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May 8, 2009

Jason Dufner


Q. Jason, when you think about last week, you have to win to get here, that's the only way in, short of what you actually did, and hit the ball in the water on 17, contrast that feeling with what you feel right now and going into the weekend?
JASON DUFNER: Last week I played really well, and coming down the stretch I was trying to win that golf tournament. I felt like I had a good chance to win that tournament, and just happened that shot went into the water.

Q. Which wasn't a bad shot?
JASON DUFNER: No, it wasn't too bad, I don't think. That was last week. And I know I'm playing well. I've had a couple good finishes the last couple of weeks. I felt like I've played well all year. I've played close to 50, 60 rounds on this golf course, so I feel comfortable out here. So, so far it's been good so far this week.

Q. When did you find out, where were you when you found out you were going to be playing this week?
JASON DUFNER: I found out Monday morning, but I knew that I wasn't going to be worse than first alternate, the way the points had stacked up previous to Wachovia. So I felt like I had a pretty good chance. I know that every year there's one or two guys, sometimes three, that get in from the alternate list.
Coming into the week I felt like I was going to get a chance to play, and I was preparing like I was going to play.

Q. Because you were playing well, especially last week, did you ever think to yourself, it's going to really be a shame if I don't get in this, because I really think I can do something if I do?
JASON DUFNER: I didn't really think that, to be honest with you. It's an honor and privilege to be playing in this tournament. But if I didn't play, I didn't play, there isn't much I can do about it. There's lots of golf this year. I'm looking forward to the FedExCup playoffs, and the majors, hopefully I can get in some. There's a lot of golf to be played besides THE PLAYERS Championship, but I'm definitely happy to be here.

Q. Does the way you played today kind of validate -- getting in as an alternate, does you kind of prove that you deserve to be here the way you've played?
JASON DUFNER: Yes, I think so. I feel like I've played really solid this year, and I feel it's kind of like a reward for playing that solid to get in an event like this and play against the field we have here this week. Everything has been real good this year.

Q. Was there a conflict of emotions, obviously last week in the hunt and then it doesn't happen and then like you said you kind of expected to be here, thought there was a good chance, but was there a conflict of emotions, from kind of being down, from not getting it done last week to the excitement of getting in here this week?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I wasn't down after last week. That was the best finish I've ever had on the PGA TOUR. That's probably the first time I've been in position like that coming down the last three or four holes to have a chance to win. To be honest, it was probably asking a lot from me to go out there and win that tournament right now. But I think I'm better for it from last week. I'm better now for it. And I think maybe some of that will carry over to this week, if I can continue to play well.

Q. What was your highlight today, does a shot stand out?
JASON DUFNER: It was a pretty good shot on 18. That's a tough driving hole. The wind is helping a little bit from the right. For me to go in the fairway there I knew I'd have a good chance at birdie, because that hole location is pretty accessible from the fairway.

Q. You obviously a strong finish, feeling good about going into tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, definitely. The front nine was a little bit of a struggle today, but I holed some nice par putts. And to birdie two of the last three is always a good way to finish.

Q. Was there a par you had to grind out?
JASON DUFNER: There's probably four or five. Holes 3 through 10, actually, I think I hit one green out of those seven holes. I hit one green. So pretty much that stretch there was a grind. I was really struggling, even when I was hitting good shots or what I felt like were good shots were missing the greens, and then throwing some bad ones in there, too.

Q. How did 17 play this week as to how you thought it would play? You had a lot of rounds here, so I'm sure you played that hole a lot. When they threw the ropes up what did you expect of that hole?
JASON DUFNER: The biggest change is the wind is usually out of the north in the winter, so it's into the wind usually. And this week it's been down and off to the right a little bit. For me it's been a real comfortable pitching wedge to those back hole locations. I don't feel I can hit it over the back, I don't feel like I can come up short, the middle is perfect.
As far as being in that environment I'm not really too caught up into it. You either hit it in the water or you hit it on the green, you have two choices, there's not much else that can happen.

Q. You've been pretty relaxed on the tees both way?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, definitely.

Q. Do you like to hit a little draw --

Q. Does the wind help what you want to hit or were you fading into the wind?
JASON DUFNER: I was letting the wind ride it a little bit. It's a real comfortable pitching wedge right now, especially with the pins in the back where they've been. I'm not sure, I think I saw tomorrow they'll be up front, so maybe it will be a different story tomorrow, but we'll see.

Q. The course in general, playing a bit different than it has probably the other 50 times you played here? Does it seem like from your perspective it's not easy, but easier, more accessible, things like that?
JASON DUFNER: I wouldn't say it's easier. The thing that does make it a little easier is it's a lot firmer off the tees. You're not hitting that many long irons into holes like I would be in the wintertime.
As far as the rough, the rough is growing a lot, since Monday. It's getting thicker and I expect by the weekend you're going to have some spots where you might be able to just advance it 60, 70 yards. But I know in years past they've had thicker, thicker rough here when they've played like in March, I think.

Q. And one thing that I've noticed is that you've gone through some changes the last couple of years, you've hit the gym stuff hard, the fitness stuff hard, can you talk about that?
JASON DUFNER: I've been working with my coach for about two and a half years now. Not so much weights and stuff, but just trying to stay open and free with my body, a lot of stretching, a lot of mobilization, a lot of functional work. And I think it's helping. I know it's helping. I hope it's helping. It's hard to kind of quantify something like that. But I know when I started with him I wasn't feeling good physically and probably the last two years I haven't had any problems with that. So I think it's been a big help for me to kind of get me to the next level.

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