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August 28, 2014

Henrik Stenson


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Henrik Stenson into the interview room. He's here as the, defending champion of the Deutsche Bank and the defending champion of the FedExCup. Welcome back, Henrik. Can we get some comments on being back?

HENRIK STENSON: It's great to be back at a venue you've done well in the past or won in the past, like I did last year. So now looking forward to the week. It was a quick lead up to the tournament for me. I just came back in yesterday evening. So just the Pro Am today, a little bit of practice in the morning and ready to go. So hopefully we can do anything close to what we did last year.

JOHN BUSH: Take us back to last year, and your recollections of that final round and then going on to win the FedExCup?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I had a great couple of weeks in the middle of the summer, but I didn't win anything. And I was looking for that first win. And it came quicker than I expected. And it was here. I played a good round on Friday -- no, sorry, Saturday, it would be. I think I shot 64 to kind of put me in contention. I was a little bit tired at the time after a busy couple of months. But whenever you put yourself back in contention you get that adrenaline flowing and you're in the hunt. I played really solid over the weekend and made some great putts, and finished it all off with a nice bunker hole out on 17 to kind of seal the tournament. Great memories and looking forward to the week, as I said.

Q. I'm just curious, a lot of your Ryder Cup teammates are not here this week, either for family reasons or to rest. I'm wondering individually how you feel about the grind leading up to the Ryder Cup. Is taking a week off to rest, just to recharge the batteries, is that something you considered or would think about doing?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, unfortunately my position, I didn't have the luxury to be able to take the week off to the playoffs if I want to keep going. For me I'm playing as long as I'm in it. I need some sort of a result this week to carry on to Denver. I don't need any miracles, but if I want to make it to Atlanta, but have a good showing either this week or next week. And I'd rather do it this week than wait until the last minute. I'm trying to move on and that's the one thing I feel like it would be a shame not to make it to The TOUR Championship and defend my second title out of the two that I won here last year. That's for me. But for the other guys, it was a close race until the end for the nine spots for -- it's nine, right, or four picks for the U.S. Team?


HENRIK STENSON: So it was a tight race there. And it looks to be the same for the European team. There's a couple of guys with either a chance to -- Stephen Gallacher, if he has a top two in Italy this week, he would automatically qualify for Europe. And another couple of guys that have a chance to impress Paul McGinley to the end. We'll see what happens. It's exciting and I'm fortunate to be able to stand aside and see who I will play with. And not being in the draw until the end. Like I said, I'll just keep on playing, and I get the one week off before, if I make it to Atlanta. Otherwise I'll get some more time to prepare. I'm really excited about making my third Cup. And I think it's set to be a dramatic one, as always.

Q. You've talked about really not having much of an off-season from last year to this. You talked about really maybe not being able to say no as often as you'd like with off-course stuff. What have you learned maybe in the last eight months or so, that maybe you can use going forward to help you -- make sure you've got the rest that you need?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm a little bit better to say no to people, which is the hardest part. We try to accommodate everyone. It gets too much at one point. But I decided to kind of stop traveling or stop playing a little bit earlier on the back end of this year, now. When I'm done in Dubai I'll probably play Tiger's in Orlando, because it's across town. But I'm traveling off to Dubai, and a few more weeks until I head into the 2015 season. The way the schedule looks for next year looks really good for me, I've got a good mix of playing two or three tournaments most of the time in a row, and then at least two weeks off to get some rest, other commitments and then have time to practice. That was one key for me last year, I felt like I was in good shape and I was practiced when I actually entered the events rather than standing out here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, working hard at the game. A lot of times you don't have the energy on Saturday or Sunday afternoon when you need it the most when you're up in contention.

Q. At what point this season did you maybe feel most sort of tired from -- to carry over from last year and no break?
HENRIK STENSON: It was the first couple of months, really. I was really, really low on energy and still very busy off the golf course for the first three or four months this season. I mean Bridgestone and PGA, I actually thought that when I came there and that was the first time actually I had two weeks where I could focus on my golf and not do other stuff off the golf course. And that seems to pay off quite quickly as well on my game. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to having a little bit slower pace off the course.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: Both yes and no. I kept on going, full steam ahead, as long as I could, but it catches up with you at some point. And that was at the beginning of this year. But if you're up in contention as much as I was last year, it just takes a little bit out of you every time. And whenever you get there again, like I said, you get the adrenaline, your focus is there and you do whatever you can, but it takes a little bit out of you every time. So if you don't have enough time to rest up then it's going to be hard to keep on going.

Q. Is there anything about this course that you just like or that makes you feel more comfortable than other courses that you've played at?
HENRIK STENSON: The one thing that's always surprised me, I think, is that the scoring is always lower than what you think it should be. It's not like it's 325 yard par-4s with big, open greens. It's fairly generous off the tee, I would say, but it's still -- it can still play long, from what I felt on the range when I saw the ball bounce on the range, it seems like it's playing a bit firmer this year than last year. So that can both make it easier, but also harder. It's probably going to play shorter than it did last year, but it might be trickier to get to some pins if you're coming in out of the rough. So it's hard for me to give comments on how it's playing this year. It's a great golf course, I don't know if there's anything particular that stands out. I was striking the ball nicely last year and putted well, and that seems to work on any surface. So hopefully we can bring some of that.

Q. Does your approach change at all this week, based on where you are on the points race and standings?
HENRIK STENSON: No, not really. I mean it's one of them. I know that pretty much if I make the cuts I guess I should be fine for next week. Maybe not if I finish tied 7th at the end of the week. But any half decent showing, I'm on to it. It might be a case, if you know a par up the last might make the cut, you might not give it the biggest push for eagle and end up making 6. Other than that, the scoring is quite low here, you want have to play aggressive if you want to be there on Monday, in this case, afternoon. And I need and I want the good showing to get to TOUR Championship. So I can't really go out and play defensively in that sense, I'll just play my normal game. And that hopefully leads to a chance to win the golf tournament.

Q. Since golf is a game where you might have it one day and not have it the next, I'm wondering when you're on a stretch like you were on last year, always in contention, and then winning a couple of times, is there one or two things that you see, maybe either on the range or early in your round that lets you know that you've got your best game?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, like I said, even if you have a great warmup, it's not always that you bring that to the golf course. I think for me it was just that I worked hard for a long time. I was in good shape with all the different parts of my game. And that gives confidence and calmness when you get to an event. You know you don't have to try so hard to try to find it or you're arriving and you're ready to go. And I managed to keep it in that way for quite some time. And mentally I think I was in a very good place for a long time, also. So it was just some long-term hard work that kind of paid off. And I guess the impressive thing with it was that I kept on going for such a long period of time, which is rare, I guess.

Q. This might be a tough question to answer.
HENRIK STENSON: You think the other ones were easy?

Q. You made it look easy. In terms of attitude and behavior and personality, what do you think is the biggest difference between an average European golfer and an average American golfer?
HENRIK STENSON: I think if you look at the way we're kind of brought up and so on, I think the American players normally are a bit better on putting and the wedge game. The Europeans would be possibly a little bit better on striking the ball. I don't know how much it comes with the differences in surfaces. If you've got long cold winters back in Europe in certain places then you're more prone to stand and work on your swing and so on. I think as a European player brought up in Europe and playing all around the world I think you get used to playing in different parts of the world and different types of grass and all that comes with that. So you might be a little bit more round in certain ways. I think you see sometimes with the young Americans if they travel over for British Open or the tournament in Scotland, and you get awful weather, they might not be used to changing the game for that. But it's the same clubs and the same golf balls we play all over the world. So I guess the difference becomes less and less. And you've got more of the Europeans playing on the PGA Tour as the main Tour, as well, which would make it less of a difference.

Q. How about off course?
HENRIK STENSON: Off course? I think in Europe we're used to, if we play, for instance, the Spanish Open, it might be one player hotel, it might be the shuttles only from that hotel. You're traveling together, staying in the same place, and you have dinners together and so on. When you play a tournament here, there's 35 different accommodation options, players have their own car, they bring their families or so on. It might be a little more social with the players, at least in the early days in Europe.

JOHN BUSH: Henrik Stenson, thank you, sir.
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