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June 1, 1996

Paul Stankowski


WES SEELEY: Paul Stankowski, 73, 66, 67, 206, 10 under par and two strokes off the lead at the moment. So these last couple of days, have been just fine.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, I have hit the ball fairly well. Yesterday I only hit 12 greens but made a lot of putts and got up-and-down when I needed to, and made an unbelievable bunker shot or chip shot yesterday for birdie; so things went well yesterday. Today I hit the ball a little better. When I did hit a bad shot, I was able to get it up-and-down, and I made another unbelievable bunker shot today on 3 out of the back bunker, downhill lie, no chance, and holed it. So that was kind of nice. Things are rolling, and I have got the scoring part down right now. If I can hit the ball a little closer tomorrow, you never know what could happen.

WES SEELEY: Let us do birdies and bogeys.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Bogeyed 1. 3 bogeys, they were all three putts on 1 on 8 and 16.

WES SEELEY: How far?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: One was from 100 feet. 8 was from about 35 feet, and 16 was from about 101 feet; long putts.

WES SEELEY: Now the birdies.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Okay, birdied 2. Made about a 15-footer.

WES SEELEY: What did you hit in?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Hit 8-iron into the green. Birdied 3. I hit an 8-iron into the green into the back bunker. I had no chance. Just hoping to get it on the green, and I would make it for birdie. So it was --

Q. How far?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Well, it was out of the back bunker. It was -- I had about 30 feet. It was about a 60-foot bunker shot, 50-foot bunker shot, maybe; downhill lie, everything sloping toward the other side of the green and just got lucky. Then I birdied the par 5.


PAUL STANKOWSKI: Fifth hole, I hit a driver, 3-iron in the front, green-side bunker and almost chipped in, left that one just kind of on the high side for birdie.

WES SEELEY: How long?



PAUL STANKOWSKI: Par 5, knocked it on in two, driver, driver to about 60 feet, 2-putted. 11 next, par 5. Hit driver in the right trees, punched out into the first cut of rough, hit an L-wedge to about six feet behind the hole; made it.

WES SEELEY: What did you hit out?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: 9-iron, punched it out of the rough. 12, I hit a little 8-iron about 30 feet behind the hole, (MAKING CLICKING SOUND WITH MOUTH); made that one.

WES SEELEY: Spell that for this young man.


Q. Birdied the 4 par 5 as well.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: 15, I hit driver, 2-iron right. I think somebody stopped it. Stuck it on a good little lie for me. I chipped it to about five feet and made that one. Then 18, I hit driver, 8-iron to about 12 feet left of the pin. I made that one, curled it right on in.

Q. How do you like your position going into Sunday? I mean, you've got to be pretty excited.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Right now I am two back, probably 3 back, the way things are going. I am pleased. I am hitting the ball well. I am just putting great. I am putting like I did in Atlanta and in Lafayette, the Nike event that I won. It is kind of just a strange feeling when all the putts are going in, but it seems like every putt is in a valley, and no matter where you hit it, it is going to go in. It is kind of a nice feeling to have and if it continues tomorrow, then I think I have got a good shot. There's a lot of good players back there and it is -- as much as I'd like to win, my heart is rooting for Watson, so... I am a big fan.

Q. How far does that go back in being a fan of Watson?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Since I was a kid. I have always been. He was my hero, and so I always tried to imitate him and I think I won the U.S. Open and the Master's as Tom Watson as a kid playing with a bunch of times with my friends. It is neat watching him play, and it would be nice to see him win, nice to see him play well.

Q. After the first day, there weren't a lot of low scores. Everybody thought that Muirfield was finally getting a little bit of revenge for the last few years. It seems like the last two days, everything is back to normal. What has been -- the first day, was it just too wet and you were playing the ball down and it was impossible to get the ball close to the hole or what?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: First day it played really, really long. The balls were not rolling anywhere, and it makes it tougher. You get a little bit of mud under your ball and it makes it tougher to, I guess, judge. You might get some squirters and weird flights, but scores were -- I think they were fairly low, weren't they, the first day? I didn't play well.

Q. 7 guys under only --

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I think it was probably because it played long, and with wet fairways, I think you get the ball squirting a lot. It is hard to really control your distance and the last two days, fairways are drying out a little bit, but they are still soft enough that they are not rolling through fairways. It is almost like you are hitting to a sponge out there, but the balls aren't getting muddy. I think it is -- definitely yesterday was like playing indoors, and today was perfect as well. So the greens are great. They are not super fast, but they are pretty quick, probably as quick as we played all year apart from that tournament in what, April? The Masters. But it is just perfect for scoring. The weather is great, and hopefully we will get in another good day tomorrow. Looks like the rain is coming.

Q. This may or may not be a silly question, but what would you enjoy more tomorrow, a Stankowski victory or a Watson victory?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I'd definitely like to win. I don't want to sound like I am an idiot. Put it this way - if it came down to Tom and I, yeah I'd like to win, that is true. $324,000 is a lot of money. (LAUGHTER) But I was really hoping I'd get to play tomorrow in the final group of a tournament he finally wins again. That is -- I thought about it last night. I said that would be so cool for that to happen. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen because I am not paired with him tomorrow, but I would be as thrilled if he won. I mean, I am pulling for him, but I am also not going to lay down if it comes down to me and him on the last hole or something, but...

Q. What is it about him that you like so much and have you ever played with him before?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I have never played with him before. I think I have said ten words to him and vice versa, but well, as a kid it was him and Nicklaus, really. I mean, those were the guys in the '70s that were lighting it up. For some reason I was pulling for Watson a lot. I probably shouldn't say that here, because it is Jack's tournament. (LAUGHTER) But I am honest, so that, you know, the victory at Pebble at the Open, that was sweet. That chip in, I went out there I saw the spot last year where he chipped in at Pebble Beach, and you know, he just won so many tournaments and he is such a great golfer that you got to be silly not to like him. And just kind of carried over when I turned pro, those feelings didn't die. Just because I got out here on Tour and it is kind of strange sitting in a locker room or in the restaurant or something and he is sitting right there. I think you would, there is -- "there is the guy I always looked up to as a kid; now we are at the same level playing on the same Tour against each other and he doesn't know who I am." So it is kind of a neat feeling.

Q. Did you get his autograph when you were a kid?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I never did. I guess I have never got the opportunity.

Q. He will be here in a minute.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I know. I will save it for tomorrow.

Q. Did you ever think about what you would say to him if you had the chance?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: No. I mean, it is one of those things that I still root for him and he is still that hero but we are on the same level and I can't get let that get the best of me. I just need to go about it like he is anybody else, but I have got that reverence for him because he is Tom Watson.

Q. What was the difference, the final round, how did you handle the pressure final round in Atlanta compared to the week before the final round of the Nike event and is it greater pressure at The Memorial because of the slope of this event?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I felt exact same way on Sunday in Lafayette as I did on Sunday in Atlanta. I don't think, in my mind, there is a big difference between winning a Nike event and winning a PGA TOUR event. You are still playing against the field or you are playing against the golf course, for that matter. It is a win. Maybe that is kind of a strange way to look at it. But I have always believed that a win is a win. It doesn't matter what Tour you are playing on. You are still going to be a little bit nervous; got that adrenaline flowing; it is pretty much the same feeling. Tomorrow, you know, if I am a couple back and I was what 3 back going into the last 8 in Atlanta, I didn't think I was going to win just because I had just won the week before, so it is kind of like David is going to play well; he is going to win or whatever, but I will let you know tomorrow afternoon if I feel the same way, but it is -- again, it is The Memorial. It is an tournament that I have always wanted to play in, but it is still a tournament and the players are the same and you got to go out and play golf. Same game, so just might take a lower score.

Q. Paul, on the television broadcast they were mentioning that you were not playing in the U.S. Open; Curtis Strange second guessed that decision. He seemed to think that a quality player like you should be playing in the Open. Are you not playing and why aren't you playing?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I kind of, to be honest with you, I am not thrilled about playing 36 holes-in-one day. That is as simple as it can get. I'd love to play in the Open if I got an invitation to play it would be great. But I just I went through the qualifier two of the last three years, last two years, and it is just a long day; plus it is going to rain on Monday supposedly, and I'd like to get home. I have been -- this is my fifth tournament in a row, and I don't know if I want to battle 10 yard wide fairways with nine inch rough hitting onto concrete greens. To me, that -- I'd rather be out there on the lake fishing catching a big old 8 pound bass or something. I played a lot of golf this year and I am getting a little tired and I am really geared up for the PGA and the World Series, those two are as big as the U.S. Open and a major and World Series is ten years if you win that, so people might be down on me because I said that, but you know, I am just being honest.

Q. So you have made up your mind; you are not qualifying Monday?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I am 99 percent sure I am not qualifying. I am signed up for it so I have got a tee time but.....

Q. Despite the way you are playing now?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Yeah, because, you know, I am not playing next week in the Buick, and I don't know -- I just don't -- I'd love to go if someone was going to tell me I was going to win the Open; then sure, I'd go play, but I just need some time off. I need to spend sometime with my wife and relax a little bit and get ready for the rest of the year.

Q. Where would the 36 holes be played?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I think it is at Brookside and lake something.

WES SEELEY: The Lakes.

PAUL STANKOWSKI: The Lakes, yeah.

Q. Do you recall where you were in 1982 watching the Open when Watson chipped in; you recall your reaction?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I was excited. I think I was probably either at home or at the golf course in Port Hueneme, California; probably at the golf course like I always was watching with everybody else and I can't remember exactly the feeling because I just know that he chipped in and I know it was cool, but I don't remember what I did. I probably --

Q. You didn't jump up and hit your hands-on a ceiling fan when he made it?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Probably not. I probably jumped up. I guarantee you that I didn't hurt my hand.

Q. Since you were putting so well, any advice for him?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: I have no comment. No comment. That is cruel. He is putting great, obviously, if he is 11 under. I have heard all the roars every hole behind me.

WES SEELEY: Anything else for Paul Stankowski?

PAUL STANKOWSKI: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts....

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