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THE PRESIDENTS CUP


October 1, 2013


Steve Stricker


DUBLIN, OHIO

STEVE STRICKER:  Conditions are pretty similar, the greens are fast.  If anything, the rough is maybe down a little bit compared to when we were here for the Memorial Tournament, but overall, it's great to be here.  The course in great shape, and it's a fun event and it's fun to be a part of it.

Q.¬† At The Ryder Cup last year‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, I'm a little surprised to be here.  Yeah, The Ryder Cup last year left a sour taste in all our mouths I think.  Just the way that played out, the way it ended, none of us were very happy about it, or in a good spot.
Yeah, and I think because of my reduced schedule, playing less, I didn't really think I was going to have enough tournaments under my belt to qualify for the team.  So I'm a little surprised being here, but I'm happy I'm here.  It was a big goal for me all of a sudden at the end of the year to try to make the team on points alone.
So it was fun to do it and fun to be here.

Q.  When did that materialize?  When did you start thinking, I want to make that team?
STEVE STRICKER:  You know, I would think Bridgestone, PGA time.  It was late in the year.  You know, and I was always close, you know, to the 10th spot, even late into the year, but I think really at that time, I wanted to qualify on my own.  I think that was my determining factor to be on the team, and I told Freddie flat out, that's the way I want to do it.  I don't really want to be a pick and I didn't think it would be quite fair if I was a pick playing a limited schedule.  Yeah, it became a pretty major goal all of a sudden to try to make it on points alone.

Q.  You're playing on a course you've won; do you have good vibes?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, I won here just three years ago; it's kind of a different feel, like I was saying earlier, we usually play these events at courses we don't see very often and here we're playing at a course that we see all the time.  The last three winners of the Memorial Tournament are all on the American side, so that bodes well for us I guess, and hopefully we can carry that over into the competition this week.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
STEVE STRICKER:¬† That's safe to assume‑‑

Q.  (Inaudible.)
STEVE STRICKER:¬† I think we both have the ability to stay in the hole.¬† We grind it out, the limited amount I've played with him, he's got a good short game, he putts well, he always seems to be in the hole even if he hits it off the green, he's got the ability to get it up‑and‑down and move on. ¬†I'm the same way.¬† Our demeanors are pretty similar.¬† He's a pretty calm, collected guy, and I am, too.¬† And so I think we hit it off in that respect.¬† And I don't know if there's an old player like myself‑‑ an older player like myself and a young player, put the two together kind of helps out, too.¬† This is my fifth Presidents Cup, and so maybe he can lean on me a little bit for anything every wanted.¬† I don't think he needs to; he's got everything in order.¬† So there's a little bit of that maybe, too.
And you know, I've been saying all week, who doesn't want to play with him.  He's playing great.  He's a good kid.  He's got a good head on his shoulders.  So I'm looking forward to it.

Q.¬† Before you guys played a practice round‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, there was some talk of it.  Nothing for sure.  But I had talked to Freddie a little bit.  Freddie reached out to me, too, and some of that had come to light, saying that I may be paired with Jordan.  So we'll see.  I think we are going to go out, at least the first day, and see what happens from there.

Q.¬† The veterans‑‑ playing with a younger guy like that, can that inject you with energy like Keegan did with Phil?
STEVE STRICKER:¬† No doubt about it, and you're right, it's not like we come out flat or anything.¬† But it is, it's nice to see someone go through the first‑time jitters and the emotions, and you reflect back and you remember what you were like your first time at this event.
Yeah, I think Keegan and Phil are two different kind of people than we are.  Like I say, we are a little bit calmer I think than those two.  But we'll see how it plays out.  I'm excited to hopefully go out with him, and we've had some good times in the practice rounds the last tournament and this week so far, so we'll see what happens.

Q.  Did you take Phil's money?
STEVE STRICKER:  They got us today.  We put up a good fight.  We were down early, Phil came out strong early but we clawed our way back and made it a match to the last hole.  Stuff like that is good for Jordan and I, too, to see how to interact together and go through the motions of trying to make a big putt, competing against another team like Keegan and Phil that have done so well, so I think that was good for us the last few times.

Q.¬† Being in a pairing with Tiger before, several times, what kind of a player meshes well with him, and Fred's talked a little about Jason maybe playing with him, is that the kind of guy that you see‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:¬† You know, I think‑‑

Q.  Is it personality more than game?
STEVE STRICKER:¬† I think it's personality ‑‑ I think it's game, too, but I think it always helps when he feels comfortable with whoever he's going out with and a steady player.¬† I think that kind of calms Tiger down a little bit, if he ever needs to be.¬† You know, someone that keeps it in play and grinds it out and can get it up‑and‑down, you know, and just keep plugging forward.
I think personalities, you know, is a good thing.¬† You need‑‑ for any team, for any twosome going out, you need to feel good and be comfortable with the guy that you're going out there with.¬† Yeah, and it helps everybody play a little bit better, too, when that happens.

Q.  Do you like the new tee on 18?
STEVE STRICKER:¬† I do.¬† I do‑‑ I wish you could see the fairway a little bit more.¬† It's kind of almost‑‑ it's not hidden but it's a little bit‑‑ you don't see the fairway like you used to.¬† For me, today was a driver and a 6‑iron downwind.¬† So it's all you want to handle.

Q.¬† And the rough this week is slower‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:  Playable.

Q.  Wonder how that lends itself to being aggressive, or the danger of being overly aggressive?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, it is a little bit lower.  You're going to be able to play out of it I think.  But again, that brings in the more issues, too, sometimes; catch some flyers out of the rough and being a little more aggressive, and sometimes that brings in more trouble, too.
The course is in great shape.  The greens have picked up a foot to probably two feet of speed since I played yesterday.  It's very much like the Memorial.  It's really nice and it's in great shape.

Q.¬† Venturing into the great unknown with the part‑time schedule, looking back now, why has it worked so well?
STEVE STRICKER:  You know, I think because it was a decision I was happy with.  I think I felt comfortable with it.  I still felt like I could go home, get away from the game and come back and play.  There were weeks where I felt a little bit rusty.  But for the most part, I felt so fresh and excited to play that that's worth a shot or two a day sometimes, you get into a frame of mind and you just save shots, you talk more positively to yourself, all that kind of stuff.
Yeah, I don't know, and I'm used to doing that I guess.  I come from the north up there in Wisconsin and we get away from the game at times and come back.  I've done that my whole career.  I still stay in touch with my game when I'm home.  I still practice.  I may set the clubs down for a week and I'll pick them back up again.  It's not like I totally get away from it.  I still prepare.

Q.¬† Along the same lines‑‑ (Inaudible.)
STEVE STRICKER:  I would still like to think I've got a shot at making The Ryder Cup next year, especially the way I'm playing, and if I can continue to play the way I've been playing.  And I would like to be a part of that again.  You know, like I say, like we were saying earlier, the way we left Medinah last year was not a great feeling.  So it would be nice to get one more  crack at that I think.

Q.¬† Has this week helped start the process of putting Medinah‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:¬† Well, you still‑‑ I'm always going to look back at Medinah, and think about what happened there that last day and that we didn't get it done.¬† In particular, me, not making it, not earning a point that whole week.¬† Yeah, it's a sour note, but in this game, you have a lot of sour notes and you've got to move forward otherwise you bog yourself down and you never improve.

Q.  But do you look at this as part of that process?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, you know, it's always good.  It's always great to be a part of a team, and you learn something every year that you're part of one of these teams and you never know what we're going to learn here this week as a team to carry forward to next year.  Sure, the more you can play in these, the better off it is, and we've got some kids on this team.  This is Keegan's first time, too.  Dufner's first, too, and Jordan, where they are going to get some valuable experience and hopefully that pays off for Ryder Cups down the road and future Presidents Cups, too.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
STEVE STRICKER:¬† No, I missed out.¬† It's a special week or two window, and actually it was sort of the BMW week and THE TOUR Championship week, and so, yeah, I missed out, but they didn't shoot anything.¬† They didn't see much‑‑ yeah, I told them I made the right decision.¬† But one of these years I'll be able to do it.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
STEVE STRICKER:  Well, I think as the year progressed, him just constantly getting in contention, and even if he wasn't in contention, there was some days or rounds on Sunday that he kind of snuck up there and made himself present at the end of it all.
You know, the way he handled himself in the playoff at John Deere, and then he got into another‑‑ yeah, at Wyndham, right?¬† Wasn't he in that one, too?¬† And making a clutch putt there, I was listening to that one on the radio, I was coming from somewhere, but I didn't see the putt and he made a clutch putt on 18, either in the playoff or the last hole.¬† So I think it was a progression just seeing him constantly stand up to the pressure and continually play well throughout the year.

Q.¬† You've been in a few of these now and you understand how the crowds work, home and away; is it a little strange when you go over and people are actually cheering against you, you're one of the more popular guys on TOUR and they are getting on you.¬† How hard is that‑‑ that it never happened‑‑
STEVE STRICKER:  Actually I was over in Wales where it was probably the worst that I've seen.  I can't say they were really cheering against you.  I mean, they would clap when you would hit a bad shot, stuff like that.
But stuff like that almost fired me up more than playing‑‑ I can't see them playing at home, because that's a pretty special feeling when you're playing at home.¬† But it's a different feeling when you go over there and you get some people rooting against you.¬† It's like you want to fight somebody, and I'm not a fighter but you (laughing) you get a little chip on your shoulder.¬† It's very easy to get fired up over there any time overseas, because you can feel people not really wishing you the best.

Q.¬† Does it get you fired up‑‑ for you it works?
STEVE STRICKER:  Yeah, I think for all of us it works, otherwise we wouldn't be here.  It's a different kind of mentality that you've got to have in these matches.  You feel a different kind of pressure.  But all good stuff.  It's something that you want to be a part of once you've done it once.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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