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May 24, 2018

Steve Stricker

Fort Worth, Texas

Q. Congratulations. Great opening round. Let's take you back about four hours. Saw you on 13. Looked like you tweaked your back a little bit. What happened?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, just that. I tried to hit a pretty solid 6-iron and got right into the impact area, and actually felt my lower back crack right where I had surgery back in 2014, pretty much right on the spot.

Tried to walk to the green and that wasn't going so well. Kind of tightened up on me. I thought I was going to have to stop and just stand there for a minute, which I did a couple times.

It didn't look or feel very good for a while. Somehow just managed through it. Seemed to kind of loosen up and let go the more I kept playing. I'm going to go and get it checked out now and see what really happened. I'm not sure what happened.

Q. With the success you've been having on the Champion's Tour, how much does that carry over to the PGA TOUR, especially on a course like this?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, very much so. I'm gaining some confidence when I play out there. Been having some good finishes out there and having opportunities to win.

So when I come out here I kind of feel the same momentum. I feel like I should play well here, too. Obviously it's a course I enjoy. Past champion here about eight, nine years ago, so I enjoy coming here. It's one that I enjoy to play and fits my eye a little bit.

It's in great shape, too.

Q. When you navigate and play in both tours, how do you set your schedule and manage your energy?
STEVE STRICKER: I think I've just been picking where I really want to go and play at the time. There is no rhyme or reason to it, I don't think. I like to play here; I know I'm going to play John Deere, another favorite tournament of mine; and FedEx St. Jude looks like I am going to try to play in a couple weeks; try to get in the U.S. Open.

So it's just kind of picking them as I go and seeing where I want to go and seeing what feels good to me at the time.

Q. You won't remember this, no reason you should, but following the Presidents Cup I asked what you were going to do, and you thought for a half second and said, I think I want to play some golf. You have been playing golf, both PGA TOUR and Champions Tour. Congratulations on a great round.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, thank you. It was a good start. Wasn't looking too good for a while, and then did some good things in a six-hole stretch that got me really going to cap off the round.

Q. Yeah, 2-over early in the round. Was it mechanical? A mental adjustment? How did you bring it back?
STEVE STRICKER: I just kept plodding along. I knew there were some birdie holes out here if you can get it in the fairway. There are some short irons.

I didn't expect to go on that little stretch that I went on, but I knew I could get it back. To 5-under, you know, I wasn't thinking of that. I was just thinking to get it to a couple under by the end of the day. Some good things happened. Hit some good shots. I played well.

Q. Good things like a 50 foot 5-foot hole out of the bunker at the 1st.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, you're not expecting to do that. Hit a nice bunker shot on my 1st hole of day that I ended up missing a little two- or three-footer. Had a good number into the green on 1. Tried to hit utility up around the corner and cut it up there and hit it in the bunker.

I had a lot of room. I just trying to get it close to give myself a birdie. Came off perfect; went in. Those are the ones that are bonuses. You'll take them for sure, but you're in the expecting them.

Q. Greens appear to be receptive.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, they are. They're soft. You're spinning them back. Even I hit a flier on No. 5 that bit into the green pretty well and didn't roll as far as normal.

The course is there for someone to go out and shoot a low round this afternoon. Not a lot of wind either.

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