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June 4, 2010

Steve Stricker


Q. Just talk about your play. You kind of got it going a little bit yesterday but kind of struggled through it. And yet here you are making the cut. You're playing.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. And that's -- I got off to a good start yesterday. Got off to a good start again today. Then it just kind of fizzled again both times.
Finished strong yesterday. Today couldn't get it on the green, couldn't pick the right clubs. Didn't hit very many good shots into the greens and ended up scrambling just to make pars.
You know, I haven't been able to play much. Haven't practiced much because of this little injury that I've had. You know, I'm just happy to keep playing on the weekends, because that's really where you can gauge yourself is when you're playing under the gun.
So get two more rounds here and then off next week and ready for the Open.

Q. What do you think about your health? What percentage are you?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm 100 percent.

Q. Just rustiness?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. And I'm driving the ball -- I think I've missed one or two fairways in two days. So driving the ball has not been the issue. It's getting it to the greens.
You know, when you try to hit it close here, it's tough because the wind is blowing just enough to make a difference, and if you try to hit it tight, you know, sometimes you can pay the price.
That's what I was doing a little bit on that front side, trying to hit it in there and just coming up a little shorter, little off line.
But practice this afternoon and get back at it tomorrow.

Q. Could you gauge how Tiger's coming around after being off for three weeks?
STEVE STRICKER: He's doing fine. You know, I think -- you know, he's been working on his game, working on his swing, and any time you do that, there's going to be some little bumps in the road.
But I think, you know, overall, he's hitting some of the shots that he wants to hit. I don't think he's driving it like he would like to, but, you know, his iron play seems to be getting better.
Just his ability to score is still very good.

Q. Was it fun playing -- you guys are pretty tight, from what I understand.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, we have a good time playing together. We have a lot of fun, and we talk a lot. Yeah, it's a lot of fun.

Q. Has it been hard for you, as one of his friends, to see what's gone on in his personal life?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, very much so. It was hard to watch all that unfold at the end of last year. You know, I told him right when I saw him that I wish him the best, and hopefully he gets things ironed out within himself and his family.
Yeah, it was very difficult to see.

Q. Do you guys -- are you a friendship that you talk to each other off the course as well?
STEVE STRICKER: We text back and forth, you know, but there was a whole time period there where no one could get a hold of him, you know, and that was difficult just as -- you know, that you couldn't get your little message across, you know.
Yeah, that's about the extent of it when we're away from the tournament. You know, it's just the texting.

Q. How long did it take you from the time you first sent your first text to when he was finally able to get back with you?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I was able to get a couple of messages through his agent to him. You know, Augusta is the first time I saw him. So it wasn't -- you know, six months or whatever.

Q. Watching the two of you play, there was such a contrast yesterday in driving the ball. I mean, you drive it so straight, and he's had so much trouble with the driver. You seem to talk a lot. Has he ever asked you about driving?

Q. Because, I mean, you don't hit it as far as he does, but you're always hitting after he is because he's out in the trees someplace and you're in the middle of the fairway probably hitting less club than he's hitting. Does he ever pick your brain and say, okay, what's going on here?

Q. What are you doing? What should I be doing?
STEVE STRICKER: No. He's a very talented player, and he knows a ton about the game. You know, I don't think there's a teacher out there that can possibly give the information that Tiger already has.
I mean, this guy -- you know, he's experienced it all as it relates to golf. I think more so he needs a set of eyes sometimes.
But he's done so much, you know, with his swing over the years. He's gotten to know it very well. He'll be fine.
You know, he just hasn't played a lot. So that's always tough. You know, he's working on a few things, I think, so that's always tough to do too.

Q. I guess, when you say he needs a set of eyes, I'm thinking what's a better set of eyes than the guy -- you guys have played so much the last couple years. I mean, in Presidents Cup and all the other -- Tour Championship and whatnot. What's a better set of eyes than you? I'm surprised that maybe he hasn't said, you know, what are you seeing, Steve, that sort of thing?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I appreciate that, but I also know that he's starting to do a little video on his own. So he's going to actually use his own set of eyes. You know, I think that's a good thing.
I think once he -- and that's kind of what I did about six years ago. I kind of went back and determined to start doing it on my own.
I think Tiger's at that point where he needs to take ownership of what he's doing with his swing. Like I say, he's very knowledgeable about the game and about his own swing that I think he can -- once he gets it straight in his mind and gets the feelings correct, he'll be better than ever.

Q. When you took the responsibility yourself to fix what was wrong with your game, how long did it take you to -- I guess we know the answer as far as when your results.

Q. But in your mind, how long did it take before you started achieving what you were hoping to achieve?
STEVE STRICKER: In golf terms, it was fairly quick, to tell you the truth. I went to work at the end of the '05 season and started seeing results at the beginning of the '06 season.
And from that point, it was just the process of trying to get my confidence back, and that process always takes a little longer, you know.
So, yeah, I started seeing results and started feeling good about the things I was doing. So I think he'll do the same. I think the more he gets to play, the more he'll work at it at home and out here, and he'll start seeing results. We all know what he can do when his confidence level is high.

Q. Have you noticed any difference in the reaction to him? I mean, it looks like the crowds are as adoring as they ever were. Nobody -- I mean, at least it's not very evident if somebody says something that's off-color or chiding or whatever. Are you surprised? I mean, the crowds have like just considered him for his golf only, it seems.
STEVE STRICKER: And that's, you know, I guess, the way it should be. That's what he's out here to do. He's out here to golf. He's really not out here to be judged on his personal life, none of us are.
I mean, we don't judge any of you guys on what you do in your personal life, nor do I want to know what you do in your personal life. But you know my point.
The thing is that everybody knows it because he's such a celebrity, and he's one of the most well known athletes ever to have lived. So that's why everybody knows about it.
And it's nice to see -- I think he's changed too, and I think the people have sensed that. You know, he's trying to accommodate more. He's trying to acknowledge more, and I think people have seen that.
You know, we're all forgiving people. So I think that's what you're seeing. People are saying, hey, he made a mistake. He's working on it, and he's trying to get better. And they're helping him along in that.

Q. Steve, what's your sense of how close his game is to being what it used to be?
STEVE STRICKER: I think he's got a little ways to go yet. I mean, I've seen him play some unbelievable golf. We all have. And he's -- you know, I mean, he's still -- his ability to score is still very, very, very good, uncanny-like, you know. But he's got some work to do. And he would be the first to admit that, I think. But I saw more improvement today. I mean, he's starting to hit shots -- it seems like the way he wants to.
You know, he's not driving it very well yet, but that will come too.

Q. From a competitive standpoint, both you and Tiger playing together today, both made a little bit of a run. As you look toward the weekend, how do you view where you stack and what you'd like to do the next couple of days?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I've just got to keep doing what I've been doing, hopefully continue. I've been a little streaky in both my rounds. So if I can get off to that hot start like I have both days and then just continue it is what I need to do.
You know, the lead is pretty low. What is he, 14?

Q. 13.
STEVE STRICKER: 13? So a long ways back, eight back, but still a lot of golf to play.

End of FastScripts

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