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July 29, 2016

Henrik Stenson

Springfield, New Jersey

JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 96th PGA Championship. I am pleased to be joined by Henrik Stenson, 6-under on top of the leaderboard.

Henrik, you're halfway home on top of the leaderboard right now, incorporating what happened two weeks ago, life is pretty good for you right now. Are you feeling all right?

HENRIK STENSON: No, absolutely. Of course I'm very happy to be able to follow up the success at Troon with a couple of strong rounds here and be in good position. We know it's a marathon, not a sprint. It's all about being there for Sunday afternoon, and so far, so good. You're not winning anything on a Thursday and a Friday, but you can put yourself in the wrong direction early days.

So happy with that, and yeah, I think I played some great shots out there, and maybe a few that wasn't so great. But all in all, I'm very pleased with that round today. Probably even more so than yesterday, I would say, because the start wasn't great, and yeah, things weren't looking great after four or five holes. So I could have easily gone the other way, but I managed to turn things around.

JOHN DEVER: So let's talk about the turnaround. You eagled the 18th hole, you're ninth hole of the morning. Did that flip the switch for you, or did it happen just before that?

HENRIK STENSON: No, I think I hit some good shots on 15, 16 and 17. But in terms of the scoring, that was definitely the one I hit a really good 3-wood in there. I just saw it on television earlier, and it landed perfectly just at the front edge and trickled up to three feet.

Being 2-over at the time, and in a way, it was a good 2-over, because I saved myself on 14 and 17 to be that. Yeah, it got me back to par for the round, and then I gave myself plenty of chances on the front nine and I took a few of them. Could have been a few more birdies, but greed is a terrible thing. And it's easy to ask that of yourself when you've been on a good run and playing well that you want to make every chance.

But all in all, I'm very pleased with the second round.

Q. Martin Kaymer was just talking about because of the difficult conditions this morning with the wet and delay and everything, that sometimes he has a hard time keeping the voices in his head positive. Did you experience the same thing when it's tough conditions like this?
HENRIK STENSON: I mean, it was pretty wet there. We had to wait for about half an hour before we got to the tee. Yeah, it wasn't the ideal start to the morning, and the golf course was very wet. There was a lot of water on the first couple of fairways.

Yeah, I was just trying to hang in there and do the best I could. And I was off with the pace putting and left myself some tricky par putts. Yeah, I think it was a bit of a rough start for everyone, and I'm just happy I managed to get out of it. If there were any voices, I guess I managed to get rid of them.

Q. Do you notice anything unique or different about the fans in this area compared to other parts of the world?
HENRIK STENSON: They might be a bit louder. Is that something you're familiar with?

But yeah, they have been great. I couldn't imagine the reception that I've had. Just shows the impact that final round had and winning The Open. I've had such a great reception here for these couple of days. It's been a proud moment, a proud couple of days being out there playing and feeling the support from the fans.

Q. Are you going to approach these next two rounds any differently than you did at Troon, now that you've done it once already?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I think a 63 on Sunday would work pretty well here, too.

No, I'm going to stick to my game plan. The work I did with my caddie earlier in the week, we put a plan in place on how we think we play the course the best for myself and my game. And that's worked pretty well, so I'm sticking with the same plan and just try and keep on plodding away and give myself plenty of chances, and hopefully take advantage of them when they arise. Not going to do anything different, really.

Q. All the players are experiencing this, double majors close together. You've been in or near the lead for six consecutive rounds. From a mental stress standpoint, are you noticing anything different with this quick turnaround, and how concerning is that for the weekend?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I mean, I felt pretty fresh when I got here. Even though it was a busy couple of days straight after The Open, and then I had some family time.

Yeah, it is what it is, and I've felt pretty good so far. I don't know, maybe I'll run out of steam at some point, but up until then, I'll just keep trying my best. I expect to be tired at some point, whether it be after this week or after the Olympics; I know I'm going to sleep for a week after The Ryder Cup, there's no two ways about that. But it's not something that I'm concerned about. I'm just going to try and manage my time on the practice range and make sure I get plenty of rest and sleep.

Q. How much is your play so far due to getting the weight off your shoulders from finally winning a major, and how much is just because you're playing well right now?
HENRIK STENSON: It's hard to give you a good percentage of that. But like I said at Troon, I had a second and two thirds at The Open before this year, so I didn't feel like I had anything to lose there, and I certainly don't have anything to lose here.

So I think it's just carrying on the same mind-set as much as I can. Yeah, I'm a little bit unfocused at times, I think, which would be natural, but all in all, I think I've done a good job mentally and I'm just going to try and carry on the same way, because it's obviously the right way.

But confidence, of course it's not going to be a bad thing, getting that win. Hopefully makes it easier on Sunday when you know you've got one in the bank already.

Q. Does it in some ways feel like a continuation? I know it's not the sort of same level of golf you had played in the final round Sunday of The Open, but does it almost help or make it easier that there wasn't that break for you?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think it could be a combo. Another week would have been nice, but at the same time, it's easier to carry on the momentum when you've only got a week off in between.

It could have been better; it could have been worse. It is what it is, and I don't really -- I can't really give you a good answer on that one. I just try and press on, and so far, it's been working out.

Q. On the Jesper, Annika spectrum, Jesper being a free wheeler and Annika being super-precise, where do you fall?
HENRIK STENSON: More towards Annika, I would say.

Q. Have you played with Annika much over the years, and what have you sort of picked up from her?
HENRIK STENSON: I never played with Annika.

I started living at Nona, that was towards the back end of her career. But I'm sure we'll get a game at some point. I think her and I could be a pretty good mixed foursomes partner or team.


Q. In your career in the past, you've done well in streaks, I'm thinking about your FedExCup winning year in particular; why do you think that is and can you draw on that as inspiration that you do tend to have a run of success at a time?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think I'm a hard worker. I work a lot on my game, and I think when I get it in good order, I have been able to keep it going for quite some time and have some long stretches where I've been playing well.

I played good for almost four months in 2013 there from kind of Scottish Open, The Open, all the way to The Race to Dubai final. Of course I try and remind myself of that, and seeing that if I now started playing well here in the middle of the summer, I hope I can continue as long as I can.

I think it comes down to that. If you feel like you've got your game in good control and as long as you're not getting too run down, then I can carry on that momentum for quite some time.

Q. Did it feel any different being in this position now after two rounds, knowing that you've closed one of these out?

Q. In what way?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, of course confidence level is always going to go up when you manage to accomplish what I did at Troon. You're going to feel a bit more self-confident, confident, and trusting yourself more that you can do it again if you've done it once. I guess that's natural and I do feel that.

I can't guarantee that it's going to happen again, if I'm in a similar situation. But at least you've got the belief that you can do it.

Q. (Off-mic).
HENRIK STENSON: 64 I can guarantee, but no 63.

Q. Compared with other 36-hole good starts you've had in majors, do you feel less internal pressure because you've already got one this year? Is there more free-wheeling about you, or does that exist in your blood?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think that goes hand in hand with feeling in pretty good control about my game and what I need to do. I feel like I know what I'm doing technically, and also I've been doing some -- mentally I've been in a good place for the last month or so. I think it comes down to that equally as much as having that confidence boost from winning.

So it's kind of hard to compare, but I felt like when I played really well in 2013 over a long period of time, I knew what I was doing on the golf course, and I had my game plan and I just went out and did it and didn't think too much about the result or the outcome or winning. It was more about doing the right things, and the more you do that, the better results are going to be.

But of course, winning a major championship on top of that is not going to hurt it, either.

Q. First of all, congratulations on The Open Championship.

Q. Your 3-wood is such a good club for you; how many backups do you have of that club, and what are the specs for people who are club geeks?
HENRIK STENSON: If you're looking for one, I can't give you one. (Laughs).

It's been in the bag for quite some time. There's a few backups standing around. I've got at least one in Orlando, one in Sweden and I think they have a few in the truck, as well. Sometimes they don't tell you how many they have, but I'm sure at Callaway headquarters, they have a few standing around.

But it's a strong 3-wood. It's 12.3, 12.5 degrees, it has that Graffaloy blue shaft in it, very stiff shaft. I played that for a good ten years, something like that. So yeah, it's just that old trusty and I've been using it around this track.

Q. Have you ever been paired with Patrick Reed and what's your take on him as a competitor?
HENRIK STENSON: I thought you were at Gleneagles.

Q. What's your take on Patrick Reed as a competitor.
HENRIK STENSON: He's a very strong competitor. He's got a strong mind and a strong golf game and he hates to lose, so he's a very tough competitor to meet. Outside of losing to him at the singles in The Ryder Cup, maybe I played a round or two with him but we haven't been paired that many times. He's a handful to beat, I know that much.

Q. What are your plans pre-Olympics as far as going down there, getting there early, practicing, going to other events?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm heading down on Monday night to Orlando. I've got a few days at home. Then I fly down on Thursday night, getting in Friday morning and participating in the Opening Ceremony. And then kind of have a look, a little scouting on the golf course over the weekend, watch some other events. Try and cheer a few of the other Swedes on. Then treat it as a normal week from Monday onwards.

Q. Standing on the 14th green this afternoon, how likely did you think you would be in this room talking to us?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, when I stood on -- which was my fifth hole this morning, yeah, it felt like it was a little bit far away.

Then after the eagle on 18 and the birdies on 1 and 3, I thought there is a slightly bigger chance now that I will be in the media center.

Yeah, it just shows how you can turn it around. I'm playing well, as you know, and once I got going, I managed to make those birdies that I wanted. But it was an up-and-down day for sure.

Q. How would you compare your current run to how you played during the FedEx when you won that?
HENRIK STENSON: Pretty similar. Pretty similar.

I mean, it was a great run for a long time, so it's hard to be able to give an exact comparison. I mean, I won tournaments during both those runs, a few of them I was playing really, really well, which is similar to what I played at The Open. I guess when I played at Deutsche Bank and Tour championship and Race to Dubai finals -- yeah, it's always hard to compare. But hopefully I can carry this run on as long as I did the other one.

Q. Does the game feel easy to you right now, and if so, is that more mechanical, how you're swinging, or mental, the way you're approaching it?
HENRIK STENSON: It might not feel as easy as it sometimes looks, if it does look easy. I think it's always a question for me to work hard at what I need to do and focusing on the right things, and so on. But it definitely helps a lot when the mind is clear on what you're doing. If you feel like you've got pretty good control of your swing and your ball-striking, then it's about doing the calculations and figuring out where you want to hit the shots and stay committed to that.

It's a combination of a lot of things. But I mean, I feel like I could feel better over the ball. I certainly can feel better over the putts than I've done this week. So when we wrap this up, I'm going to go eat and then spend a couple minutes on the putting green.

JOHN DEVER: Henrik, thank you.

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