home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 2, 2010

Steve Stricker


DOUG MILNE: Steve, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the 2010 Northern Trust Open. Runner-up finish here last year, so obviously this is a place fond from your 2009 season and you're off to a great start this year, pair of Top 10s already. You mentioned on the way in that the off-season seemed like it went by really fast. Just as you're ramping up for 2010, just a couple comments on the state of your game and your mindset.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it's always nice to come back here. It's a place where I had some success last year and looking forward to getting it going again this year.
As far as the state of my game, I haven't played the last couple weeks, and being home in Madison, you don't get a lot done there this time of year except I'm able to hit balls on a regular basis, on a daily basis. But as far as playing and short game, putting, that kind of stuff, it's a little bit tougher to do.
But yeah, like I said, I'm excited to be here and hopefully continue my play like I did the first couple weeks of the season.

Q. Was there anyway to anticipate the uproar that ensued over the square groove wedges last week?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't know if -- I think it caught everybody off guard a little bit as far as the Pings being legal to play. I surely didn't think about it. I think there were some other players that really never thought about it. You know, as it started building some momentum, I think it took on a face of its own.
But it's kind of -- the rule isn't very good, I guess, being -- we have conforming grooves but yet we can play a set of grooves that were legal back in 1990. I think the rule just needs to be altered. There's some factors there that -- the lawsuit, I guess, which I'm not too familiar with, but there's some legality to all this that, like I say, I'm not smart enough to know.
But hopefully we get it straightened out and we all get played on an even playing surface. I think that's the biggest thing. I think that's what everybody wants to see is that we all are playing with the same type of grooves, that -- those Pings are even hard to come by nowadays. You can't get them unless maybe on-line, eBay or something like that. It's not like Ping is making those clubs again.
So it's something that I think we just all want to make sure that we're all playing under the same rules. And there was nothing, I don't think, wrong with what these players were doing. I mean, they're playing under the rules. It's not like they were cheating or anything. But I think we all want to see that it's an even playing surface.

Q. Do you think it was maybe a little bit over the top for Scott to say what he did about Phil using them, using the cheating word, which is like branding somebody with a branding iron?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I didn't care for his words, with using those two words so closely together, cheating and Phil Mickelson. We have enough going on in our sport right now where we don't need any more attention to something like this. I think he's retracted that a little bit. Like I say, he was playing under the rules. All the other guys that were playing the Ping clubs were also playing under the same rules. It's just that the rule isn't a very good one right now. And I think that's what we need to work towards to, like I say, try to get everybody on the same page so we're all playing the same equipment.

Q. Do you think if the TOUR had sent out a letter to all the members say in November, December, in the off-season and said, here's a weird circumstance, we've got a club that doesn't conform but you're allowed to use it, we'd like to beg your indulgence for the sake of purity of the game, please don't use it; we can't tell you not to, but please don't; what do you think the response from your peers would have been?
STEVE STRICKER: I think there would have been still guys that would have used them.

Q. Really?
STEVE STRICKER: I do. They're legal. That's the bottom line. They're not doing anything wrong by using those clubs, and I think that's the whole point of this is that those guys weren't -- they're still playing under the rules, and right now I guess the issue is that most of the players don't think that the rules are quite right. And I think that's -- the TOUR is going to have a player meeting today. I'm sure a lot of this is going to get hammered out today and a lot of questions will be answered.
But I think that's where everybody is at, is that we just want to make sure that it's consistent, and some players can get that club, some players can't. I mean, if it was available to everybody, it would be one thing, but it's not, or it's hard to get -- I haven't looked into it, but I'm sure it's very difficult to get those types of clubs. But I just think the USGA adopted this rule, and we ought to try to get there to that rule as quickly as possible, I think, and have all of us players playing consistent grooves with one another.

Q. Did you have any monster flier lies, not with wedges, but with whatever clubs in your early start?
STEVE STRICKER: I haven't -- I'm playing the same exact clubs that I've played the last four or five years, so I haven't had to change my groove situation in my clubs, just my two sand wedges.

Q. Did you watch -- how much did you watch last week what went on there?
STEVE STRICKER: I watched a little bit. I watched The Golf Channel a little bit to see what they had to say, and I saw McCarron's comments and some other players' comments. And then the TOUR released a statement kind of addressing the situation. So yeah, I picked up on it a little bit and knew that it was gaining some momentum.

Q. There were a couple of young guys that did well last week. I'm wondering if you were familiar with them, their games, Michael Sim and Rickie Fowler?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, we all -- what was the question? Sorry, I cut you off.

Q. I was just wondering what you thought. There were three guys in their 20s that finished Top 10, and all of them look pretty promising; Leishman, the Rookie of the Year last year, too. I was just wondering what you think about some of these young guys that are coming out.
STEVE STRICKER: Well, they're all pretty proven players, you know, at different levels, I guess. Rickie Fowler was a great amateur player, great college player and proved himself out here last year in the limited starts that he got. So we know about him. And Michael Sim, the same; playing so well on the Nationwide Tour last year, he's got a great swing, so you know he can play. I don't think it surprises -- it didn't surprise me that those guys were up there.
I told my wife -- she asked me who was going to win on Sunday, and I said watch out for Michael Sim. I mean, I think he's just that good a player. Technically he looks very sound. He's a good putter. I guess his short game is pretty good. I have not been out with him. I think I played with Rickie Fowler in San Diego in the U.S. Open one round when it was there a few years ago.
So they're all very good players. Leishman I don't know really too much about. I've never been out with him. But those other -- they're all solid, good players. I expect a lot of good things from those guys, and it's nice to see those younger guys coming out and playing well right out of the chute. It gives them something to build on for the rest of the year, and I could see that there's going to be some -- expect to see them up near the top quite a bit. They're good players.

Q. A couple of fixtures in the Top 10, Furyk and Phil, turn 40 within days of each other later this summer. You've pretty well shown that that's hardly the end of the line and actually sort of turned your career around right around that point. What's different now about it than it was before? Or is there any reason to think that those guys can't continue to play pedal to the metal for several more years?
STEVE STRICKER: Sure. I think it's -- I think just watching guys precede us, Jay Haas, Kenny Perry, Vijay Singh, you see those players, and you look up to them, like, man, they're in their mid 40s, later 40s. Jay Haas played great in his later 40s. Kenny Perry is doing that. Vijay has done it, we all know about that. You know, so it all shows us that there's hope, I guess, and it provides some motivation for us to continue on as you get a little bit older.
And I think the biggest thing is, which no one can take away from you, is all that experience that you've gained throughout your career. You know, you get a little bit older, you get a little bit wiser, you do things a little bit differently than you did when you were younger, and I think that's the biggest key is you just have all that experience to lean on. I think, like I say, there's a lot of players before us that have shown us that it can be done.

Q. How long do you think it takes before you feel like you've got this thing figured out as a player, three, four years, five years? I guess it probably varies depending on the individual.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I don't think you ever get it figured out. I think it's just the type of game that you learn every day out there, and it can be different every day. You know, you may feel good one day, even from one nine to the next, one hole to the next. So it's a constant learning process, I guess, and I think that's part of the maturity level, too, as players get older is that they realize that there can be ups and downs and you have to deal with them and maybe do -- work on other parts of your game to kind of offset, maybe more short game stuff. You learn so much every day, and I think this type of the game, the way it is, it's just a big learning process each day.

Q. Do you practice smarter now than you did when you were younger, maybe more efficiently if that's the right word?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, there's no question I practice better. I think I schedule my tournaments a lot wiser. I've been around long enough to know where I enjoy to go play or where I don't like to play necessarily. So yeah, you've got to listen to your body and your mind and do the right things, and like you say, I think that what you learn as you get a little bit older.

Q. What do you enjoy about this tournament? And you may have noticed there's been some improvements. I'm curious, can you see some of that from a player point of view and some of the things the sponsor has done? You've been coming here a while now.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, we played nine holes yesterday, and it's probably the best condition I've ever seen the course. Why I enjoy coming here is it's a great old-time course with some history behind it, too. You know, we don't get the opportunity to play this style very often, so it's always a treat to come here and play. Like I say, the condition of the course is great, and hopefully the weather holds off and gives us some drier conditions.
But I enjoy coming here. There was a period of time where I didn't enjoy coming here too much, but I've found a new love for the course, I guess you could say. I enjoy it. I had some success here last year, which always helps your frame of mind in coming back.

Q. Just curious when you're in Madison at this time of year, are you hitting out of the hitting bays with the garage door up out into a snowy pasture? Do you have any idea what your ball flight is doing? What are you kind of doing?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it's hitting from inside out. We've had some rain, so it's really hitting into an ice patch and watching the ball bounce all over the place.
You know, the balls are a little bit different trajectory than the Titleists that I play, so that's always a trick. But really it's just to keep loose. I've got mirrors that I can look at so I can work on positions every now and then. But it's mainly just to get my timing and stay loose and continue to hang onto the club. I think the biggest thing that you can do is just to pick up a club every day and swing it. So that's what I try to do.

Q. More the swing than the result of where it goes?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I'm looking at the result, though, too. I'm looking at the pattern of it and trying to develop a pattern. You know, off mats you can hit it a little bit straighter than grass, which is always good for the confidence, hitting off the mats. You know, I still try to make sure I can start the ball where I want it to start and all that kind of stuff.

Q. Speaking of results, have you ever won a tournament and not known it?

Q. Do you think that's kind of an unusual way to go about doing it?
STEVE STRICKER: I was thinking, his reaction there, I'm like, what's he doing? It almost didn't look like he knew that he won.

Q. He said he didn't know.
STEVE STRICKER: Well, my hat's off to him. I'd be looking at that thing all the time. That's very hard to do not to look at the leaderboard. Every guy is a little bit different out here. There's no right or wrong way. I personally like to see where I stand, especially coming down the last hole or the last -- I'm looking at them. It's hard for me to judge.
Yeah, that was a little different. But like I say, my hat's off to him. He played great coming down the stretch. He hit it in the smart spots in the center of the greens and two-putted and moved on.

Q. Did you ever look at a board and wish you didn't, where you thought I need to do X, Y, Z, and it didn't happen and you felt like, man, I just wish I hadn't have looked, or hit a shot you might have hit because you knew you had to jump on the gas or something? I'm sure it must have happened at some point.
STEVE STRICKER: Sure. Like I say, I like to look. I like to see where I stand. Perfect example was last year at Deutsche Bank. I'm behind and knowing that I need to birdie 17 and 18 to win. If a guy doesn't look, does he have that ability? Maybe his caddie would have told him at that point, which it sounded like his caddie had the okay to do that if it had to be done. I'm sure his caddie would have told him maybe standing on 17 that he was one behind or something like that.
But yeah, it's a pretty interesting and unique way of doing it, but it works.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297