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July 13, 2013

Henrik Stenson


PAUL SYMES:テつ 66 today, and you said you actually played better today than you did yesterday.
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Yeah, striking‑wise, it was a lot better today.テつ Yesterday was a funny round, as I said to a few of you.テつ I scored well but I didn't feel like I was playing that great but obviously played my way around the golf course in a great way.
Then I went to the range and had a good practice session and just, you know, concentrated extra on my striking and it was there at the warmup today and brought it on the course nicely and hit some great shots out there today.テつ It was probably as good as I felt over the ball all season, so that's promising.
Touch wood, we can carry that on tomorrow, as well, but in this game, every day is a new day, so I'm just happy with today's work, the way I played, the way I managed my way around the course again.テつ Got a little bit cold and windy on the back nine there, so you know, I was happy with the way I finished‑‑ it was funny on 18, as well, the flags were kind of all over the place and it was swirling and we were struggling to make up our minds whether it was into or across and ended up going for 2‑iron with second shot and I hit it left into the crowd but I got a good lie and I hit a great pitch with a little 9‑iron there from about, I don't know, 50 yards or something to inches away, so it was a nice way to finish the round.
PAUL SYMES:テつ Looking forward to playing with Phil Mickelson tomorrow.
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ I've played with Phil quite a few times and we've played in The Ryder Cup and so on.テつ He's a world‑class player for many, many years, so it will take a good game tomorrow again, I'm sure, if I'm going to beat him.
And looking at the leaderboard, it's not just about us two.テつ There's a lot of players up there, and we know this course, if somebody gets hot, you can shoot a 6‑, 7‑ , 8‑under even in slightly tougher conditions, I'm sure.
So I just have to focus on my game and my game plan and keep my head down and keep my foot down, and hopefully‑‑ I love going into the last day with a two‑shot lead, I've all been keen on being in front rather than being one behind, because it just means the other guy is going to have to play better than I do tomorrow.
So if I can put a good round together, they are going to have to do something even better to beat me.テつ In a good spot, and very happy with the way I played.

Q.テつ How close are you to the form that brought you to No. 4 in the world?テつ You've been very consistent this year.
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Yeah, I kind of found some form on the back end of last year.テつ It was great to be back in the winner's circle at The Open down in Johannesburg in November and then I didn't quite carry on this side of Christmas.テつ Middle East swing, it was okay; it was average.
Then I got a little bit frustrated to get going again around Match Play time and so on, but going onwards, I've improved all along and obviously worked hard at my game and my attitude.テつ Everything is a big difference I think for me.テつ I've put down some long‑term goals with my game and worked hard at them, and as always, that pays off in the end.
So instead of maybe when you're not getting the results you want, you start trying to go for a little bit more quick fix and so on, and then you end up chasing your own tail.テつ So it's been good decision making, long‑term goals and working hard at them and the pieces eventually fall into place.テつ I feel like I'm playing golf with a little bit more ease, and you know, if it's not happening today, it will happen tomorrow or the day after.テつ It's kind of a little bit less stressful in that sense.
I've been moving up all along in the World Rankings, and I'm still in a good spot.テつ I have no points to defend for another six months, basically, so everything I add will either stay or make me go higher.
I'm kind of looking back at trying to get into the Top 15, Top‑10 by the end of this year if I keep progressing.テつ But again, that's just a consequence of how well I do the other things.テつ Long question there, and I still haven't answered your question.
The way I played today, I can definitely see Top‑10 in the world playing standard, the way I played for sure; I wouldn't say I'm that far off.

Q.テつ Talking about being in a good spot, what would it mean to you to be sitting here tomorrow night as The Scottish Open champion and going to The Open as a winner?
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Yeah, I think it would be the icing on my cake and just a little bit extra confidence.テつ I'm still looking forward to quite a lot to next week.テつ It's a great course.テつ I think it's one of the top three, if not arguably possibly even the best golfing venue I think.
I haven't played it in an Open Championship but that's the feeling I got when I was back there Sunday, Monday and played and a little bit of practice.テつ If I can play well tomorrow, it will give me nice confidence heading into The Open regardless of if I win or not.テつ I'm obviously playing pretty well, but a win is always a win, and it will be just an excellent bit of a boost.

Q.テつ What have you done specifically, what's the single most significant improvement that you've made?
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Well, I was on a bit of strengthening of form last summer.テつ I called up my old sports psych after the BMW in Dテδシsseldorf and decided to start working with him pretty much at this time last year.テつ So we had a chat in France.テつ I was already kind of playing okay and I had three Top‑10s in a row here in the middle of the summer.テつ I think the work that I've done with him, and also what I mentioned, Torsten Hansson, we started working together, and my caddie, we started working in January.テつ We've done some great work together and that's one part of it.
I'm still with Pete Cowen and we keep our work‑‑

Q.テつ Inaudible ‑‑
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Torsten Hansson.テつ I used to work with him between '95 through the national teams all the way up until 2008.テつ Then I had a break from middle of the season 2008 and then started last year again.テつ He's working with Peter Hansen since quite a few years back, as well.

Q.テつ When things were starting to go wrong for you, what was the worst time‑‑ did you used to beat yourself up hard?テつ Is that the thing you had to change more than anything?
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Yeah, I've always been hard on myself.テつ I'm a bit of perfectionist.テつ I don't like mediocrity with anything, and not with myself, either.
You know, that's definitely one part of it.テつ But I think when you go into a big slump, it's not just one thing.テつ There's quite a few things.テつ It could start with different things, but then it kind of‑‑ everything kind of gets influenced.テつ You're not standing there ripping drives down the middle of the fairway and all of a sudden you get bad thoughts or you are getting into mental mishmash or anything like that.テつ You might be swinging it badly and then you lose a bit of confidence, and then you start searching for something and then you start missing fairways and it's all connected one way or the other.テつ
Some players have other things outside the golf course.テつ Everyone's a person, as well, and it could be other things.テつ Not that I've had any big events outside the golf course that would have affected me, but I'm just saying that in general, you never know where it starts.

Q.テつ Did you ever think about quitting ‑‑
HENRIK STENSON:テつ I had a lot of experience from going through a bad period back in '01 to '03, the slump before that I've been through mainly since 2011 season was nowhere near as I had it back then.テつ I think when you've gone through a rough time once before, you kind of have the experience of that and it's not going to get you as bad.
I think if I would have completely thought of giving up back in 2001, I wouldn't have been sitting here, because I was playing awful for quite a long time and had to dig deep to get out of that and to get back up to No. 4 in the world.テつ So I don't think I'm a quitter.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Well, out of my control‑‑ he's a world‑class player, we know that.テつ It's just the whole thing of he's not going to back down.テつ He's going to try his hardest tomorrow.テつ He's going to do everything he's got to win this golf tournament, so I'm going to have to do the same.テつ So that just kind of pushes me to be better, and it's always been like that. テつWhen I've played with the best players, it's forcing me to be even better.テつ So that's good fun.

Q.テつ Having just said the big difference was that you finally had written down some long‑term goals, can you share those with us, what they are?
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Not so much in terms of, well, I'm going to win this, I'm going to get back here.テつ Just giving myself the calmness of‑‑ giving myself time to get the things together, working, being more into the process.テつ You've heard this with so many other players so many times; we still end up talking about the results, but the results is just what you get from doing the right things.
That's why it's hard to win golf tournaments in general, because everyone is looking at the result; oh, I'm leading, I'm one behind, this and that, but you have to get into the mode of yeah, I'm going to hit my 2‑iron down the middle here, regardless if I'm one behind or I'm one in front.テつ I'm going to do this.
That's always the challenge, and you have to be willing to lose to win, as well.テつ You can't be afraid of losing, or you normally don't win.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON:テつ I mean, if I look at my career, I've had a great career.テつ I'm very happy with what I've achieved.テつ I still think I've got a few good things in me, and obviously winning a major would be one of them.テつ When I started even coming out on Tour, starting out as a junior, I've achieved so much more than I could ever dream about when I was a kid; and playing Ryder Cups and winning on every golf tour virtually in the world.
You know, it's one thing missing; that's winning major.テつ That's what I'm driving for going forward, and one step in that direction was obviously to make sure my ranking improves so I could be in the championships, because it's hard to win them sitting at home.

Q.テつ You mentioned playing with Phil in The Ryder Cup; do you have any particular memories from Ryder Cup games again?
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Yeah, but it's one that can't be told (laughter).テつ I can't tell you that one, not to be written in the papers, but it's a fun one.テつ We had a bit of a friendly banter back from one year, and then he said that, yeah, don't be so loose‑‑ and I said now we're really scared because we've won three in a row, blah, blah, blah.テつ It was a little thing that was funny.
And then we played together in the better‑balls, I was playing with Robert and Robert was putting fantastic, and it was just like one of them things, it was the perfect timing on the comment I told him, and, yeah, he will recall it as well, but it's not something to be told.テつ It was a fun, friendly thing.テつ We played a couple of times, so, yeah, I'm looking forward to it tomorrow.

Q.テつ Did you win that?
HENRIK STENSON:テつ We ended up with a halve.

Q.テつ Can you tell us‑‑
HENRIK STENSON:テつ Off the record I'd be happy to tell you, but not on the record.
PAUL SYMES:テつ On that note, I think we'll wrap it up.テつ Good luck tomorrow.

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