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May 16, 2007

Henrik Stenson


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Henrik Stenson to the interview room, Henrik after a T23 last week at THE PLAYERS Championship, but earlier in the year you started out with a win at the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play, 18th on the FedExCup points list at this point, solid season so far. Maybe just talk a little bit about last week and preparing for this week. Have you had a chance to look at the golf course out there today?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I've played the course, and it looks to be in very good condition. The greens are fine, and I'm looking forward to playing this week. It's a little bit later in the season, and I think that helps, as well, for the course.
I mean, the greens were tough last week. They weren't quite ready I would say. But I think when they get time to settle in down there that they're going to be fine.
So it's a better putting surface this week, and things are looking good.

Q. You played here last year. Can you tell a great difference in the course between the early date last year and this time around?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think it's a little bit later in the year. It gives the course a better chance to be in good condition, and it surely is. No, things are looking good for this week.

Q. Is this a fun course to play? A lot of guys talk about after say The Masters, you go to Harbour Town. That's a fun course to play. Maybe not this year, but after Wachovia and PLAYERS Championship being pretty tough courses, does this kind of give you a little bit of a respite?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it feels like -- I mean, I can't say that you don't need to think around there, but everything -- the greens seem to be a little bit more -- well, a little bit flatter and not as much hard work, so it's -- I mean, the course is quite undulated. There's a lot of slopes. It's a tough golf course. But still, it's slightly different compared to the ones that we just previously played.

Q. Is it a tougher course to play or is it a tougher course to walk?
HENRIK STENSON: A bit of both, but mainly to walk I'd say. There's quite a few hills up there.
But it's good fun. It's a good course. I like it. I played pretty poorly last year, so that's why we're back, to try to get a better result this time around.

Q. I missed the opening question, but what are your thoughts on the course this time of year compared to early April, late March, where it's been previously?
HENRIK STENSON: The greens are much better than last year, so the course is in beautiful condition, and I think that certainly helps, being played a month or two later.

Q. The short par 4 out there, what's your strategy on that? Is that a hole that you can just go after and try to drive the green every time, or do you take something off and try to give yourself a comfortable distance for an approach?
HENRIK STENSON: We go for it. I think it's a driver all day long on that one. It's 13, right? Yeah.

Q. Did you notice in the yardage book what it says for par there if you read the description? I believe it says, "par fun."
HENRIK STENSON: I missed that part, but I enjoy every golf course that has a short par 4, and I think pretty much every course should have one. It gives you the opportunity to make something spectacular if you have to, especially when it's on the back nine. If you make an eagle, you can probably pick up two shots. Yeah, it's a good hole.

Q. Oakmont is a drivable par 4, 288 yards.
HENRIK STENSON: I think I heard there was a par 3 that was a similar distance, as well (laughing). Yeah, that's great, to have a short par 4. It's good fun for the crowd to see something extra happening and also a lot of times it can cost you if you miss it in the wrong place.

Q. What about at Oakmont, 288 yards as a par 3?
HENRIK STENSON: Seems like a long one (laughter). I'm not -- personally I'm not that particularly fond of the long par 3s. I think most of the really good par 3s that we see around the world on the good courses are actually the short ones. I'm not into that strategy of just keep on making long par 3s. I think almost the shorter the better in a way.

Q. Does it take away any of the buzz this week with some of the bigger names not here, and after the stretch of Wachovia, PLAYERS, not to have Tiger here and some other guys taking this week off?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I don't know who -- I've only played it once before, and I don't think Tiger played last year, either, did he, the week before The Masters? Every tournament where he plays is obviously a little bit special, but I think we're going to have a great week nevertheless, and that's the way it works out with the scheduling. Everybody has different schedules, and sometimes you've got to take tournaments off.
I guess with this one being a bit later in the long stretch of events, I guess it's just natural that a few of the guys take a week off. But we're still here, though.

Q. In the past this tournament has been kind of the prelude to the Masters. Stewart Cink suggested earlier maybe it needs to reinvent itself with this new date. Do you have any kind of ideas of what it might do to kind of build that back up?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, this is my first year on the PGA TOUR, so I just know that this is a traditional event that's been going for 35-odd years or something like that, 37 years. I mean, it's a classic on the PGA TOUR schedule, but it's kind of hard for me to say how things are looking at the moment and the spot in the schedule and so on.
It's a well-run tournament and a good course, so I just think it's going to be different from year to year who's in the field and so on.

Q. In terms of putting your schedule together, and particularly for you since you're from overseas, how do you gauge how much your body can do? How many weeks in a row will you play before your playing starts to suffer or your concentration starts to suffer? What is the benchmark for you?
HENRIK STENSON: I think normally it's the head that suffers before the body, but for me it feels pretty good to play three or four in a row and then try to have two weeks off. I've found in the last couple years that I gain more by having at least two weeks off in a row because you've got time to rest and practice and prepare before coming out again. If you've only got one week off, you tend not to have time to practice that much and then you sort of come in a little bit unprepared out to the tournaments again. But about four weeks is a good cycle for me.

Q. Do you believe that a tournament such as this would ever -- whatever qualifications it might have, could suffer because it's at the end of a streak of long well-thought-of tournaments such as Wachovia and PLAYERS?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's always tougher to be right after a major or World Golf Championship or something like that, but that's the way it works out. Some tournament is always going to be there. It's a different year this year compared to the previous ones. I think this is still a good spot because you have a course in very good condition. That's always going to attract players, as well.

Q. Did you have any specific reasons for putting this tournament on your schedule?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, just as we mentioned here, this is the third week out of a four-week stretch for me, and I'm heading back to Europe and playing PGA Championship at Wentworth next week, so it worked out really well for me to play this week. I'm sort of hungry to do better than I did last year.

Q. I was going to ask you, are you going to play exclusively here or are you going to jump back over and play the European Tour?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm playing both sides of the Atlantic, so I guess it will be about the regular events that I play -- will be probably about the same in Europe as over here, and then with six or seven big ones being in America, still more going to be played in the U.S.

Q. Is that a hard balance to strike?
HENRIK STENSON: I mean, I'm still in -- this is my first year I'm a member, and I'm trying it out. The schedule decides a lot, as well, how difficult you make it. It all depends on what tournaments you're trying to play and where they're at in the schedule and so on, but it's worked out pretty good so far.

Q. How does this course match up with your game when you're playing well? Does this course suit your game?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think it's a course that could suit my game well. I mean, I felt I played a bit better last week, and hopefully I can continue to progress this week, as well. I think it's a course where you need to drive the ball well, and if I can get my driver going, I'll see myself hitting probably nine or ten drives out there, and then you can really give yourself some good advantages on some of the holes. So that's my game plan, trying to strike it good off the tee and give myself good birdie chances.

Q. A lot of courses you play on TOUR, and you saw it at Wachovia, it's kind of an older layout, the one here is running through the houses and all. Can this sort of layout where you have to jump in a cart, go from green to tee and then play in between a bunch of houses, can it be a bit distracting and tough to get into your rhythm?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I don't think so. Quite a few of the courses we play, it's in a way made for carts. I think it's not really something that we think about that much. I wasn't thinking at all before you mentioned it (laughing). I'll try to block that out.
No, it's not a big thing.

Q. I saw in the media guide where you list movies as one of your hobbies. Do you go see a lot of movies, or what kind of movies do you like and what's the best thing you've seen lately?
HENRIK STENSON: Ooh, silly thing, tough question. Yeah, I just like -- it's something you do to try and kill time on flights. I just watch a bit of everything. Over here you've got so much on television that it tends to be more television than movies, actually. I always have that Law & Order running on the telly in the evenings, and it just keeps on going, just one episode after another, and that's just on there in the background.
A good one that I watched lately? I've heard that "Blood Diamond" is good. I'm going to see that one. I haven't seen it yet, but that's next on the Pay-Per-View, I guess.

Q. Along the same lines, traveling as much as you do, what kind of routine do you get into when you come into a town? How do you budget your time on a Monday through Sunday basis, hotel, golf course, restaurant, hotel, golf course --
HENRIK STENSON: You pretty much wrapped it up there. After long flights I try to go to the gym or go for a run or something like that, try to loosen up the body a little bit, just try to stay in shape I think helps a lot. I mean, yeah, I think that wears more on your body than people actually think with all the long-haul flights and time differences and so on.
It will be interesting to see how up and running we are when we come to London on Monday morning. Hopefully with a trophy, so that will make it a little bit easier.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Play well this week. Appreciate it.

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