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August 28, 2008

Kevin Streelman


DOUG MILNE: Kevin Streelman, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the Deutsche Bank Championship. It's been quite a few solid weeks for you the past couple of weeks, Wyndham Championship and then last week at the Barclays, and you, as a result, jump all the way to No. 37 in the FedExCup points race. Just a couple comments on the state of your game as you head into this week here at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
KEVIN STREELMAN: I definitely feel my game is the best it's been all year. I've got a lot of confidence going right now and just going to try and ride it as long as possible.

Q. You've probably been asked this so many times in the last week or so, but the volatility of the standings, I've got to assume you're okay with that? You like that?
KEVIN STREELMAN: You know, I think the TOUR is getting what they want to get out of the playoff system with this points situation. I think the guys at the front are going to be wary of this points situation, and the guys in the back are going to love it because it gives us a chance to move way up and they have a chance to fall back. At times they're the powerful names and people obviously in our profession. So their voices will probably be heard more than mine will be.
But I think if you look at other sports and other playoff systems, great regular seasons don't guarantee you championships. The Cubs, my team, have the best record in baseball right now. Does that guarantee they're going to get by the second round of the playoffs? No. They have to continue to play good baseball and great baseball to win the World Series.
In order to win the TOUR Championship you're going to have to play great golf. There's obviously guys who have played phenomenally all year. They should be very impressed and proud of the way they've played. But when it comes to the playoff system and to get excitement and to get movement and to get stories made, there's got to be room for movement.
I think the current system, which all those -- I wasn't on TOUR last year so I didn't vote, but the guys all proved it last year. So for them to complain about it now, that's what they voted for. I think it's a very cool, very fair system, but you have to be ready to play when the playoffs start. I think that's what the TOUR intended and that's what they like to see, and I think it creates a lot more excitement.

Q. With the way that this year has unfolded for you, can you just talk about how that lines up with the goals you may have set before the year started?
KEVIN STREELMAN: My first goal obviously going into this year for a rookie, you don't know what to expect. But my first goal is to retain my card for next year. For a while I was kind of hovering in that 126 to 150, which would have been great. That would have been a great accomplishment my first year out, to stay conditional for next year. As I got inside the top tasting 115, 120 for some of the years, I was like, maybe I could keep my full card status for next year, which would be great. And then in the last weeks, to solidify my card for next year is a huge burden off my shoulders and something that I was proud of.
Now I can continue to look forward. Now seeing that I'm up to 37 in the FedExCup points, now I want to get in the TOUR Championship. That would be a dream come true, especially for my first year out here. But I think it's realistic right now. So I'm just going to try and work hard and continue to play the golf I've been playing, and if I'm able to possibly do that, I think it's doable.

Q. I had a fantasy league guy ask me yesterday what I think about Streelman for next year. What do you think about Streelman for next year? Would you take him?
KEVIN STREELMAN: I think this year has just been so -- such a learning process. I've tried to improve each week and try and learn the course as much as possible each week, and to know that I'm, like I said, exempt for next year and can choose my schedule -- a lot of the stress that rookies have that most people don't realize is knowing if they can get into tournaments or not, especially the first half of the year. I mean, I was an alternate playing more times than I wasn't. Obviously it got highlighted at the Buick where I just got in just before I teed off. But that happened to me more than three or four times.
That adds a lot of stress; you're there early, trying to learn the course, you're also checking your cell phone every couple minutes to see if the TOUR office called to see if you maybe jumped from seventh alternate to fourth alternate or maybe to first alternate or maybe you're in the tournament. It just adds a lot of stress. To be able next year to pick my schedule, pick the events, the courses I like from this year and probably get a little more rest than I did this year will be great.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to or think I can win out here. That's the way I've always -- I've been an athlete since I was a young kid, and that's the way I was taught and raised. I'm out here, and it's -- we're blessed to be able to make nice money if you finish Top 5, but winners want to win. That's what it's all about for me.

Q. It sounds like you'd be a good pick for next year is what you're saying?
KEVIN STREELMAN: I'll be ready to play next year.

Q. We've made a lot locally here about a new course being made to look old as quickly as possible, to get that old Northeast, New England flavor. Could you talk about your reaction to the course and whether you see much of that out there?
KEVIN STREELMAN: This course, to me it's a big golf course. There's a lot of space out there. There's big fairways. I think it's an approach-shot golf course. You have to keep the ball under the pins and know which pins you can attack. There's some big 480, 490 par-4s, water short, where maybe if you're chipping from the side of the green it's actually a lot better than short-siding yourself into some situations.
But at the same time I think there will be more birdies made this week than last week. Coming in 15 through 18 are I consider decent chances at birdies if you hit good tee shots. 15 you should have a wedge, 9-iron in; 16 is going to be a short iron; 17, you hit a good tee shot, you should have 8- or 9-iron in; and then 18, you can get at it, too. But that adds a lot of excitement, which is what everyone wants. I think it'll be a fun week.

Q. You've been in this situation a lot this year where you're not in the Pro-Ams. What do you guys do on a day like this? What are you able to do and how does that help you?
KEVIN STREELMAN: We are limited to practicing based on when they tee off for the Pro-Ams. They do morning wave 7:00 to 9:00 say, then the afternoon is usually like 12:00 to 2:00 so we can't practice from a half hour before those tee times until the tee times are up to give space to the Pro-Am competitors, so you just plan accordingly.
I like to -- I haven't played any Wednesdays this year because they don't have rookies do the Wednesday Pro-Ams, which is good and bad. The good part is that you have the day off to kind of do what you feel you need to do the day before in preparation for a tournament, but the bad news is you have to get here a little bit earlier. You have to be ready to practice Monday and Tuesday when the other guys might go home for Sunday night and spend a night or two in their own bed and then fly out here Tuesday and then get a little practice Tuesday and then do their practice round on Wednesday. It just changes up the week for us, so we're just here an extra day is all it probably means. We've gotten used to it.

Q. Do you do a lot of sightseeing?
KEVIN STREELMAN: We do try to. My wife and I love to. Early in the year we did a good amount of it, but right now I'm really focusing on my rest. The last two weeks I think took a lot out of me, so we've really just kind of been relaxing at night and just kind of lounging around and trying to prepare for this week. It's nice having that extra day until Friday to prepare, but at the same time it'll be that much harder, I think, next week taking away a day. So we'll see.

Q. I don't know if you touched upon this before I walked in, but entering Sunday with the 54-hole lead and it kind of gets away a little bit, how proud were you at the end to be able to get those birdies and actually have a chance on 18 to get into the playoff and really just missed on the playoff?
KEVIN STREELMAN: I was very proud of that. It was something that I've done before in smaller venues, smaller situations. But those are the things that you draw upon, based upon whether you're playing for a $2 Nassau or for a PGA TOUR event. I was able to draw on the past, and I stayed patient all day.
I hit the ball very poorly to my standards on Sunday. I don't know how many fairways and greens I hit, but it was very low. I was proud of my short game that day because I made a lot of clutch 12-, 15-foot putts for par and just tried to stay patient. I knew that a hole would open up to me at some point. And it's too bad at 15, I hit a great shot in there and just misread it and hit a putt where I wanted to and just misread that, but I made great putts at 16, 17 and 18. I thought I made the one on 18, as well. I gave it my all. That's all I can do. I was proud of it.
DOUG MILNE: Kevin, thanks for your time, and best of luck this week.

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