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WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP


February 23, 2014


Jason Day


MARANA, ARIZONA

LAURA NEAL: We'd like to welcome our champion of the Accenture Match Play Championship, Mr. Jason Day. It took you a while to get in, but here you are. Give us your reaction, 113 holes this weekend and it came down to the last hole in the end.
JASON DAY: Yes, it's definitely a long week. You just have to get your mind wrapped around the week. Six rounds and it could go more, extra holes, like I did today.
And it was an early wake up call this morning, I mean, at 4:45. And what time is it now? It's 6:25. So it's been a very long day. This morning I played great and this afternoon I played pretty solid.
But Vic coming down the stretch was just unbelievable. I've never seen someone as young, apart from Jordan Spieth, and in the old days Tiger Woods, how clutch he was, especially out of the cactus. It was‑‑ I kept shaking my head because it was so surprising because there was a couple of times there where I thought he was absolutely dead. The tournament was mine.
But I'm just so thankful to be here right now and talking to you guys and to win the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Q. Jason, exactly what was it like playing Whodini?
JASON DAY: That's what it felt like, because for a second there I didn't think it was my time again. I really honestly thought that maybe I've just got to keep fighting, fighting, fighting.
And with the two shots that he hit on 1 and then on 9, in the extra holes, was just unbelievable to run it through the rough. I mean, the first one‑‑ on the first hole, he kind of just hacked at it and it came out pretty good and worked out great. But the one on 9, he actually played‑‑ I think he played it to where it was supposed to go. And it was just an unbelievable up and down. His putting is really solid under pressure.
And then when we played 15 again, I knew or he knew, as well, because when he hit his drive out of the rough there, he said under his breath "dead."
And once I saw it, now I knew he wasn't going to make birdie. So I just had to get off a good tee shot somewhere around the pin there, not in a similar position where he was. It almost did, but it actually got a little lucky and stayed up.

Q. You've had a lot of near misses in big events. And for a little while there it looked like it could go that way again. What's most pleasing for you? And were you worried that it was heading that way again?
JASON DAY: Well, just all the hard work I put and the opponents that I finished this week that I played against and played well against. Just the great golf I played leading up to the round, the final round, you know, it was‑‑ it felt like I was‑‑ when I teed off, I felt fine, like it was a normal day, like I didn't have any pressure on myself at all. Just there was no stress at all. Obviously you get to the back nine and all that stuff starts to come back.
But for a second there, I didn't think it was going to happen. But I just stuck with it and I said‑‑ I just tried to visualize myself with the Walter Hagen Cup last night and just said, How much do you want it? Kept on telling myself I want it more than anything in the world. I'm not going to stop until I achieve that. And I'll find a way to win. I just stuck through it and it was tough for the match today between me and Vic. I'm glad I got it done.

Q. Despite the finish and the times you were a bit worried there, do you feel like you buried some demons?
JASON DAY: In golf you have to choke some and hopefully you win more than choke some. But these experiences, these wins, and especially playing match play like this, it's so similar to playing Sunday rounds that it's a good experience to play in match play events because it just gets those juices flowing, what you're going to feel on Sundays at big events.
And to know that you've got six rounds of experience to take it for the whole year, it's so valuable. It's exciting that I actually got the job done. I know that I can play well against the best players in the world. I've done it now in the match play. I'm definitely looking forward to the next one I play. Right now I've just got to soak in the win.

Q. Victor said he was surprised that his little chip shot, pitch shot there on 10, third playoff hole, kind of jumped over the sprinklers and took off.
JASON DAY: Yeah.

Q. Did you see that shot at all? Were you surprised that he went that far by?
JASON DAY: It was difficult because there wasn't enough room for him to kind of hit a lob wedge, to fly it all the way out to the green. The greens were very firm out there. I knew what he was trying to play. He was just trying to bump it and hopefully the grass would grab it because the grass in some areas were grabbing the chip shots and landing them soft. And I think that's what he was trying to go for, which was the one that lands just short of the green, lands pretty soft and runs into the cup.
But for my sake, I needed him to do something like that because it didn't look good for me on 10. I played that hole six times now‑‑ actually seven times now, I've been short four times. For some reason that hole just doesn't like me. But just glad I got through it.

Q. Two questions, Jason. How hard is it to keep your composure after those two shots when it looks like the golfing gods are not exactly in your corner today?
JASON DAY: It was very difficult because in the moment you're just thinking, oh, yes, I've got it. I've hit an 8‑iron on‑‑ well, my bunker shot on 1 wasn't that hard, really. I just‑‑ obviously I made it look harder than what it was.
But after he hit that shot out of the cactus on 1, it was‑‑ it made my shot a lot harder. I was surprised because I'm like, okay, Feherty walked past and goes, He's got an unplayable. And I'm going, Oh, great. That's perfect. (Laughter).
After we both walked off the green‑‑ he looked at me and he goes, Sorry. I'm like, Yeah, thanks, man. I appreciate that.
And then on 9, because he hit it in the exact same spot on 9 today in regulation and particularly‑‑ in particularly the same spot. He didn't have to take a drop. I walked over there, and it was in a tree, a flower tree of some sort, in this little crevice. I mean, it looked absolutely dead. I'm like, Yes.
I hit 8‑iron to 20 feet. There was so much pressure on him. And he does it again. At that time you're just thinking like do I need to just hand him the trophy now after those two shots?
But I didn't want to do that. I wanted to win so bad and I've been wanting to win so bad. And there was nothing that was going to stop me. I felt great from the start of the week. I had a good preparation coming into this week. The swing felt great. The way I was playing was obviously great, as well, but I just for some reason this week felt different to any other week I played. And I just wanted it more than anything in the world. And the hard work paid off. But it's been great.

Q. Kind of along those lines, you alluded to that a little bit this morning, did you at any time take stock last year, given your talent with only one win on Tour in six or seven years or whatever it's been, just kind of have a talk with yourself saying I need more of those things?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I think‑‑ I think the biggest thing that I realized is that it's easy to come out and go, I want to win. I want to win and it would be great to win once a year or twice a year or whatever. But it's another thing to actually want to win it. It's so different between me saying, yeah, I want to win and me actually thinking that I want to win. My mind‑‑ I've been working so hard on just the whole mental approach and how I approach tournaments and the preparation for myself. Preparation is huge, you know.
We just sat down with my team at the end of last year and they said I'm doing‑‑ we're heading in the right direction. We're doing all the little things right. We've just got to keep going, keep going, and keep working on the little things and it will happen. It took me nearly three years, I guess. I got my second win finally. But just that hard work has paid off.
So hopefully from here on, as long as I keep working hard and I want it as much as this, hopefully the flood gates will open and I'll win a lot more. But it's totally up to me if I want to win one more or ten more or 20 more. It's just how much I want it.

Q. Were you at all disappointed with your career to this date?
JASON DAY: No, no, no. A career is very long in golf. You see guys like Adam Scott, Justin Rose winning Major championships in their early 30s. You see guys winning in their 20s like Rory and Tiger. I think the biggest thing for myself is just to understand I'm not Rory. I'm not Tiger. I'm not Adam Scott. I'm not Justin Rose. I'm Jason Day. And I need to do the work and it will happen, I've just got to be patient.

Q. They don't have any cactus in Gleneagles, I don't think. How sorry do you feel for any Americans that are going to have to play Victor?
JASON DAY: If he wasn't a sure bet before, I think Paul has pretty much set him on the team now. It's unbelievable how well he played this week. I never heard much of him before other than I think he won in Turkey last year against Tiger. And that's really the first time that I've heard about him. And we played against each other down at the World Cup. But just a phenomenal game. Just unbelievable heart. And very, very clutch in the pressure situations. I mean, 17 was just unbelievable. The shot that he hit from the bunker to the green, and then to have to make that putt to keep things going was good.
It's definitely going to be an interesting Ryder Cup. I haven't really watched Ryder Cups in the past, but I'm definitely going to watch it this time.

Q. Before Torrey Pines we talked about the start of the year and you said that by the end of the year being in the top 5 in the world would be good. You're going to No. 4 tomorrow, so you're already there. Do you now take it a step further? What's your goal now?
JASON DAY: I still have goals that I want to accomplish for the year. I can't stop and go, yeah, I wanted to get to the top 5, and top 5 in three events that I've played. I've still got a whole schedule. I think I finally realized‑‑ I think at the start of my career when‑‑ I'm going to be honest here, I came from a very poor family. So it wasn't winning that was on my mind when I first came out on the PGA Tour. It was money. I wanted to play for money, because I'd never had it before. Winning takes care of everything. And it's not about the money anymore. I just want to play golf, golf that I love, and win trophies.
This is very encouraging for the start of the year that I've got a full season left, particularly a full season for myself left, I want to see how far I can take this. And ultimately my goal ever since I was a kid, knowing that I wanted to turn professional was to become the No.1 player in the world. And obviously it's very difficult to achieve that.
But winning this event under the pressure and under the circumstances that I had out there today and getting to No. 4 in the world now, there's only three other guys ranked higher than me, so I'm very excited. I'm very excited to see my name at No. 4 in the world.

Q. And you've also firmed in the bedding and what not now for Augusta. That's always been one of your dreams. Do you feel this gives you impetus into that?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I'm looking forward to getting back to Augusta. It's my favorite spot of the year. Everyone is so nice there. The tournament, it's tradition, history behind it is just phenomenal. If I ever died, I think that would be the place, when my heaven‑‑ if I went to heaven, I think Augusta would be it, with my family. I absolutely love the place. Looking forward to getting back there and seeing familiar faces and hopefully competing and playing well there.

Q. Just curious, there's talk that maybe they need to tweak the format to this and maybe change the format slightly?
JASON DAY: Don't change the course. Don't change the format (laughter).
I'll come back every year. You know, I've heard rumors that it could go to Hyde Park, Bogota. I heard tweaks of changing the format. I think it's fine the way it is. We only play match play practically once a year the Best Play over in Europe and either the Ryder Cup or The Presidents Cup. So there's not too many events like this. It's a different kind of a format and I think people like to see it. It puts golfers in pressure situations, is he going to make it or is he going to miss it? People like seeing that stuff to see if you've got it‑‑ if you've got the guts to hole putts or keep fighting. And I think it's a great format. I think it definitely shouldn't go away. I love it. I love this place here. But wherever they take it, I'm definitely still going to play, because I love to play match play. I love playing against my an opponents and it should be fun.

Q. You think you guys made it easier to find a sponsor?
JASON DAY: Oh, man. You know what, I think we did make it a lot easier. I didn't make it easier on my heart. I felt like I had a heart attack out there a couple of times. But definitely match play is very exciting because you just don't know what's going to happen.
Victor in the cactus today. Rickie this morning. There's so many‑‑ people don't understand the momentum and the switches of momentum and the neutral ground that you have. There's a lot of kind of strategy that goes into match play that a lot of people just don't know about. If I've lost a hole then the momentum is going with my opponent. Okay. How do I stop it? I need to somehow stop the bleeding. It's a great feeling when you're out there playing. I wish I could express the way I felt and the way match play format is, but I just can't. It's just a feeling. It's an exciting format.

Q. What were your thoughts, Jason, when you found out this afternoon that you were going to get Victor? You'd heard of him before?
JASON DAY: No, I honestly thought it was going to be an Ernie Els‑Jason Day match.
Vic came back strong in that one, as well. He was down early and then came on strong. I've never heard much of him. Like I said, I met him down in the World Cup in Melbourne. Watched a little bit of him on‑‑ late last year in Turkey when he beat Tiger. But not too much. He's a great guy. Unbelievable guy. I mean, very genuine guy.

Q. In that moment when you found out it was going to be him and given how he played this week, what were your thoughts?
JASON DAY: Grind. Grind. The guy, he doesn't quit because he's been down. And he always comes back to win. So to me, I just said to myself, I've got to get off to a good start and then just kind of hold that position.
And then 17, 18 happened. So I knew that before that‑‑ before the match started that no matter what, I still had to grind because, like I said before, anything can happen in match play. And that's the exciting part about match play.
LAURA NEAL: Jason, congratulations. Thank you so much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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