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September 2, 2010

Steve Stricker


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome defending champion Steve Stricker, who's making his eighth start here at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He's coming off a T3 at the Barclays last week, which has him in second place in the FedExCup standings. If you'd talk a little bit about your goals this week coming back to defend and looking forward to the TOUR Championship this year.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, obviously very excited to be here. You know, any time you have such good things happen at a course and then go on to win and come back the next year, you come back with all those positive vibes and positive thoughts, and it's great to be back here and kind of relive those memories as I was going around there today. So looking forward to playing, and the course is in great shape.
You know, obviously it was a nice way to start the Playoff run last week, finishing tied for third, and looking forward to the rest of it. We go to Chicago next week, which is close to home for me, and then on to Atlanta. We've got a lot of important golf left, and it's a good time to play well.

Q. With the storm coming in tomorrow, it looks like it's going to come in in the afternoon. Is it kind of an advantage for you to have a morning tee time, kind of get out there before the heavy winds?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, as it looks right now, it kind of looks that way. But I guess we'll see how it plays out. I don't know if it's going to be windy before the storm hits right away in the morning, but it's potentially to be in our favor tomorrow by going off early. But we'll have to wait and see and see what it's like and when you do get here just play as well as you can.

Q. I'm working on a story on the Player of the Year, which is no easier to identify right now than it was a month ago or a month before that. There's five guys with two wins and Phil is the only TOUR member that won a major. It seems like there's probably more on the table than just $10 million, isn't there? Isn't there a pretty big Nicklaus Trophy that's up for grabs that could be won now by even Kuchar?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I think so. I haven't thought about it until you really said it, but I don't think there really is a clear-cut favorite for Player of the Year this year. I would imagine the guy that ends up winning the FedExCup Trophy could possibly be the winner of the Player of the Year. So like you say, there's a lot on the line, and good time to play well and see what happens.

Q. When you hear the nickname "Mr. September," obviously it's a reflection of what you've been able to do in the Playoffs. Is that something that you just, like, oh, that's kind of cute, or is that something you think about in terms of what you've been able to do in the fall here?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I guess I think of it as it's kind of cute. You know, it's nice to be recognized for good play. I do think about it that way, too, that I've been fortunate enough to play well throughout the Playoffs since they've started, and that's kind of ironically when my game started to get better is at the start of the whole Playoffs system. So it's been a good run.
You know, I try not to really think back at it and just kind of keep looking forward and keep trying to do the things I've been doing but not really rest on any of my past performances and try to look forward and try to keep doing what I've been doing. It's nice. It's, like I say, nice to be recognized for that but still try to do the stuff I need to do each and every week.

Q. If you do run into some bad weather tomorrow, you're from a part of the country where there is some bad weather for golf. Tom Watson liked playing when the weather was bad because he thought it eliminated half the field. Being from where you are, do you look at playing in bad weather as an advantage to you, or you don't like playing in the bad weather?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't mind it. I don't mind when conditions are tough. I think it puts more premium on getting the ball in play, short game, because it gets more difficult to hit the greens, and just the ability to grind it out. I don't mind that. So I don't look at bad weather as a negative. You know, obviously I'd like to play in 75 and no wind every day, but it's also harder sometimes if you're not at the tip-top of your game, too, when it's pristine conditions.
I don't mind bad weather, and you've just got to deal with it. Everybody has got to play in pretty much the same thing unless one half of the wave really gets the bad end of the deal. Yeah, that's my opinion anyways and my feelings about it, just go ahead and deal with it and try to handle it the best I can.

Q. Matt Kuchar was in here talking about the meeting with Corey Pavin and the Ryder Cup guys. Where did you guys go and what did you do?
STEVE STRICKER: We met at a hotel down in Providence at a restaurant down there, and we just got together, the eight of us that had made the team so far. Phil wasn't there because he's not into town yet, so the seven of us and a couple of the assistant captains and Corey. It was just mainly getting together, hearing what Corey had to say, what he kind of expected of us. You know, he kind of wanted to get our feelings on who we liked for the picks that he needs to make this coming week. But basically just to get together and put things out on the table and get our feelings out there in the open and be together.

Q. Just one other thing about playing well in the fall. I think last week you spoke about that one of the reasons was you could see that the end of the season was near. Are there other factors that you can kind of throw in there? Is it the courses or is it something where you're feeling strong at the end of the year that you've kept yourself fit, that kind of thing? Any other reasons why you play well this time of year?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I've had the success really at each one of these courses or areas, won at Westchester, New York area; finished well at Liberty last year; played well here in previous years, obviously winning last year; won in Chicago before the redo. You know, I guess the areas that we've gone to I've had some past successes at, so I feel good going to those areas. And really, I feel really good that the end is near, that's really the bottom line. I've got basically four more events before I can spend some time at home, and that excites me.
You know, it's not that I work any harder, but I've also had a good year this year again, too, so I carry a lot of confidence into the end of the years, and I think that's been a common theme, too, since my game has gotten better, that I've played well pretty much the entire year in these last four or five years, and I carry a lot of confidence into the end. That's always a good thing, too, when you feel good going to the places where you've had some past success and go there with some confidence.

Q. But you're obviously not feeling tired, right?
STEVE STRICKER: No, I don't feel tired. I mean, I probably don't practice as much towards the end of the year just because we have three in a row here and then we have a week off and then we have two big tournaments to end it all up, so I kind of conserve a little bit. I do a lot of putting and chipping, but really I don't do anything different. I just go about my same routine each and every week.

Q. Could you take us step by step the way you play the par-3 16th and the par-5 18th holes here?
STEVE STRICKER: Par-3 16th, it's somewhere between a 7- and an 8-iron for me. It can range from 150-some yards all the way up to probably 170-some yards, depending on the wind. It's usually there out of the right, some direction out of the right hurting or helping. It's just a shot that you need to get on the green and take your 3 or get a good, decent putt at a birdie there. But making sure that you really don't hit it in the water to the left. I try not to get too aggressive with any pin on that green and look at it as really taking a par and moving on.
And then 18 is a hole where you're stepping up to the tee and thinking about making birdie. Getting it in the fairway is a must to be able to reach the green, and for me it's a utility club, maybe a 3- or 4-iron at the very least, and getting it on the green. Usually the pin placements are in difficult spots to get it really close to, but you're looking to make a 4 and end up the round with a birdie.

Q. That Ryder Cup dinner you had last night, I'm just wondering who picked up the tab, and might some other diners have been eavesdropping in on the conversation to try and get some information?
STEVE STRICKER: No, there was nobody else there. We were in our own little room, and the PGA of America was nice to buy that dinner.

Q. You've been on with the last three international teams, is that right, two Presidents and a Ryder, three in a row?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, this will be four.

Q. You might not be the best guy to ask this. Phil was floating the possibility the reason he think the U.S. Team has been playing better in those is because of the FedExCup and that at a time -- this time of year where you might be playing intermittently if at all, now you're playing every week and with the foot on the gas. Do you think there's any credence to that? Obviously this has all coincided with your membership on these teams so you don't have the before view but you do have the after view.
STEVE STRICKER: No, I agree, because I can remember that was a talking point prior to the Playoffs was -- I can remember guys -- I can remember Phil not playing for a long time going to make Oakland Hills, I think. You know, and other guys, too, just not playing before going into the Ryder Cup. So I agree 100 percent with you that it gets us there, it gets us playing at a high level. You know, there's big-time fields, great competition, so it's an opportunity to keep on working on your game under tournament conditions, which is always more beneficial than just being at home whacking it around with buddies or by yourself.
So yeah, I totally agree that that's a positive for us.

Q. Back to the dinner last night, I won't ask you for any names because I know better, but did Corey share with you guys people that he might be considering? Did he sort of --

Q. Did he open up a little bit and do you have a pretty good idea how the team may shake out depending on what happens this weekend?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, he mentioned a lot of players. You know, I think he's got a pretty good idea who his picks are going to be. I mean, I think he still has some questions. I think it depends a lot on what happens here this week, and he wants to have some players step up and show him something, I think.
But he mentioned a lot of players. I don't think anybody is set in stone yet, but I think he's really looking forward to seeing what's going to happen here this week.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Steve. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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