home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 9, 2000

Dennis Paulson


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Dennis Paulson for joining us in the media center. He's 9-under after two rounds. Why don't you begin by telling us about the conditions and how you played today.

DENNIS PAULSON: I didn't play quite as well today as I did yesterday. I putted a little better especially on the back nine. The golf course was really weird to figure out today. I started, you know, first group out in the morning, and I hit a beautiful little 6-iron on the 1st hole and it skipped 25 feet past, you know, into the green. And 2nd hole, the green was concrete; the 3rd hole the green was really hard; 4th the green was really hard. It was just really weird how hard the greens were. And then it got soft: 7 was soft, 7 and 8 were soft, 9 was pretty hard again, and the back nine greens were pretty receptive and the ball was spinning back more than it was skipping forward. So, it was tough to figure it out because you've got the mindset that the greens have dried out, and you have to be careful, and then you hit smart shots to some of the pins and the ball would spin back off the green. I hit my irons a little better than yesterday. I just didn't drive the ball quite as well.

Q. It seemed like you were very composed the way you played today. Just very calm, very, you know , managed your game well.

DENNIS PAULSON: I made a couple bogeys early, and there were -- 2, I hit a bad shot and hooked it in the rough and had to pitch out. Had a little issue with a guy over there. He said something really stupid. You love having these people out there to help you out, but they try to be witty sometimes and say something, you know, that's kind of cute, and it just didn't go over very well at 7:30 this morning.

Q. What did he say?

DENNIS PAULSON: He said something like "you're going to have fun with this one." I'm dead behind a tree in six inches of grass. It's not that hard. I've just got to pitch it out sideways, you know. Then I hit a pretty good shot on 4. I got a gust of wind and it just kind of blew it a little bit left and hit on the green and spun back into that first collar. And I didn't hit a very good pitch. It was a tough lie and made another bogey. And 5, I hit just a perfect drive and a perfect 3-wood that lands four feet, five feet on the green, cutting in there beautifully and makes a ball mark the side of a manhole cover and spins back off the green with a 3-wood. It's like we're getting 9-irons that can't stop inside of 20 feet and 3-woods backing off. So, I was on the edge and 3-putted there. It's like, come on, let's get something going. But 7 was huge. I hit it left. I hit the wrong club off the tee; felt the wind was helping a little more than it was. Should have hit 2-iron. I hit a 3-iron. Pulled a little bit. Got on the hill and stayed there in the rough. I tried to bump it down to the front of the green, clipped a limb, and it dropped into the left rough. And I had about 65 yards to the hole and hit a great little shot over the -- over the bunker, kind of over that knob and ran it into the ridge and ran it back about six feet from the hole and made that putt for par. Then birdied 8 and 9. Birdied 8, 9, 10. Kind of settled it down. It was weird because I wasn't playing that bad. I really wasn't having bad shots, with the exceptional shot on No. 2. Like Drew said, "Just be patient, we'll make our birdies." Hopefully, some putts will fall. And made a nice putt on 8 from off the green from about 16 or 17 feet. Still the longest putt I've made this week. But it kind of got me going. And I made a nice 10- or 12-footer on No. 9. Made about a 5-footer on 10. 6-footer -- made a 6-footer on 11. Made about a 4-footer on 12. A 6-footer on 13. 5-footer on 14. Lipped it out on 15. Hit a great putt on 16. Didn't get -- made about probably an 8- or 9-footer on 17 and a really good 2-putt on 18 for birdie. So, the back nine I putted well. I really putted well.

Q. Given how well you played last year, and now these first two rounds, I mean, it's got to be something going on between you and this course, good karma or whatever?

DENNIS PAULSON: I like hard golf courses, and this is a hard golf course. You know, it's not very often that you're 9-under par for two days and you guys want to talk to you. Usually somebody is 12- , 13-, 14-under after two days and you know, I'm not -- 10- or 11-under is going to be a good score. I heard there's a chance for rain today, but if we don't get any rain and the golf course gets the way they like it to be, 10-under par is a good score. It always is; for the last ten years, 10-under has always been a good score. We'll see what happens, but, you know there's no target score. Just try -- like I told Drew, "let's just shoot four rounds in the 60s and see where it puts us."

Q. What do you think of the early tee time?

DENNIS PAULSON: I love it. That's the first one I've had this year. I'm not complaining, but I was let being the guys know, I'm in the B category out here, and our category gets split up and until the last tournament in Greensboro -- maybe the week before Memorial. It's the first tournament that I've actually been ahead of the winners. I've always been in the back half of the draw with the Q-school guys behind me. I don't like late tee times. I'm an early riser. I like getting up in the morning. On the weekends, I like to play late, but the first two days, I like an early tee time; get the good greens out there. The greens were perfect. And I hit a lot of good putts over the edge, but it's nice to play greens that are fresh, it really is.

Q. Do you have your family with you at all this week?

DENNIS PAULSON: Not this week. We just had a baby -- my baby's a month old in two days right now. So, my wife is at home, and it's my first trip on the road since the baby has been born she's without any help. So she's there, kind of by herself with a three-year-old -- in fact, his birthday is tomorrow, and a one-month old. So, she's having a little fun.

Q. What's the one-month old's name?

DENNIS PAULSON: Ethan. Ethan James.

Q. Just to clarify, the guy that said something to you on 2, was he a marshal?

DENNIS PAULSON: He was a guy helping out. He wasn't being mean. He was just trying to be cute, and I didn't think there was any need for that at 7:30 in the morning. I said something like "there's no need" -- "you're out here to help us." You know, I wasn't rude to him; he wasn't rude to me. It's funny how, you know, it's funny how they just really, really want to say something. They kind of want to be a part of it. And, you know, I mean, I had a lie a couple weeks ago at Memorial. Hit a bad shot on 14 on the side of that hill, and I'm in eight inches of grass and he's up above looking in on and I keep getting closer, "I can't see," "Come closer, come closer." And I go, I still don't see it. "It's in a pretty tough spot. Keep coming." That's the nicest thing I've ever heard someone say. I hit a 60-degree wedge -- should have gone 150 yards and can't pitch it to 10 feet. And this lie was so bad -- I can't say enough about people coming out here. We need, what, a thousand volunteers to run this tournament? It's awesome to have it, but some of them are trying to audition for Jay Leno sometimes, maybe.

Q. What's the dumbest thing anyone's ever said to you, like someone in the gallery?

DENNIS PAULSON: There's so many times. It's really probably not that dumb, but when someone says something that's stupid and you're already kind of upset about where you're at, you know, probably the most famous that almost everybody says, "I've got it, but you're not going to like it." I know I'm not going to like it. I'm 30 yards off-line in the weeds. I know I'm not going to like it -- trying to say, this is a beautiful lie to pitch outside, no problem. And it turned out where that ball was on No. 2, he lie was perfect for what it was, because if I had a decent lie, I might try to pull something off and try to get it under the tree and up by the green and I could have made 6 or 7. But instead, I pitched it out and hit a pretty good wedge shot that couldn't stop on the hole, but it went right over the edge. Just a smart bogey. I could have made a really stupid double or triple. So sometimes those bad lies are nice to have. It didn't give you any options and you just do smart things.

Q. I'm assuming you're talking about 10, 11-under being good score as a winning score?

DENNIS PAULSON: 10- or 11-under par? Yeah. 10-under par is always good year here. I don't know if it will win, but it will be a good score. I'm only here to try to win the golf tournament, but it's just -- it's amazing how many times, especially in this tournament, usually the winning score is what's shot on Thursday. If you look back, usually whatever the guy shoots on Thursday, usually it holds up -- on Friday, the Friday score 36-hole score is usually pretty close. It's never usually four or five more. It's usually maybe one or two more. I don't remember who was leading last year. I think I shot 69-67 or 70-67, something like that, and you shoot 67 on Sunday here, and you did something special.

Q. So you're not expecting to be 18-under par on Sunday?

DENNIS PAULSON: I've love to be. I'm playing good. If I make some putts, it's going to be interesting, who I'm playing with and all that. That will have something to do with it. But, you know, if we get a little bit of rain tonight and the greens stay soft, you know, the fairways are wide this year and we don't have to worry about too much chase. The 18th fairway is one of the hardest fairways to hit out here right now. You hit the fairway, it will take a kick to the right and stop and chase into the right rough. Same with 12. That fairway is a lot easier to hit. And 15 you can blow it over the tree and the ball will stop in the fairway. You know, if you're driving it well, the ball will stay in the fairway, and if you're in the fairway, the greens being reasonable you can attack the pins. You know, I honestly don't expect to be leading at the end of the day. I think someone will probably get to 10( -under). The guys in the afternoon, if the weather holds and the wind stays reasonable, you like a little wind just to keep you honest and keep you thinking. The pins -- this course plays really hard when all the pins are in the front. And there's a lot of front pins today. It's hard to get it close to the hole. You don't want to hit it past the hole, but if you don't hit it to the hole, it spins off and you have chip shots, and it's not hard to make pars, but hard to make birdies. The pin on 17 is in front. 18 is in front. You've got a real tough pin on 15. The pin on 14 is right in the middle of the green; looks easy, but right into the wind. It's funny, all of the pins are right next to ridges. There's not an easy pin, with the exception of maybe No. 10. 9 and 10 pins were pretty good. Those are -- for the most part, all of the pins were stuffed in little spots that are tough to get at.

Q. What's your favorite thing about this course?

DENNIS PAULSON: I just love it all. I love the history of the golf course. I think this clubhouse, the hotel and everything is really, really neat. You know, the course reminds me of the course I grew up on. I grew up on a course with greens with a lot of slope on them, really fast, tree-lined, very similar to this golf course. You know, you always feel comfortable when you've played golf courses that are very similar to -- I've played, probably, I don't even though, 10,000 rounds of golf on a golf course like this where you've got, you know, poa annua greens, little bunker greens. For me, the golf course isn't that long; so you can hit a lot of 7- , 8- , 9-irons, wedges into a lot of these holes. And it just brings back a lot of really good memories. And I've played pretty well here. Even my two years in '94, '95, even though I didn't finish that high, I liked the golf course and I hit a lot of good shots. It's just a really -- it's a great little challenge. It's the hardest short course we play on TOUR, by far. They don't need to be 7,300 yards to be good.

Q. What what's the name of the course you grew up on?

DENNIS PAULSON: Santa Anna Country Club.

Q. Obviously, you're playing for this week, you're looking ahead, I'm sure, to the Open, but a lot of the big names that come in here and talk about "I'm fine-tuning my game for next week at Pebble." As a non-winner, a guy who is hungry to win, does that give you a bit of an edge because you are really focused on this tournament?

DENNIS PAULSON: I don't think anybody, like Tom Lehman, or Davis Love wants to win more than anybody out here right now. You guys are hounding him like crazy. What's the deal? He's made $5 million and no wins, and it's like a big deal for some reason, I don't know what, though. He would love to win to get that off his back, I'm sure. Duffy is playing really well. The long hitters doing really good this week. I don't think that's really an advantage or disadvantage. If you're here to play this week, you want to play well going into the Open; otherwise, you're not here and you're working on your game to play well in the Open. There's no one that wants to come here and kind of go through the motions and shoot, you know, 72 every day and go: "Well, I'm not playing that great going into the U.S. Open." If you're here the golf course is set up to play like the U.S. Open. Guys come here to play it because it's similar to the U.S. open. A lot of tough rough. The greens are fairly tough shots you've got to hit into just like Pebble Beach. You know, I live in California and I was in the Open, I had to qualify, I had to fly all the way here and fly all the way back. I don't think that's a reason to take this tournament off. I think this is probably the best tournament on the PGA TOUR to play before the U.S. Open because it's as similar we're going to get to what U.S. Open conditions are like, and unless you're a guy like Tiger that just likes to take a week off before the Open or before a major, there's no reason why you should not come and play here if you're playing in the Open and you want to be playing well going into it the. It's great test for you.

Q. How did you find the rough today?

DENNIS PAULSON: A little longer than yesterday. I was in it more. It's amazing what a little water will do to this ryegrass and a little heat. It's growing. I was fortunate. I got some pretty decent lies in the rough. I hit it through the fairway in 15 and got a decent lie where I could get a 9-iron on the ball and knock it on the green. I knocked it into 13, a decent lie where I could get it on the front edge. With the exception of the lie on No. 2, I hit a bad drive on No. 9 in the right rough. I had to lay it up; so it didn't matter. The shot I had was the shot I had. There was a tree in front of me, I wouldn't have wanted to because I wanted to lay-it up into a flat spot. The places that I drove in the rough today I got away with it, with the exception of No. 2. I think I made one bogey this week, from the fairway, and that means I hit my irons pretty good, you know. And I'm putting pretty well. I missed some putts early, but like I said, I putted great today. I don't know how many putts I had stat-wise; you guys have to tell me, but it was probably -- I think I had 30 putts yesterday. I think statistically I might have had 29. Because I was right on the edge of the green and I might have given me a missed green on 17, but I used my putter I think 30 or 31 times yesterday. I think I missed one other green, and I hit a par 5 in two, so -- you know, and shot, what, 6-under so it was right around -- today, I probably maybe nine 1-putt greens and I had two or three other really good putts for 2-putts. 11, I made a nice putt for a 2-putt. And with the exception of that 3-putt, and statistically it was still just a 2-putt because I wasn't on the green. But, you know, I putted really well. No one wins this tournament putting badly. You've got to putt well this week. I mean, just the greens are the golf course. If the greens were just flat little circles, you would shoot 100-under par. But it's the rough and the greens. The guys have been pretty creative with some of the pins, it's pretty tough to hit at some of these pins.

End of FastScripts….

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297