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May 14, 2023

Jason Day

McKinney, Texas, USA

TPC Craig Ranch

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good evening, everyone. We would like to welcome our 2023 AT&T Byron Nelson winner Jason Day to the media center. Congratulations on picking up your 13th win and second here at the AT&T Byron Nelson. We're going to start off with some initial thoughts on capturing that win.

JASON DAY: Yeah, I don't know how to explain it. I came into the week after missing last week's cut, and I was kind of fed up with having to go over like a lot of technical thoughts with my swing. So I just decided I'm just going to go out and just try and play some golf.

The first three days were great, and then I was really calm. I was saying earlier, I was really calm last night. I woke up, had a great sleep, and just things felt calm.

For some reason, I just thought that I was going to win the tournament. It's easy to say that now because I won it, but that's just -- for some reason I just had this sort of calmness about it. I had a really good warmup this morning and felt good.

It's weird because when you're playing golf and you're in the hunt or around the lead, sometimes there's moments in your round that you think, oh, it's kind of not my time. I really never had that thought at all this week, even in the last round. I was just kind of plodding along and got a couple early, which was nice, and just felt like you had to press, and funny enough, you have to shoot 9-under to try and win a tournament, which is kind of crazy because I do remember back in the day Charley Hoffman shot 9-under to beat me. It's nice to be able to finally do that and win one.

Q. Post-round when doing some media, you were getting a little emotional. How much does this win mean to you, especially it being on Mother's Day?

JASON DAY: Yeah, I was in tears for a little bit there, and to think about what my mom went through from 2017 on to her passing last year and then to know that -- it was very emotional to go through and to experience what she was going through, then I had injuries on top of all of that going on in my life.

To be honest, I was very close to calling it quits. I never told my wife that, but I was okay with it, just because it was a very stressful part of my life.

Ellie, she never gave up on me trying to get back to the winner's circle again. She just always was pushing me to try and get better.

Yeah, I don't know. It feels strange to be sitting here. I don't know how else to explain it. To go through what I went through and then to be able to be a winner again and be in the winner's circle is very pleasing, and I know that there's been a lot of very hard work behind the scenes that a lot of people haven't seen. But that's just the competition part of the journey and trying to strive to get better. It's nice to be able to get my 13th win.

Q. Some of us are actually old enough to have been around when 22-year-old Jason Day won over at the Four Seasons. I wondered, knowing what you know now, what do you think 35-year-old Jason Day might tell that 22-year-old Jason Day?

JASON DAY: Oh, man, I wish I had the experience now I have. Just to be patient that the career is -- especially in golf, it's not like -- golf is a strange sport because you can't perfect golf. You're going to have a lot of highs and a lot of lows, probably more lows than a lot of highs. It's very difficult to win on the PGA TOUR. It's very difficult to win a tournament in general.

If I was asking myself a question or my future self, I'd just -- I think the advice that I'd have to give myself is just to be patient, always strive to try and get better, and it's mainly about the journey. Just trying to better yourself not only on the golf course but off the golf course, as well, and growing and learning and just trying to be a better person I think it where it's at.

At the end of the day, golf is a nice thing to have and winning is a great thing to have, but the people around you probably are the most important thing at the end of the day.

At the end of my career, I hope that I have a lot of good memories, but I know that I have the correct people around me and my team and know that putting my trust and faith in them is a huge part of success.

Q. You mentioned kind of wondering if you'd play again. When along this journey did that happen, and what was the turning point to say, no, I want to keep going?

JASON DAY: Yeah, it was at least a couple years ago when I -- I was just struggling. My thought process was to go, okay, what's my contract minimum that I have to play. It's 20 events. Can't practice Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday really. If I'm playing the pro-am then I'll struggle to get through that, that's fine, I'll get through that. Get in Thursday, Friday, if I make the cut, great, and if I don't, that's a tick off the tournament list. To have that mindset, to even just think about the way that I was thinking, just to try and get through a tournament because of how much pain I was in, it's not a healthy way of playing golf in general, not a healthy way of just living in general.

A couple years ago with all the stress -- the stuff that was going on personally, it's just strange that all that stuff kind of adds up and it's nice to be able to -- feeling like I'm on the other side of that.

Q. Did it feel like it was one hurdle after another --

JASON DAY: Oh, yeah.

Q. It's the back, then it's vertigo --

JASON DAY: Well, the vertigo, funny enough, I've been battling an infection in my sinuses, and I didn't know that I was battling an infection over the last month and a bit, and that was causing a lot of fatigue, and I'm sure that was probably part of the reason why I had the vertigo.

But you're 100 percent right. It felt like I would make some ground, and I'd make big strides, and then -- or it felt like I was making big strides. At that time it was just small little steps, then you'd hit something, whether it would be a health issue or a swing issue. Just trying to build.

I said earlier, I was actually legit -- in regards to like I would be up at 2:00 in the morning thinking about my golf swing, 1:00 in the morning calling Chris saying, hey, man, like I've got this thought, what do you think, and then I'd go out and practice the next day.

Yeah, just to be able to -- the first couple years, the first year and a half we actually just worked on body motion to actually try and swing it in a way where I could actually feel decent. Now that I'm kind of going on -- I feel like the swing is moving in the right direction to the point where I can just go at it as hard as I want. As I get older and the TOUR guys are getting younger and the competition is getting further, I don't know, yeah, it was one thing after another, and it's very easy -- it's human nature to feel sorry for yourself and feel like the world is against me.

The competitor that I have inside me, I just didn't want to allow that to be a negative on -- or even a thought that I have to go through that. I'm just trying to push through it.

At some point when I was talking to a therapist that I was talking about, because obviously I've gone through a lot of stuff and you talk to a therapist about it, I kept on visualizing myself in the winner's circle again, and it was nice to be able to sit here today a winner.

Q. You had quite the shot on No. 12 when you had a chip-in for birdie to put you on top for good. Can you walk us through what was going through your mind during that hole and that shot?

JASON DAY: Actually to be honest I was just trying to par it. I actually got a little bit unlucky with the hole prior hitting a pitching wedge. It hit the flag, and it ricochetted off the green. I had a lot of good momentum going into that hole just because I birdied 9 and 10, had a really good look at 8 and 7.

I chose a 56 because I knew the greens were a little bit softer, that if I landed it very similar to where I would land a 60, it would actually roll up the hill. That was one of those ones where you're like, I was in the middle of the fairway, I said to my caddie, let's just go chip it in. But you're saying that but you're not really thinking about it, you're just saying it just because you're kind of filling in the blanks.

Yeah, I got up there and I'm sitting there reading like it's actually quite straight and then I chipped it and it went in, so that was a nice kick in the right direction. I was sitting there going, okay, I need to birdie 14, I need to birdie 18 because they're two holes that you have to birdie, that the guys are going to birdie. It was nice to get through that, and then the bonus was 15, to be able to get the birdie on 15, hitting a 5-iron just right of that hole on the correct plateau was crucial and rolling that putt in was nice.

Q. You spoke on being patient throughout the week. With the rain coming down on No. 18, how patient did you have to be on that closing hole to get that birdie at the end?

JASON DAY: It would have been nice to be able to have a second shot into the actual green. After my drive I was sitting there going, well, I'm forced to lay up now. In might mind I was sitting there thinking like 80 yards would be perfect just because I know how soft the greens were getting, and with all the constant rain that we had through last night and into today, I felt like the greens were pretty responsive.

Luke told me that we're going to get to 80 front, and I'm like, okay, that's not problem. I hit it and I caught a flier with my 7-iron, so it actually went a lot further than I anticipated, and we ended up with 82 yards, which was nice.

Had the exact same shot on 6, hit a nice one there, and just kind of aimed it a lot straighter at the pin.

Thank goodness it was only this far. I was quite nervous over that putt. So many things go through your head where you're like, oh, man, what happens if you miss it.

But it's very easy to get ahead of yourself, but it's nice to be able to hit it that close to where you don't have to think too much.

Q. You know better than most the up-and-down nature of golf. When you beat Jordan Spieth to win the PGA and I think he was going for his third major and perhaps you were No. 1 in the world, does that seem like a long time ago to you, or does that seem like --

JASON DAY: It does.

Q. Or does it seem like that's part of when you were really at the very top?

JASON DAY: Well, I mean, 2015 doesn't seem that long ago. 13 years ago feels like a long time ago, with my first win here.

But you know, it's obviously sad to think that Jordan wasn't able to tee it up, and I understand he was trying to prepare for next week.

But yeah, the highs and lows of golf is interesting. You definitely learn a lot about yourself through the lows more so than the highs obviously. I learned that I can handle the pressure still and focus, and I've still got the game to win.

But a lot of that success today was based off a lot of the groundwork, six months ago, a year ago, two years ago, that built the game to where it is today, where I can succeed on a level like this.

Yeah, I know that delayed gratification is probably the best feeling of all time. Instant gratification is great, but delayed gratification is the best.

Q. As you stayed in contention through the weekend, did the Mother's Day thing kind of come to mind at all before today, kind of realizing what could be, and did you maybe toss any thoughts up to your mom?

JASON DAY: It didn't hit me until I looked at my caddie and he had his back to me on the first green, and I'm like, oh, that's my mom's name. That's when it kind of hit me where I was like, oh, it's -- because they asked at the start of the week if you wanted to put down a certain name, and my mom's name was it, and that's when it kind of hit me was on the first green today.

I guess when you get in the heat of the battle and you're trying to win a tournament, especially for me over the last five years, I haven't won one, you kind of quickly just go, okay, I've got to compartmentalize my priorities here and focus on trying to win this golf tournament. At least get myself into contention to win it.

Q. Were you looking at the leaderboard? I think when Marty made that double, a bunch of people back in the tournament at that point, 10, 15 guys within a few shots of the lead. Did you realize that at that point?

JASON DAY: Yeah, I think he was 20-under at some point, maybe on 7 -- did he double 8?

Q. Yeah.

JASON DAY: Yeah, so after 7 I was looking, and I saw 20-under. I think I was going through 9 at that point.

I think I talked to you yesterday about just getting into contention on Sunday, getting through the first nine holes and seeing anything could happen on the last nine holes.

That was my main point. I was like, okay, if I can get a -- I didn't expect to -- I thought anywhere 6-under or more, that would be great. I think if you get in the 20s, you'd give yourself a shot. To shoot 4 and still -- well, at that time it was tied lead after Marty doubled 8. That's when I'm like, okay, now we're into the final nine holes, anything goes, let's try and create some momentum, and it was nice to be able to through the middle part of my round get a couple of those birdies and then that good chip-in on 12.

Q. Were you using a different putter this week or --

JASON DAY: So I was using a Scotty Cameron and then I changed to one of my old Spiders, Spider putters, TaylorMade Spider putters last week, missed the cut, and then --

Q. So that's the same one that you've used previously?


Q. Chris of course is based here in Dallas. What would you say the biggest thing is that he's done for you?

JASON DAY: When it comes to coaching, it's not so much about -- yeah, it is about the technical aspect and trying to get your game better, but it's more about a supportive role, knowing that you are doing the correct things and being able to not only visually see the flights that you want and especially on video see the swing change dramatically over the last couple years, for him to be more than just a coach, to be a friend, be someone that can support me in a way that is on a deeper level.

We're growing together in regards to like stuff off the golf course. He goes through things just like I go through things.

We were just talking about this, how golf has led me down a path of trying to better my life off the golf course, whether that's through the mental stuff that I'm trying to do, the physical stuff that I'm trying to do. It's funny because when you do go down that journey of trying to better yourself in that sense, once you start to unravel things, it's like an onion. You start peeling back things and then more things come up and you've got to try and connect the dots.

With this vertigo stuff that I've had going on, trying to get a hold of my health and all these injuries, like it's just one thing after another as we alluded to earlier, it's just you've got to -- it's just more of a journey. I don't know how else to explain it. I'm just trying to better my golf game and also better my life and hopefully live more in the present and just enjoy myself more often.

Q. I've heard you asked several times this year about what you would need to do to finish the job and get the win, and you've almost seemed hesitant to let your mind go there early in the week. I'm just wondering if this will free you up to kind of ride this wave of good play that you've been having and mentally get you into a better place on the golf course.

JASON DAY: I don't know. I mean, I hope it does. I know that there's still a lot of work that needs to be done with the swing, to the point where I want to take it. I know that the game is good enough to win, but it would be nice to be able to build a game to have it be more of a dominant game to be able to win multiple times a year, not just once.

The work never stops. I'm going to probably -- depends on what I'm going to do, actually. I don't know if I'm going to fly out tonight or tomorrow, but most likely probably get in and take tomorrow just to let things settle, realize that I've done something good today, and then just reevaluate things and talk to my team and see how we can improve and move on from there.

Yeah, I've always been a little bit hesitant at the start of the year, and you've obviously noticed that, but I didn't feel like my game was -- at that time was to a point where I could actually win.

After this week, yeah, I know that I can win. There's a few subtle things that I have to change technically to feel like I can actually come out and dominate and play very consistent golf like the likes of Rahm and Scottie Scheffler that's playing some tremendous golf and obviously Rory, as well.

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