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January 30, 2013

Kyle Stanley


PHIL STAMBAUGH:  We welcome Kyle Stanley into the interview room.  Kyle the defending champion at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, making his fifth start of the year on the 2013 PGA TOUR.  Kyle, exciting time for you here last year.  Just maybe talk as you reflect a year back about winning here last year and then talk about your game coming in.
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, you know, it doesn't seem like a year since I was last here, but today was the first time I've seen the course since Sunday last year.¬† But it's good to be back.¬† I feel really comfortable on this golf course.¬† I feel comfortable when I get on‑site here, and it's nice to kind of get some good vibes going into this week.
As far as the state of my game, it obviously hasn't been very sharp, but it's‑‑ I feel like I'm working on the right things, and I've just kind of got to fight through it.

Q.  Everyone was so focused on your two weeks last year coming from Torrey Pines to win here, kind of overlooked kind of the way you won.  You probably didn't get enough credit for that recovery shot.  Can you go back and run through that and tell us how good was that shot, kind of the tournament saver for you?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, well, it was kind of one of those shots where‑‑ so many things could have happened from there.¬† I hit a sand wedge, just kind of delofted it, put it back in my stance and kind of tried to hook it.¬† It came out perfectly.¬† But yeah, it was kind of one of those shots that I felt getting that, making par from there, it definitely calmed me down a little bit.¬† You know, if you gave me a bucket of balls and took me back to that spot, I'm not sure I could hit one that good, so it was a good shot.

Q.  Can you describe how good was it?  What were your expectations really?  As you said, a lot of things could have gone wrong.
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, if you hit it too hard, it goes through the green in the water, if you hit it too short, you're kind of in that swale, and it's a difficult up‑and‑down.¬† Kind of what I was trying to do was just get it somewhere on the green.¬† I had I think it was 9‑iron out first, but that kind of went long in the playoff.¬† It came out too hot, which was really not what we wanted.¬† So went down to the sand wedge, and it came out perfectly.¬† It actually kind of had some hook spin on it, so when it landed, it kind of released towards the hole.¬† It was probably one of the better recovery shots I've ever hit.

Q.  Is there one shot from that final round Sunday that sticks out?  Would it be that one?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† It's probably the putts coming down the stretch.¬† I made a good six‑, maybe five‑footer on 15.¬† The up‑and‑down on 16 was pretty difficult kind of under those circumstances, especially being that hole.¬† That was a good putt I made, I think, a 10‑footer there, and then the four‑footer on 18.¬† So it was kind of the putts and kind of the way I scrambled to get the ball in the hole coming down the stretch that I remember the most.

Q.¬† Going back to the week before to the wedge into 18 at Torrey, how do you‑‑ that was a good shot in there, and it just trickled into oblivion.¬† How do you deal with that?¬† Where are you now in putting that behind you?
KYLE STANLEY:  I mean, it's been behind me for a while.  You know, dwelling on something like that isn't going to do you much good.  I maybe surprised myself a little bit how quickly I was able to come back.  But mentally that was probably one of the more difficult things I've had to overcome.
I think in my mind I really didn't feel like I did a whole lot wrong there on 18.  With my current ball, I'm not sure that I'd be able to do that now.  But yeah, there's not really a whole lot I'd change.  I'd probably hit a pretty good shot in there.  In my mind I kind of played it up as kind of a fluke deal.

Q.¬† It was the setup of the hole‑‑
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, the day before I had about the same yardage to a different pin on that green and hit lob wedge.  That stayed on the green just fine.  On Sunday I hit a sand wedge, and it spun back in the water.  I think pin placement had a lot to do with it.  There were a ton of variables there.

Q.  But that bank isn't normally shaved like that.
KYLE STANLEY:  It was only my second year playing there, so I wasn't sure if it was or not.  I wish it wasn't.

Q.  Are you a little ragged playing five straight weeks?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah.¬† I think after‑‑ I think after this event, I'm probably going to take an off‑season.¬† I didn't really have much of one.¬† But I'm definitely looking forward to having some time off.¬† I played so late into last year, Australian Open I think I got back in mid‑December, so yeah, I didn't really have much time to just kind of relax.¬† Looking forward to taking some time off after this week and getting my game where I need it to be to compete.

Q.  How are you coming with your putting and what are you doing about it?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Putting more time in to be honest.¬† You know, that's kind of the one thing that's really plagued me this year.¬† It hasn't really been my ball‑striking or the equipment.¬† I feel like my stats from that standpoint have all been comparable if not better to what they've been since I got out here on TOUR.¬† But putting I've really struggled.¬† I think it's more of a mental thing for me, and just got to put the time in and put the reps in, and from a mental standpoint just get a little bit more confident.¬† Confidence is huge on the greens.¬† I think if you look at the guys that putt the best out here, they think they're going to make putts.

Q.  Is that how you describe the mental side, expecting to make putts?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, maybe get a little more process oriented and just kind of control the things I can control on the greens, good routines, good lines, good speed.  I think I maybe want the ball to go in the hole a little too much.  It's hard to tone that down, especially when you're not putting well.  But I putted good today, so I guess present tense I'm putting well.

Q.  With your success here last year and that comfort level you mentioned on this course, what could some success this weekend do in terms of getting your game back to where you want it?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, I mean, I think a good week here, it's going to take more than a good week here.¬† I'm searching for consistency.¬† You know, there are some things I just quite frankly need to get a lot better at.¬† I think that's going to‑‑ that takes more than a good week here or a good week there.¬† It's going to take a lot of time kind of off the golf course practicing, getting a little bit of time away from tournaments to where I can kind of devote that kind of time and focus.¬† But I am excited to be here, and I'm really searching for a good week.
But I can't try to go out and force anything.¬† Kind of what I've been doing the past few days, practicing, playing golf, just firing‑‑ putting the ball in the middle of greens, trying to make things a little more simple.¬† Right now I feel like I've got to work really hard to get just a little bit out of my game.
I'm just going to really try to simplify things this week, play stress free golf, hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and try to make things a little bit more easier.

Q.¬† When you say you're going to take an off‑season, how long are you going to take off?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† I don't know.¬† You know, I'm not in the Match Play, I don't think I'm going to play Riviera, so right now we're probably looking at three to five weeks.¬† I think it all depends on‑‑ I think it all depends on how I feel.¬† I guess I don't have to play right now, so I'd rather kind of get my game in shape and come back when I feel ready as opposed to keep playing all these tournaments and trying to fight my way through it.¬† I think I kind of did that last year, and you accumulate 32 or 31 events a year, that's a lot mentally.

Q.  Are you finding it harder to win the second than it was the first?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† You know, I haven't really realistically been in contention since this time last year, so I can't necessarily answer that question.¬† Yeah, things definitely got a little bit more difficult after I won here.¬† I think I put a lot of self‑imposed pressure on myself to continue that kind of play, and yeah, it kind of got me in a tough spot.
So I think I need to probably just take it a little easier on myself.

Q.  Is there anything you remember the crowd saying to you at 16?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Really what I remember is I didn't get‑‑ I missed the green all four days and didn't really get booed that badly.¬† I think people were sympathetic towards what happened the week before.¬† But I had a big group of buddies come down from Seattle, they'll be here this week, too, and they were yelling my name and stuff like that, which is fun.

Q.  You could hear your friends?
KYLE STANLEY:  Well, they got a huge, like, section of 16, kind of chanting "Stanley," which was cool.  But that's about all I remember.

Q.¬† When you went back and looked at last season in the rear view mirror and you mentioned the self‑imposed pressure, was it the self‑imposed pressure that got you off track, or how do you analyze the rest of last year?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† You know, I wouldn't necessarily say it was swing stuff.¬† My swing instructor is Mike Taylor.¬† He and I took a little bit of a break there kind of in the middle of the season.¬† But I don't really remember it being swing, swing issues; more probably looking at my stats, more scrambling, getting the ball up‑and‑down.

Q.  After those two weeks were you thinking, yeah, this is going to be a big year, I've got it going now?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† I had huge expectations for myself.¬† They didn't obviously‑‑ things didn't follow through.¬† But I think, too, finishing second at Torrey and then coming and winning here, I think the standard I kind of set for myself was so high, and I went to the Match Play event, I lost in the second round, but still a top‑20 finish, and Riviera, I finished 20th around there, which are still decent tournaments, but I didn't quite look at it that way.¬† I looked at it as I kind of wasn't performing at the level that I was early on in the season, and I think that kind of worked my way into a little bit of a funk.¬† And then as much golf as I play, I think towards the end of the season I just got tired.

Q.  Probably by far the most golf you've ever played in your life?
KYLE STANLEY:  Yeah, yeah.  It was just too much.  I'd like to kind of be a maybe 25 events a year kind of guy.

Q.  Do you see yourself as having grown into that player who got the second and the first, or are you still struggling with what you think that was?
KYLE STANLEY:¬† No.¬† My game is there.¬† I know my game is there.¬† I don't think a little adversity ever really hurt anybody.¬† I think I'll be tougher when this is all said and done.¬† But yeah, I just think mentally I need to‑‑ I just need to get in a little bit of a better spot, just come into these golf tournaments feeling refreshed in my head.
You know, I think you can play as much golf as you want being physically ready, but if you're not ready mentally, I think you'd probably be better off being physically pretty rusty and mentally fresh.  You know, just try to get mentally where I need to be to compete and feel good about my game.

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