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February 14, 2004

Dennis Paulson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: San Diego resident, Dennis Paulson, 11 under par for three rounds. You're one shot off the lead right behind Stewart Cink. Great day for you and great tournament so far. If we could get some comments.

DENNIS PAULSON: I played really well today, on the back nine especially. That little blip on 8, it was a solid round of golf. The blip on 8 didn't turn out and then I went brain dead. I played with Stewart the first two days. He's hitting it really good, I know what I'm up against tomorrow, for sure.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What's been the secret so far this week?

DENNIS PAULSON: The secret on the first and third day was driving it in the fairways. Yesterday I couldn't find a map with a compass. I got something figured out and I drove it really, really good on the back nine today. I hit some really solid drives. I almost got up there with Hank a couple times, I guess they were saying on TV.

Q. Do you remember when you were the long hitter?

DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, when I was 20.

Q. How good does it feel?

DENNIS PAULSON: It feels great. I feel good for Tom, more than anybody else. He gave some local guys an exemption. It's great some of us are playing halfway decent. I only get 20 or 21 starts, and if I can get a good tournament here, if I win that takes care of business, but if I don't win and finish high my goal this year, on the west coast, try to make at least 300,000 to 500,000 so I get into all the invitationals. That way I can basically play my schedule the way I want to. If tournament directors don't want to give me sponsor exemptions, that's fine, but I will get to play some of the courses I want to play from there.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: I'm playing good. I'm not too worried about that. If I have got to hit it over the water with a 3 wood to go at that flag stick to make eagle to win, I'm not laying up for second, I promise you that. Today I hit a pretty good tee shot. I had 234 over the water, and I can only hit it 230. I hit it right.

Q. You're the hometown favorite (Inaudible.)

DENNIS PAULSON: No question about it. Playing with John and Stewart John is going to have his group. It's a hometown for Daly wherever he plays, it seems like. Yes, there's no question it's fun playing in front of everybody and them cheering you on. It's a lot of fun. The first time I ever led a tournament on tour was down in New Orleans back in '94. I shot a course record on Friday, and I played with Ben Crenshaw. That was an eye opening experience, to say the least. It will be fun to not be one of the other guys and be one of the guys that's getting cheered on in the last group.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: I made about 10 four footers to shoot 75 that day. Ben played really, really well. He kept hitting it to 50 feet and making it. He kept apologizing to me, I'm really sorry, I'm really sorry. The gallery would take off and I have this 6 footer for par, and who cares if this guys makes the putt or not, so it was tough. It was a lot of fun. You learn a lot from those experiences. I came back the next day and shot 68 to finish fourth. You learn from everything.

It's like the double bogey today. I was pretty pissed, to say the least. I didn't let it bother me. I got up there on 9 and just tried to make a control golf swing. It's old age that's getting to me. It's not that big of a deal.

Q. You mentioned Daly's popularity. What do you attribute it to?

DENNIS PAULSON: I don't know. John has got a heart of gold. He's the greatest guy. He's done some things that he wishes he wouldn't have done. There's no question about it. He's done some things the TOUR wishes he wouldn't have done, but he's got a heart of gold. He really does. There's probably only 10 or 12 great guys out here on tour, and he's one of the great guys. He would do anything for you. He truly cares for you. He roots for you on the golf course. He's up there with Nick Price and Rocco Mediate. These guys that truly care about the other guys, not only about yourself. He's a good guy. The things that John is doing in his life, people can kind of a lot of people have done a lot of things that John has done.

Q. People have stuck with him for a long time.

DENNIS PAULSON: Everybody knows deep down he's a good guy. You guys have dealt with him for ten years. You know how genuine he is. With all the mess ups, he gives you guys good quotes and he's honest, to a fault. I'm that way, too. I've been lambasted by you guys by being honest with some things I have said, but that's just the way he is, the way I am. Honesty can hurt you sometimes. He's just a good person. It's good to see him playing well. You expect him to play well on a 14,000 yard golf course.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: I'm not sure what you mean. Probably putting on waffles is not my idea of a good time. I have got by far the worst draw you can have. I played great and I think I shot 3 under and then got a little cocky, but Spyglass's greens were absolutely a joke, and to have to play that the last day Lauren Roberts missed the hole from a foot. That gives you an idea what the greens are like. It's sad because that's one of the greatest golf courses in the world and they've spent a fortunate on drainage, it's a tragedy. It's horrific.

Pebble Beach, my partner and I had a great time. The guy I played with, he had a party every night and I went to his party every night and getting home at 11:00. It was a fun week, even though I didn't play that well, but I had a good time, I knew I was swinging the club well and I was looking forward to getting here to see what I could do at Torrey.

Q. Considering all the health problems you've had, are you more appreciative of where you are now?

DENNIS PAULSON: I got healthy probably about 16, 18 months ago. Wherever I've been healthy, when I lost my card the first time it was because of injuries, in '95. When I've been healthy, I've always played pretty good golf, whatever level I was playing at.

I got healthy 18 months ago and I wasn't playing very good golf. That was really frustrating. 90 percent was the injury created a really bad golf swing. The golf swing is better, but I still have some bad habits. I was still waiting for that train wreck. Now, I don't worry about it too much. I'm hitting it really good. If I hit a bad shot, I know I'll have a good one here and there and make up for it. Not having to press so much. Every shot doesn't mean that much because I know I'll have a few more today.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: Not right back. This course isn't one you get them right back on. I really like the 10th hole, for some reason. I probably played that hole 85 percent under par for my career, and I've played this golf course 200 times, at least. I know if I can birdie there and make good swings on 11, 12, 13, you can get into a good rhythm. We had 80 some guys on the golf course today, I figured when we made the turn there would be a couple of groups on 11 and a couple on 12. Either they were smart or they were kind to us to put the tees up on 12 to help speed it up a little bit. With that back left pin, you don't need to play it 500 yards, it was great making the turn and I started making some good swings and just stayed out of my own way.

Q. How typical is it when you play for a long time now and you're not really sure where you're going to play the following week?

DENNIS PAULSON: Well, if I don't play good tomorrow I will be at Industry Hills on Tuesday trying to qualify for L.A. It's pretty much that simple. I'll be in Tucson, and I've been given a sponsor exception to play in Miami. I've never played that golf course in my entire life. I new somebody at Ford, the main guy in marketing, and he got me a spot and that had to rip Tom's heart out to give me a spot in that tournament, because I've never supported it. He knows why. I'm a West Coast guy. I play everything on the west coast and I needed to take a break. Unfortunately, with Doral being the first tournament after the west coast, I've always taken the week off. Everybody said the course will be great for me, but I've never gone there. I can't say enough about Tom's tournament now. I thank him for giving me the spot, I truly mean that.

Q. Are you the one making the call or writing the letters?

DENNIS PAULSON: I wrote a letter, but Marty made the phone call. He's the head of marketing at Ford Motor Company. I called him on the phone and congratulated him on his new position. I said if there is anything you can do to put a good word in for me. He called me at 3:00 the next day and said they're having a meeting today, I'm going to make sure you get in. I'll let you know in 90 minutes. I'll get you in the tournament. He called back 15 minutes later and said, you're in. I called Tom 20 minutes later and said, I can't thank you enough, I really appreciate the opportunity. I said I'll play the Monday Pro Am, Wednesday Pro Am, Tuesday shoot out whatever you want me to do to make it right, I really do appreciate it.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: Hitting balls and trusting it. The bad habit creep in there. They crept in yesterday. They'll probably creep in tomorrow. They crept in there a little bit on the front nine. I made a bad swing on 6 and made a couple of swings like that throughout the day, where I get on top of it and slap out at the bottom and hit these pull iron shots. I just stay slow and stay smooth. I've got a couple of good thoughts right now. I had a lot of good thoughts today on the back nine and if I can keep those thoughts going and just play one shot at a time. It's the stupidest cliche in the world, but it's so true.

Ever tournament, I don't know where I am under par, I don't know where I stand, I don't know what I was trying to do. Westchester, when I won, I said I had to birdie the last two holes. All I can do better is make a good swing right here, right now. That's all you can do. There's a lot of guys that we call it self speak, talking to yourself out there because you have so much down time don't think about the trophy, don't think about this, don't think about that, well, what you catch yourself doing, you make yourself more nervous. And I have this thing I say to myself, before we do that, we have to make a good swing right here, right now, brings me back into the present and go about my business. Your mind starts to wonder a little bit out there, especially if it takes 5 hours.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DENNIS PAULSON: David Shaffer, he's a local guy here. He's with Thompson Publishing. He was out there and watched me play today.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: Last your we played together. We finished eighth and this year I think we finished around 15th, something like that.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: Really good ones. We had a band called the Coats. Roy Firestone came in one night. He's way more talented than you guys, pretty impressive. It was pretty good. That's not saying a lot, but he was pretty good. He's got a lot of impressions. When he first started singing, he sang America the Beautiful, I almost started laughing. I thought he was a comedian or something. He has a good voice. It was a good show.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: He didn't make me cry, but he made me feel warm and fuzzy.

Q. On eight you went bunker to bunker?

DENNIS PAULSON: At least. I think at least that, yeah. I went bunker to bunker. I needed to work on that so I could hit a good shot on 16, so it kind of got me geared up. I tried to get aggressive with that shot and caught it thin. It wasn't a stone cold blade, but I'm trying to spin that ball up on top of the shelf and I hit it 30 percent too far and it went into the back bunker, and that's not where you want to be at all. I had a good bunker shot that went 30 feet past and 2 puttd for a double. We're all human.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Let's go through your score chart birdie on No. 2.

DENNIS PAULSON: Hit a good drive there, just like an inch in the rough and hit a beautiful L wedge from about 95 yards to two feet.

I got up and down out of the sand on No. 3, by the way, for par, front bunker.

4, I just hit a great drive down to the bottom of the hill, it started getting windy, it was windy and cold, I and hit a 7 iron from about 153 up into the wind, perfect up on the crest and it trickled down there to eight or nine feet and made that, maybe 10 feet.

7, good drive right down the middle, yanked an 8 iron over the green into that grass bunker, just dead, really not a very good lie at all. It was at least flat down there, but it wasn't sitting too great, flapped it in the hole. Came out dead perfect and landed solid.

10, I hit a good drive down the right side, and I had 130 to the hole, hit a wedge out of the first cut, it landed perfectly onto the crest and trickled. It almost went in I think, the crowded acted that way, and hit it maybe two feet.

13, driver 4 iron to the middle of the green, about 35 feet, and two putted up the hill and tapped it in.

15, I hit a drive that I still kind of shaking my head, it was so far down there. Jesper gets up there first and quick hooks one. Hits a dude right on the head on the fly. His ball comes rocketing back towards us and into the rough. It didn't make it into the fairway. The guy didn't go down. That was an amazing thing. This was a quick, hard diving hook. It might have missed the hazard, but it was not pretty. Cut the guy open pretty bad. I'm thinking oh man, I've hit people out here, it gives you a really bad feeling. So I tried to regroup and I made probably the best swing of the day. I hammered it up the left side. I only had 136 yards to the back pin. I think it was 480 or 490. I hit it 350 or something off the tee there. Hit a beautiful ridge, up on the crest again and trickled to about eight or nine feet behind the hole and made that.

And 18, I hit a driver and 2 iron on the right center of the green, pretty close to where the pin was yesterday and 2 putted approximately 60 feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You said 234 on 18?

DENNIS PAULSON: 234 to the front. 250 something to the hole. I was hoping my caddie was going to say 228 or 229, and he said 234. I can only hit a 2 iron about 230. There's water there if I don't hit it solid. I don't know where the pin was, but I hung back to get it in the air, but it was a good shot.

Q. What will you do now before tomorrow?

DENNIS PAULSON: I'm going to get food, hit a few balls, work on my bunker game, hit a few putts. And if I get home before dark, I'll toss some baseballs to the kids. My oldest just had his first practice today for baseball season. I'm sure he's excited about telling me how practice went, so we'll probably play some catch. I've been doing this a long time, guys. I've been a pro for 20, but it's just another day. I'll have a hard time sleeping tomorrow night. I don't know what it is about Sunday nights, but I don't sleep on Sunday. Whether I play good or bad, I'll sleep like a baby, I promise you.

Q. (Inaudible)

DENNIS PAULSON: It's pretty easy being home. There will be 15 messages on the phone, of which I will probably have to return two. There will be some ticket requests for tomorrow, too, which I will have to get taken care of through the tournament office. It comes with the territory. It gives me something to do to keep my mind off of. No big deal.

End of FastScripts.

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