MORE INTERVIEWS:Deutsche Bank Championship interview transcripts archive
MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Scott Stallings. Scott is No. 61 in the FedExCup standings right now. He has a win in each of the last two years, and he's also from the Boston area. If you want to kind of talk about your thoughts coming back to the local area to play in the FedExCup Playoffs and we'll have some questions.
SCOTT STALLINGS:It's really exciting to be back. You know, I grew up in Tennessee, but New England summers were kind of what I became accustomed to. My mom is from New England, my mom's whole side of the family is from New England. It's nice, I learned how to play golf up here, and it's something to where it's very comfortable with a lot of family to be out, and it'll be a cool experience to play for the Boston crowd.
Q. Could I just ask you about the par-3s on the back nine? I don't know familiar you are with this golf course, but the 11th hole, uphill, pretty tough. What's your club selection and how do you approach that hole?
SCOTT STALLINGS:The par 3s are great. Last year the golf course got really firm. It was soft, kind of similar to this week, so your club selection changed as the week went on. I remember 11 specifically because I teed off early in the pro am last year, and we got out there, and it was cool and wet, and the ball wasn't going very far, and I hit 3-wood. That was the only par 3 the whole year I hit 3-wood into a par 3.
But then you go to 15, or 16, and it's a shorter hole, it's a birdie hole. It's a chance for a hole-in-one a couple hole locations. But it's good. It's kind of something you hope to get through with a par and go on.
Q. Where did you learn to play golf, what particular course?
SCOTT STALLINGS:My mom is from Hampton, Portsmouth area in New Hampshire. I was born in Worcester, but all through the coast of New England, from Rhode Island all the way up into Maine. No real one place in particular, but just pretty much anywhere I could play. I'd come up here in the summers with my family and grab my clubs and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles, and we'd just go beat around wherever we could. But no real place in particular.
Q. And you last year played here, and you had a Red Sox logo on your bag, you had a foul ball from Jacoby Ellsbury. You're a big Red Sox fan but they're not doing well this year. Are you going to have a Patriots logo on your bag?
SCOTT STALLINGS:Actually a guy just asked me about that, he said, have you bailed on them yet, and I had a Red Sox pin on my bag all year, and kind of towards the -- after the All Star Break when things weren't going very well, I took it off and actually made a request for a Patriots one with Brady and everything coming up and the excitement about the season.
But this year -- last year I caught a Jacoby foul ball at one of the Yankee games, and this year I was given a Jim Rice signed baseball, so that'll be in my bag all week, so hopefully that'll bring me a little bit more luck than the Jacoby one did last year.
Q. Did you get the Patriots pin yet?
SCOTT STALLINGS:No, but I am looking for one, so if you have any insight I'd be happy to have one.
Q. You have obviously won each of the last two years, but you missed a lot of cuts. I guess you've had some injuries. Can you just talk about those?
SCOTT STALLINGS:Yeah, I just did an interview a little while ago, and I tore cartilage in five of my ribs January 18th and had a slight herniation in my low back in L4 and L5. It's unfortunate would be the understatement. I knew that when I had the opportunity to play and I was fully healthy, I'd have a chance to be successful. I worked really hard this offseason to get in better shape and do everything, and it kind of felt like it was all for nothing because there's no real recovery process for rib injury besides just sitting, so I did that for a couple months and came back and played the Masters on just purely pain medicine just to get through it.
You know, I was glad to be done with that, and the first tournament I played from Humana after the injury without pain, without any medicine or anything was Colonial. So that's quite a big gap.
Q. Can you just update us on your caddie situation? Is Frank on the bag again this week?
SCOTT STALLINGS:No, my caddie is back. My caddie had an eight pound, one-ounce baby boy named Caden, and he had the baby -- we missed the cut at the PGA. It was a long, hard day if anyone was there. He got a phone call from his wife at 11:30 that night saying, hey, my water just broke, and he was going to jump in the car and try to drive home, and his wife said, I'd rather you be alive and catch a flight in the morning than try to drive and be here. He got there about an hour after she had the baby.
But he was home for a couple weeks, and Frank Williams caddied for me for the last couple. We learned a lot from him, and he's been really helpful for Josh and I as far as just kind of learning from the stuff that he's experienced in his career and trying to help us out.
Q. But obviously it's nice to have your guy on the bag and back again, isn't it?
SCOTT STALLINGS:Yeah, it goes without saying. We knew this was coming. Josh and Stephanie told us that they were going to have a baby at Kapalua this year, so we were always kind of planning on it. Frank was one of the first people we approached as far as to find somebody just to kind of go with me for a couple weeks because Josh was home with the baby. It was weird that it kind of worked out that Frank ended up being the guy that went with us. He's been out here about as long as I've been alive. It's weird, he's six years older than my dad. So it was really cool to have a guy just with all the people he's caddied for and the experiences that he's had and to try to help me out for a couple weeks. It was a really cool experience.
Q. What's your caddie's name?
SCOTT STALLINGS:Josh Graham.
Q. Have you gotten a chance to play 18 yet?
SCOTT STALLINGS:Yes, I played yesterday afternoon, and it was weird seeing the green. You know, I had heard about the changes, but it's a lot different seeing it. I wouldn't necessarily say it was a welcoming target, but it was a much larger target than it is now with the runoffs and stuff. I don't think you'll have quite as many guys go for the green with 3-woods and stuff like that as you did before. You have to be a little bit more precise.
If you miss the green behind it to a back pin, kind of having a ball run through the green, it's a pretty tough up-and-down. So I think you'll see a lot more guys lay up than you did last year.
Q. Would you consider it significantly harder, a little bit harder?
SCOTT STALLINGS:I'd say a little bit harder. I'd say it's probably helping some of the guys out, especially that 3-wood, kind of a longer hybrid into the green or something like that, just because, hey, I got it into the green, I probably should go for it instead of just laying up. It would probably help some of those guys out, just take the decision out, take the guesswork out. I think it's made it a little bit easier in that regard, just if you don't have a good number you just lay it up over the bunker and then you have a wedge in.
At the end of the day, it's made it a little bit more of an advantage for the guys who are going to hit an iron into it, but I also think it's made it a little bit more of an advantage as far as takes some doubt out. If you get in a situation where it's notmost ideal to go for it, you just lay it up and play it as a three-shot hole.
Q. Missing cuts and being injured, how did you keep it together mentally?
SCOTT STALLINGS:I actually watched a lot of golf. You know, a bunch of my buddies were playing pretty well. I couldn't really do anything exercise wise or anything like that. They didn't really want just anything to make my lungs expand to where my ribs separated again. They were just trying to do everything they possibly could to try to keep them intact so they'd grow back together.
But just tried to watch a lot. I remember watching the Honda where Tiger shot 62 on Sunday, just kind of watching what he did, and even though I couldn't play, I couldn't really practice, couldn't really do much of anything, I'd just sit and watch and observe and try to see what guys did that were really, really good and try to learn from a mental perspective kind of what they were going through and how they handled themselves in kind of pressure situations.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Scott. Good luck this week.