Tampa Bay Championship interview: Shawn Stefani

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March 15, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Tampa Bay Championship transcripts archive

MARK STEVENS: Right back where you were yesterday, you got to 7‑under. If you want to talk about the round today and maybe the differences from yesterday's round and then we'll take some questions.

SHAWN STEFANI: Okay. Today was a little bit more of a struggle ball‑striking. Didn't really drive it super great. Didn't hit some of the best iron shots. But scrambled well and I putted really great. So you know, when you put good, that usually keeps rounds going, and that was pretty much what happened today with the result of my 1‑under par.

Q. Were you at all nervous today compared to yesterday or was it just another round of golf?

SHAWN STEFANI:
You know, I wasn't any more nervous than I am any round. I think I'm always a little bit excited about playing and I get a little nervous, which I enjoy. I think that's the competitor in me. There wasn't really any time today where I got, you know, really nervous or excited I guess.

Q. I guess what I'm asking, was it more of a case of having to keep yourself even‑keel? I know it's just Friday, but still, I assume that's your first time leading in the first round.

SHAWN STEFANI:
Yeah and I think that's what kind of helped me today. I knew it was Friday, and the lead is one thing, but leading on the weekend is another.

And today I just wanted to go out there and play golf and hit each shot the best I could and really have some fun. That's really what I did. I really had a lot of fun out there today, even though I didn't really play my best but I scrambled well. That was a lot of fun today.

Q. You mentioned that you putted well. Is that something that has not been the case in the recent past?

SHAWN STEFANI:
Yeah, you know, all year I've been playing pretty well but the putting has not really been there. And I made one little adjustment in the beginning of the week, and it's really made the biggest difference in my putting and really I'm not even trying to make putts right now. I'm just trying to hit good putts. And so far, the last few days, they have just gone in. So that's a good thing.

Q. What as the adjustment?

SHAWN STEFANI:
I moved my hands a little bit more forward, and just got the ball rolling and started on line better.

Q. Can you define a little clearer about trying not to make putts?

SHAWN STEFANI:
Just taking the pressure off yourself. Just trying to hit the best putts you can. If it goes in, great, it does‑‑

Q. You're still aiming it go though, right?

SHAWN STEFANI:
Well, I guess. They are going in. (Laughter).
Yeah, I'm just trying to hit the best putts I can out there, and if they go in, great. If not, just accept it and move on.

Q. If things shake out the way they are, it looks like you and Adam Scott tomorrow afternoon; what's your relationship like with Adam?

SHAWN STEFANI:
I don't really have one with Adam, but a roommate of mine in college lived‑‑ well actually I lived with a guy named Mark Cooper, and him and Adam Scott grew up in the same town and they are buddies. I'm sure we can talk about plenty tomorrow if we play together.

Q. Is there any sort of like‑‑ I'm losing the word here, but sort of star power that you look at you and kind of, hey, I'm playing with these guys, going from mini‑tours to Web.com and PGA TOUR and get a guy like Adam Scott; do you feel any of that kind of pressure playing with a guy like that or does it not matter?

SHAWN STEFANI:
At the end of the day it doesn't matter to me, because I just have to go out there and focus on what I'm doing and control my thoughts and my process. It really shouldn't matter who I play with.

Q. Talk about the 8th, what club you hit there and just the shot you had coming off your first bogey.

SHAWN STEFANI:
On 8? 8 was I think 200 yards, somewhere around 200 yards, had a little wind I guess off the left. Yeah, was just trying to hit a cut 5‑iron there and it came off perfect.

Q. Wanted to ask about 15, too. That was kind of an interesting pin today, good pin, the par3, back right there.

SHAWN STEFANI:
Yeah, same shot actually. Same club, same shot, same everything, high cut 5‑iron.
15 is a little downhill, too, and with it being downhill it plays a little shorter. And that green was really firm yesterday, and I knew if I could just get it laying a little short, I would be fine but it actually carried a little further than I wanted to but it was coming in from so high, it sat down pretty soft.

Q. It was great to hear you say putted great, because golfers never want to admit that it seems like, it's almost like you're afraid you're going to jinx yourself. You don't have any superstitions like that? 'I putted great today' because guys usually‑‑ 'I putted all right'; they always down play putting.

SHAWN STEFANI:
We all want to putt better, that's the thing. And really, putting great to me isn't making every 15‑footer. It's making all the putts you're supposed to make, and I'm making a lot of putts that I'm supposed to be making right now.

Q. How did you tip to the adjustment you made? How did it come about?

SHAWN STEFANI:
No, I just kind of went through the memory bank and said, you know what, the ball's really not coming off the way I want it to, kind of coming off left. Usually when I move my hands a little forward it kind of helps the ball from going left and that was kind of the adjustment I made.

Q. Do you think being a 31‑year‑old rookie has helped you better prepare for handling some of the pressures that you're seeing for the first time?

SHAWN STEFANI:
Yeah, I've won at every level I've played at and luckily last year I won twice. It was in two totally different situations last year. One was going into the lead the last day with‑‑ or going in the last round with a lead. The tournament that I won before that was coming from behind.
So you know, my experience is going to help me. I mean, obviously this is the PGA TOUR and this is no longer the Web.com Tour and there's no discount that the players on the Web.com Tour are not great because they are, but this is a lot different out here.

Q. Are you pretty honest with yourself in terms of how you played? I would think so.

SHAWN STEFANI:
Yeah.

Q. Is there a difference between being honest with yourself and what you say publically? Not necessarily to us, but as you're talking to anybody.

SHAWN STEFANI:
Yeah, I wouldn't change the way I answer these questions if it were you or my dad, my friend, my mother, whoever.

Q. She's not here is she?

SHAWN STEFANI:
My mother, no. I'm sure she probably wishes she was (laughs).

Q. The feeling to always talk positive, have positive things come out of your mouth; golf is just not a positive game.

SHAWN STEFANI:
Really golf is tough, but all you can do is be positive. You know, and eventually if you think positive enough, you're going to just be positive. It's kind of one of those things if you act, you will. If you keep believing, you keep thinking you're positive, you're just going to be positive.

Q. Of all the tournaments you've played, is there anything that stands out or do you have a story about the worst tournament at the worst course or something you had to endure, rocks on the greens or something? Any horrors‑of‑the‑mini‑tour stories?

SHAWN STEFANI:
I mean, not really. You know, I don't look at the golf courses even that were bad as the worst thing I could play in or whatever. I was trying to look at the situation as being lucky of being able to play this game for a living. Some guys take it for granted and we all do at some point in time. But I'm very blessed and lucky to do what I love every day.

Q. Were there any tournaments that the check was no good when you went to cash it or anything like that?

SHAWN STEFANI:
No, luckily every check I've had has cashed. (Laughter).

Q. Have you ever played in any mini‑tour events where you're pretty much sharing the course with the regular paying customers?

SHAWN STEFANI:
No, most of the mini‑tours I played were pretty well organized, run well. And there wasn't any nonsense going on out there on those tours.

Q. What was the number‑‑ let's go the other direction. What was your No. 1 highlight in a mini‑Tour event, career mini‑tour highlight.

SHAWN STEFANI:
Shooting 60 in the Texas State Open in 2011 and winning by five shots or the week.

Q. Where was it?

SHAWN STEFANI:
At the Cascades in Tyler, Texas.

Q. What did you do on the 18th?

SHAWN STEFANI:
Made eagle, the day I shot 60.

Q. How do you prepare for the weekend now?

SHAWN STEFANI:
Go get some food, go back, relax, get a massage, take it easy.

Q. Did you have a chance at an albatross, or did you blow it?

SHAWN STEFANI:
I'm not answering that. (Laughter).

Q. Did you get a courtesy car this week?

SHAWN STEFANI:
I did, yes. I'm playing in the field.

Q. Does it drive pretty well on two wheels‑‑ if you get it up on two.

SHAWN STEFANI:
I haven't tried that yet. I don't think I'm going to, either.

Q. What's the best course you've played‑‑ let me rephrase, that; favorite course you've played this year.

SHAWN STEFANI:
This year? Probably Torrey. I loved Torrey Pines.

Q. Not to be daft here, North or South?

SHAWN STEFANI:
The South actually. I love the South. The South is really long. Kind of fits my eye and can't wait to go back there again.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Shawn, good luck tomorrow.

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