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March 31, 2001

Dennis Paulson


MODERATOR: We have Dennis Paulson in the interview room. He shot a 65 today, which included five straight birdies on the backside. That ties the Sugarloaf tournament record. Little feather in your cap.

DENNIS PAULSON: That's nice.

MODERATOR: 7-under, currently a couple shots off the lead. Why don't you just tell us a little bit about your round today.

DENNIS PAULSON: Today I hit four fairways. Hit a lot of first cuts. Drove in a couple of fairway bunkers. Wasn't really wide or bad, but nice to get your hands on that golf ball and clean the mud off. They make a big deal about us having such a big advantage with ball in hand. I think it's only fair that we get the mud off the ball. I'd like to see them change the rule maybe. If your ball is okay, you like your lie, don't touch it. The media makes such a big deal, especially the guys on TV, that we're so good when we can pick it up, put in it a perfect lie, blah blah blah. All we're asking for is just not to have a jockey on our golf ball, shooting it off in whatever direction it wants to go. Three times I was in that first cut with a big chunk of mud because it landed in the hay, I guess, whatever you want to call it out here, picked up some mud. I hit a lot of good iron shots in that stretch of holes. I almost made a hole-in-one on 2. Hit a real good drive on 3, knocked it close. 4, hit the par 5 in two. 5 is one of the best shots I hit it in a long time. Hit it in the right bunker. Couldn't see anything. Plenty of discussion about that fifth green this week. Pin was kind of back right. I hit a 6-iron off of a hook fly out of that bunker, marginal lie to about four and a half feet. Definitely wasn't where I was aiming, but I hit it real solid. Carried all the way back to the hole, made that. The par 5, I got lucky. I hit it way left on my second shot, the mud. Took a drop because my ball was plugged. Didn't draw that great a lie. Gouged an ^ L wedge out of there to about seven or eight feet, made a tricky putt to make my fifth in a row.

MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. 36 tomorrow. Is that going to be a factor, particularly given the long walks you've got out here?

DENNIS PAULSON: I don't think there's any chance we'll make 36 tomorrow. The players can't play fast enough to do it. We don't have enough daylight, I don't think. We'll probably play 32, 33, somewhere in there, unless THE TOUR in their wisdom wants to give us zero minutes to go from the 18th to the first. We have ten hours of golf. It's a golf course that takes five hours to play. We're supposed to have 20 to 30 mile-an-hour winds. How fast can we play? Granted, we've eliminated the guys that aren't playing that well. If you get going bad tomorrow, it's going to be a really long day. You if you figure it out, you have ten hours of golf, plus two hours almost in tee times. That's 11 hours and 45 minutes of golf and tee times from start to finish. We've only got about 12 hours of daylight. In a perfect world, do you think we're going to get 36 in? I mean, we could. Hopefully we don't get the weather, you know. I really like the idea that they're doing what they're doing, trying to get the 36 in. If the weather is bad, we can't do it, figure out where we go from there. Let's definitely get started early in the morning, as early as we can. I don't even know if 7:45, it's going to be light out. The ProAm time the other morning, I came in here at 6:15 in the morning, and it was pitch black for the ProAm on Wednesday. I mean, it was pitch black. That's 7:15. 7:45, I don't know if there's going to be any light to see your ball in the first few groups. They're doing the best they can with what we've got. You know, 20 miles of this golf course, that's basically a long walk up and down hills. There's going to be some tired puppy dogs out here at the end of the day for sure.

Q. You've been playing fairly well lately. Do you feel pretty good going into next week?


Q. We haven't finished this week, but going into The Masters, how do you like your game?

DENNIS PAULSON: Game is okay, it's not great. But I putted so bad yesterday. My caddie, "Get your hands up a little bit. Usually when you're putting, everything is in line. Doesn't look that way." We got over on the putting green, got my hands up, started seeing the line better, rolling the putts. That's huge. I want to feel good about my putter at Augusta. I don't need my best game to play well there; I need my putter. Everybody needs their putter. If you can keep from three-putting, hit your fairways out there, you're smart with your iron game, you can get around that golf course. You know, you don't go that low out there. A couple birdies a day, you're singing. 8- and 10-under par is always a good score around that golf course in four days. Yeah, there's no question I'm looking forward to next week. We got a long day today of us tomorrow. Probably a little bit on Monday morning if everything goes well.

Q. Is it difficult even two shots out of the lead to focus on here when you have next week?

DENNIS PAULSON: No, I'm greedy (laughter). I like money. I want to win a golf tournament. There's no question about it. You know, I don't know what I would have done if I'd barely made the cut or something, if I would have decided to play or not. I told the guys earlier in the week, Augusta is a priority. If I'm outside of the top 40, I don't think I have a chance to win with what I've got, I'd rather go there and get started. But I'm in a different situation. I'm a couple shots out, three at the worst probably. You know, just tomorrow is going to be a long day. I mean, patience, it's going to be cold, it's going to be miserable probably. We're going to have -- hopefully the weather man is wrong, and it will be a little warmer, not quite as windy, and we won't get any rain. I don't think he was quite right today. Seemed like it warmed up nicely today. Almost sweating out there. Couldn't believe it.

Q. Chris DiMarco is tied for the lead. He said he's having a hard time focusing on thinking about his debut in the Masters next week. You debuted last year in the Masters. Can you relate to that?

DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, totally. Last year I played my rear-end off because I hadn't been playing well coming in here. I was hitting some really good shots. But I missed the cut the week prior. I really wanted to play well here. Didn't play too well at Bay Hill before that. I couldn't make a putt to save my life. I missed the cut. I was almost happy. I wanted to make the cut, try to get some positives, but I hit (inaudible) shots coming in, so I didn't care. It was almost, "Great, I missed the cut. Go to Augusta, nice leisurely day on Sunday, get out there do my work." I think Chris has gone to see the golf course. He's got that out of the way. He hasn't seen it yet?

Q. No.

DENNIS PAULSON: Oh, boy. Yeah, because I went out on Monday of this tournament last year and played, driving down Magnolia Lane, get all that miscellaneous nervousness, anxiety out of the way. That will be tough for Chris. You know, he's greedy, too. He likes money. We want to win golf tournaments. That's what we're out here for. We want to put ourselves in position to win golf tournaments. There's nothing better than winning a golf tournament going into the tournament the very next week. It's a really good feeling. Last year, you know, when I won at Westchester, back to the US Open, it was tough for me because I literally had 40 people call me on the phone to congratulate me and say, "I'm coming up to The Open, I need tickets." It was almost like playing at home. Everybody wanted tickets to Pebble. I think I spent $3,000 on tickets for friends to watch me play. I was fried. That's a real tough week to win your first tournament, then go play that kind of golf course. Augusta is not that stressful. The last 30 yards, shots in the greens, around the greens, I like Augusta. It's a very comfortable place for me, even though it was my first year last year. It suits my game. I hit a lot of shots pin-high. I love greens that are really fast, really funny psycho breaks. That's what I grew up playing. I enjoy that.

MODERATOR: Let's go over the birdies.

DENNIS PAULSON: 12, I hit 3-wood off the tee. I think I hit a 6-iron from 178 yards about 30 feet short, made it. Next hole I hit it about -- hit it pin-high right about 40 yards right of the flag. Chipped it up there to about four feet, made that, five feet maybe. 2, I hit a 9-iron about two feet. 3, I hit a sand wedge from 108 yards to about 12 feet. Par 5, I hit a really good drive, 3-wood from about 270, right to the first third of the green. 2-putted from probably 50 feet, made about a 4-footer, 5-footer. I told you about 5. 177 yards to the hole. Choked up on the 6-iron out of the fairway bunker, cut a 6-iron in there to about five feet. Par 5, I laid it up in the pine needles (laughter). I hit an L wedge from 80 yards to about seven or eight feet. One of those putts, I'm giving it six inches of break and just touching it. Went right in the middle. Par saves today. I don't think I had anything longer than two feet, three feet for par. It was pretty basic.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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