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September 9, 2007

Steve Stricker


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Steve, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the BMW Championship, another awesome round, 11 rounds out of 12 in the 60s during the Playoffs. You've got to be tired.
STEVE STRICKER: (Laughing) it's exciting, but once the tournament is over, you feel like you just -- huge weight is lifted off you. You get tired and mentally drained, and not so much physically drained, but I think more mentally drained than anything. It's been a gas, it's been a lot of fun to be in the mix every week. I don't know, we're on to Atlanta, which is exciting in itself.

Q. You've got a chance to win that FedExCup and that $10 million.
STEVE STRICKER: Yes, and you know, if you would have asked me before this whole playoff system started and say that I would have a chance to win the FedExCup going into the last one, I would have taken it. But I'm very excited about next week. I'm excited the way I'm playing, and I'm looking forward to it.
You know, we're going to have some conditions to deal with down there, but it's going to be the same for everybody, so we're just going to have to deal with that and do the best we can and prepare the best we can and then get on with the tournament.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Questions, please.

Q. What do you do with a guy who shoots like 65, 63 on the weekend? Not a lot you can do.
STEVE STRICKER: No, there isn't a lot you can do. You would have had to match that today to beat him. I would have had to shoot 63 today to beat him. I mean, it's possible, but you have to play mistake-free. Obviously he didn't make very many mistakes, and when you see him ahead of us making the birdies and hearing the roars, you know that he's on a roll and not making many mistakes.
It's tough. You know, it's tough to make some birdies when you have to. He put the pressure on us really to do that, and neither one of us did coming in.

Q. What exactly happened on 12, and at what point did you kind of feel things slipping away from you?
STEVE STRICKER: Probably on -- I was not aiming over there at that pin. I took an extra club. I took a 3-iron and I just tried to chip it and keep it down below the wind and keep it on the center of the green and make my par and get out of there. Obviously I saw him make the birdie there, and it looked like he looked back to make sure that we were watching him (laughter) make the birdie.
So I saw that, and I just didn't complete my swing, really, on the way through. You know, I just hung it out to the right. I didn't think it was going to be all that bad until it caught the edge of that tree and kicked it back down the fairway, and I thought, well, maybe if it lands in the bunker I can get it up-and-down or whatever. But I didn't get a very good bounce.
At that point I knew it was going to be tough. I mean, Tiger doesn't make too many mistakes. You know, making birdies at that point was going to be difficult trying to catch him because he has a par 5 coming up, which I'm thinking he's going to make birdie there. I think he birdied 13, as well, didn't he? Yeah, it was just -- at that point playing catch-up to Tiger is tough to do.

Q. Can you talk about what it was like walking up the 18th in front of a crowd that they know where you come from and they're really pulling for you?
STEVE STRICKER: It's a great atmosphere for me. I don't get this very often. Being a couple hours away from home and where I went to school at U of I is great for me. I get a lot of support and see a lot of family and friends. Like I said, I don't get this opportunity very often to play in front of family and friends. It was a special week, it really was.
I really take a lot out of this week again. The first couple rounds playing with Tiger was very rewarding for me. I learned a lot, I learned how to deal with being in his group. I felt comfortable with that.
That in itself I take a lot out of. Not only is it a third-place finish, but playing well with him was important, too.

Q. When is the last time you played on sand-based greens?
STEVE STRICKER: Sand-based greens? I don't think I've ever played on sand-based greens. Is that what we're looking at next week? I don't know. It doesn't sound good, but it is what it is. We're all going to have to make the best out of it. Obviously it's not what they wanted, it's not what we wanted, but there's no sense complaining about it or feeling bad about it. It is what it is and we've got to go and deal with it.
I think it's going to take the person who deals with it the best. If it is the way they're making it sound, if it is that bad, whoever is going to deal with it the best and maybe handle the rejections of maybe hitting a good putt and watching it bounce away from the cup, it's going to be the guy who handles that the best who may end up playing well.

Q. You don't think anyone is going to complain next week, do you?
STEVE STRICKER: There will probably be some complaining. But what can you do? All that heat that they had for all that time, you can't blame them for it. We're just going to have to deal with it.

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