June 11, 2019
MIKE TROSTEL: It's my pleasure to welcome Jason Day into the Media Center. Jason, playing in his 9th U.S. Open, a two-time runner-up in 2011 and again in 2013. Jason, a lot of success at Pebble Beach in the Pebble Beach Pro Am the last two years, tied for fourth this year. Tied for second last year. What is it about this course that suits your game, suits your eye?
JASON DAY: It's a totally different golf course, to be honest. The last few days that I've played, I got here Friday night and I played 18 holes on Saturday, and the greens were fast and hard. And I came out Sunday and it was almost like it came through and there was a boatload of rain that fell on the greens. It was very soft. Now they're starting to firm up again. I think they're kind of cautious about the heat that we're getting right now.
But, yeah, it's a totally different beast. We're playing with amateurs in Feb, and the greens are a lot slower, you can be more aggressive. Granted, there are a lot more footprints because there's a lot of foot traffic around the hole, but everything kind of stops on a dime. Drives to irons into the greens. It's going to be a lot more difficult this week, only just due to the fact that the greens are very small. And if -- depending on how they set the greens up with regards to the firmness, that will dictate a lot of what the scores are going to yield.
I think they've done a great job with the width of the fairways on some of the holes. They tightened 8 up, they tightened 11 up, and I think 16 as well -- sorry, 15. So there is -- I think they've done a phenomenal job there. The course conditions itself is very healthy. The rough is healthy. But I've had good success here in Feb, but we do play some other golf courses, as well.
This is a very, very different golf course, especially at a U.S. Open venue. I'm excited to see how the scores go. I don't think it's going to be too low. I think if they have conditions like this, it will be kind of low, under par, maybe, to win.
MIKE TROSTEL: You have a caddie on the bag this week who has seen success here, historic success here up close. What have you been able to glean from Stevie Williams the first few days walking Pebble with him?
JASON DAY: It's funny, because I was giving him a little bit on the range because everyone that came up to us on the range at the start, was like Andy North and Jeff Sluman and all these guys that are like kind of the older guys, and I said, It's really showing your age. Because he here was in '92, and he was here in 2000. And obviously he's here again.
So it's nice to have someone with experience, that has unbelievable experience in major championships, and also, on top of it, have the experience of that winning pedigree with regards to the players that he's been with.
I mean you just have to look at the players that he's with, and it just kind of almost, to a certain degree, puts your mind at ease knowing that he knows what he's doing. He's very old school. If you take a young guy these guys, we work a lot with ups and downs, and he is very much sort of a feel guy.
So there's a little bit of communication that obviously needs to be done. But he's got an amazing history around a golf course like this. And he's been doing it for a very, very long time. He's very positive. I feel like ever since I put him on the -- he started on the bag, I've worked a lot harder. And that's what I want to see.
Q. When you put Stevie on the bag, did you have a second major in mind and to try to expedite that process?
JASON DAY: It's not just -- I would like to win more than just two majors, you know what I mean? I've currently got one now. I'm not trying to expedite -- because I know that it's going to take some time. If it happens this week, great. But I'm not fully expecting it. I'm going in thinking this is a good week to get started.
But also on top of it I'm here to try and win. But I know that how we're going to work together, it will slowly evolve over time, and we'll become a lot more efficient. And I know that if I have someone on the back like Steve, I think in certain situations, when it comes down to the crunch, especially either Sundays or even Saturdays, or even Thursdays or Fridays, depending on the certain situation, he'll be able to calm me down. Just the experience has a -- I think he's won like 15 majors or something like that and 150 events. That's a lot of tournament wins and a lot of experience under the belt.
Q. Just to follow that up, is putting Steve on the bag an acknowledgment there's a lot more potential for you to achieve?
JASON DAY: Yes.
Q. And where do you think you are in terms of what -- have you underachieved?
JASON DAY: Underachieved, yeah. Severely underachieved, I think. And granted, I have to work on a few things, mentally and physically, with regards to my golf game. But I think I've underachieved up until now. I feel like I've got a game that when it's on, I can win most tournaments. And the big thing for me is to go ahead and believe that and have trust in my abilities that I can do that. And now that I have Steve on the bag, I think hopefully that will flourish and I can make winning more of a habit.
I know that I can do it. All you have to do is look at 2015, 2016, even last year, not just have a single season win. I know that I can have multiple wins in one year and I can get things going.
So I just have to get that desire back into my game and keep working hard. I think as long as I keep doing that, then having Steve on the bag is going to be the right choice.
Q. So it's a full-time job?
JASON DAY: Yes.
Q. And then the second thing is Steve has always said that the first hole of a tournament is just as important as the 72nd hole. And when he was with Adam, he really pushed that with Adam. It's not nine holes to get going. We need to start from hole 1.
JASON DAY: Yes.
Q. Is that something that you feel that his focus and how driven he is, is that going to sort of push you in that direction?
JASON DAY: Yeah, definitely. I think you never know, you come out and bogey the first hole and lose by one, that bogey on the first hole could have been more important than any other shot that you've obviously produced during those four days.
I've always heard that, but I've never really thought about it too much. I know that his drive and his will to be successful is very, very high. And I think he's kind of a no BS kind of guy. He'll tell you straight. He told me that, If you're not working hard enough, I'm gone.
So that's pretty much a good enough, you know, incentive to go out and bust your butt. Because I view it this way. To have someone like Steve on the bag is very instrumental in my career with regards to where I want to go and the trajectory I want. I also think that there's a lot to learn off a guy that's been out here for a very, very long time, who has caddied for Tiger Woods for 13 years, who caddied for Greg Norman for a lot of years, Raymond Floyd, the list goes on. Adam Scott. These are some tremendous -- best players of their generation, of all time.
So this, to me, is more so a learning curve, and to try and get better and also find not a solution but also another gear where I can keep pushing it and fighting it and winning more.
And that's ultimately what I want to do, is I want to win more. I told Steve, Look, I want to -- my goal is to get back to No. 1 in the world. But I want to do everything I possibly can to get there. If I need to do whatever you need to tell me, I'll do it. He said that being No. 1, there's a lot of sacrifice that comes along with that. And we both understand what that means.
So I'm very excited about this week and the potential of many years to come.
Q. Is this the rededication, for want of a better word, selfishness you need to do like you did in 2015?
JASON DAY: Yeah, unfortunately it is. To be -- I think to be the best -- to be the best, you have to be selfish with your time. You have to be almost selfish with your whole career in general, I think. It's really hard. You have to have a really good balance between golf and family life. And then everything else kind of has to fit in, unfortunately. I mean, I feel -- I always have the family with me, and that's a very important part to me. I can't sacrifice that. That's the one thing I don't want to sacrifice.
So I know that there's a lot that I need to do, and there's a lot of work that I need to put into my game. I know just from hearing the stories that Steve has told me, just recently, about how hard these guys have worked that he's worked for, puts things in perspective. And knowing that I really only have -- it's not a small window, but you're only here once, so you may as well get up and bust your butt because looking back on it, and if I somehow only end up with 12 wins but I busted my butt, at least I know I put it all out there and I tried to make the right decisions for my career to give myself the best chance at winning more tournaments. That's ultimately what I want.
Q. What was the kicker? Was it Memorial?
JASON DAY: No, it was just Bud, who is sitting here, and Ellie and Cole, they sat down, and they're like, You're not working hard enough. And I'm like, Yeah, you're right. Yeah, you're right.
And unfortunately sometimes in a career that's a very long career such as golf, like everyone else here that has a long career in the golfing world or in their world, sometimes you just are motivated to do other things. And I am very disappointed with how this year's progressed. I didn't play well, and I need to improve that.
And I need to start working harder, and that's plain and simple. And that started with -- this is no disrespect to my mates that were on the bag. They were very, very hard workers. They were great. But I think Steve will take me to that next level, and I'm hoping that's the case.
Q. You sort of answered it, but is it confronting to come to that realization; that as hard as you worked for X number of years, you've got to go all in?
JASON DAY: Yeah. I think it's more of a -- it's okay for me to be out here and be -- and keep my card and make my money and go about it. But that's not the reason why I'm out here. I'm out here to win tournaments. Everything else will take care of itself.
And I know how hard it is going to be to try to get back to the top. And that's my plan and that's where I'm trying to project myself and see myself, is being back on top.
And I know how hard it will be to get back there. But once you finally make it, all that hard work and that dedication and seeing your name on top of the world, it really, I guess -- it's not that you're proud of what you've done, it's just that it's the -- the delayed gratification that you get from all the hard work and the sweat and the tears and the blood that you put into your craft to try and finally reach that goal.
And I know, looking at Steve, he's very goal oriented. And I've been that way myself. And unfortunately I kind of lost my way with regard to goals. Having someone that's very driven and very forward focused, especially on making me a better player, that only drives me to try and improve.
Q. So have you had a gutful of being announced as the two time runner-up?
JASON DAY: Yeah. I think the ultimate goal is to win all four majors. That would be the kicker, there, I think. If you can -- there's only a handful of guys that have done that. And I think that's a good, lofty goal that you can try and achieve. And you've got to make the goals lofty enough, but I think with my game, I feel like I've got the potential to earn those. So hopefully I keep my head down and I keep going.
Q. How long have you been mulling over a change?
JASON DAY: A few months.
Q. When did you guys first talk?
JASON DAY: Bud, when did we first talk? Saturday night. Yeah. I've been thinking about it. He was thinking about it. We kind of just -- I think we all came to a realization that, hey, things need to happen.
Q. And then, secondly, you mentioned some of the stories that Steve has told you about other guys working hard, et cetera. What's the best one he's told you so far?
JASON DAY: I don't want to talk about any guys. That's just the stories between us two. And obviously it's nice to have Steve on the bag and tell me these stories, but I can't --
Q. Maybe best piece of advice?
JASON DAY: Best piece of advice? Work hard. No, seriously, like you don't get anywhere in life without sacrificing and working hard. That's just plain and simple. And you've got to work smart. But you've got to have the goals. You've got to have your short-term, your medium goals, and your lofty goals. And that's kind of what he's done, is really open my eyes back to trying to stay focused on these.
We'll see how it goes. I'm excited about it. Hopefully I work hard enough to have him stay on the bag for more than this year, it would be nice.
Q. What's your best story about dealing with the wind, maybe one moment where you conquered a crazy wind or one moment in your career when the wind tormented and conquered you?
JASON DAY: Oh, man, I think there's more times it tormented and conquered me than I did the other way around. I think the only time where I was -- where it conquered me big time, it wasn't really like -- I don't think I made the cut, is at Royal St. Georges.
And this is really the first time where I've ever come across weather like this, where we're playing at The Open championship, I'm playing with Bubba Watson, I've got the umbrella, and it's coming up under the umbrella and hitting me in the face. That day was one of the toughest days I've ever had to play condition-wise in The Open Championship in any golf course conditions.
One tournament that I did conquer, that actually potentially propelled me to where I am today, I was playing in New Zealand, we were playing the second event down there when it was at the Nationwide event, and I honestly thought I missed the cut. And the guys had to come back the next day, and it was blowing and David Diaz ended up double bogeying the last hole to let us all in. And I ended up playing really well on -- nearly missing the cut to finishing 6th. And that reshuffled me to get my number high enough so that I could play more tournaments in the United States. And I finished fifth that year on the money list.
Q. Who had to do more selling in that conversation with Stevie?
JASON DAY: Me.
Q. Were you selling him?
JASON DAY: Me, for sure. He says that I pulled him out of a hole. But the hole was probably about as flat as this bloody table here. Because he was enjoying retired life back at home, with his kid, Jett, and his wife. He's got his racing, you know.
He came back on the bag to win major championships. So hopefully I can fulfill that dream for both of us. And it was more about me sitting down with him and him seeing in my face and my eyes that I'm trying to -- I'm going to do my best to try and do that.
Q. You've been so successful in poa. Are these poa greens much different from Torrey's or anyone else that you've won on?
JASON DAY: No, no. I wouldn't say so. It depends on how -- granted, we played on them soft, we played on them hard. They will be different just because there's a decent amount of slope on the greens.
At Torrey we don't have -- it's kind of bigger greens. There's more of a landscape that you kind of find a flatter area. These greens are so small that you're going to have to potentially aim a three-foot putt a foot, two feet outside the cup sometimes, just depending on where you're at. It's imperative to leave yourself under the hole here. So there's that you've got to be careful of.
Q. I know you're very close to your family. You spend a lot of time with your family. Are they behind the additional time and effort and sacrifice it may take to reach your goal?
JASON DAY: Yeah, unfortunately, you know, Ellie is a very big supporter in my career. I try and do the best I can with regards to being there as much as I can. Granted, we -- Dash, he went to school for the first time this year. And he loved it, but he also loved being on the road with me and being close to me.
So we're going to try and home school him -- home school them this year so that they can be on the road with me a lot more. I only get to see my kids grow up once, so I want to try to be there as much as possible. It's a very, very difficult balance to become the best player in the world and also be the best family man you can possibly be. There has to be a little bit of give and take there at times.
So during the off-season I'm going to be spending as much time as I possibly can with them. Obviously there's a time and a place for it. So right now Dash asked me if I could go to the beach today. I said, sorry, I've got to be, obviously, got to be at the golf course.
So it makes me sad sometimes to think that my boy asked me to do that, and I can't do that because I know that I'm trying to play and win the U.S. Open this week, but also there's commitments that I have to be there for.
But I'm trying to chase greatness right now. And my wife understands that, Ellie, she's been a great supporter of mine. And who knows how long this will be for. I don't know if I'm going to play until 50. I don't know if I'm going to play until 40. I've just got to keep things rolling. If things fall my way, I can retire a little bit early and spend the rest of my days with them.
Q. Aside from just the word "family," do you need or potentially want a secondary passion that's not golf?
JASON DAY: I don't have anything other than my family and golf. And that's it.
Q. So is there something to maybe encompassing them while you're focused on this golf dream, but in your downtime, having something or --
JASON DAY: What would you suggest, Ben? Do you want to go for a walk on the beach?
Q. I don't know. We don't get to know everything obviously about you. But when was the last time you went on a vacation that wasn't to the golf course with them all or with just Ellie?
JASON DAY: I think it's been years, to be honest. I don't really take vacations because I'm so busy with golf.
Q. I'm asking is that something that maybe would help in this scenario?
JASON DAY: I think you definitely need some time away. And I definitely think I need a vacation from this, because it's been a very stressful year. I don't know what hobby that is. I'd be more than welcome for people on social media to recommend a hobby to me. I'm sure I'm going to get a mouthful of it after this presser.
I definitely -- I think I need something to kind of take my focus away from golf. And it's got to be a good hobby. It can't be like drinking or gambling.
Q. With the family. Maybe if we can tighten that in, right?
JASON DAY: Definitely. That's something that you want to be able to -- you spend more time on vacation with family or just somehow being able to switch off. It's very, very difficult for me to switch off. If I'm on the road and I get home, it's very hard. Like I've got to be up doing something, I can't turn it off. Like I physically can't turn it off, and it's very, very difficult.
After a week to two weeks, then it finally starts to settle down. But it's very, very hard for me to not be wired and automatically turn it off. So I definitely have to be better at doing that, for sure. And probably you're right, I need a hobby.
Q. You talked about improving your mental game. It seems like adding Stevie and taking that step is a big mental hurdle in and of itself. What else do you need to address mentally to take your golf game to the level you want?
JASON DAY: I think I definitely need to improve my self-talk. I think a lot of golfers need to improve self-talk because they kind of -- they talk -- a lot of people don't realize -- in general, I think not just golfers, but everyone in life needs to improve their positive self-talk because you don't realize how much a negative like thought or even a saying can actually hurt you deep down. You may not feel it or anything, but sooner or later, over time, if you look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you're ugly, sooner or later you're going to look in the mirror and say I'm ugly.
You have to keep reinforcing positive things. And that's what I need to do most, is just slowly keep reinforcing that -- whether I'm going to get back to No. 1 in the world or I am a good player. Hopefully over time that self-reinforcement of positivity will sooner or later go into my golf game and give me confidence. And I'm definitely guilty of that. I'm on the golf course sometimes and I'm thinking negative things. That's human nature.
That's definitely one of them. That and just getting back to pushing through, grinding and grinding it out, pushing through and not stopping. That's really one mental hurdle that you've got to overcome, is when you're trying to win a tournament, you've got to keep pushing and see how far you can extend that barrier. And you know for the next time that you can push it even further after that.
Q. You shared with us a lot of the reasons why you selected Steve to come on the bag. Has he shared with you the No. 1 reason that he was motivated to take that position?
JASON DAY: He thinks that I'm an underachiever. And he wants me to win a lot more tournaments. I think -- and I'm just thinking this -- I think that he has the ability to get me through the line a lot more and being able to turn my game around. Because, to be honest, I'm kind of in like a little bit of a mini slump, even though I've had some good finishes. I feel like I need to win a lot more. And I think he's got the formula to be able to hopefully get me across the line a lot more and win some more tournaments. And even so, I'm talking about major championships. I'm not talking about just regular Tour events. I want to win more majors.
Q. He thinks you're a talent and sufficient to accomplish those goals?
JASON DAY: Yes, it was a very nice compliment that he said to me about coming on the bag. And I do appreciate that. And granted, like this is Steve Williams, it's not your local Sunday caddie down at your local club. It was a little bit intimidating to have him on the bag, to be honest. He's had a lot of great ball-strikers on the -- that he's worked for.
And I'm excited -- I was excited and intimidated in the same breath. But this is -- now getting to know him over the last few days, I feel like we are kind of on the same path now. And that's obviously to get back on top and win more. And that's what we're here to do. I don't want to mess around with it.
MIKE TROSTEL: I'm going to have to cut it off there.
Q. You wouldn't have to worry about anybody taking any pictures.
JASON DAY: Well, you never know.
MIKE TROSTEL: Thanks, everyone. Jason, best of luck this week.
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