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June 29, 1994

Dave Stockton


LES UNGER: I have a statistical sheet here, Mr. Stockton. It has 9 out of the last 10 rounds are in the '60s, going to the bank regularly; two wins and a second place. Can we expect more of the same here?

DAVE STOCKTON: Obviously, I am playing well last three tournaments; 51 under par for 10 rounds. They have been -- it has been good playing. Atlanta, the first of the stretch I shot a 63; that propelled me on and played very well and went to Nashville and promptly birdied 11 of the first 15 holes. I played in the first round on Friday, shot 62. And learned a little bit playing with Trevino on Sunday. He outprepared me on Sunday and had a better game plan for coming down to the wire than I did, and lost by a shot. And i went to Michigan last week treating it like any other week. Obviously, it was a major, but making my goal was to make sure that I completed the tournament, and not just go out there and play. And Trevino made a comment about "it is not who makes the most birdies, it is who can keep them." I was bound and determined that I was going to finish the tournament last week. I shot -- I did shoot 71 the third round which was, you know, semi-weather related; we had a tough day. I think Jim Dent was the only one to shoot 70 and nobody broke 70. So, once I saw those scores, I wasn't as unhappy as I would have been with the 71 that I had shot. But I went out Sunday playing with Albus who, incidentally, is playing very, very well. Any of you who are picking people who are going to do well this week, make sure Albus' name is somewhere on your list. He just played really well. Ronnie and I made no mistakes, kept the ball where I had to. Didn't take any undo chances since I had such a big lead. And, basically, after 14 holes, we were all-- after 12 holes, we were basically checking on Junior to see how he was doing in Hartford because we kind of felt our tournament was over. It has been a great three weeks. After Atlanta, they ran a statistic last year. They called me Mr. August because I had had a hot streek both at Salt Lake City and Seattle where I had a whole bunch of under par similar to these last three weeks now. But I am on THE top of my game. It is a help to have Ronnie -- second tournament he has caddied for me this year; first one this summer and he has found some of the things I am doing wrong. When I am not far under you think I am not doing much wrong but the putting is very, very good and I am going to have to get my longer game ready for here because this will be the longest course we will play all year.

LES UNGER: Experiences at Pinehurst?

DAVE STOCKTON: I don't really remember any great rounds. Pinehurst, always, the greens to me were very slow. Slower than I like. I think one reason I played better in the summer is I am good in hot weather. That is going to happen here, I am sure. The greens normally are not that fast here and they are going to be fast which should play to my strength. Before I say anything further, obviously those of you that have been out on the golf course, this is the finest condition I have ever seen Pinehurst, number 2, by far. Fairways are wider than I would expect the USGA to are normally set up for us. But the length is going to be there which is not something we normally have in the normal senior tournaments. You have given the wilder drivers a better chance to hit the fairway. You are still going to have to be a good iron player because these greens are so unforgiving and I think these are going to be some surfaces to putt on. They are going to be fast if we stop having rain.

LES UNGER: Questions, please.

Q. Would you talk a little bit about this golf course and what do you think of it you said the greens used to be slow, but otherwise just-- this golf course has so much tradition and that kind of thing. . .

DAVE STOCKTON: It is obviously going to rank in anybody's top 10. I think this is a great golf course. I have-- honestly I have a hard time remembering the holes. They are similar to me. I got dog leg left and right. I have become acquainted with a lot of trees as wide as open as some of these holes look, I have been out in most of the trees on most of the holes, so this thing used to beat me over the head. Actually, when I come here to play, I'd play here and go to the country club in North Carolina and go fishing just so I would have some sense of not being too upset with myself. This golf course is a really good test of golf and it is going to take a good ball striker. You can't luck out and play well around here. I think we don't play many golf courses that have the old style greens like this that, you know, the chipping-- and chipping is going to play an important part in this tournament because you can't hit all the greens. Maybe some of the guys can, but I am not planning on it. I'd like to, but I know I am going to miss some. It is just a classic golf course. I think this is a beautiful venue for the Senior U.S. Open. Hats off to them. Cherry Hills last year was marvelous. Saucon Valley the year before was great. Especially the first 36, it was great. Then I hear now they have added Riviera in 1988; Congressional in between there somewhere. They are on a streak of going to courses that I like to play anyway. I don't know about the rest of the guys.

Q. How much has the rain slowed down the greens?

DAVE STOCKTON: I came in yesterday afternoon, late, because I had an outing in Chicago on Monday. I thought the greens yesterday were very slow. I did not putt on them very much - not that the USGA would ever speed the greens up between Tuesday and the following Sunday. My cleats still go in the ground, so I know they haven't got them the way they want them yet. But I was surprised that after the rain last night, the greens were much faster this morning so the mowers were obviously lowered over the night. I thought the putting surfaces today were closer to speed that I would like to see them. They were really slow yesterday afternoon - by USGA standards. I suspect-- like I am saying, this golf course is in phenomenal condition. It really is. This is the shortest rough I have ever seen for a U.S. Open - senior U.S. Open. Between the last two that I have played at Cherry Hills and Saucon Valley, but it is also the type that is wirey. The ball is going to sink if you get in it. But they have given us ample driving room. I hope you don't get anymore rain. I wouldn't care if the greens got hard because I want to be able to get the ball so I can get there in two. It is short here; pray it stops. We are hitting irons we don't normally hit. I started out in the second hole and hit a good drive and had to hit a 3-iron to it and two holes later I am hitting a 4-wood trying to get on the fourth hole for my second shot. There is a lot of long par fours in this golf course.

Q. You were mentioning Albus as one of the favorites. Could you mention a few others?

DAVE STOCKTON: I think it is pretty obvious. I think Trevino is at the top of his game. I think Raymond is looking for his right now and I suspect he'd find it. Raymond doesn't stay away from the top very long. I think Weiskopf, he can fix or figure out his putting as good as he strikes the golf ball; has got to be, you know, one of the favorites although he did not look good putting the ball. I talked to him here this morning. He has worked really hard yesterday and changed some things. Trevino evidently tried to help him with the same thing. I asked him what he told him and it was the same similar thing I would, so he should be a factor. Albus who I previously mentioned. And a dark horse would be Dent. I thought Dent-- I have played with him in the last two weeks. He is playing very well; through away some shots which is sometimes his characteristics and I was kind of chewing him out a little bit because he hit three or four really loose shots playing with me on Sunday at the TPC, and he agreed with me what I said to him. And he should be another one that could be a factor. I look for a long hitter having an advantage here because of the length of the golf course, but you are obviously still going to have to putt your ball well. It will be interesting to see the World Series of golf next year when we have our Grand Slam- or whatever they call it-- Phil could tell you -- Senior Slam? I am new to that. They didn't have it the first year. Trevino, Raymond and I winning the first three legs of our four majors; it is going-- that is going to be an interesting tournament. I am looking forward to participating in that.

LES UNGER: Thank you very much. Good luck.

DAVE STOCKTON: Thank you. Appreciate it.

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