March 15, 2001
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Dennis Paulson for joining us in the press room here at the Bay Hill Invitational. Got a good start today, 30 on the front side. I guess the conditions might have changed later in the round. Why don't you just make a few comments on that and we'll move into questions.
DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, you know, we got a pretty good break weather-wise, I think. We had a little bit of rain, but it wasn't too bad. Just a couple holes. I started off on 1 and hit it in the front bunker. Knocked that in. Made a birdie out of the trap and it was a pretty easy shot. Hit a real good shot on 2 in the rain and made about a 10- or 12-footer. That pin is in a nasty little spot. First time I ever played here where the tees are up. Usually it's playing -- that hole is just playing brutal on the back tee on a narrow green, but it was only about a 185-yard shot today. 3, I hit a real good driver. Hit a beautiful 9-iron right next to the hole and it skipped to the back fringe and made about a 20-footer there. And the par 5, I hit two great shots. Real good drive, 3-iron just off the back edge and it was only probably about 16, 18 feet from the hole, but I couldn't putt because there as a ball mark on the line. So I chipped over that and knocked that in. 5, I hit an indifferent 3-wood, but I hit a 9-iron I think -- in the green, about eight feet, nine feet and made that putt. So that got me, what five (-under) after five. And hit a real good drive on the par 5 and hit a 3-wood right through the middle of the green on the bank fringe. Didn't hit a very good chip. It was kind of a funny lie. It was right where everybody walked off and dumped it a little bit. Made a 20-footer there for birdie. So that was a pretty good start. Got up-and-down on 7 for par. On 8, I hit it in the water and I hit a good drive. Just misjudged the winds. The wind was really heavy then. You don't feel it that much. It just started picking up a little bit out there, but it wasn't as nasty as it is now.
Q. Which hole?
DENNIS PAULSON: On No. 8. There's a bunch of trees on the green. You just don't quite feel as much there. You are sheltered there. I had 159 to the hole and I told Drew: "7-iron. I like that, we don't have to hit it really down, do we?" He said, "But just don't hit it right up in the air." And I hit it straight up in the air and the wind hammered it; didn't come close. Made a great up-and-down for bogey, dropped it in the water and had about -- I hit a 95-yard shot from about 85 yards, I guess, and maybe about a 15-footer or 16-footer there for bogey. And made a real nice birdie on 9 with a 5-iron there, about 15, 18 feet short.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: 16?
DENNIS PAULSON: A good drive. I hit a drive left of the bunker. Laid it up and hit a sand wedge to about probably eight feet, nine feet. And then 18, I hit -- put a really good 3-wood off the tee, and got up there it was in the first cut which surprised me me -- inaudible -- hit a 9-iron through over the green, threw that -- almost a 177-yard 9-iron. So it was blowing real good out there.
Q. What was the hole you said you chipped over a spike mark or there was a ball mark on the green?
DENNIS PAULSON: My ball was on the green, it was a perfect lie. I would have putted for sure.
Q. Which hole?
DENNIS PAULSON: No. 4. The par 5? Is that No. 4? My ball was only probably 20 inches off the green, and right between me and the hole was a ball mark off the green. So I couldn't repair it. And it was right in the line that I wanted to take. So I just took my 60-degree wedge and chipped right over it.
Q. Holed it?
DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, I made it. I made nine 3's today or something. Quite a few the first five.
Q. Are you a rain player all the sudden?
DENNIS PAULSON: I told my caddy when we opened the umbrella: "When is the last time we played golf without it raining?" Because I played Friday, too, I got some rain on Friday in L.A. and then I did a Pro-Am on Monday and it rained. So the last -- and then it started raining today. So I said, "Is that all I'm going play in?"
Q. Was L.A. your last start?
DENNIS PAULSON: Didn't play any at all, yeah. I started working about four days ago at it. Yeah, I haven't played any at all.
Q. Do you like this golf course? Do you come in here confident that it sets up for you?
DENNIS PAULSON: I'm not sure what my record is. I think I made a cut, missed the cut. I think should play pretty well here. I'm not a big fan of Bermuda greens. I grew up in California on that poa annua weed and I consider Bermuda -- the poa annua I think it is truer than the Bermudagrass. But my caddy grew up in Houston and I am really relying on him a lot to read greens for me. He doesn't get anywhere near me on the West Coast, and then he's right around me all week long here. Playing the Bermuda, I can't read these greens at all. I'll read it, look at the hole, figure the grain out and I said: "Should it go more right than when it looks like?" And then he'll say yes or no. But I do like the golf course. I should like it. It's one of the longer courses we play and I like the way they set it up. I get kind of tired playing all of these golf courses hard and fast and wide fairways. It would be nice to get the fairways a little more narrow and make the courses play a little longer. Giving us 30 and 40 yards of roll, you've taken a 7,000-yard golf course and made it a 6,600-yard golf course. I don't want the balls to plug, but not getting 20 yards of roll, 30 yards of roll is nice.
Q. A lot of red numbers out there. Does the condition of the course much to do with that?
DENNIS PAULSON: Yes. No question. The 2nd hole is a perfect example, I mean -- and 17. Those are tough par 3's because the greens are so shallow, and we're hitting three -- 6-irons straight up in the air and landed up in the green. My ball went two feet from where it landed on 2 and went about a foot from where it landed on 17. Usually, you are playing that ball to carry just over the bunker. You are hoping that it won't go over the greens. The rain is definitely helping, no question about it, to keep the scores down. But got a little mud ball out there a little with the fairways because there's more moisture than what I thought we got yesterday. I wasn't here on Tuesday when it rained, but there's definitely some moisture out there and you have got to deal with the mud a little bit on your golf ball. But this wind actually helps it dry out a little bit.
Q. It was almost a year ago when you came into that Masters' interview room after the first round and kind of introduced yourself and then said you didn't want to be a guy that disappeared after the first round score like that. You've done a good job of that this year. Can you talk about the year since?
DENNIS PAULSON: Well, Augusta was fun, but last year as a whole wasn't very good. The year before, I'll take a lifetime of the year before where I finished and the Top-30 and didn't win, as opposed to winning once and having no other Top-10s. I finished 11th at the British and 14th at Augusta. So it was nice to have some high-profile tournaments where you finished okay, but it still wasn't that good. The year before, I had nine Top-10s and last year I had one. As a whole, it was not a very good year. I will never take anything from winning a golf tournament or playing well at the majors, but my consistency was pathetic last year. That's what I want to improve this year. It hasn't been that good this year, either. I played okay in Hawaii and had a nice tournament in L.A., but I missed three cuts this year. That's how many cuts I missed in '99. So I want to stop missing cuts and have a lot more Top-10s. I always talk about Top-10s being a real factor because you don't have chance if you're not in the Top-10 on the back nine. You can't win a golf tournament. You can't.
Q. Why do you think you are not as consistent?
DENNIS PAULSON: I had a little shoulder problem again this last year and we had a new baby and I built a new house. A lot of other stuff. Not so much golf-related, but just, you know a lot of stuff going on with things at home and trying to balance golf and being a dad with two kids now. And how much time you're going to spend away, trying to get them to come out on the road. It's a lot tougher. I've got the kids out this week. The whole family out for four in a row. They have been with me a lot on the West Coast. They went to both tournaments in Hawaii and L.A. and San Diego. On the road, it's a whole different -- it's a whole different animal, bringing them out here. And I've got eight pieces of luggage with me and a minivan that's packed to the hilt from the airport to the hotel.
Q. How old are they?
DENNIS PAULSON: Four in June and 1 in May.
Q. Full of more than just luggage; you've got toys?
DENNIS PAULSON: All that stuff. Got a playpen for the kid. She sleeps in that, as opposed to the cribs you get. Just a lot of you have stuff that you don't normally think about dealing with being a golf pro. It's fun having them out here, there's no question. But I practiced yesterday and I put in a pretty full day because I didn't show up on Tuesday. Could not get flights out to get here for the Pro-Am so came in late yesterday -- came in late on Tuesday and didn't get to play in the Pro-Am. So yesterday was kind of my day to see the golf course. I put a full day in and my wife got back. She went out and I watched the kids and took them to dinner and she joined us. You know, I didn't really rest yesterday until nine o'clock last night.
Q. You're a dude that you don't strike me like the minivan type. Does that swallow your pride and just put your sunglasses on?
DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah. We have -- she was thinking about a minivan -- inaudible -- Explorer, but she likes being up a little higher and a little safer, and I wouldn't get her one. Not in California.
Q. Big SUV?
DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, get her a tank to protect her and the kids.
Q. Your house didn't go exactly as scheduled, with your contractor?
DENNIS PAULSON: They did a really good job. They did. It was just so much work. I put so much work in the exterior of the house. It was a huge job. The guy started the day after I closed escrow. Those guys were there starting their work. And you know I bought the house in May and they probably started the first or second week in April, getting everything going. And I left and came home and could not believe how much stuff had been done in four or five weeks. But, you know I put a lot of stuff into the house and just took time. We were planning on not moving in until the first of August. We moved in the end of July and it took another six weeks to get everything done. And it was tough, with the new baby, contractors in the house, doing things on the inside, we had to finish the floor and that kind of thing. We had built-ins and an aquarium and all of these things that just take time, and you kind of need to be there for some of those things.
Q. Sounds like a custom home. Did you help design it?
DENNIS PAULSON: No. It's kind of a track home. It's a nice -- yeah. There's a lot of holes in the wall. They want to charge like 20,000 to put in this beautiful built-in and I got a guy to do it. We did a bunch of different built-ins throughout the house. Customized the closet. Those things you can't do until you get in the house. Felt like a custom home because we put everything in except for the light switches, it seemed like.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Dennis for joining us.
End of FastScripts....