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February 2, 2011

Steve Stricker


STEVE TODD: Steve, many thanks for coming in.
STEVE TODD: A rare foray across to The European Tour. It's a great pleasure to have you here.
STEVE TODD: First time in about 15 years I think it is, we've had you, and your first time in the desert. Just wonder if you can start off by explaining the attraction of coming here and how you found your trip so far.
STEVE STRICKER: Still trying to get my feet on the ground a little bit from the jet-lag I guess. But it's been good. I'm glad I came. It's an exciting place. Somewhat what I expected I guess. The buildings are a little bit different than what I expected I guess, a lot of building going on around here.
But great people, everybody seems to meet you with a smile and a hello. The hospitality has been really nice. And I'm happy to be here. It's a tournament that I looked at playing last year, too, and just couldn't pull the trigger on it. Finally made the decision to come over and I'm glad I did.
STEVE TODD: It is a great pleasure to have you. It's a bit thing for The European Tour to get the big names coming, and for these tournaments, as well. We have world No. 1 and 2 here; having been No. 2 yourself, just wonder if you can talk about the swing in power towards the Europeans at the moment.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, that's another reason what lured me to come over here is the strength of the field. You have Westwood and Kaymer, and Paul Casey winning last week, moving into I think fifth or sixth position.
So you've got a strong field here, along with other players, Robert Karlsson, past winner from last year. Right now, like I was saying out there, it's kind of a little bit of -- I think it goes in cycles where you'll have a part of the world dominating the game for a while, like Tiger and Phil were 1 and 2 for a period of time.
Now you've got Westwood and Kaymer who have been playing some great golf over the last year, and I think it kind of goes in cycles. But right now, obviously the top players are over here in Europe and part of the reason why I came here to try to play well in this event.

Q. You're obviously enjoying the trip, but should you really enjoy it and also enjoy the golf in terms of picking up ranking points, would you take back a message to some of your colleagues and say, look, that's where the points are now, that's where occasionally you've got to go; would you take that message back?
STEVE STRICKER: No doubt about it. And like I say, that's what lured me to come over here is a lot of great players are playing here in this stretch. I talked to Kenny Perry who came over here last year, and so word gets out from us coming over here and playing. And you know, just noticing what's going on over here and the type of play that's going on, and the guys that are at the top of the World Rankings right now are here. Tiger is coming over next week, and so it's a place to be.

Q. The problem we feel here is, yes, maybe Europe has got stronger players at the moment in certain things, but we can't compete with the U.S. Tour when it comes to prize money. Do you think there will be players who say, we wouldn't come for the points because we can earn more there, or do you think it's something that might be addressed?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, it's tough to -- when we play or the type of money that we play for in the States, and that was part of my reasoning last year; I think this week in Phoenix is maybe a $5.5 million event, and that's right in the backyard for most players who live in Phoenix and it's not far to come no matter where you are in the States.
The ease of travel is part of the reason I think a lot of guys just stay home and the type of money that we play for is another reason. I think that's what lures the European players to come over there, too. The big purses, the strengths of the field. I think the PGA Tour may be from top to bottom a little stronger than The European Tour, but right now, The European Tour has got the top players.
So that definitely gets the interests of players to come over here and try to compete for the World Ranking points.

Q. I was sort of checking through the records, and apart from the British Open, you've never played a European Tour event before?
STEVE STRICKER: One other one, Scottish Open back in '95.

Q. So it's been a long time. Why is that so?
STEVE STRICKER: Why is that so? Well, part of the reason what I just said there. When Tiger is playing at home, Phil is playing there; we've got a great tour. The money is high. The ease of travel; I'm not a big traveler. I don't enjoy really being away from home that much, let alone getting outside the country. And I had the opportunity to come over here the last year, maybe two, and just couldn't do it.
I didn't want to get out of my element I guess. So I think that's what the European players and American players, when they get comfortable in a position, it's hard to get out of that element and try something new. You tend to do stuff that is more comfortable for and you that's what's comfortable for me is playing in the States.
I guess I've never really ventured out over here to play.

Q. Can you go through the logistics of how you got to Doha?
STEVE STRICKER: I flew out of Wisconsin and went to Chicago, Chicago to Washington Dulles and then Dulles straight here to Doha. We got here Friday evening.

Q. Did you work out how long it took you from door to door?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it was about 20 hours door to door.

Q. Haven't done that for a while, that you?

Q. This summer you have the situation where The Barclays Scottish Open is going to a links course again. Will you consider playing that before the Open?
STEVE STRICKER: I can't. I'm a defending champion the week prior to the British Open, which is the John Deere Classic for us back in the States. So I'll be playing there before coming to the British.

Q. You had two good results in Hawai'i. So you must be pretty pleased with your start this season?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it's been a good start. I played those two events and had a real good opportunity to win the first tournament of the year and didn't and had another Top-10 at the next event in Hawai'i and haven't played since.

Q. You said you don't travel that much; so when you do travel, do you think it takes time to you adjust to the conditions or is it okay for you?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't think the golf course conditions are really that hard to get adapted to. We play in different conditions all over the U.S. but I think I found it pretty difficult getting adjusted to the time. I haven't been feeling really the greatest over here yet. And I kind of attribute that to maybe the jet-lag and just the time change. It's nine hours difference from where I come from. I think that's been probably the most difficult is feeling real good and healthy.
But I feel better again today and I think each day has gotten a little bit better and that's part of the reason why I came over a little early is just to try to get my feet underneath me.

Q. Any personal goals you have set for the season?
STEVE STRICKER: Again, to win. For me, to try to get in that winner's circle again is always important; to make The Presidents Cup team at the end of the year, which we play over in Australia, I would love to be part of that team again.
You know, just good, solid play like I've been doing the last five or six years, and see what happens.
STEVE TODD: We appreciate you coming over. Thank you.

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