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February 22, 2009

Steve Stricker


THE MODERATOR: Welcome back to the media center at the Northern Trust Open. Valiant effort out there. Some great golf played. I know you had a couple of shot lead with two or three holes to go. Talk about your day and what it was like out there?
STEVE STRICKER: It was a good day. I got off to a good start. Little hiccup at number 8. Made bogey there.
But regained the momentum for the back nine, just kind of stalled a little bit the last few holes. Made birdie at 12 and then, you know, really had a difficult time getting my driver on the fairway, all of a sudden. And a lot of the times I was kind of aiming away from the trouble. Like at 15, I knew I didn't want to be in that bunker. But a couple of poor swings led, really, to my bogey at 18.
But overall, a good day. It was exciting to get into the thick of things and to feel the heat of the battle.
THE MODERATOR: And a couple of good finishes so far this year. I know it's disappointing not to win.

Q. How difficult was the chip on 18, and if you could also talk about the putts on 17 and 18? Looked like you had a good chance at 17?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, the chips on 18 wasn't that -- it was pretty straightforward. The lie was pretty good. It just came out a little soft. I thought it would come out a little hotter. It came out soft. But I still thought putting uphill, had a legitimate and good putt at it.
But really I was looking at the one at 17 to really make that one. I didn't know what the lead was at the time, but I knew I had the lead.
But I was really looking to make that one at 17. I thought it was a little more downhill than it was. Hit a good putt. Didn't go in, but, yeah. It's just a little disappointing when you don't finish it off or have the opportunity to finish it off and I didn't do it.

Q. After the first hole you're 7 back. Do you know you're 7 back? At that time were you just sort of playing for a place rather than do you think first place, you have no chance?
STEVE STRICKER: I really didn't even think about it. I knew I was 7 back. I saw that I eagled the first. I was just trying to pay attention and make as many birdies as I could. You just don't know what's going to happen. Especially around here. If you start struggling with your game a little bit, it can bite you.
So I just tried to continue what I've been doing all week. I was. I was doing good things. So, no, I really didn't think about a place or playing for second place at that time or anything else. I was just trying to worry about what I was doing and make as many birdies as I could.

Q. That recovery shot on 17, you had an iron, and you went to it looked like a hybrid and hit a right shot. Could you go through that process?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I had a couple hundred yards to carry the last bunker. I had to rope hook it out of the rough. You know, usually those utilities get through the rough a little bit better. And I had a good lie in the rough, so I just went to that.
Yeah, I hit a great shot. Got me up there in position to make a birdie. I almost did. You know, like I say, I didn't hit the putt hard enough.

Q. Were you feeling a little snake bit on the west coast after the Bob Hope thing and now this?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I'm just -- it's kind of bittersweet. I'm happy that I'm putting myself in those positions to try to win golf tournaments, but I'm also disappointed I haven't won one of them or maybe both of them. So it's good and bad.
And again, it's early in the season for me. It's just come out of the snow last week and to play like this, you know, when I do come out is encouraging for me. Hopefully, it leads to bigger and better things the rest of the year.

Q. I was going to ask the disappointment obviously from the hope experience. You talked about that earlier in the week. Is this anyway similar? The feeling you leave this tournament with as opposed to how you left that tournament a couple of weeks ago?
STEVE STRICKER: No, I think they're a little different. I had the opportunity today, but I played really good today. I played great all week. Yesterday, I probably hit it the best I did all week, and it was my highest score. I just didn't make any putts really.
But I feel a little bit better about this one because I played well every day. You know, the hope, you know, it was just kind of one of those days where nothing went right. Got off to kind of a poor start in the middle of my round where things kind of went south. But this one I feel a little bit better about.

Q. How important did you feel it was to post and maybe have a one-stroke lead and make somebody birdie 18? Then when you saw Phil all he had to do was get up-and-down, and it was discouraging knowing how good he is at doing that?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I didn't like my chances at that point after he birdied 17. But, for me, the tournament was at 17, really, when I'm looking back at it. Not making birdie there to get to 16. You know, you can almost go down the last with a little bit calmer feeling if I would have made the putt at 17.
But I knew I needed to make par, really, at 18. Didn't hit that good a drive. But I put my second shot in a spot where I could have gotten it up-and-down and I didn't do it. So I guess that's the way it goes. I'll just try to do better next time.

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