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July 5, 2007

Niclas Fasth


NICLAS FASTH: I'm feeling confident and comfortable with my game. In spite of to the getting the win until just recently, I've had a few tournaments and I've felt pretty good about my game.

Q. How did you feel coming off the 18th green at Oakmont, a tournament that beat up an awful lot of players and you played so well.
NICLAS FASTH: I felt deflated, like we got it done. I knew I was one or two shots back and that's how it finished. I gave it a really strong effort. It might have worked. Anything happens down the stretch at the U.S. Open when it's playing that hard. I knew that one more birdie and maybe, maybe. But I did have a couple bogeys too many in the last round but can't really complain. I was really happy about my effort there.

Q. Winner of the BMW International, coming here to trying conditions, how difficult is it out there; how close is it to being unplayable?
NICLAS FASTH: It was nowhere near unplayable this morning. It is wet and soggy but they have set it up so we avoided the worst area; and fair enough, I played all right. You feel it's okay. But no, it was nowhere near unplayable this morning. It would have to rain much more, but I guess it will.
I think they have done a good job. The greens are holding up so good and that will be a key factor for the rest of the week.

Q. Off to a flyer here; the form is obviously in very good shape.
NICLAS FASTH: Yeah, I am on form, very much so. You know, it's been building up all year. I was very happy with the way I came out playing early in the year. I didn't get the win, but I was up there contending a few times and had a few good tournaments. The win didn't come until just recently.
But in general this year I've been very, very happy and I'm more comfortable on the course. The swing is a bit more stable. Haven't really done anything -- it's more of a mental thing. I'm just settled a bit. A little bit here, a little bit there, the game is generally stronger.

Q. The weather very different to Oakmont and Germany; how are you coping and how is the course coping?
NICLAS FASTH: The greens are fantastic. You almost can't tell it's been raining, which is a huge testament to the people here setting it all up for us. It's fantastic.
The course is nowhere near unplayable this morning. It was fine. It will take a bit more rain before it gets anywhere near unplayable but it's a matter of how much we get.

Q. You were very close at Lytham and very close at Oakmont; do you consider yourself a real major contender now?
NICLAS FASTH: Well, I wouldn't be one of the favourites to win a major. I wouldn't go that far yet.
The one thing that would be in my favour is I've shown that I can finish it off, both in normal tournaments and I've shown in majors that I certainly don't back off. You know, I might just pull it off if I get in contention. The form is good, which helps.
But there's going to be one or two good players there, and although hardly I'm one of the favourites, fair enough. I'm happy with the fact that I know that I can win if I get in contention the last day. That's quite exciting at least.

Q. You like being a front runner, don't you?

Q. You've said in the past, three wins last year, three the year before, it's been a real progression for you, hasn't it?
NICLAS FASTH: Yes, I seem to settle a bit better starting a few years ago then. But it's still been inconsistent the last few years. I've had two wins a year the last couple of seasons and that's obviously wonderful, but it's been very inconsistent. I've had a lot of rather average tournaments as well, and it's been frustrating being inconsistent.
But I knew pretty much what I wanted to achieve for this season and it had to do a lot with just settle in mentally and allow the swing to do the same and the putting stroke and everything; it follows.
So I've been very happy with how I've done things this year.

Q. How did you achieve that mental state?
NICLAS FASTH: Well, you put your mind to it. I have, you know, a fair bit of education back from days in the national team, and I've always done -- like, what do you say, psychological training, mental training and I know how to control the mind to some degree. All of that helps, a bit, but you can't do anything and just like that.
But a chief what I wanted to do over the winter and it has -- it has worked. I just felt that I didn't quite get the most out of my game during the spring, but I was playing well, and I was contending in some tournaments and had a few really good tournaments.

Q. What's the worst weather you've ever played in in Sweden?
NICLAS FASTH: In Sweden? Well, I played in snow.

Q. How bad was the temperature -- with a Red Bull?
NICLAS FASTH: I don't know, I might have tried that when I was young.
Sometimes in Sweden, you go with friends in the winter, you go down on the coast southwest coast near Barsbek or these places and when you come down there, it happens to be just below freezing and it wasn't what you planned, but you still go ahead and play 18 holes. We've all done that, playing onto frozen greens, not the best quality golf.

Q. So this is all right.
NICLAS FASTH: This is all right. It's a bit miserable to be fair, the rain is coming on and on and on.
Once you're in the tournament, you just pull through and just keep playing, don't you. I'm heading for a bath and a bed right now. You know, I've done my part today.

Q. When was the last time you hunted in those?
NICLAS FASTH: That would be, I guess, four years ago. So I've not been very active the last few years. I live in England now, and no moose.

Q. No moose is good moose. (Unintelligible).
NICLAS FASTH: Moose are nice.

Q. Are you aware of the World Match Play points situation?
NICLAS FASTH: No. But I'm not -- now that you bring it up, I don't really know how it works. You know, these things, if you play well enough, they sort out. If you don't, they don't sort out. You really don't have to be too concerned with it.
I know a couple of years ago, I was told, I think before the BMW that that that was the last event counting for it, that if I went there and finished top two or three, that I would actually get in. I think I finished fourth.

Q. It's top five or six this week, if you wanted to know.
NICLAS FASTH: Not that it will actually change my game. (Laughter).

Q. Your mental strength, you're proud of your mental strength and you accept that that's a strong part of your game?

Q. And why are you more mentally strong than others?
NICLAS FASTH: Well, part of it is knowledge and practise and part of it is natural imagine, just like any other area of the game.

Q. And part of it is working with people down the years?

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