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January 5, 2008

Steve Stricker


STEWART MOORE: 2007 Comeback Player of the Year Steve Stricker. Thanks for spending a few moments with us in the interview room at the Mercedes-Benz Championship.
Just looking at your score card through 13 holes of your second round you were even par for this tournament and now you're 9-under, right in the thick of things. What seemed to click?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm not sure. I finished good yesterday. I made four birdies, 14 through 17, and just got on a little bit of a roll. I feel some momentum. I came out today looking to continue with that momentum, and then bogeying the second kind of derailed me a little bit. But I got back on it again and made a couple good birdies on the par 5s on the front side. Just I've been feeling like I'm hitting it okay, and just some of the putts started going in.
STEWART MOORE: As the week has progressed the course has gotten a little easier. I think we only have one score today over par. Has it been drying out, easier pin positions? What have you noticed?
STEVE STRICKER: I think we're just three rounds into the tournament, and I think the first day guys are trying to figure out what they have for a game, the first tournament of the year and most of the guys coming off a long break. Everybody is just kind of a little unsure about their game and everything. And the conditions have remained pretty much the same every day. They're not drying out or anything. It's actually still very, very wet.
And I think it's been the same conditions, the same wind direction every day, and I think we're all just getting a little more familiar with the course and the conditions and with our games.

Q. If you could just talk in general about the leaderboard, it looks fairly wide open for the first tournament of the year.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, and I imagine Mike will probably make one more coming in, you know. But there's a lot of guys that have an opportunity tomorrow. You know, going out and -- for me, 9-under probably three or four shots back, it's going to take a real low one to catch him. But it's out there. If you can get off to a good start around here, it's definitely -- there's some low scores to be had. I think the key, especially for me tomorrow, is to get off to a good start and get under par early. Like you said, too, there's a lot of guys that have an opportunity tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what it means to be back here after the year you had last year and everything?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it's just been great. It's been six years since I've been here. You know, you wonder if you're ever going to win again, whether you're ever going to get back here again. I have my daughter at home thinking as soon as I win we get to go to Hawaii, so there's a little bit of pressure there trying to win so we can come over and play and participate in this.
It's been a lot of fun, and it's -- you definitely want to make this your first tournament of the year every year if it's possible. It's a great place to start the year.

Q. Is there any similarity to the feel you got when you got to Augusta? You kind of soaked it in. It had been awhile since being there. Any similarities this week with the emotions when you got here, seeing the place again?
STEVE STRICKER: I was happy to be here, but I came here thinking about winning this time. I didn't think about coming here and having just a good time, which I am having a good time, but I wanted to put a little more emphasis on trying to get off to a good start this year and trying to get in contention this first week of the year.
You know, I still haven't practiced after the rounds and stuff like that, where you just go back and spend the time with the family and everything, but I really came here looking to try to get in contention this first week and to try to get a win.

Q. How did you manage to get your daughter to the golf course with all the other stuff to do over here?
STEVE STRICKER: They don't come here very much (laughter). They see me walk down the last hole, and that's about it (laughter). But they spend their time and their day at the beach, which I can't blame them. The course is hard enough to walk as it is. You know, it's nice that they just come out for that last half a hole to see me finish, I guess (laughter).

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