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HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS


January 8, 2013


Steve Stricker


KAPALUA, HAWAII

CHRIS REIMER:テつ Steve, you came just sort of defending your title here at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but all in all, considering everything you went through with the weather and some aches and pains, you've got to be pretty pleased with finishing runner‑up?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, it was a good week, thanks, Chris.テつ It was a long week.テつ But I had an opportunity, which that's why we play is to have that opportunity to try to win.テつ I had some chances today.テつ I had some chances to put some pressure on early.テつ Missed some putts there early in the round that could have made a difference, maybe not, but who knows, type thing.
Yeah, it was a good week.テつ Looking forward to getting rid of this little nag thing I've got going down my leg and looking forward to playing again at the Match Play.
CHRIS REIMER:テつ You have been around Dustin, and the two of you have been probably two of the more consistent players over the last five or six years.テつ Talk about his game and what you saw out of him out there.
STEVE STRICKER:テつ He's an impressive player, has a lot of talent.テつ Hits the ball a mile.テつ But as I was talking to him out there, I was like:テつ Dude, what are you doing?テつ He took out driver on a couple holes and he let me back in the game.
But that was after he chipped in for eagle on 14 and we are walking up 15, and I was like:テつ Why don't you take iron out, make me having to make birdies instead of you hitting it in the trees and opening it up for me.
And he's like, "Yeah, yeah, I know."
But he's got a lot of talent, and he's got, it looks like very little fear in him, because he'll hit one a little crooked but he'll pull out that driver again and try it again.テつ And he pulled it off.テつ Especially at 14, that was the deciding shot and chip for the tournament.
He's got a lot of talent.テつ What, he just tied Tiger today, didn't he?テつ So that's pretty impressive.テつ Expect a lot of good things as he continues his career.

Q.テつ I think it was on 13 where Dustin went into the junk and you guys were looking.テつ I saw you down there helping him and I saw on TV him helping you out.テつ Did that take a toll on your leg at all?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ No, it didn't make it feel any worse.テつ I just needed help getting out of there (laughs).テつ I felt like I should get in there and try to help.テつ You always appreciate helping if your ball is lost or whoever is helping.テつ Yeah, I just thought I would get in there and help him find it, and he found it right there.
And that was one of the shots I was talking to him about.テつ You know, I said, you know, Tiger or somebody would probably just take an iron out there and play it up short and hit it on the green and make a par and make the opponent try to make 3s and birdies to beat him.
So he kind of let me in there for a second.テつ But then again, he hit a great shot on the next hole.テつ He's a tremendous talent.テつ He plays quickly.テつ He plays, looks like without fear.テつ He's got a good short game, putts well, and he played good this week.

Q.テつ Were there a shots where you just couldn't really try?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I never really tried to hit it all that hard.テつ I did on the last hole.テつ I tried to turn it over and get it down there and did pretty well.テつ But for the most part, I was just trying to chip it out there.テつ It felt like every time I moved over on to my left side, I got that shot of pain.テつ And it was just hard to twist through the ball.
So it was‑‑ I knew I was going to get that little jolt every time, which I guess makes it a little bit easier knowing that you're going to get it, but I just couldn't‑‑ I didn't feel like I had a lot of power.

Q.テつ (Any idea what it is)?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Well, I've had about two or three different people look at it.テつ And this started back in the middle of December.テつ It's just progressively gotten a little worse.テつ The therapist that I see at home, she is thinking it could be just a muscle strain, and I continually hit balls and continually play on it and it keeps getting irritated and a little bit more irritated and it's putting pressure on that nerve down my leg.
And then I talked to some people here, and they are saying it could be a lower back issue, but my back feels great.テつ It's not stiff.テつ So I'm hoping for the first; that it's just a muscle issue, and I can rest it and rehab it and be ready to go again.

Q.テつ How far was he out‑driving you?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Oh, when he hits his good ones, you know, he's 30 or 40 yards ahead of me probably.テつ But I did hit it past him on the last hole (laughter).

Q.テつ I believe you have six weeks until the Match Play.テつ Are you going to be at home itching to get back out here?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I'll be excited to be coming back, but I was thinking of the schedule‑‑ even though I got off to this good start like this, I'm looking forward to the time home.テつ I need the time home the way I feel right now.テつ I feel a little beat up, and so I need that time I think to get back and ready.
I'll be excited to come back and play again, and that's what I'm looking for; not that I wasn't before.テつ I'm just looking to play a little bit less, get ready and I'll be super fired up to be there and play and I'll be fresh every time I play.
You know, I felt very little pressure here this week, and maybe that's why I played well, too.テつ I didn't expect a lot.テつ I had this different attitude about playing a little bit less, and I felt a little more comfortable and pressure taken off me this week, too.テつ So I'm hoping that kind of translates like this into the rest of the season.

Q.テつ Courses like Cog Hill, power courses‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, it's tough.テつ And that‑‑ I've got to counter his shots with good wedge play, good putting, stuff like that.テつ And I was for the most part.テつ I missed some putts early on, though.テつ But that's my answer to length.
And I actually thought, as we started the round today, I'm like, I could really put some serious pressure on this guy because I'm going to hit first every time to the green.テつ If I can put it inside there and start making a little run and make some birdies; if I continually hit it in there on him, that's to my advantage.
And that just didn't work the way I was thinking, but it's always a possibility.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
STEVE STRICKER:テつ He did, yeah.テつ We found a shoe, some sunglasses, about five or six other balls.テつ There might have been a guy living up in the tree, I don't know.

Q.テつ Based on the weather that you had and the way you're feeling‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:テつ No, like I told somebody else down there, I didn't know if I could finish 18 holes.テつ I didn't know if it was going to‑‑ I knew how it was feeling when I started the round.テつ I just didn't know how I was going to react as I kept walking on it and kept playing, because we had been riding in a cart every day here.
It's just never got any worse.テつ It's just stayed the same, and it never‑‑ downhills were just rot en.テつ I keep walking down the hill the last few holes and those were the ones that hurt the most.テつ So other than that, it's just never got any worse.

Q.テつ You talked about early on, it looked like that putt at 5 you were just never comfortable.
STEVE STRICKER:テつ You know, what has hard this week was that the greens were slower, and you have this memory of how fast they are when they get downhill, downgrain and downwind and that's what I had there.テつ And the wind was blowing right‑to‑left.テつ I just didn't know if it was going to be fast or slow.テつ I left the putt short on No. 3 that was downhill, downgrain.
You're trying to get a feel for the greens when you first come out.テつ I know they cut them but I didn't know if they lowered them, you know what I mean.テつ All that stuff is running through your head.テつ Just didn't get enough pace on it to get it down there and then left myself a 4‑footer with right‑to‑left wind, right‑to‑left grain and everything else and didn't hit a very good putt there.

Q.テつ You said late Sunday afternoon‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:テつ We would have loved it, yeah.

Q.テつ Did you think it was going to go‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I think looking back, we were all pretty‑‑ everybody took it great.テつ And the rules officials did a great job working with us and trying to get everybody out there and around.テつ I thought yesterday was a great setup that they did.テつ They shortened the course.テつ They gave us rides on some holes.テつ I thought they did a great job in setting it up so we could get around.
But no, I don't know if guys really thought‑‑ well, we didn't know if we would go into Tuesday, for one, because we typically don't have a Monday finish.
So very happy that it's an official event, DJ got a win, and we got the season going.

Q.テつ Looking at Dustin, he's big, hits the ball a long way, athletic; if you're building the perfect golfer, is he the model you would build it after?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, he's got that athletic build, that athletic body.テつ He's got a tremendous amount of flexibility.テつ He gets the club in positions that people can't get it into, and he can use that height to his advantage, and big arc to get that big, powerful hit on the ball.
Yeah, he's very athletic, and he's just going to continue to get better.テつ That's going to be the fun part watching is what he's going to do from here on out, because he looks unflappable out there.テつ He hit a couple wayward drives and opened the door for me a little bit, and then he stepped up there with a driver again, and I'm like, okay.テつ But then he piped it and chips it in.
Most guys would have been pulling out an iron or some utility club in down the left and going from there.テつ It's amazing that he even did that to tell you the truth.テつ And after he chipped in, I'm like, what are you doing?テつ What are you hitting driver for?
But it's fun to watch.テつ You never know what he's going to do and he's got a lot of talent, a lot of ability.

Q.テつ A little bit of a follow‑up from Jim's last question, I know how special this place is for you and your family.テつ Obviously the first three days were really tough, maybe it took a little bit of a hit reputation‑wise, but do you feel like it recovered in these last couple days?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ I mean, I don't think this will put a damper on Maui or the Hyundai Tournament of Champions or anything.テつ I thought everything went as well as could be expected given the circumstances with the weather.
Yeah, guys will be itching to get back here.テつ I'm going to work hard to try to get back here again.テつ It's a special place to start the year.

Q.テつ One more thing on Dustin, what do you see as his underrated‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:テつ I think he's got a tremendous amount of touch.テつ He goes through that ball with a lot of speed with the big clubs.テつ But when he gets a wedge or something in his hand, he's got a lot of touch and a lot of feel.テつ And he does those little wedge shots very nicely.
Like 10‑‑ where else did he hit some really nice little ones‑‑ he just looks comfortable doing it.テつ And he comes off with nice pace to them.テつ He did it again on 15 when he had to chip it up over the hill.テつ He does those very nicely and he putts well, so he's good around the greens.
He's obviously got the length off the tee, but he's got that short game, too.
CHRIS REIMER:テつ Thanks so much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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