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July 4, 2001

Joe Durant


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Joe Durant into the interview room. Obviously a tremendous year for you. You recorded your first career victory here obviously this year having a career year as well. Must be a great time for you to come back in here and play in an area that you are familiar and comfortable with.

JOE DURANT: Very excited about being here. This is -- if it's not my favorite tournament, it's in the top 3 easily. I love playing here every year. It's a great golf course. City is fun. Having my family with me, so, you know, couldn't be in a better frame of mind to be someplace.

NELSON LUIS: Let's go head.

Q. You had it going today. We saw at 7-under through fourteen or fifteen. What was going on?

JOE DURANT: I kept hitting it so close I couldn't miss it. I was hitting some really good iron shots today and I eagled the 5th hole, the par 5, just I hit it really solid today. This is kind of how I was playing at the beginning of the year. I played a lot of golf and I was really tired after Westchester. The Open took a lot out of a lot of us so it was time to take a break, so I took last week off. I originally was scheduled to play Hartford, I was kind of having some shoulder problems so it was time to take a break. So rested physically and mentally and ready to go. I feel like I am ready to get the second half of the year going.

Q. Do you feel like relief? After you low round in a Pro-Am right before the tournament starts, is there a feeling of a tempo-builder going in or are you saying, oh, gosh, should have saved some birdies for tomorrow?

JOE DURANT: I made a mistake shooting a low round in a ProAm in Tucson; then I missed the cut. Hopefully I won't do that this week. I just want to try to get in the mode of making birdies. I feel like I am making good swings and today I mean it would have looked silly trying to miss some of the putts that I had to just to preserve an average round. So you know, I am just trying to use it as a momentum-builder.

Q. What makes a tournament a favorite for you or another player, the course, the surroundings or what?

JOE DURANT: I would say No. 1 probably the golf course. I mean if you get on the golf course that you enjoy playing, that you feel good about, that suits your eye really well, that's No. 1. And then being comfortable where you are city-wise if it is a place you enjoy visiting, friends or family, you know, good restaurants, that kind of thing, so all those factor do kind of weigh in.

Q. For you obviously you have had some success --

JOE DURANT: Sure. But you know the flip-side of it I mean Westchester, that's one my favorite courses that we play every year and I have played horrible there every time I have played there. So it doesn't always work, but at least you feel like if you go in there with a good attitude that the chances of doing well are better anyway.

Q. A lot like this course, tree-lined big trees like here?

JOE DURANT: Very similar. The greens are bigger here, but you know, the topography is pretty similar.

Q. You won here a couple of years ago, obviously that's a big breakthrough when a player gets his win. Winning twice this year how does that make you feel?

JOE DURANT: Obviously it's a tremendous confidence booster, but golf is such a difficult game that you are almost only as good as your next outing. You try to use those type of tournaments to give you confidence to give you momentum that kind of thing, but I haven't played particularly well the last month and a half, so you know I am trying to kind of get my wheels going back in the right direction a little bit and I feel like I am you know, I am in a better frame of mind which is more important than probably being physically as sharp. I have played a lot of golf. I felt worn out. So I mean obviously it boosts your confidence but you still got to stay on top of it. You see guys win one tournament and then that's it. I don't want to be that way.

Q. As a golfer professional out here do you have to worry about not overextending yourself? You said after Westchester; obviously it was really hot in Tulsa, is that a concern that as far as making your schedule to make sure you are not overextending yourself to where you are not mentally sharp?

JOE DURANT: Yes, and I did that. I played a lot of golf, I think this might be my 20th tournament this year. I typically only play 24 to 26 tournaments anyway and it is July. I was playing well and I was trying to ride out a good stretch. Probably overdid it. So sure you have to be aware of that, and pace yourself. You can get involved in doing too many you know, things affiliated corporate outing type things, so just got to manage your time and pace yourself.

Q. You said you were planning on playing in Hartford, did you just not commit?

JOE DURANT: No, I had committed and I was still-I was going to play up 'til Tuesday morning I just didn't feel right and it was just time to take a week off.

Q. How did you play 18 today?

JOE DURANT: I hit driver off the tee.

Q. What happened on the second shot?

JOE DURANT: I don't know how it didn't go in the hole be honest with you. Ended upright on the back lip of the hole. Just one of those no-brainers, I guess. That hole is going to play interesting this week because they have -- most everyone can hit driver now because they have opened up the left side a little bit and they put the tees back a little too.

Q. What do you think of that one and the other ones that have been lengthened?

JOE DURANT: I know they lengthened 13, the long par 4. I thought that hole was long enough already. (Laughs) it was for me anyway. You know, No. 2, the new hole is great, I think. It easier than the old one. The greens are much more receptive. My caddie and I -- my regular caddie joined me on the back nine and we were both saying that we felt like the course was as good as we have seen it condition-wise, it is beautiful. All and all it ought to be great.

Q. You said you didn't want to be one of those guys who wins a tournament and you never hear from him again. How much of a leap forward do you think you made this year winning your second, third tournaments?

JOE DURANT: It meant a lot to me, really did. It's funny, after I won the Western here in 1998, Kapalua obviously was the first tournament in 1999, Rich from the Golf Channel first question out of the gate was: Well, do you consider yourself a one-shot wonder. I am like, oh, man, let me enjoy it for one more week please. Those kind of questions enter your mind, was I?; Am I?, You know, winning the Hope and winning the -- playing the way I did made me feel good about myself and my game and Doral coming back the next week probably carryover from the Hope really.

Q. How much do you think you climbed in status?

JOE DURANT: I don't know. Again, you know, it is a difficult sport. You just try to go out and keep working hard; do the best you can, but there's no guarantees, and I may never win again but I am going to keep trying.

Q. What did you do with your week off?

JOE DURANT: Went to the beach. Ate a lot of seafood; didn't do much of anything. I didn't touch a club at all which is what I needed to do.

Q. A lot of fans are surprised when Tiger doesn't win or doesn't contend because he hasn't been in contention the last two tournaments, the pros, are you also surprised when he is not in the hunt?

JOE DURANT: Probably to some degree the guy is such a great player, I mean, he is the one everybody is shooting for every week whether he has won the last 5 or hasn't. When he shows up at a tournament you know he is the guy that everybody is going after. I played with him the third round at the Open this year, and you know for as much as he was struggling I mean he wasn't very far off. A couple putts could have gone in, he could have easily been right there. So it is just -- that's just the nature of the support, you can just be a little bit off but that's all it takes.

Q. There was a lot of talk last year about the intimidation factor with Tiger - probably overblown somewhat - are players more comfortable being around him and competing with him; you see that?

JOE DURANT: I don't know. I mean, I am -- you know, obviously I haven't been up against him down the stretch really any, so it is kind of hard for me to answer that question. But the only thing I do know is that if I am worrying about what he is doing or what anybody else is doing then I am not doing my job. And I try to get in my own little bubble out there and do my own thing, and if I do that I have got a good chance of success. If I don't, then I have no chance of success. That's kind of where I stand on that topic really.

Q. Obviously today you want to make a lot of birdies you have to win, are you a hot-streak player?

JOE DURANT: Putting-wise I'd say yes. I always hit the ball fairly solid. I am usually a pretty straight hitter. My putting is kind of feast or famine sometimes. When I get hot with the putter I have a chance to do very well. When it is not so hot then I don't. The kind of scores I shot at Hope I have never really shot for that many days in a row - just one of those things, but you know, I feel like I can take it low.

Q. Do you allow yourself to think about the Ryder Cup possibly playing on that team?

JOE DURANT: Yeah, unfortunately or fortunately however you want to look at it, I probably thought about it too much. That's probably why I have played a lot more than I typically would. There were reasons why I played a lot more golf those were to try to make the team. But there's not that many tournaments left. I feel like I am going to play four tournaments between now through the PGA, and if I can't make it in those events, then you know, I am just going to try and focus my efforts on those 4 events, do the best I can; hopefully make it, but if I don't well I gave it my best.

Q. How much would it mean to you?

JOE DURANT: A lot. It really would. At the beginning of the year I never would have thought I had a chance. I am sitting 9th right now, so it would be a tremendous honor and I'd love to have the opportunity to play.

Q. Going back again to status how much status is involved in making the Ryder Cup team? Do you think the people know you a lot more and stuff if you play Ryder Cup?

JOE DURANT: Well even if they didn't just it's a neat sound-- I played an outing in Cape Cod about two weeks ago and they announced some guys, they said: Three-time Ryder Cup member. I mean, there's a special tag associated with being a Ryder Cup player, and it would mean a lot. It would really be something.

Q. The scores were pretty low here last year. They have lengthened a couple of holes, changed No. 2. What do you envision maybe winning on Sunday, what kind of a score it is going to take?

JOE DURANT: What is it typically 12 to 18-under somewhere in that neighborhood? As long as it doesn't really dry up and get real fast, I would say it is going to be in that neighborhood. Could be lower but I would say somewhere in there.

Q. Despite the changes you don't see the scores changing a whole lot?

JOE DURANT: No, the course is in too good a shape. Greens are too good.

Q. You are playing a Pro-Am on Monday. Could you just tell me -- talk about how you kind of extend yourself sometimes playing too many corporate outings, do you worry about being too tired?

JOE DURANT: I feel good now but I am okay, but you can overdo it if you are not careful.

Q. (Inaudible) It is the anniversary. What were you doing in 1977, kind of fill me in on your situation, how old you were?

JOE DURANT: Oh gosh, I don't know and I am sure I don't want to tell what you kind of clothes I was wearing back then.

End of FastScripts....

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