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May 13, 2000

Paul Stankowski


DAVE SENKO: Paul, thanks for joining us, 4-under 66. Good round. Maybe just a general kind of recap, and then we'll get your birdies, bogeys and open up for some questions.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, it felt pretty good today. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots. You know, I knew I had to shoot a pretty good number to get myself -- to keep myself in the game, and if I shot, you know, 4- , 5- , 6-under today, I knew I could get myself in the hunt, and it's just nice to pull it together on the back nine and shoot 31. I'm feeling good. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm not hitting the ball perfectly, but I'm hitting it solidly. I just put some different irons in the bag, different shafts, actually from what I played the last two days. The ones I played the last two days -- the ones I played today were the ones I played the last two weeks. But I've been tinkering for a while trying to find the right mix of shaft and lie angle, and I'm right in between. So the ones I put back in the bag today are the ones that are close, but the ones from yesterday -- I just need to flatten a little bit. I'm in-between, but it feels -- I think I'm going to keep those in the bag for a while.

DAVE SENKO: Birdies, start at No. 3.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: 3, I hit driver, 4-iron to about four feet; made it.

DAVE SENKO: Bogey at 4.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: 4, I hit a driver in the right rough. Hit a 9-iron just short of the green; and easy chip and knocked it by 10 feet and missed it. Total waste of a shot. Birdied 6. Hit a driver and a pitching wedge that hit five feet short of the pin. Took one hop over the green up on the back, had a downhill -- I putted it from about six feet off the green and made it. 7, hit driver way down there. Had 3-iron into the green and pulled it a little bit, kicked dead left and had a -- I was 30 yards left of the green and chipped it -- didn't get it on the green and made bogey. It was terrible. Another waste. Wasted a couple shots there. 10, I hit a -- hit driver, 9-iron about 15 feet. 16, I hit driver, 9-iron about 20 feet. And 18, I hit driver, L-wedge about 18 feet, 20 feet.

Q. What were you doing with changing the shafts?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Kind of go back to the beginning of the year and the last three years, I've played titanium shafts, and the start of this year, started playing the same Ti shaft, but it felt really weak to me. I never did bother to check the stiffness of them. I just -- it's what I've played over the years. You know, back in '97, I played a different brand of clubs and I played a Ti shaft. And when I changed clubs, that same Ti shaft wouldn't work in the new heads. So I went to a reinforced tip, extra stiff, you know, and it felt fine. And I did that all of '98, '99. Basically, I played the same shaft, I believe, but I've changed clubs five or six times with different -- new clubs, X-14s, X-12s, whatever I played, a bunch of different things, and I think somewhere down the line, the shafts may have gotten really weak. They measured out like a strong regular shaft, and I think they were -- a lot of balloon shots were happening. So I went to a rifle shaft, started tinkering with that in Atlanta, a rifle, heavier, just a normal rifle shaft; and that was too heavy. And so I went to a rifle. In Greensboro, I felt better, still tended to draw a little bit. So I tried to flatten my clubs a little about in Houston a half-degree. I went another half-degree in New Orleans with a 6.5 rifle shaft is what I've been playing, and I had made up a 6.8, which is a little bit stronger, to see if -- because I just wanted to see if the 6.5 was strong enough. So I went to the 7.0, actually and that was too strong; so I went back to a 6.5. If you guys are following me, here -- so I had a 6.5 and 6.0. The 6.0 were like a degree flat and the 6.0-- 6.8 and 6.5. The 6.5s were a degree flat. The 6.8s were standard. I played those the last two days and kept hitting draws. I couldn't cut the ball; so I need to get those a degree flatter, but there's nobody here to do that. So I -- the ones I played the last two weeks in the bag today. So anyway, it's been just a -- you guys didn't even need to know that.

Q. Paul, could you repeat that, please?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah. (Laughs). So it's a been -- typically, I don't like to tinker a whole lot, but I'm just trying to find the exact, right club for me, and I think I'm really close. And when I say "club," I mean shaft and lie angle on my clubs. It's so important. The average golfer doesn't have his clubs that fit him, you know, what I mean? They are too strong, too weak, too upright, and when you get them perfect, shots start going on line. So anyway I went BACK to my clubs I played last two weeks and I played good again. So the ball starts falling right. It's exciting, I can aim left and it goes left. Yesterday, I hit every shot I started 10 feet left and they would fall right. I can't aim right because I like to cut it; so it was frustrating last two days to play. But today was a lot more enjoyable to see the ball go left-to-right again.

Q. When you get the clubs perfect, what happens?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, then you start hitting it perfect. (Laughs). No, I'm just kidding.

Q. Are you enjoying the game more, Paul, than you have in the last three years?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I've enjoyed it, even through the bad times. I realize that we're not guaranteed success in life. You know, I just want to keep plugging. I've been blessed with the opportunity to play the TOUR, something I've dreamed of my entire life. I'm in my seventh year out here, and I still feel like a kid in a candy store. This is the ultimate, and to be able to week-in, week-out perform or play with the best players in the world and have the opportunity to compete is great. Now, granted, '98, '99 were really disappointing. You know, I won four times in '96 on different tours, and then '97 I won once, but I played very solid and was excited about '98; and came out okay, and then just kind of went flat. I don't know what happened. '99, same type of deal. And toward the end of '99, I started to work toward going back to whatever my swing was like in '97. And the last few weeks I've played good. So I never stopped enjoying it, because I always believed that if I continue to trust it that it would work out. You know, it's one of those things that -- it's golf. You guys, anybody who plays golf long enough knows that it's pretty darned hard to continue to play well all the time. A few guys can do that, and my hat is off to them. That's why they are the best players in the word. I've always been fairly inconsistent, since I started playing golf. I remember once in college I won the Red River Classic here in Dallas, and the next tournament was Las Vegas and I finished dead last. So, go figure. I just few if I keep plugging -- that's my whole plan. I just want to deep plugging, try and enjoy myself. It's never any fun playing bad, but I'm still enjoying what I'm doing. And when I play well, obviously, it's a lot more enjoyable. It's fun to feel nervous again. It's fun to have the butterflies going in the stomach and have opportunities. Granted, I've had some good opportunities in the last six, seven weeks, and I haven't always come through. But I'm close, I'm really close, and I'm looking forward to finally coming through again. It's been a long time since February of -- or January of '97 when I won Hawaii.

Q. Sense of humor get you through that time?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: It has to, man. You've got to laugh, and I definitely have a lot to laugh about. It was -- at times it was pretty comical. It's funny, when you're -- I don't know. Yeah.

Q. Did I hear that right on 16, it was driver, 9-iron?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, I knocked it way by Tiger. I hit 350 off the tee, he was 345. I really didn't care if I made eagle. I'm just glad I hit it by Tiger. That was fun.

Q. Back in the first shot of this tournament, did you have kind of an interesting beginning to this? Was that you, way left on No. 1?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Oh, it was, yeah. I hit a 2-iron way left. Yeah, I just hit a pull, draw.

Q. It was over there a ways. Pretty impressive.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I hit a box and kept kicking left. I think it bounced off four things; that's why it went so far left. It wasn't that bad a shot. Wasn't that good a shot, either. But I've hit worse.

Q. How far in did you have on that 16th?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I had 155 to the front edge.

Q. Obviously, the wind change making a big difference on all the holes?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: From yesterday to today? Yeah. Oh, yeah. I played Monday here -- or Thursday here, and yeah, it was the exact opponent wind. It was straight out of the south, and today it was straight out of the north, pretty much north. And I hit driver, bullet 5-iron into 18 on Monday. Today, driver L-wedge, to the same spot. Yeah, driver, driver to 16, driver 9-iron today. I hit driver 4-iron into 15 the first day and hit driver little L-wedge in today. So, yeah, completely different. But also -- and then -- yeah, some of the other holes, 2-iron pitching wedge or driver 4-iron. So it played the exact opposite. I don't know which one plays tougher, but it sure is nice to play those last two holes downwind.

Q. So you hit a 9-iron into the par 5?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I did. 16. Very wind-aided, mind you.

Q. Was that a little different wind than the normal wind? Loren Roberts said that he had some screwy clubs that he hit today that he's never hit before.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah. Typically, you play the Byron it blows out of the south.

Q. Even when it blows out of the north, he said it seemed to be coming from a different direction, did you notice that?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: What was that?

Q. Even though it was coming from the north, it was different than in the past; it was a different kind of wind than in the past years?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Maybe because it -- it was kind of northwest at the start, and I suppose maybe northeast. I don't know. Loren's from Tennessee.

Q. On the shafts, when you were changing clubs, were you changing shafts to the clubs you were hitting -- (inaudible)?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Same heads. I'm playing the X-12s, Callaway, and just went from -- just trying different frequency, 6.5, 6.8, 7.0, trying to figure out what strength is best for me, and then the lie angles; that's all important. The guys are only here three days a week in the trailers to bend stuff, and it may take me more than that. And I didn't have a whole lot of time this week to do all that stuff I needed to do, but -- yeah.

Q. Was there ever a low point in the last three years where you kind of say, "This is where things turn"?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Not really. Not really. Because they are still turning. I'm still not where I want to be. I'm very close. I feel -- I don't feel any different than I did the last two years. But it's coming around. I've basically hit bottom somewhere in the middle of '98, '99, in my golf game, and it's just starting to turn and come back up. If I look back on my entire career, I took -- just slowly progressed, you know, and then I got on TOUR and it started going up, and then it just kind of tinkered off a little bit. I don't know, it's like the stock market, man, you've just got to be patient, man, it will come back.

Q. Even though in the big picture, I know it doesn't mean anything, but when you hit one by Tiger, does that give you a little satisfaction?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. No satisfaction whatsoever. Because day-in, day-out, he kicks my butt; so it doesn't really matter. From a humor standpoint, it's kind of fun. I hit the driver and I just hit it as good as I can hit it. He may have necked his, I don't know. It means nothing. It means nothing to me, and it means even less to him, but it's just fun for me to go, "Oh, cool I hit it by Tiger," like anybody. And the Pro-Am partners hit it by you on Wednesday, going yeah, look how far I hit by you, but yeah, you're 50 yards ahead of me. That was on 16. The only reason I know that is because they had it up on the board. It's a for charity or something. Otherwise, it wouldn't make one bit of difference. I made eagle and that's all I care about.

Q. Was he impressed?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I'm sure Tiger's very impressed. (Laughter.) Yeah, I'm sure he is. That's going to look good in the paper tomorrow.

End of FastScripts…

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