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August 30, 2017

Chris Stroud

Rich Brady

Boston, Massachusetts

MICHAEL BALIKER: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Like to welcome PGA TOUR player Chris Stroud to the interview room here at the Dell Technologies Championship, and also our Executive Director of the Dell Technologies Championship, Rich Brady.

So in light of everything that's taking place down in Texas, and now Louisiana, Chris would like to start us off making an announcement about what we're doing for relief efforts and what he's doing on a personal level.

So with that, Chris, I'll just hand you the floor.

CHRIS STROUD: Thank you, Michael. Appreciate it.

Guys, first of all, have to apologize. I'm quite sick. I have got a double ear infection, a chest infection. I can barely hear anything, but I'll try my best to do this.

Yeah, obviously all my friends and family down in Houston, it's been a pretty devastating matter going on, and -- since last Friday, basically, the weather has finally cleared a little bit today so the water can recede.

I was very fortunate. I had -- I happen to live in one of the highest areas. We're about 20 miles north of Houston downtown. I live in Spring. And then my house is one of the highest houses in the neighborhood. I just got very lucky.

We had 20 people come to my house, including kids. They have been there since last Friday. They made a ton of food. I have a generator. That's really the main reason why they came to the house; just because we were set up for this type of thing, and not thinking we would ever use it like this, but obviously it came in handy.

It's just really sad. I've been trying to keep in touch with everybody back at home, especially my home, making sure my house was okay. And then I've talked to numerous people that had -- Dawie van der Walt who was out here on TOUR last year, and he lives in Kingwood. He's on the Web.com this year. His house is completely devastated. He has four feet of water in his house. He texted me some picture yesterday. It's really sad.

I saw that J.J. Watt on the Houston Texans, I barely know him, but I follow him on Twitter, and he's an incredible guy. And he's raised up to $4 million I believe almost so far, in about three days.

So I saw that yesterday that he was raising money, and I thought, that's exactly what I'm going to do. So I called the TOUR and I said, "What can I do?" I said, "I would like to pledge $10,000 of my own money and ten percent of my winnings this week toward the relief." And I said, "How do I do this? Who do we use?"

We're going to send our money to American Red Cross; and the TOUR has released today they are going to pitch in $250,000; and then Dell Technologies, what's exactly the number of you guys? I'm not sure.

RICH BRADY: We're part of the TOUR contribution of $250,000.

CHRIS STROUD: Very nice. Thank you for that. It's incredible to see the support and all the people that are coming and being involved in this. A really cool thing I saw the other day, Shawn Stefani, a good friend of mine who is on TOUR, he lives in Baytown, which is southeast of Houston. He was driving up to Dallas to go play the Web final event up in Ohio. He just barely got out before the storm got too bad.

But he said on the way up to Dallas, he passed a 200-truck convoy of what they call the Cajun Navy. I'm sure you've heard of this. It's guys from Louisiana bringing their boats, their jacked up trucks to help. And he said there was a subdivision probably 500 or 600 homes under four feet of water, and all these trucks were in line to back up their boats and go save people.

You hear these stories. It's just incredible. Kelly Gibson is one of my best friends that I've known for years and from New Orleans, and he had the same deal during Hurricane Katrina. So he sent me a lot of text messages and support and understanding that he knows exactly what it's going to take.

So he's going to be mentoring me through all these times and trying to help get aid and food and water to all the people that we know. And down the road I'm going to talk to Patrick Reed and Jonathan Vegas who are also from Houston, everybody else, Mark O'Meara, Steve Elkington, all the guys that live there, and try to get some big Pro-Am together where we can raise money. That's going to be way in the future, I'm sure, because Houston is going to take months to get back to normal.

But that's it, and I just really appreciate all the help. Does anybody have any questions?

Q. How tough has this been to watch for you?
CHRIS STROUD: It's been very sad. I was supposed to go last -- on Sunday night but then because the storm, after New York tournament last week. But obviously since the storm came in, it was impossible. There was no flights going back into Houston.

My wife was very scared. We have two little girls. We had tons of people come to the house, and they didn't know -- we have a lake house about two hours north. And I told her, I said, "I'm not there, I can't make the decision." But very fortunate a lot of my guy friends that are Couples of us, a couple friends of ours, they came to the house. One of them is a retired Navy SEAL and he can handle anything. He's tough. And then a couple other guys came over, and so they have been helping make the big decisions like that; where should they go if they needed to.

It really came down to, I think it was Sunday night where it really got scary. I mean, there was lightning, flood, tornado threats. There was a tornado that hit in my neighborhood, north Houston, and just scary. And the power was going in and out, and when the power goes out in my house, I have that tech shield. You couldn't -- I couldn't get to them. I couldn't call them -- and the landline's down.

So it was scary for me to just sit here. My heart is somewhere else and I'm supposed to be getting prepared for golf. It's just, you know, it makes you realize what's most important in your life is your family and friends.

Q. I know you grew up in Groves, Texas, east, and I believe the storm is heading that way toward Louisiana. Do you still have family there and what's the situation in Groves?
CHRIS STROUD: I do. It's a great question. Thank you for that. I grew up in Groves, Texas, just south of Beaumont, Texas. Port Arthur and Beaumont are the big cities there. Big refineries. I called my parents. I have three sisters. I have a twin sister and two older sisters. They all have kids. And unbelievably, every one of their homes are fine.

Even though most people over there in Port Arthur and Beaumont and Nederland and all the little cities and Groves like that, they all have a foot to three feet of water, at least, up to their home or in their home.

So somehow, we have just dodged everything. So just very blessed.

MICHAEL BALIKER: Rich, from the tournament standpoint, along what Chris and the players are planning to do with the tournament here this week, with Dell's involvement in Texas, is planning to have some continuation together as well.

RICH BRADY: Yeah, and we are incredibly saddened by the news that's coming out of Texas and all the damage that Hurricane Harvey is causing down there, and we want to do our part to aid in the relief efforts.

Our title sponsor, Dell Technologies, is headquartered in central Texas, so this is hitting home for them, particularly. They have contributed already to the American Red Cross and to Team Rubicon.

On site what we'll look to do is set up some giving kiosks in our Dell Technology Fan Experience area on 17th fairway, so all fans can contribute electronically. We have also set up a text campaign for fans to text to Harvey to 90999, there will be a $10 donation.

To raise awareness, we're distributing pins of red, white and blue, which will represent the State colors of Texas and of our country to raise awareness here on site. Really important for us to message this and encourage our fans to contribute as best as they can throughout the course of the week.

Q. As the storm was bearing down last week, did you consider not playing and flying home or was that never really an option?
CHRIS STROUD: I definitely did. Unfortunately I missed the cut last week. I played really well. Didn't make any putts. I missed about two but I was obviously sitting -- we knew it was coming in.

At that time on Friday, it looked like, you know, it was about to hit land right there in Corpus Christi, and we knew we were going to get a lot of rain. Last year, basically a year and two or three months ago, 2016 June, we got a huge flood. This storm sat over us for four hours and we got something like 12 inches of rain in 12 hours. It was crazy.

We knew we could handle it, and we knew the places in downtown Houston that would flood close to the Buffalo Bayou, which I'm sure a lot of people know about now. But the disaster of it hitting Friday, and then coming back out, and then boom, boom, three times now. Over 50 inches of rain is just absolute catastrophic.

I did think about going home. I talked to my wife, my family, my friends, and the thing they were concerned about, if I did get back home, how could I get back out. And so we discussed it and we decided for me to stay up here north. And it was tough. My heart goes out to all the people there. Obviously I was extremely worried about my family being at home.

Again, I've been very blessed to have a home that's built like a fortress, and it's tough; it's been able to handle everything. We have absolutely no problems with it. We've had at my home alone, I believe they said we've had 40 inches in my neighborhood, and that is just an unbelievable amount of rain.

Again, it's one of those things when you buy a home, anywhere, you don't look at elevation. Obviously I knew our neighborhood was built up by the flood zone. But to come in handy like that for my family, friends and all my family that came up there; I think I called this morning, they had some more people come from the neighborhood and stayed the night. So I think maybe we had 25 people last night spent the night.

It's incredible. Apparently everybody in my neighborhood got together that had homes that weren't damaged, and there were some people that had to get saved by boats yesterday in my neighborhood right down the road. All my buddies in the neighborhood were using my truck. I just happened to have a show truck type thing. It's jacked up about four feet in the air. It can handle -- it can go in about five feet of water so they were using my truck to get around the neighborhood to go help people and pets and just everything.

So, so far, like I said, my family has been salvaged and we have been so lucky to avoid any catastrophes in my home or my family. But just I want to do whatever I can. I think the PGA TOUR is going to set up a link. I'm going to put it on my Twitter page, and whoever wants to donate anything from 50 cents to whatever, that's what they are going to do and hopefully we can help in some way from afar.

I have two little girls, Halle and Harper. They are seven and five. I was talking to my wife, they are like, hey, when can we go back outside, because they have a trampoline and a pool. Apparently last night the storm cleared and it got sunny so they actually got to go outside. They are just oblivious. They don't really understand, but one day I'm sure they will. This is probably going to go down as one of the worst disasters, at least flood disaster, in U.S. history. I think I read this morning it's No. 2 and could go down No. 1, the wettest storm ever in the US history. It's pretty impressive.

Q. Do you normally wear that cap or is that a special tribute to Houston this week?
CHRIS STROUD: So Jim Crane is a good friend of mine, the owner of the Houston Astros, and I wear it all the time. I have about five or six hats. I go to a lot of Astros games when I go home. Big Texans fans, too. I know Bob McNair, they are both members of the club I play in at Houston, Lochinvar.

But Jim has been an incredible mentor for me. I'm pulling for the Astros. They are second in Major League Baseball right now behind the L.A. Dodgers, so hopefully we can keep that going.

But Jim has been an incredible mentor for me and making me understand that, hey, there's -- what's more important, you know. You've got to make the right decisions, have great people around you, and remember there's a lot more to life than just golf. We've got some cool things going on. This new safety business we're about to launch sometime this year, it may be later now because of all this, called Crane Safety, so we're excited about that.

Q. With everything going on at home, how do you keep your mind focused on here when you're playing?
CHRIS STROUD: It's going to be tricky. Kelly Gibson sent me a humongous text last night. I didn't get to read it all. It must have been 70 lines of a text, and he was telling me how he development with it when he was playing and try to compartmentalize. When you're on the golf course, focus on the golf and when you're off the golf course, focus on what you can do to keep your family everything and safe.

The things that I did read on the text last night that I haven't finished was it's going to take months and years for this rebuild of Houston, and he said, just, you know, just be prepared for that. Be prepared for the process of what it takes to rebuild a city. It's really, really sad. I haven't heard any numbers yet but I'm sure -- I think there's eight or eight million people living in and around Houston, two million inside and about six or seven outside.

I'm going to be doing everything I can over the fall and the spring and this whole next couple years to help rebuild people's homes and contribute financially or any sort of time, whatever I can do to help, and trying to get an army of people in there. So far, I've seen some amazing things. The social media thing has been really, really great for Houston. People have been reaching out and finding ways to help through social media. So I'm very thankful for that.

Q. I know you're a Texans fan, but when you see contributions from other teams across the nation, here in New England, the Kraft family is going to donate up to $1 million and going to match contributions to the Red Cross. What does that mean to you as a Houston native?
CHRIS STROUD: Incredible. J.J. Watts said the same thing. The Tennessee Titans gave a million and the Kraft family gave a million from up here. I'm a huge Patriots fan. I don't know how you can't be. Tom Brady is one of the greatest legends ever, and Belichick and the whole Patriots organization. It's just amazing to see people from all over the country; and now J.J. talking about some people from all over countries that are starting to contribute.

It's really amazing to see people come together ask care about us down in little old Houston, Texas that -- you know, just a bunch of local people. It's hot down there but we love it. It's just nice to see when you're struggling that people are there for your support.

I saw something pretty awesome the other day from New Orleans. A guy that lived in New Orleans; he lost his home and then the Astrodome was opened up. He got -- he had to stay in the Astrodome for weeks, I guess, and then eventually moved to a hotel or something.

But he was saying Houston, you opened up your arms to us when we were in New Orleans when we went through this devastation. He said, our arms are open for you. I thought that was really, really sweet. It's just great to see, again, how people are coming together and certainly thank you for all the donations from all the NFL teams, including the Patriots.

Q. Were you able to go to the Super Bowl this year?
CHRIS STROUD: I didn't. I had a chance but at $15,000 a ticket, it was a little steep. But I did have a lot of parties we got to go to. We had a blast. We got to go to some really cool concerts.

Obviously everybody in Houston, a lot of friends of mine, we had tons of invites of all these cool functions and house parties but man, it was electric. It really helped our city out and it was fun. I just wish we could have more Super Bowls there. It was fun.

Q. I thought you said 20 to 25 people, who are these people?
CHRIS STROUD: We have three couples. Two couples are from south Houston. One is from Clear Lake and the other one is from Friendswood. They both -- one couple has one girl, she's 12 and then they brought -- the other couple is from Friendswood. They have two little girls. And then we have another girl from Friendswood by herself. She brought her babies. And then we have three or four other couples in the neighborhood, their houses are okay but they lost power, so some of them came over.

So it's kind of in and out. I don't know how many people end up spending the night there but it seems like it's been a really good central point for everybody to come back to. And apparently my house is accessible, because main road, Rayford, where my neighborhood runs the main road through, I'm third -- I'm three houses in. And then after my house, the road dips real low and there's a river.

So my house is easy to get to. So it just happens to be great. But mainly couples in my neighborhood and a few other from south and a lot of kids. Like I said the kids have been getting along well. A couple of the guys are cooking. Usually that's my job when I'm home. I like to cook a lot. But I've got a big wine cellar and trying to ease the pain a little bit.

But they finally got -- they lost -- they didn't lose electricity but they lost cable and Internet so they haven't been able to watch any of the news. So they would call me. They would have to drive out of the neighborhood in my truck to get some cell service and they would call me. I would have to give them updates because they haven't seen the news and what's going on. And it was pretty sad, but they got it back and I think the house was fully functional today, now they have been able to catch up. I'm just pleased to be able to provide that for them and I'm glad it worked out.

Q. Is it more family, friends and neighbors?
CHRIS STROUD: Yeah, both. Mainly friends, a little bit of family. My wife's -- my mother-in-law, she's there. I think my wife's aunt is there. There's about three dogs there. We're dog lovers. We love dogs. And then yeah, I think they counted 21 people that spent the night there three nights in a row, and I think there might have been a couple more last night but it's kind of a mix of people coming in and out.

Luckily we haven't lost power. I've got three refrigerators, tons of food. It's kind of a hosting house, anyway, so it's been good for them to have a place to come to no matter what.

Q. Did you ever think the truck would be used in this kind of light?
CHRIS STROUD: You know, it's funny, I literally was thinking about, my wife refuses to drive it because it's so tall; it's so big. And I love it. It's just fun. I've got a big boat. I like to pull it. It's sort of a show truck; I've got everything powder coated and it's really fine-looking.

But my buddy texted me yesterday and he said: Your truck has been worth the weight in gold of what we needed it. He said, because no other car in our neighborhood -- there's two guys that have really, really jacked up trucks like me, and he said it's unbelievable; if we didn't have that, we wouldn't be able to go anywhere because if you go right out of my neighborhood, you can't go anywhere. If you go left across the street, it's underwater. And the Rayford, if you go far enough down either way, there's big rivers you've got to go through.

So it's been great. My truck can probably handle five feet of water. And so it's, again, just a blessing and I was about to trade it in to get a small truck so my wife would drive it. Everything just seemed to work out. Just been very blessed.

Q. Is there a picture of that on Instagram?
CHRIS STROUD: I'll get them to take a picture of my truck. That thing's been a tank for them. One day they had to go get some groceries. There was one store open not too far away, not the whole store, but enough to get the necessities for families that needed some stuff, like bottled waters and milk and eggs, simple stuff. So they had to go through two rivers to get over there, and they loaded up and bought a bunch of groceries and brought it to other people.

So it's been a blessing to have it, and I'll tell them to -- I'll put it on Twitter today. I'll tell them to take some pictures and send it to me; that way we can give that truck some credit.

Q. Love to see it go in the water.
CHRIS STROUD: It's pretty awesome. It's not one of those -- I could get it where those Jeeps have that snorkel thing where they can go even deeper but it's pretty high up. It's pretty cool.

MICHAEL BALIKER: Thank you for your time and thank you for all you guys are doing.

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