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July 9, 2011
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome Steve Stricker. Steve, nice bogey-free round of 63 today. Getting progressively better here on your scoring each round. If you want to talk about today's round and then we'll have some questions.
STEVE STRICKER: It was a pretty good round. You know, I started off by making a 75-footer, probably, on 1 and made a couple other good saves throughout the day to really kind of keep the round going.
So you know, all in all it was pretty good, good save on the last hole to kind of keep that momentum going into tomorrow. Gave myself some opportunities, made a lot of putts, but it was all in all a good day.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Questions.
Q. Steve, I know you're a humble guy, but are you starting to feel like a rock star around here, and if so is that a distraction in itself?
STEVE STRICKER: No. I don't feel like a rock star. It's not a distraction by any means, no. You know, I get a lot of support here, a lot of well wishes. You know, I see a lot of familiar faces, a lot of people I've gotten a lot of tickets for people to come down this week.
But it's been good. You know, it's fun. It's fun to play. I feel pretty relaxed out there to tell you the truth, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It's going to be tough. You know, there's going to be guys that will come out of the blocks shooting probably lights out right away, and I'm going to have to continue to do what I've been doing the first three days.
Q. Steve, you didn't do that the last two years. Do you feel like you've got a little respect from last year? How do you (indiscernible) to do it again?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, last year I think I had like I think I a six-shot lead going into the last day, so it's easy to get defensive. Having a two-shot lead I don't have that cushion like I did last year, so I'm going to have to come out and play like I played these first three days and do the same thing and try not to change anything.
I mean it's possible -- I don't know what the scores are. It's possible, I may not have the lead by the time I go out. Who knows. So it's one of those situations where I'm going to have to continue to do what I've done these previous days.
Q. Steve, how would you describe yourself as a putter? I guess me asking you to think about yourself putting, not just your approach. How would you describe your style, your approach, be it laid back? Are you intensely more focused when you're putting? Do you go through the same mental routine, if so, can you talk about those at all?
STEVE STRICKER: That's a lot of questions. (Laughs).
Q. How would you compare those two?
STEVE STRICKER: I'm very confident putting. How's that? Did that answer all those questions?
Q. Do you remember out at Oak Hill you made that 76-footer, where that was?
STEVE STRICKER: No. Here?
Q. No, no.
STEVE STRICKER: Somewhere else?
Q. No, on the Canadian tour it was one of the top ten long putts.
STEVE STRICKER: No. Don't know where it was.
Q. Steve, could you talk about that birdie again on 1? You're standing in the face of the bunker swinging like a baseball bat, looks like you're going to be happy to --
STEVE STRICKER: Get it on the green.
Q. Yeah, get it on the green.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. It was funny, I had that same stance in my Pro Am.
Q. Same bunker?
STEVE STRICKER: Same bunker, same exact shot. I was right in the same spot.
STEVE STRICKER: And that's what it was, it was practice in the Pro Am exactly for that same shot. And I was just trying to get it on the green.
I made par in the Pro Am. I knocked it to the green. And this one I was just trying to get it on there, just to get a two-putt and par and move on. And to make a putt like that you don't expect to, nor are the odds in your favor to make a putt like that. But it went in with perfect speed and it got me going.
Q. You're one of few golfers on the leaderboard that have been able to lower their scores each day. How have you been able to do that?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, it's something that I don't focus on. I just go out there every day and try to do the same things that I've done here over the years and stick to my game plan, play smart.
A couple holes today I didn't play very smart and I got away with them by getting them up-and-down, but tomorrow I'm going to have to do a better job of that and give myself opportunities. And I'm putting well, so the more opportunities I can have at birdies, the better.
Q. Steve, your challenge at the start of the week might put a little pressure on the three feet thing, but your game hasn't really shown it. How have you been able to deal with that, put it on the back burner and just play golf?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I don't know. I don't feel like -- you know, coming in I felt like there was a lot more pressure than actually when I've been playing here. I actually felt really relaxed out there playing, felt pretty confident in what I've been doing. So it's been good, you know. I've been fairly patient and relaxed out there so far. So hopefully I can do that one more day.
Q. Steve, at Memorial you said that you were always kind of working on some things and you were hitting the ball a little bit further, and some of the numbers this week seem to bear that out. Is that more just the conditions here or are there things you've been really changing?
STEVE STRICKER: No. It's mainly the conditions of the course. You know, the heat. You know, you hit it further in the heat, but yeah, I think I'm hitting it a touch further, but you know, I think a lot to do with it is the course conditions.
Q. Steve, (indiscernible).
STEVE STRICKER: I don't know. I don't know.
THE MODERATOR: I can tell you that later.
Q. Steve, you make the improbable birdie on 1, great save on 18. In between you make some putts that may not look like they're going in and come out with a club. Is it the case around here where it's just such a good feeling for you on this course right now where you feel like you can't miss?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, I feel good. You know, I feel good on the greens. I feel like I read them well. I hit a lot of good putts again today.
You know, I -- I don't know. I try not to think about it, to tell you the truth. You know, I just go out there and take each hole as it comes and do what I've done on that hole over the years and try not to think about, you know, the last two years or yesterday's round or whatever.
You know, I just go ahead and stay in the moment and try to do the best I can at the time, and that's what I've been doing well here over the years, too, is just staying out of my own way and doing what I know how to do.
Q. Steve, so many guys have played musical chairs with their putter. How long has the one you're using been your go to in your game?
STEVE STRICKER: That same style has been in my bag my whole career out here basically. It started off as one of the black faces of the Odyssey, and then when they came out with the white face, I changed to the white face. And that's been the same putter probably for, I don't know, 10, 12 years probably, whenever they came out with that white face.
Q. It looks it.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. It's getting beat up, but it still goes in.
Q. You've won your last five (indiscernible). Does confidence grow from each of those or is that another thing you just kind of block out?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. And I -- thanks for bringing it up, to tell you the truth. No, you know, I had heard that. Yeah, I don't think about it. You know, again, we're trained, you know, all of us are, to just kind of take each hole as it comes, and that's what I've been doing well here and each shot as it comes, and I try not to think about it.
I really have a short memory. I can't really tell you -- somebody told me I had a six-shot lead last year. I wouldn't even have been able to tell you what I had for a lead here last year. I know it was four or five. I didn't know it was six, but I really don't put a lot of stock into numbers, past, present, whatever. I just try to go out there and do the things that I'm capable of doing, you know. And my things are different than Jhonattan Vegas. He bombs it, hits different shots. You know, you just gotta stick to your own game and that's what I've been able to do the last four or five years.
Q. Can you talk about the mindset going into tomorrow?
STEVE STRICKER: You know, it's no different than any other tournament. You know, you just gotta, you know, do your thing. I'm hashing over the same stuff over and over, but really it's the first hole tomorrow and take it from there and try not to get ahead and think about what's going to happen at the end of the day or anything, but just continue to do the things that I know how to do. And that's as simply as I can say it. And I don't know if I've maybe played with Brendon maybe just once or a couple times, but good guy, so it'll be fun.
Q. When you say you're anticipating you may not have the lead when you step on the first tee tomorrow, how does that change your approach and do you play it kind of like Match Play with Brendon since you guys are in that final group?
STEVE STRICKER: No. I mean it's not going to change my approach unless I find myself, you know, down by, you know, a bunch of shots with nine holes to play or something like that. Then my approach is going to have to change.
But early on it's just going to be the same approach. I'm going to have to try to make birdie on 1 and you gotta try and take advantage of No. 2, the par-5, and make sure you can make a birdie there.
And if you don't -- I've been preparing if I don't make birdie those first couple holes, that you just gotta be patient. There's enough other birdie holes out there that you can make those up on, but my goal right away is to get off to a good start, but if not, just be patient.
Q. At what point did you notice that putt on 1 was going to drop?
STEVE STRICKER: Not until the very end. I saw Jimmy, my caddie, kind of start to raise his hands, and it just started tracking right in the middle. So it wasn't till the very end.
At first I thought I hit it too hard, and then it just looked like it was going to be good just to tap in, you know, for speed wise. And then it just was going right in the last couple of feet.
Q. Steve, a lot of guys who have pulled off a streak of three is a pretty special list, especially since World War II. What would it mean to you to join that list?
STEVE STRICKER: It would mean a lot. You know, like I said, I haven't really given it much thought, but it would mean a lot. You know, like I told some other reporters, it's hard enough to win an event three times let alone three in a row. So it'll be tough tomorrow, and you gotta fight through those nerves and everything, but it would mean a lot. It would be pretty special to be a part of that list.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you very much. Steve, good luck tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports