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June 30, 1995

Dave Stockton


DAVE STOCKTON: I started out, birdied number 1; hit a 3-wood off the tee and hit a 6-iron to about 15, 17 feet made it for birdie. Bogeyed number 2 for the second day in row; hit good 4-wood maybe - had maybe 25-foot putt, and 3-putted. First putt about 2 foot from the hole and the ball nestled into a little end of a cleat mark down in the hill, popped dead left when I hit it. I bogeyed that. Let us see, I bogeyed number 8, hit a 3-wood off the tee; pushed it a little bit; got just the edge of the thick of rough sitting up perfect; I was worried about a flier, and I hit it too easy. It went in the bunker short of the green to the right and blasted out about 5 feet and missed it. Then birdied number 9. Driver and short-- first cut to the right which was perfect; then pulled my 4-wood into the left rough which was not perfect because I had downslope and all the trees in front of me; and I hit a great shot about 30 feet; holed it for a birdie, with a 7-iron. Backside, basically played good; just never got anything really going. I am trying to think if I hit every green. I was off the back fringe of 14; putted down with a wedge to about two foot; I left it short of the 15th green; hit a bad chip shot about seven feet; made that for par. And then I birdied 16 and 18. 16, I hit a good drive down the right, 3-wood; and the best shot of the tournament. I had 126 yards against the wind; normally 125 is my 9-iron. Of course, I take my 8-iron out; I am saying, "I know I can't get there with the 9-iron." I asked my caddie how much room is behind the hole hoping he tells me 8 or 10. He said, "nothing." I said this is not good. Now, I am trying to hit 126 yard 7-iron since I didn't have the eight, I was 15 feet left of the pin, perfect, 15, 16 feet, holed that for birdie. Parred 17; had a good drive there. 6-iron little bit left and a bad first putt; I misread the green and left myself a five footer; made that for par. Then on 18, hit very good tee shot yesterday; I had a 2-iron today. I had a 6-iron, and 6-iron landed right on the front and stopped dead; then I holed it from about 25 feet.

LES UNGER: Do you ever get a lift from hearing about your sons playing well? Maybe you are just -- you get some information on the golf course as well?

DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, today wasn't any fun because I knew he teed off late; so I wasn't going to be able to pester anybody. Sure, it is I like to see what is going on, on the leaderboard. It is the same thing with my son. If he is playing in the morning, I am always bugging the TV guys to find out how he is doing. Of course, if I play badly, they say that I'm focused on my son which is a good excuse, I am not. But you know, I just enjoy being kept up-to-date on what is going on.

Q. Speaking of leaderboards, what do you make of this one?

DAVE STOCKTON: Well, let us see. When I came in for my interview, I said I thought Hale Irwin and Floyd would be my 2 favorites with Weiskopf being a dark horse. So I think I did pretty good. I don't know what Raymond is doing today, but obviously Hale played a great round until he bogied the last round. Of course Weiskopf is sitting right there. And Raymond will probably be right here at the end. I think the leaderboard is fine. What happened to our Ringer? -.

Q. 4-putted number 3.

DAVE STOCKTON: I saw -- I saw J.C. Got off to a good start and fell down. I suspect if it is anything like '76, I wouldn't take much interest on who is on the leaderboard until about the last 9 on Sunday because there will be some people falling off it. The golf course is still going to win this battle for the most part, I think.

Q. This is sort of along the same frame as that last response you gave us. Compared to '76, the cut line is going to be a lot, lot higher; everybody is going to be playing better. Obviously, the golf course is playing a little bit shorter and the greens aren't as fast as they were then, you guys, everybody knew that but sort of been -- everybody always, not everybody, but the perception is that the senior players, the game has sort of fallen down a little bit; that is just -- you guys are proving otherwise this week?

DAVE STOCKTON: Some of the games do fall down; but there is certain others that play extremely good. Sure, I mean, I had my share of 62s and 3s out here. I will never forget Rocky Thompson shooting 61 in Tampa in a wind storm last year, the year before last, there is some phenomenal round shot. I think the only reason you are seeing scores under par is these greens are like sponges and you can throw the ball right there -- there is no absolute thought of where this ball is going to roll after it hits the green because you know it is not going to roll anywhere. That is just not what happens at a USGA event. Usually you got a figure out where you are going to land it and the ball is going to roll 30, 40 feet. These balls aren't going five or six feet. So the golf course, I think, I am think they should be very proud of the changes they made as far as the visibility of your tee shots. I think it is making much easier for the guys to drive. There is no hills in your way. No blind tee shots. The greens are a factor that lets us shoot a little bit better than normal. I think it is bringing in the chance for most of the guys to hit a lot of greens and be cautious with your putts and 2-putt a lot but you may not see low rounds but you will see a lot of decent rounds.

Q. Hale said he would sit in the clubhouse at 8 under and take his chances. You think it is going to be lower?

DAVE STOCKTON: I said 5 or 6 to start the week. I really don't know. All I know when I been here before people backed up toward the end. These greens may not allow that. I certainly at the start of week would have taken 8 under, but like I told you when you interviewed me on my deal, I just -- I am not good at guessing numbers. I do not think I have been as good as I can be from tee to green. Graham is just playing flawlessly and Nicklaus is hitting some really good shots, but I have not felt comfortable. I am still going to go out and work on it; try to get it better. I am looking at shooting 5 under par and not being completely comfortable with my lock game. If I can get it the way I want it, which I think I can, I am going to be around by Sunday night.

Q. Got to be gratifying feeling for you to look up there and see yourself just one stroke off the pace. Talk about what that means and then talk about the final two days for you?

DAVE STOCKTON: Big putt on 18, obviously, I would have taken 4 in a heart beat. But I saw that ball go in; all of a sudden, I am going, man, I am right back up, you know, way up high or higher than I needed to be; I am farther under par than I needed to be at this point. Next 36 holes are just going to be you know, more of the same. Just go out there enjoy myself; have a good time. The people have been very receptive to me. Obviously after winning here in '76 a lot of people are rooting for me. It is a good feeling. I have got nothing but positive vibes going into the weekend.

Q. I saw you had a quote the other day where you said you wished that Nicklaus enjoyed the game a little more than he does. When you see Weiskopf out here now and you have seen him in the PGA Tour days, does he seem to enjoy it more?

DAVE STOCKTON: I think so. Obviously Tom is one of the ones that by mellowing out a little bit is obviously going to improve it. You brought up two guys who are heavily involved in designing golf courses, and it is amazing that they can pull their game together. I asked Jack, for instance, if he is going to skip next week and he is he not playing next week, you know, God forbid he go home and rest; he said, no, I am going to Veil Sunday night and I am going to do a course in Montana on Tuesday and somewhere else on Wednesday and Canada on Thursday; then I will take Barbara home on Friday and I asked him which home he was talking about. Weiskopf is a little bit of the same. He is doing design works on Monday and Tuesday and then playing, but you know, there is nobody on the Senior Tour that I know of that is anymore close to being as uptight as they were on the regular Tour. Some of the guys you couldn't approach; were not fun to be around and Tom always has been one of my better friends and he beat me last year in a playoff in Salt Like City and I don't know if there was anybody else that I would rather lose to-- that was a strange week because of Nancy passing away that week but I suspect Tom will win more out here and the only reason that he does -- he does this off the golf course stuff that Nicklaus does. Getting back to an earlier question one reason we do play better is a lot of us -- I am able to focus as good now as I did in the mid 60s 'til the late '60s when I was playing close to 25, 30 events. Graham alluded to the fact that we stay out here and we play; we don't go home kill ourselves doing water skiing or doing whatever we might be doing and we are more focused. Luckily some of these super superstars some of theme either try to play both tours or they have these other interests. From my part, I am having so much fun being competitive again that I don't really want it to stop. I mean, wake in week out I am competitive. I am enjoying the hell out of it.

Q. How much were you kidding in response to J.C.'s water quote some of these guys want to throw water on your fire and you said I'd throw water at J.C. I'd even drown him?

DAVE STOCKTON: I don't know if I said drown him, but I told him to his face that I'd throw water on you, he is a neat guy. I like him. Sometimes he will say stuff; you just back off and say, J.C., don't be doing this stuff, you know, ain't going to help you. He is just honest. You guys can take target practice at him sometimes. When I said that quote obviously I was trying to be kind to him because I mean, I beat him at the TPC when he pounds (sic) the ball on 18, I have never played 36 holes with somebody that tried to lose a tournament that bad in my life. I mean, he just was so negative and part of the time he had 5, 6 shot leads and he is just killing it, but he is not happy. So I don't know, but he has mellowed out compared to what he used to be. I think that is one of the nicest things about the Senior Tour, the fact that they had mellowed out. I think I have always been approachable, but some of guys I think you had a tough time really getting close to. I think that is the most wonderful thing about The Senior Tour is that we are more relaxed; it does let us play better and maybe let you guys get a little closer to us than did you on the regular Tour.

Q. Talk about the level of competition on the Senior Tour, is it as competitive as it has been since you have been playing on it?

DAVE STOCKTON: I think it is getting more and more competitive because the guys are coming out are -- Floyd was a definite help to come out, long hitter everything. Weiskopf comes out and he can -- he would be out there with Tour stats on the other tour. Hale is not necessarily a long hitter, but obviously, very, very knowledgeable when it comes to keeping your game in shape. He is more my distance of my length off the tee. The guys that are coming out now are going to be more competitive because they know there is a Senior Tour, don't think that the Watkins Tom Kite, Crenshaws, Watsons, don't think they don't know what is out here and they will keep themselves in better shape. A lot of guys when I came out, I knew the Senior Tour was here. I knew. I prepared for it physically and mentally for the most part. There are a lot of guys Bobby Nichols for instance, who -- there was no Senior Tour so he dropped out of golf four, five years and all of a sudden from scratch tried to start it up again; couldn't do it or not as good as he did on the regular Tour. So, yes, it is more competitive. While I have been out here they have toughened up the pin positions. They are playing the golf course slightly longer. The only difference is obviously they get to ride carts; they don't naturally have a high amount of rough. This is -- Raymond said it is equivalent to the normal rough on the PGA Tour; much more severe than we usually see.

LES UNGER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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