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August 2, 2010

Steve Stricker

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for joining us. We have a great group here of approximately 100 media members, and we'd like to start with a few questions. Talk about last year and also your 2010 season. Then we'll open it up to the media for questions. First, could you tell us a little about your recollections of winning the Deutsche Bank Championship last year?
There were a lot of players in contention on Monday, but you held steady and produced a couple birdies on the final two holes. What do you recall from that day and it's got to be a pleasant memory.
STEVE STRICKER: It is. First of all, I want to apologize for not being there. We had a prior commitment here in the Cleveland area, so sorry I'm not there. But to answer your question, from what I remember, it was just we got off to a good start.
Kind of played pretty conservative in the middle of the round and hung in there and made a birdie here or there. But, you know, I can remember needing to make a couple birdies coming in. And 17 was really the key because I figured if I could birdie 17, 18's a birdiable hole that is reachable in two.
Fortunately, I hit a good shot into 17 and had a good look at it straight up the hill, pretty much. I was playing with Retief Goosen, and he pretty much was on the same line, and I was able to get a good look at what the putt was going to do. Fortunately, I holed it, and made a good birdie at the last. So it was kind of a situation where I was just hanging around and waiting until the end for some of those birdie holes.
THE MODERATOR: Let's take a look at your 2009 season a bit. As far as if you look at most of the metrics, it was without a doubt your best year when you look at your money earned, victories, Top 10s, Top 25s, cuts made, a number of other factors. But it was just another in a series of strong seasons dating back to '06 and '07. What was so special about last year for you?
STEVE STRICKER: Last year was very special. It was kind of a tale of two seasons really within the one. I started off the year playing pretty strongly, having some opportunities to win and not closing the deal.
Northern Trust I had an opportunity to win, made bogey at 18. I played poorly in the last round at the Bob Hope. Had a chance to win in Tampa, made bogey the last couple of holes, and I think I learned from those close calls and not finishing those off. And then really it just took winning at Colonial early in the year to give me the confidence that I could do it.
I played good at certain times especially in the playoff at Colonial, so I gained some momentum. Even in the tournament I lost, I gained momentum. Playing well at Colonial and John Deere. It was just kind of a build up, and I took a lot from those losses and you gain a lot of confidence and a lot of -- you gain a lot of confidence when you win and keep moving forward, and that's what I did as the year went on.
THE MODERATOR: You certainly carried that momentum into the 2010 season. If I have the numbers right: 13 cuts made in 13 events, five Top 10s in victories at the Northern Trust Open and the John Deere Classic. You're second in the FedExCup standings, not too far behind Ernie Els. Tell us what's been going right with your season this year?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, it's much like the last three, four, five seasons. I feel like my game is pretty much where it's been last year. I continue to do the same things. I continue to work on the same things that I have in the previous years, and I'm riding a lot of confidence.
I feel good about my game; I feel good about what I'm doing; and I just continue to try to do the same things that I have been doing and really not try to mess around doing different things. So it's been very consistent and it's been working, so I try to continue to do the same things.
THE MODERATOR: Maybe one of the highlights of your year this year would be the 60 that you shot in the first round of the John Deere Classic. Perhaps it's been overshadowed by a couple of 59s in the last month or so here. Tell us about that round and what was going right for you that day?
STEVE STRICKER: It's crazy. We were talking about it this morning, the amount of low scores being shot. I think a lot to do with the low scores is the conditions of the course. The courses have been in great shape. They've been a little bit soft. The rough has been down at pretty much every tournament this year, and that's on purpose really. The TOUR wants to see some good scores and that's what they're getting.
You know, that day for me was coming to the golf course in the afternoon and seeing that Paul had shot 59. Really just trying to go out there and shoot something in the mid 60 . And I got off to a good start and finished really strong and things were just going right. I feel very comfortable at the TPC John Deere. Yeah, I just kept going with it.
Knowing that Paul was already in there with 59, you know, it was easy to try to continue to make birdies because I was trying to catch him, really. So just tried to keep going with it.
THE MODERATOR: Since the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup again three seasons ago, you've fared quite well. Finished second, third, and 14th in the final FedExCup standings. How much would it mean for you to finally win the FedExCup this year? And secondly, how much would it mean to defend your Deutsche Bank Championship title?
STEVE STRICKER: It would mean a lot to win the FedExCup. It's a year long, even though we kind of adjust the points and everything, it's important to go into the playoffs in a good spot or a good position in the points.
So you have to play well all year long, and then obviously play well in the playoffs. It really shows that you've had a good year not only bits and pieces, but a whole year where you play well the entire year to win that FedExCup.
So I've been fortunate enough to play well there in the past three seasons since it started, and I'm excited to get going in the playoffs again this year. I'm in a good position to do it, so it should be exciting.
To defend the Deutsche Bank, it will be a lot of fun. It's a great tournament; I love coming there; the field is outstanding; the condition of the course has always been topnotch; and the area, and the people the way they treat you is second to none. It's a joy to come there.
So to come there and try to pull it off again, I'm looking forward to it and can't wait to get everything going there.

Q. 2008 you were on the cusp of making the Ryder Cup, and this tournament proved to be a good one for you. Could you talk about that year and how this course helped you out?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, 2008, I fell just outside the top -- I think they took ten at the time. But I really can't remember how I played in 2008 there to tell you the truth. They go by so fast. You know, obviously it's always -- I just enjoy coming there.
You know, Seth and Deutsche Bank put on a great tournament. I enjoy the course. I really enjoyed the changes since Faxson and his group of people came in there to redo it. I enjoy coming there, and it's always fun to come there and play, and I'm looking forward to it again.

Q. Does your mindset change coming back to defend your championship? Is there added pressure?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't think my mindset will change. I go into every tournament trying to do the same things and trying to play well. I go about my business. You may have a few more distractions throughout the week, maybe a few more requests of your time, stuff like that. But I typically go in with the same game plan.
It will be no different there this year. You've got to pay a little more attention. It's always exciting to come and try to defend. It's hard to do. A little more extra pressure on you, but it's fun trying.

Q. What's it like for your wife to caddy for you?
STEVE STRICKER: You mean back in the early days?

Q. Yes. I thought it was continuing.
STEVE STRICKER: Oh, no. She gave that up back in '97.

Q. Okay. We'll roll with the '90s, yeah.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah (laughing). We had a good time doing it. She's a good player herself. She wishes she could do it every once in a while, but we have a couple kids she does a good job taking care of when I'm not there.
So we had a good relationship on the course. We miss doing that at times, but it just doesn't work out anymore.

Q. With all these low scores, is there a 58 out there?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, for sure. I don't know about coming up for the rest of this year, especially through the playoffs. I think the courses get a little bit tougher these next six or seven weeks, but maybe in the fall or something, maybe.
But you look at Appleby had to birdie the last three to do it. The guy that could have done it was D.A. Points on -- which day was that -- Friday or Saturday. I can't remember. He's already 10 under going down 17. Which is a par-5. Then he's got the par-3, 18. So I think it's out there.
We saw Bobby Wyatt playing in the U.S. Junior shoot 57. So it's crazy low scores, but it adds a lot of excitement. I think it takes away a little bit from the previous 59s being shot, Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval.
The more you see it, I think it takes a little bit away, but it's exciting to watch. I found myself watching pretty intensely yesterday to see if Stuart could do it.

Q. Was there one key thing that you can put your finger on that brought your game back from where it had fallen to? Mental or physical, what would be the one thing you could talk about?
STEVE STRICKER: I think it was both of them, mentally and physically. There were a couple things in my swing that I had to change. My confidence level wasn't very high at all, and I was just determined to go back to work and work at it harder to try to get better. I had the support of my family at home, and that was huge.
Really, at the time I was wondering if I -- this is at the end of the 2005 season -- if I should do something else other than playing golf. It was just more of a commitment to try to get better and fixing my swing to the point where I could trust it out on the golf course on a daily basis and under the gun.
Then I thought if I could do that, fix that couple of flaws I thought I had, I could get my confidence level going in the right direction.

Q. I know you've had three terrific years in a row. Would you consider this your best or could you rate them at all? Has it just been probably or has it been just a steady progression?
STEVE STRICKER: I really don't rate them. I had a great year back in '96. I finished fourth on the money list or something like that. In '98, I had a good year. 2001 -- you know, I don't sit back and rate them. I know there are good years.
Last year was a good year, and this year I tried to just, like I say, I don't try to think about what I did in the past. I try to go out and just continue to do the same things and not really worry about what I've done too much and try to move forward and think about what I'm going to try to do instead of looking back.
But it's been fun. It's been great. It's been a lot of cool things have happened. It's just a lot more fun to play golf when you're playing well than it is when you're not. So it's been a blast for the last four or five years.

Q. In two months you'll be in Wales. What are your thoughts about the upcoming Ryder Cup, and do you think you'll be paired with Tiger?
STEVE STRICKER: I missed the first part of the question.

Q. In two months you'll be in Wales?
STEVE STRICKER: Oh, yeah, yep.

Q. What are your thoughts on the Ryder Cup, and do you think you'll be paired with Tiger?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm excited. I'm finally in a position where I think I should make the team. I think I'm third on the points list. So I feel like I'm a lock to get on the team.
I don't have to worry about the next couple of tournaments, so I'm kind of looking forward to thinking ahead and what it's going to be like over in Wales.
It's going to be hard. They've got a good team. They're all playing well. Graeme McDowell winning the US Open and Ross Fisher just winning yesterday. You know, Lee Westwood's playing really good. They've got a good strong team.
I feel like we've got a lot of good guys that are playing well too, and it should be exciting. We've got a lot of good guys.
As far as playing with Tiger, I hope so. I think we've shown that we're very good together at the President's Cup last year. We talked about it a little bit already this year. And hopefully we can do it again and pair up and do what we did at the President's Cup.

Q. This is a money question on how it relates to the 2012 TOUR calendar. Do you hear any news from the Commissioner's office that the TOUR schedule may be reduced a little bit and the purses may be smaller?
STEVE STRICKER: I have not heard that, no.

Q. You mentioned that the TOUR this year wanted to see some good scores which they're seeing. But is it likely you're going to see a full schedule of events for 2012 or have they indicated what's going to happen as far as money and events?
STEVE STRICKER: As far as I know -- and I'm on the policy board -- as far as I know, we're looking at a full schedule. There may be a tournament, one tournament here or there, that may struggle a little bit trying to find a sponsor. But from what I understand everything's moving forward to having another full schedule.
I actually have not heard anything about the decrease in money, so that would be news to me. As far as I know, everything is right on track just as we have been.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate you joining us today. We hope that you have a great month of August, and we'll look forward to seeing you here in four weeks.
STEVE STRICKER: You got it. Thanks for having me.

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