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July 11, 2009

Darron Stiles


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome clubhouse leader through round two. Even though it's a day late, you come into the clubhouse after a 6-under, 65 today on the heels of a 7-under 64 yesterday. Just some comments on where you are and how you're feeling as far as the game. Obviously it's been a long few days. You're obviously in a great position heading into tomorrow.
DARRON STILES: Yeah. It was nice to have yesterday off again. Just kind of play a day, take a day off. I could get us used to that. We don't want to because we don't like sitting around in the rain, but it's -- this week it's been -- played Monday in the Pro-Am, played Tuesday, didn't do anything Wednesday with the weather. So I don't mind having the off time in between.
And then today not quite as solid a start today, and then I got going on the front nine again. Nice to see it was still there from yesterday. Tomorrow's gonna be a long day. See if we can do it for the 11, 12 hours that we're gonna be out there tomorrow.
DOUG MILNE: Questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARRON STILES: A little bit, yeah. I mean I played well a few weeks ago at the Memphis US Open qualifier. Same day, two rounds back to back, and then played horrible during the week.
But since I know that I can go out and I can put two rounds back to back together again on this stage versus US Open's stage qualifying stage, it feels really well.
And then today with not having the great start that I got yesterday and then turning it on on the back nine, feels a lot better than -- today feels more satisfying than the first round did even though the first round score was lower.

Q. How do you feel about 36 holes on Sunday?
DARRON STILES: It's the nature of the beast. We've all done it before, and we're gonna do it again at some point. What's one more time?

Q. You've been at the top of the Nationwide. What's the biggest difference of trying to get to the top the elite level?
DARRON STILES: Probably the mental aspect of it, because the competition-wise the difference between the Nationwide Tour and the PGA Tour is very small. I've said that for years. I mean, I've even said the last couple years you could swap the field. Take the field here at John Deere and take the field up in Canada and flip flop them, and the scores aren't gonna be that much different.
Yes, there are a lot more stares out here, but I think the quality of tour is just as strong week in and week out. I think the scores won't be that much different. It's just this the bigger stage out here. Bigger stage, more people, more money, more TV. It's something that takes a long time to get used to. It's the fifth go around at this, and I'm still getting used to it.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARRON STILES: I don't think it's really gonna matter. Playing ball-in-hand today, it's gonna be pretty much the same for everybody. There will be no mud balls unless you get unlucky and have it end up in the rough with mud on it. It will be interesting to see what we do tomorrow.
I think there's a chance of rain in the afternoon with storms, so they could possibly play third round play it down and fourth rain play it up. I don't know. My guess is however we start it, that's how we'll play the entire day.
If we play it down tomorrow, there could be some mud issues. Usually two or three days after the rain is where the mud starts coming into play.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARRON STILES: Not really. The swing really hasn't been the issue all year. It's been more thinking about the swing in my head. My instructor who is my instructor with me at the Open, says he hasn't seen me swing it any better than and I was then, and I feel like I'm swinging just as good now as I was there at the Open, even though I didn't score well at the Open.
The golf swing part of it he says is fine, and it's felt fine the last two, three months. I just haven't got the results to go with it.

Q. Tell me a little bit about the RV setup.
DARRON STILES: It's nice. This week we're parked down there behind the second green. There's one, two, I think ten of us down there. In fact, as soon as I get done here, go eat, and I gotta go buy a water pump. That's my chore for the afternoon, replacing a water pump. That's gonna help get my mind off all this and kind of get ready for tomorrow.

Q. How long you been doing that with the RV?
DARRON STILES: Oh, since -- let's see 1997 was my first year on Nike, so '96.

Q. How did you get started?
DARRON STILES: My parents. We actually started in a pop-up in '96 in the Hooters Tour. Upgraded to a fifth wheels for the next year, for the next couple years.
Then when I won my first event in '99 in Richmond on the Nike Tour, pretty much about two weeks later we get another fifth wheel. A little bit bigger one.
Then in 2000 when I got married I actually got out of it for a few years. Before we had our daughter, our first child, bought our first motorhome. Now we're on motorhome number three. As we've progressed, everything has gotten a little bit bigger. With one child the 40-foot was okay, and when you get two, no, you need more room. We went up to the 45.
So this won't be my first water pump change.

Q. Who as is down there?
DARRON STILES: Let's see Johnson Wagner, Eric Axley, Petrovic, Davis Love, Zach Johnson, Scott Gutschewski. Omar was down there but he didn't get in, so he left. And then one of the caddies has got his fifth wheel. So it's a nice little mix. We'll have probably one or two more in Milwaukee next week that aren't here that will be in Milwaukee.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about traveling in an RV versus flying around?
DARRON STILES: It allows us to have my wife and kids out all summer. They're crawling in their own dirt, for one. You Don't have to worry about who slept in your bed the night before at your hotel. Not gonna run out of towels or soap. No restaurant food every night. I think that's one of the big pluses. You can go first part of the week and spend your $200, $300 at the grocery store and cook meals for the entire week, versus eating way too much restaurant food.
But just being able to have the family out and then the quiet time where you're not -- no running down the halls and screaming at 2:00 a.m. at the hotel or stuff like that going on to wake you up. After about 8:30, 9:00, it's pretty dead in the RV lot. It's pretty quiet usually.

Q. More relaxed?
DARRON STILES: Definitely. It could be a little hairy with the weather. Like in Memphis a few weeks ago, they told us --we had the storms coming through, and they said, I don't recommend going back to your RV right now. So we went and closed it up and came back to the clubhouse and waited out the storms.
So that can be a little hairy at times. But it's something that I've enjoyed the whole time I've done it. I don't see not doing it.

Q. Let's talk about the mental part of the game, the process.
DARRON STILES: It's an ongoing process. I mean, I'd say it almost varies day-to-day. As far as the visualizing, yeah, visualize shots and whatnot, but it's more of trying to remember the good shots that you've hit in the certain situations.
It's like today I had the pitch on 6 when I chipped in. Well, I guess Thursday on 7 I was short-sided not a great lie and I chipped it in. I though, Okay, I can do the same here, and I happened do it.
I wasn't thinking, Okay, I'm gonna make this. I've made it from this similar situation before. It's not that hard of a shot. The rest is just trying to let everything else out of the picture. That's something that it's been a slow process, and I'm getting better and better at it as each week goes on this year.

Q. Staying with the mental aspect, you were talking about having the change the water pump and getting your mind off of golf for a while. How did you feel with the lead on Saturday going into Sunday?
DARRON STILES: I've done it before. Maybe not out here on the big tour, but I've done it, I think, three of my five wins I was leading going into Sunday. I don't know. You'd have to look that up.
So it's not a foreign entity to me. I've been there and done it, but just actually just tried not to think about it. We got a lot golf to play tomorrow. The fact that we're playing 36 holes, I think that's gonna help. It's not 18 holes. One hole is not gonna make or break you when you still got 35 more to go.
So I think that's gonna help a lot as far as trying to say focused on what I'm doing and not the possibilities of what's going on.

Q. What do you see as the biggest difference in how you're approaching the ball since say, April?
DARRON STILES: Swing has gotten a little bit tighter and gotten better. A lot loose swings early in the year. Then with thinking about, Okay, why did I do this and whatnot, now I'm not. It's like, Okay, it went over there. Okay. Let's go hit it from over there.
Like I said on Thursday, I haven't hit a whole a lot of shots that I've been in between clubs this week. From an 8-iron down, anybody out here, if they got the right number, it's gonna be at worst 15 feet. That's kind of where I've been.
I've hit a lot of shots inside of 10, 12 feet this week, and a few inside of 10 feet. The other big difference is I'm making the putts. You can be the best ball-striker in the world and not make the putts and you're not gonna score. The putts have been going in as well as the shots have been getting close to the hole.

Q. You talked earlier about the course conditions. How was it overall out there today?
DARRON STILES: I was surprised at actually how well it was. I know we got more rain yesterday than we did on Wednesday, so the course was definitely softer. But I could see us playing it down tomorrow without an issue.
In the low spots, yeah, it's still wet. 17 and 18 are still pretty wet in the landing area. But that's pretty much the only two holes that are questionable as far as we might have to pick it up or not. I know they won't do that on just one hole. The course has held up very well.

Q. Talk about the greens.
DARRON STILES: The green have held up very well. They've gotten just a little bit softer with the rain. Speed has been have been consistent all week. I think they were actually a little faster on Monday than they have been, which is obvious with the rain.
But with the sun that we got yesterday and the wind and today being all sunny, they should dry out more and be good to go for tomorrow.

Q. I don't know if they're a sponsor or not, but I see the Pinehurst logo on your sleeve. Just your thoughts on course No. 2. Talk about that probability of putting the two back-to-back U.S. Opens there. Talk about pulling that off and what that means for golf?
DARRON STILES: I just saw Mr. Pageant (ph) and then Steven Crine (ph), who is head of retail merchandising at the Open. I asked them about that. It's said, quite a coup you guys pulled off to get it a way from Pine Needles, because that's kind of been USGA in our area has been at Pine Needles.
They said, Not really a coup. They could come back to Pine Needles in four or five years after they're at No. 2. Pine Needles just had a big fire late last year, so they've had some issues to deal with. I don't think they're quite ready to host another women's Open yet.
It's gonna be very interesting, because, I mean, basically all the infrastructure is gonna be the same. All the grandstands are gonna be there from the men's side of Open coming in there for the women the week after. They're very excited about it. I haven't been home to talk to the rest of the staff about it.
I won't be home for another five weeks yet, but they seem very excited about it. It's gonna be the first time it's ever been done, and I think logistically the town can handle it. They did a really good job in '05. I wasn't there yet for the '99 one, but I went to the '05 Open. I mean, I live three miles from the club and I took the shuttle in one day, so it's not -- the logistics of it were fantastic.
I think the course will hold up fine as long as we don't get any bad weather leading up to it. So it'll be very interesting to see even in the setup how much, how far they take it for us knowing that they've got the women coming the very next week.
I've always thought when I was out there in '05 the way they set it up was very fair. You can't really get the greens out of control at Pinehurst, because if you do the whole course is unplayable. They have to kind of reign it in a little bit.
It'll still be a tough test for us, and I know it will be for the women. I don't play a whole lot out there because I'm not home there. When I do play, I try and play No. 2, two, three times a month when I'm home. It's not a course I would want to play every day, and I live there.

Q. Talk about the challenges of 36 in a day.
DARRON STILES: Big thing is gonna be fatigue. I mean, the temperatures are supposed to be the same as it was today, and it's gonna be nice and muggy as well with all the water trying to come back up out of the ground and that big river over there.
That's the big thing, is just to trying and keep the energy level up. Fluids, food. You might eat a little bit more food during the round than you normally would. We're not gonna re-pair, so hopefully we won't have that big gap in between the round. Maybe grab a quick bite and go back out. So that'll hip with the rhythm part of it, whereas if we re-paired, you get done and get to sit around for another two hours.
The big thing is just trying to keep the energy up. It's not a hard walk here, but it's not an easy one either. From tee to fairway and green to the next tee there's some pretty good hills. Once we get in the fairways the hills aren't that bad. It's getting there that's the tough part.

Q. The Memphis qualifier, does that help you are prepare for the 36?
DARRON STILES: I think so. It was what, three weeks ago? Like I told them outside, the big difference is I'll be wearing pants tomorrow. I was wearing shorts in Memphis.

Q. Is it mentally kind of an issue, too?
DARRON STILES: It could be, yeah. I just think it's almost -- you almost have to get away from the shot sooner. Okay, the ball is in the air. It's on the ground. Okay, done. Don't think about it now, because you're gonna be out there for 12 hours on the golf course.
I remember the picture I don't know how many years ago in one of the magazines of Curtis Strange walking side by side with somebody. The little captions, Curtis has got, flag, ball, and just like, Hmmm. Just grinding it out. The guy next to him is thinking, What am I gonna have for lunch? Cheeseburger, fries.
That's the way you have to go, because you're gonna be out there for so long. If you stay focused on golf the entire time, you're not gonna be worth anything by the time you get done.

Q. You mentioned the Nationwide Tour and the depth of competitiveness out there. You've had quite a history out there. How important was that tour to the success you're enjoying out here?
DARRON STILES: It's very important. When I first started out there, and even before that playing the Hooter's Tour, it teaches you to travel. You're dealing with a new venue week in and week out, making your own travel arrangements, whether you're flying or driving, finding out where to go, where to stay, where to eat. So it definitely does a good job of preparing you on that side of it.
On the golf side, it does a good job preparing you just because it's simply so competitive. I mean, it's 16 ties out here every week. I think if we did that out here, you'd have a lot of guys complaining. I think it's harder to make the cuts out there simply because of that number, and it's so much -- the depth out there is so strong.
I mean, this year, week in and week out, you could pick any one of 20 guys to win. Out here you've got more of the stars that play every week.
But it does, I mean, I've spent from '97, wasn't out there in '98, only part of the year in 99. I've spent the better part of 12 years out there, along with five out here.
It's definitely a great tour, and I'm glad to have been a part of it.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind just running us through your birdies and clubs and yardages the best you can.
DARRON STILES: No. 1, let's see, driver, pitching wedge, about 15 feet.
2, the par-5, driver, hit 5-wood into the greenside bunker. Hit that out to about four feet.

5, driver, a little 8-iron to about five feet.
6, 3-wood, a little 8-iron over the green and chipped it in.
7, 6-iron to about ten feet
13, driver, 6-iron about 15, 16 feet behind the hole.
15, driver, 6-iron to about three feet.

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