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July 24, 2003

Dennis Paulson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Dennis, good round today, 64, 6-under, one shot off the first round lead. 23 putts today, 11 of 14 fairways, it looked like you had things going well out there for you.

DENNIS PAULSON: Which one did they say that I missed? Oh, 15, the one that went on the green and then came off the green and went in the collar. I told the guys I missed my very first 2 fairways of the day, and then I didn't really miss another fairway. It rolled into the first cut there. 15, pin-high to the right, so that was my third fairway. But played real solid.

This course, the pins were in some pretty tough places. I haven't played here since '95. I just played on Monday in the pro -am. Tuesday, with the weather the way it was, I really didn't play any golf. There were some pins that looked pretty entertaining to say the least, trying to get at them with all the breeze.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You were tied for 5th in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. I think you had 7 straight rounds of 70 or better. What has been the key of the last couple of weeks of resurgence for you.

DENNIS PAULSON: Health. Health and confidence. I blew out my shoulder. It was hurting right around -- I think it was Atlanta, and I played halfway decent in Atlanta in 2001, I think it was. But I blew it out. It was really starting to get sore. I blew it out completely, really kind of made it sore at the British, I missed the cuts and carrying your bags everywhere trying to get your flights. I came home and sat around for a week, got ready to go play it. I think it was the PGA the week before, probably Sprint. I couldn't hit an 8-iron 85 or 90 yards. I said whoa.

So we had some MRI's done. I had a slight tear, so I rehabbed that. By doing that I got tendonitis in my arms and built up too much muscle in my shoulder without working the middle of my back, so I started having back problems. It's just been a comedy of miscues over the last couple of years. My swing deteriorated because of it, and now my swing is better and I'm healthy. You just got to shoot some rounds of golf to know what you are doing out there.

And today is probably the first round of golf that I played in 3 years that I just didn't have some dumb things happen. I hit one bad shot today coming in on the par-5, No. 5. Is it 5 or 6? I guess it's 6. It was over there in the right rough, with a perfect angle with a pretty good lie and I made it for birdie and those little things are what you have to do to kind of get a little confidence and have things going instead of playing out there, getting 3 or 4 under par and saying, okay, what am I going to mess up out here?

I played real smart, intelligent golf today. I hit two shots over the green and misjudged the wind on 16. Other than that I played really, really solid.

Q. 23 putts helps.

DENNIS PAULSON: Yes. I put a new putter in play. Last week I looked at my stats because I was waiting for somebody to drive over here. I had 121 putts official and I had 8 more from the fringe. 130 putts isn't going to get it done very many weeks, and I still finished 9-under par last week. I was hitting a lot of greens. The greens that I missed were mostly in judgment. I didn't really miss any shots wide. They were either long or short because of the wind. That's a key really to getting it done. If you mishit a shot out here into the breeze, it's going to go pretty far off line. With the exception of that 2-iron, laying up on the par-5, I didn't hit a shot like that.

23 putts is great, but I hit it really close a lot. I made a few putts early. But I hit it four feet, a foot and a half, a foot and a half and four feet on the back nine for my 4 birdies, so they were pretty easy.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Take some questions.

Q. Dennis, is your game approaching the level it was when you won at Buick?

DENNIS PAULSON: No. Yes, I wasn't playing very good at Buick. I played a lot better the year before. It's not approaching '99. It's close to where I was in 2000. It's nowhere near where it was in '99. It's getting there. More than anything else now is confidence. I'm starting to drive the ball really, really good. That's the key. I have always been a guy that drives it at 60, 65 percent of the fairways. I'm hitting 70 to 72 percent of the fairways now. The fairways I'm missing are first cuts. I'm not in trouble. I'm not hitting it in ponds or out of bounds. That's the key.

I hit it in a fairway bunker today and two first cuts. So that's really a key. Especially in the wind, to drive the ball that well. A lot of tough driving holes out here into the breeze today and I just ripped them 270, 280 right in the middle of all of those fairways is really good.

Q. What kind of putter?

DENNIS PAULSON: I switched. I putted with one of the new Callaway 2-ball blades. I don't know if you guys have seen it or not. It's the knob style, it looks like more a conventional putter with 2 balls there. I have had alignment issues. I have astigmatism in my left eye that is really bad. I get aiming left and pushing putts. Lines hurt me. I cannot use a line. Every time I use a line I end up more left.

I was using a Callaway at one of the new TT3's last week that doesn't have any lines. It was kind of a mallet shaped putter. It was just really, really heavy. I wasn't making a lot of putts. It didn't putt bad but just didn't putt well. I put this putter in and I made one putt on a misread and I missed 2 putts hitting great putts, so I pretty much got what I deserved today on the greens. I hit a lot of good putts today. I was pretty close to the hole for the most part. I made 2 long ones and the rest of them were all pretty close.

Q. Dennis at the GHO, not being there the last seven years, does it all come back to you?

DENNIS PAULSON: I love this back nine. It is the coolest back nine on TOUR. It is so much fun to play. I don't know if I played well enough for it to matter. I don't know if I made the cut. You guys will have to tell me that. It's funny to try to remember the golf course when I tried to play it. I could not remember the 7th hole. It was the one hole I couldn't remember when I was playing on Monday, trying to think ahead, what was coming up. That was a hole I couldn't remember. That is kind of a tribute to the golf course that you do remember the holes out here, seven years ago. I played a lot of golf between '95 and now. Not only on the TOUR but I played over in Taiwan and Asia. I played a lot of different golf courses. And I really love the golf course. But you're right, it doesn't fit the schedule very well.

I have always been a guy that plays really hard on the West Coast and through those first 3 years of coming back in '99, I got to play in the majors, so I was kind of playing through all of that stuff, Memorial, Colonial, Hilton Head, the U.S. Open, Westchester, I just played a lot of golf. When you support the West Coast, I take two weeks off then pretty much play through, maybe another week or 2 off, I played probably 19 or 20 tournaments already coming to this point. I like to take a little break before the PGA.

Hopefully, that will happen again this week but I have to play good to get that one.

Q. Jay Haas and Peter Jacobsen 2, 49-year-old guys, what does that say about them and, the caliber of players out here on the regular TOUR?

DENNIS PAULSON: Pretty impressive, "Stads" last week. I made a joke, I got beat by a guy that is collecting Social Security, and I got beat by a kid that just got out of high school. How am I doing last week? With Ty, I think Ty beat me too. It's pretty incredible. The golf courses are supposedly getting set up more and more for the long hitters. Craig is not hitting it super, super far. You know Jay doesn't hit it far. He can hit it through a doorway from any yardage, it doesn't matter, he hits it so straight. Since he has been working with Stan Utley on his putting it's totally changed. I'm looking forward to him getting out there because he has really been playing good out here. It's going to be a tough call for him, I think. I think he should split them up a little bit. It's pretty tough to play out here when you are playing for almost an extra zero every week. He is going to be playing for a lot of money over here. He should kill it out there.

If you look back at the history of all the guys getting ready to go out there. Hale wasn't nearly as competitive as he is right now, and he went out there and just annihilated those poor guys. Who knows what will happen when he goes out there? Those guys played so well out there. He still has to make a lot of putts, that's something Jay is doing pretty well. I'm sure he had somewhere around 23 putts today himself.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we can go over your scorecard.

DENNIS PAULSON: 10 I drove it just in the left rough, I had 150 yards to the hole. I was in the left rough so I had to go under a tree, and I punched a 6-iron up there probably about eight feet from the hole and I made that.

11, I hit a 9-iron about 20 feet left of the hole and 2-putted.

12, I hit it in the left bunker and in the front bunker hit a great bunker shot out to about a foot.

The other two guys in my group both chipped in so it didn't look like I did all that well there.

13, I hit a good drive, I thought maybe I would hit a 3-wood there, I decided to lay up, I hit a 4-iron. I can't remember my yardage. I tried to hit a hundred yard shot, so I probably had 85. Flew it back behind the hole, spun it back, a nice little shot, about eight feet, and that was the shortest putt that I missed all day.

I hit a good drive on the next hole, I hit an 8-iron in there about 20 feet from the fringe. I 2-putted that.

15, I hit a good drive. It kind of caught the ridge, went up on the edge of the green, rolled off, went over by the bunker. It had kind of a nice lie and it kind of fluffed on me a little bit. It came up a little soft. I had made probably about a 20-footer there for birdie.

And then I hit it in the right bunker on 16 misjudging the wind. I hit a bad bunker shot about 15 feet passed the hole and missed that.

17, I kind of blocked a 3-wood a little sand wedge passed the flag, which I did, but it still spun back all the way back to the fringe, and I probably made a 23 or 4, 5-footer there.

18, I hit a really good drive. I hit a pitching wedge about probably 7 feet, made that.

No. 1 was where the wind was blowing hard, I hit a really good drive. I had like 152 on downhill lie up the hill. I said I know I can't get a 7-iron in there. Let's try to control a 6-iron. I hit a good 6-iron that barely got on the front of the green, about 135 yards, it was gusting pretty hard. I made a good 2 putt.

No. 1 (sic), drove it down the middle and had about 78 yards to the hole, I think, something like that, and hit it about four feet, made that.

Then hit it off the green on the next hole, a 5-iron from 175. I hit a good chip down there to about 5 feet, maybe 6 feet.

Hit a bad iron shot with a par-3, I tried to hit a really hard 6-iron and got ahead of it, and it came up short of the right bunker and hit just a great flop shot. I killed it in the rough, and it trickled down there to two feet maybe. Made that.

And then par-5 I told you I laid it up on the right rough and hit it to about a foot and a half.

And then 7 I hit what I thought was a great shot. It played really short. I had 125 yards to the hole and hit a comfortable sand wedge 115 shot and it flew 130 way over the green, probably closer to 135. I hit kind of an ordinary pitch shot to about 12 feet. I thought I made the putt, it broke right, I didn't see it breaking right, so I made another bogey there.

I hit a 6-iron on No. 8 about a foot and a half. I hit a sand wedge from 122 on the last hole to about four or five feet and made that. A lot of good ones. A lot of good ones today. Hopefully we will continue it.

End of FastScripts....

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