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December 3, 2014

Steve Stricker


JOHN BUSH:テつ We'd like to welcome Steve Stricker into the interview room here at the Hero World Challenge.テつ Making his eighth start at this event.テつ Best finish was back in 2008, he finished runner‑up.テつ If you can comment.テつ I know it's a new course, but just comment on being back at the World Challenge.
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, it's nice to be back.テつ Needed a sponsor's exemption to get in here this year, which I'm sure glad I got one.テつ It's nice to be in Florida and out of Wisconsin into the warm weather and spending a couple weeks down here.テつ Playing The Shark Shootout next week.
Good couple weeks for me to knock some rust off the clubs and play a great course here at Isleworth.
JOHN BUSH:テつ Questions.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, you know, and it always does.テつ That's great.テつ I mean, he's the most recognized golfer and player in the world.テつ One of the best ever.
He's coming back with a lot of anticipation, so I'm interested to see how he's hitting it and how he's playing and swinging at it.テつ I watched him a couple days ago on the range; looks like he's swinging at it pretty good.
Looks a lot similar to early 2000s to me from the side when I was watching.テつ So it is, it's always fun to be a part of this.テつ The golfing world has got their attention on this event because he's in it and he's playing and he's hosting it.
It's a great opportunity for us as players to come here and play and get World Ranking points and try to win the tournament against a pretty darn good field.

Q.テつ When you went through your swing change however many years ago that was, do you remember sitting down and asking yourself why you wanted to do this and what you wanted to accomplish and putting maybe a timeline on yourself?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, sure.テつ I don't think I put a timeline, if I remember right.テつ I remember sitting down really having a heart to heart with myself more than anything in what I wanted to do.
I mean, I was at a point where do I continue to try to play ‑ it wasn't much fun the way I was playing ‑ or determine what I needed to do to get better.テつ Then I knew I had to take it easy on myself.
I think that's the biggest thing.テつ When you go through a change there are some bumps in the road still.テつ You want it to come quickly, but you just know it's golf and it's hard to do and there is a learning curve to this.
That's kind of my mindset when I did it.テつ I progressively kept seeing better and better things when I went through my changes.
Hats off to Tiger.テつ This is what, his fourth teacher?テつ Fourth.テつ So it looks good.テつ I'm sure he's still going to have some issues going forward.
It's probably a new things that he's trying to do.テつ Maybe not.テつ Maybe he's gone back to some of the things that he used to do earlier in his career.
It'll be fun to watch it play out and see how he handles it and what he does going forward.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
STEVE STRICKER:テつ End of 2005.

Q.テつ You talk about seeing a swing that you saw a decade ago.テつ And then secondly, when you rebuilt yourself as a golfer and you look back, was the bigger challenge rebuilding physically or mentally?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ What I saw from Tiger from the side in the 10, 20 balls that I watched him, it looked a lot freer.テつ Didn't look like he was getting in his way.テつ Looked like the club was going through a lot freer.テつ Looked like it was on a better path.テつ That's, like I said, from the limited amount I watched him.
I think the biggest‑‑ what was it mind or physical, is that what you said?テつ What was the biggest challenge?

Q.テつ Was the biggest challenge physical or mental?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I think it's mentally more than anything.テつ Physically it's a challenge too because you feel like you're doing some really different things and the club may only move an inch or two.
Little things in golf feel like they're big changes.テつ So physically is a big challenge, but mentally when your confidence level‑ at least mine‑ was down to a level where you couldn't even read it, the confident level.テつ It was so bad it wasn't even measured.
So to build that back up is the biggest challenge.テつ That's obviously the mental side and trying to get that thought process right going forward.

Q.テつ When you mention that it looks a little bit like early 2000s, we all know what Tiger did then.テつ Question one is:テつ How scary is that for other players out here?テつ Second, have players out here kind of written him off getting back to the dominate player that he was?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I think it's great if he can get back to that level that he was once in the early 2000s.テつ That's good for our game and for us as players.テつ We reap the benefits of him playing well.
Ever since he came on tour‑‑ I mean, I'm fortunate.テつ We're all fortunate enough to be a part of his era and to ride his coattails a little bit.
So I think that's only a good thing.
As far as players writing him off, I don't think so.テつ We all know what he's done in his career and what kind of amazing things he's done over the course of 20 years.
So we know it's in there.テつ I think if he starts swinging it better and starts feeling good about what he's doing again, it won't take long for him to be at the top of the game again.

Q.テつ You mention the World Ranking points.テつ How do you feel about an event with 18 players awarding the winner 46 points and it's basically in what used to be the off‑season?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, well, it's a great opportunity for us, like I said.テつ I think Nedbank does the same thing this week, too, don't they?テつ They get World Ranking points over there?
So it's a great opportunity for the guys that are here to be here, play well, and gain some points and solidify where you are in the World Rankings and keep trying to move forward.

Q.テつ Now you've gone through two years of sort of a lighter schedule.テつ Wondering what you learned about how your game has progressed through those two years and what you hope to do next year as far as the schedule?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, it's it was cracked up to be, I guess, as far as what I was thinking it was going to be like.テつ I loved it.テつ I loved being home more.テつ It's a bit more of a challenge coming out and playing.
Last year I not only had a lighter schedule again, but I had my brother issue that was going on that took up a lot of time and my focus wasn't really there.
So I'm really excited about this year and going forward.テつ Still playing a limited schedule, probably less than 15 again, but my focus, you know, will be more on golf than where it was last year.
So excited to do the same thing again.

Q.テつ How is your brother?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ No, he passed a way a couple months ago.

Q.テつ Sorry.テつ I didn't know.
STEVE STRICKER:テつ No, October 4th.テつ No worries.テつ He had a tough go and it ended rather quickly for all of us.テつ We weren't expecting that so soon.
Like I said, he's probably definitely in a better place than where he was I know the last nine months.

Q.テつ (Question regarding Saturday night game.)
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I'll be watching the game.テつ You owe me or what?テつ That's what they all say.

Q.テつ Can you talk about what work you've done with the Task Force?テつ What do you want the Task Force to achieve?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ My lips are sealed, buddy.テつ I'm not going to be the one spilling my beans.

Q.テつ What do you want the Task Force to achieve?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ You know, I think just address some of the situations, some of the areas that we feel like need to be changed.テつ You know, and I don't know, there are a lot of things that are going to come up during that Task Force, little things that could mean a lot in the long run.
Besides that, you know, it's hard to talk about it when you're not supposed to talk about it.テつ But...

Q.テつ Who said you can't talk about it?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I can't tell you that either.テつ (Laughter.)
Anyway, there are so many people that want to see‑ including the players ‑ want to see us get on the right side of winning that Cup again.
I don't know.テつ It's hard to talk about it.テつ It'll be interesting to see what comes about.テつ It's something we need to address.テつ It's something that the PGA of America wants to address and the players, too.
There has been some inconsistencies.テつ I think what European Tour does so well and the European squad is that they're very consistent year in and year out.
Bottom line is they've outplayed us, I feel like.テつ I've been on three playing and vice captain this last year.テつ If we would have won in Chicago, which we surely could have, it was there for us to win, would we be talking this way now?
That's the thing.テつ So close every year.テつ There are a few matches that flip flop that end up going their way.
That's the part that I'm struggling with.テつ Why is it that they're always coming up with the clutch shots and clutch putts and we're not?テつ What's that about?テつ Are they better players?テつ Are we not preparing quite right that week or leading up to it?テつ Are we tired because of the schedule we play at the end of the year?
But they're playing that too, a lot of those guys.テつ So are they just playing better?テつ I don't know.テつ So it'll be good to talk about it and see what comes about.

Q.テつ As it pertains it your game, can you take us through getting ready for this.テつ Have you tinkered with the formula much as you feel your way through and trying to be competitive?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Like I said, it was harder last year, but I started hitting balls a week before‑‑ we went to the Bahamas last week to watch ‑‑ Badger basketball played in a tournament over there, so we took a vacation during the holidays of Thanksgiving and I was able to practice a little bit over there.
Then got here on Saturday, so got some good reps in here at the course.テつ So I've actually had a little bit more practice here this week than a normal Tiger World Challenge event.
So but it is, it's a challenge.テつ I don't know what I'm going to do next year.テつ I may condense the schedule a little bit more and not play for the first two, couple months of the year, January and February.テつ Come out and maybe condense my 13, 14 events so I can be a little bit sharper during that time period.
I don't know.テつ I really haven't looked at the schedule much and know what I'm going to do.テつ But hopefully I can continue to try to play well and get in there.テつ I want to win again, but it's gotten a little bit harder doing what I'm doing.

Q.テつ You may or may not be able to talk about this, but when it comes to Ryder Cup, pomp and circumstance, the gala, the opening ceremonies, sure all that stuff, would you like to see that scaled back?テつ You talk about coming in there tired and then have to do all that other stuff.テつ Do you think it has gotten too big in that sense?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yes, sometimes there is a lot expected of you when you get there.テつ I always felt like my time was kind of precious there and crunched.テつ You want to be out there on the course practicing.
It's something you can't go to that event and try to find your game.テつ You got to be prepared going in there.テつ And you should be because you're playing all these events.
I would like to see it I guess having a little more time for the players to prepare.テつ Whether we talk about that or not, I don't know.テつ But it's something that I feel like is important.
But, again, they're doing it, too, so it's not that we're doing media and gala dinner and they're not.テつ It's not one‑sided there.テつ We're all doing the same things.

Q.テつ (Question regarding Bahamas.)
STEVE STRICKER:テつ No, I took the swimsuit.テつ You should see me in a swimsuit.

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