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February 21, 2008

Steve Stricker


LAURA NEAL: Steve, thanks for coming in. Took a little extra to get it done today. Want to just talk us through what happened out there.
STEVE STRICKER: Another great match I had this time with Hunter Mahan, again, went to the 20th hole. Definitely getting my money's worth out of this event, I guess, two days in a row going to the 20th hole.
Another great match. We made a lot of birdies. We each made some clutch putts against one another to keep the match going. You know, somehow I made that bomb at No. 2 to win the match.

Q. I'm guessing you probably thought you had him at 18 when you stick it in there to gimme range and then he threw it right in on top of you from 15 feet or something?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, you want to feel good, but yet, I told Tom, I'm like, let's just be prepared to go to No. 1 because I just had the feeling in this match that no one was really going to give it away, and he slammed it right in there. There was no doubt about that one.
You know, so we were somewhat prepared to go back out there again.

Q. Were you worried at all with the pace of that putt if it didn't hit the hole?
STEVE STRICKER: My putt? Yeah (laughter).

Q. Can you elaborate?
STEVE STRICKER: It was going fast. But it looked good the whole way. I mean, I got a good read off of his. I told myself to be a little aggressive, not that I felt like I was going to make it, but the last thing I wanted to do was leave it four, five feet above that hole and then have that coming back.
If mine doesn't hit the hole, I'll tell you what, I'm probably past him, for sure. I don't know whether it stays on that edge of that green or not. I mean, it was really fast. But it went right in the middle.

Q. You've played 40 holes in two days. Jonathan Byrd has played 27. Does that matter?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm in great shape (laughter). Not really. I'm not in great shape; that was a joke (laughter).

Q. Are we talking physically here or the fact that you're still playing?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm still playing; that's the key to this event, no matter how many holes you go. The key is to be standing and going on to the next day, no matter how many holes, I guess. I feel fortunate.
I have not been down, I don't think, in either match. That's a good thing. You know, I've been making a lot of birdies. I haven't been making any mistakes these first couple of days, so I just hope to continue with that, just keep making pars and birdies.

Q. Any bogeys today?
STEVE STRICKER: I didn't putt out a par putt, you know, on No. 10.

Q. If it's inside 20 usually --
STEVE STRICKER: It was about 15. He was in there tight and I tried to go and tried to hole my chip -- anyways, but I didn't putt it out. Other than that, there wasn't any other bogeys.

Q. You and Hunter played three times, did you, in Montreal?
STEVE STRICKER: Two for sure. Might have been only twice. We won one and lost one, I think. I know I played with Verplank, maybe Hunter again.

Q. Were you the first guys off the first day?
STEVE STRICKER: Yes, we were.

Q. He hit the first ball?
STEVE STRICKER: He hit the first ball.

Q. And his bag broke?
STEVE STRICKER: That's right. But a great player. I mean, I was -- like I said yesterday, they're all tough matches, but he's got a lot of talent. He drives it straight. He putts it good. He's a good iron player, just a good all-around player.

Q. Is there anything such as momentum in this tournament? And I guess what I mean by that is after Australia, I think you probably lost the first round each time since then, right?
STEVE STRICKER: I may have gotten to the second round one time.

Q. Can you build or are you starting from scratch each day?
STEVE STRICKER: No, I think you can build in this event. I definitely feel some momentum after going two matches and taking 20 holes to win. I definitely feel like I have some momentum, and I feel good about the way I'm hitting it, I feel good about the way I'm putting it, and I just want to continue what I've been doing.

Q. Any thoughts on Cabrera?
STEVE STRICKER: I know he hits it long. I haven't played with him much at all, but I'm going to have to do the same. I'm going to have to make a lot of birdies, and he's going to be aggressive on those short holes where he can drive it. He's going to get to all the par-5s. And I know that; I know that going into those par-5s and short par-4s. I'm just going to have to do it with my wedge and my putter.
You know, there's nothing different. I played with Daniel Chopra and Hunter; both those guys hit it past me. But I really feel like if I can hit good irons, I can put a lot of pressure on these guys who hit it past me because I can hit it in there first and all of a sudden it kind of forces their hand a little bit.

Q. Where was he at Oakmont in relation to you, group-wise?
STEVE STRICKER: Maybe a couple behind me.

Q. You finished ahead of him?
STEVE STRICKER: I finished ahead of him, I think, yeah.

Q. Do you have a particular strategy for giving putts, when to give, what a gimme should be or could go?
STEVE STRICKER: No, these greens are so pure that two and three-footers look like you should give it to the guy. I guess it depends if you're down in the match. You might make the guy putt that three-footer. You know, I probably make most every guy putt the three footers. When it gets to be under that two, two and a half feet I tend to give it to him, and it depends how you're doing in the match.

Q. I'd be curious about the par-5s. Can you reach any of them?
STEVE STRICKER: I can reach 1, I can't reach 5 or the other one. I can reach 10, and 17 I haven't been able to reach.

Q. 1 you've played four times already, right?
STEVE STRICKER: I have (laughter).
LAURA NEAL: Steve, thanks a lot.

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