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June 2, 2000

Paul Stankowski


LEE PATTERSON: We appreciate you spending time with us. Maybe just a couple thoughts about heading into the weekend. Nice position. And then we'll open it up for questions.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, it definitely feels good to be back in the hunt again. I had a couple weeks off; so I've missed it the last few weeks. Didn't know what to expect coming out here because I took a lot of time off between Byron Nelson and yesterday. But I'm pleased, I'm hitting the ball well. Driving the ball pretty good. Hitting the errant shots the right distance, most of them on line and made a few putts. I'm encouraged and looking forward to the weekend.

Q. What did you do on your time off?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Relaxed. Played some volleyball, a little basketball. Just hung out with my family and just enjoyed some time off. Played five weeks in a row from MCI through Byron Nelson, and it was the longest stretch I had played in a while, and it kind of wore me out a little bit. But I feel refreshed and ready to go.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL STANKOWSKI: He could have had some bad lies. I've drawn a couple good lies and a few bad lies this week. It all depends. On 12 today, I drove it in the right rough, a foot in the rough and I was in someone's cart mark. I was driving the wrong way; so it was laying in to me, and had I been an inch to the right -- the grass was all laying down and it's an easy shot. But when it lays in to you -- you can get some bad lies. I drew a terrible lie on 8. But there's good lies on the fairway, though.

Q. But the rough is fairly normal for here?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah. You can probably draw some more bad lies than good lies, and that's why they call it rough.

Q. You talked about with the time off and then being in position for the weekend, obviously, you can be within four or five of the lead, so you have to be pretty happy with where you're at?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Definitely. There's four rounds here this week, and I've never -- I've never won after two rounds -- I don't think anybody has. It's encouraging to be near the lead, in range and have a good weekend. I'll have a shot at the weekend. It's been a long time since I won. I feel good. I feel mentally ready to win again. I feel physically ready to win again. It's hard to do it out here, but I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge.

Q. How important for you was the time off?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: The time off is very important. I love being at home. I'm kind of a home boy. And the road life takes it's toll sometimes. It's just good to have -- kind of a sense of normalcy when I'm at home. I have a newborn son, my wife, we're building a home. We have got a lot of things going on. So it's fun to get away from the hustle and bustle of the grind out here on tour. It's good to be home.

Q. Where are you building the home?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: In Flower Mound, pretty near where I live right now.

Q. Just going back with -- it's been a long time, just four or five years ago, everyone was predicting that you would be one of the new stars on the TOUR, and then you've kind of tailed off a little bit, not too bad, but did you feel a little bit too much pressure from what people were expecting of you and maybe just expecting too much of yourself?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I think probably expecting too much of myself. I didn't -- I try not to think too much or paying too much attention to what other people think about me. Sometimes it's hard not to -- not to read what's written about you. I tend to like to read articles that people write to see, one, if they like me; and two, if they don't, and I take notes (Laughter.). So that's something that, if there's an article about me I'll go and sneak off in the corner of the locker room and read it and see what they say. But I don't take it to the golf course. I set goals -- after '97, I basically changed my way of thinking. I remember walking off the 18th green at the Tournament of Champions, the Mercedes Championship and telling one of the local reporters from my hometown in California where I grew up that it's time to take it to the next level, and I didn't. So I've learned that just playing, being myself, I have a philosophy in '97 that I'm just going to go out there and play one shot at a time, as boring as it sounds, and add them up at the end. It seemed to work pretty good in '97. I played a lot that year, like I've done here in the last four or five weeks, and it's just about being consistent. It's not about me being the No. 1 player in the world or me trying to be like Tiger, Duval, Justin Leonard, Lehman. I'm who I am. God made me this way. I'm being myself, and if being myself adds up to a 30th place, a 10th place or 1st place, it doesn't matter. I just want to play one at a time, give God the glory, and move on. That's my game plan. Those two years, though, I think tried a little too hard and I tried to be something that I wasn't, and I didn't like the outcome.

Q. When you say those two years, are you talking about '95 to '97?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. Actually '98 and '99.

Q. When you said take it to the next level --

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. In '98 at Tournament of Champions at Mercedes. It's just funny, you start putting too much pressure on yourself. You know, it's a game. It's a game that you tee it up, you aim it, you hit it, you find it, you hit it again, you knock it in the hole. It's not very difficult, not very complicated. It's hard, but it's simple, the process is simple. If you start thinking too much about what people think or what I've got to do how I've got to do it, look out there, there's just too much going on around to be worried about it. Just focus, hit your shot and go find it. That's kind of like before I'm at right now. Trying to have fun out there with my caddie. This week we had a good pairing. Mike Reid is a good friend of mine, Greg Kraft the same. They didn't play very well this week, but I still enjoyed my time on the golf course, and I felt that even through bad times -- I shot 78 on Saturday in Houston after being -- I think I was in the second to last group -- I think I was in the last group on Saturday and I still had fun. I mean, it wasn't like I was beating myself up out there. I hit a couple of bad shots. I shot 78. I'm like, you know what, that wasn't very good. You know, I was thinking about it, "I just shot myself out of this tournament." But I played good on Sunday, but I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy 78. I never like let it get to me. That's just kind of the way I want to go.

Q. The last two years, did you let it get to you? Did you have maybe a different attitude off the course?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: There's just a lot I changed. I tried to change my golf swing, my shot pattern, mental outlook was different. Yeah, if you asked my caddie, he'd probably tell you I was a basket case on the golf course. Definitely trying too hard. Expecting perfection. If I hit a shot and it was 20 feet right of the hole I'm like , "oohh." Now I look at it and I'm going "it's going to make it." Different mindset. Different approach to each shot. If you're upset about the last shot, personally -- some guys can play fired up. I can't. I play low-key. And I played fired up, whether I was really excited or really upset, and it doesn't work so well for me doing that.

Q. Going back to Houston, that was one of the first times you were really in contention this year, and after coming off that second round, when you are right there I think near the lead and you said something along the lines "I have no clue how -- why I am where I am because I don't feel that comfortable over the ball."

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, I was hitting the ball terrible. Well, let me rephrase that. The balls were ending up in a decent spot, most of them. Actually, most of them were ending up in decent spots but well away from the flag. You know, it's one thing you can go out here and hit 18 greens but have 50-footers all day, make three of them, chip-in one if you make a green and shoot 4-under. Well, Houston, I hit it pretty awful. But the bad shots ended up in the right spots. When I hit a good shot, I made the putt. Saturday, I hit just as many good shots on Saturday, and I probably hit fewer bad shots on Saturday than I did the first day. And the second day -- actually the second day, and I shot 78. My bad shots ended up in the wrong spots. So out here, you can hit bad shots, you're going to, but if you hit them in the right spots, you're going to be all right. That's kind of the key to misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win.

Q. Do you feel differently today than you did in Houston, more in control?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yes. I feel totally in control of my game and I feel good about it.

Q. So you don't think 78 -- I mean, it could happen tomorrow but it -- it probably didn't surprise you that much in Houston; whereas, it probably would surprise you a little bit tomorrow?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Completely, yeah.

Q. Paul, you had an equipment change in '98 didn't you?


Q. Do you think that had an early effect?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I don't think. So if you look at my greens in regulation stat in '98; I was 14th on TOUR. I think I was second in birdies on par 3s. That tells me my iron play was pretty good. My short game was lousy -- lousy, lousy. And that ended up to a pretty crummy year. '99, on the other hand, terrible stats. In the meantime, in between there and Greensboro, I switched different clubs, different shafts, a number of times, trying to find the right mix. I don't know if the clubs I played in '98 -- maybe I ought to go get them again and see what shaft was in it, because it felt -- it looked completely different in '98 than it did in '99. But that's in the past. We're in 2000. That was a century ago, wasn't it?

Q. Being a new father, has that changed your attitude a little bit?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Of course. You know, I remember the first tournament we brought Josh to was in San Antonio, and when I finished my round my wife is usually right there and we go in. She kind of breaks me out of my golf trance and I enjoy my time with her. In San Antonio, I walked off the 18th green after I shot like 77. Just not happy, and I didn't want to see anybody at that time. And I turn around and I see her and I see my little boy, and, you know, at the time he was probably eight weeks old. And she said, "Here, you take him." So I carried him in my arms. We jumped in a cart and went up the hill, and by the time I got to the hill in the clubhouse, I was fine. Just looking at him he's so dependent on his mom and dad. It's a total change. It's brought me to just a fuller understanding of -- of what life is about, you know what I mean? The golf, it's just a little game. And Joshua's life, it's like my gosh, why am I upset about this game of golf when I've got this great wife and wonderful family? Yeah, it's changed my perspective a lot. I know what -- doesn't come out of my golf game and I've got a family that loves me at home.

Q. You changed, used to have the Hawaiian shirts and sandals and boots with spikes on them to a pretty subdued look today. Which is the real Paul Stankowski?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Actually, this is still Tommy Bahama which is what the Hawaiian stuff was. And I'm going to break some of those about again. I switched to a different line of clothing in '98, '99 and those are now long gone. Maybe these clothes do work. Their logo is relaxed. Their whole slogan, "life is one long weekend." It kind of fits me. So I'm going to bring out the Hawaiian shirts. The sandals I wear at home.

Q. No more spiked sandals?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I still have them at home. I don't have a contract with them. I'm much more comfortable with the shoes I'm wearing right now. But the sandals, I do wear them at home. Golf shoes don't look good in shorts, anyway, and I'm kind of into looking smooth.

Q. Will they let you wear those out here?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I wore them in Hawaii,'97, '98 -- '99 . I wore the boots at Kapalua. I mean, I wear -- the boots are great at AT&T when it's real wet and sloppy. But no, they don't look good with silk pants. You've got to look good out here. But I'm going to bring those shirts out somehow.

End of FastScripts…

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