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July 21, 2013

Henrik Stenson


MIKE WOODCOCK: I'm delighted to welcome Henrik Stenson in this afternoon. Henrik, great 1-under par round to 70 today. You came very close. Can you sum up your thoughts after today's round.

HENRIK STENSON: I'm very pleased with my performance over the week and today more so than yesterday. I thought I was in a good frame of mind and played some good golf. It was tougher out there today wind-wise than yesterday. And I got off to a great start, 2-under after four. You buy that on a calm day, and especially on this day. I started off nicely. I saw Ian was going along nicely, as well. We knew that we were chasing him at least, he was going to post a good number in the clubhouse, so it was just about keep on going, as always. I made a couple of mistakes -- I missed a green and three-putted on 8. Got it back with a nice birdie putt on 9. Lipped out off the lovely -- cut a 4-iron for eight feet on 10 and lipped out. Had a great putt. So that was a bit of a shame. Double bounced my gap wedge on 12, which kind of threw it a little bit hot, and hit over the back of the green. Nice chip from a tough lie and a good putt, but just didn't go in. Hit a poor 5-iron on 14, bit of a tough lie and a decent bunker shot for sure and a good putt, but misread it by half an inch, again. So it was not the right time to make those two bogeys if you want to win an Open Championship. But the key to success and winning tournaments, anyway, is to move forward, and I did that. I didn't let it set me back, and finished off in good style. I made par on every other hole and birdie on 17. I had a couple of longer chances on 15 and 16. And at the time all I knew was Ian was finished 1-over, and I was 1-over at the time. I didn't know that Phil had made those birdies there on -- I heard kind of the one on 13, but then missed out on one of the two others. All of a sudden I saw he was 2-under and I was 3 back with only two holes to go. So I said to my caddie when I made the birdie on 17, maybe I can hole the second shot on 18 and get a playoff. And then I saw they birdied again. And I said, a hole-in-one is pushing it, I think. (Laughter). It was just to finish in strong style to keep second on my own and I did that. So, yeah, solid week, very happy with the performance. We're getting closer. I got two thirds and now a second. We all know what we're long go for.

Q. Although you must be disappointed finishing second, but you must be delighted with the way your game has been progressing over the last few months?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I've done some great improvements this season, getting back into form. I know it might sound silly and I don't know, a bit stupid to say that I didn't feel like I'm that overly confident with some parts of my game. But I still managed to keep it together. I've played this golf course very good, I think. Even though I made a few mistakes, I haven't made some big mistakes that kind of put me out of the tournament. And mentally I've been in a good place all week. And obviously done a lot of good stuff, but I'm still feeling like I could up it a little bit. And it would be nice to be there just feeling a little bit more confident with my game. So I'm going to keep on trying to put myself into these positions going forward, and hopefully we can close the deal in the near future.

Q. You're 37 now, are you?

Q. Major winners seem to be getting older not younger?
HENRIK STENSON: That's good, then.

Q. Is that good for the future?
HENRIK STENSON: It's all about putting yourself in position, like I said. The more times you're going to do that, the better the chances are. . Experience is obviously a key factor and a big factor in these chips. I'm gaining experience. I've learned a lot this week, this weekend and this week in general. I'm ready to be back at it next year or at the PGA Championship, which is the next Major that we have, and hopefully can do the same as I've done here and put myself in another good position. It's a marathon to be there Sunday on the back nine, and I was there. If I would have had the finish that Phil had, then it could have been the other way around. All credit to Phil. We know he's a world-class player and has been for many, many years. So I don't think it took us by surprise, but it's still all credit to him for finishing the way he did, and he's a very worthy champion after that finish.

Q. Did you have a target score in mind at the start of the day? I was going to ask, when were you first aware that Mickelson was making his move today?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, I saw he was up and about, a couple behind. I saw that the guys in the last couple of groups didn't make birdies. They were coming backwards a little bit. I kind of missed out a little bit on his move. After my tee shot on 17, I looked over and saw he was 2-under. We're three back, I thought I was one or two back, and all of a sudden we were three back. So I missed out a little bit on that charge. That was a bit sneaky of him (laughter). I thought where they were, I thought I would have needed to shoot about 3-under, something like that, to get -- 2-under, I thought, had a chance for something, maybe a playoff or something like that. That's kind of what I looked at. We know how small the margins are and the wind on this type of golf course. Someone leading by a shot or two, it can easily vanish in these conditions.

Q. How significant do you think it is that the winner Phil and yourself, runner up, played the Scottish Open last week?
HENRIK STENSON: I'm very pleased with my preparation. I came over here early. Played two full rounds here Sunday, Monday, before heading up to Inverness. I had kind of done the whole bit. I knew my lines, and got a good idea of how to play this golf course, which then left me with less work on the preparation days here. I could go a little bit easier. Do a bit of practice and play two nines. That's all I did is play nine on Tuesday and nine on Wednesday. In terms of playing links golf, I think it's two different ways to look at it. You either play the week before on a links course, like at the Scottish Open, or you go away and play a few rounds either just on your own or with someone else and play a couple of rounds of links golf. It's only done if you want to have competitive rounds the week before or if you just want to practice. But I think for myself I definitely believe that you want to be on a links course the week before. I know Zach did well. He straight came from America, and came from a different type of golf club. For me I always felt like I want to at least practice and play a few rounds on links before heading into this championship. And that's what I will keep on doing.

Q. Can you just talk about, A, I know that you made some changes in your bag in preparation for this week. And B, a year, year and a half ago you were somewhat struggling and now you seem to have found your form again. Can you talk briefly about that?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I think my change, I immediately figured out my 4-wood wasn't going to be much use when I was here two weeks ago. So that's been sitting on the bench for the last two weeks. And I put a 2-iron in, strengthened that one up to 17 degrees, because I knew from looking around here that you were going to have a lot of 260, 270-yarders out there. Some of the holes played even longer and shorter now, because of the wind. But it's a very useful tool in these kind of crosswinds to have something that stings out there. You don't want to be hitting any high balls, that's for sure. That's the only change I did in equipment this week and last week. In terms of my form, it's a work in progress. It's long-term goals, in all the different areas. I just feel like I've been patient and I'm working away on the long-term, rather than trying to go for quick fix. Like I said, I'm still not there, but I'm enjoying myself on the golf course and feel like it's heading in the right direction all the time. So I think it's been down to that before. When I was out of form, I was chasing my tail a little bit, trying to find something that would work for the week all the time instead of looking at the bigger picture and having a bit more patience and calmness about it, and that's definitely paying off.

Q. You're once again close to being the first Swedish winner of a Major. How hard is not to think about that?
HENRIK STENSON: I've felt the support from the Swedes and a lot of the crowds in general today. And of course I want to make it happen. But all you can do is ask to give yourself a chance and I did that. And like I say, some other time I'll hopefully finish as strong as Phil did. I'll be sitting here with a slightly different silverware. So we'll be back trying again, and I can't be disappointed with my performance. I can ask for a little bit better or a little bit more of my game this week. I know I can do better with my game, but it's obviously been very, very close with the game I brought this week. And sometimes it's about the score, not just the way you hit the ball and such. So I take a lot of positives and we'll be back trying again.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Well done. Great performance.


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