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April 15, 2015

Kevin Streelman


MARK STEVENS:¬† I'd like to welcome Kevin Streelman.¬† Coming off an exciting week, where you win the par‑3 challenge at the Masters.¬† Top‑12 finish gets you back in next year.¬† But probably the most exciting was playing with Ethan through Make‑A‑Wish.¬† If you want to talk about what last week was like and your thoughts coming into this week.
KEVIN STREELMAN:¬† Sure.¬† This is my fourth Masters, and the first one my dad caddied for me on Wednesday.¬† The second one was my mom and the third one was my wife and daughter.¬† This one I wanted to do something special and different.¬† It was just kind of put on my heart to kind of think outside the box.¬† I had done some stuff with Make‑A‑Wish, and some of my friends had been some sponsors of theirs.¬† And I just decided to kind of give them a call out of nowhere.¬† And got in touch with their Phoenix office, which is their home office, and talked to a lady named Chelsea Randall, who actually is a liaison with the PGA Tour.¬† I told her if there would be any kids that would like to do a wish at the Masters, I'd like to have them caddie for me.¬† And she was excited with the opportunity.
She got me in touch with Ethan Couch from Alberta, Canada.  Unfortunately he has an inoperable brain tumor, that he's going to have to monitor the rest of his life.  I gave him a call on the day after his 13th birthday, about a month and a half ago and invited him to caddie for me.  We got him and his whole family down, and I gave him tickets for Wednesday.  And it just was a pretty amazing experience for just walk around with him and his family, a lot of tears and a lot of smiles and high 5s, and at the same time I couldn't miss a putt.
Somehow shot 5‑under, and then got in a playoff with Camilo.¬† And thought I lost it on the second playoff hole, and Camilo stuffed it to about a gimme.¬† I made a 25‑footer from off the green to tie him, and almost made a one on the third playoff hole and Camilo hit it in the water.¬† Me and Mike Tirico were both in tears as they were giving us the trophy.¬† It was not about me or not about winning crystal or anything.¬† It was about Ethan and sharing that day for him.¬† It was one of those experiences that was one of the cooler days in my life.

Q.  Kind of coming off of a week like that last week, where there's a lot of highs and stuff, how do you kind of regroup and kind of regain focus for this week?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  Sure.  I always enjoy weeks after majors because you feel like your game is really primed and kind of amped up.  I'm very prepared.  The key is resting and just getting your feet back under you, because it takes a lot out of you, let alone the golf course and the hilliness and the stress of playing a major championship on the weekend.  But just when you get home and you've got your family around, you've got your friends around, it's a very busy, hectic week.
It's great to come to Hilton Head where it's relaxing, great restaurants, you can walk everywhere.¬† We stay right across the street.¬† Me and my wife find it very relaxing.¬† It's me, my wife and daughter.¬† So it's a chilled‑out, low‑key week.¬† But getting the sleep each night is critical to be ready to go Thursday morning.

Q.¬† Talk about that and talk about what Jordan had to go through‑‑
KEVIN STREELMAN:  I'm sure Jordan is wiped out.  He's 21 years old; he can handle it (laughter).

Q.¬† Between winning the par‑3 and playing so well in the tournament, is there some karma in play there or the golf gods having a hand in that or anything?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  You know, I don't know, maybe.  I didn't do anything on Wednesday for me.  It was all about him and giving back.  But to be able to share that with him was what was so special.
My game felt great last week.  I hit it amazingly well, I hit it where you need to around Augusta.  If you can do it there, you can do it anywhere.  And the work I've done with my coach and caddie and trying to get better as a golfer out here.  Coming in here I played great today.  I feel confident in my game.  We all know that could change quickly in this sport.  But it's one of my favorite runs in the Tour coming up, between here and I'll play PLAYERS and Charlotte and Colonial, and hopefully sneak into match play; right on the bubble there.  It's a great stretch of golf on the Tour.

Q.¬† I was going to ask you about the transition between Augusta to Harbour Town.¬† There are differences.¬† How different is it?¬† And then I guess a follow‑up question to that will be, how often did you use your driver at Augusta?¬† How often will you use it here?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  Sure.  The first thing here is obviously the hills.  It's a much easier walk than Augusta.  Our calves appreciate and our shinsplints appreciate after last week and I think our wives appreciate it, as well.
But just the feeling of this week is much more relaxing and enjoyable.¬† It's just a different enjoyment, I would say.¬† Augusta is the ultimate, pressure‑packed, whole‑world‑watching golf tournament, golf spectacle, as we all know.¬† And this is just not only one of my favorite events on the Tour, but just a different feeling of just relaxing, nice easy‑walk golf course, not an easy golf course by any means, but shorter shaped shots.¬† You've got to maneuver it off the tees.¬† You're right, there's not quite as many drivers as Augusta.¬† I pretty much hit driver almost every par‑4 and 5 out there.¬† Here there's hybrids and 3‑woods off the tees, to shape it in certain pockets off the fairway.
But they're both great in their own right.  I like how this week comes after Augusta, where it seems so much more relaxing and gets your energy back.

Q.  Is your family here with you?
KEVIN STREELMAN:¬† My wife and my daughter are with me.¬† Last week we had both parents and coach and sister and brother‑in‑law, nieces and nephews.¬† Augusta is a busy week for all the players and family.

Q.  You had a run of two different events now in the last two weeks where you played extremely well in the Wednesday events.  Is that kind of an extra bonus for you?  I know you would like to win these events on Sunday, as well, but is it just a coincidence or do you feel especially tuned up before these tournaments?
KEVIN STREELMAN:¬† I would say I've just been‑‑ my swing has been feeling really good as of late.¬† Things are feeling simpler to me and the putter feels good right now.¬† And this game cycles, as we all know.¬† You've got to ride it when you're playing great and just keep working at it when you're not.¬† Right now I feel like things are going the direction I'm looking and the putts seem to be falling.
So as I said, I don't take that for granted or say I've got everything figured out.  But right now my game feels good.

Q.  You talk about how relaxing the beginning of this week is, is there a line that you have to walk between, hey, you know, this is relaxing and we're recharging, and then to get back into competitive mode once the tournament kicks off?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  I think as an athlete that happens pretty naturally for us.  I know for me as soon as the gun goes off Thursday morning, I want to make as many birdies as quickly as possible.
It's critical away from the course to recharge and to not ‑‑ try and get to bed early and try to just kind of do the right thing, eat really well this week, to try to get everything settled again.¬† It's amazing.¬† I remember Bobby Jones saying he lost 15, 20 pounds every tournament he played.¬† It wasn't quite that much for me.¬† After the major weeks you notice your body is very spent.

Q.¬† You've got a unique perspective in that you led the U.S. Open when Tiger won a major championship, and now you've contended in this young‑gun type of era.¬† Is it almost discouraging that you got right out of one era and right back into another one where it's so difficult to win these big tournaments?
KEVIN STREELMAN:¬† I just find it enjoyable.¬† I really do.¬† Obviously I've just‑‑ no one expected me to even get to the PGA Tour.¬† To do what I've done, I'm really enjoying this process.¬† I'm going to play it for as long as I can.¬† I'm not the type of person who would probably say I'm going to win eight or ten majors.¬† But I do think if I could maybe get in the hunt I wouldn't be surprised‑‑ I'm not scared of the spotlight.¬† I'm not scared of making some putts when I have to.
For me it's just enjoyable to be in the heat in those events, in any event, to be honest.¬† Next week I want to be in the heat there.¬† Might have a few more beers that week than I had this week.¬† But it's kind of‑‑ I just enjoy playing competitive golf, and having something on the line.¬† So whatever stage that is it's a process of getting more comfortable in those stages, which you're right, my rookie year at the U.S. Open, I completely freaked out and, I didn't sleep at all.¬† It was a major deal.¬† And last week I slept great each night.¬† I knew I'd try my best each day, and I was okay with that.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
KEVIN STREELMAN:  I don't think so.  Member, member maybe, not the member, guest.  We'll have some Tour pros at it, I'm sure.

Q.  We all know what winning a major means to players.  This tournament has a history of champions that have been major winners and that sort of thing.  A couple of years ago, last year perhaps, the Tour players voted this as their favorite venue to come to, right behind Augusta National.  Can you talk about what you would find special about a win at this tournament?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  I think you touched on it with the history of the champions here.  I was at CQ's restaurant right down the street, two nights ago, in the men's restroom they've got an old poster from the '93 tournament, it's got the first 25 champions on it.  It's unbelievable, everyone that's won it.
So to me I have a Travelers trophy at home, I kind of have that same feeling when I see the players, starting with Sam Snead and going all the way up to the modern day players.  It's just neat to kind of be on that list.
But this golf course is just one of my favorites because it's stood the test of time.¬† It hasn't had to move the tees way back.¬† And the trees have actually ‑‑ they cut them back a little bit because they were getting too tight in spots out here.¬† It's a magnificent 18‑hole golf course.¬† And it's right there in front of you.¬† But you've got to hit the shots.¬† That's why we seeusually not too much more than 10‑under wins this tournament each year.

Q.  The challenges of the course, you know, I would think the course that challenges you more is more satisfying to win?
KEVIN STREELMAN:¬† Sure.¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† Each tournament has its own kind of feel to it. ¬†Some weeks, it's the Bob Hope or Humana or it's a birdie‑fest, you've got to go as low as possible.¬† Or the U.S. Open where you've got to maneuver your way and try to make pars, it's enjoyable, as well.¬† It's the game you play.¬† This is a fun week, to me.¬† I've played well here in the past.¬† I had a third‑place finish here a few years ago.¬† Just kind of are suits my eye well.¬† I said, after a big week like Augusta, it's fun to come here and have fun.¬† If you don't, you get to go home for two weeks and recharge, anyway; there's not much to lose.

Q.  Last year when Matt won by holing out from the bunker, were you gone by then or were you able to see any of that?  Did you see replays of it?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  Oh, yeah, definitely seen the replay a bunch of times.  I think I already was on my way to the airport at that point.  I don't remember how I finished last year, but not too high.  But I recall watching Golf Central that night and seeing what happened at 17, which is very unMattlike.  But to see what he did on 18 was pretty spectacular.

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