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Joe Durant adjusting to new status

Joe Durant has quickly learned that success on the PGA Tour has its drawbacks, but he's enjoying himself too much to think about it.

The 37-year-old Durant, whose tie for ninth place at the Compaq Classic of New Orleans was one of his best results of last year, is a totally different player this time around.

Different because he has already won two events this season -- one more than he had in a less-than-illustrious five-year career on the PGA Tour prior to this season -- and because he stands a lofty third on the PGA Tour money list heading into this week's $4 million Compaq Classic.

But with sudden prominence comes greater commitments, an adjustment Durant is finding a bit more difficult to become accustomed to than success itself.

"There are more interviews and more tournaments, and it's been time consuming," he said on Wednesday.

"I have to say it's been fun, but I have to work a little at pacing myself. You can't do everything."

Durant's often rocky career took a turn for the better when he won the Bob Hope Classic with a 36-under-par 324 in the 90-hole tournament.

He had already set a new standard for himself by shooting a 61 in the second round of that event.

In his next start, Durant backed up his win with a victory in the Genuity Championship and then tied for fifth a week later at the Honda Classic.

That remarkable stretch of golf, in which he was a cumulative 69-under-par, earned him $1.56 million -- about $130,000 less than he accumulated in his first 132 PGA Tour events.

"At the beginning of the year, I felt like I was going to play well," said Durant, who ranks behind only Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh with $2,111,722 this season. "I made the decision last fall to change some things and I wanted to start well."

Durant, who took time off from tournament golf to become an insurance salesman, is coming off another big finish at the Houston Open, where he finished in a tie for second and moved up to seventh on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list.

"I didn't hit the ball well, but I chipped and putted well," he said of his Houston play, "but that's the nature of the game. I would have never had a chance (to be in contention) doing that two or three years ago."

Durant is thinking about making the Ryder Cup team, but he won't allow it to become a distraction to his game, he said.

"I just need to play solid," he said. "There is a long way to go before it's a done deal.

"I want to make the team, but let's do what we have to do to play well. You have to stay in the present."


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