American star Jason Dufner reflects on his up-and-down week at the 17th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which ended with the PGA Championship winner looking forward to returning to Doha in 2015.
Firstly, how are you feeling as we believe you’re still recovering from a bout of pneumonia?
I’m hanging in there. It wasn’t too much of a factor. I get a little bit tired at the end of the day. I’ve been dealing with it for a couple of weeks and it doesn’t quite go away as quick as you would like. I don’t think it was too much of a factor this week.
You finished with a 71 for a third sub-par round this week. What happened on Friday when you carded a 78?
Yesterday was bad. That was probably the worst round of golf I’ve played in two or three years anywhere in the world. I couldn’t do anything – I didn’t drive the ball good, didn’t hit my irons good, putted awful.
It was a little bit surprising because I had decent form in the States at my first two events of the year and was close to playing well the first two days here (70, 71). I was looking forward to yesterday to making a push and I shoot 78, so that’s no good. I had a nice, early tee-time today because of it (laughs). Today was all right, but I didn’t quite hole as many putts as I would like.
This was your second straight Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. What do you like about the tournament?
Commercial Bank does a great job with the event. They really make you feel welcome and make it easy for us here this week. The weather here is always fantastic. The golf course is very challenging as you saw yesterday as the course fought back a little bit against the field and put a good challenge up.
I enjoy coming here. I know the weather’s going to be good, I know the field’s going to be strong and I enjoy coming over here and playing in Qatar.
Your fellow American John Daly has also competed this week and has shown he can still play and make headlines for reasons other than his trousers …
Definitely. I’ve played with John a good bit over the last two or three years back in the States. He shows flashes of greatness here and there during the rounds. He’s got to put the four rounds together and I think that’s what everybody’s looking for.
He had some really good play the first two days here and he’s probably a little bit disappointed with yesterday’s round. Everybody’s kind of forgotten about John, but he can still go at it pretty good.
Looking ahead to the Ryder Cup in September, what are your early thoughts about making the USA team for a second time?
It’s going to be extremely competitive to make that team. You’ve got eight automatic selections. They did the wraparound schedule (the 2014 PGA Tour started in late 2013) which adds a few more events to the points that weren’t otherwise available in years past, so there’s more opportunities.
A lot of guys played those events and I didn’t play too many of them, but I picked up the PGA [Championship], which game me a little bit of a cushion. I’m looking forward to playing some in the States and trying to collect points and be one of the eight automatic picks.
How has becoming a major champion changed your life?
I don’t think it’s changed me, but things have changed around me. Obviously there’s more opportunities to play in different events like this event I’m at here. I’m going to China in May to play in the Volvo China Open and exploring some other events.
Media requests have obviously picked up a little bit, but I don’t feel too much different; I don’t feel too much pressure. I’m still thinking about the same things I was before I won the PGA.
Finally, will we see you again at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 2015?
Yeah, definitely. I’d like to maybe wrap it around with another one in Dubai or Abu Dhabi as it would be nice to come over for two weeks, so hopefully we’ll be back here in the Middle East playing some golf again in January.