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July 29, 2005

Craig Stadler


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Craig Stadler. Craig with a round of 69, 2 under par today, 9 under par 133 for the championship. Again, that ties the U.S. Senior Open record for low 36 holes.

There are a lot of low scores out there this morning. Were you sensing that there was a difference in the way the course was playing at all.

CRAIG STADLER: No, I think it probably played darn near identical to what it did yesterday afternoon. Breeze was about the same, the greens were same speed, as receptive. I'd say very similar to yesterday.

RAND JERRIS: Would you walk us through the birdies and bogeys on your card.

CRAIG STADLER: I birdied 1, driver, 9 iron about five feet.

4, I hit 3 wood in the left rough, had to chip out, chipped on about 20 feet and made bogey there.

Driver, 3 wood just right of the green, chipped to about four feet, made that for birdie on 6.

9, I drove it in the bunker, had a horrible lie in the bunker, just came out 25 yards, hit a wedge on, two putts for bogey there.

13, I hit 4 iron, good shot there about 15 feet, made that for birdie.

18, I thought I hit a good drive, got it just in the left rough by the bunker there, not a great lie, not a horrible lie. I was able to get it on about 45, 50 feet and made that one for birdie.

Q. Compared to yesterday, Craig, kind of an uneventful round, wasn't it, until that last putt?

CRAIG STADLER: It was. You know, it was very similar to yesterday. I didn't hit I hit 3 woods on all three of the 5s yesterday and had about 20 footers for eagle today. Today I missed the green with 3 woods on all three of them and made one birdie and two pars. So it's three shots there.

You know, I missed putts from 12, 15 feet or so probably six, seven times, a lot of short putts. I had a lot of opportunities today. I hit a lot of good shots. I hit the ball pretty good. Those shots on the 5s, I hit them about the same, maybe even a little better than yesterday.

Q. You have to like your position after 36 holes and the way you're playing?

CRAIG STADLER: Yeah, I made some putts yesterday and I missed a lot today. As I said, I changed the pins, and they will tomorrow, and I'll have a different look and try again tomorrow. It's always nice to make a bomb on the end, there's no doubt.

Q. Is it a pleasant surprise to be playing in a USGA event and being 9 under after two rounds and seeing all those birdies? Is that a little bit different than what you're used to on the regular Tour?

CRAIG STADLER: You know, if the greens were firmer the scores would be a lot higher. But the ball basically ends up right where you hit it and does not move it much. As I said yesterday, you drive it in the fairway, you should have a relatively decent opportunity for birdie on that hole. And if you drive it in the rough, you're going to get penalized. Obviously the key is getting it in the fairway off the tee and then you go from there. If you drive the ball well, you've got plenty of opportunities to make birdies out here. That's why the scores are so low.

Q. Do you enjoy this kind of setup more than a traditional regular U.S. Open where 1 under maybe wins? Do you enjoy playing like this?

CRAIG STADLER: Yeah, I enjoy playing in any of them, whether 2 over wins or whether 12 under wins. It doesn't really matter. It's a wonderful golf course here. I haven't played it before.

You know, as I said, you see a much different scoring, much different tournament if the greens were firm. With the undulations, you know, having to land the ball on the front of the green out here and bounce it up is not an easy task because you're always flying it into the hill it seems like on all the front of the greens here. So it would be a much different golf course. But the way it is now, it's yielding a lot of birdies, and if it continues to stay soft the next two days with no wind, it will, as well.

Q. From what you've seen in your career with the softness of greens and the change, is there any chance that with a day full of sunshine and everything that these greens could get more firm?

CRAIG STADLER: Yeah, a day full of sunshine today and you've got one today, or yesterday and today. We'll see what they're like this afternoon. But they're pretty soft. I can't see them firming up a lot by this afternoon. Maybe a little bit by tomorrow, but I thought they'd be a little firmer today and they weren't. I think they're kind of here to stay for the next couple of days. It's good for the club. They won't lose them (laughter).

Q. With that being said, does your strategy have to be more aggressive over the next two days?

CRAIG STADLER: No, I'd say it's too early. If you drive the way in the fairway you can be aggressive because where you fly the ball in your second shots it's going to end up there, unless you're hitting an occasional 3 iron or something. So the softness of the greens lets you go ahead and hit at any pin. Even on the short side, as long as you don't miss it drastically on the short side, you know you're going to stay there. I don't think that's going to change over the next two days. If they firm up and you get some wind and all of a sudden it gets hot and no humidity and it dries them out, it's a different story, but right now I think you can just go ahead and fire away and that's why you're seeing the scores where they are.

Q. Usually a putter is the most important thing at a U.S. Open. Sounds like maybe this week the driver is most important?

CRAIG STADLER: I think it is the driver. As I said, you've got to get the ball in the fairway, and if you don't, then you're penalized, especially with the undulations and just the huge size of these greens. These greens are giant. You're hitting it out of that rough and you've got 50 footers every hole with 15, 18 feet of break you're not going to two putt every one of them. But if you have a 7 or 6 iron from the fairway on every hole you can fly the hole and it's a different story.

Q. You've played in how many Senior Opens before this?


Q. In the absence of rain, just given normal conditions, how does the USGA maybe make a course more forgiving for the seniors than they do compared to a U.S. Open setup?

CRAIG STADLER: The only difference this year and last year actually at Belle Rive, as well, which they're actually two very similar golf courses, last year and this year, but I think the only well, obviously one difference is the greens are a lot softer. We didn't have much rain on Mount Wise on Wednesday. I think they were pretty soft before that. I don't know when your last rain was. They're definitely softer, they're definitely more receptive, and the rough off the fairways is definitely not nearly as penal as it is in the regular U.S. Open I don't think.

Inverness, on the other hand, the fairways were a little tighter, the rough was high, you had to get the ball in the fairway, but it was a different type of golf course. It was a golf course where you hit a lot of 3 woods, a lot of 2 irons and just chased the ball down the fairways. They have these little funnel fairways there, a completely different type of golf course. But the rough was quite a bit higher at Inverness than it is here. I don't remember what won there, but I think you'll definitely see lower scores this week than you have the last two just because of the greens.

RAND JERRIS: Craig, congratulations on your fine play. Thanks for your time.

End of FastScripts.

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