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July 4, 1996

Dave Stockton


LES UNGER: If you would, Dave, go over your round. I know you had an interesting group there. All the red numbers are in your group.

DAVE STOCKTON: We had a good group. I want to thank the USGA for giving me an 8:10 tee time. I don't know why I got it, but I loved it. We had a great pair. We had a little bit of wind to start out. Obviously, the greens were in good shape, and in fact, they are in good shape when they finished. I think it bodes well for the guys all day. The golf course is in great condition. As far as myself, I birdied number 1 starting out, driver, 7-iron to about twelve feet. Parred 2 and 3, and then made my first bogey at 4. I hit a good drive and actually farther than I have ever been; had 6 or 7 iron and hit, what I thought was a good 6 and landed about ten feet from the pin and bounced right over the green; hit a bad chip; missed about a 20-footer. Hit bad chip there. Bogeyed the next hole, 3-putted from about, I'd say, about 35 feet, and then birdied the next hole, par 5. Number 6, I knocked it on with a driver 3-wood; had about 35 foot eagle putt, 2-putted for birdie. Parred 7, 8, 9. Parred 10. Got it up-and-down from the front of the green. Then birdied 11, 12 and 13. 7-iron on 11 to about, I'd say, 10 foot. Driver - what did I hit? Driver, 9-iron to about twelve feet, I guess, on 12. Then 13 I was short of the green in 2. Wedged about six feet behind the hole; made that for birdie. Lipped out birdie 14. Got some adventures going the next few holes. 15, I drove it in the left rough, put it over the right bunker on 15 in two, chipped it down about twelve feet and made that for par. Killed a drive on 16 and then hit a 3-wood straight right into the trees and hit a phenomenal slice shank shot out around the trees to about 20 feet. Actually, I got inside Charles and had a pretty good read on the putt, but didn't make it. Made par. Put a 4-wood in the right bunker on 17; blasted to about five feet, four feet; made that for par. And then hit a good drive for me on 18; hit a 6-iron to about 30 feet and lipped out my first putt, unfortunately and picked up a little speed; went about four feet by and I missed it coming back. Really, the only bad putt that I hit all day. So I shot 70, but after watching Charles shoot 66, it didn't seem like anything special.

LES UNGER: Questions for Dave.

Q. Dave, it seemed like it was fairly windy out there. Do you think the scoring conditions were relatively benign or, I mean, how would you characterize them?

DAVE STOCKTON: Well, I think the opportunity to shoot low is there. I think the first five holes in the backside, first six holes, actually, you got a chance to - legitimate chance to make birdies on; then you got to survive the last three. The conditions, I think, are perfect. I mean, it is cool enough. The greens aren't going to get baked out, although they are very firm. I think there is a chance for some more rounds, maybe not as low as Bob shot, but there is going to be some good rounds. There is also going to be a whole lot of high ones because this golf course - if you just get in the wrong spot, you are going to make bogey every single time. But I think it is a very fair venue. I think -- as far as my look at the golf course, I think the greens are harder than normal, but because we haven't had hot, dry weather, you are going to be able to play them. And the rough is not as bad as I expected. Hopefully, I don't see it very often.

Q. Not trying to be smart or anything, but where have you been this year, I mean --


Q. Yeah, I mean, you have been - we keep looking for you and --

DAVE STOCKTON: Well, you haven't seen me last three weeks, and I had a problem I didn't anticipate. I threw my back out at Pittsburgh and, what, Cathy talked me into skipping Canada, which I intended to play, and she had been complaining about her left knee. Usually it's her right knee. She had trouble with both knees, had them scoped and different surgeries on them. We go home; she has her left knee on Monday, checked on Monday, and orthoscopic surgery on Tuesday and we find out she's got bone on bone, and we are going back Tuesday next week to find out what kind of replacement she is going to have to have, so that is why. I intended to schedule Bell Atlantic. I intended to play Cincinnati last week, but with her laid up and not being able to get around, that was the last thing on my mind. So I don't know how much more you are going to see me. When you do see me, I am going to be like right now. I think I have got a very good attitude. I would have liked to have come in here playing a little bit more. Usually, that is my history of playing to put me into shape, but got a wife out there slightly limping around the golf course. I am sure not going to worry about a few bad breaks or a few bad shots. But I intend to play the next six, if in fact she is healthy enough.

Q. What exactly did Charles do out there? Was he in correct position off the tee, or did he do everything to shoot the 66?

DAVE STOCKTON: Charles tends to play - he will tell you - he is a conservative player. He does not make mistakes. He will lay-up on par fives in various places, although today I mean, he had some great positions. He had eagle putt on 13 that he almost made, which he will tell you about. He was in the rough and still hit an iron to about 20 foot. He just kept the ball in the correct spot. He got a good up-and-down on 10, he knocked -- I thought I hit a good wedge and sucked it back off the green short. And then he landed by the pin and bounced right over the green. He made - I don't know what he is going to say - probably well over 10 foot, maybe 15 foot putt on 10 for par. That was really the only adventure that he had. He played very well, but I mean that is what you are expecting. That is why you love playing with a guy like that because, you know, if I looked at the leaderboard - which I don't mind looking at them - and I saw nobody else better than my 3 under at the time, you are not going to put on the brakes, but you are going to be hesitant. Only problem I had with Charles today, I didn't like seeing him getting 5 and 6 because it is going to tell a lot of guys out there that it is possible. This is -- you know, you don't like to see that. That is like Nicklaus and Weiskopf shooting their 62s or 3s in Jersey the one year. I remember going back to the room very happy with a 69 and found out I was six shots behind, and, God, it blew me away.

Q. But he wasn't in radically different places than you were off the tee. I mean, you were in a relatively good spot yourself.


Q. No, I mean, were you in relative --

DAVE STOCKTON: Oh, yeah, I mean, we both hit the fairway at 1. I mean, he didn't miss many shots. He is going to go over it. For the most part, you don't shoot what we shot and got in much trouble. There were no lucky breaks. Occasionally you get light rough, one side or the other, but that was about it. This golf course doesn't necessarily favor a long hitter because there are so many dog legs. It is a little tougher on me because most of the dog legs go to the right, but Charles likes to hook the ball, so all the dog legs favor him going to -- which is my slice being a righthander. I have got to the contrive some shots. For him, they are pretty simple shots.

Q. Dave, have you been working a lot the last few weeks, not being here, have you been practicing a bunch?

DAVE STOCKTON: I played two rounds in three weeks. No, my wife is more important. We just spent time around the house. I have got a half interest in a Buffalo ranch in Northern California. I spent four days up there taking out fence posts, doing some other stuff once my back got all right. We just kind of sat around. It killed her that she couldn't walk. Although she made 14 holes today - I don't know if she is going to pay for it tonight - but, no, I only played three rounds. I would have liked to have played more, but that is the way it goes.

LES UNGER: Is your back something that you can do some therapy on?

DAVE STOCKTON: It scared me in Pittsburgh. I have been in pretty good shape; probably been a little lax visiting the health trailer as much as I should. It scared me because it went out pretty good on Friday afternoon. Cathy was really beating me over the head that she wanted me to skip Canada and not go up there. It was a total shock to go home and then find out that she was the one having trouble. To answer your question, Jerry, I would have liked to have been out more.

Q. Were you playing to your expectations earlier in the year?

DAVE STOCKTON: No. I mean, I was looking at the great book you have here at the USGA, and I have had a phenomenal run the last three years, and no, my scoring average is not as low. There is a bunch of things that are not right. But I am hoping -- the first two years, basically out here, I was a summertime player. I hope it happens again. You know, last year I got off to a good start and thought I was going to kill them, and then didn't have a particularly good summer. So I have the opportunity to have - still have a great year, especially with this week and next week having two Majors back-to-back. So, no, it is not up to my expectations, but I am also going to play less than 30 tournaments this year, which is not what I had planned either.

Q. Will 16, 17 and 18 decide the tournament, do you think?

DAVE STOCKTON: Sure. I think 16, 17, 18 are phenomenal holes. Probably the bigger hitter get all excited because they have been kind of tiptoeing around corners for a number of holes and of a sudden they can let it go. I mean, Summerhays almost knocked it on 16 in two playing with us. He must have hit Charles and I about 50 yards off that tee. And -- this golf course, kind of -- it is hard to get a real good rhythm because -- it is fun for me because it is very seldom that you hit a shot you can't picture what you should be doing. I mean, it is either going to fade like off of number 12, or however you want to put it down the hill on 10. You got different shots you got to hit. And you got spots you got to get the ball into. Then all of a sudden you come to the last three holes and basically the prerequisite is a whole lot of strength.

Q. Would you elaborate a little more on the advantage that Charles might have by being lefthanded on this course?

DAVE STOCKTON: Well, not lefthanded. He has the same advantage of a righthanded player that likes to slice the ball or work the ball from left-to-right, I guess at our level would be correct. You know, I mean, No. 1 is a dog leg that you have to literally hit it over the right trees. Number 4 is a hard to the left. But then number 12 is the same thing, you literally have to be over the left trees. There's three of them. I am forgetting one of them, the other ones, but there is -- three holes that definitely, a fader, you want to work the ball. Again, it just isn't an overly long golf course. You don't need a golf ball -- you don't have to have it hot and running. In playing enough with Bob, Bob likes to draw the ball. You can see him get up on these holes and be comfortable as heck, as with a righthander that would like to fade it.

Q. Wasn't his draw a little longer than your fade, or --

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah. Definitely. Yeah, he will hit it past me because he is hitting a full shot. I am hanging on and hitting this cut shot out there. But the golf course is short enough on all those holes that you can still get there with a medium iron. I hit 7-iron to 1. Hit 9-iron to 12.

Q. Dave, what about the wind now? You just briefly mentioned that -- was it picking up? Is it going to play a part?

DAVE STOCKTON: I think it will play a part. I thought it was tougher starting out this morning. It was overcast. I thought the wind had a lot more velocity to it. It had -- this afternoon, it is gusting. I mean, on 17 we had a hard time figuring out where it was coming from. I mean, it would blow kind of like down a hill hollow there, you would have wind -- you figured it was helping you left-to-right, but then you'd get up just before you hit, the wind would be coming right at your nose. It is just swirling around. It's obviously going to play a part of it. I think the weather - the USGA has got the golf course in extremely good condition, I think, kind of following Oakland Hills, if you had had a ton of rain here, I think the condition of the golf course would have been such, it wouldn't have affected it.

Q. For a guy that is used to winning on the Senior Tour, how tough has it been for you this year not to win, and, two, why haven't you been playing up to your expectations?

DAVE STOCKTON: First of all, I haven't won because I haven't won. I don't know. In fact, it shocked me when I got to Pittsburgh, and became a former, you know, former champion. It is good to have a win; then you become a former which is not good. Guys said, God, you haven't won in twelve months. I hadn't even given it any thought, to tell you the truth. I mean, I have got all the possibilities and I got all -- I mean, I can win three or four tournaments the rest of the year. I have just never been one like a Nicklaus to be able to predict, okay, this is the winning score. Okay, I am going to do this. I mean, I got to kind of be out here and get on a roll and go with it. I don't know definitely what I have got to do different. Maybe preparation and, like I say, I am going to come out with a good attitude; especially the problems I got with Cathy right now. I suspect when I play, I will be in much better frame of mind to play well. If anything, and I think Cathy hit it on the head, she said that my patience was not good; that I was not having as much fun as I should. I mean, that is what I came out here -- as much fun as you can have in a USGA event I was bound and determined to have it this week, one way or the other.

End of FastScripts....

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