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December 15, 2006

Henrik Stenson


DAVE SENKO: Henrik, thanks for joining us, 7-under going into the weekend. Maybe just talk a little bit about your afternoon and we'll go into questions.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I got off to a good start, birdied the first two and then hit a couple of so-so shots and needed to save par on a few holes. Birdied 8 and bogeyed 9, but things were going pretty good.
I got a bit of a lucky break on 11, ended up with an eagle there, a nice bounce with a 3-wood, and then I just hit probably the worst shot of the day on 12, ended up in a bad lie in the rough and two chips and two putts with a lip-out there. That double bogey sort of threw off the momentum a little bit.
Another bad shot on 14, bogeyed that one. And then I hit a good one and birdied 15. And then again, middle of the fairway on 16 and hit a poor shot left, hit the tree and bounced up, chip and bunker shot and missed a short putt and made a bogey there.
Really hit three bad shots that cost me about five, I guess, so that was -- otherwise it would have been a really good day. It still feels like if you shoot under par you're never doing a bad job out there.

Q. What was your shot sequence on 11?
HENRIK STENSON: 3-wood, 3-wood with a lucky bounce.

Q. What was the putt?
HENRIK STENSON: Probably about eight feet.

Q. On 12 what did you hit?
HENRIK STENSON: I caught a 6-iron short right and two chips in the rough and a lip-out there. Not the best of scores.

Q. What do you call a lucky bounce, and two, how often have you played with Tiger and does the crowd get to you at all or are you okay with the distraction?
HENRIK STENSON: No, the crowds are good. They're a little bit loud at times, but in general they're good. I played with Tiger -- this is probably my fifth round with him in the last year.

Q. Could you describe what you call a lucky bounce?
HENRIK STENSON: We had one each because he hit a really poor tee shot left on 11 and it stayed in bounds there, and then I carried it on the second shot right short right of the bunker and it flipped over the bunker and almost went in the hole somebody said, ended up about eight feet by the hole.

Q. You had a four-shot lead over Tiger at one point. On the back nine when Tiger is kind of making his charge, did you feel yourself almost kind of pressing a little bit?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm not sure. I think I was 10 and he was 7?

Q. I think at one point you were 9 and he was 5.
HENRIK STENSON: After 8, yeah.

Q. But when he was sort of making the charge and he went birdie, birdie, do you find yourself almost unavoidably pressing a little bit?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I just try and play my game. He's a fantastic putter. I think the putting and his trouble shots are probably the two things I admire the most in his game, and I know there's always going to be one or two long ones finding the right line. He threw both at 9 and 10. It's no surprise anymore that he makes those kind of putts.
So I just try and focus on my game. It didn't feel great swinging the club today, so I just tried to stay in there and do my best. I think I handled my bad shots pretty good. The head stayed on.

Q. Can you take us through 5 and where your ball was in comparison to Tiger?
HENRIK STENSON: On 5? Yeah, we were both in the trees there, and neither one of us had a very good lie. They were pretty awkward ones, and he had to go backwards and I had a little whip around the hip there to try and get it out forward, and I managed to get it out over the bunker so I could reach in three. Then he hit the flag and then he chipped in.

Q. When he makes a shot like that, does that kind of affect you at all?
HENRIK STENSON: No. I mean, sure, if we were playing the 71st hole on Sunday and we're all square or he's one behind and he chips in, of course it's going to affect me. But it's still a very long way to go. We're on the fifth hole in the second round. If he makes it or not, it's not going to affect my game that much.

Q. We've discussed how many non-Americans are on the PGA TOUR, a lot of Australians, Europeans, et cetera. Do you find any negative reaction from the crowd out there either playing with a guy as popular as Tiger or just playing at all, any anti-foreign spirit you might say?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, if you have a tree full of apples there's always going to be one bad apple, right, so there could be somebody clapping when the ball is off the green or something, but it's nothing that I pay too much attention to. As I said, the crowds are in general very good and supportive of good shots, and they want to see good golf. Of course they're going to cheer for Tiger, not for me.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: No, I don't think so, no. I wouldn't say that.

Q. A general question about pre-shot routine. Do you model your pre-shot routine after anybody you were watching when you were growing up, and second part is what are you trying to accomplish with your pre-shot routine?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, no, just sort of throughout the years I've worked on different things. I mean, I normally have -- like now, for instance, I'm trying to get a feeling in the swing, so that's what I'm doing before I sort of get into the ball. It's more probably the mental routine before I decide what I want to do, where I want to pitch the ball and what type of shot I want to play, and then I just try and step up there and do it.
That's what Tiger does the best. I mean, he's not holding back on any -- I mean, he just sees the shot and he goes after it. That's sort of the optimum.

Q. I know it's early days for you with Fanny on your bag, but could you talk a little bit about her influence, her experience, particularly when you have a bad hole or the going is a little rough?
HENRIK STENSON: She's a great girl and we're having good fun out there. I mean, she's very professional and I know she puts all the hard work and all the hours in to give me the best information when we're out there. I really appreciate that she puts the effort in and tries to be as prepared as possible. You know, she's been there, she's won four majors, so I'm going to try and make it at least five for her and my first. I mean, that's what we're aiming for. It's just great to have her on board.

Q. It seems like your confidence has really risen. Was there a point that it really got you to the top and you know you belong and you're really playing well all the time now?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I think back in '05 I had a very good season, a lot of good tournaments, but I didn't win any, so I came really close and lost a couple of playoffs and stuff like that. I felt like during the '05 season I established myself in the top in Europe and also been moving in the right direction in the World Rankings. Sort of throughout this year I've gone from probably 35th to just outside top 10, and before that it was about 145 to 30.

Q. How is the ball change going? Are you feeling any difference at all?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, there's always a slight difference. I'm really happy with the ball. This one feels slightly softer than the one I played before, but it still sort of travels the same distance. My clubs are -- irons are now two degrees weaker in the loft. I hit it a little bit shorter with the irons, and that's a little bit to get used to. But no, it feels good. I'm happy with the change. It's gone very smooth.

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