Senior PGA Championship

Interview with Craig Stadler

June 6, 2003

Note: The news conference was moderated by Julius Mason, the Director of Public Relations and Media Relations for the PGA of America.

JULIUS MASON: Second round, 69, Craig Stadler, opening thoughts on the round today.

CRAIG STADLER I played pretty well. Drove the ball good again as I did yesterday. Hit a lot of good irons. Really didn't make any putts today, of any significance. Same as yesterday, 3-putted the last hole yesterday and 3-putted the last hole today. Kind of walk away with a bad taste but other than that I played pretty well today.

JULIUS MASON: Talk about the birdies and bogeys, please.

CRAIG STADLER Birdied, 3 I hit 8-iron about six feet, made that.

8, I hit 3-iron about 15 feet, made that.

12, I hit driver in the fairway 7-iron with six feet, made that.

14, I hit 3-iron on the face of that bunker to the right and didn't hit a very good chip, missed a putt there.

4-iron about 30 feet short on 18 and 3-putted.

JULIUS MASON: Questions.

CRAIG STADLER That was about it.

Q. I noticed you in the putting statistics. Have you been struggling with your putter lately or is it just having trouble with these greens?

CRAIG STADLER I have been struggling with my putter probably for about 10 years, to be truthful with you. (Laughs).

I don't know. I have been having just a lot of trouble from 15 and 20 feet reading these things. I am misreading almost every one. Not necessarily the wrong direction, just either too much break or not even, usually not enough. What is the par 5, 16? 15 today. Second shot about 40 feet right of the hole, looked at it from every which way, it looked like about four feet, I get over it, felt more, I played it about six feet, it broke about 10. I don't know how the hell you can miss by six feet.

It's pretty much consistent closer in, don't miss by quite as much, but I was still reading six, eight inches and they are breaking 10 to 12 to 14 sometimes. But nothing is going in. The hardest putt I had all day was the only one I made on 8. I hit it in the -- just in the back edge straight above the hole just lightning fast, and got it up on top, about four feet short, it just kept turning ever and it went in. Very poor second putt on 18 and just a lot of missed opportunities a lot of good iron shots.

Q. Was the course playing much different today than yesterday?

CRAIG STADLER No, it played about the same today. Two or three pins everyday that you can't afford to knock it five, six feet by the hole down the hill and sayonara. But there has been four or five really good pins each day. 14 was a hell of a hole today. Didn't help with the 20 mile and hour wind on the tee, kind of -- tried to hit 3-iron back in that corner. Played about the same, most of the holes played pretty much the same distance; some a little bit shorter; some a little bit longer with a different wind but very consistent yet.

Q. If we don't get any rain, could you see it playing a lot different maybe come Sunday?

CRAIG STADLER Yeah, if it doesn't rain by Sunday it will definitely be a little faster, I would assume. I have pretty much, I'd say for the most part, backed up every tee shot I have hit. I hit the ball kind of high, but either they plug or they hit here, and you are a foot farther away from where it hit. Knock on wood we don't get anymore rain. Doesn't sound like tomorrow is going to be real promising. It could stand a lot of drying out, this golf course, no doubt. I don't think the greens will dry out. They are just too soggy. They could pick up some speed on the putting, but I would think you are going to be throwing darts the next few days.

Q. A lot of seniors in so many ways say because of technology or working out they really strike the ball better than they ever did. With you, notwithstanding your putting, is that the case with you as well?

CRAIG STADLER I haven't found technology to work on my putting yet. I haven't found a putter that just goes in the hole. Searching. Got one, I will take it.

Q. Other than your putting?

CRAIG STADLER Definitely. I think it's made a huge change to everybody's game. Last year I think I averaged 276 off the tee or something like that and I was 114th. Ten years ago I was 268 and I think I was 20th. So you pick up 10 yards and you lose 90 spots. It's not us. (Laughs). Every shaft is built to have the optimum speed at impact and the right torque and the right kick to match your swing, and every ball is built to go longer than the one before it. So it's got to stop somewhere. I don't know where.

Q. After two days out here can you talk about the difference in the transition, the difference in the Tours, from playing on the PGA Tour -- I know last week you were practicing at Memorial and then pulled out but you were going to play, then turn around and come here, just talk about the differences that you see after playing two days out here.

CRAIG STADLER Well, I think one difference is obvious, I was talking to Fuzzy (Zoeller) this morning on the putting green I said, I always wondered what the main difference was going to be out here if there is one. Obviously the scores, I have never played the course at Pensacola (for the Emerald Coast Classic on the Champions Tour), I think Fuzzy shot 80, 279 at Augusta and Watson shot 75, 79 or something. Next week at Pensacola I open up the paper and Watson Opens up 66, 65. Fuzzy Opens up 68, 67 -- 30 shots difference almost. Granted, Augusta was long and it was harder this year, but not 30 shots difference in two days.

I really think it's a huge difference because I have played just horrible this year. And I hadn't hit a ball 'til Monday in the last week and a half. I hit maybe about 25 shots at Muirfield (Village at the Memorial), but you know, I think you get -- you come out here when you first come out and you see all the guys you are playing against and just kind of subconsciously you are thinking you know, I played with these guys 20, 25, 30 years ago, and was very competitive with them then; there's no reason I shouldn't be now. I think your confidence level and everything just goes up, just for the fact that you don't have 80 guys that are 25 years old that hit it 340 freakin yards and make every putt playing against you every week.

As I said, I saw Fuzzy on the putting green before we went today I said, I think I figured something out, I shot 70 yesterday and I am tied for 11th. If this is a Tour event I will probably be 50th. Or 45th or something like that. It's not these guys can't play, it's just that I don't think on hard golf courses, obviously, it's an age factor. You don't take it as low as these guys in their mid-20s do. They don't hit it as far and straight and they putt as good, but you know, I really can't answer anything more than that until I get to some regular event and see how the courses are and what have you. But this is a phenomenal golf course to start out on. It's awesome. It's a hard golf course. You don't drive the ball straight, it's a bear.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Craig.

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