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May 27, 2004

Paul Stankowski


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Paul, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the St. Jude FedEx classic. Great round today, 67. You've had a lot of success here in the first round, and with the wind out there today, the course is playing pretty tough. Why don't you just talk about your round and maybe even the conditions and we'll go into questions.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I was very pleased with the finish today. I love this golf course, and it's different this year than it ever has been. It's actually really firm and fast. You know, it's the same course but it's just playing differently. The wind was blowing pretty good, a little bit of swirlings, but pretty consistent as a whole.

But it was just different, and I'm pleased with how I finished. I hit the ball very solid off the tee and I hit the irons pretty good, made a couple putts. That's something lately I have not done well, so it's nice to putt well and give myself a shot.

Q. Paul, last time in 2002 is when you made the 8 on the par 3 and dumped it in the water on 12. I remember talking to you afterwards. You don't remember that?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No, I remember it.

Q. You just remember after the round you were disappointed because it wasn't worth throwing clubs or anything.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I talked around that today actually with my caddie. I actually hit a really good first tee shot, and I dropped it and hit what I thought was a really good next one, and they both went right over the hole into the water. So unfortunately some good shots turn out bad, and some bad shots turn out okay. But yeah, it's a game, you know. I made 8, it cost me.

Q. You said you talked to your caddy about it, like on the tee?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: After I hit my shot I just told him that story, just that I made 8 there. Today I hit a 6-iron into that hole. I hit 4-iron yesterday in the Pro-Am, and I mentioned to Rich that there's no way they're going to have us on the same tee box today. It's an island green, the wind is blowing hard in and off the left and I'm hitting 4. I mean, how many 4-irons do you hit into island greens out here? So I thought it's going to be windy, same wind, let's move the same tees up. They moved them about eight yards closer and I hit a low bullet 6-iron. The club today was between a 4- and a 6-iron. That's a hard hole, man, it's brutal. I was shocked. So after I hit my ball safely on the green, I just told him that story.

Q. He was not your caddie that year?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No, this is our first week together.

Q. What's his name, Rich?


Q. Hopefully you'll be writing him a check after this week.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Somebody is getting a big one.

Q. What's the matter with your wrist?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I've got something going on there, probably a ligament strain, sprain, damage, something. I had a cartilage tear a year ago. I had it cleaned out, and the pain came back, so I'm just dealing with pain. I haven't gotten an diagnosis yet but I think it's like a ligamentitis, sort of like a tendonitis of the ligaments. It's some official diagnosis, so I'll get it checked very soon here. I'm kind of afraid to get it checked. I'm maintaining it with some treatments that I'm doing, and the pain is down small enough to still perform, but it's getting kind of not news every day, doing the same things, heat, ice, tape. It's not going away but it's not getting worse.

Q. Do you know when you hurt it?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I hurt it in '02, October of '02. I tore cartilage, played -- had a couple cortisone shots, and then at Colonial last year, that week I had arthroscopic surgery, came back in August, pain-free for about two months, and the pain came back in October last year, started coming back slowly and had some tests done. They showed just tendonitis, but there's something else going on in there because it's just -- we don't know yet.

Q. And it's just heat and ice you said?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I had an ultrasound every morning, ultrasound in the morning, tape it when I play, ice it when I'm done, take anti-inflammatories, and that combination gets the pain down to about a 3 out of 10, and if I don't do the treatments, I can't play.

I'm able to maintain. It's not perfect, but it's good enough. If I get ahead of a ball, it kills me because I've got to get the club down and get through the ball in position. It hurts to rotate, so I do a lot of holding and hit a lot of big cuts.

Q. How long have you been doing these treatments?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I've been taping it regularly since just Houston. I taped it off and prior to that and just found that with taping it keeps it a little more stable, keeps the ligaments in there a little -- I don't know, it just seems to keep the pain down enough.

Prior to that I just did ultrasound every day and ice when I'm done. I do whatever I can to keep it from having to get cut on again.

Q. You had gotten it cut on previously?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: A year ago last May, just an arthroscopic cleanout, just to trim up the cartilage tear. It was successful but the pain came back. We don't know.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Do you want to go through the round? You started on 1. Birdie on 2.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Birdie on 2, I hit 3-wood and an iron, and I made a putt (laughter). I hit a 3-wood and a 9-iron or pitching wedge. I'll say a pitching wedge to 20 feet.

On 3, I hit driver, 2-iron about 25 feet, two-putted.

6, I hit 3-wood, L-wedge 15 feet.

10, I hit 3-wood, pitching wedge 30 feet, 35 feet maybe.

14, I made bogey. I hit 5-iron in the water right, chipped up to a foot, made bogey.

15, I hit driver in a divot, sand wedge to six feet, made it. That was it.

Q. A couple of years ago you had actually played -- other than those two holes you played a really solid two rounds of golf. Do you remember thinking that, man, if I could have -- without those two holes I might have had a chance of winning that?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Two years ago? Probably. I mean, I'm sure -- what was the other hole?

Q. I think you hit it in the water at 12?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Oh, really? Yeah. You know, you're right, I remember that. I made like 8 and 5 or something. Yeah, did I make the cut that year?

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: No, you missed the cut.

Q. You had a crazy round because you started on 10.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: That's a lot of shots to give up starting on 10. I've always liked this golf course. I played good my rookie year and have just continued. I've missed some cuts here. It's kind of a feast or famine type golf tournament for me. For me, if I roll the ball well, it doesn't matter where I'm playing, I feel I have a chance to win.

Unfortunately, I may not be as good as some guys to where I have to putt well to have a chance, but that's the way it is, and so as you heard, a made a couple of 15 footers, a 35-footer, and my last two tournaments, Charlotte and Dallas, I think I made four putts in those rounds over six feet. Making putts is obviously how you have to score, and avoiding big holes is another way to score.

Q. I heard someone on the range the other day say something to you, boy, you lost a lot of weight, and you said something to the effect, well, that's been gone for a while. Did you do anything in the off season?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Actually not in the off season. I did a lot of eating in the off season and noticed -- I haven't been working out since my wrist injury. I can't do any weights. I can ride the bike and stuff, but I was pretty soft and I was like 194, and I thought, you know, if I was 194 and solid I'd be happy. So I wasn't -- so I didn't want to continue to get bigger. So I just started eating better, and I did that starting the west coast. Really it started in mid-December, and about three weeks ago I was like 168. There again, I'm still not working out, so I'm not getting bigger muscularly -- I've got no muscles, I'm just skinny, so now the fat is off and I'm just skin and bones, so I need to slowly work into working out but I can't do a whole lot. That's the way it is.

This is what I weighed when I was a sophomore in college, which is kind of fun, but then again -- I have energy, I'm not weak, I'm hitting the ball just as far as I ever did, so I'm in better shape core-wise. I'm faster, I can run a little faster, which is kind of cool, so that's good for golf. But yeah, I have lost some weight, but in the last three weeks I've probably put on five pounds. People just don't see me. I'm kind of stealthy. They see me like three weeks later and go, man, you've lost weight.

Q. I wanted to ask you going back to 11, I've heard a couple of folks say the distance on that, and it's an island green, is that a little bit unfair?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: It's not unfair at all, it's just hard. It's just a hard hole. I'm not sure -- the distance is only -- it's 185 to the pin today. If there's no wind, guys are hitting 7 and 6-irons. With the greens as firm as they are and as windy as it is and with it swirling, it's a hard hole today. The officials put the tees where they want to put them, and they made that one really hard today. It's a hard hole. If that wind turns around this week, I don't care what tee you put it on, the greens are so firm, you're not going to be able to stop it on the green. At least it's into the wind. It's just a tough hole and there will be two groups on that tee box all day long because our group took six holes for us to hit the same green in regulation, for all three of us to hit a green in regulation. Just imagine, you're going to have one out of every three guys hitting the ball in the water and in the bunker there. It's a hard hole. It's the hardest hole on the golf course right now.

Q. Did you notice your name near the top of the leaderboard and did it surprise you that 3 and 4-under was --

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I did. I looked up there at one point, and I was like, huh, it is playing tough. I saw on the automated board that 1-under was on the board, and you just don't see that here, man. You get done with your first round and 10-under is leading and 5-under is the last number on the board, and the guys that show up in the afternoon are thinking, gosh, I've got to shoot 5-under just to get on the board. Today they're not going to have to do that. It's fun. It's definitely a challenge.

The greens here are always so receptive. It's like darts. Yeah, so it's fun. It makes you think, definitely, and my mind has been kind of like mush lately. I've been making a lot of mental mistakes, so this is going to help me really get dialed in more and start picking precise spots to land balls, so I'm kind of embracing the challenge.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

End of FastScripts.

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