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January 28, 2009

Henrik Stenson


PAUL SYMES: Thank you for coming in, Henrik. You're a former winner here and obviously live over here, as well. It must be a tournament you're very much looking forward to.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, all three tournaments down here are great, and this one being two minute as way from home, it's very special.
PAUL SYMES: You must be delighted with your return to form last week after a slightly unfortunate mishap the week before.
HENRIK STENSON: No, I didn't play good in Abu Dhabi, but some good time to practice in between and got back stronger and played quite nicely on the weekend. Needed a few more putts to drop, and I gave Alvaro a good run for his money I think.
So, happy with that and playing quite nicely today, as well, so a bit more confident going into this week than I was going into Abu Dhabi.

Q. Was there any discussion with your caddie after the mistake in Abu Dhabi?
HENRIK STENSON: No. Just hit it hard, that was it.

Q. The 9-iron?
HENRIK STENSON: The wedge. It was one of them things, it's so unlikely to happen in a sense. So I couldn't really get upset with it that I played the wrong ball; you find two balls within five yards of each other in the rough, and also being in the way that my marking on the ball wasn't visual, but hopefully that won't happen again. It was the first time in my career that I played the wrong ball.

Q. Was it a case that you were already sort of not on top of your game before that, or did that throw you off your game?
HENRIK STENSON: Not really. I was playing poorly and that's why I ended up in that spot. It was probably one of the amateurs who left the ball there. I shouldn't have been there in the first place I guess, and it was just one of them things, when you're struggling a bit, can you not afford to give another two shots away on a thing like that.
So left a bit too much work to do on the Friday, but anyway, that's gone.

Q. Are you better able to cope with it now, because obviously you've bounced back after. Are you able to sort of put that in the locker?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think there's worse things that can happen to you than getting a two-shot penalty, but it's obviously not something you want to happen.
I try and stay away from those kind of things in the near future.

Q. You mentioned the way you turned it around in Doha, four shots behind going into the final round, and actually leading on the last afternoon must have been quite satisfying.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, absolutely. I played really solid on the Saturday and Sunday and gave myself pleasant plenty of chances and, yeah, that was just very small, I think Alvaro made a good 20-footer for bogey on 15 after I made a long birdie putt and he managed to birdie 16 and I didn't.
So with a bit of a swing around there, I could have gone up the last two with a one or two-shot lead. It was very close, and yeah, you can only keep on trying.

Q. So the dividing line is so thin, isn't it, between missing the cut and winning a tournament.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, maybe not missing the cut and winning the tournament, but golf is a game that we all know you can turn it around quite quickly. I just managed to do it once again I guess, and when you come from playing fairly poorly to having a chance of winning.

Q. In your extra couple of days practice, did you practice here?
HENRIK STENSON: No, no, I spent the Saturday in Abu Dhabi with Pete and just relaxed, played a bit of tennis. I went to the gym on Sunday, Monday.

Q. In terms of all the courses you play on the Tour this year, where does this one rate in terms of likeness?
HENRIK STENSON: I really enjoy this one because you never get fed up playing it and it is also a tough test. This morning it was cold and foggy, and the ball wasn't running on the fairways that much, and the greens are very receptive. So it plays its full yardage, that's for sure. So it's a long golf course.

Q. Would you say it's in your top three or your top -- or what?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's one of my favourite courses, absolutely. I ain't going to give you a number. (Laughing).

Q. When you're back, do you play this one mostly?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, this is where I practice and play at the moment. Yeah, I get a good number of rounds in with some friends, stealing a bit of cash every now and then.

Q. How many a year would you estimate you've played here, how many rounds?
HENRIK STENSON: Outside of the tournament, probably another ten or something; as many as I would ever play on my home course.
I remember when I went back to Sweden in the summers, it never ended up being more than five or seven rounds in a season.

Q. So that helps quite a lot getting on the first tee.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, and then also I've played the tournament since 2001, so I've had quite a number of rounds on it during tournament play, as well, and every year you add something to your experience bank and it should get easier and easier. Probably eat that up later.

Q. With no Tiger, it obviously puts a different perspective, but has The Ryder Cup thing maybe compensated for that and kept it at the profile where it is one of the bigger --
HENRIK STENSON: It's a tournament of a very high profile and we still have a very strong field again. It was a great field last week, and Abu Dhabi as well, and here again.
So yeah, it's always nice to have Tiger in the field. It's that little bit of extra spark to it and everybody wants to try and measure themselves with him. But no, I still think we are going to have a great Classic and a great tournament.

Q. When you go into a tournament which you have won before on a golf course where you have won before, are there certain things you want to take out of that year, even though it was two years back, or a completely new mind-set that you go in with?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, both being sort of a home course and the course where I won before, I just feel it's nice to have a lot of good memories, and you really know where to be and not to be on all of the holes and so on. That gives you just a relaxed feeling about it, because you know where to go and not to go, as long as you stay away from them, you can stay fairly calm.
But I'm not sure if it's -- to answer your question, if it's something that you do differently due to that.

Q. Going into the final round last year, you were in contention and shot a 74, if in the same position, will you approach the final round any differently this year?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I think the Sunday last year would be one of the rounds, if I ever get the chance to replay a round, I would choose that one. Because yeah, that wasn't my best Sunday for sure. If I could replay that one, I would like to do it, but I wouldn't approach it any differently.
It's all about getting yourself in a good position and being up there, and you go out and play your best on the last day and hopefully it's good enough. Hopefully I'll play better than the 74 if I'm in a similar position.

Q. How much of your 74 was down to the fact that you may have been aware of the fact that Tiger was mounting a charge, or how much of it was just down to not playing well on your part?
HENRIK STENSON: I wouldn't say it was anything to do with Tiger. Ernie and I both struggled with our games the last day. I wouldn't say Tiger had much to do with it. It was all down to me really.

Q. What's your state of mind regarding the driver at the moment?
HENRIK STENSON: It was good. I feel like I've been hitting the ball better and better. It was out quite frequently today. The course played longer, as well, today, so kind of had to try and get some more length off the tee. But we'll see tomorrow and see what the conditions are like and I wouldn't be surprised if it comes out a few times.

Q. More than the previous two weeks?
HENRIK STENSON: I would have thought so, the way it felt today, definitely.
And you're looking forward to an exciting afternoon (smiling).

Q. Are you going to ask us now?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, exactly! I'll take questions.

Q. Any clue? You said in Abu Dhabi we'll be pleasantly surprised. Do you still agree?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, but there's been so many speculations now, no matter who we pick, it's not going to be a surprise anymore, is it.

Q. Do you still consider yourself too young for the job?
HENRIK STENSON: Absolutely. I'll see you later. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts

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