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January 16, 2007

Henrik Stenson


GORDON SIMPSON: Henrik, welcome to the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. You're very familiar with the Emirates as we know because of your residence. What have you been doing over the last few weeks over Christmas and the New Year?
HENRIK STENSON: Getting married (to Emma). Well, I came back here on the 19th of December from Tiger's tournament and kept pretty busy with the marriage and all, and then we played in Thailand last week.
GORDON SIMPSON: Where exactly did the ceremony take place?
HENRIK STENSON: At Medina in Dubai, 30th of December, and it was raining.
GORDON SIMPSON: So that's it; you're tied down now?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, but it's good luck when it's raining they say. It didn't feel like it at the time.
GORDON SIMPSON: And from a golfing perspective, have you spent much time with the clubs?
HENRIK STENSON: I was kind of tired after a very long season. I played 31 weeks last year which is probably a few too many for me.
Then I put the clubs away and played around on the 5th of January and headed for Thailand on the 9th. Maybe haven't played and practised as much as preferred, but still needed a bit of rest and hopefully be ready for these three weeks and this one in particular now.
GORDON SIMPSON: We know you came very close last week so, maybe someone would like to start.

Q. What do you think of the course this year?
HENRIK STENSON: I haven't been out. It looks good. I just putted and played around the practise area so far. It looks to be in excellent condition, and I'm sure we'll get that confirmed tomorrow in the Pro-Am. So that's going to be the only practise round this year.
GORDON SIMPSON: Last year you were second here, won in Qatar and came close in Dubai.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, anything close to that I would be happy with that and it's definitely not impossible to go one better here this year because I managed to do that in Qatar last year to, win after being second the previous year. So I'm looking for a repeat of that.

Q. Anything else you did in the off-season?
HENRIK STENSON: Might as well give you some other news, that there's a little Stenson on the way. So that's probably more interesting than that playing golf, even though she is playing today. She is playing at Emirates today.

Q. Did your wife play professionally?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, she played pro for a few years and she's been working as a teach program probably between 2002 and 2004, three summers in Sweden.
Now it's going to be full-time looking after me and the baby I guess.

Q. When is the baby due?
HENRIK STENSON: First of July.

Q. Did you know Tiger is also expecting a child at the same time?
HENRIK STENSON: It was kind of funny, I asked him when we were playing together at the Target if they were looking to have kids and he said, no. And I knew that we were pregnant and I didn't say anything; so neither one said anything. And then it came out a couple of weeks later that both were having virtually at the same time.
It's going to be very exciting and looking forward to that.

Q. Do you expect a lot of changes?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, that's what everybody says. It's something life-changing, becoming a dad and I guess I will be no different from everybody else. So obviously that's going to be the focus of the summer.
But we planned it very well, even though we didn't plan it like that. It's coming the first part of my three weeks off in the middle of the summer, so things are looking good schedule-wise at least.

Q. Was the number of tournaments in the area a factor in your residence in Dubai?
HENRIK STENSON: That was one thing, having a few tournaments down here and making the distance shorter to Asia and Australia when we played the first and part of the seasons.
Now a couple of years down the line, I'm going to play a bit more in America, basing myself part of the year in Orlando. Might be a little bit less time in Europe but still, the practise facilities down here, the fact that I work with Peter Cowen and he's got the academy at Emirates, that gives us a very good place to be and practise in the winter.
I think if you want to be on a high level, you want to have good practise facilities and good weather, and I don't think -- well, maybe America can beat it, but nothing else is touching Dubai in that aspect.

Q. What else do you enjoy about the area, quality of life?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, it's very good. Like anywhere else, if you've got a good golf course and a nice house, life is fairly simple, and I think when the time comes for kids to go to school, they have excellent schools and that might be a choice to stay in Dubai for a very long time. I mean, it's hard to look seven, eight, ten years down the line at the moment.
I'm not thinking about the Senior Tour yet, I promise.

Q. And you like the tournaments?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, that's what we said at the beginning of the sentence.

Q. Does your performance last year encourage you for this year?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, that's the best I've started in a professional tournament, so obviously it's a very confident-giving experience to have that at this golf course, and four rounds of 62 is surely going to be all right.

Q. What were your feelings having time to reflect on your winning Ryder Cup experience?
HENRIK STENSON: It was a great experience, being part of the winning team and to do it in Europe, and in Ireland especially, was something I will remember for always. I'm not sure if I can see myself playing in such a great crowd again. I hope so, but I'm not sure when it's going to be. Because it was something out of the ordinary.

Q. About more confidence going forward.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I've qualified for all the majors and I did so last year. Now that I've got the experience of playing in all of them and knowing a bit more what it takes, I think I'm trying to step up my game in those particular events and try and do some really good results. That's going to be hard but that's definitely one of the aims for this season.

Q. And top get into the too ten?
HENRIK STENSON: In the World Rankings? Yeah, definitely, definitely.

Q. Who else looks to be in good form this week?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, we've got a lot of good players here, and I feel a little bit odd touching the form of players since it's the first week of the year for a lot of guys and I haven't seen what the other guys have been playing for, this they have played something this year.
But I guess somebody out of the Top-20 players in the world that are here will definitely be contending for the victory. I'll be putting my money on anybody inside top 20.
GORDON SIMPSON: Congratulations on your marriage, congratulations on the future arrival. Where's the champagne then?
HENRIK STENSON: I'll bring it tomorrow, I promise.
GORDON SIMPSON: After your 62.
HENRIK STENSON: If we shoot 62, it's going to be champagne afterwards, I promise.
GORDON SIMPSON: We'll hold you to that. Thank you very much and good luck on Thursday.

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