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May 19, 2009

Henrik Stenson


SCOTT CROCKETT: All right, everyone, Henrik, many thanks, as always, for coming in to join us. Before we get any further, obviously congratulations on Sawgrass. It was a truly fantastic performance much maybe just reflect on that before we go ahead to this week.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, obviously delighted, and it was a nice week to have and then go on vacation, that's for sure.
No, I played great, great pride in beating the strongest field of the year, and winning at Sawgrass, it was the highlight of my career so far.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And particularly the way you did it, it was a fantastic last-round performance, just to go ahead and win.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, there was a lot of guys bunched up on 5- , 6-under par, and obviously Alex had made a big gap and once he fell down a little bit, it was a wide-open race.
And I was just happy to play such a great last round that I did and stayed focused and composed and hit the right shots at the right times and made the putts. I guess I might have made it look a little bit easier than it was, in fact.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Nice to be recognised in America for something other than taking your clothes off?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it kind of made a nice combo. (Laughter) I don't know what to say.
SCOTT CROCKETT: I don't think there's anything you could say, really. It's all in the pictures.
HENRIK STENSON: A picture says more than a thousand words.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Looking ahead to here, thoughts on the tournament this week?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's great to be back and see anybody, and it doesn't make it any worse when you are coming off a great win and a lot of people have stopped me to congratulate me and so on. So it's good to see everybody again, and it's time to start focusing on this week.
And Wentworth, a classic, old golf course. It's got a lot of history and tradition here. It's a course I like playing. I haven't done my best in the past, but obviously I hope to change that this year, and I think eighth finish two years ago is my highest. So obviously I would like to make that a little bit lower.

Q. As far as The Players Championship is concerned, it's nice to win, but having you and Ian Poulter first and second, do you feel it was good to strike a blow for Europe?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, it was the second time a European won it. Last year when Sergio won it, so it was quite nice to keep it in European hands, and there was lot of Europeans up there with myself and Ian finishing 1 and 2, and a couple of others who were up there throughout the week.
It would be nice if we turn The Players Championship into a European tradition.

Q. What's the general reaction amongst the other players? Tiger called you incredible; have people come up to you and say how did you do that?
HENRIK STENSON: I haven't met anybody over in the States really because I obviously got held up with all of the press and all of the other interviews and obligations and then I went away on vacation.
So the first of the players I saw were the ones over here. But I had a couple of nice texts and messages. Got a message from Greg Norman and Ernie sent me a message, as well, saying well done. So obviously had an impact throughout my colleagues, and it was a great round. It was nice to have it recognised.

Q. After a day like that, do you sleep afterwards or do you just lie awake all night going through the shots?
HENRIK STENSON: No, it's tough. I always have a tough time sleeping after I've won or obviously if you lose out in a playoff or something like that, it can bother you quite a bit, as well, you can imagine.
But when you're pumped up and have adrenaline running in the system, I find it hard to sleep after my win.
Yeah, I just stay up as long as I have to and then try and get some sleep after that.

Q. How well do you know Greg Norman? What did he say?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I just had a note from Greg and Chris Evert saying well done and thought it was a magnificent round and tournament. I know his daughter, Morgan, my wife and myself are good friends with Morgan. So that's the relationship.

Q. And a very blunt question: Do you think after that, do you think you'll win a major in the next five years?
HENRIK STENSON: If I don't win it within next five, I'm not sure if I'm going to win it, yeah, so hopefully. Obviously I'm 33 years old, and I hope that in the next five years that I'm going to be the best ones in my career. Hopefully if I win a major, I see it happening within the next five years, yes.

Q. Do you expect to win a major in the next five years?
HENRIK STENSON: I don't know if you can expect it, but I sure hope so, and it's a dream of mine. I think that the performance at Sawgrass kind of gives me the receipt that I am capable of doing it. And then it's more the question of if I can get the game together; it's still only four times a year. So obviously Bethpage coming up is going to being one of those 20 chances then.
So still, you have to play good at the right time, and yeah, I just feel like if I can play well enough to put myself in contention, and at least I know I can win against the best players in the world and I just hope I can give myself enough chances.

Q. Where do you go on holiday and did you touch a club last week at all?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, because I gave one of the guys down in the Bahamas, I gave him a quick half-an-hour golf lesson before I touched a club. It wasn't my own clubs. We had a family vacation planned in, and we had been pretty bad at taking breaks in the last couple of years. It was like the second time in two years I think that we went on a vacation, so it was good. It was all planned before the win at Sawgrass, but obviously didn't make it any worse going on vacation after a win like that.

Q. No. 4 in the world; do you look at that closely, about how closure to the three ahead of you?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I kind of pay attention. I pay attention. I think World Rankings are very important to me, and it's always nice to break new records for yourself. I was fifth there after the Dubai and the Match Play win in '07, so obviously nice to tick No. 4 off now.
Yeah, if I keep playing well, I can improve obviously, and other than that, World Rankings is obviously an indication of how well you are playing at the moment and your recent form and so on.
So I think long term, I kind of look at more where I am between your high and lows, sort of if you're been 5 and 15 for three years, you know that you belong up amongst the best players in the world, and I think that kind of gives me as much satisfaction as just getting to No. 1 at a certain time.

Q. And would getting to No. 1 even if were for just one week, mean the world to you, because it doesn't seem to mean that much to Mickelson, Garcia; they played it down.
HENRIK STENSON: Well, maybe we should ask them if they get to No. 1, they might say differently then, I don't know.
Yeah, it would mean a lot obviously to be the highest-ranked player in the world at some point, and it's just something that I -- winning a major would be much more important to me than being the No. 1 player for a short period of time. It kind of goes hand-in-hand; I think if you win a couple of majors, it's going to be probably close to being ranked No. 1, so probably not going to do one without the other.

Q. At times in your career, you were struggling with the grass allergy; is that still a problem at all?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I don't suffer that much in America to be honest. It's more when I come back to Europe to be honest. We'll find out these two weeks. The worst is when I go back to Sweden in late May, early June. That's when it kicks off and, I seem to be better off in other parts of the world than back in Europe at this time.

Q. Like many of the great players, you seem to have mastered the knack of cruising along and then suddenly peaking just at the right time. What's the secret?
HENRIK STENSON: I've been working pretty hard on parts of my game throughout the year, and sometimes it gets together at the right time. Yeah, if I had all the answers, I probably wouldn't be telling you anyway. No, I can't say.

Q. It's not on purpose?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I obviously try and be as good as I can for the big events, and I've made changes to my playing schedule and the way that I practice and so on.
But in the case of TPC, I came off a week off, travelling back from Korea where we had challenging weather to say the least, and I just had a couple of days off, and then my family came over. We celebrated my dad's 60th on the Friday before TPC and I just had a relaxed weekend in Orlando and went to Sea World with my little daughter and drove up to Sawgrass.
Luckily I bought a two-year admission at Sea World, so obviously it seems to work. I might end up there more times before the big events. Shamu might be the trick. (Laughter).

Q. As a leading European player, do you think it's important for you to come back and support the Tour's Flagship Event?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, absolutely, BMW is doing a tremendous job for the Tour and for us as players. It is traditional ground, as I said, and it is important for the players to come and support any tournament, obviously, and not the least the biggest one outside of the British Open.

Q. You mentioned training. You've taken a particularly vigorous approach to your putting in the last few months. How has your work with Phil Kenyon affected your last three week wins and confidence in general?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I started to work with Phil and Harold, I watched Harold quite a few years back, actually even before my first European Tour win. And then I kind of met up with them at The Open last year and they helped me out, and I have been working with Phil in particular since the Dunhill Links pretty much.
I've improved my putting. Yeah, it's been a great help, and for a daily focus, that's always been like the weak link, not when I'm putting well, but my average putting has not been as good as it needed to be, and I definitely raised my lower level of putting. I think it's one of them things that when everything is matching, you can always putt well no matter what, but I don't want to be a streaky putter as much as being a consistent putter.

Q. It affect your confidence standing on the tee?
HENRIK STENSON: I think so. Normally it kind of works all the way back, if you're confident with your putting, you can go for the pins and if you're confident with your short game, you can also go for the pins because you know you're going to get up-and-down if you miss.
It definitely helped out a lot working with Phil and improving my putting.

Q. A question similar, with the exemption that you've won now for winning The Players Championship, is there already a demand for you to play more in the States? And the second part of that question is, how do you resist that demand to play more in the States and wanting to sort of remain playing a lot in Europe?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's just one thing that we are looking into at the moment. We are going to look at the scheduling and so on, and it is definitely a possibility that I might take up my PGA TOUR membership in the future. Even without winning the players, I still had next year as an exempt year for winning the Match Play, and that would have been the last year of that exemption.
It's more about getting everything to go, travelling, scheduling, family. There's a lot of things.

Q. Have you had a lot of invites already since winning Sawgrass?
HENRIK STENSON: No, not really. They are always trying to promote the events in America and they are always trying to get the players to play the events. There hasn't been any specific differences, really.

Q. Just talk about the Challenge Tour event you're sponsoring.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's called the Princess. It's going to be played the same week as the BMW tournament in Munich. It's great to see another Challenge Tour event in Sweden. I think it's always important to try and help out.
The Challenge Tour was very important for me when I started out, and I had great experiences from the Challenge Tour when I came on the main tour, and it definitely was a big help in me winning the Benson and Hedges from the experiences I had on the Challenge Tour.
So delighted to be part of that, and it's going to be interesting to see which ones of the new Swedish players come up, and hopefully we can continue to support them and try and send them off on their journey out in Europe.

Q. Has the Stanford scandal been much of a distraction?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think without that one, I would have won The Players by five probably. (Laughter).
It's obviously not something that I have any answers for. It's just one of those things, if it happens, it could take six months or two years before we know what the outcome is going to be. The first couple of weeks, you spend some time thinking about what the outcome might be, but I felt after a couple of weeks, I need to focus on my game and my golf, and I can't do anything about whatever the outcome is going to be and what has happened.
After a couple of weeks, I kind of let that go and I didn't think about it for a number of days until you mentioned it now, so thanks. (Laughter).

Q. How much could you lose?
HENRIK STENSON: I think I'll keep that to myself.
I think it's just been tough for everybody, regardless of where you have your investments and what you have invested, it's been tough times on the markets in the last year or so, and everybody has been hit. But it's more a question about getting back to business and do whatever you're good at, and things will sort out.

Q. Did it open your eyes to the way you make decisions about business and money?
HENRIK STENSON: Possibly a little bit, yes.

Q. Totally different from that, do you have a home in America at the moment?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, we built a house in Lake Nona. That was finished in November of '07.

Q. Very briefly on the same subject, is the Stanford situation any clearer to you now than it was two months ago, and do you have any other forms of bank sponsorship or are there any in the pipeline?
HENRIK STENSON: No, they were the only financial institutions that I have been having a sponsorship deal.
Not really, I haven't paid much attention. I have people that look after these things for me, and just have to wait and see.

Q. But they are not able to tell you anything?
HENRIK STENSON: Not really. It's going to be a lengthy process, that's kind of my feeling about it all.

Q. Mentioned TPC was a career high. How do you go about building on that?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, there's two things. Obviously if I'm going to better that, it's going to have to be one of those majors within the next five years. That's obviously in the back of my mind. And I think it was just important for me to feel that I can play as solid as I did at such a big event coming down the stretch on Sunday. That just gives me the confidence that I should be able to do that in a major if I put myself in a similar position.

Q. Do you find that it's elevated you in the American media?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, definitely. I think over in the States, at times they don't tend to focus too much on what's happening in the other parts of the world. So obviously when you win on the PGA TOUR and if you can win a couple of times in the big events, of course you get a much higher profile, because I think someone mentioned that they were talking about Ian, that he was going to try and win for the first time. I mean, he's won like seven times or eight times worldwide or something like that I think.
If someone considers him a rookie, we don't --

Q. They definitely know who you are now.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, yeah, and it helps, too, to strip down to your boxers, as well, apparently. (Laughter).
SCOTT CROCKETT: We looked at the forecast this week and we possibly wouldn't recommend it this week.
HENRIK STENSON: If there's any chance obviously --
SCOTT CROCKETT: If there's any chance to get naked.

Q. Do you think about what you're wearing when you dress in the morning?
HENRIK STENSON: No, but as you can see from that time, I obviously did because I had white pants and white underwear.

Q. There are going to be about 2000 ladies coming to this tournament hoping to see it again?
HENRIK STENSON: Any new fans are welcome.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And five men.
HENRIK STENSON: Probably going to follow you around. (Laughter).

Q. Did it lead to any extra sponsorships there was speculation it probably would.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, there were some requests. I guess that incident kind of built up a bit more attention about me as a person, and then I guess I confirmed the fame with the win at TPC, so I'm sure there might be some benefits in the end.
SCOTT CROCKETT: All right, I think we're all done. Henrik, thanks very much, as always, and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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