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March 13, 2019

Henrik Stenson

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Henrik Stenson to the interview room here to the 2019 PLAYERS Championship. Henrik, this is the 10-year anniversary of your win here in 2009. When you returned to the Stadium Course, what kind of memories come back from that victory.

HENRIK STENSON: It was obviously a great week and a great Sunday for me. I was trailing a little bit coming into the last round, and I played one of my best final rounds certainly at that time in my career to close out the tournament. And I shot a bogey-free 66 during tough conditions on that Sunday. So that's always going to be fresh in my mind, even though time flies and we're sitting here now 10 years down the line.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions.

Q. What did that win mean to you at that time in your career?
HENRIK STENSON: That was very big. I won the Accenture Match Play two years prior in Arizona and this was my first stroke play event and at that point my biggest victory in my career. So of course that was big and a good confidence boost and, yeah, I've been a member on the PGA TOUR ever since.

Q. Do you remember any kind of celebration that night or anything afterwards?
HENRIK STENSON: A speeding ticket on the way home. That was kind of sweet as toffee, hot as coffee that one.

Q. Was that in the courtesy car or was that in your own car?
HENRIK STENSON: That was in my own car, going back down to Orlando.

Q. Were you driving a racy-looking car that attracted the police's attention or --
HENRIK STENSON: I think 90 on I-95 is enough to get attention, I guess. Yeah, it was a rather quick car. And he went back and forth and he took a long time and then he comes, because he asked me where I was coming from and he went back and forth and then he came back finally after like five, 10 minutes and he says, well I spoke to my brother, he watched the golf, but I've been handing out some other tickets, so I've got to hand one out to you, and I thought, I can live with that. That Sunday made up for a speeding ticket.

Q. Did you show him the trophy?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't think I had the trophy at that time. I don't think you get it straightaway. That's just in the dreams you kind of get the trophy straightaway and you drive off into the sunset.

Q. And get the ticket. I understand. You only played once here when it was played in March. What are your memories of the way the golf course played then, and do you prefer one over the other, March versus May?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, you're actually right. Well done. I played it in 2006. That was my first time here, and I just remember I was around 20th, I think, going into the weekend, and I shot 70, 71, I think, on the weekend and finished tied third in the end. So it was a tough weekend. Because they were going to change the grass, they kind of let the greens go a little bit. They were extremely firm and fast and it was playing very difficult. I think Stephen Ames won, right? I think he won in 2006 there. So it certainly played different then for the coming years with the Bermuda and now we're back to the March date overseed.

The golf course is, this year is playing quite soft, don't seem to get much run on the fairways out there and it's going to play longer tee to green, I think, and then the greens seem to be still quite a lot of Bermuda showing its face on the green, so I think it's going to putt pretty much like it has done in a way. I think the speed was a little slower early on in the week, and they have been gradually making it quicker.

In terms of if we like it more or in May or March, I think we are a little early to comment on that. I think I'm happy with the way the schedule looks, with the big events now portioned out pretty much a month apart, and we'll just have to analyze that after the week and give it a couple of years and see what feels the best, I guess.

Q. As long as we're asking you to pick one or the other, how do you feel about the new trophy? What are the pros and cons versus the one you have in your possession?
HENRIK STENSON: I think I should get one of each and then can I sit at home and reflect on that one. I think it looks awesome though. Not supposed to touch it before you win it but I guess have I won it, so I can touch it. I think that's a very nice-looking trophy. The other one's nice, too, but yeah I would say we go for this one.

Q. Where do have yours displayed and what is it displayed with?
HENRIK STENSON: It's in my garage with some golf club sticking out of it. No, it's in my trophy cabinet in my office or in my office. So it's, what, it's just up there on a -- it's got its own spot. It's doing nicely.

Q. It's not next to another one of your trophies?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I got something -- yeah, I think it's next to the Wyndham trophy maybe.

Q. Where is the Claret Jug?
HENRIK STENSON: It's in the top right corner.

Q. Okay.
HENRIK STENSON: Next to the FedEx one.

Q. What part of the trophy is you? There's a little bit of every champion up here on the trophy.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I guess the base down here.

Q. All 38 champions have got a part of that, some part of that.
HENRIK STENSON: It must be the massive biceps then.

Q. No. You've had some injuries of late; how are you doing physically?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm feeling pretty good. That was more on the back end of last year. I took some time off with my elbow and that feels better. Yeah, it is close to a hundred percent, so it's not bothering me playing or practicing golf, which is good, so I think we can hopefully leave that behind us.

Q. Do you have any caddie answers?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, yeah, I got Marcus is back on the bag here this week doing the TPC week, and then I got Glen Murray coming in for Tampa and the Match Play, but I guess even a catfish is right twice a day, so it shouldn't be hard finding some good help, right?

Q. What is your feeling on the putting with the flagstick in and does it make a difference for you and do you have a preference so far?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I don't prefer it, unless -- I've left it in on some longer putts, or if you have a really super slick downhill putt where you feel like, okay, if it this comes racing at it, it might help out stopping it, but I haven't done that much testing, if you know what I mean, in terms of what should be better statistically. It's just a preference to me. It just doesn't look right to stand there from 15 feet with the pin in. It feels weird, so I'll take it out as much as I can.

Q. Are you happy with the way your game has progressed? You played only a couple events on the PGA TOUR this year and leading up to the PLAYERS and then the Masters.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'm going to play a lot of golf from last week up until the U.S. Open. It's going to be a lot of golf over here for me. I'm playing, this is a stretch of four tournaments in a row, then we got Augusta, then another couple after the Masters and then a stretch again after the PGA into U.S. Open. So it's going to be a lot of golf and yeah we're in the early part of that and there were some signs last week of some good stuff, so, yeah, we just carry on, we got patience, we have done this long enough to snow there's going to be some ups and downs and, yeah, we just stay with it.

THE MODERATOR: All right. If that's it Henrik, thank you and please drive safely.

HENRIK STENSON: Okay. Take care, teddy bear.

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