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February 1, 2008

Henrik Stenson


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Difficult to discuss your position in the tournament with half the field to complete their round but a good day for you.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, absolutely. It was really cold and windy this morning, and yeah, I felt like maybe on the last couple of holes, the wind dropped a little bit, but it's still pretty tricky out there and we're just going to have to wait and see what happens in the afternoon in regards to position on the score I'm on.
But I was happy with the come back, shot 2-under on the front nine and the birdied on 18, so played the last ten holes in 3-under, so that was a good come back. I think the difficult part was pacing on the greens, really, because even though they only single-cut the greens this morning, they are still very, very quick and with those strong winds, it was tricky to putt.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Short game was quite strong, as well today.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, obviously in gusty conditions, you're always going to miss a couple of extra greens. I made two really good up-and-downs coming in and a couple along the way as well. So it was good scoring.

Q. In terms of bad weather in Dubai, how bad is this?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's not a great day in Dubai if you're here to enjoy the sun.

Q. But just in general.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, we don't have too many days like this. Obviously it was a little bit towards this last year at the final day, and there's always going to be a couple of bad days in a year. But it's very rare to have strong winds like this. I'm just happy that it's not coming from the desert because by this time we would be covered in sand by now.

Q. I was going to ask to you compare today's round with the final round last year.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it was probably even a little bit harder today. It was blowing a little bit stronger this morning. But in a sense, it was not too far off. So hopefully we'll straighten out the next two days.

Q. Any trouble with keeping the ball still on the greens and wobbling at all anywhere?
HENRIK STENSON: In the beginning it looked like it was shaking a little bit, but it was -- we didn't have any movement in our group. Not any of the balls started to go.
But it's just really awkward to stand over those 3-footers in the crosswind and pants are flopping and the putter feels like it wants to live its own life really, so it's just tricky to putt. Especially when the greens are that quick, as they still are, because I think they were like 12 on the Stimp yesterday and they managed to slow them down a little bit, but still 11, which is a very quick speed even though we putted on nine last week. So, it's difficult.

Q. And what about the sand blowing in your eyes and face, what do you do about that?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I play with my goggles. I had my glasses on for probably the last 12, 13 holes of the round, something like that. Early on it was still kind of dark so it was a little bit hard. But that's always a good thing, because I always play with them, it's nice to wear with them on a day like this. I actually swallowed something from the tree on the 7th tee box. It was flying straight into my mouth.

Q. Where does it settle?
HENRIK STENSON: (Rubbing stomach) In my tummy. (Laughter).

Q. The two bogeys that came your way, can you just tell us about that?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I just hit a little bit long on 12 and left myself a difficult downhill putt there that I 3-putted and then on next was probably the worst hole of the day on 13.
I was in a good position and miscalculated the wind a little bit and hit a so-so shot and came out short right of the bunker on 13 and pitched it in and left myself probably a 20-footer downhill, and I knocked that one four feet by and missed the return. So that was, you know, a bad lesson to make a 6 on a short par 5, really. That was probably the one thing I was most disappointed with during this round, but as I said, I came back strong from there on.

Q. When you fight in a round like this, you keep fighting and then you see that the conditions are improving for the second batch, how do you concern yourself? What do you say to yourself?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, there's nothing you can do. There's always going to be these things. You know, sometimes you're on the better side of the draw or not, and it's still yet to show which one is the best one.
You know, it's nothing to do. I'm finished. I've done my golf for the day and I'll just take it from there on, whatever the situation is going to be.

Q. What is it that suits you so much about desert golf?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't know, I think it's just a time -- obviously being based here gives you the feeling that you're at home and I'm very familiar with the golf course, not just this one but also Abu Dhabi and the one in Doha.
So it's always a bit easier to come back to courses where you've played in the past and I've played well at, was well, so that gives another positive, and then at this time of the year, really up and running again in the season, start strongly and I get to see Pete and Torsten and do a bit of work before the tournaments, so that seems to jump start it every year.

Q. And it sets you up well for the accurate ten tour, set you up well last year, and now.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, that one is probably even harder to predict because it's a match play tournament. It's always nice to come back again where you have done well and, yeah, we can only try our best.

Q. Looking back, you won two events last year, you've had a few solid finishes; how can you compare the position you were in last year, were you any better?
HENRIK STENSON: Last year I was striking the ball a little bit more solid but short game is just as good and I've been putting better for these previous two weeks than I had done in the past.
So you know, might be slight different parts of the game that are not very sharp at the moment, but no, I've been very happy with the way the season started and again, I played in Hawaii so I had a couple of competitive rounds even though I was playing pretty poorly in Hawaii. I was still a couple of rounds on the course before these tournaments started, and that always feels like a good thing for me to get going with a couple of competitive rounds before starting out here.

Q. Apart from the golf, do you embrace desert culture at all and go hiking in the desert?
HENRIK STENSON: No, actually there's a few things that I haven't been able to do yet, and go -- I've been out in the desert but not on a proper sort of dune safari, so that's yet to come.
I mean, there's always things to explore, and I haven't gone skiing on the sand yet, and not indoors, either, to be honest.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Henrik, well done. Thank you very much.

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