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June 27, 1999

Dennis Paulson


LEE PATTERSON: Well, I know it's disappointing but very good effort today.

DENNIS PAULSON: Thanks, played solid. Just the par 5s killed me this week. I think I played them about 2-, 3-under par. I played 5- or 6-under for the week. On 18 I hit that 3-wood. I thought it would be over the bunker somewhere or over the trees somewhere up there either in the bunker or just right about where my second or third shot ended up - mis -- what is the word, I want to use -- misjudged the wind a little bit. Didn't catch it quite as solid as the rough as I thought I had.


Q. Last hole, regulation on the 18th, did you feel that your shot had made the fairway?

DENNIS PAULSON: If I would have hit it perfect -- I honestly thought it was perfect, but I got some good breaks this week so it wasn't that big a deal - lay it up - it is a tough shot, anything that lands on the green is going to go over. It is just really hard. You are going for a green that you know you probably can't hit it in two no matter what you do, but you are trying anyway. Laid it up to a perfect -- hit a pretty good shot. I felt that shot would kick up the hill and feed a little right and it just straight. Hit a good putt, the first putt, hit it good, misread it. I putted really good this week.

Q. These waits affect you at all?

DENNIS PAULSON: No. Went over the range, hit a good drive off the tee, just a little bit right. I wanted to make sure I would have a shot at going at the green after Duffy put it in the fairway. My lie on the first cut was decent. It would have been nice to have been in the fairway be able to go driver. I knew that 3-wood probably would be forcing the number, I had 245 to the front up that hill into the wind. I hit a pretty long 3-wood but that is a long ways to hit a 3-wood.

Q. Describe the emotion of waiting when you put up a good number as you did.

DENNIS PAULSON: Not much going on. I was happy for Duffy to see -- it is good theater for you guys, makes a good story, and it is nice to -- Duffy played good and we got to play an extra hole and he was victorious. It was a lot of fun. It is disappointing in one sense, but I hit a lot of good putts today that didn't go in the hole. I didn't make a bunch of long putts. I hit a lot of good shots. I had three putts on the front 9 that just burned the edge like you couldn't believe. So one more putt falls in -- I knew if I made that putt on 18 I was probably okay. Really first time I saw the board. I saw the board on 11 and I saw there was a bunch of us at 7-under. When I got to 18 I saw where I stood and I knew that I really needed to make that putt to have a good chance to win the golf tournament.

Q. You are so close now that you can almost taste it. Now getting in the playoff; coming that close --

DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, it just, you know, matter of being there. You got to have Top-10 finishes to have a chance to win, that is all I try to do, is put yourself in position and give yourself the opportunity. I think I will win this year. I just haven't -- I haven't done a lot of things well all week long and this week I didn't play particularly well early in the week. I made some putts. I chipped the ball horribly as you can tell by the chip I hit on 18. Didn't chip very well at all. It is exciting for me to know that I don't need to play my best golf to really have a chance to win the golf tournament. That is what makes it so much fun out here is that I feel like I can beat these guys if I am playing well because I have had some good opportunities where I haven't been playing that great.

Q. Looked like you were expecting a playoff when you went off?

DENNIS PAULSON: Oh, yeah. When Duffy made bogey on is and I figured that for sure -- if he doesn't bogey 15 I figure I'd lose the tournament because I figured he would birdie 17 and 18. Holes weren't playing that hard. I have been butchering the par 5s; that is why I didn't birdie it. He played some good golf. I don't know how close he hit it on 17 when I was out on the range. To birdie 17 and 18; then birdie the hole in the playoff, hey, man, take your hat off to him, he played great. This golf course shot well under really. Not like we shot 22-under for the week and he birdied the last two holes. He did something impressive. When 8-under par wins the golf tournament and you birdie the last two, no matter how easy it is to, it is impressive.

Q. You go back so far?

DENNIS PAULSON: We go way back. 13 is when we first -- maybe even younger than that playing junior golf together in Orange and L.A. County. Played college golf against each other. When he was at U.C.L.A. I was San Diego State. We go way back. It was a lot of fun, it was nice. It's nice to have a match with a friend.

Q. State Amateur you played each other?

DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, our state amateur we played in the -- actually was the first day -- he won the tournament the year prior and the guy I played in the morning was -- the finalist that he played -- I beat the finalist; then I beat Duffy all in the same day. I beat him on 18 at Pebble.

Q. Pretty good. What year was that?


Q. That was a pretty good finish today. Can you think of any other finishes that really stick out in your mind?

DENNIS PAULSON: I have had two Top-5s (inaudible) -- this is still probably the best that I have. It is not the best that I have played for sure, but I have managed my game real well, played smart this week. This is probably my best tournament that I have ever had especially considering it is PGA TOUR, but I have had some tournaments where I just lapped the field and played real solid. I was really a lot happier with the way I played. I won our State Open one year by, I think, seven or eight shots, shot 63, 64 on Saturday and Sunday. That felt really good. But I am beating a bunch of college kids and some older guys that are working in the golf shop, so it didn't mean that much.

Q. Fifth Top-10 finish I think this year?


Q. 36 years old now. What accounts for the --

DENNIS PAULSON: When I got -- probably my best golf I played was in'91, '92. I lost my father and my grandfather back-to-back years right during Q-School so, it was really disappointing then I got my Tour card finally in '94. I had shoulder problems. Kept my card. '95 I just -- I couldn't even lift my arms over my head. I tried to play golf and it was pretty good to make 100,000 when I should have taken a medical but there really isn't anything back then for guys. They have done a little better in the medical thing when you don't have complete member status out here. I probably should have taken some time off, but I tried to play through it then I missed Q-School played great in '96, made $150,000 playing the mini-tours. I think I won about eight times. Just good solid golf. I played really solid last year on the Nike Tour. I played really well on the weekends. I think I had the low scoring average for Saturday and Sundays last year. Now I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable out here. I was totally relaxed today. I was more nervous talking to Mike and Curtis asking me about this and that on the golf course. I was really comfortable not looking at the boards. I knew I had to a chance to win the golf tournament. I knew someone wasn't making a lot of birdies. I was really comfortable. It is pretty easy when you are there as often as I have been, there over the last six weeks. I am kind of surprised because I took ten days off, 12 days off and I did not touch a club 'til Monday and my brother begged me to go play in a little scramble out for a high school thing I did. Didn't touch a club again until Friday and played 36 holes hitting no balls and didn't -- I practiced for maybe an hour on Saturday, that was it. So came out here pretty much no expectations, I didn't think I'd play that well. But this golf course, if you can think your way around it, you can get away with hitting it so-so. You can't get away with hitting it bad. But I kept the ball in play off the tee pretty much and gave myself some opportunities and seemed like whenever I hit it close I made it. I don't remember missing one short putt all week. I missed putt on 15; that was probably the best putt I hit all week right where I wanted but just didn't do what it was supposed to do. Missed a three or four-footer on No. 6. That is only putt I had missed inside of six feet on these greens that is saying a lot, a whole lot.

Q. How much did you make last year?

DENNIS PAULSON: A lot less than I made this year. 150 thousand or something like that, 140,000.

Q. You mentioned shoulder problems. What was that?

DENNIS PAULSON: My rotator cuff on my right arm is toasted. I could have surgery on that any time, but I don't need it in golf. My kid's only two years old; when he gets a little older, I will probably get it done so I can throw -- I can't pitch to him right now. It gets pretty fried pretty fast. My left shoulder, they are really not sure still what is wrong there. I just strengthened my external rotator because my internals were so

strong, they think -- my shoulder they think there is an arthritic condition in there. Only thing I can think of is back when I was in college we were out having a good time, I dove off a cliff, about a 60-foot cliff in the water kind; tweaked my shoulder a little bit. Might have strained something, and you know, you are 18, 19 years old, you are invincible. It will go away, and maybe I have got a little bit of arthritic condition in there. There is some sort of a bircher sack in there. Every once in a while before when my arm was a little looser, I'd made a backswing, my bicep tendon would make a popping noise at the top of my backswing. Weirdest thing. I actually had to take the club outside and off plane and get really steep and swing like McCumber and throw my hands at the ball because I couldn't turn behind it and get flat or my shoulder would kill me. That is the one thing that was giving me problems. It is not giving me any problems at all anymore.

Q. When you start off, looking at the leader board, so many names, what did you think your chances were realistically?

DENNIS PAULSON: I thought I had to shoot 10-under to be honest; that is what I told the guy on the driving range today. We got out the golf course, it was blowing a little harder than felt like on the driving range because the range was sheltered by the way the wind was blowing, so we didn't really feel it that much. We were out there, sweating our rear ends off because it was so hot. The golf course was playing tough today. I think it was an advantage for me to play late on Thursday. Because the golf course played, by far, the hardest that day than it did all week. It just seemed likes it wasn't that bad -- you know, I mean we were in a really big disadvantage that first day. I think the scoring average was two and a half shots tougher, so give me those two and a half shots and we would be laughing, right? We would have Champagne or at least a beer, wouldn't we?

Q. How hard is it to come back after you play, thinking, hey, this might be my chance; all of a sudden you have to regear yourself?

DENNIS PAULSON: This is the very first playoff I have ever lost in my entire life. I have lost in a Match Play to Rick Fehr in a junior -- in United States Junior Championships, USGA Junior. I lost to Rick Fehr in the first round and extra holes. But that is the first time. I think I have won seven or eight tournaments in this situation going into extra holes. So I was very comfortable. I had my chance on 18; I didn't make it, and Duffy did a great job to get to where he got and we went out there and played. He hit it great bunker shots. I mean, I can't tell you how great that bunker shot was he hit to get into the playoff because the bunkers are not great this week. They are inconsistent. The sand is kind of heavy; really not sure of the depth. The bunkers were really hard -- to hit that long bunker shot with that ledge, he had to commit to swinging hard and fly it up on top, it was a pretty impressive shot.

Q. You said you were relaxed out there.


Q. For somebody that hasn't won, you were in contention earlier in the year a few other -- was that different today? Did you feel pressure in the previous times?

DENNIS PAULSON: No, you know, last year I had 10 Top-10s or 8 Top-10s I, don't consider the PGA TOUR to be some almighty thing that you should be afraid of. I am just playing golf. My God, golf is good enough to win a golf tournament so be it. I am not playing Tiger Woods or David Duval or anybody else. I got a lot of -- what probably helped a lot was they patted me on the back at home, friends and family, telling me, God, you are playing great, you are playing great. I played with David Duval at Memorial last round and he can humble you a little bit, to tell you how good golf really is. So that made me realize that to be good you got to really, really, really improve your golf game, and I am nowhere near that level right now.

Q. You were kind of known as a long hitter for a long time. Does it feel good to break through and have a lot of high finishes? You are not really known for the long hitting so much...

DENNIS PAULSON: Yeah, I have an old quote that has gone around forever - when I won the long drive, I weighed 175, could bench 300; now that I weigh 300, I can bench 175. So it is -- that was the one thing -- I don't think it hurt me so much to win the long drive. But it definitely wasn't something that really helped me. You play in tournaments; they announce your name winning the long drive; you can whiff it flat off the bottom of the club, go out there and everybody go wow, great job. So I didn't want to pursue that at all or I defended the next year I went and did it but I didn't really do -- I did a lot of exhibitions and stuff, but mostly on ball-striking stuff like that and not how far I can hit it. That is a God given ability. I mean, you can't teach a guy to hit -- you can teach him to hit it farther, but not hit it far. It is just hand-eye coordination, you just go out there and that is something I was blessed with. Duffy was blessed with it too. Duffy and I would be bopping it by everybody when we were 14 years old. And now that we are a little older, we hit it a little straighter and definitely not as far even with the technology that we got now.

Q. What year did you win the Nationals?


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