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March 29, 2017

Henrik Stenson

Humble, Texas

AMANDA HERRINGTON: We've got Henrik Stenson coming in. Henrik, thank you for joining us. This is your sixth appearance in Houston, three Top-5s, and since your runner up performance last year, you're now a Major champion. If you could talk about what it feels like to come back here and what keeps you coming back.

HENRIK STENSON: Well, it's good to be back except the weather today, maybe. It's a good prep for me. I like to play the week before a Major if I can. Sets me up better, puts me in game mode, and instead of coming straight from practice, I tend to analyze a little bit too much at times, I guess, what I do and that might get in the way of things.

I like to play, and this is a good course for it, working hard here to give us somewhat similar conditions of what we're going to account in next week at Augusta. It's a good prep and here we are again.

ROYCE THOMPSON: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Your Masters record probably isn't as good as it should be for a player of your ability. Do you know what I mean? Don't take it this way.
HENRIK STENSON: No, I don't know what you mean. Elaborate, please.

Q. Is there one reason for that --
HENRIK STENSON: It's definitely more than one (laughter). I don't think we have time to go through them all. I keep on coming back. I keep on trying, so I'm heading into my I think my 12th straight Masters appearance. And I'm willing to agree with you, T-14 is not what I'm looking for. I think there's a number of things, some of them I try to address and do better in my preparation. And obviously we'll see in about ten days time how it works out.

To give you a few, maybe on playing style. As you know, I normally hit a lot of fairways. I don't think you get as much out of that at Augusta because the rough is so low and the fairways are kind of wide. Accuracy off the tee might not be the No. 1 key, moreso to get length on quite a few of the holes. So we're trying to get the driver in play on a couple of the holes where we maybe played a bit too conservative in the past.

In terms of putting, I had the guys at Lake Nona to work a bit extra to speed up the practice greens to really get that slick and get those really short putts with a lot of break, which we don't always get to play and practice as much.

I've done some things differently, and hopefully that will pay off in the right direction.

Q. What specifically about this course helps your preparation for playing Augusta National? Everybody talks about that. Is there -- is it just the cut of the grass or --
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah. The rough is down to similar height, I'd say so kind of gives you the same shots if you miss the fairway. I think the greens are normally pretty quick and you also get some breaking putts especially between the sections, the sections of the green here. You can get some pretty slick and sloppy putts. I think it's a good run into the Masters, but, at the same time, it's a big event. It's a strong field and a tournament you want to do well in and have a chance to win.

Yeah, we're looking ahead to the Masters, but we're still here this week to try and compete.

Q. When it comes to using this event for preparation, do you find yourself doing more mental work this week or swing mechanic work?
HENRIK STENSON: It's more getting into game mode. I got big part of my team here this week as well as next, but we're kind of reaching that stage where practice, it should be more fine-tuning, shouldn't be so much about doing the hard work. You're too late really if you need to do too much this week and next week.

So, fine-tuning and hopefully I want to go out there and try to play solid rounds and -- I think you'll find your location. And just be in the right frame of mind and being -- working with my caddy, making the good decisions and being decisive on the execution and working my way into like, yeah, the way I want the play next week, I better play like that this week.

Q. You talk about your team here, knowing that your physical trainer left the TOUR, so did you find any new coach to help you with the body preparation?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah. I got a new physio team, Craig Davis, and another one that lives in Orlando. Hopefully that will work out equally as good or better going forward, because again, when you're out on TOUR, it's not so much about practicing and getting better in that sense, it's more about doing that work when you're away from TOUR, and then when you're out here, it's more about -- more about performance and fine-tuning.

So, yeah, I think that can work out good. I'm not left alone.

Q. Dustin said awhile ago that he called -- I'm sorry -- Jordan said awhile ago he called Dustin being the player he is now, he predicted it. Did you see this coming from Dustin exploding the way he has?
HENRIK STENSON: He's been a very strong player for many, many years. He's obviously upped his game and got it -- he's in a good place at the moment, feeling confident and playing some great golf.

So, rightfully so he's the No. 1 player -- No. 1 player in the world at the time and, yeah, it's always fun to see when someone gets on a run like that and getting their game together and playing -- I bet you if you ask him, he feels the game of golf is pretty easy at the moment. It's good fun to see. And the rest of us, we're going to try hard to get in the same place and try to challenge him.

Q. Jordan says you have to consider him the guy to beat next week. Tell us about that.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah. I mean, it's always hard to keep on winning and winning, but given the form that he's in, of course he's going to be one of the main guys to watch for next week, absolutely.

Q. To his point over there, are you somewhat surprised given the way everybody was talking about the No. 1 ranking maybe going from Rory to Jordan to, I don't know, whoever was going to be week by week, that it's now become Dustin Johnson's show sort of week-in and week-out? Are you somewhat surprised how quickly it's escalated and turned into that?
HENRIK STENSON: The World Rankings is a two year -- it shows us who has played the best in the last two years, and of course the recent weeks and months is weighing a lot on that. It was kind of tight. It's been awhile, I guess -- I guess Jason had a bit of a cushion for awhile. But other than that, I mean it's really when Tiger was World No. 1 when it was a huge gap between 1 and 2 or distance himself. With the play Dustin has produced, lately, he's opened up a bit of a cushion. It could be awhile before someone catches him, especially if he keeps on playing the way he does.

I think it's on top of us (laughter).

Q. Specifically with Augusta, what matters more, the form or having a very good record?
HENRIK STENSON: I actually don't know what his record is at Augusta.

Q. Seventh place is the best.
HENRIK STENSON: It's still given how you play. I think your form is going to overweigh -- overweigh your previous record. But like we discussed earlier here, when you forced me to try to come up with all these solutions while I haven't performed as well as I could, there's obviously reasons why you have certain courses where you haven't played as well as you might do on others. And for him, I don't know. Given the form that he's in, I don't see -- I don't see it being too much problems. If he keeps on playing that next week, he should be one of the guys to really watch.

Q. Thank you, Henrik.

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