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September 8, 2010

Steve Stricker


NELSON SILVERIO: We welcome Steve Stricker to the media center here at the BMW Championship. You're currently third in the FedExCup points following your top 10 last week. This is your 17th start at the BMW Championship. You have five top 10s, including a win in '96. If you could just talk about coming back here to Cog Hill and just on your season overall.
STEVE STRICKER: Obviously always coming back here is a lot of fun. You know, this is close to home for me. I was able to go home Monday night and get a couple nights' rest at home and just drive down today, and I've played well here in the past, and it's always fun to come back. It feels a lot like home, and I get a tremendous amount of support here. It's nice to be back. Looking forward to the week.

Q. You won here when it was the Western Open in July, you've won at John Deere, but now you're having a lot of success in the fall. Can you talk about how you've played to well and turned things around during the FedExCup Playoff time of the year?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I'm not sure the reasoning behind it, I guess, except the fact that my game has kind of turned the same time the FedEx system came around, and it's been good. Obviously to play well during these times, fortunate enough to win the very first one, and it's been a good run through the whole playoff system.
But it's been good every year since it started, and I think that's the key. I've been very consistent every year, and it leads right up into the fall, and I continue that consistency right through the fall. We've gone to courses that I've had some success on, so it's always nice to go -- come here to Cog Hill where I won back here in '96. The course is a lot different now, but obviously still pretty much the same surroundings, same type of grass that we play off of, all that kind of stuff. So it's always nice when you've had some successes at the venues that we go to and you come back on a yearly basis to play there or in the area. It gives you a good feeling even coming into the event.
But I think it's just a continuation of my play throughout the year, and it just keeps going right into the fall.

Q. Is there maybe a specific reason why you've played well here at Cog Hill? Is there something about the course, the kind of iron shots it requires or the putting on the greens, something that you like that you've always seemed to play fairly well here?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm not sure why. I can't even tell you that. I didn't play that well here last year with the new redo. I'm hoping to turn that around this year. You know, I don't know what it is. The course just sets up well for me, or just being close to home, I'm really not sure. I really can't pinpoint why I've played well here in the past, except the fact that I enjoy being here, enjoy the course and enjoy the area, and that always helps. That always helps when you go in with a fresh and positive attitude going into the tournament.

Q. Any different vibe this year with the FedExCup in terms of maybe fans and media understand the points more, maybe they've gotten more into it because Tiger has had to play well to survive week to week?
STEVE STRICKER: Do you understand the point system? (Laughter.)
You know, I think why it's more exciting -- I don't know if it's more exciting. I think it's exciting because it's wide open. I think there's a number of guys that can win this. There isn't one clear-cut favorite. Tiger could win it still; Phil could win it still; anybody here in this field can still win it. So I think that's what's exciting about the scenarios.
And each week a different scenario plays out. So I think that's what lends itself to some interest and to some excitement, not only for the fans but the players, as well. You're sitting there watching where you're projected to be at and all that stuff that's going on throughout the week. So I think that's what's exciting about it all is that it's just still wide open and anybody can win it.

Q. You mentioned the Western, and as a Western winner, do you miss not having the Western here, and also just wondering does it feel different coming here for a -- how does it feel coming here for the BMW compared to the Western?
STEVE STRICKER: It really doesn't feel any different. I mean, we're still coming here. We're not coming here on a regular basis. I guess this is going to move around periodically. It still feels like a Western Open to me. You know, the same Western Golf Association are running it. I see them on a yearly basis, guys that I've gotten to know growing up over the years, and then obviously winning here, being a past champion here and coming back here, it still feels like a Western Open to me even though it's the BMW Championship. So it really doesn't have a different feel to me except when you look around you see a lot more white tents and BMW signs around.
But it's all good. We're very thankful to have BMW as part of our TOUR and to sponsor this event. But as far as golf goes, it really doesn't feel any different.

Q. What's the biggest difference in playing this course now since the renovations? What's the biggest adjustment you've had to make?
STEVE STRICKER: I think the greens are the biggest adjustment. I think visually it looks great from the tee. I think Rees Jones did a great job visually. The greens on the other hand are somewhat different, to put it nicely. He's got a characteristic about them that I don't really care for. But that's just my personal feeling. But the greens complexes are pretty difficult.
Other than that, I think he did a great job the way it looks. Playability to some degree is pretty tough, especially when we get the greens firm and fast. So it's a challenge. I mean, it's difficult. It's a little bit different, and we've only been around it one time, last year, and hopefully learn a little bit more today and see if I can't get a handle on it.

Q. What did you think of Pavin's picks yesterday, and in particular Rickie Fowler?
STEVE STRICKER: I thought the picks were great. You know, I think the three guys other than Rickie are proven major winners, guys that have been part of Ryder Cups in previous years. I think they'll all fit with the team very well.
And as far as Rickie goes, his personality I think is going to fit great with the team. He's a very good kid, he's young, he's a tremendous talent, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him a little bit better. I've run into him a few times. I played with him as an amateur at the U.S. Open out at Torrey Pines, and a great kid. He's got a lot of game.
So I'm very excited about all four picks and looking forward to -- three weeks away, it's coming up on us quick and should be a lot of fun.

Q. You obviously had a lot more experience when you played your first Ryder Cup. I'm wondering if you can remember what the nerves were like on the first tee and maybe try to relate to what he might be going through doing it for the first time at such a young age.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it is a nerve-wracking situation. I can remember my first Ryder Cup; I was definitely more nervous at the Ryder Cup than I was at a Presidents Cup. I don't know for whatever reason. I mean, you just feel that sense of history, I guess, at a Ryder Cup, and you know that you're at something a little bit more important.
But it's a situation where you get to really learn about yourself, too, learn how to handle the pressure, and you find an inner strength most times where you can deal with it and hit the shots that are called for. You find yourself feeding off that pressure. I think that's why you see a lot of great play during Ryder Cups, because guys find that inner strength and dig down and play even a little bit better.
I'm sure Rickie will handle himself great. He's young but he's played some great golf early in his rookie year. This bodes well for him for the rest of his career. He gets a taste of this his rookie season, and it's a guy that's going to be around the TOUR for a long time, and he can really gain a lot of experience through this year to make him better in future Ryder Cups.

Q. I'd like to ask you about two holes, in particular the par-3 12th, and the par-5 15th, and if you could just kind of take us from tee to green and walk us through how you approach each of those holes.
STEVE STRICKER: The 12th and which hole?

Q. Par-3 12th and the par-5 15th.
STEVE STRICKER: 12, par-3, down the hill.

Q. Yeah, down the hill and they've got the deep bunkers.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, 12 is a long par-3. I can't remember the green complex. Like I say, we've only been around here one time. But it's a green where you need to fire it into the center of the hole, and it's a good par hole. Take your 3 and move on. You're usually hitting anywhere from -- I think I hit 3-iron in there last year to maybe about a 5-iron, so it's a long hole, difficult hole, and pin placements are tough there, so you make your 3 and move on.
What's the other one?

Q. 15.

Q. Yeah.
STEVE STRICKER: That's a hole where you step up there thinking that you need to make a birdie. You know, it's reachable, and you need to drive it in the fairway to get to that green. Yeah, you're thinking 4 when you get up there. The trick there on that hole is the second shot, not to get too aggressive and hit it too far to the right because you can short-side yourself and not be able to get it up-and-down. So hit that in the center of the green and hopefully two-putt and move on, make your 4.

Q. Considering how important it is to be in the top 5 in points going into East Lake, how cognizant will you be of that this week, maintaining your status?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, very much so. I think -- I'm not sure, but I've put myself in a good spot to maintain the top 5 position going into East Lake with a couple good top 10s. That's where you want to be. You want to be in that top 5 or higher just because you can control your own destiny. Yeah, I'll be looking at that, making sure to play my hardest and try to stay in there, because like I said, you can control what happens at the end.
Basically what this playoff system has lent is that you play some solid golf leading up to the TOUR Championship, and if you were to win one, hopefully it's that TOUR Championship because you can win the whole thing by doing that. The goal is obviously to stay in the top 5 this week.
NELSON SILVERIO: Steve, thanks.

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