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February 7, 2011

Jason Dufner


DOUG MILNE: Jason Dufner, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. Obviously a great week for you, not quite the outcome you had hoped for, but you really put yourself into position. Four rounds in the 60s capped off today by a 5-under 66 was good enough to get you into the playoff. Just some thoughts on how you're feeling about your game and the week and kind of as we're moving forward after the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, pretty good, solid week. Came up a little bit short in the playoff, but had a good chance. Came out and made a couple birdies to put maybe a little heat on Mark, and he played great. Great two-putt on the first playoff hole from 70-plus feet and makes birdie on the next hole. So pretty solid week. I think I only had two bogeys for the week, so you can't really complain about that.
I think I've been playing pretty good. It was tough today; I didn't hit many fairways, and that's kind of difficult on this golf course. You've got to get your ball in the short grass here because you've got some funny angles into pins, especially on 18 there. But all in all a pretty solid week.
DOUG MILNE: Obviously still in search of your first PGA TOUR win and you were obviously that close to getting it. What do you take out of it as you move forward? Are you playing Pebble?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I am playing next week.
DOUG MILNE: Just kind of your mindset heading into next week.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, it'll be a great thing. It's a good start to the year. To be honest with you, this is a course that I never really thought I could compete on. History on this golf course is a lot of long-ball hitters. Mark and myself probably aren't the longest, but we're probably not the shortest. But to be able to compete and be at the top of the field for the week is good, so it's definitely a good momentum for the rest of the West Coast Swing.
I plan on playing next week and LA. It seems like the game is in pretty good shape. I played Bob Hope; I played pretty solid. I think I've had three bogeys since the fourth round of Bob Hope, so that's over 108 holes with three bogeys, so that's pretty solid golf.

Q. For your swing being a little off as you said, can you talk about your finish? You had a good finish in regulation, birdied 16 and 17 and then basically almost birdied 18. Can you run through those?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I've had problems with restarts for some reason. Maybe something I need to think about differently on routine or mindset. But we had a restart. It's hard with the days. But after the middle of my second round and I struggled, I didn't hit many fairways, didn't hit many greens but was able to score. Kind of the same thing today. Played 15 pretty poorly, made a long putt on 16 and then 17 I birdied with a two-putt. The play on 18 I almost holed a bunker shot.
It's a little disappointing to come out and start like that because you want to be hitting great shots. But on the other hand it's encouraging because I was able to score from the situations I was in.

Q. Did you think that bunker shot on 18 might go in? It kind of burned the edge.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I couldn't see it. When I hit it, it felt great and it was on the line of the flag. That's kind of a deep bunker there so I didn't really see it. I kind of heard the crowd reaction and my caddie kind of said it caught the left lip. It was the shot I was looking for.

Q. Did you think 18 was going to be good enough for a playoff?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, it would have felt better at 19. That would have put a little bit more pressure on Mark to make a couple birdies.

Q. He was at 18 and parred in.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah. I kind of felt like he would birdie one of those four holes finishing or five holes, whatever he had today. I would have liked to have been at 19, but to be honest with you, with how I started, to get to 18 is pretty good.

Q. Why do you think for a tournament that is known for guys who hit long that it's had this kind of a finish?
JASON DUFNER: Maybe a long hitter didn't have their game this week. It's hard. You know, you never know when your game is going to be going. I think the course sets up for long hitters. A lot of the trouble is kind of out of their danger yardage. But maybe they just didn't have the week. That's kind of how it goes.
I'm not sure what type of rounds Mark has had, but he's obviously played great, and I only had two bogeys. When you only have two bogeys it's hard to shoot a high number for the week.

Q. With all the attention on Gainey and Wilson in the restart, did that help you in terms of being sort of under the radar?
JASON DUFNER: Maybe a little bit. It was nice to be out in front of them and post a number. You know, when I started today I felt like I could get on 15 and 17. I thought those would be reasonable birdie chances, and then maybe throw another one in there. You know, probably being out in front is maybe a little bit of an advantage, to post that number. I'm not sure how Mark was feeling. I know that he had a birdie putt on 18. But the guy has been playing great this year and end of last year. He's been there before, and he knows what's going on.
I did all I could.

Q. The last two years have been really solid on the TOUR and you're off to another good start. How much more comfortable are you feeling out here after a couple years?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I'm feeling a lot better. I was a little bit surprised yesterday, and even today, I wasn't quite as nervous or as tight as people might like to think. I was pretty comfortable. I felt like I played well, I haven't made any bogeys, let's go make some birdies and give ourselves a chance to win.
I just think that's all the maturing process. I think a lot of guys go through it. You see some guys struggle for a couple years and then they start playing great golf and they start playing to their potential. So hopefully that will continue this year and I keep knocking on that door and maybe we'll a get win sometime.

Q. How difficult was this week just with all the delays and the restarts and the rounds spread over several days?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, it's not much fun for anybody. I know the fans kind of get hurt by it, and the volunteers do a great job and the tournament staff does a great job. We as players, we would prefer to play four days in a row, especially for me like I'm saying, with the delays, for whatever reason, it just kind of throws me out of my rhythm.
I was playing really well last night and I was actually hoping to hit that tee shot on 15, kind of get that in. That's one of the toughest tee shots on the course. That's the biggest thing. It kind of breaks that rhythm. Golf is such a day-to-day, round-to-round sport, one day you could be feeling great, the next day you're not feeling good and you can't quite put your finger on it.
It's tough for everybody, and Mark has done it twice this year with Sony and this year in Phoenix, so maybe there's something to what he's doing with it.

Q. You grew up in Ohio and went to school in Alabama and you still live down there?

Q. Do you feel more like a midwesterner or a southerner?
JASON DUFNER: Probably more of a southerner now. I should work on my southern twang. The weather is much better down in the south, that's for sure, but I still have some roots and some people that are following me in Cleveland.

Q. How about the fatigue factor this week? You're going from -- Pebble is always one of the longest weeks it seems like because of the pro-am rounds. Now you're coming off one of the longest weeks on the TOUR.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, that could be a factor next week, we'll have to see. I haven't played Monterey Peninsula Club, so I'll probably get 18 out there either tomorrow or Wednesday and then maybe take the other day off and just do some light practice. I've played Pebble a bunch. I played the U.S. Open last year, played the Invitational a couple times now, so Spyglass and Pebble more comfortable with, probably don't need to see them, just try to monitor your energy levels. That will be a big thing with the pro-am and long rounds, all different factors at Pebble Beach, weather.

Q. What's your schedule? Are you going right there?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, we're leaving from Phoenix to San Jose and then head over to Monterey, so we'll be there tonight.

Q. Did you go to the National Championship game?
JASON DUFNER: No, I was in Hawai'i. I had taken three and a half months off and felt like it was probably time to start golf even though I would have liked to have taken another week to go to the game. But I've got a lot of friends on the staff and they were chitchatting with me on text talking about how great things happen for Auburn people in Phoenix. It almost happened.

Q. As you're working on accumulating this two years of experience roughly to finally get over the top, what's your mindset? Are you in it for the long haul? As you get closer and closer and you feel like you can win, how do you sustain yourself?
JASON DUFNER: I think you just keep practicing on things you need to get better at and you keep getting more experience and more in this situation of winning, and I think it happens. I think if you press too hard or think about it too much, I think it becomes an issue. You see a lot of guys out here that are really talented, and media and maybe people in their inner circle are talking about when are you going to win, when are you going to win; that just adds to it, adds to it.
I'm a pretty low-key guy. I would have loved to have won this tournament today, but it's not the end of the world. We're going to go to Pebble Beach next week and I'm going to have a chance to win that golf tournament. It's just going to add to my confidence and what level of player I feel like I can be.
DOUG MILNE: Jason, we always appreciate your time. Congratulations on a great week. Good luck at Pebble.

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