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June 24, 2015

Henrik Stenson


STEVE TODD:  Welcome to the BMW International Open.  Appreciate you had a long journey to get here.  If you can start off by giving us your thoughts on a tournament that's treated you well over the years.
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, once again, nice to be back here in Munich.  I don't mind the tournament alternating between Cologne and here, two places where I've played well and I enjoy going to.
But of course, memories are going to be a little bit happier thinking back on the win in 2006.  That was the last tournament for me before The Ryder Cup in 2006 and managed to win that one and top of the points list as I recall.  Very exciting times back then and fun to be back.  Know the course well.  It changed quite a bit over the last five or ten years, some tee boxes, some changes around the greens.  Trying to make it harder for us‑‑ it was always a big birdie‑fest.  A little harder these days to get than they used to be, but they are still out there.  Always hard to predict the winning score but given that it's playing quite soft and long off the tee, I think the winning score could be a little higher.
STEVE TODD:  Quick word on your game.  Where are you in terms of where you want to be?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, kind of over there I guess‑‑ I had a good run leading up to Augusta and then I had a couple different‑‑ six‑week period on and off and took away a bit of momentum.  Trying to keep on playing and you're still trying to work on your game‑‑ got a little bit out of sync but trying to get it back bit by bit and working away.  It's not bad.
Still able to compete at a pretty high level out there.  Game with the confidence is a big part‑‑ inaudible‑‑ falls into place and into contention from there.  On a week like this, I hope I can play well.

Q.  A little more than a year before golf returns to the Olympics.  What are you thinking about that?
HENRIK STENSON:  Yes, I'm excited to go to the Olympics if I get one of the spots.  Yeah, of course I'm in a good position but a lot of things can happen in golf in a year's time.  But if I can secure my spot, I'll be very happy to go.  I think as a sports fan in general, it will be an amazing thing to be part of an Olympic Games and to go there.
And once the competition starts‑‑ with the smaller field, the selection criteria might be slightly different, as well, something more spread out.  It will be a little bit different compared to the regular Tour events.
If you're going to put it in there, I think the majors are still the biggest prizes in our game, and winning an Olympic medal, gold, would be right up there.  That would grow on you and as time goes by, I think that would be a thing looking back in your career, if you managed to get a medal at the Olympic Games, it's something that would grow on you as time goes on, and it will mean a lot back in Sweden, as well.  The Olympic Games‑‑ athletes who win medals‑‑ inaudible‑‑ it will be a lot of motivation to do well there.

Q.  How did you enjoy the shootout?
HENRIK STENSON:  It just shows you that I've been thankfully over the years practicing more on my own golf game than driving‑‑ I confused myself completely.  I think I had the remote in the wrong angle and turning left and right and‑‑ yeah.
Luckily I'm better with a normal car, sitting behind the wheel in a normal car.  But it was good fun.  We got to spend some time with the next generation of golfers and they got‑‑ inaudible‑‑ a little handshaking when they hit some of the putts.  It was an interesting experience for them, between us and the professionals.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON:  Most of the changes I've seen coming gradually over the last five years I'd say and have gotten used to.  In the Pro‑Am today‑‑ 18 holes I played before the tournament tomorrow and it's more about my game plan and find the speed on the greens and hit a few chips out of the rough and see what the sand is like in the bunker, and then we should be ready.
But if you're hitting fairways and hitting greens and putting well‑‑ if you're doing well, you're winning golf tournaments.  I think the rough is a little more playable than some of the other years.  You still very much want to play off the fairway, but if you're in the rough, you can hit some decent shots‑‑ out of the rough I would say but it's still playable.  That might be one thing that might make the scoring a little bit better at the end.  But it's definitely playing long.
The greens are in as good of shape as I've seen them.  They have a lot of speed to them.  They are certainly quicker than average on The European Tour and rolling nicely.

Q.  Inaudible.
HENRIK STENSON:  We were on a very direct route and it took about nine and a half hours.  We landed here on Monday afternoon‑‑ inaudible‑‑ regardless how you travel and when you get here, so I think Tuesday morning I was in the gym by six and by eight wanted to go to sleep for about a decade and this morning I woke up at 4.26‑‑ (laughter) by the end of next year.

Q.  The new venue‑‑
HENRIK STENSON:  No, not too much that way.  Scoring is always tough at the majors and the U.S. Open in particular.  You always feel like if you're leaving, feeling a bit beaten up and frustrated on the scoring side.  But a few good things, really got it going‑‑ and especially on the Friday afternoon when the greens weren't in great shape and I was losing a couple shots coming in there.
Other than that, yeah, as you all know‑‑ inaudible‑‑ the condition of the course.  Whether you like it or not, it's still a championship test.

Q.  (Inaudible.).
HENRIK STENSON:  Yeah, it is a big change and it's more about‑‑ on the approach shots.  And it helps in the preparation, I know the course well, I don't need to spend a lot of time trying to learn it, especially with the jet‑lag.  It's always nice to be back here at a familiar place.

Q.  What is your impression in the States about‑‑ inaudible.
HENRIK STENSON:  I think he must be extremely bad luck because that's the practise round when my caddie broke his hand and Stephen Gallacher's caddie almost broke his foot.  I can't say that it's a lucky charm.  He's a nice guy and he is a solid player, otherwise he wouldn't have teed it up in the U.S. Open.  We only played three holes together but he looked solid, hit some good shots on those holes.
It's always I think good fun seeing guys who stay over in America try to make their way on to the PGA Tour and not only go the traditional way of trying to make it in Europe.  Yeah, he seems to be having the game for it and wish him all the best and see him on the PGA Tour in a couple of weeks.

Q.  Your thoughts on the BMW i8?
HENRIK STENSON:  It's quite nice.  It's a little bit difficult to get out but once you get in, you're in a good driving environment and it's a nice car.  I would recommend that one, yes.

Q.  Do you feel you're gaining‑‑
HENRIK STENSON:  On the junior side, we have some new players coming up, and golf in general, I think pretty sure in Germany it's at a higher place getting new golfers to play the game than Sweden is.  We've had a big rise over the years and at some point‑‑ the junior programmes and younger players getting the awards and you'll see more players coming out.  Yeah, there's the Swedish Federation working hard trying to produce more and more players as well.
I think golf is healthy and I think sports in general these days sometimes it's tougher to get the kids involved and interested in sports rather than playing their video games or playing with electric cars or whatever it might be.  But in general I think it's pretty good and the competition is getting harder and harder.
We've seen players in some countries about 15 years ago playing golf‑‑ and the quality of the tournaments in China, more Chinese players are making the cut and more Chinese players participating and having a chance to do well.  I think professional golf is healthy.

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