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


March 17, 2010

Steve Stricker


MARK WILLIAMS: Steve Stricker, thank for joining us at the Transitions Championship, No. 2 player in the world, back here for the fifth time, finished tied for fourth last year with three rounds in the 60s.
Just talk about what you see at the golf course here today after the Pro-Am and what you're looking forward to this week.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, very good course and it's in great shape, too. The greens are very difficult already. They are quick, fairly firm. They are rolling out. It's difficult to get them to hold. So expect if we get a little bit of wind, it's going to be -- the scoring is going to be difficult. But it's a great test, great course, great facility.

Q. As good as your year was last year, is this one that you felt got away a little bit last year? I seem to recall you were right there on Sunday?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I was right there with a couple to play. I bogeyed the last two. And I don't remember how many I lost by to tell you the truth. But you know, I had an opportunity. Yeah, this is one of them that I learned from. You know, it was disappointing bogeying the last couple of holes, but you know, I learned a lot from it. I took a lot away from it, and I think it helped me towards the rest of the year.

Q. Was there anything in particular that maybe this set you up for the rest of the year in terms of coming down the stretch or something different?
STEVE STRICKER: Sure. Just getting in contention and you know, going through the whole process of trying to win a golf tournament and not winning. Like I've said before, I think you learn just as much from disappointments as you do from positive things that have happened, but yeah, this was one that you know, didn't feel or taste very good at the end of the tournament. So definitely, you know, kept me motivated and gave me confidence, because I was up in contention and around the lead.
So I took a lot of confidence from this tournament, too, but learned some valuable things I think down the stretch in a tournament.

Q. Does everybody need one of those every now and again?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I think to win a golf tournament is very difficult, first of all, and you know, nobody really -- very few people, I guess Tiger does it fairly regularly, winning when he's right there in the lead, and finishing it off. But for the most part, when you watch anybody else, it's a difficult thing to try to do.
So, yeah, I think everybody experiences it, for sure, and you learn a lot from those times when you don't win. And then I think you can look back at those times and apply it to another time when you do get in contention.

Q. You mentioned misfires, Tiger had that misfire with Y.E. Yang which was pretty prominent, I think that was the first time he had blown a 54-hole lead at a major, and then we have had all of the off-season stuff which has been chronicled to the nth degree. If you add all that up, does that put a dent in his aura a little bit now that everybody knows that he's not a robot and that he does have flaws? Does it cause you to look across the pairing and look at him a little bit differently in knowing that if he gets cut, he will bleed, or is golf just totally different?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, those are two different things. We have all put him up on such a pedestal, not only in the golf, but we took for granted the personal side, too. We'll have to wait and see what the golf brings when he comes back. This may fire him up even more and make him even stronger. He may have less distractions. You know, who knows, he could be stronger; he could be better. It's just going to -- we are all going to have wait and see I guess. I'm going to leave it at that. (Laughter)

Q. Do you think anyone at the Masters will ask any questions about you?

Q. To you?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm sure we'll get a ton of Tiger questions, and rightly so. It's been a huge story the last three or four months, and you know, this tournament, the one he's coming back for, the Masters, is going to draw huge coverage around the world, and be very much looked at, will be very much under the microscope. He will be; everybody will be. I think it draws a lot of attention to the game. In that respect, it's good.
Golf is going to be at the forefront the Masters, everywhere, which I think is pretty cool. And he's coming back; I think that's another great thing. I'm excited to see him back. I'll be interested to see how he plays and how he handles everything and see how the fans and everybody handle him.
But I'm anxious and looking forward to seeing him again.

Q. My real question for you was at what point you start getting ready for the Masters. Is it now? Is it last week? Is it Florida Swing? In what ways do you do it differently; in other words, do you play golf differently than you would in May and July and things like that.
STEVE STRICKER: Sure. It's always in the back of my mind starting even before last week. Probably the week -- while I was at home, I was starting to think about Augusta and some of the different shots, and the things you need to do there.
And then obviously this whole Florida stretch that I'm playing is geared to just start playing well, get my game, you know, in shape for Augusta, and you know, just get rounds under my belt. I had 2 1/2 weeks off before my Miami, so you know, I was a little rusty last week, first part of the week, but it's just all about getting rounds under my belt now and getting ready for this week and next week. I want to play well at both of these, too. That's been a goal of mine every tournament that I go into is just to try to play well at each and every one, but Augusta is definitely in the back of my mind.

Q. I think you mentioned at the end of last week that when Tiger did come back, it could potentially overpower any tournament, even the Masters; do you see that now as a possible reality now that we know he's going to be there?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, the story line is going to overpower everything. And I didn't mean that in any bad way. I just think that it's a huge story line, and whether it's the Masters, which is probably one of the top events that we play in in the world, that's just the way it is. That's the story of the week. But it is the Masters.
But the underlying fact is that it's a huge, huge event that he's coming back and that he's going to be there.
Yeah, all attention, like I said, is going to be on Augusta.

Q. You just mentioned Augusta has been in the back of your mind, and all of you guys do it a little bit different; there's ways that you are preparing for the Masters. But the common thing is you're all doing something. You're playing tournaments. He's not. What disadvantage is he going to have not having played, and especially showing up there?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, he's done it in the past. He's come back after long layovers (sic) and showed some signs of rusty think. I would imagine he's going to be a little rusty. He has not played a round of golf since November I think. Doesn't matter who you are. You are going to be competitively, you know, under the gun. You're going to be a little bit rusty.
You know, how long is it going to take? Who knows? It could take nine holes for him to get back into it. It could take him a couple of holes. It could take him a couple of rounds. He's a great player, great competitor, and so I expect him to be there at the end. The place, obviously only Nicklaus has won more green jackets there, so obviously he loves the place, and he feels good going around there.
So I expect him to do well and be there at the end.

Q. For those of us that don't play any tournament golf and are basically just screwing around when we are playing, when you talk about the layoff and coming back and playing, what is it that's different about the tournament component versus a practice round? Is it just the rhythm and the routine and the rituals and the sometimes 20 minutes between shots, galleries? I guess those would all be part of it. But what in your mind separates 20 rounds at Isleworth under hard conditions versus a round at Augusta?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I think the nerves are a huge factor. I think you swing a little bit different under competition, under the gun, than you do when you're just playing a round of golf with friends or out there practicing on your own. I think those are the biggest things. So you have to realize, you know, your tendencies when you are under the gun. Everybody has tendencies when they are playing competitive golf compared to like just a fun round. Their tempo may change a little bit. Simple things may change.
And that's why I think guys like to play leading up to. You know, they see what their tendencies are, they can work on them and work on them out there under the gun and try to improve those. And that's what he's not going to be able to do leading up to Augusta, to see what his tendencies are at the time. I mean, your swing changes through the course of the week. So it's just a learning curve I think, and he won't have that leading into Augusta. I think that's why guys -- and usually he plays. He usually plays Bay Hill and then he'll probably go back and work on things to get ready for Augusta.
But I expect him to be playing well.

Q. Do you feel like you have the nerve to be -- or kind of the competitive nature to be in or around his Thursday or Friday pairing, or would you just assume be on the other side of the golf course for those two days?
STEVE STRICKER: I wouldn't mind either way to tell you the truth. I know that's pretty political. (Laughter).

Q. You've played with him a lot lately, though?
STEVE STRICKER: You know what, I don't feel like it's going to be any different. I'm not going to treat him any different and I hope he doesn't treat me any different and I'm just going to go out there and it should be the same. You know, I don't think -- like I say, I don't think it's going to be any different. I enjoy playing with him over the last year or two.
In one respect, it would be fun to be part of that group. And the other end of it, you know, you could do without the distractions, too. So I'm split on that.

Q. From an interested bystander standpoint, is there a danger with Tiger that if he goes out and shoots 75 or 76 on Thursday, that it just adds another layer of scrutiny to everything else he's already going through?
STEVE STRICKER: I suppose. I suppose it could. I don't see that happening really. But you know, he can only answer that, you know, how he's going to feel. He's going to have, I would imagine, I hate to speculate, but it's going to be a different feeling for him to come back this time I think, after a long lay over and really just the uneasiness of what he's going to get from other people, I think is going to be -- but who knows. He's the only guy that can probably answer that, and deal with it. He's a strong-minded person and it will I'm sure test him to the limits this time.

Q. I was just thinking, you know, you're No. 2 in the world, won four out of your last, what, 18 tournaments, chance to become the first player from Wisconsin to win the Masters, and you're going to be sliding in somewhat. You've done enough to get a lot of attention this year, yet you're going to be sliding in under the radar; everybody is, aren't they? Except one guy? It's wide open, don't you think, given his situation --
STEVE STRICKER: Totally. I think there's so many good players. I see that week-in and week-out, that you know, somebody gets on a roll, and they can win. And take nothing away from like Mike Weir or Zach Johnson, but I don't know what they were ranked at the time. They were maybe in the 30s.

Q. Outside?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, outside the 30s.

Q. Trevor?
STEVE STRICKER: I just think any of these majors, anybody can win, I really do, just because I think everybody is so good. And if they just get confident with themselves and with their game, they can roll the dice and win the tournament.

Q. How do you think Tiger reacts to being -- there's some pretty strong reaction out there in certain camps, especially among women, presumably some of those people are going to show up at golf tournaments, maybe for the first time in his career. How do you think he responds to that?
STEVE STRICKER: I think he'll do just fine. I think tournaments aren't going to putt up with it. I think the security level I think will be a little stronger to start with to see what the reaction is really like.
You know, he's going to just have -- I don't know. I guess we can all just speculate. But it's going to be interesting to see.

Q. Outside of The Ryder Cup, I can't imagine people ever rooting against you, for you not to win. I think you might have a certain quotient of people out there that don't want him to win --
STEVE STRICKER: There's one tournament that I thought may be the hardest for him, and that is The Ryder Cup. That tournament has come into my mind as, you know, we all go over there. We are on foreign soil over there, and it could get a little ugly I think over there.
But hopefully he's playing.

Q. I remember reading a few weeks ago, I don't remember exactly, but you didn't feel like the No. 2 player in the world after you got to the point. After a few weeks now in that skin, are you comfortable in it?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm comfortable with what I do? I don't know about comfortable being No. 2 in the world but, I'm comfortable with what I do. I continue to do the same things week-in and week-out. I try not to deviate too much from what I do, and I have confidence. I've been playing well and I brought a lot of confidence with me to each event, and that's a good thing. And I try not to really pay attention to any of this other stuff and just go about my business.
MARK WILLIAMS: Thanks for joining us. Appreciate your time.

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