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JOHN DEERE CLASSIC MEDIA CONFERENCE


June 4, 2012


Steve Stricker


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Steve.

Q.  Tiger seems to be back.  Is that good for the TOUR?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, very good for the TOUR.  You know, I opened up the USA Today, he's on the front page of the sports page.  It brings so much attention to our sport, our game.  It's definitely a good thing he's playing well.
Obviously his confidence level is going up.  His game's getting better.  Yeah, it's good for our TOUR.

Q.¬† You talked a little bit about Olympic Club, a place you're looking forward to jump‑start your game a little bit.
STEVE STRICKER:  I've had a good year so far except for the last month.  Just not really what I expect.  I'm not playing poorly, it's just I'm not getting the ball in the hole.
Olympic would be the great place to get it going.  Huge Ryder Cup points there.  Have not won a major.  It would be fun to get in the mix of that and try to win one.

Q.  Your stroke never changes, so is it a feel thing with the putter?
STEVE STRICKER:  I don't know what it is.  I've been messing around with my setup.  I feel my setup has gotten off a little bit, ball position.  Grip pressure, I've been messing with that, too.  My stroke really doesn't change.  It's been something pretty small, I think.
Then it affects your confidence a little bit.  Then your focus is thinking about the wrong thing.  You're thinking about your stroke instead of trying to think about the line, where you want the ball to start, the speed, all the stuff you need to be thinking about.
I've gone through periods like this before through my career, everybody does.  It's just getting it back on track.

Q.  How endearing has this community been to you here?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, it's a special place.  The community has adopted me, I guess.  They come out, give me a tremendous amount of support.  I get a lot of support during the week of the tournament.  Yeah, it's a lot of fun to come back.  I have a lot of family and friends from Wisconsin and Illinois where I went to school.  It's a good week, one I look forward to every year.

Q.  You've spoken about connecting with communities, charities.  FCA is going to have a game day.  How important are moments like that?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, very important.  I mean, when you can express your faith and get people together, get out on the golf course for a good day of golf, talk about your faith or whatever, it's always important.
I'm a Christian.  I wouldn't proclaim it around the world, but I believe in God, do the things, go to church.  My kids are active in church.  So, yeah, it's important.  It's the way things should be, I think.

Q.  How does that affect your game on the course, God's principles, things like that.
STEVE STRICKER:  I mean, He's there in my everyday life.  He's important.  I'm not one to stand up and tell the world about it either.  But it's important to me.

Q.  You talk about that, your kids.  How fun is it to get out here with these kids?
STEVE STRICKER:  It's neat to see their nerves.  I could tell a couple of them were nervous.  It's fun to get to play around with them, meet them.  Obviously if they're here, golf is somewhat important in their life, they like to do it, like to play it.  It's always fun.
I remember little events like this when I was growing up, too.  Hopefully it's something they can grasp onto and say, Hey, I want to do this someday, work towards something, work towards a goal.
You learn a lot in this game of golf.  First Tee does a great job of doing that, too.

Q.  Do they get an assist?
STEVE STRICKER:  I watched them do it.  The putt I had last year went a little to the right, this one went to the left.  I got to watch a lot of putts before I made mine.

Q.  You were talking about the 'Stricker slam.'  Thinking about it?
STEVE STRICKER:  Thinking about it.  Trying to come back here and win again, a lot of great things have happened to me here.  I'm excited to come back.  I look forward to it.  It's a special place for me.
I'm a deer hunter.  To get a trophy with a deer on there, that's pretty cool.  Maybe that's karma for me.  But it's a special place for me here.

Q.  What do you do with all those trophies?  Everybody get an ashtray for Christmas?
STEVE STRICKER:¬† No, they're in my office.¬† It's one of my favorite trophies.¬† Like I said, there's a big old deer on there.¬† Like I say, it's a great event.¬† They run it great.¬† The tournament people here do a great job.¬† A lot of volunteers.¬† It's well‑supported amongst the community.

Q.  You shot 60 here and did not have the low round of the day.  Is this maybe the place where somebody goes under 59?
STEVE STRICKER:  It could be if conditions are right.  You get a day like today where there's not much wind, the greens are soft, it's possible.
But you have to not miss a shot, make a lot of putts.  But it's always possible.  Goydos did it.  He shot 59 here.  There's always that possibility.
It's really a testament to the fairness of the course, course condition.  Still you got to hit shots here.  You got to play well to score well.  But the ability to score well is definitely here.

Q.  You're saying one of us media guys could shoot a 58 today?
STEVE STRICKER:  You guys could break it (laughter).

Q.  Harder getting to top five in the world or staying there?  How does the focus factor into the state of your game right now?
STEVE STRICKER:  It's a challenge all the time.  Don't get me wrong.  I mean, I'm always trying to get better.  I'm always trying to figure out what I need to do to get better.
I've had a great six‑year run.¬† I really haven't had too many hiccups along the way.¬† If this is a little hiccup, so be it.¬† I'm okay with that.¬† Although it bothers me, I'm still going to try to work on it and get it better.
It's hard to stay up there all the time, no matter who you are.  You see fluctuations in games where they're at the top of the world for a while, they may slip down for a while, they'll get it back.  That's the nature of the game.  It's a game you need to continually work on.
I do.  When I go to a tournament, I want to be prepared.  If I were to go on the road and not be prepared, that would be more upsetting to me than anything.
I practice hard when I'm at home, get ready, try to play well when I'm out there.

Q.  Guys hit their mid 40s, sometimes have trouble on the greens.  Do you think about that?
STEVE STRICKER:  Oh, yeah.  I fart around at home, do Matt Kuchar's putting style, how he ankles them on his forearm.  I may try that this week, feel what it feels like.
You know, you got to try to take advantage of the rules a little bit.  They offer different ways of putting, some that I'm not totally up for.  Now here I am thinking about them (laughter).
I'm not thinking about a long putter, but maybe different styles or a different putter, just to get a different look down there to change things up.  But I haven't changed putters for, I don't know, 10 or 11 years probably.
But it's kind of a mental thing right now a little bit.  But once you start to see a few go in, you know, your optimism can change in a hurry.

Q.  How important is it for you to break through in a major and win one?
STEVE STRICKER:  It's not life or death.  Obviously I'm 45, so that window of opportunity is dwindling.  Nicklaus won when he was 46.  Holy cow, how can he win when he's 46?  I haven't won a major yet.  He won 17 up to that point.
I realize where I'm at.  I also realize I've played some great golf over the last five, six years, won a lot of tournaments.  That gives me the confidence that I could still do it.
I just have to put four good rounds together, get the putter going a little bit, see what happens.
I enjoy the U.S. Open.  It's a huge challenge.  Hopefully I can get things going.

Q.  How do you think the club fits your game?
STEVE STRICKER:  I like it.  I liked it from when we first saw it in college.  I finished fifth in '98.  I must have played it okay.  So I'm looking forward to it.
But it's always a tough challenge.  That's what's fun going there.  You know it's going to be difficult when you go there.

Q.  Have you ever thought about getting your hat into the golf design field?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, thought about it.  Had some opportunities maybe along the way.  Some fell through.  I wasn't quite ready to do some.  Still wanted to concentrate on golf.  This stuff can take a lot of time, change your focus away from what I'm really trying to do.
I'm cautious on getting into that.  And really the state of golf is not in a really good spot for a development right now.  That's kind of been put on hold for a lot of course designers.  So I'm really not looking at it in the near future at all.
Someday it would be fun to do a redo or a course of some sort.

Q.  What is your schedule between now and July 12th?
STEVE STRICKER:  AT&T, Tiger's event at Congressional.

Q.  (No microphone.)
STEVE STRICKER:  One hole there.

Q.  And they took out a tree?
STEVE STRICKER:  It was a big, beautiful oak tree.  They had the hole going away from the water.  I could have used the water, go around the water.  There was an oak tree around the corner.  All of a sudden I come back, the oak tree is gone.  They lost this big oak on the corner.
Yeah, that was quite a few years ago.

Q.  Can I ask you about the Heroes for Kids?  Is that gaining traction?  Open to the public this year.
STEVE STRICKER:  I don't know, to tell you the truth.  I haven't heard much about it.  I couldn't even tell you the date of it.

Q.  End of July.
STEVE STRICKER:  Is it?
But they did a great job with it last year.  Raised a lot of money.  Two and a quarter, something like that.  That's a big number for the first year, I think.

Q.  They're opening it up to spectators this year.
STEVE STRICKER:  Cool, good.

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