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November 2, 2006

Joe Durant


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Joe Durant at 2 under 68 here in round one of the TOUR Championship. Joe, a continuation of a great finish to the season. You come in here this week with four consecutive Top 10s and of course the win.

JOE DURANT: Yeah, been playing very well. Today was very difficult with the wind. It was much cooler than yesterday, and with the wind blowing across the golf course, virtually every hole was a cross wind. I thought it was very difficult. It was hard to keep the ball in line sometimes as it was pretty gusty. It was tough. I was very pleased with 2 under.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk about the start, four birdies in the first seven holes.

JOE DURANT: Yeah, actually the par on 2 was probably a really good settling down point. I blew my tee shot way to the right and hit a very good explosion shot out of the pine straw to four feet and made par.

3, hit it to seven feet, made it.

4, hit driver, 8 iron to about 15 feet and made that.

5, hit a terrible pitch. I hit it just short of the green in two and left it short of the green with my pitch, made bogey.

Then 6 was just I thought I hit it in the lake, hit it right of the pin and it was cutting and the wind was going that direction and it went over the green. I just assumed it was in the water so I was going down to the drop circle, and they said no, it's all right. So it went over the hill and it was sitting perfectly. You couldn't have teed it up any better than it was sitting, and I chipped it in.

7, hit it to eight feet, made that.

It was a roller coaster day but that's kind of the day it was out there today.

Q. What was that tee shot on 6 like with the wind?

JOE DURANT: I knew it was going to be a difficult shot today. I had already thought about the club going into that hole. It's a good hole on a calm day. But with a 25 mile an hour wind blowing in your face left to right, it's not a fun shot. Even with the pin left as it was today, still not a fun shot.

Most times when you're trying to keep it down you have a tendency to get ahead of it, which I did, and I flared it out to the right. It's a very tricky hole.

Q. Notoriously good ball striker that you are, I guess on a windy day that's probably about the best attribute you could have going for you?

JOE DURANT: Or good chipping and putting. Some days even if you feel like you're a good hitter of the ball, you might get out of sync with your timing and then you have to really work very hard.

Today my putting kept me in it as much as anything because I didn't feel like I hit the ball great. I managed my game well, but I wasn't able to be aggressive at all. I was very conservative today.

Q. How much did you have to remove pine needles and leaves from your putting line? Did you do that a lot today?

JOE DURANT: Yeah, we needed a leaf blower out there today. With fall here now, all the leaves were coming off the trees and you'd get halfway to the hole and what you had already done was already a mess again. I kind of gave up on it and just started putting through it. It was tough.

Q. Do you think that's why they're shortening the season?

JOE DURANT: Because of the leaves (laughter)? Oh, I don't know.

Q. Is there any part of you at all this week that maybe pinched yourself a little bit to realize you were here, considering where you were in the early part of say August?

JOE DURANT: Oh, absolutely. I kind of hung around late yesterday to let traffic die down, and I think Vijay and I were the only two on the putting green as he always is here. I was sitting here looking out over the lake thinking I can't believe I'm here this week after where I stood halfway through the year. It's been a great two months for me.

Q. You just said it again, your putting kept you alive today. That's the second time I've heard you say that in the last week plus. Refreshing change for you to be getting it done with that club of all your other 13?

JOE DURANT: It's certainly not the norm for me, that's for sure. I'm very pleased with my putting, especially on a windy day, the ball is oscillating on the greens and you're trying to stay still, but I just stayed very patient, and my speed was pretty good today.

Q. Speaking of the par 3s in the wind, what's 18 like and how is that playing? What do you think of finishing up on a par 3 and what does that do for the drama or the setting up the finishing hole of a tournament?

JOE DURANT: You come in that hole on Sunday, you'd like to have a two shot lead. That's just a hard hole. I tried to sling a 3 iron in there with a right to left wind and I put it in the right bunker. It's a very difficult, and for me I'm between clubs virtually every time on that hole. My 5 wood is too strong so I'm trying to power a 3 iron. You want to stay below the hole, also, but you've got a lot of things working against you on that hole.

Q. Did you talk with Fred Funk at all this year about you finally knocked him off his perch as the driving accuracy champ?

JOE DURANT: No, I'm just thankful to be around Fred with the way he drives it year after year. I've got a long way to go before I dethrone him, I can tell you that.

Q. You got him this year in the stats.

JOE DURANT: Is it over? You never know at the end of this week. It was tough today. I've driven the ball well and I've put myself in position to shoot good numbers, and now the putter is catching up and it's helping a lot.

TODD BUDNICK: Go through the back nine, two bogeys and a birdie.

JOE DURANT: 10, I hit driver into the right rough and hit a 5 iron into the left greenside bunker. I tried to get cute and splash it and I got it onto the grass but not off the lip and pitched it up close and made that for bogey.

12, hit driver, 8 iron to about six feet, made that.

16, hit driver, 4 iron to the middle of the green. I had probably 40 feet, three putted, missed about a 40 footer for par. That's about it.

End of FastScripts.

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