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September 28, 2016

Henrik Stenson

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup, joined by Henrik Stenson.

Wonder if you can shed some light if you prepare differently for a home Ryder Cup versus a road Ryder Cup.

HENRIK STENSON: Given the travel distance, this is home Ryder Cup. It's a shorter trip to the away games than it is to the European one these days. That's nice. No jet-lag to consider really from Florida, and the weather is pretty much the same at both. Feels very much like the weather and temperatures we had at Gleneagles. No, it's kind of the same, same, I'd say.

JOHN DEVER: Your team has six rookies, so as one of the more veteran players on that side, are you the type that approaches some of the new guys or do you wait to be an approached? What's your style?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, we all kind of know each other pretty well, some more than others, of course. But we've played a lot of golf in Europe together and, yeah, it's just a very nice environment in the team room and I think they feel very much welcome and part of the team very quickly.

Yeah, it's just a nice team environment. We're out there playing practice rounds. I played with a few of the guys yesterday, and I don't really feel like there's much difference in who is new and who has been here before.

Q. I'm tempted to ask if you playing in Scotland helped you become Open Champion, but that's inevitable, so I won't. Can you talk about your role in the team room and do you feel your role has changed now that you've become Open Champion?
HENRIK STENSON: Not so much. I think we all kind of have our places and it's obviously Darren's team and all the vice captains, and everyone is kind of contributing whichever way they can. As I said, it's a very nice atmosphere in there, and I think the boys who haven't been here before are feeling very welcome. We're just having a good time and that's what it's all about.

We are going to try to get the pairings together for Friday and, you know, whenever players are told to play, that's when we get ready to play and try our best out there on the course, and hopefully we can have another great week.

Q. How is your knee and was there ever any question about you not being able to play here at any point over the last couple of months or so?
HENRIK STENSON: No, not really. Potentially it could have been a question of how much golf we can play. I mean, nothing is for certain at any point, but as of now, I feel like I'm up for a lot of golf and unless the knee tells me otherwise, that's the way I approach it.

Q. Phil this morning said that a captain can either basically set you up for failure or set you up to prepare to play your best. I'm curious what you see as the most important role of a captain.
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I think communication is one important part of being a captain. You know, you've got ^ ck to team up four players and everyone's coming in from different angles, and just being clear on what's expected, and you know, communicating on how you look at the week to be for the rookies, and like we have a few more than the American side and they haven't been here before. So communicating well; and you've got four or five vice captains, as well, that can be part of that communication. That's the way we approach it and make sure everyone knows what's going on.

Q. You had a couple of special guests in the team room last night. Can you tell us a few of Dynamo's tricks?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, he was great, very impressive. Before I knew it, I was back in bed and I didn't even walk to my room (laughter), so it was all -- magic, it's one of them, it's just impressive to see someone being that good at what they do. But at the same time, it's annoying that you can't figure out how he does it. It's a bittersweet combo, really.

Q. Much is made of that first tee experience at a Ryder Cup. Can you paint a picture for us just how special it is stepping out there, what's it like?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it is a buzz. It's something, I mean, in 2006, when I played my first Ryder Cup, we all came up in the morning. Even though I didn't play in the morning matches, I was still there at the first tee to get a feel for it. And then in the afternoon, it wasn't as nerve-wracking, because it was foursomes and I didn't hit the first tee shot, so I was just kind of cruising.

It's a lot of tension and something you look forward to, but you're still not sure how you're going to react every time, I think, and we've seen some bad tee balls being hit and surely pressure is why that could be that way. But at the same time, we are used to stepping out to the first tee in big tournaments, but it's definitely a special one to tee it up at The Ryder Cup.

Q. How much would you relish going up against Phil again after Troon, and what an amazing thing that was for everyone to witness; what would it mean to you to be up against Phil again?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, he's one of the best players, like I said, there for the last 20 years. So it's always a huge challenge to go up against him, and if I were to face him again this week, then of course I'm going to try my hardest to beat him once more.

But I think it's just one of them, it's a risk. It's going to be a big disappointment because everyone is going to expect we are going to play as well as we did at Troon and there's very slim chances that's going to happen. I'm just going to bring my best game whoever I face this week, and if it's Phil, it's going to be another tough game.

Q. How determined is the European Team to keep this win streak alive?
HENRIK STENSON: We are very determined, of course. I mean, that is the goal for the week. We are going to face a tough American Team here on away grounds, but we are very determined to keep The Ryder Cup and keep this streak going.

Q. On the injury, does that ever come into your mind when you're playing? Would it encumber you at all? And Paul O'Connell came into the team room, what was he like? How do you compare him to sort of Fergie's motivation?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's always interesting, if I start the second question there, when Paul came in and we saw a video of highlights of his career and the team spirit that he had and the teams that he played for. Yeah, it was a good session and it's always interesting to get that input and feedback from someone from a different sport. He's a very nice man and it was a good experience.

On the injury, it doesn't -- to this point it doesn't hurt me when I'm playing golf. It's been more walking that's been a bit more of an issue, but that feels good at the moment. It's not something that I really think about. I'm being asked a lot about it, obviously, but it's not something that I think about. And if it shows up, then I just have to deal with it as it comes, really, and try and make the best choices.

Q. You haven't had tournament golf since the start of the month. Is that little bit of rest a good thing in terms of freshness and so on?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I definitely needed it. That's why I set my playing schedule the way I did, and I knew by playing limited in the beginning of the FedEx there, it was always going to be a chance to miss out on THE TOUR Championship, and I did. You know, that was just something I needed to do. I was pretty drained after the summer here with The Open, and the PGA was a draining week also, and the Olympics. Played a lot of golf, played some good golf, and as you know, being up in contention, that takes a lot out of you. It's been a fantastic summer, so I needed a bit of a breather. I hope to be ready on Friday when we kick off again.

Q. What have you learned about foursomes in your past Ryder Cup experience in terms of what it takes to succeed in that format? It's very different from what you guys are used to.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, you've got to have a good partner, and I had that, so I'm looking for a good partnership again of course.

I think it helps a lot to know the player that you're playing with, and you just can't have any regrets. If you're out there feeling, you know, apologizing for hitting bad shots or whatever, you're both trying your hardest and no one is trying to hit bad shots on purpose.

You've just got to get on with it, and you've got to play well if you want to win matches, of course, and foursomes is possibly the hardest one to get right. But it's an important format.

Q. Just on the knee again, are you going to be fit enough to play all five, if required, or do you think it still needs managing?
HENRIK STENSON: I'd say yes at this stage, yeah.

JOHN DEVER: Henrik Stenson, thank you for your time and please enjoy your week in Minnesota.

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