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December 14, 2006

Henrik Stenson


DAVE SENKO: Henrik, just maybe get us started. You've got to be pretty happy with 6-under today.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, absolutely. It's a great score, and I might have done it slightly different than planned because I didn't get it going on the par 5s early, which I think is the key around this course normally, and I just made -- I think I made three birdies on the par 3s today. Iron shots were good and didn't get the putter going early on, either, but certainly on the back nine, made a couple in a row there and had some good iron shots, so it was pretty solid.
DAVE SENKO: Go through your birdies starting at 3, shot sequence.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I hit too much club there in the back of the green, it was a long one, so I made probably a 30-footer for birdie.
10, I hit a six-footer. It was a 3-wood, sand iron.
13, short-sided myself right and had to chip it up on the green and made a long one, 25 feet, 30 feet.
15, par 3, hit a good 6-iron to about ten feet.
Next one, I hit the green in two, two-putted for birdie.
Then hit an 8-iron to about eight feet on 17.
I just had a really good chance on 18, as well, that just slipped by.

Q. How far was your putt on 18?
HENRIK STENSON: It was probably about 12 feet.

Q. It's been a long, long season for you. Is there any element of tiredness there and is that a factor at all today, after last week especially in Barbados?
HENRIK STENSON: Not on the course, but I'm definitely running on fumes. This is my 31st event this year, so I'm in good need of a break, and I'm having one right after this tournament. I hope I can finish up the season with a good week here and get some rest and get ready for next year. We've got a team in Thailand and then we'll play three weeks in the Middle East. It's going to be sort of a Middle East swing, my home tournaments down there.

Q. Having played as much as you have, what was the allure of coming to this tournament? What made you decide to put this on the schedule so late in the year?
HENRIK STENSON: I mean, it's both -- I played both Sun City and this week that I didn't know of when I put my schedule down early this year. But you're not turning down these great events with a limited field and a good course and everything is well-organized. It's not an option to turn this week down.

Q. Any concern -- you mentioned you're kind of running on fumes. Will you kind of cut back on the practice this week, not do much to try and stay fresh?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I sort of had Monday off, last week had Monday off and half of Tuesday, and this week I had both Monday and Tuesday off. If we kept on going, I probably wouldn't even have started on Thursday.
Yeah, the clubs are away now. I'm not hitting a single shot afterwards, just try and conserve the energy I've got and use it on the course.

Q. Could you go through your travel routes starting with South Africa?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I was sort of looking at it before I left from Dubai, going to South Africa, and I came up with probably just over 60 hours in a plane for these three weeks, from Dubai to South Africa and through London to Barbados to here and then back to New York and back to Dubai. We've got a few air miles.

Q. How many miles do you think it is?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't know miles, but it's about 60 hours in the air. It's just a little bit more than the average drive (laughter).

Q. I suppose it's easier to keep going when you get off to a great start like you have today?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, definitely. I've had a lot of really good finishes and wins have been when I've had a strong first round and then sort of kept going on the momentum, so hopefully this can be another one just the same.

Q. It's a fun event, though. Have you managed to play any practical jokes on any of the guys here this week?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I just had a blast yesterday with the boys in the Pro-Am. This one lady, she was going to take a picture of her husband and myself, and she had the digital camera turned around. We were watching on the screen, and she took the picture of her own face (laughter). I mean, that sort of lightened up the whole thing a little bit. She's going to be excited that I mentioned that in the press.

Q. What about your long-term goals? I mean, you've obviously come on a huge amount in the last couple of years. What kind of ambitions or targets have you set for yourself for the 12 months ahead?
HENRIK STENSON: I mean, I would like to try and improve my World Ranking and break into the Top 10. I mean, I've been 11th at best, and I think I'm currently in 12th. I feel like I've established myself as a strong player up among the top 20 in the world now, so just try and improve on that and get inside the top 10, and my long-term goals are to improve on the majors. I want to be up there in the big events and hopefully win a few.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, PGA was good because I struggled a little bit this summer, so I just got it back on pretty good form there. I didn't play well enough for four rounds, and the week after I had a bad start at the Bridgestone Invitational and played bad on the weekend, but it still gave me a bit of confidence back, and then I went on to win in Germany the following week. It was sort of a bit of a kick-start at the PGA and then I played well at the Ryder Cup and the weeks after, as well.
It's been a great year for me, and I played well early and then struggled a little bit over the summertime and got it going in the fall again. Hopefully we can play well all year round next year.

Q. You mentioned you didn't quite take advantage of the par 5s early today. What sort of kick-started you this afternoon?
HENRIK STENSON: I made the long putt on 3 and then sort of nothing happened on the front nine, and then made the birdie on 10, a little bit you expect yourself to make a birdie on that hole. Then it was probably that long putt I made on 13 that got me to 3-under, then had some good shots from there on in and made the putts.
I'd say that putt sort of got it going a little bit.

Q. Just curious, the Europeans and Australians, a lot of the golfers have become pretty popular here in the States, and I'm wondering especially the last couple years you've had, can you walk into a coffee shop here and get recognized, or off the golf course do people tend to not notice you?
HENRIK STENSON: I can do whatever I want off the golf course and nobody would recognize me, no.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, more and more I'd say, but I think it's sort of still very related to golf course. If they see me in Dubai or Sweden and they see me at a golf course, they recognize me, but not so much off the course, which is nice.

Q. Has there been any benefits from sinking the winning putt in the Ryder Cup, psychological?
HENRIK STENSON: I think it was just an unbelievable week. I mean, the crowds, and we said that often, when are we going to play in front of home crowds again that good, if we're ever going to do it. It was just a great experience, and that's just a small little bonus getting mentioned a few extra times, holing that putt. But we would have won with or without it, so it doesn't mean that much to me.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: A little bit. I mean, it's been mentioned a few times. I remember McGinley's putt was shown quite a lot on telly after the Belfry, but that was in a slightly different situation, as well. The match was much tighter.
But it's just nice to be part of the European team and to be able to win it on home soil.

Q. Do you look upon last week in Barbados, disappointment there, but was it a missed opportunity to enter a playoff for the World Cup or a great comeback by you and Carl?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I hit some bad shots early on there. It was just pouring down on the first tee. You're running out there trying to get it over with on the second, trying to slow it down, and I managed to do that and it plugged in the bunker. We got off to a bad start and then worked our way back, and with the birdies on 12 and 13 we were right there, and then we just -- very disappointing that we couldn't make any birdies on 14, 15 or 16, and then we obviously bogeyed the last. It was disappointing.
It was still a good week, but would have wished for more having tied 2nd last year and just missing out on a playoff. But third time will be lucky next year.

Q. You mentioned being mentioned out on the street in Sweden. All the crowds following Tiger this week and John Daly, et cetera, tell me about your gallery today. How big was it or how small was it?
HENRIK STENSON: It wasn't that much spectators on the front nine. There were a few brave ones. Then as groups finished, certainly there was a bit more crowd on the back nine. I think we'll get more on the weekend. I don't know who I will be playing with tomorrow. Tiger? I'll have my crowds tomorrow, don't worry about it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'm taking up membership. I'd say I'll play 50/50 sort of between American and Europe, mainly from the Match Play up until the U.S. Open I'm mainly going to play in America.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: No, I played well enough this year to sort of get my card for next year.

Q. You didn't use the driver very often, I think, playing with Tiger in the Firestone I think maybe it was last year. Did you use the driver much today and will you be using it much tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: There are a few drives out there on the par 5s mainly, and that was the funny thing, odd thing today. I hit good tee shots on the par 5s but I managed to end up with 25-footers at best for birdie. So that was a bit weird to hit good tee shots and not being able to take advantage of them. But hopefully tomorrow -- it's going to be mainly on the par 5s where I hit driver, otherwise it's a lot of strategical tee shots around this course.

Q. How many times have you played with Tiger and what's it like playing with him, not only him but the galleries?
HENRIK STENSON: I played at the American Express in '05, played the first two rounds this year at Dubai, and I played with him in China at the HSBC tournament in China. In China it wasn't that good because the crowd was just wild.
Otherwise I enjoy playing with him. He's great to play with and obviously the best golfer in the world, so I really enjoy it, and I think the crowds are going to be a bit more behaved here tomorrow. There was a lot of mobile phones and cameras in China, so it got a little bit annoying in the end for everybody in the group. Everybody is looking forward to it.

End of FastScripts…

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