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October 6, 2009

Steve Stricker


Q. It seems that the U.S. Team is more relaxed in The Presidents Cup than The Ryder Cup. Is that because you know the guys you are playing so well and you see each other everywhere, where the Europeans maybe you don't know as well and there's less camaraderie?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, there's a good question. I don't know why. I think the atmosphere in general is a little bit lighter at a Presidents Cup compared to a Ryder Cup. I only played that one Ryder Cup, but the whole electricity between the two is amped up a lot more in a Ryder Cup, for whatever reason, maybe just because of the history of the event, all of the things that have happened over the years at that event, and it's a fairly new event.
So maybe that had something to do with it. And maybe you've got something there with the Europeans. I think the history is such that you really want to beat the other team. You know, I mean, I think there's enough -- there's not bad blood, but there's just enough competition over the years and things that have happened throughout the course of The Ryder Cup that I think add a little bit more to it, thus far.
I think the way these have gone over the years, there's been some great competitions, great duels with Tiger and Ernie going down the stretch there and Freddie Couples making great shots. I think just, over time, this will create that atmosphere, as well.

Q. What about the scrutiny, there seems to be a lot more at The Ryder Cup. Could that play into that at all?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I suppose it could. Like I said, I think everything is just a little bit higher scale at a Ryder Cup than a Presidents Cup. And nothing against it, but I think it's just, everything means a little bit more there so far.
I remember my first Presidents Cup, I was very nervous, very excited to be a part of it, but it didn't quite compare to my first Ryder Cup. The atmosphere there, everything leading up to The Ryder Cup, was just that much more.

Q. Last year there was no Tiger and you guys won. I know Zinger portrayed you as the underdog because you didn't have Tiger. What's the difference of having him and not having him, in not just the play on the course, but what he brings to the team room?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, he brings a lot to the team room. First of all, he's friends with everybody on the team. He gets along with everybody on the team. Everybody looks up to him.
You know, I think the attitude last year at The Ryder Cup, we didn't rely on him because he wasn't there. You know, we were not forced to rely on him. And I think some other events that he's at, the players tend to rely pretty heavily on him. And he is just one out of 12, and that's not fair to do, to put that kind of pressure on him, to go 5-0 or 4-1 or whatever it may be.
You know, last year there was a lot of young guys there. They didn't have to worry about stepping on anybody's toes. They could become their own little players out there, and everybody felt like they needed to step up their game and do that. I feel like we have that same attitude this year and everybody needs to come to the table with great play and not rely on a single player or players and take it upon themselves to play well and get a point.

Q. Tiger was asked earlier about Michael Jordan; is there anything that he can do to motivationally inspire you guys to help you guys out?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I think it's been fun to be around him so far. I mean, he's made it very light, very enjoyable to be around. He's an easy going guy, a lot of banter between Sean O'Hair and himself and Tiger and himself. But it's been really easy so far with him there, and it's been very light.
I'm sure maybe come time, Wednesday night, maybe even Thursday before we go out, there might be a few words from him. I wouldn't be surprised if he helps trying to get us going. Yeah, it's been fun so far, getting to know the guy and be around him.
He's kind of Jay Haas's assistant captain, but he's at every one of these anyways. He's at every Ryder Cup. He's been to Presidents Cups over the years that I can remember seeing him. You know what, why not have him here? I think he can only help with insight, some motivational talks maybe or something to get us going.

Q. Has anything been a surprise, something he said?
STEVE STRICKER: No, everything I've heard has been pretty much right on cue. He talks a lot of trash. He likes to gamble a little bit, and he's been doing that with Sean O'Hair a little bit. We have the best basketball player in history in our team room, and to ask him questions, you know, just try to get inside his head a little bit is pretty cool.
I changed my attitude around a little bit. I went to work a little bit more. And I fixed some things that I thought I needed fixing. This was all back in the end of 2005, and slowly and surely I've been playing better golf.

Q. What specifically were some of those things?
STEVE STRICKER: The top of my swing, I was long and across the line. I'm shorter now, a little more compact. I worked on my grip a lot to make sure that I got it in place all the time. And really, my attitude, just to think a little bit more positively about what I was doing, trust what I was doing, and slowly I've been gaining confidence every year as I've been playing the last four years.

Q. Is it actually weird to have a week off last week, you go home, the trees are turning, the off-season is right around the corner and you've still got to play this; would it have been better to have played this last week?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I think yes and no. I mean, it was nice to go home and get a break and set the clubs down for four days and pick them back up on Friday. But it was hard to get going, because the weather up there for me is where I feel like I need to be in the woods because it was cold and rainy.
But again, this is a very special event. It's an event that I want to be a part of on a yearly basis. It's one of my goals that I set at the beginning of each year is to try to be part of the team events. I'm excited to be here and I'm really excited to get it going on Thursday.

Q. You won the Match Play in Australia; what are your memories?
STEVE STRICKER: Oh, it was great. I loved the course, Metropolitan. Very unique course. The bunkering was such that it was right into the green. Very cool. I mean, I didn't get to see much of Australia. I basically went to the course and back. Very cool. I would love to be a part of the team and get over there again.
I think I'm just more consistent now and I think that's the bottom line. I think I've showed stretches of good play during that time, on and off through my career, but I think the last four years, I've just shown a consistency and I've brought that to that another level to where I've been fairly consistent all year long.

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