Featured Golf News
Stanley Back in Action This Week
After taking off last week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Kyle Stanley returns to the PGA Tour for the Northern Trust Open. The $6.6 million event starts Thursday at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The 24-year-old has had a few days to savor his last appearance on Tour. After blowing a seven-shot deficit to lose to Brandt Snedeker in the Farmers Insurance Open in January, Stanley quickly rebounded the following week, overcoming an eight-stroke deficit to win the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
With the week off, Stanley got to spend some time in his hometown of Gig Harbor, Wash. "I hadn't been home in four weeks," he said Tuesday from Riviera. "I really didn't do a whole lot. My first priority was just kind of catch up on rest after these last couple weeks. I needed it. It was nice to go home and relax."
Interestingly, Stanley will be paired in the first round of the Northern Trust Open with three of the young season's winners: Phil Mickelson, whose stellar 8-under 64 on Sunday at Pebble Beach swept him to his 40th career win, and Snedeker. They'll be teeing off No. 1 just after noon.
Here's what else Stanley had to tell reporters during Tuesday's Q&A.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Kyle Stanley to the interview room. Kyle, you're making your first start since your win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Do you want to start off by talking about what you did on the week off and how you plan to prepare to make your first start here at the Northern Trust Open?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, it was nice to go home. I hadn't been home in four weeks. I really didn't do a whole lot. My first priority was just kind of catch up on rest after these last couple weeks. I needed it. It was nice to go home and relax.
MODERATOR: You played the front nine, and after this you're going to go out and play the back nine. You've never played here before. What's your thoughts coming into playing Riviera for the first time?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, it's good. Like you said, I didn't play here last year. I played the front nine. It's interesting greens. They're good. You're going to need to put the ball in the right places to a lot of these pins, and it's long, too, and in good shape.
Q. For those of us who haven't seen you since Torrey Pines, can you just speak about the swing of emotions between Torrey and Phoenix and what it's been like since winning your first PGA event?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, the emotions in between, looking back on it, it's kind of a blur. You know, I just tried to focus on the positive things I did in San Diego. I know I was playing well, and I think the only thing that was going to hold me back from continuing to play good golf in Phoenix was if I dwelled on what happened the week before. You know, and then after I won, it was - it was probably the best feeling of my life, just to be able to bounce back and recover. It was pretty cool.
Q. Are you recognized more? Has anything changed as far as, hey, you're the guy that won or lost?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, maybe a little bit, but not too much.
Q. How would you describe yourself? If somebody didn't know anything about golf and you said, Kyle Stanley, you're the guy who, what?
KYLE STANLEY: I don't know. Pretty quiet guy, passionate about what I do. I don't know. That's very open ended.
Q. It is. I guess to be more specific, winning in Phoenix is huge, especially coming from eight shots behind. Does it become almost part of the package, just to win in Phoenix? Your identity right now, do you think it's both weeks, the bounce back, not just the win?
KYLE STANLEY: Probably a little bit of both. I think people are going to remember. I think it's kind of a two week story, not necessarily the win in Phoenix but what happened before. You know, but I'm still the same guy. Nothing has changed. But yeah, it'll probably be remembered maybe a little bit more actually for the week before, but how I bounced back.
Q. You're still going to the Masters.
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah.
Q. Did you watch Pebble on Sunday on TV?
KYLE STANLEY: I didn't.
Q. The disappointment obviously that you had in San Diego, the next week, Spencer Levin sort of had that same disappointment. Was that hard to watch another golfer go through what you experienced?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, absolutely. As I said several times, you don't ever want to - you wouldn't ever wish that upon anybody. It's tough. It was tough for me to handle. I'm sure it was tough for him, as well. But he's too good to not bounce back. At the end of the day, I mean, we have long careers ahead of us, and it won't be a big deal.
Q. I wonder if you could just kind of look forward this year now. I imagine when the year started, you're now in at least two majors, the Ryder Cup becomes a real possibility. What was on your mind goal-wise starting the year, and how do you look at the year going forward now?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, I think my first goal was to win. We got that out of the way. I wanted to get in the Match Play, the Masters, the majors, Ryder Cup, all those things. You know, but I think the biggest goals are for me probably the process ones. I try to be process oriented and try to focus on what I need to do each day to get better, and if I do that, then everything else will take care of itself.
Q. You're paired with Phil and Brandt in the first couple of days. What do you make of that grouping and what's it like to be put in groups now instead of just one of the guys?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, it's cool. It'll be fun. I've gotten to know Phil a little bit the past couple weeks, and we'll have a good time.
Q. And someday if you're telling your kids about those two weeks, how do you think you'll describe it? Will you talk about the loss first or the win first?
KYLE STANLEY: That's a good - well, hopefully that's a long ways away (laughter), but yeah, I'm not sure. You know, it started with the loss. But I'll talk about both.
Q. I just wanted to talk about - I grew up playing against you in college and I know how well you played, and Rickie won the Ben Hogan award before you in '08 and then you won in '09. I know you're a very self motivated guy, but did seeing his success the last couple years just encourage you or motivate you at all when you came out of school, or do you think most of that was just your goals and the way you moved up the last couple years, the way your game has improved, the progression?
KYLE STANLEY: Yeah, I think as far as motivation, I'm not sure, but I grew up playing with him from junior golf to college golf, and he's had a really good start. It's nice to kind of see guys in your peer group come out here and be successful. I think if anything you kind of take the mindset of if he can do it, I can do it, but nothing more than that.
MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, Kyle. Good luck this week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.