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July 13, 2007

Jason Dufner


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Jason Dufner, thanks for joining us here, opening rounds of 65 and 66, currently tied for the lead with Carl Pettersson. Maybe talk about the first two days here at the John Deere Classic. Two good ones for you.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, it's been two pretty good days. Yesterday was a little bit tougher with the weather conditions, and then late in the day, greens getting kind of bumpy and soft. But today was a lot calmer out there and a pretty consistent round, a lot of fairways and greens, made some putts.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk about your season. You're currently 140th in the FedExCup points. I know you'd like to win or have a good finish this week to make sure you secure your position in the Playoffs. Maybe just talk about that.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, got off to a pretty good start this year at Bay Hill, and the last two and a half months have been pretty awful. So this week would be a good opportunity for me to kind of get in that position where I'm definitely in the Playoffs and definitely looking to secure my card. But if it doesn't happen this week, there's lots of weeks. I've got three or four more tournaments before the Playoffs, and then after the Playoffs. It's just a good opportunity this weekend, try to take advantage of it.

Q. Last night you talked about not birdieing any of the par 5s and something to improve on. You did that today. Talk about that a little bit.
JASON DUFNER: I was in a little bit better position with my second shots. Par 5s out here are kind of in that area where you're hitting fairway woods in, not mid irons or long irons, and yesterday I didn't hit the best of shots into them. And today I just hit a little bit better shots. 10 I don't think many people will be going for today, so I just hit my wedge closer today. Just took a little bit better advantage of my second shots.

Q. You said the last couple of months have been awful. What in particular -- have you zeroed in on what it is that's been the problem?
JASON DUFNER: Pretty much everything. Ball-striking has been awful, putting, chipping, short game, attitude, all of it (laughter). It's just tough out here being in my position because I'm not fully exempt. I feel like I have to play when I get in, which has been a lot this year, and you just get worn out and you get in the same patterns and the same stuff, same stuff. You know, the last two and a half months have been tough.
I was home last week and kind of had some time off and worked with my coach, looking at some video of last year's golf swing to try and get it more like that because I had a lot of success on the Nationwide Tour. And I just got off for the last two months, and I feel like I feel much better with my swing, and I just feel much more at peace with myself I guess you could say. I don't have a lot of questions out there right now.

Q. Is there a lesson to be learned that when things are going bad, to get away from it for a week or so?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think you need to, but like I said, it's hard for me because I'm 140 or so on the points list, and you look at that and it's like, geez, 144 gets in, I have to play. It's kind of lucky the fact that I didn't get into the AT & T last week because if I did, I probably would have gone. It's just hard for me to take a week off with the position that I'm in. Hopefully after this week I can look to change some of that.

Q. Did you get tired coming down the stretch at all today? I know you hadn't bogeyed until 7.
JASON DUFNER: No, not really. That 7th hole is playing 230 yards. I tried to play it safe and left myself a 50-footer with a double break and hit kind of an average first putt and didn't hit a great second putt.
The next hole I should have hit driver off the tee, and that was kind of a mismanagement thing. I thought the wind was helping and it was really kind of hurting, and 230 yards away out of a bunker, you can't expect much except to give yourself a chance at par, which I kind of did. I don't think I was tired, just -- those three holes in there are pretty tough. They might be the toughest stretch, 7, 8 and 9, especially with the new tee on 7, playing it all the way back. I don't remember playing it 230.

Q. You talked about last week working on your swing. Were there some things out of whack, and what did you have to rectify?
JASON DUFNER: You know, I've got a pretty good archive of video with my coach. We looked back at some stuff as far as '03 just to look at -- the thing with me is when I struggle I get steep to the plane, so I lose trajectory, I lose ball spin, and we looked at things to try to shallow out the plane, to try to get more on plane. The biggest thing was how my right shoulder was working and how my arm swing was working. For some reason I had gotten to where my arm swing was a lot higher in my backswing, which really caused me problems because the way I rotate, I don't really have a lot of drop in my hand and in my arms. It's always steep to the plane, steep to the plane.
It's pretty tough to play steep at this level. You've got to watch your club face, and I couldn't hit the shots I wanted to do. Basically we worked on trying to shallow it out, being shallow to the ball. You get whole different compression points and ball flights and spin rates, which help you play better.

Q. It sounds like a really complicated science project to us. You work on that and then you come back. Do you have to then expel all those thoughts out of your mind while you're on the course competing?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I try to go with just one. I'm just trying to feel as flat as possible in my arms and my shoulder right now, so it feels like I'm going way inside to what I'm used to. But it's fine to talk about it on the range and when you're working with it, but when you're playing you really don't want to think about all that stuff. I'm just trying to he -- basically I'm trying to hit start right drops. That's all I want to hit. In answer to that, Lane Savoy is my coach.

Q. You were talking earlier about your position within the money, within the -- keeping your card, the FedExCup race. With the FedExCup race this year, give me your thoughts on that, and does that add pressure to what you're trying to get done out here?
JASON DUFNER: I don't think it adds pressure because to me the most important thing to me is to keep my card out here, and obviously there's tournaments after the FedExCup that can provide that opportunity. The playoff system to me right now, where I'm at in my position, is not that important to me because it's like an added bonus. You know, if I make it, I'd feel great if I get to play one or two of those events.
I'm just not in a position to be thinking about Top 30 or Top 10 or even No. 1 right now. Obviously it would be great to play in some of those events and probably try and increase my chances of keeping my card, but to me, being my second year out here and playing when I can play, the most important thing to me is to get actually exempt status next year.

Q. How did you find the course the first two rounds?
JASON DUFNER: I thought it played pretty good. The rough is pretty healthy. The fairways are so wide, you don't seem to be in the rough as much. The greens are starting to get a little bit firmer. They probably could speed up a little bit. I think they will with some wind and some drier conditions. We had some weather, I think, on Monday and Tuesday. But overall, I think it's a pretty fair test.

Q. How do you handle this position for the weekend now going into the weekend?
JASON DUFNER: You know, I don't know. I haven't been in this position too many times. It's just kind of a thing where I've got to just accept that I haven't been in that position and find the challenge in it and find how I can handle it best for me. So we'll see tomorrow and on Sunday.

Q. That's kind of where I was going with it, too. Are you excited to be here? What does it feel like to be at the top there?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I mean, it's great. That's what all these guys out here I think strive for is to try to have a chance to win, especially going into Sunday. And I'm giving myself that chance to go into tomorrow and have a good round and be in the thick of it.
It's just going to be kind of a learning experience, but like I said, I'm excited about the challenge and I'm excited about being in one of the final groups hopefully tomorrow, and hopefully it'll carry over to Sunday and see how I respond. If it goes well, great, and if it doesn't, then learn from it. This is my second year out here. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can and get better and figure out what works for me.

Q. Does it give you any additional hope knowing the history of this tournament and the 18 first-time winners here?
JASON DUFNER: I saw that in the newspaper. I don't really think about it all that much. It's interesting that a lot of first-time guys have come. I don't know if that -- probably has to do something with the strength of the field as far as what they've had, a lot of rookies get into this tournament. But I haven't really thought about it that much.

Q. You said you haven't been through this situation very many times. But between now and tee time tomorrow, are you more likely to get away from it all and just forget about it as much as possible, or are you going to start thinking and planning about how you're going to attack each hole? What's the balance for you?
JASON DUFNER: I pretty much already have a game plan for it. I'm just going to try to stick it to it. Maybe the weather will change, I don't know. But I know what I'm trying to do for the week and there's no surprises there. It's not like I feel unprepared for it. I just want to see how I come out tomorrow and on Sunday and see how I respond to it.

Q. Between now and tee time, what will you do or not do?
JASON DUFNER: I'm going to have some lunch, probably hit some balls, work on what I was talking about for probably 30, 40 minutes, then I'm going to hit the gym, work out for about an hour, maybe catch a movie, do some laundry. Probably watch the Indians game on the internet tonight.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You had seven birdies and two bogeys today. If we could touch on those starting with No. 10. You said you laid up there and had wedge in.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I hit a wedge from 79 yards to about 12 feet.
12, I hit a 6-iron to about 12 feet.
15, I hit driver and a sand wedge to about 25 feet.
17, par 5, I hit driver, 5-wood to about 45 feet, two-putt.
No. 2, par 5, hit driver in the rough, had to lay up and then hit a wedge to about 12 feet, made it.
No. 4, driver, wedge, 15 feet.
Par 3, No. 7, bogey, 5-iron to the front right, three-putted from about 55 feet or 60 feet.
No. 8, birdie, 3-wood, 8-iron out of the rough to about 20 feet maybe.
Bogey on the last, 3-wood off the tee in the bunker, 3-iron in the greenside bunker, hit out to about 15, 20 feet.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You said that was more or less a driving hole, depending on the way you're driving it --
JASON DUFNER: No, I will be hitting driver on 9 tomorrow. I can promise you it's no fun being 230 yards in the bunker.

Q. It seems like there's a lot of wedges out here.
JASON DUFNER: It seems that way. You've got a lot of wedges, and it seems like the long holes for some reason are playing downwind and then the short ones are still into the wind but you can hit wedges. You can probably hit, out of the 18 holes, take out the par 3s, you probably have eight, nine wedges. If you're on your wedge game, you're hitting them inside 15 feet, you've got a lot of good looks. It's a combination, you've got to hit good shots and you've got to make putts.

Q. Is that your strength?
JASON DUFNER: This week it is (laughter).
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Jason Dufner, thanks for your time.

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