home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 24, 1999

Craig Stadler


LEE PATTERSON: Congratulations. Maybe just a couple impressions about your match today, and then we will open it up for questions.

CRAIG STADLER: Well, I played actually pretty good today. I drove the ball real well. Didn't miss a fairway. My iron game was good. I missed 1-iron on 7; miss-hit a 6-iron a little bit. But other than that, just played real solid. Didn't make a lot of birdies, but I think I made three or four, and Monte didn't play too good. Didn't hit his irons real well. Didn't drive well. Missed some putts at very inopportune moments for him. I just kind of made a few putts, took advantage of it, and just got a big enough lead. He dug himself deep enough hole that it was hard to get out of. But I am very, very happy the way I played. Played my irons a lot better than last few weeks. Still drove the ball well, and just a good, solid day.

Q. You said at Pebble Beach that you really didn't care if you made it here or not. Now that you have and you have won, I mean, how do you feel about it?

CRAIG STADLER: Well, then again, you go back to what they asked me at Pebble. I didn't say I didn't care if I played here or not. I said I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if I didn't get in, which I wouldn't have. Obviously, Pebble, I played well there; finished third and jumped from 70th to 59th, which was great. I mean, I didn't say I didn't want to play here. I love to play here. I haven't played here a lot, but I have played here enough growing up here. And gosh, you always want to go back to your hometown and play if you can. But I wouldn't have been devastated if I didn't get in. That is pretty much what I meant. But, no, it was good. I played well the last two days. I played -- had a real good practice day yesterday. Started putting the ball better, little more consistently; and although I didn't make a whole lot of putts today, I made a couple for me at very opportune times on 7, especially, out of the bunker when he didn't get it up-and-down. But no, obviously I am very happy to be here very happy to be playing tomorrow.

Q. Is the course now a factor? I know Monte has played here a lot.

CRAIG STADLER: No, I don't think so. He is probably played here as much as I have. I never played here as a kid growing up. That is kind of like last week. You get the same question, "Well we never played there in school." And I never played Riviera until I qualified as amateur in '74 or '73, whenever it was. But pretty much the same thing here, I played a lot of Torrey Pines; a lot at La Jolla and never came here and played. But I played here enough where you know the golf course. I am sure most of these guys have, with a few exceptions of the Europeans that haven't played in the Tournament of Champions before.

Q. How old were you when you played here the first time?

CRAIG STADLER: I don't know.

Q. Teens, twenties?

CRAIG STADLER: It was not the same golf course then. They started here; you went all the way out there. (laughs). I don't know, I probably played here when I was a teenager sometime.

Q. There was some confusion earlier in the week about who you would be playing. Looked like Montgomerie -- did you care? And what, if anything, did it mean to --

CRAIG STADLER: Really didn't matter. You get paired with who you get paired with. Can't do anything about it. But they had the pairings up in the locker room I think on Friday last week in L.A., and because I guess Azinger and I were tied on the Sony Rankings. And they had Paul playing Ernie and me playing Colin which was fine. That just -- it didn't make any difference. They came out on -- actually when I saw Lee on Tuesday afternoon; pulled the pairings outside: "You are playing Ernie." I kind of mentally prepared myself for Monte here and all of a sudden I get Ernie. But I don't know what happened. It doesn't matter. (laughs).

Q. Monte, Craig, as we know is a guy that has a reputation for getting a little distressed on a golf course. Any incidents at all, either with fans or between you two?

CRAIG STADLER: A couple of times the fans. He missed a short putt on 13; we both missed about a 6-footer. Some guy started clapping up in the stands. And then some guy yelled something before his second shot on 15. I don't know what - you got one shot left or something, which was not exactly real sporting-like of whoever it was. In fact, I think I probably gave him a longer, deeper glare than Monte did. But no, other than that, I don't think so. I might have pissed him off a couple of times. I don't know. (laughs).

Q. Wasn't there -- you didn't concede on one hole, a very short putt?

CRAIG STADLER: Well, we both rolled it. He rolled it about a foot past on 11, and we were both about 30 feet. He marked it. I rolled it up about probably ten inches short; he gave it to me. I picked it up and walked away. It was only like this, (indicating a foot and a half). When I realized, I said might as well give him that one, but he was already about ready to putt it. I said, whatever. He got a little perturbed on 13 when I didn't give it to him. I was 5-up; six holes to play; I had about 8-footer; he had about 6-footer. I just missed it high, about six inches; he gave it to me. He rolled it by about three and a half, almost four feet. You got to make it to stay in the match. Last thing you want to do is give it to him and he birdies the last 5. He chips on the next hole for birdie. There is no love lost in Match Play (laughs)

Q. As a guy who -- your own reputation is a sort of a tough guy, or non-caring?

CRAIG STADLER: Say it right, now.

Q. I am thinking.

CRAIG STADLER: Think about it a little bit.

Q. I have seen you for 30 years.

CRAIG STADLER: Hasn't been that long.

Q. Do you like this format? Is that your style of golf?

CRAIG STADLER: I enjoy it. We don't get the chance to play it. I haven't played the Ryder Cup since 1985. Tucson's last year was probably '88 or something, I don't know when. But obviously I won the Amateur, the first year it came back to Match Play. I got beat the first round as defending champion the next year. Tucson, I think I played three times. I got beat in the first round twice, and the other time probably in the third or fourth round, maybe, if I went that far. Ryder Cup I had a good record. I have won both of the single matches I played; and so you know, you can't really go back on something when you haven't done it for 10 or 12 years. But I enjoy it. As I said, it is something we don't get a chance to do anymore, and you got a great field here. You got 64 guys that can win the tournament, and you never know what is going to happen. There is very few matches, if any, that are predictable.

Q. On those couple of holes that maybe you might have perturbed Monte, how could you tell? Could you just see it in his facial expression? Does he say anything?

CRAIG STADLER: No. Andy North told me afterwards that he gave me a good little glare on 13, but you know, if it's to stay in the match and he has got four feet, I am not going to give it to him. He can glare all he wants. It wasn't because it was him or anybody else. I wouldn't give it to anybody else. Doesn't bother me.

Q. Would it be any tougher on that if you are playing whoever your best friend is on Tour if you got him in a match; is that tough to do?

CRAIG STADLER: No. Not a bit.

Q. The complaint you hear about Match Play is it's "Unfair" because you play a great round; a guy plays a better round. But I mean, it is, as you say, it is unique. You like that challenge of sort of like --

CRAIG STADLER: That is the beauty of it right there. You just said it exactly. You can go out shoot 67 and go home, or shoot 74 and still be playing. You just never know. And I don't know, if you go shoot 74 your first match, 75 your next match and win, you are not going to win your third, I mean, basically. I think everybody goes out with the same mentality, you have to play well to win, especially with the field that you got here. You pretty much have to shoot -- I think you have got to shoot 2-, 3-under anyway each day to have a good chance. But fortunately for me; unfortunately for him, he didn't play well and I played pretty well. That is why I ended up 5-3 or whatever it ended up.

Q. He is the No. 6 seed coming into the match, maybe a little bit more pressure on him you think? Did that help today taking the pressure off you?

CRAIG STADLER: It didn't make any difference. You play with these guys week-in and week-out. I haven't played with him a lot lately, but everybody has their good days. As I said, anybody out here can shoot 63, 64 any given day on this golf course. I mean, it is happening every week now. Doesn't matter what course you are playing. You just have to make some, you know, make some birdies early, and especially on somebody like a Top-10 player, probably you want to get a big lead early. Maybe get him firing at some pins where they shouldn't be a little later on to try to catch up; that is when you get him hopefully to dig a hole.

Q. Did you feel like it was time to go for the kill when you got him in a hole or sit back and let him continue to struggle?

CRAIG STADLER: I thought about that going down on 11 par 3, I made sure I got it on the green. I was 5-up. He pretty much butchered 10, but he hit it -- didn't hit very good iron on the -- left bunker; bladed it way over the green; came back; I had 15-foot for birdie, no big deal. But you are 5-up with four holes to go. You are thinking, well, if you tie 3 of them, you are dormied and (sic) blah, blah, blah you start thinking like that maybe you start making bogeys. I just kind of wanted to watch -- was driving it pretty much past him all day; so I got to see his second shots, and that -- for about that four-hole stretch there, pretty much determined what I was trying to do with my second shot. In the bunker on 10, I just tried to get it on the green short of the hole. Make sure I didn't hit it over the green. 12, he hit first, par 5, hit it in the green-side bunker, I mean, I probably would have -- had he knocked it on the green, I probably would have taken a 3-wood trying to knock it on the green, but I laid it up with 2-iron. He hit like a real good-looking wedge. Granted, he was 5-down with six to play, but looked like he hit about five feet. I took a wedge and hit it right at the pin try to follow him right at it. The strategy changes a little bit depending on where you stand with how many holes left and where he hits his shots if he hits first.

Q. Any idea how many shots, as you are describing there, that you hit today that you wouldn't have hit in a 72-hole metal tournament?

CRAIG STADLER: Probably one. Probably the shot I hit on 12. I probably would have hit 3-wood and I just hit 2-iron laid it out. Trying to laying it out, I was only 20 yards short of the green, but that was probably the only one. The best shot of the day I hit probably all day was on the last, on 15. He drove it in the left rough was just dead, and I had about 128 or so and just hit a kind of -- nipped a little 9-iron in there about six feet, which, you know, it was time to step it up and hit a shot and just kind of say good-bye.

Q. You won a tournament last year, and you have been on Tour for quite a while.


Q. Didn't you?

CRAIG STADLER: I won a Wednesday Pro-Am somewhere, I think (laughter).

Q. Two years ago in San Diego?

CRAIG STADLER: Yeah in, 1994, but who's counting? (laughter) Time goes quickly when you get your age. Anyway five years ago in San Diego.

Q. Anyway, what do you think about your game now? You always disparage yourself, but, I mean, obviously you can still play with these guys.

CRAIG STADLER: My game has been pretty good. As I said, I just -- what I did on 5, I haven't been doing. I haven't been hitting the good drive, the good medium-long iron and converting the birdie. I have been, tee-to-green, playing very well. I just haven't been able to take it low. I have taken it low one day each week. I shot, you know, 67 on Friday at Pebble; 66 on Friday at Hawaii; 65 Friday San Diego; 68 on Saturday at L.A., just kind have had one round a week and the weekend at L.A. I played great. I played really well. And just, you know, I made a double on 8 coming in on Saturday, next last hole I bogeyed 8 coming in on Sundays next to last hole. Just kind of turned a couple of 65s into 68 and 69, which normally on Riviera is pretty good, but last few years it is not worth anything. I just haven't been converting stuff into low numbers, but maybe once a week and I am playing good enough to do it every day.

Q. You talked about guys talking about playing their opponent, what do you know about Huston and does --

CRAIG STADLER: Last time I played with Huston was on Saturday. He made nine birdies and an eagle. So I better make some birdies early (laughter).

Q. Do you think the Europeans have a disadvantage here or is it coincidence that so many have --

CRAIG STADLER: No, I don't think they have a disadvantage. They got beat. It is a long flight home. That is the way it is.

Q. You mentioned the unruly fans earlier. How do you think things are going to go on Sunday when you have thousands of people focusing in on four or two guys?

CRAIG STADLER: Oh, I don't think it will be a problem. I don't know some of the European guys, but as far as you read what you guys write, there is only one guy that pretty much the fans get on and he is gone. I don't think there is anybody else, I don't know. Maybe I am missing somebody, but, you know, you won't have a problem. It will be great.

PAUL AZINGER: Were they on him today?

CRAIG STADLER: Yeah, late. Well timed.

LEE PATTERSON: Real quick, just go over your card for us.

CRAIG STADLER: I hit it in the bunker on 2, came out about four feet for birdie, made that. Parred 3 and 4 hit 4-iron about twelve feet on 5, made birdie. 6, in the right bunker, came out about five feet, made that for par. Parred 7 -- or, no, I missed -- 6. I -- two putts for par. 7 was in the bunker, came out about five feet, made that for par. Parred 8. 9, I hit driver, driver about eight feet, 2-putted for birdie. I don't know where that one came from. Two putts for par on 10. 11 made about 33-footer for birdie on 12. Par 13, 14, I had about eight feet. He chipped in, then I hit it about five feet on 15.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297