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July 9, 2009

Darron Stiles


MARK STEVENS: We'd like to welcome Darron Stiles to the interview room. Darron is in the first round co-lead with a 64 after the first round of the John Deere Classic. If you'd start off giving us some general comments about your round today and then we'll take some questions.
DARRON STILES: Best round of the year so far. I only missed one fairway, which is usually a pretty strong point of mine. But today, the iron play, I hit a lot of shots really close and got the putts to go to boot. Chipped in once, made one from the fringe. It was overall a really good day.
MARK STEVENS: Darron actually was T1 in putting today with 23 and T5 in fairways hit. Questions?

Q. When was the last time you led a PGA TOUR event?
DARRON STILES: I'm going to have to say 2006, Hartford. I led twice that year; Hartford and Memphis I had the 36-hole lead.

Q. Both of those?
DARRON STILES: Both of those.

Q. Gratifying to get back?
DARRON STILES: Yes. Like I told them outside, the last time I played a tournament round here I shot 64. That was on Sunday in '07. So it's nice to see that I can still do that here, still do it, period, because it has been a very rough year.
But overall it was -- I've been hitting the ball well, I just haven't gotten the results. And today kind of everything fell right into place, good numbers all day with my irons, which leads to -- you make the right swing, it leads to a good shot close to the hole.

Q. What did you feel was holding you back, only having made the one previous cut coming into this week?
DARRON STILES: Everything. It's been -- some of it has been the putting, a lot of it has been in my head. But any number of things every week. I mean, I could never really say, okay, well, I did this poorly this week; that's why I missed the cut. It's been a combination of multiple things.

Q. What turned it around today? What made you comfortable today? Did you go it feeling positive today?
DARRON STILES: I try to do that every day. I've played well here in the past. I haven't necessarily had the results here, but I've played well. I like the golf course. A lot of shots seem to fit my eye and the way I like to hit the ball as far as shape. And then I got off to a decent start. I birdied 2, bogeyed 3, then I got on a run on 5, 6 and 7 to kind of get me going on the forward side of the momentum instead of the backward side of the momentum, which is kind of where I've been of late.
So getting 2-, 3-under par early on that front nine kind of helped settle me down and go the rest of the way.

Q. What went well for you on 18 there, obviously finishing with a birdie?
DARRON STILES: I mean, I drove it fine, right in the middle of the fairway, had 192, just hit a little cut 4-iron in there. I was kind of joking with my caddie, Do you like how that ball went left to right? He said, We don't see that much. Do you like how that went? He said, Yeah.
The hiccup was on 17, I missed a two-footer. I really don't know what happened there. I took my time, did everything I was supposed to do, it just didn't go in. But to finish that way making birdie on the last is the way I try to finish every day.

Q. You seem pretty somber for a guy who shot 64. Has the year been so tough that you're reluctant to get too happy too fast?
DARRON STILES: Yeah, there's still a lot to go this week. I'm going to take the birdie on 18, I'm going to look at that as opposed to the bogey on 17, take the birdie on 18 into tomorrow and keep that positive momentum going, and we'll just keep going one day at a time.

Q. Is that easier said than done?
DARRON STILES: Sometimes, yeah, a lot of it is easier said than done. You say you can go out and shoot 64 on any golf course in the world, yeah, that's a lot easier said than done. But no, it's a fair question.
Up until even -- I mean, this whole six months since the start of the year has just been slowly getting better every week for me, and hopefully this is the start of a lot of good weeks for the rest of the year.

Q. How do you kind of get out of your own way when you're in a stretch like you have been and try to get over that hump?
DARRON STILES: Actually last week not playing, did not play Tiger's event. My invitation got lost. We spent the week in Dayton, Ohio, with some friends of ours, a family that we stayed with on the Nationwide Tour, played NCR on Thursday with them, played well. But more of it I think is just actually getting away from -- not even thinking about the golf. And then I showed up 30 minutes before our tee time on that Thursday, hit a few balls and we went out and played.
And then I played Monday in the pro-am here, played Tuesday. With the weather -- I was going to practice. Didn't. They shut the course down, which could have been to my benefit, I don't know. But I think a lot of it is -- I've been thinking about a lot of things, and I think today I made the conscious effort to not think about 99 percent of what I've been thinking about. It's seemed to work, and we're going to stick with that for right now.
MARK STEVENS: If you want to go through your birdies and then we'll take a follow-up question.
DARRON STILES: No. 2, driver down the middle, 3-iron down the middle, L-wedge to six feet.
5, driver down the middle, 8-iron to five feet.
6, 3-wood, wedge, ten feet.
7, I chipped in from left of the hole. I actually hit it between the tree and the hazard, kind of joking with my caddie, it was tough to get through there.
10, driver, 4-iron, sand wedge, six feet.
11, drove it down the middle, 6-iron about 25 feet, made that up the hill.
13, driver, wedge to seven feet.
15, driver, 4-iron to just on the fringe and made that.
Then 18, driver, 4-iron to six feet.

Q. You're the Nationwide Tour's all-time money leader. What do you think that says about you as far as what you can do in this game?
DARRON STILES: Some people would say it means I've played that Tour for too long. That's kind of the inside joke with us that are over a million dollars on that Tour. It means we've spent too much time there. I reckon it's a great place to play golf. Part of the reason I'm the leading money winner out there is because I've come along when the money has gotten higher than when the Tour first started, and we can thank Tiger for that because that's the direct trickle-down effect from here to the Nationwide Tour. Purses went up when he came out here.
But I think, I mean, I've got five wins out there against a lot of the guys that we're playing with now week in and week out. I mean, it's definitely helped me to get to where I am as far as being here on the big Tour, and I can drawback on those experiences, the weeks that I won out there, the weeks that I almost won. When I get in a situation out here -- granted, I haven't been in that many of them, but when I get there, then I've got the positive memories to go look back on.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you, Darron. Good luck the rest of the week.

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