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March 8, 2014

Jason Dufner


CHRIS REIMER:テつ Jason Dufner, solid 68 today.テつ Can you talk about holes 5 through 12, six birdies in seven holes, I believe, or eight holes there, a good stretch, got you going and got back into this.
JASON DUFNER:テつ Yeah, definitely.テつ Just come off double on 4.テつ I think I was probably 4‑over for the tournament and wasn't feeling too good about how things were going.
But I had a nice number on 5, almost holed it out.
Another good number on 6 and hit it to about five feet.
8, pretty easy hole for us so far this week.テつ I was able to get a tap‑in there.
Another tap‑in on 10.
Holed a nice putt on 11, and holed another nice putt on 12 turned me around and got me back into contention.
I was trying to stay as patient as I could, especially after yesterday.テつ And to have a three‑hole stretch there where you're playing 3‑over, you're starting to get a little frustrated, but I was able to calm down and get the tournament back to where I could compete to win tomorrow.

Q.テつ Can you remember such a dramatic turnaround from day‑to‑day, yesterday's wind to how calm it was today; can you equate that to any other tournament that you've ever been in?
JASON DUFNER:テつ No, because usually like the golf course that we have here at a U.S. Open or an Open Championship, the way it played yesterday, that stays pretty consistent day to day to day.
I think the biggest challenge yesterday is how firm and fast the greens got, and you have so much water around these holes; a lot of the places we play U.S. Opens or Open Championships, you don't have the hazards where it's an automatic‑no‑chance‑to‑make‑par‑unless‑you‑chip‑in type of situation.
I can't remember the conditions changing so much, like you said where the wind was blowing 20, 30 and then you get an absolute perfect day like we had today.テつ Usually when it's firm and fast and tough, you expect it for the whole week.テつ You kind of go into that week with that mind‑set, so yesterday was a bit of a shock to a lot of guys I think.

Q.テつ Twenty‑four hours ago, could you have imagined a round like today and the conditions?
JASON DUFNER:テつ Yeah, I think that's part of being a professional is to put rounds behind you and realize what you did well and maybe what you didn't do well, and get on with it, so to speak.
Yesterday was kind of a rough day for everybody.テつ Everybody experienced the same conditions.テつ I probably got a little bit lucky, actually, because it actually kind of died down there for the last four or five holes that I played.テつ Some guys had to play in that stuff all day.テつ
But I knew that I was playing pretty well.テつ Sometimes the scores don't indicate how you're flag.テつ Tried to stay patient, focused on what I was doing well and kind of put yesterday behind me and get on with it.テつ You had a pretty good, scorable day out there; I think you're seeing some good scores out there and chances to make some birdies.

Q.テつ Given what you've seen the first three days, what are you expecting tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER:テつ Just all depends on what the weather's doing.テつ We've had different conditions, different wind direction every day, different intensities of the wind.テつ So you'll have a little bit of a feel for it as you get going.
Wind kind of turned around a little bit today.テつ I think when I played 1, it was left‑to‑right, and then when I played 18, it was left‑to‑right.テつ So the wind can change a little bit throughout the round, which you have to be careful.
And it's difficult for us because we never really have played this course in these conditions.テつ We haven't gotten the true wind direction, I don't think, on this golf course.テつ Usually 18 is right in your face.テつ We haven't had that wind yet, so maybe that will come tomorrow and through another curveball at us.

Q.テつ Just talk about early on this golf course, it seems like 3 and 4 are holes that are going to bite you pretty good.テつ What do you have to do on those holes?
JASON DUFNER:テつ On 3, you've got to try and get it in the fairway obviously. テつThe green is pretty severely pitched left‑to‑right.テつ And then you've got a pretty severe bank there.テつ It's not going to stop a golf ball.
And we've had wind kind of going that way.テつ So you're tested to hit the fairway and then you're tested to hit some type of shot with some hook spin in there because if you have any cut spin, more than likely your ball is going to go in the water.
Same thing with 4.テつ You know, very difficult, long par 3, over the water.テつ Anything that seems to hit on just right of center of the green is probably in the water.テつ I think that's one of the designs they need to look at maybe a little bit.テつ I hit my ball almost directly in line with the pin today.テつ I was trying to be left of it, but I landed maybe within a half a pace of being on line with the pin and I'm in the water from 210 yards.
So that's kind of a tough pill to swallow.テつ It's a very difficult hole.テつ And when they get that pin over there on the right, that water is right in play.
So both of those holes are tough.テつ I think guys are making big numbers on both of those holes.テつ And it's a mental thing.テつ You get off to a bad start, maybe you hit a pretty good shot like I did today on 4 and you walk with double, you're not too happy about how the round is going at that point.

Q.テつ When Phil finished a couple hours ago, he said he expected a lot of guys behind him to go low but you're one of the few guys who has.テつ Why do you think that hasn't happened?
JASON DUFNER:テつ That's a good question.テつ Maybe guys, maybe they haven't recovered, so to speak from yesterday (laughter).
When you play in those conditions and you struggle like the whole field did for the most part, it can shock you mentally.テつ It can ruin your confidence for the week and it can make you start thinking you're not playing well and that you can't hit the shots that you need to hit.
For me it was very important after the round yesterday to get myself ready mentally for whatever might be out there today, if we had the same conditions or a little bit easier today, I was still able to play confidently and know that I could post a good score.

Q.テつ A bigger picture question.テつ Since winning the PGA, you're the last guy to win a major, does that change your confidence coming into events like this or going to Augusta next month or the next major?
JASON DUFNER:テつ Maybe a little bit.テつ I feel more confident.テつ I think the last couple years, I've proven that I can be very competitive out here.テつ
But with the game of golf and its nature, you never know exactly where your game is going to be at certain points.テつ You want to keep trying to build and get better, but it definitely gives me a lot of confidence.テつ
Having that five‑year exemption gives me a little bit of security and I can pick my schedule a little bit better this year and get some rest and get some time to practice and really be focused for the events that I'm going to come.
I think winning the major has definitely settled my mind a little bit so to speak.
CHRIS REIMER:テつ Jason, good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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