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August 18, 2005

Henrik Stenson


SCOTT CROCKETT: Henrik Stenson, thank you for coming in, as always. Fantastic opening round. Just start us off with the details. You birdied the opening hole, the 10th.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, that was one of the ones I birdied coming out of the rough, so I hit a 3 wood to the left there and got it up to about 20 foot right pin high and just made a good putt there.


HENRIK STENSON: I hit a poor second shot over the green, so chip, two putts.

13, I made probably a 25 footer up the hill there.

Par 5, 16th, I hit a good sand iron to about eight feet.

18, birdie, similar distance, eight feet from just off the fringe behind the pin there.

Then 1, hit a good tee shot and a little knockdown 8 iron to about three feet right of the pin there, so that was quite nice.

And then just went over the green and chipped and putt for birdie.

SCOTT CROCKETT: How close was your chip?


Then the short hole, the 5th, what was that one, 60 feet, just a little tap in over the whole green (laughter). Then hit a good tee ball but just missed it right in the rough on the 6th and got it up on the green and misread the first one a little bit so it sort of went away and then missed the second putt from probably six feet, something like that.

Then 7, made a really shitty 6 iron to the right on that hole there, so not much to say about that one.

Then a good second shot from under the trees on 8, got up on the green there and then two putted and almost got it in on 9.

SCOTT CROCKETT: So you were a little disappointed to drop the shots at 6 and 7, but overall you must be delighted with your start.

HENRIK STENSON: Overall you can make bogeys at the start or you can make them in the middle. If they come, they come. I just try to stay patient and just keep on going.

Q. They were just replaying the long putt a minute ago on TV. It looked like you took it in stride. Talk about that putt a little bit. Were you surprised?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, you're always surprised when you make a 60 footer, aren't you? That's always the goal, but it only happens one out of a hundred or something. No, I just sort of maybe I felt I could see a good line on the green there, where to aim it and how much it was going to break, but then to get the perfect pace and the perfect read, it was just good for a change to make one of those long ones.

My caddie said it was the longest one he's ever attended.

Q. Anybody in your group make any comment after the putt went in?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, I guess you can take it as it comes. Mike Weir made his from about 58 feet just after me, so it's always easy when you give the line to someone (laughter). It was on a different line, but he knocked it in almost the same distance, so I guess that was a good response.

Q. Did you do anything special to get acclimated to this place?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I went to Baltusrol (laughter), and then I thought it was nice and cool up here.

Q. Was it that similar?

HENRIK STENSON: It was much hotter and stickier down in New York.

Q. The courses, are they

HENRIK STENSON: The rough was a little bit more severe last week, but it was the same way, you always struggle when you miss the fairways and you can end up with some tough lies around the greens, so keep the ball in play and hit good approaches.

Other than that, no, I just played last week and this one feels slightly easier.

Q. You share the lead with the 1 and 2 players in the world. This is your first world golf event. What does it feel like to be up there?

HENRIK STENSON: It feels good. I know I can play a good game of golf, and I'm just going to try and do that for the next three days, as well. I've had some really good tournaments this year. I've been 2nd twice and 3rd twice, as well. I know I can play well, and I'm just looking forward to the rest of the week.

Q. I followed you for a while and it looked like you were really seeing mid range putts good, made a number of eight to ten footers, just had a good feel for the greens today?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, they're pretty quick, and I thought I found the pace today and struck some really good putts out there. I hope I can keep it up for the rest of the week. I mean, you always need to putt well if you're going to do well in any golf tournament basically, so I really need to keep it going.

Q. Where does this rank in your putting for all year? Is it the best day you've had?

HENRIK STENSON: No, I putted really well the second day at Baltusrol, shot 4 over the first day and then came back with 3 under on Friday, so that was pretty solid putting, as well. I think it seems like if I putt pretty good on one of these quick greens, so it's a little bit quicker than what we're used to in Europe, but it seems to suit me pretty good.

Q. What is your experience with golf in this country? Has this been the first two weeks you've ever been over here?

HENRIK STENSON: Well, I've been to America before, but these are the first two tournaments I've played. I mean, last week was a really good test, and then this is a nice golf course, classic golf course. No, I can't complain on these two weeks. If we played courses like this every week, it would be real fun.

You never know. I mean, the long term goal to be to make a move into the Top 50 in the world so I know I can be in these tournaments for sure. That's the sort of plan I have for the moment.

Q. Is it intimidating being up there with the guys that you're up there with, or is it just validation for you?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, you always feel happy with yourself when you're up at the top in any golf tournament, and especially one of this status. No, I don't think I feel intimidated. I know I play my best when I play with really good players, and I hope I can keep it that way.

Q. You said part of the goal is to get the Top 50. Is it also to be on this Tour on a permanent basis?

HENRIK STENSON: I'm not sure about that. I mean, this is the first two weeks, so I guess I'll have to wait a little bit and give you an answer later on. I would just like to make a move in there and be eligible to play these world events and the U.S. Open, U.S. PGA, so maybe start playing a bit more and see how it goes. It's kind of early to make a decision about if I want to go permanently or not.

Q. Have you talked with any other guys who have made that move, the transition from European Tour to here, or is it too early?

HENRIK STENSON: I know most of the Europeans that play over here and have seen their progress. It's always difficult, I think, for a few when they've got families and kids to move over here. That seems to be the biggest problem for some of the players. Other than that, I think they all enjoy it. You never know, I might follow. You might see me more regularly.

Q. It's your second week over here. What's been the highlight away from the golf course? Have you done anything interesting away from tournaments?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, except my girlfriend being robbed in New York (laughter) someone took her purse when she went in shopping. That was all right, though.

Q. She set it down and they took it?

HENRIK STENSON: They were sitting in a restaurant and she could feel someone taking it.

But no, we spent a bit of a vacation in November in New York, so I've seen that place a little bit. You just chill. I mean, it's a lot of time on the golf course in preparations, practice, and there's not a whole lot more than the golf courses and hotels and travels. At least it's not cold.

Q. Did she see who did it?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, there were a couple of them that were in there. There was some ladies that took it, yeah.

Q. Did she get it back?


Q. They just took it and ran out the door?


Q. And they were women, though?


Q. What will your thoughts be tonight when you go back to where you're staying when you look at the leaderboard and it's Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and yourself?

HENRIK STENSON: I mean, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon, so there's another three days, and I can only try and do my best for the next three days and keep on going really, and I hope I can be up there for the last day or the back nine on Sunday.

Q. Davis Love was talking earlier that some of the European guys who don't play a lot over here, I think a family member or a friend was in the locker room asking for autographs and guys were asked to pose for pictures on the driving range. Are you one of the guys when you get over here and you see some of the PGA TOUR players, are you in awe of them or is it no big deal?

HENRIK STENSON: No, it's not really a big deal. I definitely respect everyone that's in this week for their golfing capability, but, I mean, it's a big tournament but it's just another tournament for me, and I need to stick to my own game and my own preparations. It's not really that much of a difference. It is my fifth year on the European Tour, so I've played with most of the top guys over there. It's not that much of a difference really.

Q. How old were you when you first came over here? Was it just a vacation?

HENRIK STENSON: No, my girlfriend used to go to University of South Carolina in Columbia, so I've been over there quite a bit visiting her, and I used to practice with the men's team over there.

Q. Is she from Sweden?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, she's Swedish.

Q. Did you play some golf around there then?

HENRIK STENSON: Yes, up and around Columbia and then down to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, been to Phoenix a couple of times, as well. That's about it.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Henrik, well done, good luck tomorrow.


End of FastScripts.

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