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January 7, 1999

Joe Durant


LEE PATTERSON: Just a couple thoughts about the day, then we'll take questions.

JOE DURANT: For me, I hit the ball very solid. I hit a lot of greens. I think I only missed one green in regulation. I made some really good putts. That was the key. I played with Lee Janzen. There was several times today where we had similar lines on putts. He gave me great reads on putts. I followed him right in there. We both kind of fed off each other a little bit. Between the two of us, there were only three or four holes we didn't birdie.

Q. Steve Pate just got done telling us about hitting the wrong club, holing a putt from 45 feet. Then did he say 85 or 185 feet. Any wild stories like that for you?

JOE DURANT: I guess the wildest one for me was on No. 8. The pin's on the top shelf there. I had it on the lower right side. I must have had a 50-footer with about ten feet of break. It just curled right in there. There again, that was a putt where Lee was three feet outside of me, he putted first, hit a really good putt. I played almost double the break because I saw his putt, and made it.

Q. Did you thank him for it?

JOE DURANT: I did. I kept fixing his ball marks on the greens after that (laughter). Other than that, the greens are large, so you're going to hit your share of greens out here. I hit just about all of them, I think, today.

Q. First time here?


Q. Anybody tell you about the trade winds that are supposed to be blowing?

JOE DURANT: Yeah, I know. You come over here expecting it. A good friend of mine comes over here at least once a year. He's always told me how hard the wind blows. You know it, coming over here, it's going to blow. This is definitely unusual. You have in your mind it's going to blow hard. When it doesn't, it kind of catches you off guard a little bit.

Q. You're saying you're disappointed it didn't blow that hard?

JOE DURANT: No, I'm not saying that (laughter). That's always subject to change, too.

Q. A lot of leaders are familiar with the course. Here you are first time out with them.

JOE DURANT: I'm a little surprised. Two reasons: One, my lack of familiarity with the course, and just the fact that I haven't played a ton coming in here. I played no tournament golf in December at all. I really haven't played a tournament since the middle of November. To say I was rusty coming over here, I have practiced, but I'd say I'm a little rusty coming in here.

Q. Mercedes thinks this is an easy tournament to get into, no problem to get in, no problem to play?

JOE DURANT: No, no, no (laughter). This is the hardest one for me ever to get in. I'm excited to be here. I'm honored to be here. To be a tournament winner last year was something I thought about being for a long time but didn't know if it was ever going to come true. I came here to play, do my best, like I always do. I'm just excited with the opportunity.

Q. So 7-under is a little surprising to you?

JOE DURANT: It is, it is, especially the way I played in the ProAm yesterday. I didn't play particularly well. Started making a few better swings today, hit some really good putts. I think that's the key here, get your speed right on the putts with these greens, especially as big as they are. I hardly ever gave myself a long par putt today, which was nice.

Q. Of all the tournaments for you to win to get into this thing, I would think the Western would be a longshot because of all the emotions after Olympic. Are you surprised that you just jumped right back into the heat of things?

JOE DURANT: Right after The Open?

Q. Yes.

JOE DURANT: I guess the only thing I can say there is I knew I was playing well going into Cog Hill. Actually, at The Open, the first day, the whole tournament, I wasn't swinging particularly well. I felt I was pretty fresh mentally. I think that's the key. Going to Cog Hill, I still felt fresh mentally, but my swing gelled that week. Then it was a question of staying out of my own way, which is the battle we all fight, I guess. I just timed it really good. Playing well on a course I really liked. Mentally, I was pretty fresh.

LEE PATTERSON: Go over those birdies for us quick.

JOE DURANT: 5 is the par 5?

Q. Yes.

JOE DURANT: Hit a really good drive. Actually kind of got a bad break there, ended up in a divot in the fairway, had to play it out left. Hit it just short of the green about 60 yards. Hit it about eight feet, made birdie. 7, I hit driver, 6-iron, about 20 feet, made that. 8, I hit a 6-iron on the front shelf, made a 50-footer, I guess.

Q. Make it 60.

JOE DURANT: It could have been. 9, I hit 3-wood, 3-wood, just off the front edge, chipped it up about two feet, made that. 11 was a 3-putt bogey from about 30 feet. 13, I hit 3-wood, 8-iron about 12 feet. 14, I hit 3-iron, sand wedge about six feet. 16, I hit driver, sand wedge about 12 feet. 18, I hit driver, 3-wood on the front edge, 2-putted from about 30, 40 feet, I guess.


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