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February 22, 2008

Henrik Stenson


LAURA NEAL: Thanks for coming in, congrats. We were talking on the way up, at least you didn't keep us here too late tonight.
HENRIK STENSON: No, I didn't. It won't be my fault.
LAURA NEAL: 18 and 25 and 18, you feel like you're pushing it to the last hole each time?
HENRIK STENSON: It's just tight matches, and my experience is that a lot of times it is going to be tight, regardless if both players are playing good or average. So it has a tendency to come into the last couple of holes. And even though I possibly had the chance to finish the first two matches a little bit early, I didn't manage to do so. I'm just happy with the way I played today and to be going into the fourth round.

Q. How tough was it to come back emotionally and physically from yesterday's match?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, my legs were a little bit tired yesterday, and also mentally. It was probably the first couple of holes in the sudden death that was the hardest ones. And then after that you were just wondering are we going to keep on playing all day. And just try to make a birdie and managed to make a good up-and-down there on the 7th against Trevor. No, I felt okay this morning, had some good sleep. Now is when the really tough part starts when it's 36 holes.

Q. With this course, and I heard you talk yesterday or two days ago about going back in your head and saying I remember this and I remember that. This course has treated you really well. Is it one of your favorites? And also, does it help having that bank of knowledge from playing it more than anyone else in the last two years?
HENRIK STENSON: Yes, it was definitely good coming into the tournament having played that many matches and playing the course that many times. And obviously that can help you in different situations. Yeah, I've had a couple of tough calls but managed to get out of a few situations, Houdini-style, I guess. Yeah, I don't know, it's a course that's good for match play and it suits my game pretty good, too.

Q. Were you at all concerned that your opponent had two big wins before today and was therefore much fresher?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, possibly, but still, again, I had good practice of two tight matches. And today we had a tight match, so maybe that wasn't in my favor, I don't know. That was one of my thoughts in trying to bring it past 14 and he wouldn't know the last couple of holes from his first matches. And I managed to do that, so that plan worked out fine.

Q. You've been in several matches in the last few years where there's been many occasions where you could have been eliminated. What's the closest you've come?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, that was -- must have been yesterday. As I said there were a couple of key moments lost here, but Trevor had a few, I don't know, 15-, 20-footers yesterday to put me out of the tournament, and fortunately for me he didn't make any of those. And I guess that's as close as it was.
Against Allenby I made a good par on the last, 7-iron, one-putt to win that match by one. But I guess it was in the playoffs yesterday; that was the closest to being knocked out.

Q. Do you feel like when you keep winning these tight matches that this is your tournament or your luck is running out? How do you look at it?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I mean, of course, you don't want to put yourself coming up 18 all square too many times because the nature of it, sooner or later you're going to lose a match. But still I can only do my best and try to make the shots and make the putts and take whatever comes out of it. And it's been working so far.

Q. What does Fanny think of you taking all these long distances each day?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, she said that the bag was a little bit heavy today. She had the umbrella in there and then a couple extra other things. She kind of made a joke on the 10th tee, because I took my big sweater off. And she said, oh, perfect, just in time for the climb back up to the clubhouse.
No, she's doing fine. But with the thin air, with the altitude and a big bag on your shoulders, it's a bit of hard work, yeah.

Q. Make it a little shorter tomorrow, will you?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, we'll try to. I don't know, if I go seven extra holes against Woody Austin, we're not going to finish the round, are we?

Q. You play Woody tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: I believe so, yeah.

Q. Just talk about the way Woody has been playing. You've been out there so much --
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I haven't followed him this week or in the last couple of months that closely, but my first time I played with him was at the Wentworth Match Play in October last year and we had a good match, a tight match. We had to suspend due to darkness and then come back the next morning and I just managed to make a birdie on 18.
So it was sort of -- in a sense it was a playoff, because we were all square and then starting up on 18 again. It was a tough match and I just managed to win that one, so I'm sure he wants to make it one-all rather than two-nothing. So it's going to be a tough match. He's a tough competitor, and there's not too many lakes for him to fall into here, either.

Q. Has your Ryder Cup experience helped you at all over the last two years? Is there anything you've taken out of that that's helped you in the last two years here?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it was a fantastic experience. Yeah, anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? It was a great week and some really good positives, and then I've had some really good success in match play after that, as you know. Yeah, everything kind of adds up. It's always hard to give a percentage how big a part it is.

Q. Since you have been playing match play a lot, and well, also, could you try to compare this course -- because it's a match play course on the TOUR, with other venues like the Ryder Cup? What's the strength or attraction of this course as a match play course?
HENRIK STENSON: I think this course, it gives you a lot of birdie opportunities, but still it's -- when they tuck the pins way out in the corners of the greens there's some big drop-offs and you know that you want to get it close, but still, if you miss it on the wrong side you're going to struggle big-time to make an up-and-down. So it's a good design in that aspect.
And then I like the two drivable par-4s and that we can reach the par-5s, as well, it sort of sets it up for some low numbers and good golfing. And I think the crowds like to see birdies rather than bogeys.

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