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June 19, 2008

Ken Duke


DOUG MILNE: Ken Duke, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the Travelers Championship. Good round, 5-under par 65. On the way in I was asking you how you were playing, and you said, about like this (laughter). Can you elaborate a little bit on that?
KEN DUKE: I'm hitting it pretty good and just not scoring. I'm trying to just stay in the present and not try to look ahead.
I've been hitting it pretty good, just not scoring. It's kind of happened all year.
DOUG MILNE: You said it's probably not going to hold up. It may, may not. Mindset as you go -- you obviously came out, played early, you got the bulk of the day. What's going to be the plan for the rest of the day as you plan for a late tee time tomorrow?
KEN DUKE: Not much. Just practice like I always do a little bit, then go back to the room and do something. I don't know what yet. Just get up and come back and play again.
The conditions out there are pretty easy, I think. If you can get the speed of the greens, that's the whole issue. There's a lot of birdies out there.

Q. Are the conditions really soft from the deluge they got yesterday?
KEN DUKE: The first five or six holes it seemed like the greens were a lot slower. Our whole group struggled on the speed, getting the right speed, but as we made the turn, it seemed like it dried out and we all kind of got it going a little bit.

Q. What time do you get up for a 6:50 starting time?
KEN DUKE: Whenever I wake up, I don't know. If I have to set the alarm, that's the main thing.

Q. You didn't have to?
KEN DUKE: I probably got up about 5:15 or something like that. I usually wake up fairly early, so it's just one of those things.

Q. Woody Austin said yesterday with the soft conditions, it favors the really long hitters. Would you agree with that or do you beg to differ?
KEN DUKE: I think it favors really good iron play. I think that's -- the long hitters, you can't really overpower this course, I think. There's only two par-5s, which I think 13 is the one everyone can get to, and 6 maybe, I don't know if anyone -- maybe a couple. But if you hit some good, crisp iron shots, it's going to be on the right level and the right part of the green.
And again, I think the whole key is the speed of the greens. If it dries out, that's the defense of this golf course, when the greens get really firm and fast.

Q. So it was right about when you made your -- what was it, five out of six or six out of seven you birdied? Was that when it kind of started to dry out?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, it was. It probably dried out about 8 or so. As you come out of the trees, the sun was hitting the greens. I just hit some good shots and I saw the line. That's fun when that happens.

Q. Are you excited after the Celtics? I understand Larry Bird is your hero.
KEN DUKE: I wish he was still playing. I'm excited, yeah. I'm a big fan of the Celtics. Growing up, watching Bird, he was my hero, my idol growing up. I played basketball, but just a big fan of the Celtics, hard-working, growing up, not a whole lot -- you always have to work for what you get, and I've always kind of looked up to him.

Q. How did you get hooked -- why on the Celtics, just because of Larry?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, that's the whole thing. It seemed like the Lakers was always the problem we had, but they always was a fast-paced, running, fast-break offense, and the Celtics wasn't that. They were just a position, get the ball inside, move it around and find the open guy and hard-working. That's what it's all about.

Q. So you watched all the games?
KEN DUKE: Oh, yeah. (Indiscernible.)

Q. Would you describe yourself as hard-working, too?
KEN DUKE: I am. I mean, my family is -- my mom and dad worked their whole lives and they just retired a couple years ago. They've always had to work for what we had, and my two sisters and I have always had to work for what we have. Especially in this game, no one is going to give it to you, you have to go out there and earn it. If you don't do that, you won't stay out here.

Q. Everyone wants to win out here. Last year you had some good stretches there. Did you meet your expectations, maybe surpass a little bit?
KEN DUKE: Yeah, I was really consistent, and that's what I've struggled a little bit on this year. It's coming back. It's close, I'm just not scoring as I did last year. Last year it seemed like I played okay, but I scored. Maybe getting it up-and-down here or there or making a long par putt. This year I just haven't done that. But it's close. I've had some really good rounds the last few weeks, and if I can just stay in the present and just keep focusing on it and don't get ahead of myself, I think I'll be okay.

Q. Is there one aspect of your game that's kept you from scoring?
KEN DUKE: I think it's just my iron play. I usually drive it pretty good, and I'm not hitting it close enough to the hole to have those putts. It seems like the past month I've hit it a lot better, and I work with Bob Toski and I had a good week off last week working down there with him, so I feel like we've worked on a few things. So I have to keep playing and pushing forward.

Q. Where did you work with Toski?
KEN DUKE: He lives down in Florida, down where I live.

Q. Today it was the irons really?
KEN DUKE: That was all. I think I missed one fairway and it was in the first cut. I missed two greens, one was on 15 and one was on 17. I think I hit every green up to that point. It was effortless, and when it's going good, that's when it's fun.
DOUG MILNE: On the stretch of 9 through 15, you birdied six of the seven holes there. That's quite a birdie stretch. If you don't mind, just take us through and give us some --
KEN DUKE: 9, I hit a pitching wedge from about 115 into maybe three feet, which was a good shot, and had a tap-in there.
Then 10, hit a 5-iron in maybe 15 feet behind the hole and made a great putt there.
12, another maybe 12, 15 feet. It was just a perfect line, perfect speed.
I hit a good shot on 13, probably 12 feet for eagle and just missed that, which that would have been nice to go in. But I had a tap-in.
Then the next hole I had maybe a three-footer there and had a tap-in.
15, I made about a 15-footer from off the green, which that's a scary hole as it is. But that was great.
I hit it really close on 16, maybe five feet behind the hole, and just a slippery putt and just misread it, really.
But it was a good stretch. I think I had three close ones in there, and three I just made.

Q. You had one long one, about a 40-footer?
KEN DUKE: I made a long one over on the par-3, No. 5, maybe 60 feet maybe. I think I was still upset I missed the six- or seven-foot par putt on the hole before, and I just made the long one. That's always good to keep the round going.
DOUG MILNE: Well, great playing today and thanks for your time.

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