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December 11, 2009

Jerry Kelly

Steve Stricker


MARK WILLIAMS: Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly, thanks for joining us. 6-under, 66, and tied for the lead right now. You blistered the front nine. Tell us a little bit about that and what happened on the back and the position that you're in.
STEVE STRICKER: You take the front and I'll take the back. (Laughter.)
JERRY KELLY: Okay. Like I said, everything went well on the front. We were thinking we were gonna have to layup on the first hole. We ended up getting there. Made a great chip on the second hole for us to save a par.
And then we just kind of went off to the races from there. Everything was very easy, consistent. It was fun. Not that the backside wasn't fun, but we just kind of hit that wall.
STEVE STRICKER: We did hit a wall. (Laughter.) I don't know. And everything was so close on that backside. You know, we didn't -- I laid Jerry up poorly on the par-5, what is that, 14?
You know, just little things. I tried to lay him up in the fairway at 10 and ended up rolling right into the bunker maybe by a foot. He hit a great shot out of the bunker at 10, and just ended up in a bad spot.
Just a lot of little things. You know, we didn't make the putts. We hit some good putts that went over the edges. It was kind of a reversal of the two nines. One side went so well and the other side just we were fighting and nothing was going right.
But, you know, we hit it fine; made good putts. They just weren't going in like they about at front.

Q. Kenny Perry was in here yesterday, and he said the key to this tournament is having fun. You guys played together last year as a team for the first time. Is there something that you learned from last year to bring to this year, or is having fun the main thing?
JERRY KELLY: I think having fun is the main thing. And, you know, we had fun last year, but I think being that good of friends, we wanted to press for each other that much more.
I think this year we're a lot more comfortable and we're just playing our games. I'm doing what I can do and he's doing what he can do, and, you know, melding those together a little bit better.

Q. Do you think the fact that you both have won this year, you know, you several times, Steve, and you, in New Orleans, Jerry? Has that given you some confidence?
STEVE STRICKER: We came in with a lot of confidence. Obviously we've both had good years. We enjoy playing together, and I think that shows through when we're playing out there.
You know, he's right. We don't want to put each other in a bad spot. We're good friends, and you don't want to put your partner in a bad spot, especially in this first-stage format.
But next couple days it'll be -- you're gonna have to be aggressive. You're gonna have to make a lot of birdies the next couple days, and hopefully we can do that.

Q. Just a quick instructional thing for people who don't know how to play that shot. What's the right way, that below-your-feet, awkward distance you had on 14?
JERRY KELLY: Which one, 14? I don't know. Have somebody call me up and tell me exactly how to play that, because I didn't do it very well.
We've all got new clubs in the bag this week. I've got a lot more bounce on my lob wedge. I thought I could really go down there and get it and not get it too deep, but obviously there was plenty of sand up in the lip. I ended up going too deep.
Tougher when you're not standing in the sand to get a feel of what the sand is. I would like to go stand behind my ball and wiggle my feet in there. It didn't like us when we do that.

Q. Steve, walk me through the putt on the 9th hole.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, we did well with that all day today, looking at the putts and coming up with a break that we both agreed on and felt comfortable with.
I think that's important. I've played enough of these team things. When you have a partner, if two of 'em are gonna look at it, you better be on the same page otherwise it's in the good.
We're definitely on the same page. We read a double breaker to go a little bit to the left and then break to the right at the end. I wasn't trying to make a putt like that. I'm trying to lag that up there and get it within tap-in range for 'em.
That's one of those things that, like I said, everything went right on the front side and that putt went in. It's like stealing one there. We just couldn't keep her going on the back.

Q. This is for both of you guys. Rickie Fowler is on the course this week. The guy has played great, come into his own. Any impressions on him as he come up?
JERRY KELLY: I think there's a lot of the great young players. He's leading the crew coming in as a rookie this next year. There is an awful lot of them that we've had to fend off over the years.
Seems like they get stronger every year. I don't know if that's 'cause we get older every year. I'm not really sure.
But, you know, it's tough out there. It's a mental game. It's not all about the physicality of it. Experience is a great thing to have, but, boy, to be young again.

Q. Did you guys find yourself feeding off each other when you're playing well? Obviously it is different that usual weeks.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, no question. I mean, when both of us were hitting good shots in there, I mean, both hitting good shots in the par-3s and both hitting good putts at it, we felt -- at least did I -- that we could do no wrong on that front. Like I say, how fast it changed.
But, yeah, there's no question. I mean, just like any normal tournament, you're playing along with a couple other guys. If they're playing well and you're playing well you all feed off one another. That's what Jerry and I were doing on that front.
JERRY KELLY: I think we kind of do that even when we're not partners a lot of times. We tell each other, you know, whoever is going off first, get up on that leaderboard so we can see it, get good feelings, and try and chase that down.
You know, it's nice to be able to do that all the time.

Q. Can you give us birdies on the front?
JERRY KELLY: It was back and forth, wasn't it?
MARK WILLIAMS: You birdied the first hole.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. Jerry hit a 3-wood right in the front of the green. I pitched up to about two, three feet, and he made that.
We parred 2 and 3, and 4.
JERRY KELLY: 4 you knocked it in there about four feet and I made that one.
STEVE STRICKER: 5, right? 5 is a par-3.
JERRY KELLY: The par-3, yeah.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. Hit a 5-iron in there to about four, five feet. Jerry made that.
Jerry hit a 3-wood at 6 to about 10, 12 feet for eagle and I made that.
JERRY KELLY: 268 out, by the way. Just checking.
STEVE STRICKER: Into the wind, wasn't it?
JERRY KELLY: Yeah, exactly. (Laughter.)
STEVE STRICKER: No. 7, Jerry hit a -- what did you hit on 7, a sand wedge?
JERRY KELLY: Yeah, sand wedge.
STEVE STRICKER: A sand wedge to about, I don't know, eight feet, and then I made the putt.
8, I hit a 9-iron, I don't know, how far that was that you made there? Eight feet?
STEVE STRICKER: Another 8-footer probably at 8. And then 9, we talked about 9.

Q. This supposedly the silly season. Is it more relaxed, or once Sunday comes does it feel like any other event, or is it just fun?
JERRY KELLY: I mean, I had some good adrenaline going out there today. I think today is -- if you're gonna get the adrenaline going, you know, you're relying on the other person so much. Alternate shot is difficult, because you're playing for somebody else it seems like rather than yourself. You don't want to let 'em down. That's what makes it a tough format.
You don't hear guys apologize out there any other time except when your playing each other in an alternate shot, and that's about it. So I think that's what makes it tough. It's just the mental side of it.

Q. You mentioned everybody is using different clubs out there. Is that an advantage of a tournament like this, you can go out and try out different clubs?
STEVE STRICKER: No question. I think a lot guys, you know, they put the new grooves into play the last month or so of this year. You know, Jerry, this is the first time since China that I think he's played, so he's got new clubs in there.
I put 'em in play at Tiger's event last week. For me, it was just a couple of wedges. Pretty much everybody has new clubs in the bag to some degree, whether it's whole set of irons or just maybe the wedges.
Yeah, it's a great opportunity to get tournament conditions, under the gun, trying to hit those shots in those conditions and seeing how they're gonna react.

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