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December 8, 2011

Peter Hanson


GORDON SIMPSON:  Well, Peter, congratulations on a wonderful round of golf today, equalling the course record, leader in the clubhouse as we speak.  Have you ever played as well as that before?
PETER HANSON:  I don't think so.  I think it's definitely right up there.  Overall, I think it's the best golf I've played.  It's quite a demanding golf course and the wind picked up a little bit over the back nine, so I'm very, very happy with the way I struck the ball and I rolled a few putts in.
So, yeah, very happy.
GORDON SIMPSON:  What was the specific bit that was absolutely spot on today?
PETER HANSON:¬† The ball‑striking was very, very pure.¬† Hitting a lot of fairways.¬† I think I only missed one green when I managed to get it up‑and‑down on the third hole.
So I gave myself a lot of chances, and early on, my first five birdies today were tap‑ins, which is kind of nice, when you don't even have to putt.¬† So that really helped the round to get going.
And then I made a nice putt on hole No. 13 to get my fourth straight birdie, and then I had another birdie on 15 with a good putt and then another good putt on 17.
GORDON SIMPSON:  You haven't won this year but a good place to start in the final event.
PETER HANSON:  Yeah, I'm very happy with my game last week, played the final group last week with Alvaro.  Of course didn't really turn out the way I wanted it to be.  Rory played fantastic on the last day, so sometimes you just have to take your hat off to him, but very happy where I am.

Q.  First of all, congratulations on a great day.  Were you aware of the course record, and because you played so well, do you let yourself off with the ball just not dropping right at the 18th there?
PETER HANSON:¬† No, in fact, I had no idea.¬† The only thing that I started to think about coming up the last, I hit a good drive and a 3‑wood down 14, and it was just left of the green and chipped it up to about six feet and missed the putt.¬† Birdied 10, 11, 12, 13, missed one birdie on 14.¬† I had an amazing lip‑out on 16 with a really slow speed, so I thought, pretty close to birdieing all the holes.
But coming up to the last, it was a really hard putt, really hard breaker off the right on the last hole, and just tried to drop it in from the right side, just a little too hard.  I had no idea what the course record was.
I think that's one of the things I'm happy with, as well.  I managed to keep going, maybe not renowned for going really low, so that's why I'm happy with just keep going and make some more birdies and even the previous years with my four wins, I think all of them have been in single digits.

Q.  Last year you complained a bit about your back problems and your back; are you overall that and are you 100 per cent now?
PETER HANSON:  I'm almost 100 per cent.  I have a bit of an irritation on one of my discs, but try to keep it on a good level.  And I have some good people around me, especially this week.
We have got two physiotherapists who help me a little bit.  I think it's something that I always have to get used to playing with, and it doesn't affect me when I play normally, but if I get stiff in my hamstrings and my glutes, it pulls a little bit more.
GORDON SIMPSON:  Has playing in The Ryder Cup given you more belief in yourself now that you've reached that sort of level?
PETER HANSON:¬† Yeah, definitely, I think just being among that group of people with Westwood and Rory, and the people that are Top‑5 in the world, it really helped me, who qualified, the last player to get on the team.¬† Just to be among them and play a practise round and play The Ryder Cup that close to the best, it helped me as well to get a really clear feedback on exactly where I was, what to improve and how to try to get better and try to get into the really top position in the world.

Q.¬† Can nothing again be as nerve‑wracking at that?
PETER HANSON:¬† No.¬† I think there's nothing as nerve‑wracking as standing on that first tee.¬† So it's a very special feeling, and I think playing The Ryder Cup is so amazing.¬† So once you've done it one time, you always want to come back and do it again.¬† So of course that's one of my biggest goals for next year.

Q.  We were talking before the championship started that the course had been set up to be tougher this year than previous years, but we have seen several fairly low scores today.  How tough do you think it played today?
PETER HANSON:  It was pretty tough, but I think as players we were a bit lucky, as well.  The wind stayed down for quite some time today.  So it was not really until I would have said 1.00 or 1.30 in the afternoon that the wind started to pick up. 
For the players teeing off late, it's a bit of a disadvantage, and like I said, you saw some really good scores early on.  I was lucky enough to play the front nine that played with hardly any wind at all.

Q.  How hard is it to follow a round like that?  Once you've gone so low, often it's tough to follow on that performance.
PETER HANSON:  Yeah, it is quite hard to follow up a course record with another course record (laughing).  I know what you mean.
I think what is going to be important to me is to stay in the present.  Keep doing my thing and keep focusing on playing golf, and not looking at leaderboards and trying to figure out what the other guys are doing.
Like we say, you can't win a tournament on a Thursday, but you can definitely lose it.  It's all about staying in the present and just keep doing what I've been doing today and hopefully get a low score tomorrow as well.

Q.  Can you expand upon what you said earlier about The Ryder Cup identifying the weaker elements of your game?
PETER HANSON:  I think last year at The Ryder Cup, I played all the practice rounds with Westwood, and at the time, he was playing amazing, just fantastic golf, pretty much like he did last week in South Africa.
It's kind of‑‑ I don't know how you explain in English, but it was really interesting for me to see how good you can do certain things.¬† The way he drove the ball, how straight and long he was, his accuracy and his putting was very, very good that week.
So it was kind of nice to be that close, and you can walk around, talk about it and maybe pick up a few things; and if you work this way, it might improve your game.  It was really a check on where I was at the moment and I think it helped me a lot this year, and working a lot more on my putting, which has really improved this year.
My long game has not been maybe been as sharp as I've been used to over the last two or three years, but definitely the putting, and still have a bit to go with the chipping and maybe the bunker play.  But getting there.

Q.  You had no idea how good he was until then.
PETER HANSON:¬† You know what, it's kind of hard, because even as players, we get along very well and we play tournaments together and all that.¬† But when we play, you don't really‑‑ you don't really look too much and see what the other guys are doing, or you don't see it that way.
But when you get together as a team and as a group, and you're all trying to perform together and trying to get the best results, it's a lot easier to help each other, you know what I mean.  We are still good friends out here but we still want to beat the other guy.  But when you get together as a team, it bonds and it really creates a special team spirit.

Q.  Just wanted to ask you, quite a few Swedes, like Fredrik Jacobson, Henrik and Robert Karlsson are deciding to take up US PGA TOUR membership, and have because of peer group pressure or whatever you call it, have you ever given that any thought?
PETER HANSON:¬† Yeah, this is the first year that I played a little bit more in America.¬† I'm not a member of the PGA TOUR.¬† I play my 12 starts that we are allowed to play as non‑members and that includes the majors and World Golf Championship events, and I'm going to stick to the same plan next year.¬† Then we'll see by the end of next year, I think after the PGA next year, I'll play my 12 in America, and if I played good enough, so if they ask me if I can join, I'll just have to take the decision then.
But I really love playing in Europe.  I've been lucky enough to play here now for ten, 11 years, and so yes, I have to see what happens.
GORDON SIMPSON:  It was a wonderful exhibition of golf, congratulations again and good luck tomorrow.

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