US Open Championship 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Press ConferenceBETH MAJOR: Good afternoon. Welcome again to the 2017
U.S. Open at Erin Hills. It is our pleasure to introduce Jason Day, who is here
playing in his seventh U.S. Open, with five top five finishes.
you tell us, now that you've been here a little bit, can you talk about your
first impressions of Erin Hills?
JASON DAY: Yes, so I got in Friday night
and obviously I came here about a month ago, doing a Lexus outing. But I was on
the 13th hole and I was 50 yards up hitting a wedge into the green, so it didn't
really give me much.
But just seeing the property, seeing how large the
property was, you know, the mounding, the shaping of the golf course, it's quite
beautiful. It's a very pretty golf course. Playing it Saturday, I understand
how difficult it can be with the southwest winds at 25 to 30 miles an hour and
then playing the backside on Sunday, to be honest, two kind of quite different
nines. The greens on the backside are quite severe compared to the front side,
even though there are a few severe ones out there.
But what comes to mind
is 14, 15 and then 18, the greens that come to mind, that are one of those
things where everyone has to try and adapt their game to try to best suit the
golf course, and try to at least beat the rest of the field to try to win the
BETH MAJOR: You mentioned the wind on Saturday, which was quite
strong. What sort of -- how does that affect your preparation and as you go
into the days leading into the tournament?
JASON DAY: I think it's a good
thing that I came out. I mean for instance I was teeing off 1 and I hit driver
and I couldn't cover the left-hand side. So that's one thing where obviously
with certain weather conditions, certain tee locations that the USGA has to
select, that I think is appropriate for not only a player that's longer, but
also a player that's shorter. If I can't cover the left and I'm playing down
the right-hand side, some guys may not be able to -- the shorter guys may not be
able to cover the fairway if they don't hit a good one.
With that said, I
don't think we're going to get that kind of wind conditions. I don't think it's
going to switch. I think the hardest thing for us is to go out and play a south
westerly wind, which is the predominant wind at this time of year, know our
lines, and somehow be prepared enough to know exactly where the lines are going
to be when and if it does switch to a north easterly, which hoping that it
doesn't. If it does switch to a north easterly then a lot of guys and their
lines are going to be kind of messed up. There's going to be a big, drastic
change in what lines you're going to take off the tees.
like it's coming along nicely. I haven't been doing too much. Like I said I
played nine holes Sunday. I did a short session yesterday. I'll play nine
holes this afternoon and probably play nine holes again in the afternoon
tomorrow. I want to make sure I'm getting enough sleep. I want to make sure
that the rest and recovery is up. Starting Thursday it's going to be a brutal
test, not only physically, but mentally, as well.
Q. Looking at
the course and the 18th hole, in particular, here, Rory has been talking about
it. And I want to get your thoughts on it in general and its potential to
provide, a par 5, a potentially exciting finish on Sunday?
Yeah. The way I played it with that wind, that's kind of down off the right,
you can take on that bunker down the center, center right, and try and sneak in
between that 20-yard gap or so, which will give you probably an iron in. Or you
can hit a 2-iron down the middle and hit a 2-iron just short of the green. It
definitely is going to make an exciting finish if it is close because there's
two different ways that you can play the hole. If you're coming from behind,
you need to press, you obviously need to try to execute the best plan that you
can to make that birdie. But the biggest thing is to try to stay out of the
bunkers, try to stay out of the fescue, that's the ultimate goal this week is to
try to keep that to a minimum.
I think the trickiest part about 18 is not
so much the tee shot or the second shot, I think it's the green, actually,
whether you're coming in with a wedge or coming in with a chip. If the pin
location is left on that green, middle left on that green there's a potential
chance of you chipping it off the back edge of that green and rolling 60 yards
down into either the fairway or the rough. So there's a chance that it could be
fireworks or a chance there could be a lot of disappointment coming Sunday with
regards to the green complexion 18.
Q. And just as a follow-up,
we've been asking your fellow professional about their first major victory,
going back six majors, so someone winning for the first time, not too far away
from here. Use do you think that started the streak? The last six majors have
produced first-time winners. If you had to put your finger on it, why are we
seeing this trend, this pattern, do you think?
JASON DAY: I think it's
just luck, to be honest with you. And I'm not saying luck as in because they're
lucky people. I'm just saying we've just gone through a stretch guys have just
popped up and won.
Yeah, but you've got to understand that if you look at
the last six major winners, they're all different ages, all different styles of
play, all different ages, from Sergio to me to Dustin Johnson so Henrik Stenson
and the guys in between. The way we play golf is totally different. So it's
really hard to kind of really pull it down to one thing, that's why everyone is
playing well, because you can't, because once again they're different ages,
they're different times in their career.
Henrik is, I think, close to 40,
I believe, and Sergio is 37. Danny Willett was in his 20s when he won the
Masters. Dustin has always been knocking on the door for a major championship
and he has the game to do that you will a the time. And me, I was doing kind of
the same thing, I was knocking on the door a lot. At Whistling Straits I kind
of found my well because I drove it well and putted well that week.
it's interesting that the last six major winners have been first time. But I
don't think -- if it has to be another one this week, so be it. But I think
looking at it now it just happened to be luck, to be honest.
I get a chance to talk to Joe Q golfer every day. And every time you get
to the USGA in -- the U.S. Open championship they look at scores.
Q. And they talk about scores. That's how we grade
how great the event is. And personally, I think most of our listeners would
love to see par or 1-under or 2-under win. With that being said, would that be
an unfair golf course for you and the players today?
JASON DAY: No, I
don't believe so. What won the U.S. Open last year? I can't remember.
4-under? What won the year prior to that with Jordan, 5-under? So there's been
some years where guys have shot way over par and won -- not way over par, but
over par and won, and there's guys that shot decent scores.
finishing second to Rory at Congressional. He shot, I think 16-under par, I
shot 8-under par, and we got lapped by him. And just kind of a freak week where
the scoring conditions were low because of the weather.
With that said,
about 1-under, 2-under, even par -- they can set up the course whatever they
want of the. I'm okay with if 5-over ends up winning, I'm okay with that. It
means that everyone -- everyone, to a certain degree, is playing the same
course, obviously depending on weather.
But you've got to get down to the
U.S. Open is the toughest physically and mentally, one of those tough
tournaments, where you have to understand that it may be over par that's going
to win this week, you don't know. But you've got to try to execute the best job
you can to try to win that week. Yeah, I mean, there's no complaints from me.
If they say we want 10-over par to win, I'm okay with that.
JASON DAY: I understand that. Obviously for a
couple of weeks a year we get frustrated like every other amateur out there
sometimes, too. I'm just here to try to do the best job I can. And if at the
end of the week it's over par that wins and I get a chance to do that, then
Q. How much does momentum matter to you coming into a
major? Not necessarily form, but more momentum?
JASON DAY: There's
different momentum. What are you trying to get at with momentum?
You were second a couple of weeks ago -- compared to earlier in the
JASON DAY: I say trending sometimes, but I just like the word
trending, because it's overused a lot. And golf is, to a certain degree, how
many times have you seen guys that have missed six cuts in a row and won one
week. He certainly wasn't trending. It somehow just happened that he won on
the seventh try after six missed cuts.
I think a lot of it comes back to
sometimes you're in the right place at the right time. And one week you get up
there and everything is firing and you win. And then other weeks I think over
time you've just have been building, and the confidence is coming back. And I'm
assuming that's what you're trying to get at with the finishes.
Where do you sit in that?
JASON DAY: Yeah, I -- my last two
finishes was second and 15th. I think I could have played a lot better at
Memorial if I had a better first round. You put four rounds together, and
obviously things pan out differently. Momentum, it's key -- I think momentum is
more key during tournament rounds than actually looking at it. Because, yeah,
I'm starting to get a lot more confidence over the last two events I've played
compared to the first nine events that I played. But I look at more during the
round knowing that, okay, the middle part of my round's, probably the hardest
part of my round, per se.
Sometimes I get off to a good start, sometimes
I get off to a bad start. But the middle of my round is where I look at most
with regards to the momentum. That's where I'll either pick up momentum or head
back the other way. And being able to take control of that is -- it's huge for
But getting back to the question of momentum I think it's more about
the confidence levels that you build up over good results. It kind of works in
a circle. You practice hard. You get the results. You gain the confidence.
You want to practice hard again. And then you get the results, you gain
confidence. So it works in a spiral that way. And it can also work the other
way, as well, where you don't get the results, you don't want to practice so
hard and you lose confidence. So that's kind of what we're talking about
Q. And just as a quick follow-up, what sort of feeling
did you get about this course when you first got here and got a couple of
rounds? Anything stand out to you?
JASON DAY: The golf course, itself,
they say it's wide. It is wide when you're standing in the middle of the
fairway. But the land, the property, itself, is so huge, that when you're
standing on the tee and the way they positioned bunkers, it doesn't seem that
wide. Visually you look down and you know it's wide, but it doesn't seem that
wide, especially with wind and it being -- there are hills and a lot of jagged
edges out here, and there's not many trees to stop the wind from whipping across
the golf course. But it's visually tight in areas.
You say, for
instance, 12, and you look at that ask you're standing up with a driver in your
hand, and it's 285 yards to carry that top left hill there, if you don't, you're
60 yards back down the hill hitting a long iron into a green that's possibly 15
yards wide. And there's fescue left and more fescue right. You look at it and
you go, I don't know if I can -- for me, some guys are different, but I look at
it and go, that's pretty tight with the wind being out to the left.
it's more the visual part. You've just got to get past that. Once you get past
that and understand that you don't really need to take on some certain bunkers.
Like, say, for instance, 14, you don't really need to take on 14. Yes, you
could take it on, try and get there in two, but that side of that hill there on
14 is pretty severe. I dropped a ball from the top of the green, kind of rolled
down. Now you've got to get really unlucky, but if you roll it down into the
bunker, it rolls down into the water 60 yards away.
So you've got to
really pick and choose where you kind of take on things and lay back because
these bunkers -- I mean I'm sure everyone has been talking about them, you can
get some pretty if I lies, and there's a hazard. And unfortunately I think
we've become accustomed to having certain depth, sand, thickness in bunkers, and
know that we can get to greens from the middle of the fairways or off to the
side. And we think that -- we should be doing that. But ultimately in the end
it's a hazard and that's what they're there for, for you not to be in
I think what they've done with the golf course, the piece of
property that they have had, and they've kind of fit everything naturally to the
grounds, itself, is quite beautiful.
Q. Just speaking of the
bunkers, I'm wondering just how different they are than what you normally see on
Tour and have you tried to hit out of any of those little crevices there from
JASON DAY: Yes, I have. You have to be lucky. I think if
you could be stuck outside the bunker in a hole. You could be in one of these
small spaces that are like two feet wide. I think a lot of guys are trying to
get used to the actual sand, itself, because it's not a typical sand that we
usually play. There's a lot of kind of small little pebbles, and I think that's
one thing that you have to really look out for on the greens, because it does
blend into the greens very well. So a lot of those small pebbles are going to
be in amongst or around the hole, if pins are cut close to those greenside
bunkers. So you've got to make sure that when you're reading a putt you see,
and it doesn't knock any of the balls off line. Because like I said, they do
blend into the green pretty well.
But I've only played 18 holes. I'm
going to play 9 today and 9 tomorrow. I'll get another look at the front side
and the backside over the next two days and hopefully I can make a plan of
staying out of those little ones. That's obviously the plan.
Apologies to bring up a sore subject, but what did you think of the NBA
finals? What does it say -- just in the nature of competition and expectations
and all that?
JASON DAY: Yeah. I think Golden State, they played great.
Having Kevin Durant definitely helps. Steph Curry is obviously a genius with a
ball in his hand from outside the three point line. The whole team, we were
looking at it, our bench needed to play better than their bench.
hard to write -- I think if we look at it, in game 3, you know -- LeBron and
Curry had an outstanding game. But unfortunately we kind of lost it in the last
minute, 24. And it was due to Kevin/Durant having two free throws, and him
pulling up and shooting a three right at the end and kind of took the wind out
of your sales.
Like in any sport and any professional sport it's very,
very difficult to win. I've never played a team sport, so I can only blame
myself. I don't think there should be any blame, I think the guys played as
hard as they could. Obviously, some guys could play better, some guys did a lot
of work and it's a team effort when it comes to basketball, and hoping for a
better result next year.
It was good to see him back there. It was a lot
of fun watching them because they're the two best teams going around and it
would have been nice to be able to get one on the road and have it extended a
little bit more. But Golden State did a tremendous job, not only through the
regular season but in the playoffs, as well.
Q. Jack Nicklaus
used to love when players would complain about conditions at a U.S. Open. He
would pick out and say, he can't win, if that's the way that he's acting. And I
remember last year at the Open you said, I forget if it was Saturday or Sunday,
you said I hope the conditions are tough.
JASON DAY: Yeah.
How did you get that sort of mindset? Why do you embrace that challenge,
and how do you cultivate that?
JASON DAY: Usually when you hear people
complain, it's one less guy you have to worry about at the start of the week.
Their attitude makes up for at least 25 percent of your performance. And if you
have the right attitude going in for the week, great. But you've still got to
execute and know that there's a lot of other players that have good attitudes as
well that are coming into the week.
I've heard nothing but great stuff
about this golf course and how much everyone's attitude is great at the start of
the week. Everyone is going to run into some sort of trouble out there,
everyone is. It's a matter of how you handle yourself in that moment to prepare
yourself to greatness. And like you said, I'd much rather the course harder
than easier. Tough conditions, windy conditions, rain whatever it is, as long
as it's harder, I feel like I play a lot better in conditions like that.
But it brings in the mental aspect, as well. And the USGA, they do a fantastic
job not only testing the physical side but the mental side of things, but also
the whole game and the state of your game. The person that wins at the end of
the week they want everything firing right at the right time.
back to the question about having tougher conditions and that bringing in the
mental part of your game, it brings in the desire how much you desire to win the
actual tournament, itself. Because everyone has a breaking point and a limit or
threshold that they'll actually reach. And they'll go, okay, do I actually want
to push it even more or do I have enough in the tank to just -- I can just kind
of cruise it in. And those moments are the moments when you learn the most
about yourself, whether you can actually push more than you've ever pushed
before in your life. And that's why I like tougher conditions, because it
constantly tests that barrier to see if I can push even further and further and
further mentally and physically with regards to playing tough venues such as the
U.S. Open like this.
Q. Just wondering how is your mom feeling
JASON DAY: Yeah, she's good, thank you, mate. She had scans
done and got the CTs, actually gave them to my agent and we're sending them to
the doctors now.
Q. Just a quick thought, how is it different
for you to play golf now that she's doing much better compared to earlier in the
year when you were so worried about her health?
JASON DAY: I've played
through injuries before and I've had other things go on where it was kind of
easy. Injuries are hard because sometimes it just hurts to swing a golf club.
But you know that once you rest it and you're healed up you can go play
Going through spells where motivation is not the highest is tough,
as well, but you know that you're going to get out of it sooner or later, as
long as you keep working hard you'll get out of it.
But when someone has
cancer and you don't know whether or not they're going to survive or what the
outcome is going to happen -- and plus with my mom, who sacrificed a lot for me
to be in this position today, it was tough. I mean it was -- I don't wish it
upon anyone. It's something that I could never -- I didn't want to focus on
golf. I didn't want to be on the golf course, because I knew she was at
My sister and my mom were here, and I made sure that I brought them
over, but they're in a country that is not their home and they're at my place
and they don't drive on our side of the road, they drive on the other side. So
they don't have a car to get anywhere. They're by themselves. There's a lot of
worrying about their livelihood and also worrying about the health of my mom, as
And now that she's much better and she's healing there's still some
things that pop up every now and then with her health, but my mind is in a
better place. And the unfortunate thing about life is that everyone is going to
pass away at some point, and it never gets easier as you get older, because once
you get older it seems like more and more people that you know pass away. And
it's just part of life.
You're born and you pass away at the end of your
life. And as long as you've done what you've needed to do during the span that
you're here and felt like you've done stuff for the better, for the good,
hopefully at the end of your lifetime you've changed people's lives. And my mom
has definitely impacted not only my life, but my sister's lives, as well. I'm
sure she's impacted other people's lives through the stories that I've told.
Because no matter how much I've worked on my game, I can't imagine going through
what she was feeling like, raising three children by herself, not working, not
having a lot of money, and making the sacrifice or decision to go, okay, I'm
going to forego by daughter's colleges, and put my boy in the golf academy, take
a second mortgage on the house, borrow money from my aunt and uncle, so that was
a big sacrifice she made. So obviously everything I have in my life is due to
her decisions back then giving me the opportunities now.
Reading between the lines of Brian's questions, talking about the
visuals, are you having any struggles or issues doing your visualization process
on this course because of what you described?
JASON DAY: As in seeing the
Q. Well, obviously that's a massive part of your
JASON DAY: Yeah.
Q. Are you having issues with
that because it's a bit blind?
JASON DAY: Sometimes it works out either
way. Sometimes you get to a golf course like this, you don't know where trouble
is or you hit it and you don't realize that there's trouble down there and you
hit it down the middle or you hit it right in the trouble and you don't realize
it was there.
Biggest thing for a place like this is being prepared.
I've done a lot of walking out there this week and taken a lot of photos on my
phone, from each angle around -- around every green, off the tees and off the
second shots just so that I can look at it every single night and go over it and
see what kind of visual I'll have coming off every tee, every second shot. And
if I do -- whatever pin location I have Thursday through Sunday, either in the
morning or before my round I can look at where the best spot is to miss it just
in case I'm out of position where I can get up and down, just so I can kind of
familiarize myself with the actual golf course the best I can. Because, once
again, it is new to most people here and I've only played it once. So I've got
to do the best job I can to hopefully prepare and get myself ready to try and
play one of the hardest golf courses I think that we play.
heard you were testing a TaylorMade 2-iron with 1-iron loft --
Q. -- maybe for this week.
Q. Have you determined if the club is going to go in the
bag and how does it fit this course setup?
JASON DAY: It's going to be
nice if it's dry. Unfortunately, I don't know that it's going to be dry. But
I've got an M2 2-iron. It's got a graphite shaft in it, low-spin graphite shaft
in it. It's longer than my 2-iron, but I think it's got 13.5 degrees of loft on
it. So my biggest thing is I want my 2-iron to go 3-wood distance, so I can
take the 3-wood out and don't have to worry about hitting a 3-wood. Because I
feel like I'm really good hitting the long irons. I shouldn't say I'm not good
at hitting a 3-wood, in my times I'm good at hitting a 3-wood, I feel a lot more
comfortable hitting 2-irons.
And with the weather conditions, it doesn't
look like it's going to blow too ridiculously hard, if I'm looking at the
forecast now. But with that said, I think if we can have a little bit more
runout, it would fit perfectly because I can hit my 2-iron would go 270, 275
yards off the tee and then run another 30 yards and it would be 300 plus yards,
and that would be perfect around here, because I could be very super aggressive
with the lines, and I don't have to pull that driver too much. But with the
wetter conditions you're going to have to pull the driver more than the 2-iron
this week. I'm going to give it a shot over the next two days, and I'll find
out more after Wednesday.
Q. Any sense of melancholy coming
back to a state you won a major, and what would it mean to win a second in the
state of Wisconsin?
JASON DAY: Yeah, it would be nice. I might buy a
house up here if I win again. I might start eating cheese. Yeah, it's --
there's a lot of good memories coming back. The people are fantastic. I love
the people up here. Very, very nice. Very genuine people. If I pick one up
here, great. That would be a really neat thing to be able to win my first two
majors in the state of Wisconsin. Definitely like the golf courses up here.
They're tremendous golf courses. But I'm just trying to do the best job I can.
I know there's a lot of guys out there that are trying to win either their
first, second, or whatever number it is. And I think everyone's kind of on a
level playing field right now and the golf course is great. The weather is
going to be either bad or good, doesn't matter, we've just got to go out there
and do the best job we can. I'm excited about the week.
Looking forward to it. Jason, thanks for joining us. We wish you well this
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
#1 by #178 at 2017-06-13 18:37:00 GMT