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July 29, 2008

Henrik Stenson


RODDY WILLIAMS: We'll get started. Henrik, thanks very much for coming in and joining us. Obviously your first tournament since third place at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale a couple weeks ago. How are you feeling coming into this week.
HENRIK STENSON: It feels good. I've had a week off. I'm kind of rested and fresh and ready to take on another challenge.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You were just saying outside that a slightly different challenge to Birkdale, and also you played in Sweden, particularly on the greens.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, the greens are kind of quick here. It's rolling, I think, 13 or something on the stimp, so they're really nice and smooth and quick, so it's going to be important to be on the right side and have the right pace.
As I said, I played two rounds in Sweden and they were probably 5 on the stimp in Sweden, so not too much in common with these ones.
Game feels pretty good and looking forward to the week.
RODDY WILLIAMS: How important was that finish at the Open, your highest finish in a major?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I had been without a Top 10 in a major before that one, so that was kind of nice to get that off my back.
And then obviously with the Ryder Cup in mind, it was important to get some good points in to get myself a little bit of breathing space.

Q. When people ask you why Europe usually it seems wins the Ryder Cup, how do you respond? What's your answer for that?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't know. I mean, I think we've always been very strong in the first two days in the team format. I don't know if it's a European thing or -- it just seems like we bond together a little bit better in the better balls than the foursomes, but the U.S. is normally stronger in the singles play. I don't know if it's cultures or historical things that make it that way, but that's the way it seems to be. It's been great that Europe has come out on top the previous three times, and I think America wants it to be slightly different this time.

Q. You holed the winning putt last year. Were you aware of it at the time?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I wasn't. I mean, it's a nice little mentioning, but I would like to hole the winning putt when it's really, really tight, and we wouldn't even have won the Ryder Cup without my game, I guess. I didn't make that much of a deal of it; others did (smiling).

Q. The Top 10 in a major, was that weighing on you, being without one?
HENRIK STENSON: Not so much on me. I thought it was more a question of time sort of. But I've had a few questions from the Swedish press, so that was kind of nice to get that off my back. I've had a lot of sort of -- not bad finishes, but it's been between sort of 14 and 25, 30th, around there. I've made lots of cuts, but not really on the ball enough to be Top 10.

Q. Does that do something for your confidence, just to be --
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's always nice to -- especially, I was playing good, but I wasn't playing great. But it was a slightly different week with the tough conditions that we had. It was really dig deep and try to keep it below knee height, and keep fighting on every putt to try and make par, a slightly different game from what we play normally. No, it gives a nice feeling that you can be up there and contend in a major even though you're not playing your absolute best.

Q. The greens are a 5 in Sweden and a 13 here. How do you go about changing your game?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I hit a 20-footer ten feet by yesterday when I came here, so I don't know (laughter). But that's not all over Sweden. My wife is from the north of Sweden, so we spent a week up there with her family, and the season is very short in the north of Sweden. I would say otherwise they're about 10 on the stimp down south. It was more just having a fun round with the family and not so much preparing for this week. I came in on Sunday, so I had a few days to hopefully get ready.

Q. Will you hit extra putts?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, regardless of if it had been a 5 on the stimp or not, I would have had to spend some time on the putting green, because even British Open is probably about 10-ish. They feel quite fast here.

Q. Was that the biggest adjustment that you needed to make?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think so. When you come to really quick greens, that's part of the tough change sort of.

Q. Do you think that -- there's a few people who are hot coming in here, but do you think with a classic course like this that that might not matter? You know what I mean, like the Kenny Perrys and the Anthony Kims of the world have been playing pretty well, but would this course kind of --
HENRIK STENSON: If I remember correctly, I think Kenny Perry was really hot here a couple years ago. He shot a great score one of the days. I did my best at Bridgestone so far my first year, but it feels good to come back to the same course, you know the course, you've played it quite a few times now, so that always sets it up for a good tournament, I think. But other than that, I think, a player in good shape and on good form is always going to be dangerous, I think, regardless of what course. So watch out (laughter).
RODDY WILLIAMS: There are players who have won multiple WGC titles. Would you like to join them?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I wouldn't mind at all. It would be nice to have one match play and one stroke play. That would be nice.

Q. Back to the Ryder Cup, talk about Nick as a captain. Everyone says he's going to make a great captain. Have you had a whole lot of contact with him?
HENRIK STENSON: A little bit. I think just his sort of personality and the way he approached his own game, he's going to be very thorough and try to be on the ball with every aspect of it, and I think down to the shirts to the sandwiches, I guess (laughter). No, he's going to try to put in the effort to make sure everything is right for the team, and with his experience from all the previous Ryder Cups, the way he's played, I think he's going to make a great captain.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Have you been studying the team, as well? What do you think?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I was right on the bubble there before Birkdale, as we said, and I keep fairly close watch. And of course when you're out there playing, you can't think, oh, I've got to make this putt, otherwise I lose another point or something like that. But it's always interesting to see how it forms and how it shapes up. There's a couple of exciting weeks coming up, big events, these two, and then there's still a few European Tour events before the deadline. It's the American team cutoff after PGA?

Q. There are some new European faces. Does that show Americans how many good players there are in Europe?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, there's always been lots of good Europeans, and now I think there's been a little bit of a change. Some of the players who have been on previous Ryder Cups are sort of getting up around 40 and above, I guess, so it will be new players coming up and taking spots basically. I think you're going to see some new, exciting players coming on the European team.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Henrik, thanks very much for coming and joining us. Good luck this week.

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