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November 6, 2008

Kevin Streelman


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Kevin Streelman to the interview room. Kevin shot a -8 today on the Magnolia Course and is currently in the lead. Kevin is currently 88th on the Money List, so sitting in pretty good position. Kevin, if you will give some general comments on your round today and your thoughts coming into this week.
KEVIN STREELMAN: Sure. Coming into this week we just really wanted to have a good time. It's a great place to hang out and have some fun and to bring our families.
Courtney, my wife, and her parents are coming tonight, and my brother is caddying for me, and his family is coming tonight as well. So we just kind of looked at it as a week we could enjoy and have some fun together.
Fortunately we got off to a good start. I was kind of a little bit slow getting going, a birdie and a bogey but then really got hot at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 with six in a row there, which is probably the most of my year I think. It was fun. And then to finish it off with a couple more at 15 and 18 was solid, especially on Magnolia, so good start.

Q. Can you just talk about that stretch? Were there some long putts in there or were they kick-ins?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Not too long a putt. The longest was probably about an 18-footer. For the most part they were probably five or ten feet, and really hit some solid iron and wedge shots.
Yeah. The long one I made was at 15, I probably made about a 30-footer there, but for the most part those other ones were pretty close.
With the wind down, the keys on this golf course are hitting in the fairway. A, because it's rough and kind of nasty in some spots. You lose control of the golf ball going into a lot of these greens. If you can keep it in the fairway and keep a lot of spin on the golf ball, you have a lot more control over the golf ball and you can fire at a lot more pins. So I was able to do that well today.

Q. Can you kind of contrast your week, kind of a fun vacation versus a lot of guys who are here grinding it out for the 125? I'm sure you empathize with them, but at the same time you gotta be glad you're not in their position, you can enjoy the week?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Courtney and I said that last night. We're very blessed to be able to enjoy the whole Fall Series. That was my biggest goal of the year was to get to the Fall Series and not have to worry about my card for next year.
As are many of the players out here, and we consider ourselves to be top-level performers and athletes, there's always another goal. You say I want to be top 125, and then when you're comfortably there, you want to be in the top 70. If you're comfortably there, then you want to be in the top 30. We're all on the PGA TOUR because we've had that throughout our lives.
It's nice to do that, but now all of a sudden other goals come into mind, and I'd be lying if in the back of my mind I wasn't thinking about winning golf tournaments, wasn't thinking about getting into big events like world events and majors, to put myself up against the best.

Q. Kevin, I can never keep track of this. What is top 70, which is something would be a goal for you, what does that get these days?
KEVIN STREELMAN: That gets you into all the Invitationals, Tiger's event, Bob Hope, Colonial, Memorial. And one or two more.

Q. Bay Hill?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Bay Hill. Yeah. Some events I wasn't able to get in this year.

Q. So do you drill down at all and take a look at the list and try and figure out approximately what kind of a finish would get you up to that number?
KEVIN STREELMAN: I do know approximately the number that it's going to be. I know it's going to be around 1.4, 1.5 million. And I'm not going to try and look at a finish, just try and shoot for third or fourth or fifth place, in accordance. That would be a neat thing for me to look back and achieve. Once again, all I can do is take it one day at a time.

Q. That's all any of us can do, one question at a time. Do you guys who are here, sort of gregarious point about you got your card, you're here to have fun. Do you sort of tread lightly around the guys who are either on the range or on the course, the guys who are near or on a Bubble, like Brian Gay at 30 is a guy who, you know, he's got a lot at stake for him, and obviously any of the guys around 125. Do the guys that are comfortable on the numbers tend to, you know, keep a distance from the other guys?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Not that I've seen or could recall. I played today with Brett Rumford. He's probably my closest friend out here. I think he's at 159 or 160 right now, and I found myself rooting for him more than I have for any other player I've played with this year just because him and his wife and me and my wife are very close friends, and I want him to be out here.
I'd say it's more of that tone as far as people rooting for their buddies and rooting for their friends and people that have been supportive of us in the past. So that's what I think is cool about our sport is it's not like we're fighting. In a way we are fighting each other and jockeying for positions, but we do so a lot more amicably, if that makes sense.

Q. You talk about wanting to enjoy the Fall Series. A lot of the top players, their idea of enjoying the Fall Series is to not play any of it. What's your theory behind the Fall Series why you want to play it?
KEVIN STREELMAN: I've spent six, seven years on mini tours, putting a lot of money in, spent a lot of other people's money, playing for purses of 50,000, 40,000, $30,000 where we put in all our money, if you win, you make six grand, so I'm not one that takes for granted these purses that we're playing for.
We're very blessed to be out here and we have a lot of fun out here, and as long as I'm feeling well and healthy, I'm going to try and compete and try and win golf tournaments, play well in golf tournaments and experience new golf tournaments.
Also, I look to the future as hopefully -- if I see a course I really like in this Fall Series or a course that maybe I don't like as much, then I'll know in the future, if I'm in the predicament where I'm struggling for my card, that maybe I want to gear up for this week or take off this week, just for future knowledge as well.

Q. You also have to think that with some of the top 20 guys not playing in them, it's gotta offer a little bit better chance to win it..
KEVIN STREELMAN: Yeah. Absolutely. We've seen that in the past five, six weeks, great first-time winners, and it's been some great story lines.

Q. Kevin, how about all the family members here? You keep talking about the fun approach. Does that change your game or the way you play?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Not my game, I wouldn't say. For the 30 seconds that I'm over a golf ball or whatever it is, I'm pretty much the same way I am whether I'm at the U.S. Open or just playing with my buddies, so in that regard no, but I'd say away from the golf course and everything, dinner at night and all those specifics, yes, there's a little bit more camaraderie and a more hosting kind of feeling, which is great.
You know, my nieces and nephews are coming tonight, have never been to Disney World, so to be able to share that with them and know that we helped out in making them enjoy that, I know they're going to have a great weekend, it's cool. Pretty cool.

Q. Does it distract from your job, what you're doing?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Maybe earlier in the year, but this is week 32 for me, so I've kind of figured out how I need to prepare and what I can do and can't do. And once it gets to be after dinner time, me and Courtney kind of go off and watch a movie in our hotel and just get away, turn off the phones and prepare the way I know I need to prepare.
Earlier in the year when there are friends and family around, sometimes you invite them in and all of a sudden you have a late dinner and all of a sudden it's 10 or 11:00 and you're not as prepared the next day.
That's just growing pains and being a rookie and being new out here. I think I've gotten it down a little bit better the past couple months than I did the first.

Q. What would it mean to win this tournament? What would it mean to you?
KEVIN STREELMAN: It would be a dream come true. Being the fact that exactly a year ago, if I hadn't birdied four of my last five holes at First Stage, I would have never been here. It's a testament to a lot of hard work and to a lot of -- I think a lot of success is with people in their own journey, and whatever we do, you try to figure out your path and when things are meant to happen in certain ways, they do, and I've been very blessed and fortunate that this -- you know, I just turned 30, so 29 was the best year of my life so far. So hopefully we got more to come.

Q. You played well at the U.S. Open. A lot of us are getting to that, on our side of the microphone here, are starting to look at the year and sort of reviewing some of the big events. Now that you got a little distance from that, can you put into perspective, your perspective what Tiger did the whole week, and now knowing what you know now about the knee and everything?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Yeah. I mean it's just a huge testament to probably the greatest sportsman of our generation.
According to what I said earlier about people's destiny, I think we all know what his is, and that was -- to do what he did, and even to play where he did it's just incredible. It's not -- it's almost sub -- or almost inhuman, some of the stuff that he did.
And we're blessed to have him as one of our ambassadors, not only in golf, but I think in sports, and we're all looking forward to getting him back. I think any event he plays in it's good for the Tour. It's good for world golf. It's good for, like I said, sports. It's pretty cool year for him. I'll vote for him for Player of the Year.

Q. Do you think that's clearcut?
KEVIN STREELMAN: I think he played six times and he won four and the other two were top, 7s or something like that. In my opinion that's pretty evident.

Q. Just one other thing. You said you played with Brett. I know they try to pair up guys that are -- do you get to --
KEVIN STREELMAN: A couple weeks of the year we're allowed to request who we play with. This is the first time I've heard of it or done it, so I asked Brett last week if he wanted to do it, and he said yeah, he'd love to.
I'm just trying to root him along and stay out of his way, and hopefully he can have a great week. I'd love for him to at least get into the top 150 where he can not have to go to Second Stage and at least have conditional status for next year.
We always talk about that 125 number, but 150 is really big. 150 you can still get into 15 to 20 tournaments next year and you can still change your life by playing well in a couple of those. But once you get outside of that 151, you're going back to Second Stage and not having any status on the PGA TOUR next year is a tough one to take.

Q. Where did you meet each other? Where did your paths cross?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Good question. Pretty early on this year. We were both rookies over here, and I played with him at The Travelers. That's where it started. I played with him the first rounds of The Travelers, and Courtney and Sally walked together and they put together dinner without us even knowing that night.
And didn't really know anybody over here in The States. This was our first time in The States, and us being kind of newlyweds and young couple out here, we just hit it off well, and just good people.

Q. So it's been just since July then?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Pretty much since July. Yeah.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you learned out on Tour this year?
KEVIN STREELMAN: You know, for me, rookies out here, it's a tough start because, A, you don't know how many events you're going to get in. B, you're really worried about your reshuffle number, kind of which category you're in, and there's a lot more stress besides just picking your golf tournaments you want to get in.
You don't know where to stay. You don't know where to eat. You don't know the courses. You don't know when the practice rounds are going to be. There's just a lot of learning that has to go on, so that can be kind of stressful for first-timers.
Next year we'll be able to pick a schedule and just kind of follow that and know what the courses are like, because I was able to play a lot of them this year, and pick the ones I really like, and kind of go that way.
But the biggest lesson for any rookie out here -- and I think for me it hit at the U.S. Open -- is to figure out that you belong out here. And if you don't believe that, I don't think you got a good chance of staying out here too long.
But once you kind of realize that, wow, these guys don't hit it that much different, they don't putt it that much different. They still make mistakes.
A lot of players, especially me growing up, I was fans of half these guys. I was a huge golf nerd my whole life. To play practice rounds was really awe-inspiring early on, but the more I did it and the more I started playing with these guys and the more I started beating a decent number of them, I started thinking I can play with these guys. I do belong out here.
And then especially jumping from the mini tour to the PGA TOUR was the biggest hurdle for me, and like I said, I think around the U.S. Open was when that hit, and I've been fortunate since then to make a good number of cuts and shoot up the Money List.

Q. What was working for you?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Drove pretty well, hit the iron shots pretty crisply and putted pretty well. These greens are rolling great.
Probably some of the best Bermudas we've had all year, which I really wasn't expecting, but it was a nice thing to find when we got here.

Q. Can you run through that stretch of six birdies?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Yeah. 8 was a par-5. I hit a lob wedge in there that landed pretty close, and spun back about 15 feet, hit a nice putt up the hill.
9, I hit into the rough, hit a really well-played 9-iron to about eight feet, made that down the hill. 10, I had about a 12-footer up the hill, after a so-so chip, save a birdie there.
11, I stuffed it in there just about a foot with a sand wedge. 12, I hit it to probably 12 feet with an 8-iron on the par 3. And then 13, the short par-4, I hit a nice drive down the middle and hit a little flip lob wedge to about another foot, foot and a half. So I had a couple tap-ins there.
15, I dropped a bomb, made about a 30, 35-footer on 15. And then 18 hit a great drive and great 7-iron to just four or five feet, made that one, caught the edge, fortunately.

Q. You used the phrase "huge golf nerd." Define golf nerd for me.
KEVIN STREELMAN: You know, I grew up I was one of the first ones to get to the practice area and one of the last ones to leave, would come home and throw on The Golf Channel, go to PGATOUR.com, go to gatewaytour.com, go to hooterstour.com.
It's been my passion and my life for really since college I guess is when it all started, is when you really get thrown into the golf realm. I was about 18. So now it's been about 12 years.
Then you get to know some people. When I was in college, Joe Olgivie was on Tour, so we'd always follow him each week on PGATOUR.com or whatnot.
But it was just -- it's just my passion, you know. It's what I love to do and what I wake up wanting to get better each day.
Courtney sometimes has to cut me off and say, you can't watch The Golf Channel anymore. I want to watch a movie. We have to get away from it all, and I'm lucky to have her because she's right. You can't overload on it too much, but it's just what I love to do.

Q. Is there a guy out here in this field who you were really following, particularly when you were in your teens?
KEVIN STREELMAN: In this field? I kind of stayed out of most of the practice rounds, so I'm really not sure who's exactly playing, but even like Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard. Just dominant players, young, too. Right when I came out of college pretty much. Those were guys that -- you know, and the cool thing is now getting to know them and realize what great guys they are is probably one of the coolest parts of this Tour.
You kind of hear stories sometimes about guys that aren't that great, but for the most part everyone's been awesome. And I think we're so lucky to have that in comparison to other sports because you don't have that in the NFL. You don't have that in the NBA.
They're always worried about getting their next big contracts. And we are lucky to have some contracts off the course, but for the most part we play for what we get, and we have to do it each year. You can maybe get a one- or two-year exemption, or if you're lucky to win a major, five, but for most of us you gotta show up each year, and this Fall Series is really a testament to that. So I think that's what makes our sport a lot more pure than some of these other ones.
MARK STEVENS: Anything else? Okay. Thank you, Kevin.

End of FastScripts

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