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February 2, 2014

Kevin Stadler


THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Scottsdale resident Kevin Stadler, winner of the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open winner.
Congratulations on your first career PGA TOUR victory.  You move to No. 7 in FedEx Cup standings.  If I looked at it right, this is your 239th career PGA TOUR start.
It's been a great week.  You started with a 6‑under 65 and just played solid all week, closing with the 3‑under 68 today.
With all that said, I will turn it over to you for some comments on your first career tour win.
KEVIN STADLER:  Sure, yeah, it's pretty amazing.  As you said, it's 295 million tournaments, however many (laughter).  It's been a long time.  It's been a long time since I won anything.  I think it was '05  or '06.  It's pretty special.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  How nice will it be to play with your dad at the Masters now?
KEVIN STADLER:  That was in the forefront of my mind when I was out there.  He's obviously getting on in his career.  He's probably only got ‑‑probably go ahead and assume this will be his last year that he will play there.

Q.  He just said it is.
KEVIN STADLER:  He probably would have liked it better if I had gotten there five years ago so he can call it quits then.  He's been telling me for a couple of years I need to hurry up and get there before he calls it quits.

Q.  Did he talk to you at all prior to today?
KEVIN STADLER:  I got a couple texts from him the last couple days, but I didn't talk to him.  He was out of the country, I'm not sure where, but he just said he got home Friday or Saturday.

Q.  What was the message?
KEVIN STADLER:  Nothing much.  Nothing much.  He just said he watched it all, and it looked like I was playing good.  I need to make more putts.  Standard messages I get from him (laughter).

Q.  Have you felt more pressure over the course of your career being a Stadler and living in his shadow a little bit?
KEVIN STADLER:  Not at all.  It's the only last name I have ever had, so it's just normal for me.  Everybody asks me that question, and I don't even think about it.
I don't know ‑‑well, I guess I understand why people would expect it, but it's just normal.

Q.  Your dad says winning the first one is the hardest and it gets easier after that.  Does this feel kind of like a monkey is off your back?
KEVIN STADLER:  Yeah, I guess so.  I feel like I have gotten a lot better the last couple years, had a couple more chances.  I have kind of had some ease keeping my card the last few years, but I really haven't had too many chances to win.
I had a couple last year I let get by, and to pop one off early in the year is pretty cool.

Q.  How do you describe your relationship with your dad?  Are you close?
KEVIN STADLER:  Hmmm.  Yeah, it's fine.  Rather not talk about that, but it's fine.  (Smiling). 

Q.  What were you thinking there on the front nine when you missed a few of those short putts and had the ball stuck under the cactus?
KEVIN STADLER:  I didn't miss anything on front nine.  Front nine was actually all right.
Yeah, cactus and short putt and all that was all on one hole.  That was a lot of fun.  (Smiling).
You know, 11 has had my number for years.  I butcher that hole every year here, seems like.  I keep telling myself I'm better off hanging it in the water than hanging it in the right desert, because I can still make 4 from the water, and I still hit it in the right desert.
I hit it in there yesterday, had to take an unplayable 5.  Hit the same bush again today and hit a couple poor putts.  The greens were really, really quick the last couple days, and I just misjudged that one coming down.
Then I don't know what happened on the little one.  I guess I misread it.  I missed a couple short putts left for me all week, which is abnormal for me.  At that point I just had the two‑shot swing on 9 and then gave it right back to him on 11.  Wasn't feeling too good with Bubba coming down to those par‑5s and drivable holes.  I was expecting fireworks.  It was kind of a grind for both of us.

Q.  What was going through your mind as Watson was going for the 5‑footer?
KEVIN STADLER:  How long the playoff was going to take and how long until I can watch the football game (laughter).

Q.  What was your immediate reaction right after he just missed that one to the right?
KEVIN STADLER:  You know, it was obviously just a lot of relief, a lot of excitement, a lot of just uncertainty.
It was a little weird way to win a golf tournament.  I fully expected him to make the putt.  I would have much rather made mine to win it, but nonetheless, it's pretty amazing.

Q.  What's the celebration going to be like?  Combined Super Bowl party and victory party?
KEVIN STADLER:  Yeah, I think there are a few people over at the house right now waiting, watching the game.  I don't know.  I'm pretty worn out right now so it won't be too crazy, but it will be a fun night.

Q.  Were you surprised you won today in any way?
KEVIN STADLER:  Not really.  I have been playing great all week, last week practice.  I had a great week this week ball striking‑wise.  When I started off those first three, birdied the first three, I was feeling super comfortable.  I was fully expecting to play well on the back nine.
I mean, if you would have told me I could shoot 1‑over par on the back nine and win the tournament I would not have believed you.  It was pretty good.

Q.  Did some of those short putts on the back nine you just missed leave you on edge, thinking they could have cost you a victory?
KEVIN STADLER:  A little bit, but I miss short putts all the time so it's kind of a normal feeling for me (laughter).
Yeah, the one on 14 when I hit it in there real close for birdie and missed it I was a little surprised by.  I felt good standing over it and I felt like I hit an all right putt.  It was only three feet, and I didn't even hit the hole.
At that point I started to question it a little bit, but went on to hit it in the water and really had an ugly next hole too.

Q.  I know you said you didn't really want to talk about your relationship with your dad, but a few minutes ago we had a conversation with your dad, and said he's your biggest fan whether you know it or not.  Do you know that?
KEVIN STADLER:  Yeah, absolutely.  Absolutely.  Obviously I get along with him fine.  I'm just not as close with him now as I used to be, but he's still my dad.  It's fine.

Q.  How many times have you been to Augusta, and what are you most looking forward to?
KEVIN STADLER:  I have been there a lot.  I used to go when I was a kid all the time.  It's been a while.  I don't remember the last time I was there.  It's probably been seven or eight years.
I think I have been once since I have been playing out here, and I kind of decided I didn't want to go back there until I could go tee it up.
Just looking forward to everything.  It's going to be really cool walking around there with my dad.

Q.  Have you played it?
KEVIN STADLER:  I played it one time when I was in college, but it was a cold, rainy, wet, miserable day, but it was still one of the coolest days I've ever had.

Q.  How far do you live from the golf course, and is it a little more special for you winning here in Scottsdale, the first one?
KEVIN STADLER:  Yeah, absolutely.  I live really, really close.  I mean, as close as you can live.  I live two stoplights away.  Actually one stoplight away (Laughter.)
It's pretty cool.  I had a lot of friends out there.  Obviously I had no idea where they all were in the middle of a crazy crowd, but seeing everyone when I got done was pretty cool.

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