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July 5, 1996

Dave Stockton


KAYE KESSLER: What a difference a day makes. 72 under yesterday. Today you had Bob Charles's bogeyless round, but he said you didn't putt very well. If you had putted it, he might have been out of sight. 70, 67, 137,

7 under par.

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, it was a lot of fun out there. Our group -- We had the advantage of all of us playing well. Summerhays was more erratic than the other two of us, but we made an awful lot of birdies. I guess Jimmy Roberts was saying there we shot best ball 58, so there was a lot of birdies going around and it made it easy to play well. Actually I think my round is pretty much mirror themselves in the fact I had five birdies again today like I did yesterday. Very few mistakes. Fairways and greens all the way around, parred 1, 2. 3: I put it in the left bunker, got it up-and-downed; made about a 4-footer for par. Close at 4 and didn't make it. 5, par again. 6, was really my own bad tee shot. Tried to hit a hard shot on the par 5 and snap hooked it into the trees; laid it up into the other rough. Finally got my wedge on the green and made a par. My first birdie came at 7. I almost aced it, rolled right over the edge of the hole. I guess tipped the pin and rolled about eight feet to the left and made that for birdie. Routine pars on 8 and 9. And then birdied 10. 11, got start on the back again eventually I will start 4 under on the back today. 10 was one hell of a pin placement. I hope the guy from the USGA didn't get hurt putting it in the ground, but, you know, you'd hate to get nervous on that much of a slope sticking a pin there. But I knocked it up there and then ran from the fairway up there before my ball would run away off the green like my playing competitors did; then I drained it from about, I'd say, 14 feet. Birdied number 11. Hit 8-iron about 22 feet behind the hole; made it. Just missed birdie at 12. Probably played my worst hole on the par 5. 13, unfortunately hit a big drive. I was between a 5-iron and 4-iron to this par 5 which you could imagine in my length, I don't get too many par fives like that. And literally I had so many options, I couldn't make up my mind to do. If somebody planted a damn pine tree in my way or something, I probably would have hit a great shot because then I could see what I should have done. I was trying to hit a draw or a fade, maybe high or maybe low and wasn't quite sure so I yanked it about 20 yards left into the gunch and proceeded to make a par and -- while my partners are making birdies and eagles. 14, was routine. Had a chance for birdie; missed it. 15, I missed my second fairway only because I hit it too far. They are hitting irons off the tees and stuff. I hit driver off the ground; knocked it straight down the middle through the fairway into the light rough and then hit a wedge. I was hoping would get up and I get up there, it is all the way over the back of the green. And I got it up-and-down somehow or other. I hit a wedge; trickled off the top tier to about 15 feet left of the pin and I made it for par from 15 foot. And then had a turnaround with Charles. I picked up four shots on him the next three holes. Birdied 16, hit good drive, good 3-wood about a foot in the left rough. Different pitching wedge to about, I'd say, 25 feet and made that for birdie. 4-wood off 17 to about 35 feet, 40 feet short. 2-putted for par. Then, 18, hit a big drive and had a 5-iron and came up about 20 feet short, 22 feet short of the hole, below the hole putting uphill, and my mind thought about it yesterday where I had a similar putt, except I hit it -- I thought I had made it and it spun out and of course I 3-putted and I wanted to get it there, but not go past and I did, I drilled it right in the middle, so it was obviously a great feeling round. Not a whole lot of adventure on the Stockton scale, pretty relaxing round.

KAYE KESSLER: No particular saves were there?

DAVE STOCKTON: Not really, the bunker at number 3 up-and-downed there, and the bad drive at 6 and the terrible iron to 13, the par 5, that was basically -- then the great up-and-down at 15.

KAYE KESSLER: I think that gives you 29 putts, if I counted right.


KAYE KESSLER: Questions.

DAVE STOCKTON: Jerry, I didn't know the press is allowed to wear shorts. Are you allowed?

JERRY POTTER: On my off days.

DAVE STOCKTON: Okay. I will buy that.

Q. I was wondering, I would think I could say one of the most difficult parts of the course is 16, 17 and 18 and you made two birdies there. Would you discuss that?

DAVE STOCKTON: Well, yeah, I mean that is what I say, those are the hard part -- I truly believe the first six holes on the backside are all capable of making birdies on any of the six. And I was pleased, obviously, get the one at 16. My thoughts -- I fouled up the three par fives previous and had not birdied a par 5 as I went to the 16th tee; having had that, 17, to me, very light wind, pin in the right; was just a nice faded four wood in there and I handled that okay. My thought process on 18 was the fact I looked over at the scoreboard and saw somebody Bland or somebody or Jacklin or somebody had shot 5-under, that if I could birdie 18, I would tie the best score of the day, so I mean, I am just picking mini-goals, Jerry, as I was going along, but obviously, to pick up 2-under in the last three was a big turning point.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about this new putter you got from --

DAVE STOCKTON: I was playing Pittsburgh my last tournament four weeks ago, and I had not putted particularly well and I went out an hour early. I had two of the Odyssey and a Ray Cooke and I decide that I was going to putt with the Ray Cook, so I went across the parking lot to practice. So I came back about ten minutes to go before my tee time. Just my last warm-up on the putting green and there was Donna. I walked up there and she has got this funky - well, same putter because I helped design the putter for her, but got this -- well it's got this grip that looks like it is from the '60s, somebody was -- I don't know who designed it, but they had a real sense of humor. So I tried about four putts from 15 foot and I made every one of them. I said, "well, I am going to use this thing." She didn't care. She hadn't been putting that good or playing that many tournaments anyway, so I went out and I was supposed to leave it with the cameraman on 18. I got a message on 17 saying that she didn't mind if I kept it if I wanted to. So she is not getting it back. I figure anybody that has won two U.S. Women Opens back-to-back should know what kind of putter I needed anyway.

Q. What brand is it?

DAVE STOCKTON: Odyssey. Same one, the Rossi II, the mallet head one - I think the one Faldo won The Masters with. They have had great success with it. I have used that particular putter. The difference to me is it's about an inch and a half shorter than any putter that I have used recently. So I am crouching down a little bit more, but I am putting a really good roll on the ball. But I should also say, these greens are staying phenomenally good. I mean, there were few spike marks today, but there was -- a lot of guys have been by it. This is probably the finest condition USGA event I have seen - just because the conditions haven't deteriorated. Guys this afternoon still have a chance to shoot some good scores.

Q. What did you use off the tee on 7?

DAVE STOCKTON: 7, I used a 5-iron.

Q. Also 10?

DAVE STOCKTON: My playing partner said 7-iron. I really get a lot of clubbing with these two guys. I don't know -- you shouldn't even look. Off 10 I hit 4-wood. They both hit 3 and 4-irons. I hit 4-wood.

Q. Dave, looking at your stats, you have a remarkably good scoring average in the second round of this event. Any reason?

KAYE KESSLER: Did you know that?

DAVE STOCKTON: No, I wasn't aware of that. I know -- not really. I know I have been inconsistent. I' know I have 80 in the last round I saw that -- I don't know I suspect -- I am really pleased with my patience this week. I think Cathy, having her problems, has helped me out a little bit. I am taking whatever comes my way, but, of course, I played really well too. So it has been kind of easy to stay focused, but you look at most of the stats from the U.S. Open, you see at least, in my case, some really big variations. I mean, one year I think I played really good, but I had a 77 in one round and one year I closed with 80, you know, the only problem I have had in USGA events in the past is I tend to be very aggressive; usually that is not a real good trait to have. I think playing with Charles helped me because Charles is probably one of the more conservative players out here on our Tour, and very smart. Makes no mistakes, and it just -- you know, seemed like a walk in the park for both of us.

Q. You talked yesterday about how you hadn't played as much in the last few weeks you gave the reasons why. Do you think that maybe has been a benefit this week that you took some time off, whether voluntarily or not?

DAVE STOCKTON: Unfortunately, Cathy will probably say it is, yeah. But I like to play. I mean, I felt bad that I didn't play Canada and I felt really bad that I committed to play Cincinnati and then couldn't play. My only problem is when I don't played, I just don't go practice. I am not like Trevino or something. I am out in the grove or gardening or hunting or doing some stupid thing that doesn't really help my golf game. But obviously, I am just tickled that we were able to come -- that she feels good enough to be out there walking and stuff, and I am going to play good. And obviously the three weeks, one thing about it, my game is so much better now on the Senior Tour than it ever was on the regular Tour - that I can afford to take time off and I don't lose my swing.

Q. How is she feeling today?

DAVE STOCKTON: She is sitting back there smiling. She is probably not feeling any pain, I don't think, whatsoever. I haven't asked her because I haven't seen her that much, but I used to see her whole lot more when I drive it in the woods, but when you drive it in the middle, you don't get a chance to talk to many people.

KAYE KESSLER: Is there a contributing reason why you are playing better as a Senior than otherwise?

DAVE STOCKTON: I think my game is an awful lot better. I think I drive the ball slightly -- it might be equipment, I don't know. I drive the ball further. I have always been a good short-iron player and I still retain that. Putting, I am one of the best, so I have got the basis for it. I think the Ryder Cup Captaincy hit me at a perfect time that I dropped most of my corporate stuff; worked on the Ryder Cup and then kind of thought, well, I will start the corporate backup and play the Senior Tour and I got to the point that I enjoy -- I enjoy playing, I found out. And the neat part about the Senior Tour is I enjoy competing and winning, and I don't know if there is too many more people out here that are anymore competitive than I am. And it is just -- it seemed much more simple out here. And I think a lot of the fact is I don't do as much corporate work. I am much more focused on Dave Stockton's game than on anybody else's.

KAYE KESSLER: Is this more fun?

DAVE STOCKTON: Ten times more fun. Sure. Only because, you know, I think the camaraderie out here is phenomenal. I think the Senior Tour is just a marvelous extension of our careers and I don't think there is any of us out here believe just how much fun we are having for the amount of money we are playing for and the quality golf courses we play on. I mean, you all cover it. I mean, you are looking at it. It doesn't get any better than it is this week.

Q. Given the circumstances, both off the course and on this year, have you played a better round this year?

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, I shot of 62 at NFL up in Montclair which I think is one hell of a hard golf course in New Jersey. I think that is probably the best round I shot with ten birdies. But this -- the pressure of this being a Major Championship, I would say this is probably one of the best rounds I have played in a Major Championship and Jerry Potter mentioned there to finish 2 out of last 3 holes in this golf course with birdies, obviously, I am staying focused, and you know, I am very pleased with what I have accomplished so far.

Q. Could you look ahead to this weekend now?

DAVE STOCKTON: In what regard?

Q. You are at the lead. Can you stay there? What would it take to stay there? Those sort of things.

DAVE STOCKTON: I am not going to really think about what it would take to stay there. All I know is I have eliminated part of the field so far and I will go out tomorrow and try to eliminate a few more of them. You know, I have led this tournament before with 36 holes and I don't have my name on the trophy yet, so obviously I didn't do it the first time. But on the other side of the coin, I have a pretty good record when I get in front. I thought about that one after I made my putt and I, you know, was waiting to see if Charles made his; whether we would be tied or if I had the actual lead. Obviously, the pressure is now on me. Again you are just going to go out there and play the golf course and I can tell you honestly my game plan like it has been today was to go out there and I am going to make some birdies, hopefully, although it took a long time today to get started, and try to make more birdies than the rest of the guys and I should be okay. As far as the weekend, I think -- I can see myself winning this event. I mean, I am not worried about that. I mean, I have got the game for it. I like the golf course. I like the area. There is no reason why I shouldn't play good.

KAYE KESSLER: Two years ago, Dave, you finished 67, 68, 68. So you are a finisher.

DAVE STOCKTON: All you can do, yeah, you go out there and the stat book you all get here is phenomenal. With that thing you find out about everything. My thought was, oh, my God, I'd better not play bad, they will write everything about it. I looked at that 80, Saucon Valley, whereever I shot the 80, in the last round I said that doesn't look good. So, you know, I tend to learn more about my bad from my bad rounds than I do my good ones. I mean, I look at this and say to myself -- I say, I deserve the 67. It didn't seem particularly difficult to me. I mean, I can point easily at a hole such as 13 which tomorrow I may screw up again, but I will promise you, if I have the same opportunity, I have a better game plan for my second shot. It is just, you know, I think Cathy has got me in a pretty good frame of mind. I am going to have fun this summer. I don't think I necessarily did last year. You asked me yesterday about the slump I have been in and haven't won for over a year. My answer to you is this tournament can solve a lot of things and so could next week, and this year is far from over.

KAYE KESSLER: If you only learn from your bad rounds, then all you learned today was that you are in the lead.

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah. No, well, what I learned -- obviously learned today is that I can play this golf course. I felt like I did yesterday. I was disappointed, obviously, to bogey 18, that was the only -- the two early bogeys. I mean, that is going to happen. I did not like bogeying 18 the way I did yesterday. That is why today I made it much more satisfying.

KAYE KESSLER: One more question: Can you go back to the putting green now?


KAYE KESSLER: Great halfway mark. Keep it up.

DAVE STOCKTON: Appreciate it. Thank you. See you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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