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July 8, 2011

Steve Stricker


THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll go ahead and jump right in. Steve, this is, as you said, this has become a very familiar spot for you over the past three years, which I know you're happy about. Backed up a 66 yesterday with a 7-under 64 today. Gotta make you feel good about how you're heading into the weekend.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. It does make me feel good. And you know, prior to going out today, you know, I saw the scores were extremely low and I even sat with Davis at a little bit of lunch before we went out, and I said, "Davis, you're in 10th place before we even started," and he was leading the tournament yesterday.
You know, we knew the scores were low, and it was important to get off to a good start, and fortunately I did that today. I birdied No. 1, made a nice 15-footer there and hit two good shots into 2 and made eagle there and got me going.
THE MODERATOR: What is it about this course, do you think, that obviously treats you so well or that you're able to play so well here?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I don't know. Good question. I feel good here, obviously. I've had some, you know, great experiences the last two years, and I come in here with a lot of great memories, you know, positive outlook on the course and the tournament, the people, everybody -- everything involved.
And you know, I just play well here. I don't know what it is. I make a lot of putts. I've been putting real well here and seem to read the greens okay. And I don't know what it is, but it's been a good ride.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Well, we'll take a few quick questions.

Q. Is it a good time of year for you? Do you like the weather at this time? Are you a hot weather guy?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. I'd rather like warm weather than cold. But maybe it's the fact that you can just hop in your car and drive down here. It's three hours from home.
You know, I don't know. I really can't pinpoint anything. You know, you hit a lot of short irons here, if you give yourself the opportunity by driving it in the fairway. I've been driving it well here the last couple years.
And you just gotta pick your spots here, too, I think, too. There's a lot of birdie holes, but there's some holes where you just need to make a par and move on, too. And I think I do a good job of recognizing those holes, or if you get out of position, you know, you try not to make a mistake, and move forward.
So I'm patient here, I guess, for one. Even though it's hard to be patient because the scoring is always so low, but you know, I've been right in there, and we still got a long ways to go. But I'm in a good position.

Q. We use the word comfort zone so often in this business, but does that actually describe what you feel here?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. I feel comfortable here for sure. You know, I'm a little nervous when I come out here and play. You know, I feel a little bit of extra pressure trying to win here again. But today I felt really comfortable. I felt relaxed, patient, really not uneasy at all. And so that's good when you can go around a course and feel that way.
I'm sure it'll change a little bit over the weekend, you know. The nerves will be there, and you know, we're still going to have to shoot low scores because guys are going to put up some good numbers this weekend, too. So I just gotta do the same things I've been doing the last couple of days.

Q. Do you place a lot of significance on the historical thing? Does it mean much to you?
STEVE STRICKER: Not a huge amount. You know, first and foremost I'm looking at trying to play well and have a chance to win the tournament. And if I happen to win again, then you know, I can think about, you know, there's only been I don't know how many guys to do it.
STEVE STRICKER: 20 guys? But I didn't come in here thinking about, you know, I have to win to get to three. You know, I didn't put a lot of emphasis on it, but I did put a lot of emphasis on, I've played well here in the past, I feel good about coming here.
I enjoy the course, and just to give myself a chance coming in the last nine holes or so on Sunday. So that's what I've been thinking about all this week is just trying to have the opportunity to win. And you know, like I say, we're halfway, so we still got a lot of golf to go.

Q. Steve, you said you were joking with Davis about the low scores. Is the course that easy this year or what's going on?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, I think the scores are usually low here. I don't know what the cut has been here the previous years, but it looks like the cut's going to be 3 or 4-under, and maybe it's usually 2 or 3. But it's playing so nicely. It's playing firm, so we're hitting some shorter shots into the holes.
The greens are still fairly receptive, so you can stop 'em. I hit sand wedge into 18. Now, I've never ever done that. I mean it's always been an 8-iron or more. Sometimes 4-irons. So it's playing a little bit shorter, and it's in great shape. The greens aren't all that fast, so you can be fairly aggressive when you putt. You know, and it's in great shape, and these guys are good, and they have a good feel for the course and that's why you're seeing the low scores.

Q. Steve, how important is the patience when the scores are as low as they've been these first two days?
STEVE STRICKER: It's really important to be patient. But fortunately I've gotten off to some good starts. I lost my patience a little bit yesterday, you know, with about four holes to play. You know, all of a sudden I'm 3-under and feeling like the leaders are getting away, and fortunately I was able to birdie 8 and 9 coming in.
And then today, you know, getting off to that hot start, you know, I've been in good positions where I could remain patient. And hopefully I can continue. But it's important to get off to these good starts. You know, I mean it's just -- the course is giving up a lot of birdies, so it's important for you to do the same thing and make some birdies.

Q. Steve, you had the one bogey yesterday. Were there any points today where you were a little out of position or you had to make a save somewhere?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, maybe -- not really. I was in pretty good shape all the way around. I blasted a putt by No. 7. I hit a 7-iron, I pulled it left of the pin about maybe 35 feet, 40 feet and I hit a poor first putt and I whipped it by about eight feet, and that's probably the -- and I ended up making it, obviously, but that's probably the hole that was most out of position today. And then maybe another par-3 where I kind of hit a putt a little too hard maybe about four or five feet past -- four feet I think it was and ended up making that.
But mostly I was putting for birdies and leaving myself fairly easy come-backers if I didn't make it.

Q. Away from the course are you consciously making an effort to do a lot of the same things you've done the last two years? Family here, are you eating the same places? Are you trying to keep a routine? Is there a little superstition?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, it's not by habit -- I mean it is by habit, I guess. We're creatures of habit, I guess. I stay at the same hotel because it's right next to the airport. We're leaving out of there Sunday. And Nicki and the kids came in yesterday, which they typically do. But you know, it's all the same things, just because of where we're at and what's going on Sunday after the tournament.
But no, I don't make a conscious effort. But you know, we're all, I guess, creatures of habit, and things have gone well the last couple years, so I probably tend to do the same things.

Q. Your success aside here, do you enjoy playing this kind of golf or would you prefer to be more --
STEVE STRICKER: Hitting it out of the trees, making bogeys and stuff like that? (Laughs).

Q. The stressful kind knowing that you have to constantly --
STEVE STRICKER: Make birdies?

Q. Make birdies.
STEVE STRICKER: You're right. You're right. But it's fun, too. When you're making birdies, it's fun. If you're shooting 4 or 5-under and just barely making the cut and you feel like you played pretty good and here you see the leaders at 14. What's he at? 14.
THE MODERATOR: Not anymore.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. 14. Then you're like, wow, that can be stressful, too. But when you're in the mix and playing good and you feel good and you're giving yourself a lot of opportunities, it's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Lastly, if you wouldn't mind, your clean card today, if you'd just run through your birdies on each hole and give us a little information.
STEVE STRICKER: Sure. Hit a 9-iron to about 15 feet at 1, made that. Driver and a 4-iron at 2 to about five feet and made that.
Birdied No. 5, hit a 3-wood and 7-iron to about 15 feet. No. 10, I hit driver and a utility club to the back of the green, just over the back of the green and chipped down to about eight feet, made that.
15, a driver and a wedge to about -- you know, I think it was about seven or eight feet. And then 17, the par-5, I hit driver just in the left rough, and I hit a utility club up in the bunker and blasted it out to about four inches.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Well, we look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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