Matt Jones, 2019 Emirates Australian Open, Round 2
KATHIE SHEARER: Terrific to have you sitting here, leader by 1 on a course that you know very well. You must be very pleased with yourself.
MATT JONES: I am. Any time you get to lead is fantastic. It would have been better to be more in front, but I’ll take 1 in front. Still a long way to go. I’m sure the wind is gong to pick up the next two days, which will make it a little tougher.
KATHIE SHEARER: Did you feel that you left a few out there?
MATT JONES: I would say when you combine both rounds, no, I think I’m exactly as good as I could be. I made a lot of par putts yesterday, made some good birdie putts today, maybe missed one or two, but it’s evened itself out, so I’m very happy to be where I am.
KATHIE SHEARER: You said when we were walking in that there was quite a lot of ash out there and you just feel a little bit throaty. Was that the whole of your group, do you think they were all a big coughy and throaty?
MATT JONES: Yeah, I would definitely say there were some big leaves out there that were burnt. It’s not the easiest to breathe, our eyes have definitely been stinging quite a bit. I’ll be happy to get inside and get in the air conditioning. I won’t be doing anything else for the rest of the day. Hopefully rest and get a good night’s sleep.
Q. We know you play here a lot, but I’m sure it doesn’t play like this most of the time. How much of an advantage is that? You’re obviously comfortable here, you’ve won one here before, and how much of that plays into what you do going into the weekend?
MATT JONES: I wouldn’t say I play here a lot. I play an Australian Open here, that’s the only time I play here. I never come back to Australia and play golf here really. If I do, maybe once or twice, but I’m in America full time. With that said, I’ve finished second and first here, so I should feel pretty comfortable. Knowing where to miss a golf course I find is very important to me, so I kind of know where to miss and the types of shot you’ll need in certain areas if you do miss a green regulation. I do rely on my short game a lot. This week it’s not as necessary, you can putt from everywhere, so chipping is not a huge necessity this week. I’ve got a lot of experience around here and I’m going to have to use that the next two days.
Q. Just looking at your results this year, it looks like you started the year quite solidly and the last two or three months have been quite good as well. Is that how you see it and how would you describe the way you’ve been playing of late?
MATT JONES: Yeah, it was good. Playing out of the category I was from Web finals to get your card wrapped up and get the following year’s, it’s never easy to do. I’d say on average 10 guys to 15 guys get their card out of the We category, so to be able to do that was fantastic. I played very consistently all year, had a few top 10s which is nice, because it had been a long time since I’d had a top 10 on Tour, but to start the year, the 2020 season in the US I think the way I have, to be like 50th in the Fed Ex Cup is fantastic and gives me confidence this week and going into the rest of next year.
Q. You’re a famously fast player, I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone play faster. Why is that? Why do you feel like you need to do that and also, the second part of that is, have you ever played with anyone faster?
MATT JONES: It’s nothing that I’ve ever tried to do, it’s just how I play golf. I get a number, I know the shot shape I want to hit and I’ll hit it. The less time I have to think about things, I’ll have a couple of swings before I hit a shot to get a feeling and I try to go as fast as I can to keep that feeling into the golf shot. But, I’ve always been fast and it’s just my routine. I’ve tried to slow it down, but the mind starts to wander for me when I start to think about things, so the less time I have to take – I could probably play quicker if I wanted to – the less time I have to take, the better.
As for playing anyone faster, maybe Chris Riley back in the day, he was literally talking in his golf swing, he was that fast. He was unbelievable. There’s a couple of fast guys out there, but I’d be top three on Tour, I think.
Q. Does it bug you not to be in here until Friday?
MATT JONES: I was in yesterday, you weren’t though.
Q. You know what I mean, before the Tournament, does it bug you to not get any kudos?
MATT JONES: No, not at all. I actually prefer it that way. I just do my own thing. I’ve never had to do pre-Tournament media and I don’t know any different. It doesn’t make any difference to me whatsoever.
Q. Gary Barter, I imagine, is still your coach, isn’t he?
MATT JONES: Yes, he is.
Q. How regularly do you deal with him from here?
MATT JONES: He’ll come to America anywhere from five to eight times a year, but we do a lot of work over the phone. During a golf tournament I’d be Facetiming him two or three times a week just keeping things in check. We text. During a Tournament we’re in touch every day, I would say.
KATHIE SHEARER: Thank you very much for coming in Matt, hope to see you tomorrow.
MATT JONES: Thank you very much.