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January 17, 2008

Henrik Stenson


Q. This course is as tough as they can make it, how come you managed to overpower it with a five under par score?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm not sure I overpowered it but I definitely overputted it on the last there (the ninth) and I made another couple of good putts which made a difference and I played my way nicely round the course today. I didn't feel that comfortable with the driver and so I hit a lot of three woods and I hit the fairways too and kept the ball in play and took it from there.

Q. Is this a clear indication that a long hitter is going to win this week?

Q. It would be some hat-trick for you in the desert?
HENRIK STENSON: Yes it would be. It is definitely one of my goals to win this championship in the future and if it is in the near future, ie Sunday, nobody would be happier than me.

Q. What is your inspiration about being in this part of the world?
HENRIK STENSON: It is obviously home for me, I have my home in Dubai and this is just up the road from there so it is good to be back and getting started again. I didn't have much of a break, I had two weeks off in Orlando with the family, that was about it and then I went to Hawaii for a bit of rain and then came down here for a bit of rain too! But it is clearing up now so I am sure it is going to be a good weekend.

Q. You had a great start last year but didn't really push on from there, will this year be different?
HENRIK STENSON: Well I will just try and prepare better for the Majors this year. I am playing a little bit less in '08 than in '07 and '06 which will hopefully give me more time to relax and prepare for the big events.

Q. You are still working with Pete Cowen, how is that going?
HENRIK STENSON: I feel I am hitting my iron shots a lot better today. The driver wasn't behaving itself so much but I played the way round with the three wood which worked well.

Q. The course is different a bit this year and the rough is brutal?
HENRIK STENSON: Yes the key here is to stay out of the rough here, this is the thickest rough we have seen here and the thickest I've played all year! Another thing that delighted me most was my putting out there. I had struggled a little bit in the past couple of months but I made four really long putts out there today and that made the difference to my score.

Q. Can this push you on to forget about some of the disappointments of the end of last year?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, realistically, I think the only disappointment of last year was the big events and the majors and I am trying to work in a better way to prepare for them. I am playing less for a start. I have dropped my PGA membership for this upcoming season and I am going to try and play only about 25 tournaments this year. I played 30 in 07 and 31 in 06 so that is the main thing, give myself a little bit more time to rest and prepare for them. A lot of the time I felt last year that I was standing at the US Open and the British Open on the Tuesday and Wednesday trying to find something to play with that week which is never the recipe to do well in those tournaments, you have to be under control when you get there.

Q. Can you talk about your decision to abandon your US membership?
HENRIK STENSON: Well it was a couple of things really, just to play a few tournaments less and having that added pressure on your back all the time over there to play 15 tournaments, that is not a great feeling especially if you get into a bit of a slump in the summer like I did, you never feel you have time to take time off to work on your game, you constantly feel you have to play to keep your numbers up and then it is also a Ryder Cup year this year and I want to be able to qualify for the team again and the way the US schedule was when I made my decision, it was four weeks FedEx Cup leading into the Ryder Cup so that wouldn't have worked out for me if I made the team. There has been more travelleing last year as well, more long haul flights which don't do much for you and I have a young family as well now. I don't mind being back home a week or two more with my little girl, and my big one as well!

Q. Did you discuss this with other players?
HENRIK STENSON: Not really, it was down to me and to what felt right for me and I'm really happy. I still have my exemption for 09 and 10 in America so I can take up membership next year if I feel this is the way forward so I kind of feel I am in a good position. Leading up to the Masters now, I will play these three down here, then the Match Play and Doral. I only had two weeks of a Christmas break so I will take some time now and be fresh coming into the summer. Historically summer has been my weakest point and it might not only be down to allergies, maybe playing too much has been the problem. You can only try different things, evaluate them and move on.

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