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May 13, 2011

Steve Stricker


NELSON SILVERIO: Steve Stricker, welcome to the media center at THE PLAYERS Championship. Take us through your round and maybe what might have clicked out there today.
STEVE STRICKER: I hit the ball a little bit better today. I think I only hit 11 greens, but I hit the ball a little bit better. I had some more opportunities. Didn't take advantage of some opportunities I had on the front nine. I started to get a little frustrated. My caddie Jimmy told me just hang in there, be patient, you never know what's going to happen. And just like he said, all of a sudden they started falling in.
Started off at 10 and 11 with birdies and made a nice birdie from off the green from about 15 feet at 14 and birdied 16 and 17. So a really good back nine, you know, five birdies and no bogeys today. And any time you can go around here without any bogeys is a good thing, especially after yesterday. I played pretty sloppy and cleaned it up nicely today.

Q. Can you just talk about your season? You've had a lot of solid results. I don't know that I could say you've been in the mix on Sunday an awful lot, but some finishes reliably in the teens.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. It has been a solid season. Probably one round away from being right there the last few holes or the last nine holes. The first tournament of the year at Hyundai and then New Orleans, I was only two back going into Sunday and shot 73. I've been one round away a couple times, two or three times, this year. But overall I've been in the mix. I've played pretty solidly.
But like I say, just missing a round here or there, or not even a round sometimes, a stretch of holes that have kind of hurt me. I'm excited. I'm excited to be in this position. I'm excited to be right up in there heading into the weekend, and I think I've only had one top 10 here in years prior. But hopefully I can change that this weekend.

Q. David Toms is kind of in the same boat with you where you guys would appear to have the type of games that could be successful out here a lot, but you look at the record and that hasn't exactly been the case. When things don't go well for you out here, where have been the slip-ups? Where have things been going wrong and what's been going right for the most part this week?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I think it's the visual factor here. A lot of Pete Dye courses, same up at Whistling Straits for the PGA last year, you've got to get past that, and you've got to allow yourself to swing aggressively, swing confidently, and I've done that the first couple days here.
I've played away from trouble at times, tried to play smart, especially today. Years prior I hadn't done that. It's kind of an intimidating course at times. A lot of water. You know, you've got the island green, the history of guys hitting it in the water all over the place, making big numbers, and you kind of try to put that in the back of your mind, and I've done a better job of that this year, and I think that's why I've played better the first couple rounds here. And I think the course is a little bit softer than other years, as well.
And today, I think it was softer -- well, we played in the morning. It was obviously softer this morning than it was yesterday afternoon, but the wind has died down. I think scoring is going to continue to be good this afternoon even.

Q. Are you a March or a May guy?
STEVE STRICKER: I like May. I like -- I'd rather have it 90 than the possibility of cold weather.

Q. You like 90 better than 80?
STEVE STRICKER: Was it 80s here? It was cold here at times, too.

Q. Have you ever played here when it wasn't THE PLAYERS Championship? Like when you used to come down in the wintertime to get ready for next season, did you ever come to this course?
STEVE STRICKER: Maybe once. I think my brother-in-law and I came here one time and played, went around, practiced in the back. But not too often.

Q. Is it still visually intimidating when you're just playing with your brother-in-law?
STEVE STRICKER: Not as intimidating. But you know, just like a shot like I had today, I was even thinking about on 16, I had a 5-iron in my hand, pin is down there on the right. If I was playing in a practice round I'd be firing right at that thing, and I aimed it right over there on the left side of the green. I didn't even care if it went in the rough. But you just -- sometimes it's hard to pull the trigger and actually try to aim at the pin because where it's up tight against the water or whatever. But yeah, you play differently, at least I do, which sometimes can get you into trouble and sometimes it's a good thing.
But yeah, you've got to get past that at times and play aggressively to the spot that you pick.

Q. I also wanted to ask you, I don't have your schedule in front of me, but just by feel, it seems like your schedule is slightly different this year. Are you doing anything differently?
STEVE STRICKER: Maybe playing a little less. I think I've played all the places pretty much so far. I don't know if I've missed anything, maybe one event, two events, but probably playing a little bit less. I'll probably play Memorial next and then the Open.

Q. Is that hard to do?

Q. That's kind of a silly question for you.
STEVE STRICKER: No, it's not hard to do.

Q. As you try and taper back, is it hard to pick ones to drop off?
STEVE STRICKER: It is, and you know, next week, I've struggled with that decision. I won there two years ago, and I like going to Colonial. They do a great job there. It's a great event. But I just -- I don't want to be on the road as much, so I've got to scale back, and some tournaments I just can't go to. And the way the schedule is for me this year, we still have three majors left, a World Golf Championship event, all the Playoffs. So it's hard to -- especially when I'm trying to cut back, hard to pick and then not go to some that I've really enjoyed in years past.
NELSON SILVERIO: Steve, thank you very much.

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