it special because of the 5 year drought?

JOE DURANT: Sure. I said this on the putting green, and I mean this in all sincerity, this is one of the biggest tournaments for me to win because this is such a family event, and my family has been the backbone of me and my career, and we always dreamed about staying on 18 with Mickey. So this was very satisfying for our whole family, it really was.

Q. Earlier in the summer, maybe when you went to the Buick, you were 125th on the money list. And now you're talking Tour Championship and things like that. What has really turned here? Is it mainly the putting or other smaller things that have clicked in?

JOE DURANT: This year, I've hit the ball basically the same all year. But Flint was a very big week for me. Actually, it went back to Milwaukee, the Friday in Milwaukee. We actually were robbed in our hotel room on Thursday in Milwaukee. So we changed hotels, and that was probably the low point of the year. I was so depressed. I played terrible that day and went back out on Friday and shot 64 or 65 and made the cut. But for me, that was like winning the U.S. Open, because I felt I had hit rock bottom and things were going to turn around.

I went to Flint and played well in Flint. And from then on I've played pretty well most of the rest of the year. I really have. Sometimes you just have to hit bottom to know where it is and start working your way back up.

Q. When you're a fairways and greens guy like you and you have a two, three shot lead, is that hard to contain yourself when you know that pretty much you've got these guys right where you want them and there's not a lot of triples out there coming in for a guy like you? There's not going to be an X on the card, I guess, the way you've typically played for the last few years?

JOE DURANT: You like it to think that way, but the mind is a scary beast sometimes. If you haven't won in a long time, you go from tunnel vision to spray vision. When you start thinking don't hit it here, don't hit it here, that's when you get in trouble. I was trying to be very cognizant and not think that way. I was being very focused the last three or four holes. We've seen crazy things happen.

The finishing holes here are not cake anymore. You have to hit good shots. I tried to play smart, conservative. The putt on 16 really helped me because I knew with two to go I had a four shot lead and I felt pretty good there.

Q. Tell us what happened in Milwaukee when you were robbed.

JOE DURANT: My wife and family and I went out and I played early Thursday morning. We got back to the hotel room and my wife I actually stayed at the course. I was going to practice. She went back to the hotel room and said I'm going to work out, but I'm going to check the computer to see what you shot. Well, the computer was gone. My briefcase was gone, which had my car keys and passport, we had several IPODs, this, that and the other. Needless to say, we had a little bit of a time in Milwaukee. We changed hotels and we basically got it worked out. It was just one thing on top of another on top of another. We were just tired. That was just kind of the kicker.

Q. Do you know what happened?

JOE DURANT: Basically, no, but we have an idea what happened. That's all I can say.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Joe, just go through the several birdies you made today.

JOE DURANT: 3, 7 iron to the back fringe, about a 15 footer, made that.

4, driver, 3 iron, to the middle of the green, 2 putt from 30 feet.

8, driver, 5 iron, lay up wedge to about six feet, made that.

10, hit driver, 5 wood, to the left back bunker, pitched it to about 10 feet and made that.

13, 3 iron, lob wedge to two feet, made that.

14, driver, 8 iron, lay up wedge to about 10 feet, made that.

16, driver, gap wedge to 20 feet, made that.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: A couple more questions?

Q. What's your caddies name?


Q. You had some pretty animated conversations out there. Is that the way it always is?

JOE DURANT: We have been together for ten years now, so we have to look for things to talk about. He's been great. He was sick a couple of weeks ago. He's doing much better now. He wasn't able to caddie the first three days in Greensboro, but he worked on Sunday, and caddied this week. We have been together for a long time. I'm very lucky to have him.

Q. Just from an X's and O's standpoint, what was working for you this week? What was the best aspect of your game?

JOE DURANT: Putting, which is typically the farthest from being the best, honestly. Thank the Lord for that. I putted very well. It seemed like every big putt that I needed to make, I made. I don't know if I had a 3 putt this week, but made a lot of 5, 6 footers. If you do that and your a decent hitter of the ball, you'll do well, and that was the case this week.

Q. When you keep your game together and the weeks when the Lord blesses you with a good putting week, that's when you have your shot?

JOE DURANT: That's right. I've always been a streaky player, and it's been kind of building. This week it kind of came to fruition, I guess.

Q. Mentally, guys out here that go through stretches of tough putting talk about how it wears them down. How mentally do you keep that from wearing you down when your ball striking stats are so great?

JOE DURANT: I've always been a less than good putter, for the most part. I've been a streaky putter. I guess the trick for someone like myself is just to have faith that you're going to have a good streak, and when you do, you can run the tables with it. But when you get farther and farther between streaks, you start to try everything, you'll do anything.

The week before Flint in Milwaukee, I decided I'm going to go back to my old style of putting, which is stand a little more open, feet closer together, just try to be more natural. I felt I was so mechanical I lost any type of intuition I had in putting. I had to go back. I had to get away from the mechanics of it and just roll the ball. Since then I've putted very well.

Q. Your pal Skippy salvaged another guy's career with a claw grip. It was here a few years back. Have you ever gone that far afield with bellies and longs and claw grips and left hand low? What all you have monkeyed with?

JOE DURANT: The only thing I've really done, I've two different things. Left hand low, I've tried that. It worked okay on the short putts, but the longer putts I don't have much touch. The belly putter, I thought it was going to hit myself in the shoe with it. It felt worse. I'm going to stay conventional probably until I'm done.

Q. The second half of Jeff's question there, when you go through those long droughts on the green, how does it impact the rest of your game?

JOE DURANT: Almost always adversely because you get to where you feel like you have to flag it from 200 yards to make it for birdie or eagle. And you go back from there to the drive. You know you have to put it in the fairway, because if you miss the green, you're probably not going to get it up and down because you're going to miss the par putt. It's such a domino effect. That's why you really have to have some mental fortitude to fight through it and know that if I just stick to my guns, one day I will start putting good. That's all I have ever done, is just keep fighting.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Once again, congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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