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October 10, 2008

Chris Stroud


JOE CHEMYCZ: Alright. We welcome Chris Stroud in with a 6-under par 64 this morning/afternoon. 15 of 18 greens, 10 of 14 fairways, 26 putts. Looks like just all around solid round for you.
Talk a little bit about it.
CHRIS STROUD: Everything has been coming around. I've been working real hard this year. I've been struggling with some injuries this year. Hurt my knee at Pebble. When I hurt it, got it looked at, MRI, no big deal there but I tend to end up being tendinitis.
I've been icing it for three, four months straight and it finally is coming around. I've been able to practice normally. So, all that practice is starting to payoff and it's a little late. I wish it would have happened a few weeks ago or a few months ago. I'm really starting to hit the ball better.
Putting is going well. I'm working hard on staying very, very calm and level out there. The more laid back I am the better I play.

Q. Which knee was it?
CHRIS STROUD: My left knee. It was hurting almost enough to take the year off. I thought about taking a minor medical halfway through.

Q. Was it something, a specific incident that happened?
CHRIS STROUD: Yeah. I was playing Pebble -- Poppy Hills No. 10 and it was really mushy, the ground was from the tee box, kind of misty.
I hit a shot even and my foot kind of sat there and my knee twisted. It felt like my knee fell apart. I got it looked at. Said there wasn't any tears. Doctor said it was fine, just ice it everyday.
Said you have an option to come back and get some shots and lot of people know about those shots, cortisone shots really help you out.
I said just give me -- I'm going to do the ice, see what that does for me. I iced it every day. I looked like an old man inside the hotel room. I had ice packs on both knees and elbows, just trying to maintain my body.
All that paid off. I really -- I've been hitting the ball pretty good for a long time, all year but I couldn't seem to put the rounds together. I couldn't put everything together.
I was missing cuts by one, two and now I feel like all that focus, all that work this year is paying off, everything is starting to come together.
But, you know, we have two more rounds here and I have five more tournaments this season. I'm putting myself in a marathon here. I'm going to play every round I can the same.
I'm going to work -- my two main goals for every tournament is Top-5 in greens in regulation, Top-5 in putting. If I work really hard on that and give myself a lot of looks every week, obviously make a lot of putts, I think I can give myself a chance to win because I mean it's all about winning out here.

Q. So you're like that Woods guy and take some time off?
CHRIS STROUD: That guy is awesome. It's been awesome for me to watch him grow up. He's just -- it's awesome to be in the same time as one of the best golfers of all time and possibly the best. He's just -- he's a professional in every way and I think everyone of us studies him closely.

Q. Right down to the knee problem?
CHRIS STROUD: Right down to the knee problem. He had the same knee problem -- I played the U.S. Open this year, too. I didn't do as well as he did. I'll just say that (laughter).

Q. You didn't make the headline.
CHRIS STROUD: I was on the other side of the headline (laughter).

Q. This tournament, in particular, obviously has been a jump-start for a lot of players over the years here, resurgence-wise for their careers or just to get things doing.
Has it established that reputation, the Texas Open?
CHRIS STROUD: You know what, I was telling a couple guys earlier this week, I love San Antonio. I'm from the Houston -- I live in Houston now. I used to play a lot of Junior Golf over here.
I've always been a fan of San Antonio, Austin, San Marco area. I don't know. I have a very, very great calming feeling when I come here. I feel like I'm at home even though I'm really not. Have a lot of family that lives here.
I seem to play well. I played really well last year. You know, I'm trying to gain on that but it's just a lot of fun. Great atmosphere.
The weather is awesome this week. It's good to see -- I found out this week this tournament was No. 1 in contributions, I think 8-point something million dollars, 8.5. That's awesome. That says a lot about this tournament.

Q. When you were in school, South Conference, did you play UTSA?
CHRIS STROUD: We played UTSA. We play -- everybody in South Conference. We played over here a few times. Actually I got to play the Palmer course. I played that Wednesday on the Pro-Am. Like I said, I played a lot of golf over here. Love the area. Great city. I love to come here.

Q. Today's round, was there a particular shot that stands out for you to kind of define the round?
CHRIS STROUD: Let's see. Well, yesterday for sure the putt on No. 2, had about a 15-footer for par after I hit it in the bunker on 2, made that. That was the putt of the day yesterday.
And today, it was pretty much really steady day. I got off to a good start. That's what I really wanted. But I don't know.
There's not one shot that really I would say -- I mean on the par 3, number, I think 13 out here, the little short 140-yard shot. Hit a 9-iron to about three feet and made that birdie. That kind of -- that kind of put me over the hump.
I just got in the lead at that point and up, just got me in my little comfort zone. I don't think -- there wasn't any special shot. I just played really steady. That's my goal this week, stay as steady as possible.

Q. Do you watch the scoreboard?
CHRIS STROUD: I may look at it once in a while. I just totally believe -- lot of players think the same thing, I've got to play the golf course only. I'm fighting myself as hard as anybody.
So if I can stay out of my own way and just play the golf course like I'm playing with my buddies, I'm going to play the best I can. If I look, if I don't, it doesn't really matter. I'm playing the hardest I can.
Come Sunday, you know, that may be a different deal. You come down the stretch and maybe one behind and you have a few holes left, that may change but, for the most part, it doesn't really matter to me.

Q. When did your knee kind of come around totally?
CHRIS STROUD: About three weeks ago, about three weeks ago.

Q. It's been all year?
CHRIS STROUD: It really has. It's always like a little aching pain there. It feels like -- it was feeling like -- just move into my left knee, felt like someone was sticking a nail into my knee. It was very painful, very discomforting.
But three weeks ago it started feeling really good. "Wow, this ice is really working." I iced it for a month and didn't do anything. I guess it was just that bad.
And now -- I'm not going to say it's a hundred percent because I don't want to fluke anything, I don't want to mess anything up, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully it gets better.

Q. Playing like this, the way you did, when you get on a roll and shot 64, is it hard to keep going say I got to get lower or is it easier when you get it going, you think well, maybe there's 62 out there, maybe -- is it harder when you start going low like that?
CHRIS STROUD: You know what, for me, I've gotten -- I've talked to a sports psychologist last week and he pointed out something very interesting to me, we've all heard it, that is, "Staying in the present." They always talk -- sports psychologist say, "Stay in the moment."
Well, I always thought I was good at that but I found out after I was talking to him for about an hour, he said that I don't have any trouble with the past, like if I make a bogey, I forgot it, it's already forgotten, the next shot.
My problem, I get ahead of myself. Oh, if I birdie this, I can get close to the lead or I birdie this, I have a chance to win or whatever it is. That's been a problem for me all year. I've struggled with that.
So this week, I've really been working on it, if I make a birdie, okay. Next hole, that's over, let's not think about anything else but hitting the fairway, hitting the green and make another putt.
So, you know, when you're getting it going, I would say when you're making putts, it really -- the hole seems to open up a little bit better. You get a really good feel, especially for me.
I really don't think about speed much. I think about a lot of line mostly and when I'm thinking about line only, I just hit a good putt, my speed tends to be pretty good. If I start getting outside that, I don't putt as well.
But to answer your question, I would say, you know, when you are making some putts it does seem to be a little easier when you shoot 4, 5-under, wow, I've got to keep going here. For me, I got to make sure I don't think about. I play every hole separately and keep moving.

Q. How many tournaments did you miss because of the injury?
CHRIS STROUD: I think I pulled out of the five events this year. I went into everyone of them thinking I was good but the problem was I wasn't practicing much so I didn't feel -- but I get out there and play 18 holes, get on sidehill lies trying to hit shots. Painful.
Canadian Open was probably the worse. It was so painful. I remember hitting one shot that was really thick rough that week and I hit one shot and I almost went into tears. It was just really painful. And they had a big rain delay and ended up withdrawing.
It's just been frustrating. I mean when I got here last year, I saw guys that were injured. I was like, "Huh, that's not going to happen to me." Well, man, was I wrong.
Because this sport will really bang you up. You got to take care of joints and your body. That's what I've been doing. I've got a trainer I work with. He helps me make sure my muscles are loose, make sure I don't get anything out of whack. And, like I said, the ice, the ice has been a miracle drug for me.

Q. It was tendinitis?
CHRIS STROUD: Top of my --

Q. Aggravated?
CHRIS STROUD: It was swelling up some things around my kneecap and inside. You know, the doctors, without going in there, looking at it, they don't know exactly what was going on.
They were telling their best guess. Just keep icing it everyday, 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. I iced it and listened to them. Tell you what, ice has been pretty good to me.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Okay. Alright. Thank you.
CHRIS STROUD: Thanks, guy.

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