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February 4, 2010

Kevin Stadler


LAURA HILL: We'd like to welcome Kevin Stadler, a nice 6-under today and all on your first nine, the back nine. That was quite a start you got off to.
KEVIN STADLER: Yeah, it was. I don't know if it was unexpected or expected. I was playing pretty well coming in, and you never really expect to start out like that, but I hit a lot of really good shots and left myself in the right spots. I had it going the whole front nine was 6-under through 9 and 7-under through 10 and kind of cruised in from there, so it was nice.
LAURA HILL: Was it frustrating coming in making pars?
KEVIN STADLER: Not really. I think the front nine is a little tougher. It was the opposite the whole back side there. I was above the hole and had some quick breakers and just kind of not putts that you could be aggressive with, which I had pretty much the first ten holes. I was putting very defensively the last six, seven holes. But I had a few chances, which I would have liked to make one or two, but I'm perfectly happy the way it went.

Q. Did you have any sense this year was going to start so well? What do you attribute your good early season golf to do you think?
KEVIN STADLER: I don't know if it's been that good. I've made a cut, missed a cut so far. But I put a lot of work in over the off-season, and basically all of last year. I played on a conditional status last year and only played 20 events, and it was a very, very slow year for me, and I just made good use of the time, put a lot of work in, so it's nice to be showing some signs.

Q. Do you like this course?
KEVIN STADLER: I love this course. This is one of my favorite courses in the world.

Q. Why?
KEVIN STADLER: It's a good old classic course. On TOUR probably this and Torrey are the courses I know the best. I grew up around the area, went to school here, and I've played here probably more than I've played any other course that we play on TOUR. A lot of history here, and like I said, I played here a lot in college. I walked around here watching my old man for years and just feel real comfortable here.

Q. Have you played much better here than you did today?
KEVIN STADLER: Probably not. I shot some good numbers around here, but probably a handful of 4-, 5-, 6-unders but nothing -- I'd gladly play the way I did today. I don't think I've shot anything lower.

Q. You've obviously putted well all day today, and on your back side made some really nice par putts to kind of keep the round going. What were the conditions like? Obviously you played later in the day and usually you don't get good putting rounds going, especially off poa annua.
KEVIN STADLER: They were getting a little bumpy on the back nine. My only bogey on 2 there, I hit a really good chip to -- I probably only had two or three feet and I had to set the ball right in a little spike hole and it just came out sideways, and that was really the only putt I should have made that I missed all day. I kind of got out of position with a couple putts there on the back nine, but I was able to make the five-, six-footers for par. But again, they were putts that I left myself straight uphill so I could kind of hit them a little harder.

Q. The experience last year at the Wyndham, what did you take from that, and what are you taking from that as you move forward now into this year?
KEVIN STADLER: You know, just more than anything just kind of helps mentally to know that I definitely have what it takes to play out here. I felt that week wasn't very different than any other week out there. I'd say my ball-striking that week was very average personally. I just happened to make a lot of putts.
I've kind of struggled out here just feeling like I really belong out here. It's my fifth year. I've been out here for a while, and it's kind of a shame it's taken that long to get comfortable out here. Seeing all those guys growing up and then all of a sudden I'm out here playing with them. First couple years it was kind of a little surreal, and then it sinks in and needed to get after it and just kind of realize this is where I'm at now.

Q. You say you walked around here watching your dad a lot. Were you here when he won, and do you have any memories of that?
KEVIN STADLER: I wasn't. I remember watching it on TV, but I definitely wasn't here. I'm pretty sure he shot pretty low on the back nine, but I don't know, I have a hard time remembering exactly what happened. I think it was like '96 or something like that. So I was still in high school, so it was quite a while ago now.

Q. How much did you get to play here when you were at USC? And it looked like on your front nine, 18 you had a shot for 29. You made a pretty good putt.
KEVIN STADLER: Yeah, I did. I think I shot 6-under on the front, but I missed a couple of them from about 10, 12 feet out there, as well.
You know, we didn't play here a whole lot. A fair amount. I'd say we were spoiled in school here, we played a lot of great courses all over the city and came out here maybe once or twice a month, something like that. I know the guys now since I've been gone, they've -- I think they've got maybe two or three memberships here so the guys can come out here whenever they'd like, but that was fantastic. That wasn't around when I was in school, but we were fortunate to be able to come out here a couple times a month at least.

Q. And were you thinking 29?
KEVIN STADLER: Not really, no. I had no idea what was going on. I was just thinking another birdie would be nice.

Q. A couple weeks ago I was watching you on TV, and I thought, gosh, seems like you are looking more and more like your father all the time. Do people say that do you? Do you see the resemblance or no?
KEVIN STADLER: Unfortunately, yes, I do see the resemblance, and pretty much everybody else does, too.

Q. Even today, though, I saw you pick up -- put down your ball mark once and pick up your ball, and I thought, it almost looks like how Craig would do that.
KEVIN STADLER: Yeah, I've watched him play golf for 30 years now, so I think a little bit of that sunk into me. He was a good guy to emulate growing up, watching him play, for sure.

Q. Was Bill Haas winning a couple weeks ago, the father son there any sort of inspiration?
KEVIN STADLER: Definitely, it was cool to see for him. He and I, we haven't played a lot together, and I don't know him all that well, but obviously I wish the best for him. It was great to see him win.

Q. You've got the early start tomorrow. How much of an advantage do you think that's going to be in terms of greens and maybe not being quite as marked up?
KEVIN STADLER: Depends how wet it is. The forecast looked like this morning they were calling for afternoon weather so we might get lucky in the morning, or we might not. I'd rather tee off at midnight if it wasn't raining. Hopefully it'll be nice. I've played here a heck of a lot and I've never seen the course this good. It's kind of a shame if it does rain like they're calling for. Hopefully if we get out and get finished early before it really sets in, obviously it's a little advantage.

Q. You played with Ricky today, right?

Q. Do you guys go back quite a ways?
KEVIN STADLER: Yeah, Rick and Quinney, all three of us, we grew up playing together since junior golf, so it was great.

Q. Is a pairing like that an advantage for you?
KEVIN STADLER: Absolutely, yeah. There are no other guys I'm more comfortable with than those two out here, really. Quinney's caddie was my roommate for three years, and Ricky's caddie is one of my really good buddies out here, so we had a really good time.

Q. Can it feel like junior golf when you're playing?
KEVIN STADLER: I know Jeff's mom was walking around out there, and I heard her telling some people, oh, these guys grew up playing together. It was really comfortable. I think everybody was pretty loose all day. I know Jeff didn't play very well, but Ricky played a great round, as well. It was just a good day, a comfortable day.

Q. Was the darkness at all at the end, did it seem --
KEVIN STADLER: It got dark on 9 up on the green. But I've teed off late here a few times before. It always gets like that. I think that green you're better off in the dark. It's a scary green. I was looking forward to getting out of there.
LAURA HILL: Thanks, good luck this week. Appreciate it.

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