June 26, 2022
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Saucon Valley C.C. (Old Course)
THE MODERATOR: Steve Stricker, 6-under 65. You did your part today. Paddy just maybe didn't come down quite as much. You have to be happy with how you played.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I was happy. Did a lot of good things today. It was a little bit tougher day. Did a lot of good things. I had a couple of putts I wish I could have over at 15 and 16 coming in, but I made him sweat it out a little bit towards the end, which was a goal of mine, and he handled it.
Hats off to him. He played great. I played with him yesterday. He played great. It was close, but he was the better player this week.
Q. We're heading to your home state next year. Talk about what it will be like to play a National Championship in Wisconsin.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it will be a lot of fun. I haven't played Century World since they've redone it, but heard nothing but positive things about it.
It will be fun to go back there. I'm going to try to play it at some point within the year and before we go back there for the U.S. Open.
It will be fun to go back there and have kind of a home-field advantage, and look forward to it already.
Q. I believe you won maybe a junior title there. What do you remember about that week?
STEVE STRICKER: I won the state high school there one year. I think 1984. So it will be almost 40 years since I last won there. Yeah, it will be fun.
And they've redone it a couple times since then, so it will be interesting to see and excited to go see the changes.
Q. Steve, you birdied the last two holes to really make Padraig sweat. Can you give us the details on shots in and distances, et cetera, on 17 and 18?
STEVE STRICKER: 17, I can't remember the yardage. 145 maybe or something like that. Does that sound about right? Plays downhill. Wind was off the right. I was between a wedge and a 9-iron and just chipped a little 9-iron out to the right and let the wind kind of bring it in. I draw the ball a little bit anyways.
It came in there and I knew there was a little feeder over there on the right. It just ended up being a really nice shot. Didn't have to work too hard on that putt.
Then 18, a good drive, and I had 155 to the hole at 18. Wind was off to the right and helping and had to carry it up on the top. So it was a big 9-iron for me there. Hit it probably almost as hard as I could just to get it back there. I was trying to take that aim. I was trying to stuff it in there just to try to make another birdie.
I got a good kick off the right side bank there and left myself a nice uphill putt of about five or six feet.
Q. What was your length of putt on 17?
STEVE STRICKER: It was only about four, five, six inches.
Q. How gratifying is it after yesterday struggling a bit to come back today and really give it a go and have a shot at winning?
STEVE STRICKER: It is. We came out with a goal of shooting 6- or 7-under, my caddie and I, and we ended up shooting the 6. Yesterday really hurt; put me behind the eight ball. I know how difficult it is to win a tournament, let alone a U.S. Open.
I knew, if I could get up there and put a little pressure on him and get to that 9-under number, you just never know. And it did. I had to watch it all the way to the end.
Like I said, there was a couple putts at 15 and 16 I wish I had over again. Could have been a little different. Yeah, excited and happy about the way I played.
Q. Could you talk about your approaches on 15 and 16. What did you use, and how far away were you?
STEVE STRICKER: 15, hit a 3-wood off the tee. I think I had 71 yards to the hole. Hit a lob wedge in there to maybe -- I don't know, it was probably eight, nine feet just right of the hole.
It was a perfect look at it. It was a right-to-left putt, everything you want for a right-handed putter. Just hit a poor putt. Pulled it poorly.
17, I drove it in the left rough, hit a wedge.
Had a decent lie in the rough -- at 16. I'm sorry, had to hit a wedge. I think I had 128 to the front. Yeah, 121, 128 to the front, somewhere in there, 125, but it was uphill about seven, so I just hammered a wedge as hard as I could.
I got up above the hole. We just had a hard time reading that one. We didn't know if it was going to go a little bit straight, left, or right. We really didn't. So not a very good stroke there either, and just noncommittal on what I was doing on that putt in general.
I wish I could have had those two over again and put some better strokes on them.
Q. How often did you look at the scoreboard, if at all?
STEVE STRICKER: I saw it early on in the round when he was 10 or 11, and I was still 4 or 5 at the time. I was five back, I think. Then I didn't really look at it until I went to 16 tee, and I asked Mario, my caddie, I said, where are we? He said, well, you're two back.
At that point, I'm like, okay, game is on, right? Trying to birdie them all coming in. That's kind of the fun part. I'm in a position where I had really nothing to lose and just try to play aggressive and try to make birdies, which is fun. You typically don't play that way in a U.S. Open, but it was fun today.
Q. As the crowd was sensing a comeback, did you hear it in their voices as you were going through the back nine?
STEVE STRICKER: Actually, after I made birdie at 14 I heard someone say, well, we've got a game now or something like that.
I had a feeling I was getting close, and I was just trying to birdie as many as I could.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports