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February 16, 2001

Paul Stankowski


NELSON LUIS: Another nice round by you today. You put up a 65 today to get to 20-under, currently in second place. Why don't you just give us some of your thoughts on your first three rounds and, in particular, today's round?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, it's nice to get off to a good start and to get myself in position here to have a good weekend. I didn't hit the ball really well today. I didn't hit it bad. I just didn't hit it really close. But I made some good putts, a couple good par saves, a chip-in there on the last hole and I ended up with a pretty good score. Yesterday, I hit the ball really well, and today, not as well, and I shot -- it's nice to know that I can put up a good number when I am not hitting that great.

Q. You didn't play particularly well last weekend, but was any confidence built from the performance last week?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, last week, Thursday through Sunday, I didn't hit the ball particularly well. It was kind of smoke and mirrors that I was actually at 10-under par for three days. But I spent a couple days with my teacher this week on Monday and Tuesday, and I had not spent any time with him for about a year, and he pointed out about five things in my swing that had gotten bad over the last year, and we worked on those and -- played this week. I'm gaining confidence in trying to trust the things I'm working on. Although, today, it wasn't very good, so I must be resorting back to a little of the old swing. Last week was completely different. I feel like I'm a different player than I was last week. I was in terrible positions on my golf swing and now -- kind of got a cure, I just need to trust -- and I think long term I'm really excited about the rest of this year.

Q. What was the cure in -- was there anything positive you found about your swing?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Last week you mean?

Q. When he said he found five things wrong with your swing?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, there were, you know -- I don't want to go into detail right now. There were four really key things in, my golf swing that I needed to work on. I got out of my plane, I had gotten steep, my alignment, grip was bad. Not major things, but little things that added up. I struggled a lot last week with getting the ball on the fairway. You know, it's hard to explain. I'm just glad that we found it.

Q. How do you deal with the mentality, you haven't seen the leaders. You're in second place right now, and you still won't see the leaders until Sunday?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I don't really think it matters. I just found out right now what position I was in. You know, it really doesn't matter until Sunday anyway. I don't have an answer for you. I'm just out here playing golf and adding them up. We'll add them up on Sunday, and give me the check. (Laughs).

Q. Are these kind of conditions fun for you? Do you enjoy coming out here knowing that you've got to shoot 66, 65 every day? Is it a challenge? Do you look at it that way?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Everybody knows you've got to shoot low. The greens out here are so perfect that if you give yourself some opportunities, I feel I'm going to make them. The golf courses out here are beautiful. The weather is perfect. It's a birdie-fest. I don't want to say it is a putting contest, because it's a lot more than that. You still have to hit good golf shots. But everybody knows that. It's not a surprise that guys are shooting 62s and 61s. I think it is a surprise that guys have not shot 59 more often. But coming in, guys know it is not the U.S. Open. Courses are not setup like that. It's just perfect. It's like playing indoors -- it doesn't get any better than the desert. If you come out here shooting even par around the golf course, you're in trouble.

Q. You're the first player to come through and say you don't consider this a putting contest. Can you elaborate on that?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I just said you still have to hit good golf shots. If you have 30-footers all day, yeah, you might make a couple of them, but that's not going to get it done. You still have to hit good golf shots to give yourself those opportunities. In the end, the guy who makes the most putts is probably going to win, and if you're not making anything out here, you're not going to be in the hunt. I've made my share of putts, but I still have to hit good golf shots. I feel confident that if I can trust the golf swing, I'm going to hit the shots. And it does come down to a putting contest. But there is more to golf than just putting.

Q. How big of -- do you consider yourself a consistent putter across time, not just this week, but across time. Do you consider yourself a consistent putter?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I've always been streaky. Yeah, I've been streaky.

Q. What do you do when it is not there? How do you get it back?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: You just pray that it comes back. (Laughs). I don't practice a lot. I just keep on plugging. Sometimes I make them. Sometimes I don't. Typically, it all comes down to speed. If my speed is good, I'm going to make a lot of putts. We have so many different greens we putt on during the year. Thankfully, this week we are in Palm Springs and not in the other places that are bumpy. It's nice to have a good surface. When you have a good putting surface, and you have a 10-footer that you are reading on the right edge, and you hit it on the right edge with the right speed and it goes in, that gives you a lot of confidence. A lot of places we've played in the recent past, you can have a 10-footer and you can pull it -- you can pull it to the left edge and it will bounce back and go in the hole. That doesn't give you a lot of confidence because you've just got to get it in the hole -- inaudible -- here, if it doesn't make it, it means you didn't hit a good putt. I think everybody licks their chops out here on 10-footers.

Q. Is there a tendency on the Tour, do you think, to over think or overcomplicate the art or process of putting?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, I think that's probably a common problem with a lot of guys, when they are putting because it's very simple. You read it, you aim it, and you hit it. There's nothing to it. You don't have any control over it. If it doesn't go in because it -- you've just got to tap and go to the next hole. The simpler the better, really. That's the whole nature of the game. It's hard enough as it is, but a very simple game.

NELSON LUIS: Why don't we just go over your birdies and it looks like a nice eagle there on 18.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: 1, I hit driver 3-wood right of the green. Actually, I hit a provisional ball on my second shot because I thought it could have been out of bounds. But it was in bounds and I hit it about a foot -- 30 yards right of the green. 7, the par 3, I hit a 7-iron about six feet. 8, I hit driver, 3-iron just short of the green. Chipped up about three feet and made that. 13, the par 5, I hit a driver, pulled it left, hit a tree and almost went out of bounds. Ricocheted dead left. Hit it out in the fairway about 130 yards or something and hit it about 30 feet left of the hole. Pretty crummy iron shot but made the putt. Longest putt I've made in probably eight months. Exciting. 16, I hit driver, 7-iron about 10 feet. Made that. 18, I hit driver, 3-iron about 20 yards short of the green and looped it.

End of FastScripts....

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