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October 23, 2007

Ken Duke


DOUG MILNE: Ken, thanks for joining us. You have been enjoying a good year: No.44 on the Money List, 22 of 29 starts, you made cuts, Tee 11 of the Viking Classic.
Just a couple general comments about the year as we're winding down and how you're feeling and playing.
KEN DUKE: It's been great. I thought that I would play well just because of the year I had last year with the swing change and the equipment change, but you just don't know until you come out.
So I felt like it would be fun, and it's turned out a rough start because I just wasn't ready to come out yet. But we got back in the swing of things and it's worked out.
DOUG MILNE: It's obviously nice to be at home and get to sleep in your own bed at night.
KEN DUKE: Yeah, it's good. We love about five minutes from here. This is my home course. We made some really good changes for this golf course. We got a bunch of rain a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and I think if we wouldn't have got that it would have been a really good test. It's still going to be, but it would have been a little bit tougher.
DOUG MILNE: We'll open it up and take a few questions.

Q. Can you run back through the changes you just told me about?
KEN DUKE: To keep it a par 73 at this course, we're skipping No. 6, which is a Par 3, and we're adding the 9th hole, which is the 18th hole of the Watson course because it finishes right at the clubhouse. It's a Par 4, so we're going keep it as a 73 just because to finishes out at the clubhouse. 9/18 finished out at the clubhouse, and for fan-friendly, I think that's the best decision.

Q. Some guys have had some interesting comments about the course. Talk about it. There are some quirky things about the course. Talk about it in general.
KEN DUKE: I think the main issue is there's a lot of long walks, and that was a big topic when we went out and set up the course. There's nothing you can do about that. We're going to have some shuttles obviously, but there's going to be some long walks and, that's just the way it is.
The biggest change is they have brought the fairways in tremendously, and that's going to be really tough driving now. There's a lot of long carries on this golf course. We had to move some tees up. There're still some long carries on couple other holes.
But it's going premium on driving. The rough is up and it's playing longer because it's wet. The greens are big. The wind is up we're going to get some 15, 20 mile-an-hour winds. It's going to be a good test. Let's hope not to get too many negative things about the golf course because of the long walks. I think it's a really good golf course because of the way we set it up, and I think it's a good test.
The fairways were just too wide whenever we started looking at everything, and we've narrowed up. I mean, one of the guys wants to play from the tips. You can't play from the tips here.
You got to bring everyone into the game. Some of the guys that don't drive very far, you got to bring them into the game. There's nothing you can do about that.

Q. When you guys decided to make it a par 73, was there any thought of maybe making one of the Par 5s into a Par 4?
KEN DUKE: Only one would be an issue was 16, which it's a good drive and a rescue club, maybe a 3-wood, maybe an iron, depending on the wind obviously. We kind of looked at it as it's more of a swing hole. You might make and eagle, maybe easy birdie or just easy par.
Coming down the stretch you're going to need that because 13, 14, 15 is the strength of the golf course, I think and to throw in a par 5 that maybe you can make an eagle and get some strokes back, I think it's good decision.

Q. It sounds like you were very involved in setting up the golf course. Was there a philosophy that you took into consideration?
KEN DUKE: Not really. I'm a member here and I play here, so I think that way more than how I played this year. Went out with Steve Rintoul, the rules official and John Subers, tournament director, and just a lot of guys with the PGA staff and just suggest this and suggest that. I mean, I can't make decisions. The rules guys made the decision to keep it a 73. That's about the extent of it.

Q. Comment, if you would on the fall series. It obviously is proving to be very pivotal to a number of players. I use the example of Ken Jones. He's just played exceptionally well in the fall series. He jumped from I think 289th upwards into the mid-100s after last week. Just a couple comments on the fall series. Obviously you're taking advantage of it at as well.
KEN DUKE: Yeah, you know, a lot people said after the FedEx, they said, Why don't you just take the rest of the year off? I don't know about taking weeks off. I play and I play a schedule, and that's it.
I wish we could get some of the bigger names. That's the only downfall that I see. I know Phil played last week, but it would be nice to see some of the bigger names to play and support the tournaments.
But it is going to give the guys like Ken Jones -- and I don't know much about Ken, but he's always be around the 115 to 125 and he's a guy that's always been right there at the corner. With these last tournaments he might have found his game or the courses are easier or something, I don't know, but he's playing well right now.
It's great for newcomers to win. George McNeill won in Vegas, which was great. A lot guys that you never heard of are playing really well. I think it showcases a lot of really good talent out here that you don't see otherwise.

Q. Is there an extra demand on your time this week when the tournament is in your own town, a lot of friends popping up out of the woodwork?
KEN DUKE: I'm clicking the time clock this week. Last week I took off. We had a lot of things going on last week and I got to do the Pro-Am party tonight. So I told John, I'm here to do whatever makes the best for the TOUR and for the tournament and for the players.
I think when someone has a tournament at their home course that's what have to do.

Q. Everybody is playing for something this week. What are you playing for?
KEN DUKE: To win. Everyone here wants me to win and I probably know this course as good as anyone. I feel like my game is in good shape. I had a week off last week. I've had a great year and I think it'll be even better if I can win one, one of these last two. I'm going to play the next two.
Just going to have fun and relax. Do what we done all year: Just play good golf.

Q. Do you know like if you finish top 40, top 30, what's at stake for where you go? Anything specifically you'd really like to...
KEN DUKE: I do. I do know if you finish top 30 on the Money List you get into an Augusta and maybe the U.S. Open, too. That's what I'm shooting for. If I win I think it would take care of it no question. But I think the win would be more just setting off the whole year as good a year as I've had.
It would just be a balloon that would be unbelievable. Coming out on the TOUR the second time around and be where I am, I can't ask for any more right now. Just keep plugging along.

Q. Do you feel you have a real advantage maybe over the other players because you've played here so much and it's your home course, with the nuances of the fairways and the greens, even though it's wet?
KEN DUKE: I think I do. I know what the greens do. If you're in doubt, some guys might say, Well, you're in doubt. This putt, this putt. I feel like I know what the greens do, and I think that's what it comes down. I know the traditional wind and I know if the wind switches, I know how the golf course plays.
No one that plays -- no one comes out here to play, so I think I have a big advantage.

Q. You said you played a lot in the fall, but even if you play next week you're still going to get off a lot earlier than you normally do. Do you have anything planned?
KEN DUKE: I'm going to have the next week off after Disney, and we got invited to the Callaway Invitational and I'm going out there to play at Pebble. Rich invited us last year. He invited us again so we felt like we should go back, so we're going to do that.
I'm going to skip Hawaii next year unless I win. So I'll have until the middle of January. I'm going to do some fishing. A lot of people say, You only play like a couple three in a row and how can you take a week off? To me, I play 29 events this year and I'm going to play 31.
That's where you look at how tired you are. It's not that you play three in a row. It adds up. After you get 15, 16, 17 under your belt the wear and tear on your body, traveling and playing course to course, that's where you get tired. That's what I think.
So 31 is a lot of tournaments. I'd like to get about 25 and make what I've made. That would be wonderful. But I enjoy playing golf. If there's a tournament there somewhere I'm going to play it.

Q. With playing that much, how is your health holding up this year? Are you feeling good?
KEN DUKE: I'm feeling good. I feel like I've had a good schedule. I think I played maybe one time five in a row. I go about three or four and take the week off. I think that's the key to the TOUR. You have to pick your schedule and stick to it and not just play to play. I think it wears you out.

Q. You've see a couple of the other courses on the fall series. Much does this course compare difficulty-wise?
KEN DUKE: I did not playing Turning Stone, but I hear it's a great golf course. Jackson, San Antonio, Vegas and last week I didn't play last week and even next week. I think this golf course is five shots harder than any of them, no question. Not just because I play here, just I know how it's set up right now.
The premium on driving and the greens are so big. If I hit it in the rough here you might have to carry 150 yards just to get to the fairways, or you lay it up 30 yards to keep it short. So it weighs a lot.
Plus we're going to have some wind, so I think it's at least five shots harder than any of the golf courses in the fall series, and even some in the regular schedule.

Q. Looking back at the whole year that you had this year, what do you think were the two or three things key to having a breakout year?
KEN DUKE: Just being patient. I came out really early and didn't want to come out as early as I did. Didn't want to go to Hawaii. But being the second time -- I didn't play Bob Hope when I was out and I didn't play L.A. when I was out and I didn't play Phoenix when I was out. So out of those first five or six tournaments there were three I never played. I knew I could play them and I knew they were probably set up to my game, and I kind of just rushed out.
So I was really just being patient. That's the main thing. Anyone that knows me knows that's really the way I am. I do a lot of fishing, so you got to be patient fishing. I had some time off and didn't get in a few tournaments, like Augusta and Bay Hill. Had a few weeks off to work on my game and get back to the basics. April/May was when I had that good stretch, the four Top 10s. That was at whole issue right there.
DOUG MILNE: Ken, best of luck this week, and thanks for coming in.
KEN DUKE: Thank you.

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