By Ryan Buck
After two straight weeks of PGA Tour tournaments, Jason Kokrak came home to host The Vindicator’s Miller 64 Greatest Scramble Challenge benefitting the Animal Welfare Care and Education Center. He leaves today for The Barclays at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.
Q. What did you think of the event?
A. It’s a good thing for the Valley, good thing for this Warren-Youngstown area to do things like this. It’s fun for everyone. You win a scramble, you should get to play in some kind of a playoff throughout the year. That’s kind of the same idea that the Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour have done. It’s fun for these guys to come out here and compete against each other. 30 teams or so, a lot of money flying around for a good cause and it’s just a lot of fun to be out here and support this community. Ed [Muranksy, Lake Club owner]’s golf club, they do a first-class job and it’s just fun to be recognized and be a part of something like this.
Q. After two full seasons on the PGA Tour, what have you learned about yourself and your golf game?
A. You learn stuff every week. There’s no one thing that I’ve exactly learned out here, but out on Tour, you’ve got to be patient. I used to be somewhat of an aggressive player. Out on Tour, you’ve got to pick your battles. I haven’t had anybody yet out on the Tour take me under their wing and kind of show me the ropes or guide me in one direction or the other, so it’s been me on my own. But I think that’s for the better. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve made good ones. I’ve made bad ones, so overall I don’t think it’s any one thing that I can pinpoint. Just gaining experience out there under those circumstances maybe like on a Sunday afternoon late, having the lead, or playing well down the stretch. You learn about yourself. You put yourself in that position, you know you can do it. I can call on those feelings and those emotions and I can go back to it and know that I can hit it with the best of them coming down the stretch. I showed myself that at Congressional [for the 2013 AT&T National]. I absolutely striped it all week and if I had a few more putts drop, [champion] Bill Haas and the rest of the field wouldn’t have had a chance, but I’m happy with this year. I’ve collected my [PGA] Tour card for next year and I’d like to start getting hot at this time of the season like I did last year.
Q. What things are you trying to improve?
A. It’s all facets of the game. Everybody on the Tour talks about putting and chipping, but if you don’t hit the ball in the fairway you’ve got no prayer out there. The roughs are long and it’s very difficult to judge how the balls going to come out. Fairways are a premium out there. I hit a lot of three-irons, a lot of two-irons, a lot of woods. I don’t hit a whole lot of drivers as most people think, but I’ve got to get better on my wedges for sure. I was really good with my wedges last year and putting, and just hit it terrible with everything else. This year, I really hit it well and just didn’t hit the wedges as close as I really should and normally do. Just keep working and continue to get better. I’ll try to get better year-to-year and I think we’ll be OK.
Q. What are some aspects of your game that you are happy with?
A. I’m happy with the way I’m striking the ball. I’m hitting the ball really well with really simple swing thoughts. I’m really happy with my putting. I putted well at the PGA. I think I only hit eight fairways out of the two rounds so that’s not going to cut it in a major championship. The more I put myself in a major championship atmosphere like that, and like at Congressional, the better it’s going to be. But I’m happy with where I’m at.