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July 11, 2012

Kyle Stanley


DOUG MILNE:  Kyle Stanley, thanks for joining us for a few minutes prior to the start of the 2012 John Deere Classic.  You're coming here with a win under your belt, a runner‑up finish under your belt and runner‑up finish here last year under your belt as well.  Just some comments on returning back here to the John Deere Classic and TPC Deere Run.
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah.  I'm certainly excited to be back.  Obviously last year finishing second I had a decent year kind of coming up to that point, but finishing second last year kind of spring‑boarded me, I think, into what I'm doing now and it was really my first time getting into contention.  So I have some good vibes here.
DOUG MILNE:  Great.  We'll go ahead and jump right in and take some questions.

Q.  That was just kind of leading into my question.  Last year's disappointment on the 72nd, but all in all do you take a positive from last year?  How long before you got over being down from missing out on that?
KYLE STANLEY:  You know, like I said, the circumstances of it, I mean you have finishing second and what happened was tough, but for the most part I take really nothing but positives from the week.
You know, like I said, it was my first time really being in contention, so I was really happy about that.  And just the experience of kind of being there down the stretch was really good for me.

Q.  Did you have a conversation with Steve on the airplane over to ‑‑

Q.  He said he apologized.
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah.  He did apologize when we landed, but he obviously had nothing to be sorry for.

Q.  How much did that experience and dealing with that disappointment, how much did that help you going from San Diego to Phoenix this year?
KYLE STANLEY:  Well, I think just kind of the more times you get yourself into contention, the more comfortable you are.  Obviously there's quite a bit of time between the John Deere and San Diego.  But San Diego and Phoenix were a lot closer.

Q.  Did having that experience here, having that kind of heart break a little bit, did that help you deal with San Diego better?
KYLE STANLEY:  Not really.  I mean it's kind of two different ways to finish second.  But you know, like I said, I mean both tournaments just kind of let me know that the state of my game was pretty good.

Q.  Last year when Stricker was playing out of the bunker and made the putt, were you in the clubhouse?  Were you watching on TV?  Do you remember?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, I was in the scoring trailer.

Q.  The scoring trailer.
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah.  I remember you could see the crowd from the scoring trailer.  Like I saw him hit the putt on 18, and then like there were like five or six people standing up in the grand stands and all their hands went up and you could kind of hear the roar.

Q.  How difficult has it been to kind of balance those expectations now?  You had a great start to the year and then you had some missed cuts kind of sprinkled in there?  How difficult has it been to just kind of balance all that out and are there extra expectations placed on you?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, it's been tough.  Obviously I played so well early on in the year and haven't the past couple months.
But you know, I think that's golf.  And over the course of your career you're going to have some highs.  You're going to have a few lows, but I'm really not too concerned about it.  Started to play a little bit better at at&t, which was good and I feel like my game's coming around, so I'm pretty excited about that and optimistic about the events I have coming up.  I think the biggest thing is I'm just trying to keep working hard and keep getting better.

Q.  As I recall you came here and got your first exemption here.  I remember you were out watching Zach play a few holes, like maybe at the pro am or something.  Do you remember that and was it kind of ‑‑ were you scoping things out thinking this is where I want to be, I can do this?  Were you just kind of soaking it all in at that point?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, that was back in '09.  You know, Clair and the folks here were nice enough to give me a spot.  But I think it was my ‑‑ I think it was my second event as a pro.  So yeah, I was obviously stoked.  I played pretty good at Travelers a couple weeks before, but I was still having days where I was trying to get my feet wet and get comfortable.  But yeah, to be able to have those experiences was really good.  And you know, I think I played pretty well this week, too, so from a confidence standpoint that helped me as well.

Q.  Have you seen the bunker shot he hit?  You obviously feel like he won it?
KYLE STANLEY:  I mean not really.  I've seen it a few times.  But yeah, it was a really ‑‑ you know, I said before it was a pretty incredible shot.  So you gotta hand it to him.  Not only the bunker shot, but the putt he made on 17 and putt on 18.  It was a really nice way for him to finish.

Q.  The experience you've had, how does that ‑‑ can you share some perspective on how difficult it must be for Steve to come up here?
KYLE STANLEY:  Well, just on ‑‑ you know, just on once is difficult.  It's hard to win.  Obviously the competition is really good.  I think it just goes to say that there are a lot of courses sometimes you just find a course that you're comfortable with, it really sets up for your game and so you have a little advantage.  But to win a tournament two times in a row or three times in a row it's really good.  So there are how many people in the field?  Quite a few of us trying to make that happen.

Q.  My memory is failing me.  Did you grab that spot in the British Open when it comes through here?
KYLE STANLEY:  I did, yeah.

Q.  Could you talk about how good a deal that is, that opportunity that's here this week?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, it's huge.  It's huge.  I didn't think about it too much last year.  I actually found out I had to win to get in.  But yeah, it's nice.  It's kind of your last year to get into a major and you know, I think for a lot of us it's a goal of ours to be in the majors, contend in them, and you know, it's nice to have a chance to do that this week.

Q.  Did you have your passport with you?
KYLE STANLEY:  I did, yeah.  I did.

Q.  How difficult is it to get that spot like an hour before you get on a plane and make the adjustment that you're going over to actually try to compete?
KYLE STANLEY:  I think that's how Ben got in, wasn't it?
KYLE STANLEY:  No?  I mean I don't know.  I mean yeah, it is a different style of golf.  Coming here you kind of have to be prepared for it if it happens.  But I mean it is different.  But you just have to adjust.  That's really all there is to it.

Q.  How gratifying was it all the support and all the people who really stood behind you, supported you?  I mean how did that make you feel, like I know you can't overcome a loss, but going into next week, how valuable was that?
KYLE STANLEY:  It was good.  You know, from that standpoint it was pretty neat.  I don't think I've ever felt like so loved by so many people.  It was great.  I mean brought me closer to my family, I think.  Brought me closer to am some of my friends.  And the support kind of ‑‑ a lot of people kind of made sure that I never kind of got too down in those years.  It was really a difference maker.

Q.  Can you talk about the golf course in comparison to last year?  Have you had a chance to play?  Does it seem like it might be a little firmer given the heat that we've had?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, I did.  You know, I played nine yesterday.  But the greens are soft, but they're surprisingly quick, especially downhill.  But yeah, the course is in great shape.
DOUG MILNE:  Okay.  Kyle, as always, we appreciate your time, and best of luck this week.

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