March 3, 2001
LEE PATTERSON: Very very good round today under the conditions.
JOE DURANT: Thank you.
LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple of thoughts about that and as you head into Sunday.
JOE DURANT: I played very solid today. I guess the only blemish was the first hole, I 3-putted for par. Other than that I don't think I made a bogey today. I hit a lot of greens. The course is really drying out, getting a lot faster. The greens are getting a little crustier too so it is tougher to make putts, they are getting a little greasier around the holes. Have to have good pace to make them.
LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?
Q. Going to see a 7-man Playoff tomorrow or 8-man, this seems to be the affect of bunching guys up, the leaders are not doing much...
JOE DURANT: I don't know. I don't think so. Tomorrow somebody will come out and play well tomorrow and win. Obviously they are calling for bad weather. They moved the tee times up. Playing threesomes, that can make it a little different, because the field itself will be teeing off in a title bunch, it is harder for somebody to go out early -- everybody is playing at the same time. Conditions will be the same for everyone.
Q. Nobody can post and let that number sit long?
JOE DURANT: It could happen that way, you could have a bunch. I think somebody will play well tomorrow and win.
Q. How hectic has your life become?
JOE DURANT: Other than just answering the phone from friends and family, it has not been hectic at all. It has been great. I did not play last week in LA, which was probably a good thing for a couple of reasons, (a) I was able to go home and enjoy it, also, the weather, how bad it was. I am not exactly the best mudder so it was nice to watch it on television. It has been great. Just enjoying it.
Q. Is there anything in particular that you attribute to this run that you are on?
JOE DURANT: I am putting better; chipping the ball well, but making a lot of 8- to 16-foot putts. Traditionally that is an area where I've struggled a lot. I am rolling the ball well and they are finding the hole.
Q. How more difficult was it out there today with the wind?
JOE DURANT: It was quite a bit more difficult today. Like I said, the course is starting to dry out. It is get harder to get the ball around the hole. The wind out here, seems like it changes direction by the hour, start one direction, by the time you made -- get around the four and five, it is a totally different direction again. It is a couple of shots more difficult today than it has been, at least. There are some pins today, too.
Q. Was the wind constant through the entire round or picked up more?
JOE DURANT: It started really from the beginning, pretty consistent. I don't know what I -- what it was getting up to, at least 15 miles per hour, probably. It blew pretty steady all day.
Q. How many times have you played here before?
JOE DURANT: Just one - 1997.
Q. Is this any different?
JOE DURANT: Yes.
Q. Wind wise, it has sort of a reputation for swirling?
JOE DURANT: Right. Compared to 1997, seems like it is the same, pretty much. The course is totally different from 1997. It was so hard in 1997, I did not want come back. I don't know what I shot. It wasn't very good. I played horrible. But guys told me, they had gone back to the way the course used to be. It was a lot more fair. Everybody enjoyed playing last year. I said, go back and try it again, so...
Q. You said you are not a mudder. Would you like hard and fast again tomorrow, is that what you want?
JOE DURANT: I want it where you have to control your trajectory and control the ball around. If it gets softer, you can spray it a little more. Hard and fast, for me, usually favors my type of game, controlling the ball.
Q. Something like today?
JOE DURANT: Yes. Yes. I don't know what the forecast looks like, if we are going to get in before the rain starts.
LEE PATTERSON: It is supposed to start mid-afternoon tomorrow.
JOE DURANT: Yes.
Q. You probably told this story to death when you were out in California. Can you talk about how your wife influenced you several years ago about getting your mind set right?
JOE DURANT: You are being nice saying influenced. She put the fear of God in me - she said: Hey, look, if you do not go out with a better attitude, we are not going to do this. I promised her, if I was going to play again, I was going to really have a positive attitude. If I played bad, I was not going to bring it home with me, leave the golf at the course. That is what I've tried to do. It's worked a lot better. You are not going to play good all the time, you are going to have more bad days than good days. When I play well, I do not let it get me as excited because I try to keep more an even keel; that has helped.
Q. She wanted you to be more positive or --
JOE DURANT: Be more positive.
Q. Level headed?
JOE DURANT: I'd go out, shoot 67 or 8, I'd be complaining about it. She said: "You shot 67, what are you complaining about. Well, it could have been this and that." Nobody wants to hear that mess.
Q. I want to hear it (laughter.) A lot of people have not heard it. Was she tough about it?
JOE DURANT: Oh, yes. My wife is a very competitive person. She was a good college player. She played college golf. She knows the routine. She knew I was being a wimp basically. She did not want to put up with it anymore. I said I -- I promised her I would not do it. More times than not I kept my promise. There are times you have flashbacks.
Q. Threaten you with anything, like, hitting you over the head?
JOE DURANT: Power tools. (Laughter. ) No, she said, hey, look, if you play, you play and you will be a man about it. You are not going to cower down, cry or whatever, I promised her I would not.
Q. Did this kick in immediately?
JOE DURANT: No. This is something I work at all the time. I still do. There are a lot of times I love to cry. Nobody wants to hear it, like I said.
Q. The way you are playing recently, when was the last time you walked off the golf course with negative thoughts?
JOE DURANT: Not very long ago. The Hope -- I played great, there I can tell you, San Diego, there were times where I felt I wasn't playing as well as I could have. Tucson I did not play very well. It is a constant thing.
Q. What is the extent of your negativity kind of complaining or like throwing clubs?
JOE DURANT: No, no, I was never a violent type complainer. No self abuse. Other than mental, you know. Just one of those things, golf can be very frustrating, the year I quit was after -- I was in the Hogan Tour full-time. I got myself going into position, shoot 74, 5, which would not get you much. I felt like I am playing better than that, not getting anything out of it. You go - (making whining sound) every week, it just kind of kept building and building and finally, she had it and I had it. That is why I quit. And I decided to play again.
Q. What do you think would have happened to you if she had not laid the law down?
JOE DURANT: I don't know. She knew I was miserable not playing, making everyone around me miserable, too. Just one of those things. She knew it was time to try again. But she made me promise that I would go about it a little different.
Q. Last year you had four top 10 finishes, you carried that into this year, you said putting was important. Is there anything else maybe contributed to what has been happening?
JOE DURANT: Other than putting, maybe chipping. I worked on my short game this winter. The last couple of years I've hit the ball pretty well. Statistically I have been solid. My putting has killed me. I've never been a great putter week in and week out. I have been streaky where four or five times a year the putter will get warm and have some good weeks. It seemed like my warm weeks were not as near as they had been in the past. Then you put more pressure on your long game to hit it closer and closer. This year I have gone out and tried to have a good routine - line the putter up as square as I can just let it go; not worry about the result so much. It has been a lot better.
Q. What did you hit into 9, the par 3 today?
JOE DURANT: 7-iron today.
Q. What was it yesterday, downwind yesterday or maybe Thursday when it was downwind?
JOE DURANT: I think hit 7-iron twice; 8-iron one day it was downwind. Today it was into the wind across. I tried to chip a 7-iron, tried to keep it down, control the trajectory a little bit. I could have maybe gotten 8 there, but I would have had to blast an 8.
Q. How about 18, how is that playing?
JOE DURANT: It is kind of playing across. I hit a good tee shot there; misjudged my second shot really bad. I came up almost a club short on my second shot. That was more a result of yesterday, when I blew it over the green. Sometime it is hard to pick up the wind on 18 because the grandstands block the wind once you get out, your ball flight on the second shot is halfway there. So is probably one of the toughest shots to get the yardage right. I hit a driver -- 9-iron, but should have an 8-iron today.
Q. They were hitting wedges on Thursday?
JOE DURANT: Yes. It is a little more across today than downwind, maybe a little bit in off the tee; second shot is more just right to left, really.
Q. How long did it take for you to come to the conclusion that the insurance business was not for you?
JOE DURANT: Not very long. Not very long. I was a terrible salesman. So, I knew I would starve if I stayed in that business, so I decided to work in the golf business instead.
Q. Was it life insurance or health?
JOE DURANT: Life and health is what I started in. I never got to property and casualty. I would have had to have gotten another license, never did pursue it.
Q. Did you sell any policies?
JOE DURANT: Not a one, no. Not a one.
Q. How long were you in it?
JOE DURANT: If I say a month, that is probably two weeks longer than I was in it. Maybe a couple of weeks. Like I said, I wasn't very good.
Q. A lot of guys probably have a decent chance tomorrow if the leaders do not do much more, defending champion shot 66 today which is a little better than you. Is that a guy maybe you should take into account tomorrow?
JOE DURANT: Absolutely. Look what he did the last nine last year. A guy like that, if he gets it in his sights, as tough as he is, anything can happen. He can reel off 5 or 6 birdies pretty quick.
Q. If Hope had not happened to you, do you think you would be in this position? Do you think maybe you learned some things from that that you are applying now?
JOE DURANT: Just to stay patient. Today Lewis who I played with birdied the first three holes out of the gate. I had three putts the same length and inside of him, and I missed them all. Before I might have gotten impatient but I was, hey, I know it will play difficult with the wind and everything, just stay patient. I really did that well at The Hope. It is carrying over this week.
Q. Assuming the weather stays halfway pleasant, how would you handicap tomorrow?
JOE DURANT: Gosh, I don't know.
Q. I know that is a terrible question.
JOE DURANT: It is a hard one, hard to say, really. I think with the rough around the greens as it is, the firmness of the greens, the guy that hits the most greens will have the best chance tomorrow, especially if it is windy again, the guy will be able to control it pretty well. A guy like Hal Sutton who hits the ball really well and has a good trajectory for the wind, it would be hard to bet against him.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Thank you, sir.
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