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July 17, 2010

Henrik Stenson


LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Henrik Stenson, who scored 5-under par 67 today for a three-round total of 209. Can you tell us about the conditions out there.
HENRIK STENSON: Flat calm, same as yesterday. (Laughing). No, it wasn't as bad as yesterday, but it really picked up I thought, and the gusts are extremely strong, and it's really difficult to putt more than anything, especially on a few of the exposed holes. It's feels like the wind is trying to rip your pants off, and that's not a good thing. (Laughter.)

Q. How does this put you from a confidence standpoint now going into tomorrow? And how much more fun was it today to play than it was yesterday?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, it's still early to see where I'm going to finish up by the end of the day, but hopefully I'll be within striking distance. I've said before that I think the reason Sweden hasn't won any majors on the male side is that we haven't positioned us well enough, but now it seems like both Robert and myself are up there. I don't know how the other guys are doing, Freddie and Peter, but that's what you've got to do. If we can be in there tomorrow when we enter the back nine, anything can happen.
So I'm pleased, of course, with today's work. I've played a lot of good tournaments in tough conditions, and obviously you need to have a few good breaks and I had that today. I made some birdies and an eagle, a bit of a bonus on a couple of holes, but then I missed a couple of good chances, as well. So it kind of all evened out in the end.
Yeah, it's been a long day. Did I answer anything that you asked?

Q. Talk about your eagle at the 13th.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, the two really important ones, or lucky breaks, one was on 8, I hit a 7-iron over the back left and putted it in from 60, 70 feet, something like that, so that was a bit of a bomb. And then 13 was playing down off the right, and I hit a 5-wood. At first I couldn't tell if it cleared the bunker or not, but it was just going forever, and it went, I think, 320 yards, almost up by the edge of those bushes. And I had a lob wedge for a second shot and played it out of the rough, and landed it I guess perfectly just on the green. And after a while the crowd went crazy, which I took as a good sign. I think it was about 105 yards to the pin.

Q. You haven't been quite on our radar recently. This round now puts you right slap-bang in the middle. Any reason why you've had a fairly quiet year?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, everybody is so nice to me, they're all saying, "you haven't quite been up to standard." I've been playing really poorly this year. No point in trying put that in cotton. I've had two Top 10s in European Tour events, and that's about it. I've been across the board, I'd say, both long game and short game, and a lot of times it goes hand in hand. Now obviously I'm striking it a bit better and my short game is better, too, and putting has been pretty solid all week. I finally -- you probably shouldn't be too confident about it, because it's one more day, but I've finally managed to find some of the lines at St. Andrews greens, which I've found very difficult in the past.

Q. You have a caddie on your bag who knows what it takes to win at St. Andrews. How much of an influence has Fanny been in these difficult conditions and what do you think she'll bring to you tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: I've had Fanny on the bag for three and a half years now. We've had some great success. I enjoy her company and she's very experienced, as you say. Won four majors with Nick, so she knows what she's doing. Even after all these years I'm not supposed to say that about a lady, but she's very hard-working and dedicated, and she wants to win as bad as I do.

Q. Two-part question: One, in the morning I believe you chipped in for a birdie on the 18th. How important was that start to the day even though it was the second round? And secondly, you've had a very quiet preparation for the Open. You have not played for the last four weeks, which is very unusual for you before a major. So how much did that help you for this tournament?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, to start off with the first part there, I mean, I started on 17. I had a 12 -- from 12 yards this morning, and it looked like it was in, and then it just managed to roll almost over the hole. I checked, there was no cling film on the cup, but that's the way it looked.
Then on 18 I spun it over the green, I was not too happy but I managed to make it from 50 yards short down in that swale. I putted it, and it was like one of those -- it evened out.
And then in terms of preparation, last year I went -- well, I didn't play Loch Lomond last year. I went early to Scotland and practiced some at Turnberry and found that very useful to be in this environment, and picking up on the shots you need to play and have some time with my coach, Pete Cowan, and work on a few things. Even though I'm not playing my absolute best, it's a big push in the right direction.

Q. If you can pull this off tomorrow, how special would --
HENRIK STENSON: What do you mean "if"?

Q. I mean, when you pull this off tomorrow, talk about how special it would be to do it here.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, it's going to be a lot of guys fighting, fighting it out for this one, and obviously there's no point getting ahead of ourselves. But we've been longing a long time. I think to have a Swedish male player win a major, if it could happen tomorrow, that would be great, whether it be me or Robert or any of the other guys. I can only try my hardest tomorrow, keep my head down and play like I did today, and try and battle these tough conditions because I assume we will have the same ones tomorrow.

Q. You played the first two rounds with the Korean amateur, Jeong Jin. He's still up there on the leaderboard. Can you say how good he is. And can an amateur win this?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, if he's playing as he did the first two days, definitely. I mean, he's an extremely strong putter and very talented. I don't know how old he is. 20? I wish I was that good when I was 20. He's got an extreme talent. Yeah, he's going to be fun to follow. Of course he can win. He's won the British Amateur, so I presume he's got some strong nerves.

Q. Can you tell us about your residency situation, which is your principal resting place now on Tour?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, it's still Dubai. I spend time in Dubai and in Florida. They've been the main two places that we base ourselves. So it's Dubai in the wintertime mainly and then Florida in the spring, and then a couple of months in and out of Sweden to see some family and friends and when I play the European tournaments.

Q. Because last time we spoke you suggested you might be about to settle your links with Dubai. That's not going to happen?
HENRIK STENSON: No, it's going to be something to look into when it's time for Lisa to start school and so on. So we'll see what happens. Nothing is written in stone there.

Q. I don't know if you noticed the conspicuous lack of Yanks on the leaderboard right now. It looks like the European Ryder Cup team. I wonder what you think of what Poulter said about Mickelson, Kenny Perry and some of those guys being in their 40s, maybe the time is now for the European side, sort of his impression. I wonder about your thoughts on that.
HENRIK STENSON: Well, it's been a strong spring and summer for European golf. A lot of players have played well and we're going to have an extremely strong Ryder Cup team this fall. As you can see, I'm trying my very hardest to try and make sure I get there. Yeah, whether it be how old some of the American players are or not, but age seems to be not that big of an issue, given how Tom Watson played last year in this championship and how well -- when Kenny Perry gets on those hot streaks, he seems to be unstoppable.
So I don't think -- it comes and goes, form comes and goes, and if you look at all the players over a long perspective, everybody goes through ups and downs. But sure, it's been a good summer for Europe.

Q. As you said, there's no male winner, Swedish winner, of an Open Championship. I just wonder when you get together with Swedish women, do they tease you about it?
HENRIK STENSON: All the time. All the sleepless nights, it's been horrible, really. They seem so sweet on the surface, don't they? (Laughter).

Q. Is there more pressure because they've done it for --
HENRIK STENSON: I don't think so. I mean, obviously a big bonus if I could win this tournament and be the first one out of Sweden to win it, but it would be a Swedish win on the male side in a major championship hopefully sooner rather than later, and if it be me, that would be great, but I'm more concerned of doing my part of playing tomorrow and hopefully be one of the guys on the back nine that might have a chance.

Q. You along with some of your European colleagues have played St. Andrews in the fall in the Tour event. How much of an advantage to have played it under, I'm sure, some testy conditions that time of year?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely an advantage that the course plays differently now compared to when we played the Dunhill Links, which is played with amateurs. I'm sure it's pretty much the same for the American guys who's played a lot of AT&T at Pebble and then coming back in the summer. The course is not quite the same. It probably varies a whole lot more at Pebble Beach than it does here, but the course is set up differently. It's not as much rough in October for the Dunhill Links given the amateurs and so on. So it plays a lot easier.
But it's definitely a big advantage, and I've said that before, as well, that there will be a lot of Europeans up there because of how many times we've played the course over the years.

Q. How much attention do you pay to the World Rankings because not so long ago you were well established in the Top 10 and now you're just outside the Top 30. Does that bother you?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I mean, it's not something anybody likes to see, but as I said, the way I've played, I deserve nothing else but to fall down there in the rankings. I need to fill up with some fresh points again and make my way up. I've probably been in the top 10 or top 15 for the last two or three years, something like that. So it's a position I feel comfortable being in when I'm playing well, and as of late, I haven't played well, and then you drop down. So it's just a matter of filling up those points again. It's a good motivation at times, as well.
LYNN WALLACE: Henrik, thanks very much for joining us.

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