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January 22, 2019

Henrik Stenson

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

BRIONY CARLYON: Delighted to be joined by Henrik Stenson here at the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic. You've been coming here now for 18 years. Haven't missed an event since 2001 and a past winner in 2007. You must really like coming back to Dubai.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, we made Dubai our home for a long time, almost ten years. Yeah, I played every Desert Classic since I came on Tour in 2001 and had some great success here over the years. I don't know what the overall is but obviously the win --

BRIONY CARLYON: Eight Top-10s.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, eight Top-10s, that I can remember clearly. It's been good hunting grounds, and same as last week, it's a great way to start the season. Great weather, great practise facilities, a good golf course, good event, strong competition. Yeah, everything you really like.

We hope we can build on. Was a little rusty last week. Missed the cut by a shot in Abu Dhabi and got some good work done over the weekend, so hopefully we can be there and play a little better this week.

BRIONY CARLYON: What is it about the course that suits your eye and makes you feel pretty comfortable being back here?

HENRIK STENSON: I think one of the main things that I really like with this golf course is it never really seems to play the same day-in and day-out. The way the two nines are looped; you get a slight change in wind direction, and some of the holes that played really short yesterday might play a little longer today and vice versa.

You can always find a new line on a par 5 off the tee, and it never really plays the same two days after each other. So it's not a course you're going to get bored with and feel like you're playing it the same way every day.

Yeah, I really enjoy playing this course here.

Q. What have you been up to since last week?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I stayed Friday and Saturday -- I have to think now because of the Wednesday start. So we stayed in Abu Dhabi Friday and Saturday. Did some work with Pete and came out here on Sunday for a few hours, as well. Had some of my sponsors yesterday and this morning, and I'm back out there practising this afternoon. Tomorrow, the Pro-Am will be my only time out on the golf course.

After practising here, 18 years, numerous other rounds, not just around the tournament, I've played, I don't know how many rounds I've played around here. I don't feel like I need to learn the golf course. It's more about getting used to the conditions that we'll see this week, and they aren't going to be that different from last week. The bunkers are kind of the same and the rough, too.

Yeah, just a little freshener tomorrow and we should be ready to go by Thursday.

Q. So you haven't seen the golf course yet?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I haven't been out on the course. Tomorrow will be my only look, yeah..

Q. Can you talk about your work as a producer?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, there's been a lot of offers from Hollywood. They are going to make a six-hour documentary about the Content Committee.

It was good fun. Amazing what you can do with a good producer and a good editing when you have five bad actors and still make it into something that's watchable. I think that's amazing, so every credit to them.

I think it turned out good. I enjoyed watching some episodes of The Office, and I think we did a decent copycat.

Q. The new rules obviously introduced last week, and we saw last week. How are you getting used to them?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it didn't take long before we tried to drop in the wrong height.

Obviously, it's not a problem if you do drop it on the wrong height as long as you don't it, and as long as you don't play it. As long as you realise what you've done and you can redrop, it just shows the old habits, doing something for so many years; I don't think I'm going to change it. I don't think I'm the only one going for the flat-out shoulder drop like in early times.

Yeah, I think we picked up most of the things we need to know, and yeah, I think that the important part is just in this first year and first part of the season is to go through things rather slowly and think it through before you do anything.

Q. And how are you ahead of the season and this year? How ambitious are you to have a very successful year?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'm keen. I'm going to work hard in the early part here to get things going. I know there's going to be a lot of golf from the end of February all the way up until the U.S. Open. I'm going to play a lot of golf in America.

It's an important part for me to try get the foundation right and committed to that part of the year with some momentum and some good game, because once you hit that, it's not going to leave that many weeks and days for practice. So it's more about playing and recovery and so on, rather than being out there for weeks, grinding it out.

Q. I know you like to do a lot of things yourself -- how much time do you make for social media personally?
HENRIK STENSON: I've got some help. I've got some help in the social media department.

Yeah, in today's world, it's become a big part. At the same time, I think we've seen some negatives, as well. There's a lot of people commenting on things left, right and center who are maybe not in the best mind-set when they do.

Yeah, it's a tough balance, really. I'm here to play golf and do that, and we've got to try to get some things out there and also create interest for our sport and for the events we're playing in and so on. I got some good help and I'll try to focus on my bits and then every now and again, we appear on these committee meetings.

Q. Do you like to read the comments yourself sometimes?
HENRIK STENSON: I think that's one thing that can put you off a little bit. You try and do it -- not just saying for myself. I see more what I see in the news and in other instances, people put something out on their social media with good intentions but still end up with a lot of people giving negative feedback on it. If you're a sensitive person, I think you can get pretty hurt by it.

So yeah, it's a bit of a tough one to balance I think in today's world.

Q. Have you had some mean comments?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think I put up a nice little picture in front of Augusta clubhouse after finishing fifth last year and there was one guy who immediately put out, "You're celebrating a big failure. Well done." It was like -- it wasn't that bad. I worked pretty hard for it. Didn't bring my best game but I had to work hard for it. He obviously finished in the top four (laughter).

Q. Really strong field this week. Who do you expecting to be challenging?
HENRIK STENSON: That's as easy as the lottery numbers. I haven't studied the other guys that closely.

I'm sure if you go into detail, see who has played well and who has not in the past here and so on, you can start to get a bit of a better idea. But I'm just focusing on my stuff, really.

You always expect some of the great players to be up there, and there's always going to be a few surprises, a few guys who you might not have heard about that much in the past but they are having a really good week this week. So it's going to be a mix as always.

Q. With Tiger coming back, are you expecting him to have a big 2019?
HENRIK STENSON: I was never one to say that he couldn't make a good come back.

I think what he's done over the years and the career that he's had, it would be a little bit foolish to say that you don't see him winning golf tournaments and having a good come back when and if he got healthy, and he did.

Now I think it's just a going forward if he can stay healthy and if his body is going to hold up for the stress that the golf swing putts on it. If he does that, yeah, I can see him winning more tournaments for sure.

Q. It's been 2 1/2 years since you won The Open at Troon, is there a contrast before you won and now --
HENRIK STENSON: Again, please.

Q. Your quest to win another major.
HENRIK STENSON: To win another one. Yeah, I'd love to get the Claret Jug some company. Give it some company on the shelf. I feel like I've ticked most of the boxes and The Open was certainly the last box to tick, in a way. Then you start looking ahead and yeah, my focus last year and this year is going to be the same. It' was to put myself in contention at major championships to try to give myself a chance to win a second one, and I did a half-decent job last year.

I didn't feel like I brought my best game, but did a lot of things right, both at Augusta and the U.S. Open, especially at the U.S. Open. That's my focus this year, to try to get into those events in a similar way and hopefully bring a little bit more game and we can be there to challenge.

Q. Does it feel different having won?
HENRIK STENSON: I would imagine so. You can never lose something that you won before. Saying that, there's been a few Olympic athletes I guess that's lost after they have won in the past, but we already got one.

Yeah, we're always going to be a Major Champion going forward. The challenge is if we can be a double Major Champion or triple Major Champion. That's what we're working on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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