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July 19, 2013

Henrik Stenson


HENRIK STENSON: My round is not a good day. 70 is not good to be in red figures. I think the course played quite a bit differently with the wind direction changing from yesterday. They put water on the greens, speed-wise a little bit slower, and you could see that on our group, and quite a few other groups that were a bit more cautious coming up from yesterday, and we left a few putts short. I expect it to dry out again in the afternoon and anybody wants to see three-putts or four-putts, head down to 15. That's going to be a nightmare in the afternoon, if it keeps getting drier. It's playing so short that one downwind, it's 450 yards. I hit 5-iron off the tee and was left with a gap wedge. And it landed just on a soft spot on the front of the green, I thought I had a good putt, it looked to be three or four feet, and before it started, it was 10 or 11 feet down to the right. That one is going to be brutal in the afternoon I imagine. I was hanging in there, made five birdies, which is good, and I was in deep trouble on the 6th hole and I managed to get away with a double. I was in the thick hay on the left, hit a poor tee ball, and was stuck behind the 8 ball. I was hacking it back and forth over the fairway two times, and had to do a good two-putt for 6. But bounced back with a solid birdie on 7. Birdied the 9th. And then was in trouble on the 10th, I made a nice six-footer for bogey on 10. And came back with a birdie on 11. And kept on battling my way in and finished strong the last three holes with a birdie and two par.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: It was probably, I don't know, must have been 300 yards. 300 yards, something like that, yeah, just average 5-iron (laughter).

Q. How frustrating is it?
HENRIK STENSON: I mean, I kind of know what to expect. I'm just very happy, I'm taking all my hits on the chin and just moving on. That's kind of the mindset you have to have at these events. You know it's going to be tough. And sometimes you might not feel like it's fair, but we're all playing the same course, and you've got to keep on going forward is the way, not backwards. It's a tough one, but I'm very happy with the patience and then the mental balance that I've managed to keep these first two days, to leave with a double bogey, and go up and birdie the next and pretend it never happened. That's one of the secrets to do well in this game and especially these tournaments, and I've done well so far.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: Never. I've forgotten all about that.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: I'm up here and playing in a big tournament again. I think I've got the experience to do well in these championships. Tough conditions is something that I enjoy and suits my game, as well. I might still look for a bit more confidence and a bit more trust in my long game. I feel like I've been a bit wishy-washy these two days. But at times I've hit some nice ones and committed to some good shots, as well. It's a bit more to the task for both mentally and technically there. But putting has been pretty solid. I made some nice putts both for par and birdie, and kind of kept it together. And obviously with the two rounds in red figures, I'm keeping it, scoring-wise, keeping it pretty tight and not making too many mistakes. I felt like I played the course pretty conservative, but still done well out of it for the first two days. And especially if the wind keeps on blowing and it's this firm and bouncy, you've got to play smart. And sometimes it's good to hit a wedge to 30-odd feet and make a two-putt and go to the next one. If you try to do something too aggressive, you make bogeys, and that kills you even more than making par with a sand iron.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: I think it's that the wind is obviously from more or less the opposite direction. So the course plays -- 17 was, I hit 3-wood, 6-iron yesterday on that one. Today I had two good 3-woods just short on the front edge, and managed to two-putt from 90 feet, something like that, 100 feet. It's not easy to get the pace perfect on a hundred-foot putt, either. It's not often that you have those ones.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: I've only hit -- did I hit one driver today? I only hit driver on 5. I imagine around here it's -- my game plan with the other wind direction was two drives a day, and now it was one today. It was never going to be a lot of drives here. Even 9, I hit 3-iron off the tee and a 5-iron. Thought I hit it beautifully, and just came up short on the front edge. But if you're playing a par-5 and it's a 3-iron, you're not taking any bunkers into play. That's what you've got to do, you keep on plodding your way, and make a few here when you can. And just make a lot of pars. Par is never a bad score on any hole in a Major championship, even though it can feel like it at times, it's just keep your head down and move to the next.

Q. (Inaudible).
HENRIK STENSON: Well, yeah, if I'm up there on Sunday, yeah, why shouldn't I? I'm obviously doing a lot of good stuff so far, and it's all about being in position and halfway through we're in good position. We've still got a whole afternoon left to see what the other guys are doing. But we should be up and about somewhere in the near regions by the end of the day. And again, we know that somebody gets -- everyone is going to get some good runs and some bad runs. If someone might get a good run, they might run away with it, but all of a sudden they can hit some bad shots and make a couple of bogeys or doubles, and come back in the field. So it's all about being there. If I can be there Sunday afternoon, I'd be happy with what we achieved and then see how the chips fall.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I've got to keep on playing good golf and sticking to my plans and so much I can't control. I can only try to control how I do my processes and hit my shots, and then it's down to the bounces and what the other guys do, as well. At this point it's way, way too early to start talking about winning this golf tournament. I could be ten back by the end of the day; I could be two back. And even still it's another two days. There's no point getting ahead of yourself in this.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: I'd say so. You just got to -- still you've got to hit good shots when you have the opportunity. The more conservatively you play, obviously the more you've got to make up with the short stick on the greens. It's hard to make birdies from 30 feet. So you've still got to knock a few, you know, within 10, 15 feet and roll those in when you have the chances and obviously take the chances on the par-5s around here.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: And that's the balance always. That thin line and how confident you feel and how sometimes certain shots kind of sets up nicely for you with the club or your shape of the ball, the ball flight and so on. And maybe at the right time you've got to press on and sometimes you've got to hold off. I stood on the 12th tee, it was pumping down, I said to my caddie, "We could drive this green quite easily today," and pulled a driver out. And he said, "I'm not sure. We haven't quite looked. And you could end up in some funky places." In the end I put the driver back, hit a 7-iron down the middle and a sand iron, hit a bit left and decent try, and walked away with a 4. It's never going to hurt you. But you feel sometimes like you want to make something happen, but it can backfire, as well.

Q. Sunday (inaudible) was that a disappointment?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, little bit. It's always disappointing when you're not winning when you're in position. I just didn't play a hundred percent and let a couple of -- one or two strategic mistakes, and a couple of poor ones, one or two on the greens.

Q. (Inaudible).
HENRIK STENSON: You have to have that balance to sometimes dump it in the right place and take your two-putt, and then when everything is good you kind of go for it.

Q. No Scandinavian, no Swedes have ever won a Major, does that come in your thought process?
HENRIK STENSON: Everything, all the time. That's all I'm thinking, no one's won it. No one's won it. Obviously I would like to be the first Swede or Scandinavian to win a Major. Like I said, we've got some work to do before we talk about that. I'd rather talk about how that feels on Sunday, if it happens.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HENRIK STENSON: The tennis players never been as pretty and good as we are, so. (Laughter). No, I don't know, obviously that's disappointing for Swedish tennis, if they haven't managed to keep up what we used to do. But I'm sure they'll come back. And it goes in cycles, everything.

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