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June 11, 2016

Steve Stricker

Memphis, Tennessee

Q. After a super round of 66, the U.S. Presidents Cup Captain has joined me. Steve Stricker, fantastic round of golf. No bogies on the scorecard.
How rewarding is that around a course like TPC Southwind?

STEVE STRICKER: It is very rewarding. Definitely my mind coming down last hole, it's a good hole, too, two good shots in there, gave myself another opportunity and very happy with the round. Got myself back into the tournament and excited about tomorrow.

Q. You said after your round yesterday you felt like you had driven it well but the iron play wasn't quite where you wanted it.
Your approach play today, you were first in the field today. Are you done fixing it and how pleased were you with it?

STEVE STRICKER: I came out a little bit more aggressive. I was a little disappointed in myself yesterday for not -- I've been playing well and swinging well and I just didn't have the confidence yesterday for some reason.

I just didn't let myself swing at it the way I've been swinging at it. It was more mental side of things yesterday. I just came out today and was a little bit more aggressive and picked my spots and tried to hit it there.

Q. Talk about being aggressive, the par-3s played in 1-under today. Look at the putt you had. How important is it to play these holes well?
STEVE STRICKER: Good stretch of par-3s out here and it was a perfect club for me today and 6-iron I hit there, was 202, and you're stealing one on that hole because that's a tough par there and I was able to get out of there with a birdie.

Q. 12-time winner on the Tour. The fact you haven't played a lot of golf but you have been across the line so many times in your career.
Does it give you a lot more comfort going into tomorrow with your chance to win?

STEVE STRICKER: I'll be nervous. It's been awhile since I've been up there and have an opportunity to win. I'm excited for the challenge. That's what we want to be out here for is to get into that position.

So, I'm excited about it and see how I can handle it tomorrow.

Q. Enjoyed watching you play so far. Thanks, Steve. Good luck.
STEVE STRICKER: Thanks, man.

Q. Talk about today. Another solid round. Right there. Got to feel good.
STEVE STRICKER: It does feel good. I'm excited the way I played today. You know, I've been playing well. Yesterday was kind of -- I just didn't trust my swing, really, yesterday and today I had the mindset to come out and trust what I've been doing and I've been practicing well at home and been playing well, played good in the qualifier here on Monday and just kind of allowed myself to do it and it was a good day.

Q. Great tee shot at 14, the par-3. I said right before this is not a birdie hole, of course you birdie it.
At 15 you hit in it rough and just pitched out. Played that like a champ, got up and done. Man, that said a lot to me, those two holes.


You know, walking up after birdieing the par 3 there and walking up to 15 and I had in it my mind if it wasn't a perfect lie that I was just going to lay this up because if I tried to get it over the water there there's not much good can happen from that.

So, I just took my medicine, laid it up short there and I feel like I could give myself a 10-footer or less from my wedge play and I gave myself about a 6-footer, 5, 6-footer. I got out of there, snuck out of there with a par. I played it smart. Kind of took a double bogey out of play for sure.

Q. You're 7-under on the par 4s this week. They are all challenging. Got to be proud of that.
STEVE STRICKER: I've been driving it well and getting it in play for the most part and iron play was better today. Let a couple good birdie opportunities slip by though today, again, and this round could have been really special.

I missed a couple shorties there to start the day and didn't birdie 16. So, you know, as golfers we're always trying to get them all but I'm happy and I'm excited about the position I'm in heading into tomorrow.

Q. So we saw you in the Commissary last night. Where are you going tonight?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't know, where are you going?

Q. We need to go to the same place.
STEVE STRICKER: I don't know. There's a lot of good eats around here and barbecue is the thing down here. Might be another one of those. Let me know where you're going.

Q. I was going to suggest barbecue again for you.
STEVE STRICKER: I appreciate it.

Q. All right. Bogey-free. It was a different approach for you today out there.
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I had been practicing and playing well at home. I played well Monday at U.S. Open Qualifier and missed by a shot but I hit the ball nicely all the way around there. I didn't make a few putts like I'm accustomed to.

Yesterday was a day I didn't trust my swing, didn't put very confident swings on it. Today I had the mindset I was going to trust what I've been doing and swing a little bit more aggressively and it work.

I played well. I drove the ball okay, wasn't great at times but my iron play was a lot better today.

Q. How nice is it to be in this position, in contention as you cut back on your schedule?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it's fun. That's the reason why I still play is to get out here and still play well. I still feel like I can play well. I still work on my game, not as much as I used to but still enough to compete out here, I think, and you know, it's exciting. I'm excited for tomorrow.

I haven't been in that position too many times the last few years, back surgery a couple years ago and I got in contention at Tampa earlier this year and -- few and far between. I'm excited about the opportunity tomorrow.

Q. Is there less pressure than when you were 32 or whatever?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. Yeah. For me -- I still feel the pressure, don't get me wrong, I still want to play well and I still get nervous over key shots and all that kind of stuff.

But, you know, at the end of the day the golf and priority has dropped quite a bit, you know. It's just -- I'm different, you know, family is definitely at the top and my daughter just graduated, she's going to try to play golf.

There's all these things going on at home and we're hosting a Champions Tour event in a couple weeks. There's a lot going on. Competitive golf is definitely dropped down the list a little bit and I'm fine with that. When I come out, I still want to play well, I still want to compete and get in contention.

Q. You went to the graduation recently?
STEVE STRICKER: Yes, Saturday.

Q. Even at 49 you'll feel in nerves.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. Yeah. No question. That's why we do it. You want to get in and then see how you can handle it and I'll be nervous. That stuff doesn't change, I don't think, and so I'm excited.

If I can hit it like I did today and make a few more putts -- I left a couple out there on the front-9 I thought and so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. You might have answered this, Steve, earlier, what was working so well for your game today?
STEVE STRICKER: I just played patiently. I got it in play for the most part. When I was out of play I didn't compound it by making another mistake. Didn't make any bogies. That always helps going around here.

And gave myself a few opportunities, took advantage of some, didn't take advantage of some others. But, overall, pretty solid round.

Q. Is there any part of you that's surprised that you're playing this well?
STEVE STRICKER: No, not really. You know, I play a lot at home still. I probably don't work at my game as much as I used to. My daughter is playing a lot. My wife likes to play. Even my littlest one drags me out there and wants to play sometimes. I still play a lot of golf at home.

I expect to play well, I really do. It doesn't matter how many times I play. I still expect and get frustrated when I don't play well but I expect to come out here and play well and that's -- I don't know if that's right or wrong but I still feel like I can play well out here.

Q. Didn't make a putt over ten feet today. Your ball-striking was very on. Would you agree with that?
Is that the best part of your game?

STEVE STRICKER: It was. I hit some great iron shots today. I left a couple out there. I had a chance at 1 and 3 inside of ten feet that I didn't make and another hole there on the back that slips my mind but -- the par 5, you know, where -- those are some birdie opportunities that you're kicking yourself when you don't make them.

I stayed patient, didn't try to make any mistakes and hit better iron shots today and gave myself some opportunities.

Q. This wasn't a regular stop for you for many, many years. Why did you add it to your schedule?
STEVE STRICKER: My daughter graduated last weekend. Usually I play Colonial, Memorial and those are back to back weeks and Bobbie, my daughter, graduated on Saturday and we had our party on Sunday. That took up Memorial.

I remember being here awhile back and how I enjoyed the course and everybody tells me the scores aren't that low, it's like playing another U.S. Open and all that.

I wanted to come back here again and I'm glad I did. I'm enjoying it. I like the area. The weather is, you know, a touch too warm, I think, but it's all right. I'd rather be too hot than too cold. I'm glad I'm here.

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