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September 22, 2011

Jason Dufner


LAURA HILL: Jason, I know you've answered a couple questions already about your round today, but nice playing. You have to feel good about the way you put yourself into position heading into the second round. Give us some comments.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, good start to the day, 3-under through 4, so great way to start a tournament. Threw in a birdie late on the back, I think 15. Played okay, scored really well. Any time I was in trouble, I was able to make a par. Any time I hit a bad shot, I kind of dodged a tree here or dodged a tree there or had a good lie.
A little disappointed with how I drove the ball today. Usually I drive it a good bit better than that, but great scoring day today and hopefully get that driver sorted and start hitting some fairways.

Q. For those of us who haven't talked to you since the PGA, that day you talked about you were pleased with your play, you would shrug off the finish and get past it and move on. Has it turned out that way, or was it -- did it turn out to be a little bit more difficult than you might have thought originally?
JASON DUFNER: Probably not too difficult. I played that next week there in Greensboro, missed the cut but had some nice rounds, had a nice round and a bad round. I really hadn't thought about it too much. Thought about it for maybe a day or two after it was over, and now I've been focused on getting in position for these Playoffs, trying to qualify for this event, was kind of on the bubble going into last week in Chicago of qualifying here. Played three pretty good rounds, still on the bubble going into the last day, was able to shoot 3-under.
For me I just focus on what's in front of me, what's the task at hand, and the past is the past. I'm pretty much past it. That's a good word for it, past. But I think I've been handling it pretty well.

Q. I understand you're trying not to think about it, but when you look at the leaderboard today and it's your name and Keegan's name right at the top, it's kind of déjà-vu all over again. I realize it's early in the tournament, but your thoughts about being right there together?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, obviously he's playing well today. Maybe he's having some of the same feelings, very comfortable on this type of golf course, fairly similar to Athletic Club with the conditions, maybe a little more severe at Atlanta Athletic Club off the tee. But he's having a good day. Hopefully we'll be paired together tomorrow. That will be a little interesting, I guess. Maybe some thoughts here or there will come back and forth.
But I think both of us are more focused on what in the future is going on. He's got a chance to possibly play in the Presidents Cup, he's got a chance to obviously win this tournament. I'm kind of in the same boat, and I think both of us will be more focused on tomorrow's round and what happened a month or five weeks ago.

Q. I heard you were a little bit surprised by the number of people that sort of felt bad for you with the way the tournament played out. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, you know, it wasn't that it was a bad thing, but it was just shocking to me that people were feeling bad for somebody that had a great finish in a major championship, lost in a playoff. You know, I told a lot of people, don't feel bad for me. There's nothing to feel bad for. I was in a great situation, it didn't work out. I've got a lot of good things going on with my profession and my life, so don't dwell on the negative things.
It wasn't a negative experience for me. I feel like a lot of people feel like it was, but there's worse things to happen than losing in a playoff and finishing second in a major.

Q. I don't know if you know, but this used to be the Atlanta Athletic Club before they moved it to where it currently is. You talked before about how you play well in the south. Can you talk a little bit about that? Is it the fact that you grew up playing in Florida and you're accustomed to the greens? What is it that brings out your game in this area?
JASON DUFNER: I think it's just what you hit on. I grew up in south Florida playing at Weston Hills which hosted the Honda Classic for a long time, played college golf at Auburn, a lot of southern golf courses we played in college tournaments, a lot of courses in Auburn had Bermudagrass greens, so I guess I got very comfortable.
I've had some great finishes, Memphis, New Orleans, Hilton Head, Jacksonville. I'm sure if you maybe did some stats, you'd see that I probably maybe 60 or 70 percent of my money possibly playing in the south.
I've had a lot of success, and it's something I'm very comfortable. Obviously I still live in Auburn, so I'm still practicing on Bermudagrass. I'm just very, very comfortable, and I'm sure there's other players where they grew up, guys that grew up on the West Coast have a lot of success on the West Coast. You see that a good bit. Same with the northeast, Midwest. It's just kind of home for me. And when I get on these greens, for whatever reason I can putt pretty well. I get on that bent, I kind of struggle or that poa annua.

Q. You mentioned your driving. Are you surprised that you were able to shoot 66 considering you only hit four fairways? Normally that might not happen.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, that's a pretty shocking stat for me. I'm usually one of the more accurate players out here. But like I said earlier, it just seemed like with the exception of the third hole today, every time I hit one offline, I had a gap or I had a good lie. There's not a huge amount of Bermuda rough out there like you saw in Atlanta. I would say eight out of ten balls you hit in the rough, you're going to be able to manage getting it on the green or right around in position to make a par.
You know, I'm not accustomed to hitting it that crooked. I mean, some tee balls were really offline for me. But it just seemed like every time instead of being behind that tree or having a terrible lie or being in the bunker, it was just sitting good to where I could manage it and make a par.
LAURA HILL: Jason, thanks for coming in. Good luck the rest of the week.

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