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July 10, 2003

Craig Stadler


PHIL STAMBAUGH: 33-34 and 67, I know you're happy to get off to a better start this week an the past few. Just talk about the round.

CRAIG STADLER: It is. I got off to a horrendous start at Inverness and not a good start at Grand Rapids, but played I had an outing Monday in Toronto and looking forward to getting here. I had a good solid practice day Tuesday and played okay yesterday.

So just made a couple mistakes today, but I got away with one on 10 and actually got away with a bogey on 4, I guess. But other than that it was pretty solid. Didn't necessarily drive the ball well, but just kind of kept it in play and hit a couple good irons and couple good shots on 17, and a putt that shouldn't have even thought about going in 18 but it didn't.

2, I hit 3-wood off the tee and pitching wedge about three or four inches.

3-wood just short, chipped about five feet on 3 and made birdie.

Pulled it way left in the bunker on 4. Actually hit a pretty decent bunker shot about 8 feet and missed that. Bogey there.

Missed about a ten-footer on 5.

6, I hit a 3-wood in the left rough, sand wedge about 15 feet and made that.

7, I hit in the fringe, just left it just short there.

Good shot on 8. Hit 6-iron about 8 feet and made that for birdie.

Missed about a 6-footer on 9.

10, I hit driver, God knows why again, but in the right bunker. Came out way short of the green in heavy -- hit a really good shot out of there about 20 feet past and made that for par.

Parred 11, 12.

Drove the bunker again on 13, left rough second shot. Hit a real good third shot about eight feet and missed that.

About 12 feet -- about 30 feet on 14, two putts. Good shot on 15 about ten feet and missed that.

20 feet on 16 for par.

Then hit probably the best iron I've hit in about five years on 17. Drove it right at the end of the fairway, just a great 3-iron about five feet and left it short for eagle.

Then 3-wood, 4-iron about 40 feet on 18 and slammed it.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Quick assessment, you've now had several times to go around this course this week. Your assessment of TPC of Michigan?

CRAIG STADLER: I wouldn't say several times. I played the front nine today for the second time. But, yeah, it's good. Surprisingly, it's a Nicklaus golf course that you in spots need to work the ball, probably five or six times right-to-left, which is not a typical design for him, I would say. He's pretty much a left-to-right design, left-to-right player.

But there's a couple holes that are very difficult for me to drive the ball, 7 being one. The par 5 has trees over there. Again, 10, and, somewhere else, I can't remember off the top of my head right now.

But anyway, it's a good, solid course. There's a lot of short par 4s, a lot of wedge holes, hit wedge probably six times today. So you get it playing, get a good wedge game, then you should be able to score out here.

It was pretty much, you know, the first couple of holes were breezy and the wind died down. Got kind of still and nice and humid as July should be around here, I guess. But again, you get the ball in play, and the greens are soft enough that you can fire right at the hole. With short irons, you should make some birdies out here.

Q. When you came out here, did you have an idea of how long there would be an adjustment for you, if at all you thought there might be one?

CRAIG STADLER: No, I didn't think there would be any adjustment at all. You're basically starting Thursday or Friday morning, doing the same thing you've been doing for 30 years. Just different players in the field, but, you know, same guys I played with for 20 and over 30 years. I wouldn't say any adjustment.

The only you might want to call it adjustment is the fact that I've never seen any golf courses, and obviously the first year you don't. But, we do that every week, and one or two practice rounds, you pretty much know what you've got.

Q. What do you look for in those practice rounds? You played the front only once, you said, before, what sort of things are you looking at on a new golf course?

CRAIG STADLER: You don't really discover many of them until you've played a few times. Especially yesterday being the first practice round, all of the pins are right on the front of the greens. You've got your guys out there, you don't take the time to walk to the back and look at all of the bumps. You hit some shots and miss some greens in places and you discover where you can't miss it. I had no clue watching Nicklaus hit on 18, no clue it went down like that over the green, so that's dead, I know that. But just a lot of spots you find that until you really walk over there and pay attention or you hit it there, you don't know kind of what exists.

Q. Everybody, every year, the same thing, everybody talks about how hard the golf course is and always talk about how surprised they are at how many red numbers everybody puts up, but with your limited time having seen this course, do you have any theories on why that is and why everybody goes low?

CRAIG STADLER: You have four par 5s and two are reachable. Depending on the wind, all four of them could be reachable.

Then you've got probably five or six wedge holes. The greens are soft, the ball is not going anywhere. They have got enough sand in them where you're not backing the ball up, it's just hitting and stopping, so it's kind of throwing darts at every green with every club. And if you drive it in the fairway, it's very, very playable. But you've got -- I would say you've got at least probably 12 very, very much birdie holes out here out of the 18.

Q. You said you played really well on Monday in Toronto?

CRAIG STADLER: I just did an outing up there. I did, I hit the ball very good.

Q. What was that outing?

CRAIG STADLER: Just a charity outing up there.

Q. Was that a surprise to you, or did you really improve something?

CRAIG STADLER: Well, I had the week off and I haven't played much. I practiced a little bit on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and flew on Sunday. But I wasn't really expecting to out and shoot 61 or 62 or whatever I did, but it was fun doing it.

It doesn't really matter where you are, really after a week off, you come out, hit the ball good, a couple good irons, you get some confidence going.

End of FastScripts....

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