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November 6, 1996

Dave Stockton


DAVE SENKO: What we have been doing with the other people, maybe just reflect on this year and talk about your '96 season. You became the fourth -- first player in PGA TOUR history to go over a million dollars in the last four seasons. No one else has ever done that. And then maybe talk after that, maybe talk a little bit about this event; you have played in it the last few years.

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, I think '96 has been, I guess, would be a confusing year would be the word I would use for it. Going 13 months or so prior to the U.S. Open and not winning, and playing some good tournaments in that time, but just not getting it done. Then winning the U.S. Open which was really a surprise considering that I went into it totally different with three weeks off and worrying about Cathy's knees and stuff and really not preparing for it. Then the way that I did win was extremely good. It reminded me of how I won at Southern Hills in Tulsa when I just basically won the tournament by good play. Hale made a run at me, but I -- I was very proud of the way I played there. Obviously it felt good to win later on, a month later at first of America there in Grand Rapids, but the rest of the year has not been not as what I would like to remember. I don't think my game is quite as sharp as it has been. Finished second three weeks ago, at Sacramento to Colbert. Then had 10th place in Hawaii and spent two days at home working with my younger son, Ronnie, before Pennsicola and playing a basically good tournament there in 52 holes. Coming in here, basically now, looking forward to this, if I hadn't unfolded last week, I would probably be on a better high than anyone else on Tour because I would have won three times and my speech right now would be on totally different. I would have thought this would have been an exceptional year winning three times. It would have been a little bit different. As it is, I would rate myself probably a B or B-plus. I am proud of the money part of it. I wish I had won more tournaments than the two. Same thing that Irwin told you. I am sure Hale is looking back on it. He has got the money lead, but certainly doesn't have the tournament lead. As far as winning tournaments and that is the bottom line. To be here, I thought this was a heck of a move coming here to Myrtle Beach. This is a marvelous golf course. We didn't even finish the Pro Am today. This is a brutal test of golf. It is playing long, good condition. First 5 holes -- first 9 holes of the front side I hit 3 par fours and two par threes I hit 4-wood into the greens. I was joking to my caddy, Todd, that I could leave all my short irons at home and just -- I should have brought a 1 and 2-iron and about four woods and attack this thing. This would look like a duffers golf bag to handle this golf course. But it is playing extremely long. I am assuming -- it looks as if they have added 100 to 120 yards to the golf course on some strategic holes and it is going to take -- it won't take much under par to win this tournament, I wouldn't think.

Q. Course favor anybody in particular?

DAVE STOCKTON: The longer hitters. No question about it. The greens are big enough. They are not, you know, our Tour has been setting up the pins much tougher than they had in recent years hiding them to the sides and these are big greens, got a lot of slopes to them. So basically just get it on the green and you got an extra 30, 40 yards off the tee; you are going to have the advantage. I think it is one of the better golf courses that we have played as far as visualizing driving shots because of the trees. Automatically when you set up to hit something, you have got a pretty good idea. The course tells you what kind of shot you should be trying. I would say the longer hitters, definitely. They have got to be drooling when they see this thing. I am just hoping it stays this warm. This is marvelous weather.

DAVE SENKO: What was the scenario last year? Lee -- I think Lee - was it Lee - that was talking about it today. Colbert was talking about it where when you and Rocky and --

DAVE STOCKTON: Why did I think it was Colbert and not Lee that was talking about it? ? (Laughter.) Well, the scenario was I had to finish solo third and I would, no matter what anybody else did, I still would have been the leading money winner. And my recollection is hazy because I remember coming to the last hole, Colbert was like 7 - and whoever was at 5 - then I was tied with somebody else at 3 and I needed to birdie the last hole and the pin was in the front, as I recall, and my ball -- I had about a 25 foot birdie putt and my ball had stayed in a divot mark on the side of that hill. In fact yesterday when I was practicing, I threw balls up the hill; tried to simulate, you know, the putt I had. And every one of them rolled back five or six foot from where the pin was. And I turned to my caddy Todd, I said, "how in the hell did my ball stay up there?" He said, " don't you remember? You were in an old divot." And I am looking at the time -- then I am going, I guess I must have because there is no way it could stay on this slope. It should have come back. But here I am, if I make this 20, 25-footer, whatever it was, I have got the money title. Of course I missed it. Then halfway between myself and the hole was Rocky Thompson who ends up birdieing it, but if I had made it, it would have been - I guess I was tied with Rocky because it was determined whether or not he was going to - he had to make it. He would have had the total control over who was going to be the leading money winner. If he makes it, Colbert was leading money winner. If he would have missed it, I would have been. He was yelling at me after I missed. He was so mad I missed it because it took his glory away. So, obviously, last year was fun. To be leading money winner twice and then come down to the last hole last year, it was a thrill. I mean, I have already been asked by a couple of press people about, you know, this year, obviously I am playing for pride and I have got -- really I can catch one more person maybe ahead of me on the money list and that is it, so there is not that much damage that I can do other than to go out there and show them what I can do. And it is not nearly as much fun as it has been the last couple of years here where there is really something on the line for me. I thought Colbert's performance last year - I don't know if I have seen anybody any better under pressure to figure he finished last in the field, you know, in '94 and then wins it in '95, I mean, that -- you can't -- can't have a bigger turnaround then that. That is just mind-boggling. Certainly deserves it.

Q. This year Hale hasn't wanted to be involved apparently with the banter back and forth over the money title. Do you understand that? I mean, last year you guys had a lot of fun with it.

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, well, obviously I am standing out because I am an impartial observer. You know, Raymond and Hale both play a more limited schedule than does Murphy or Colbert or myself. And in our own way, we support the SENIOR TOUR. Obviously, I am sure being leading money winner, and winning the tournament would be Hale's driving force this week. Colbert's driving force would be obviously to tie me and have bookends - as we call the Arnold Palmer trophy back to back. I have got to take, first of all, my hat off, too -- I know - since I have gone through it - I guess could I probably describe it better than anybody else since I am the only one that has done it. To have two years over a million you are leading winner one year and I remember thinking this is great. Well, I will go out next year to prove it wasn't a fluke and I will do it again. Obviously Colbert has been motivated by that. Played enough tournaments to really achieve the goal. I mean, I thought that Hale was really safe and Hale didn't play a few tournaments that he probably could have, and of course Colbert had that streak where he had two or three seconds and a first or two first and two seconds, whatever it was, and jumps ahead of him. And of course Hale comes right back. I think this is the beauty of the SENIOR TOUR. Talk about stuff you can write about. I mean, you have got your, you know, last year it was Colbert, myself, and Raymond. This year you have got Hale and Colbert, and, you know, I don't think it is really a war of words. I played practice rounds with Hale yesterday and some of the stuff people write about, you just kind of laugh. I mean, let us put it this way: it's a meaningful thing to try to be leading money winner out here, and also I think it is a great honor to win more tournaments than anybody else does, which is why I kick myself in the pants for blowing that one last week. You don't get that many chances to be ahead of the guys. So again, this is going to be a fun vote for you guys for Player-of-the-Year again. This week will go a long ways obviously toward figuring out who does it, but if Irwin has a great week and doesn't win and he is leading money winner, he only wins twice; and Colbert wins five times, but doesn't win a Major. We are back to the same old thing. Kind of fun, interesting, I guess.

Q. You probably had the most significant or meaningful win of the year?

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah. I think so. And I didn't realize it was when I was going through it. I have - I had never won a USGA, but from the exposure -- from the people that come up to me at the different times, I have just - I have been overwhelmed by the response. And I felt very proud about it. It is not like, yeah, I won and okay, now when is the next tournament. This thing has just grown and to reach back inside when you are playing shots and you are saying, okay, I am the U.S. Open Champion; I am going to conduct myself as I am hitting ball as I am and as I am talking to people like I am and it is a great feeling so, yeah, the significance wasn't lost on me. I never knew it existed. I never knew it was that big a deal. But undoubtedly I am very, very proud of that week.

Q. Is winning a USGA event more significant than, say, winning a PGA of America event which you have done twice?

DAVE STOCKTON: Without slanting against the PGA, I believe that if you win the United States Golf Association tournament at your level being be it Amateur, Mid-Amateur Senior, or whoever it is, I think that has got to be the pinnacle. It really does. PGA Championships that I have won I am beating an extremely good field - not the best field - but a good field and then the club pros. Each one of the others, you know - I just, you know, I think our National Championship has got to be the biggest one. And I even voted, you know, in the old polls they say which one is the most important. I'm different than a lot of people. On the regular Tour I had always voted the U.S. Open Number 1 then the Masters and the PGA Number 2. The one I most like to win was the Masters because I thought it was the most fun. There is nothing fun about a USGA event. I mean, I am not sure if they told me I could play the next ten years when I was younger, I'd really look forward to that. If would have won Augusta and I knew I was coming back for life, yeah, I thought I had won something. When I won the PGA and they told me I could play lifetime in the PGA, that was a big deal too because I enjoyed those. But USGA events were historically ones that I didn't get very much fun out of at all. I usually walk away from a USGA event being stressed out totally.

Q. Was it the competition or the courses or combination?

DAVE STOCKTON: How they set up the golf courses and I think my personality versus the golf course. I tend to be aggressive. I can start out with a game plan, but all of a sudden if I get two or three over par, then I am going to try to attack. And now sometimes you play these USGA courses; you can't attack them. They don't allow you to, and that doesn't sit well with me. For whatever reason. I mean, like Hale - I mean, there is a perfect example. Hale is very confident in what he has got to do, and he doesn't change. Not overly aggressive, you know, just very conservative like a Scott Simpson almost. Same type. Both great players, but they are not risk-takers.

Q. Patient?

DAVE STOCKTON: Patient, yeah. It is hard to, that is why I think that is probably one of the reasons Cleveland meant so much to me. Canterbury - I mean I kept it together so well it was scary. Because my motivation was Cathy and I am just - if she is surviving all this stuff - and she is, you know; everything is going to be fine - she is out there trying to walk, what the hell was I going to worry about, which is totally different than what I would have thought before.

Q. But you were very patient at Canterbury?


Q. Last round?

DAVE STOCKTON: I was very proud. I still can't believe I didn't make some of the putts which -- it's not as good of a story, but I mean, I just never hit any bad shots other than the sand wedge at 16 that I hit fat, but my initial reaction was I am going, that is funny if I hit a Stockton-like shot I will still get it up-and-down, and it was not a good lie and I did get it up-and-down, but, you know, the whole day, I mean it was like I want to be here; it went there. It was like a dream week. It was - I guess I should give myself an A on the year on that whole week. I haven't, because I think I could have done a lot better overhaul. Last week obviously was a body blow to me to do that badly on 18, but if anything else it is going to give me more motivation for next year because the way you look at it I figure I won the biggest tournament. I also think I had hit the worse shot of the year, so....

Q. I've heard about this shot but we would like to get your description of it?

DAVE STOCKTON: One more time. No more?

Q. Right. One more time.

DAVE STOCKTON: It was really the last two holes were unbelievable. 17 set it up, because I hit a 7-iron short. I hit a good drive left, rough, but the side I wanted to be and could have hit 6; pin's in the back. 165, but I tried to hit a 7 and I leave it about 50 feet short. There was a corporate tent behind the green that the shadow was coming onto the green, and I told the official I said, "I hope, you know, you don't put the pin anywhere where it comes into play for the final, you know, the hour, the last hour, either put it short or past of it or whatever. My first putt, I think it goes like four feet by the hole, but a good put. And as I am putting it, Eichelberger lets me putt first. He is off the green left and the shadow is like this far from the hole ( indicating three feet) They putt and chip and by the time I am lining my putt up, the shadow is dead center in the middle of the hole. So my ball is in the dead shadow putting toward the sunlight, like a pitcher, you know. By the time I get over the ball the sunlight has now left the hole so it is a very hazy on the other side of it. It was the weirdest thing I have ever seen. It was. It was really different. I don't make the putt. So now I go to 18 and I drill it. I hit it right down the middle and I have hit driver -- 9-iron, the first day made birdie; driver, 4-wood the second day; made bogey and I got 160 to the pin. Green is 40 yards wide and I am hitting 5-iron, little bit into the breeze there was a pot bunker - big bunker - in front, sits like 5 yards short of the green, so it is really not in play. So I am looking -- I look at Eichelberger to my left- this is a long story to come up on a horrible shot - I think he is going to lay-up out of the bunker. He waves me to go - which is fine - I start walking at the ball. My picture is I am aiming at the pin and I am going to come from the right-to-left, just anywhere right of the pin. As I take one or two steps, Todd goes, "there is plenty of the room to the left." Okay. Nothing wrong with that. That is fine. Except I don't stop. As I am coming to the ball my mind is going, "he thinks I am going to fade this thing." So my mind is going two different shots and I just scull it, I mean I cold scull it. I had 44 yards left to the pin, which means I hit it 116 yard 5-iron. I was lucky it didn't go in the lake. I mean, it literally only carried the lake by about a foot. I came off it and you just - it was unbelievable. And then I have got 44 yards to the pin and it looks like 25 and he is telling me 44. My mind never even computed it. Left it on the front edge and 2-putt for the deal. Now I go back out in the playoff and I pull it a fraction, I am the first to hit. I pull it a bit, but I hit it good. And the ball, I think, is in the trap, but it is on the lip. Now I have got to put my right foot about 20 inches below the ball that is on the side of the bank and my left foot is on the hill out of the bunker, but the right is way down. So now I have got the exact same yardage, 160. And now I am aiming 20 yards to the right of the green out in the lake because I know I am going to hook it because I can't move my feet once I get in this position. It doesn't make any difference anyway. I am hookin this 4-iron, right, I hit the greatest shot -- I am only like 10 yards short of the green right at the pin and I get out of the bunker and Lee is telling me, "good shot." It was. It was a hell of a shot. I am thinking to myself, this is good, I have got the same yardage, standing on my ear and I hit where I can get it up-and-down and I am 20 yards right there in the middle of the fairway and absolutely folded. So it was -- that was tough to take. I don't think -- I am not over it yet. Just, I can imagine my feelings if I come in here winning three and I don't - what was first last week - 150 or 60 - I would have been -- cost me 70,000 in the wind.

DAVE SENKO: 80,000 -- 87.

DAVE STOCKTON: 90,000, whatever. I would be one more up on the money list. Totally different thing. Three wins sound about five times better than two. I am in -- I guess I am in reconstruction mode right now mentally because I am still mad that I did it and, you know, somebody has got to pay for it and I think it is going to be me because I am going to come out and I will, you know, try to rectify it next year. Which is, you know - you guys know me well enough. I will turn anything that is a negative and try to turn it into a positive and I will make something positive out of this but this has been very difficult to find anything humorous or you know--

Q. You made Trevino a happy man.

DAVE STOCKTON: I made Trevino an extremely happy man. Yeah.

Q. You will carry this over 'til next year?

DAVE STOCKTON: Well, I take a lot of pride in how I play and how I act and a lot of stuff. For me to do that kind of a shot. Like I look back on what I did at the U.S. Open, how much pressure it is trying to win a national title, and I basically didn't miss a thing. Here I am standing there and I just whiffed it. I am sure I will not go to sleep again in the near future on a golf course the way I did on that particular shot. I mean, I can't imagine that I would. And it was comical telling -- Todd wasn't even aware he said anything to me when he did and that had no rhyme or reason why -- I was the one that missed it. It was my own fault, but for somebody to visualize a hit as good as I do - I mean, I know what happened. And my error, as soon as he said something, would - should have been to stop; get myself refocused, but, you know, I like to do things in a hurry. I just as soon hit it and I am in a situation I couldn't dream that I couldn't just hit a decent shot up there. Strange. It was unbelievable.

Q. You were just trying to hit, your mind was?

DAVE STOCKTON: I wasn't at first, but by the time I got there I was.

Q. You were trying to hit two different shots?


Q. Take it from a hacker, that happens all the time when I do that.

DAVE STOCKTON: Right. After I did it, as soon as I did it, I knew what had happened. But I mean, it is stupid. I don't care if I had ten shots I still should have been able to hit it better than that. It was very bizarre. But, like you said, it made Trevino a happy guy, and you know, he is playing there this week. He is so full of it anyway, so what, if I play good, I am not playing next week. That was my first question. I said, "Well, you played a hell of a lot better than you deserved and you finished first. Are you coming next year?" He said, "yeah, I am going to come." Which is great. This has been a long year. We are all tired and everything, but certain people have shown some spark. There have been some -- Douglass and Coody win this year, and I think Chi Chi has played a lot better toward the end. I think that is great that Lee won, even at my expense, because he is making it sound like that he is not going to play as much and going to do this. And let's face it, obviously, I personally would like to have him continue playing, like I would like to have Chi Chi continue playing because it just makes this a better Tour.

End of FastScripts....

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