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May 21, 2009

Dave Stockton


KELLY ELBIN: Two time PGA Champion, and 1996 U. S. Senior Open champion here at Canterbury, Dave Stockton joining us at the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club after an even par round of 70. Dave, four birdies, four bogeys, and probably a lot of good memories out there from 12 years ago or 13 years ago.
DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, I must have been playing awful good in '96, that's all I can say. Because this golf course is really tough. It's different because they have changed the hole rotation. So it's a different feel. You don't have any par-5s, you jump out there on 15 and 16 -- funny enough, two of the par-4s they made out of par-5s, No. 4 now and No. 12. I made birdies on both of those today, hitting 7-woods into the green. So and probably those are the two key holes of the round.
I got off early, I made two birdies, birdied 1 and then birdied 4. Lucky to make a five on 5, excuse me, on No. 6. I got an up-and-down for a par on the previous hole and then just kind of kept it together.
A long putt on No. 11, probably, 55, 60 feet for birdie.
And then birdied, but like I say, I birdied No. 12, the next hole.
Kind of didn't play very smart coming in. Short sided myself into the bunker on the par-3 after the two birdies in a row, which was not smart.
And then I did the same thing, short sided myself on 17.
And 18 was just a screw up. I hit a good drive and I was surprised it was near the right rough, I was in the fairway, and I just got too aggressive and came at the pin and came up short, landed just short of the grown and stayed there. And didn't get it up-and-down.
So kind of disappointing, but obviously there's going to be a lot of people that would like to have a 70, but it was intriguing, it was fun having Maltby out there riding his cart and commentating and getting some of the people noticed and everything.
But it's fun to be back. Long answer to your question. I do have great memories of here. Tough, tough golf course. Length isn't a factor, I think the hardest thing is trying to keep the ball in the fairway. Because that rough -- I would love to go and turn on the Byron Nelson and look at their rough, because I promise you, this rough is three times higher than what they're playing in Dallas today.
KELLY ELBIN: How long were the birdie putts at 1, 4 and 12, please?
DAVE STOCKTON: 1 was about a 6-footer.
4, it was about a 12-footer.
The one on 12 was probably about a 10-footer.
KELLY ELBIN: Open it up for questions, please.

Q. Intriguing?
DAVE STOCKTON: Intriguing?

Q. You say it was an intriguing round.
DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, I didn't know what to expect. I've been not putting well of late. Hitting the ball reasonably good. I don't know, I don't know what the other competitors are going to say, this course kind of puts handcuffs on me because you want to hit it out there, but all you see is if you see it bouncing in the rough you know you're not going to be able to get it on the green. It just plays all aspects.
If you hit a good drive, now you got to keep it below the hole because the greens are very difficult, although I will say the greens are holding better than I expected. They either put more water on them or something, but the balls did not bounce as hard today as they did yesterday in the practice round. Hence, I was surprised there weren't more low scores.
I kept looking around, I see somebody went to 6, Hoch went to 6, I guess, but I was surprised and I'll be surprised if there aren't some more low rounds this afternoon.

Q. What is it about Cleveland you like? I remember you winning at Cleveland Open here at Lakewood Country Club, besides the --
DAVE STOCKTON: In '68, yeah.

Q. It was oppressively hot if I remember back then too.
DAVE STOCKTON: Well, I broke my back when I was younger. Every one but one tournament on the Regular Tour and every tournament on this TOUR I've won in either July or August. So it can't get too hot for me.
But you're right, I used to and it's well documented, I, this was Kathy's and my summer home when we couldn't afford to fly. We would come back to, we stayed out at Lake Lucerne with the Plums, who was a Spaulding representative and I played Chagrin Falls Country Club.
So I have had good -- between winning two CBS Golf Classic's with Geiberger at Firestone and winning the Cleveland Open in '68 and then the U.S. Open, I do, I love it.

Q. Are you still the avid fisherman that you were?
DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah. Yeah. I'm getting ready in three and a half weeks to go on a bear hunt with both boys. Kathy was going to go but she found out how big the bugs were in Manitoba and I guess they're going to have some big Pike and stuff. So I won't be doing it this week, but, yeah, if I can hunt and fish every week, I probably wouldn't play a whole lot of golf.
But this time of year, you got to start thinking about it. I don't know if I still have a lake record out at Lake Lucerne, I don't know if anybody's caught one bigger than eight pounds, but it was a good fish there.

Q. What kind was it?
DAVE STOCKTON: A large mouth Bass.

Q. Last couple of Senior PGA's have been just really set up difficult, Oak Hill last year, year before the Ocean Course, and this one again. Are you happy with the difficulty level? Are they too hard or do you think they should be extremely difficult?
DAVE STOCKTON: No. 1, first of all, I think it's marvelous that the PGA moves around the country. I wasn't a fan of sitting at PGA National every time. I played Kiawah and of course memories of the Ryder Cup come back there. I didn't make the cut, but I enjoyed being there.
I enjoyed last year because I watched it on television. The guys looked like they were really suffering and not having a whole lot of fun.
I will say, I mean this rough is probably triple the height that the PGA will be playing this week and has been playing. It's going to be the hard and the frustrating thing is you have these holes, like number 7, or even 1, a lot of the holes you hit and the slope out of the fairway's different than you expect. It's hard to gauge. It's not like you're landing in flat areas and, boy, if you do bounce in the rough -- I don't mind the hard setup and that's why I said I think they were very fair this morning by watering the greens.
I know my group, we kept coming up short because there was no way you wanted to get past it. You hit what you thought was good shots and thought, okay, that will get back and then it would come up 25 feet short. Now you're facing a putt uphill that you want to make and want to be aggressive with, but the last thing you want to do is knock it a couple feet by the hole.
So, no, I don't mind the tough setup and they're going to tell you they want to have a Major champion win the Tournament. So it's, it fits, it's very fair.
I was looking at the 10th fairway, the 10th fairway, yeah, it's 10, it's just wider than heck if you can carry those bunkers. I think it's a good setup. It certainly gets your attention. Maltby asked me if I thought at any time out there about shooting my age and it didn't even dawn on me. I'm only 2-under and I only needed one more to get there and I promise you it never crossed my mind, I was just trying to cross hole after hole off.

Q. How many times have you done that?
DAVE STOCKTON: Three times. I don't play enough golf when I'm home or I imagine I could do it a whole bunch of times.

Q. A lot of pros I talked to that have leaned on you for putting advice over the years recently. How often do you get into putting problems like you say of recent and what was it?
DAVE STOCKTON: Well I'm not going to tell you how I fixed it, but I had Tampa where I won, and I made, I missed three fairways basically in three days, so I'm in the fairway every hole and I made one birdie in 54 holes. And then I got to go with Jay and keep score for him and I made five birdies in three rounds. So I made six birdies in 108 holes and I was fit to be tied.
So I felt the first putt going in today felt good and the one on 4, obviously on a tough hole like 4 meant a lot to me. But I do feel better about the putting. So that's taking some of the pressure off the rest of the game.
But it has been weird. Ronnie and I flew to, he's teaching seven of the LPGA girls now and we're starting to work with Danny Lee, the U.S. Amateur Champion who just turned pro, and I think, I'm getting hired to help the kid and I can't make a putt, this is not good. Different part of my career, I guess.

Q. I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about what difference 13 years since you won the Senior Open here might have on your game? Do you remember that week well enough and compare it to this week where you might be playing holes entirely different than you may have been then?
DAVE STOCKTON: I can't remember. They must have a new tee on 17, because I the pro-am we played it at 240 and I know it didn't play that long. Today it was 224 or 225. And I don't remember it being that long. So either we're playing -- it's not the same spot there.
It screws us up with the rotation change, because it's hard it even remember the numbers now. I like what the PGA has done. I think it makes a lot of sense. It's just totally different. I didn't remember that many shots before.
I remember the two par-5s that are now par-4s that were thrilling to me trying to hit 3-wood on these little magical, small greens. They're not even any easier as par-4's, but it's a totally different kind of shot that you're trying to hit. But I don't, my memories of the Open is I played extremely well and I couldn't make a putt the last day. And yet I -- I still had a five or six shot lead, except for Irwin going nuts. But people asked me what I shot, I do not remember the score. I know I made 17 straight pars until I bogeyed 18 when it didn't make any difference.
But I think that the greens are harder than they were to putt in my mind. I think the greens are -- I think the golf course is by far in better condition. I know there's more rough. I know the greens are harder. And you got the, the difference in the par-4s and par-5s we have. But it's still, it's a heck of a golf course. I like it because every single shot you're just not trying to get up and bomb it. The big hitters, it's kind of fun watching them because they get in all sorts of trouble trying to shortcut some of these holes and you really can't do it.
And everybody you talk to goes this would be a great club to be a member of because it's going to play different every single day. But I bet the members are going to be glad to get that rough cut.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Dave finished at 11-under par, 277 in 1996.

Q. Would you take four 70's and be happy at this tournament and with your knowledge of Scott Hoch notwithstanding, minus 6 today, what do you think the winning score would be under these conditions?
DAVE STOCKTON: I don't know. I would probably say 10 or 11. Something like that again or maybe 12. But it will be -- it will be interesting to see how the afternoon does. But the golf course is in such good shape I don't think there's going to be any wear and tear on the course.
The greens to me are tremendously better than they were in '96. I don't remember them being bad, but I remember it being more difficult to putt them.
Other than that, would I take four 70's? Probably. But I'm, but I also think it's probably going to take two -- it probably won't be 10 or 11-under, but you're going to be 8 to 10, I'll bet.
KELLY ELBIN: Dave, you were 13 greens in regulation out of 18. Your iron play pretty good today?
DAVE STOCKTON: Yeah, and because I was aiming at the middle of the greens more times than not. It irritated me, I mentioned it earlier, I birdied 11 and 12 and then I'm standing up there with a pin on the right on 13 and why I didn't just put it up the middle of the green, but I'm trying to cut it too much and put it in the bunker.
Same thing at 17. It's only a few yards beside the green and yet I missed it on that same side and couldn't get it up-and-down from over there.
My iron game is good. Everything, the putting feels better, which allows me not to really care about the rest of it. But boy, you start putting bad and now you're trying to knock it too close and it just compounds the problems.
KELLY ELBIN: Dave Stockton, thank you very much.
DAVE STOCKTON: Okay. Thanks.

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