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September 22, 2015

Henrik Stenson

Atlanta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Henrik Stenson to the media center. The 2013 tournament and FedExCup champion, Henrik Stenson, here. Back in the top-5, back at East Lake. Talk about returning here and having the ability to win your second FedExCup and TOUR Championship title.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's great. Of course there was some disappointment not making it back in 2014. But that's a year back in time, so we are here now and in a good position.

There was some nice movement there. I started the playoffs in 41st position I think it was, and jumped up to fourth after the second finish in Barclay's and then been able to keep that for the next two weeks. And, yeah, we all know what a top-5 means when you're coming in here, so happy to be in that position and looking forward to the week.

THE MODERATOR: Take some questions, please.

Q. It seems like there have been so many really low scores posted lately, that almost a 64 doesn't even get a blink of an eye. What, if anything, does that do for your mindset, when you're in the midst of it and you're competing and you're seeing just the smattering of low rounds?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, it always gets me. I give it a blink if I shoot 64.


But I know what you're saying. Yeah, especially last week there was a ton of low scores and I guess we're at a slightly different golf course this week. We're playing Bermuda, which is tougher as a general rule, I think. It's harder to hit your second shots, more unpredictable. You get more fliers or not making good contact at all.

If you don't hit the fairway, you have less chances of hitting the green and then you're going to be in that rough or bunkers around the green and try and get up-and-down.

So I don't think we're going to see that many 64s around here. All depends on if it gets soft and then more likely. But it's still not the same golf course we play this week like we did last week. So winning score I think I was 13-under when I won two years ago and Billy was something similar, 11 or 12 or something.

So it seems to be around -- you're always in with a good chance if you make it into double digits. So, but I'll -- I wouldn't mind blinking once or twice this week and shooting a couple of 64s. Did I shoot 64? Or 66? No, 64. I had a 64.

Q. Did you blink?
HENRIK STENSON: I blinked. Yeah.


Q. You come back here to East Lake, you're in the top-5 again. How does knowing that you control your own destiny, how does that affect your mindset?
HENRIK STENSON: Well I think that you always come into the events with the mindset that you want to win any tournament. Of course, with a 30-man field there's always -- even more so you feel that the odds are increasing and when you're top-5 you know you got the chance to close out the FedExCup as well as the TOUR Championship. And we have seen that happen a lot of times.

It's just nice to be in that position. I don't know if it changes it dramatically otherwise, but it's just nice to be in that position, you know. If I win this, I know what the total outcome is going to be.

Rather than if you're in 7th, if you win, you will have a good chance of winning it, but it's not a certainty. So it's a little bit of extra clarity on what's going to happen if you have a good week.

Q. You could finish third this week and still win the FedExCup without ever having won a tournament all year. What would that be like? Awkward? Would it make you blink?
HENRIK STENSON: I think I still blink 10 million times, probably.


Yeah, I had the same question in Europe on the back end of 2013. I had won the FedExCup and won twice in the U.S., but then they asked me, well if you now win the Race to Dubai you haven't won a tournament. But I managed to win the final and got -- kind of finished those conversations.

So I still have one more chance and it shouldn't be too hard to wipe the floor with these guys this week, right? There's no one that's playing great and is sky high on confidence and no one with a bunch of Majors and no one hits it 330 off the tee, so it shouldn't be that hard.

(Laughter.) But on a serious note, yeah, well, that's just the way it is. You can be world No. 1 without winning a tournament in a year, and you can win the FedExCup or Race to Dubai or anything else without winning a tournament.

But I would love to win a tournament at the same time and I come close a few times. And yeah, I'm just going to try my hardest this week.

But if I finish second or third and win the overall, you won't see me leaving here crying. I know that much. Not out of sadness anyway.


Q. On the -- kind of what you're referring to of people playing well, what criteria do you think you'll use come Sunday or Monday on deciding player of the year?
HENRIK STENSON: Well we got one more. So yeah, I mean in my mind it's a very tight race. Of course between it's between Jason and Jordan and someone with the first letter of a J will win it. And yeah, I would still wait until this week is over before I would put my final vote on that. Yeah, I think it comes down to what happens this week.

Q. Jason Day made a point of saying he always dreamed of being No. 1 in the world. Did you ever have that dream? Does it matter to you if you ever -- do you have a goal of getting there?
HENRIK STENSON: I would say, if -- when I was in that position there and I mean, I was basically a week away from being world No. 1 last may, I think it was, when Adam won in Colonial.

But at the same time, I think for me I would rather win a Major Championship than to be ranked No. 1. I feel like I probably played the best in the world for six months on the back end of 2013 and that gave me a lot of confidence. And whether I managed to make it all the way up there in the rankings at that point, it probably felt more weight to be ranked No. 1 in May than in December of 2013. So sometimes the system is kind of dragging behind a little bit then or you're not making it all the way, which I didn't.

So, it's not a massive thing. It's a nice bonus, but that thing in particular wasn't something I was dreaming of that much. It was probably more about winning a Major Championship.

Q. You expressed your disappointment for not being here last year, but you're not the only one that did not come back?

Q. Is there a FedExCup or a 10 million dollars hangover associated with this or what do you attribute to the fact that you're not the only one who has not come back here the year after winning?
HENRIK STENSON: Well I think it's -- I mean the season, the kind of regular season obviously sets you up for where you're going to be heading into the playoffs. And the better you played early, the better your chances are going to be to make it back to East Lake.

But it's still a playoff system where it's going to be a lot of movement. If you're not playing good enough during the playoffs or haven't had a solid enough season early then you're not making it back. And that seems to be more so the case than not. Potentially, I would say that it could be more of a really successful year. You might not be up and running as much as you want in the beginning of the next season. And if you don't find your game throughout the playoffs, then you're not going to make it back.

So, no, I don't really have a -- I'll let you figure out the answer rather than me trying to mumble away, I guess.


Q. You guys make a lot of money, but does 10 million dollars make you not try as hard the next year?
HENRIK STENSON: I wouldn't think so. I wouldn't think so. If anything, it would be -- and there's no point in me trying to explain why some of the other players didn't make it back. It's probably more looking at my on situation after a very intense and successful end to 2013. I was just exhausted the next year and well not the whole year, but for the first three or four months were virtually a washout.

And then I managed to pick myself up and came back with some good play and turned 2014 into the second best season of my career. So I was very happy and delighted with the outcome anyway.

But I didn't make it back to East Lake. I fell one short there. I can't remember where I finished but I was in the 40s, or something like that. So, yeah, I just didn't pick up enough pace throughout the playoffs.

Q. Have you given any thought what you would do with the 10 million and when you're playing does that even go through your mind?
HENRIK STENSON: No. I mean I'm in a very good position of having won this playoff before and it would just be a sweet finish to this year if I could make it happen again.

But I think if you are thinking too much about the outcome and the money, that's going to be in your way. I am just going to go out and try my hardest and hopefully give myself a chance to make it two in three years. I'm sure we can figure out a way to spend a bit of money if we come to that point.

Q. Do you like the Coke machine?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I bought another two as well. Yeah, so I'll probably by -- well, yeah, I promised away a few in --

Q. So do you get the Coke machine for winning the TOUR Championship or the FedExCup?

Q. Does that make you sweat on the back nine thinking about that? And where is it?
HENRIK STENSON: No, if you know there's an ice cold Coca Cola at the end of it, you're not going to sweat that much.


Q. Where is it?
HENRIK STENSON: It's in my office in Orlando. I make appointment for you, you can come see it.


Q. Sunday marks the end to a pretty incredible PGA TOUR season. Not including your self, what's maybe your most favorite or most memorable moment from the season?
HENRIK STENSON: If I'm not included it's going to be really hard. I think the one thing -- well, I want to give you two things, really. One, I really felt when I played with Jordan the first two days at Augusta this year that he was, his putting was as good as I've ever seen anyone putt. And it was really his week. And I was not the slightest surprised that he came out on top.

And then Jason tried so hard and was up in the lead or around the lead for so many Major Championships and he finally came through on that Sunday at the PGA. So very happy for him as well. Those are the two moments that stand out for this season for me.

Q. What about yourself?
HENRIK STENSON: No, we weren't going to include myself.


Q. Well not in that one.
HENRIK STENSON: Well, hopefully on Sunday we can talk about that.

Q. When you look at a course like this week where you don't expect low scores, if someone were to shoot low the first day, would you just tip your cap to them or would it make you rethink what is possible on a track like this?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'll just double blink them and say "well done" on a good score. No, sometimes we get surprised. It could be a course where you don't really think someone's going to shoot 61, 62, but it happens. Here we're playing it's a par 70 as well, right? So it's -- if someone gets hot then you can go kind of lower into the 60s than due to the par as well. But it's a long week, it's four days, and even if someone has a really good first day or second day, it's still a lot of golf to be played. So there's no need to panic if someone goes -- like last week, there was no need to panic when Jason was 18-under through two days.


Q. What is that like? What is that like if you are chasing someone who is putting up numbers like that?
HENRIK STENSON: That's the beauty of it. If someone gets hot and plays that well, I mean you try your hardest and then all you can say is, congratulations. It's just fun to watch. We're all trying to get into that position and sometimes we do and most of the times someone else does. So, yeah, it's just fun to watch when someone gets that hot.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Henrik, good luck this week.

HENRIK STENSON: All right. Thank you.

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