October 25, 1996
STEVE STRICKER: Conditions were harder today than yesterday. The wind is a little bit stronger, and the greens are drying out a little bit. And it's just getting a little tougher to get the ball on the fairway. So all in all it's hard to hit the greens. And I was fortunate enough today to get it up-and-down when I had to, and when I did hit it in there I made the putts. So I pretty much got the most out of my round today.
Q. No. 8 was your only bogey. Could you talk about why No. 8 played so hard, because the whole field had trouble with that today?
STEVE STRICKER: It's an along par 3. You know, it's right and left into you, the wind, and today it was more into us than yesterday. The pin was in the front right. And it's hard, if you miss the green to the right today, you were not getting it up-and-down. So that's what my feeling was, anyway. I pulled a little bit and then the wind took it and I put it in the bunker and from there it's just a tough up-and-down. Through it's a long, tough hole. I think today was one of the harder pin placements, with the wind coming from the right and into you.
Q. Is the wind pretty much the same direction as yesterday, just stronger?
STEVE STRICKER: Pretty much. I think it's coming more out of the -- I don't know my directions, here, but it's -- it was just a little bit different but pretty much the same.
Q. The holes that were downwind yesterday were downwind today?
STEVE STRICKER: Yes.
Q. Do you think this golf course was set up fairly good, given how much wind there was?
STEVE STRICKER: I think it's a fair course all together. It could get ridiculous with some of the pins, but they haven't so far. I don't think they need to. I think it's a good, strong course the way it is. You have the drive it well and you need to hit good iron shots into the greens. It forces you to work the ball here left to right and right to left if you're brave enough to do it on some of the holes. But it's a good, fair course.
Q. What's your schedule? What's your off season schedule?
STEVE STRICKER: I got invited to play in the Sun City Million Dollar Challenge and going to play in the mixed team with Vicki Goetze and the Diner's Club with Kirk Triplett.
Q. Sum up your year pretty much, Steve, you finally -- this is kind of a breakthrough, people have been waiting. As you look back on the year, what are your feelings about it?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, it's really been kind of unbelievable, really. The goals at the beginning of the year were to definitely win, the Presidents Cup was kind of a far off goal, but I thought I needed to win to do that. It's been really beyond belief, really. I didn't expect it all to come all in one year like this. And we worked hard at it, but you don't always necessarily get the rewards of it right away and all at one time, and that seems to me is what happened. And I think I just got a lot of confidence at that first win at the Kemper and kind of rode that for the rest of the year and had some good things happen at the Presidents Cup, got to know the players and got to play with some great players, and the same at the Dunhill Cup. These are all players that I've grown-up to idolize and try to emulate my game after. And all of a sudden I'm playing there with them on the same team. That gives me a lot of confidence.
Q. How about the Dunhill, that was quite an experience, I guess?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, that was my first time ever playing at St. Andrews, and again with two great players O'Meara and Mickelson, spending the time we spent together off the course as well as on the course as a team. I think I held up my end of the bargain, I guess, as a team member for them. I thought if I could just win my matches, it would be pretty tough for the opposing team to beat those players, because they're two of the best. And again it just -- I fed off that a lot, as getting the amount of confidence that I did from that. It's just been really a great year. I can't really explain it.
Q. Is there one part of your game that you've seen greater improvement this year? You finished, what, No. 5 on the money list, at least, coming into this tournament. What's been responsible for your big improvement?
STEVE STRICKER: I think just my thinking. I think -- like I say, I've gotten more confidence about my game, now. I don't think I'm doing anything that much better than other years, but I just feel like I'm going to go out there and play better. I'm a little bit more aggressive now, I think, which I think came from the confidence part of it. And I just think all those things. It's a process out here you need to go through all those experiences and learn from them. And hopefully -- you're always learning out here, but I think that's what led the year.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the role that Nicki plays, rather than someone having just a caddy, being your wife, can you explain that a little bit, the bond between the two of you and how you've grown in the game that way?
STEVE STRICKER: It's funny, because we were walking up 17 today and said can you believe we spend all this time together and we're still with each other? And it's really -- we've got a great relationship on and off the course. She's a good player. She knows the game a great deal. She came from a golfing family and we enjoy being together. So it's the one thing that I know when I go out on the course she's going to be there supporting me, even during the bad days. It's just as hard on her during the bad days as it is on me. And as well as all the highs, too. She's going through it all. She's experienced all this stuff during this year in the same capacity as I have, emotion-wise. She's had the highs and lows, as well. But it's been really a common goal. And I think you need that. I wouldn't think there's any player/caddy relationship, maybe I few, but I think the caddy has the same goals as a player, they're trying to achieve that same goal as winning. And Nicki is definitely behind me. It's just the two of us working for this one goal.
LEE PATTERSON: Quickly, you birdied 7?
STEVE STRICKER: 7 I hit a 2-iron, just barely on the left rough and kind of punched a 6-iron to about ten feet. And then birdied 10 with a 2-iron and a little 8-iron from 135 yards to ten feet. And No. 17 I hit a 3-wood down just barely in the left rough and hit a wedge, probably another ten footer.
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