Accenture Match Play interview: Jason Day

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February 23, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: WGC-Accenture Match Play transcript archive

DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Jason Day. Jason, congratulations, final four for you here at the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship. On the way in, you mentioned that you've just got to hang around, and you did that, and here you are heading to Sunday. Just some comments.

JASON DAY: Yeah, it was very stressful out there today. I feel like my mind is going every which way right now. Just to play the way I did on the back nine was very, very special. The whole game today felt really, really nice, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. You know, myself and G‑Mac, we really didn't play our best, but you've just got to do enough. That's because you're just playing against a guy that's across the tee from you. I've got Matt Kuchar tomorrow, and I know he's very slow and steady, hits a lot of fairways and greens and can roll the rock when he can, and I'm looking forward to that.

Q. It was a real seesaw on the back nine there, up, down, square, whatever it was. How important was it to you that you were mentally strong after playing in the morning?

JASON DAY: Well, I took a 10‑minute nap on one of the massage tables in the locker room, and I just wanted to try and rest my mind a little bit and not think about the round that was coming up because I know playing against G‑Mac is going to be very, very tough. And for some reason I just knew it was going to go to 18. He sticks around. He's obviously played on a lot of the European Ryder Cup teams, and he's very experienced when it comes to a lot of pressure and the match play format. Very, very excited that I had the chance to get it 1‑up.

Q. What does it say about your game and getting it back? Obviously we've talked before about last year was a little bit of a wash even though you still played really well. Do you feel like you're right back where you belong?

JASON DAY: Well, last year was ‑‑ like I said before, I felt like I found excuses rather than put the blame on myself. I just didn't work hard enough. And this year is totally different. I've got a lot of the stuff behind me. Dash was born last year and a lot of injuries happened last year, but that was in the past now.

I just wanted to get off to a great start this year, and I worked very, very hard in the off‑season, in the gym, and I worked really hard with Cole right before we started the TOUR, and it seems like it's working out great.

I just started working with some guys, Jason and Henry. They're from a little company called Focus Band, and that's why my mental game has been a lot better this year. I just started working with them at the Waste Management and finished sixth at Pebble, and I'm in the final four this week. All the things, the little things that I've been working hard on are starting to pay off, which is nice. Hopefully I can keep improving each week and maybe win some.

Q. Did you give any thought to the fact that today you beat the reining Masters champion and a former U.S. Open champion all in one day?

JASON DAY: Right. The funny thing about match play is that it's so up and down, and if you get up to a good lead like I did on Bubba, it's very, very tough to get those holes back. I started off great against Bubba, and luckily enough I finished it off pretty quick.

G‑Mac on the other side, we were going back and forth. Like I said before, it was very, very stressful. I'm glad I got it done, but you know, it says something that my game is moving in the right direction, that I beat the reining Masters champion and a former U.S. Open champion. I've been playing great, and I'm just really, really excited to get into the matches tomorrow.

Q. Is it about trying to get back in the top 10 in the world, too? You've sort of slipped back to 40s. This will help you move back up. I would think that's where you feel you belong?

JASON DAY: Yeah, I have goals, and one of them is to get back into the top 10. I really think that I belong there, it's just a matter of how hard I want it and how hard I need to work to get it, and that's all it comes down to, the commitment and dedication that I put into my game will hopefully get me there.

But obviously this is a good start. I've had two top 10s prior to this, so top 10s are great for World Ranking points, and I'm in the final four tomorrow, and that's ‑‑ regardless of where I finish is going to be really good World Ranking points, as well. So it's a good start.

Q. There was a very casual moment last year I remember at the Doral tournament where you were on the practice tee with Tiger, and Tiger was so relaxed chatting with you. Do you remember what I'm talking about?

JASON DAY: Yeah, yeah.

Q. Did that leave any ‑‑ was that unusual, because I had never seen ‑‑

JASON DAY: It was strange, because I knew Tiger before that, but I was just hitting balls after the round, and he was hitting balls, as well. I hit one ball and then all of a sudden he's standing right next to me just watching me hit balls. We got to talk a little bit about just the game, what it does, I was just trying to pump him for questions just to see what he does on the course, what he thinks mentally and all that other stuff, and then ‑‑ I think I said to someone right after that that he's going to win very soon, and he did. Because it just looked like he had that ‑ it's cliché ‑ eye of the Tiger back.

Q. He was giving you a hard time about you not knowing the loft of your own driver I think I remember?

JASON DAY: Yeah. Well, you know Tiger; he knows everything about his whole bag. He hits his sand wedge 118 yards. I'm not that precise. I think I'm right around 120 yards, just depending on if I feel better or worse in the morning.

Q. So was there a little bit of a moment of welcome to the club in that chitchat?

JASON DAY: A little bit. He's been my idol ever since I was a kid. He changed my life. And if it wasn't for Tiger, I wouldn't be in this position today. There's a lot to thank him for that. I remember reading a book about him when I was young, and that motivated me to wake up every morning at 5:00 and go practice before school. Putting in 32½ hours a week, with school, of practice was ‑‑ that consumed my life after I read the book about Tiger. Like I said before, he changed my life for the better. It's obviously great to be here and to compete against the best players in the world such as himself is also great.

DOUG MILNE: Jason, get some rest, and best of luck tomorrow. 

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