MORE INTERVIEWS: Hyundai Tournament of Champions transcript archive
CHRIS REIMER: Steve, 5 under today, 4 under in the last five holes. Talk about that finish.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it was a good way to finish the round, kind of treading water there. I had it going good to start with, made a double at No. 8, kind of put the brakes on my round and fought back nicely, and to finish with four birdies out of the last five holes definitely brings some momentum into tomorrow. I had a nice eagle putt at 18. I didn't make it, but hit a lot of good shots today and played well.
Q. How much repeat play knowledge of the course, knowing the area, how much does that impact or do you think did that help you today?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it's huge going around here, it really is. We talked about it when I was in here yesterday, too, just the fact that there's so many little things you need to know of this golf course. It just helps you going around. There's a comfort level, too, the more times you get to play it. You can use slopes of the fairways, use slopes in the greens. We're playing in a trade wind, and it looks like it's going to be the same direction every day. So that'll be nice.
But yeah, there's a lot of local knowledge, and I don't know, I think this may be my fifth time here, so it's it makes things nicer. You know, you know what to expect with this kind of wind, and there's a lot of little things that you learn over the years.
Q. And to follow up on that, how do you see the course this year playing from the other years when you've been here? Any big changes, differences?
STEVE STRICKER: It's probably in the best shape I've ever seen it. The greens are perfect, the fairways are good. They're rolling out some. I hit 5 iron into 18 and I've never, ever been down there that far, and I don't know if I'm getting longer with age, but I think I am hitting it a little further. But it's got to be firm for me to get down there and hit 5 iron in there. But it's in great shape, like I say, probably the best I've seen it in all the years I've been here.
Q. Martin was in here just a few minutes ago, and he also had a nice stretch to finish his round, too. Is there something about those last four or five holes? Are they really playing a little easier than some of the holes on the front nine?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, there's that stretch there, you know, after you get through 13, you've got 14 is a short hole, you're hitting sand wedge in there. Some guys can try to drive the green. 15 is a par 5, which guys can make birdie. 16 is playing short. And then you have, of course, 18 which you can get home in two, and you can birdie 17, too. You hit two good shots there and you can make a birdie. So there are some holes to be had there coming in.
You hate to wait like that through the course of your round, but it does give you a chance to make some birdies coming in.
Q. Give us an idea of what happened on No. 8.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it was really a wrong club more than anything. I sent it out on the line I wanted to send it out on, and the wind was right to left. We thought it was a little bit of help, but it actually turned and it was hurting there. And I tried to hit a 5 iron, and it was a wrong club, and it got hit with the wind, and it pushed it to the left and didn't quite carry the hazard.
So I should have been playing deep into the green. I should have made sure I had taken an extra club and gotten it back there. But it was disappointing. I wasn't very happy at the time. But birdieing 9 kind of got things going again. I knew if I could just get a good, decent round in, I was thinking get 3 under, something like that, I'd be okay. But I got a couple more than that coming in.
Q. Martin was talking about the back nine was scoring better than the front nine, but Jonathan was 6 under through 8 with six in a row from 3 through 8. Can you just talk about him doing that? Is that a little surprising to you? He's currently at 6 going a little bit up and down after that.
STEVE STRICKER: What was he, 6 under through 8? Yeah, that's a heck of a start. And I think the front does play harder. Plus it's our first tournament of the year. You've got the first tournament nerves, and just not knowing what to expect in your game, and you're just a little jumpy, I think, probably to start with. So to get off to that kind of start is pretty darned good. I think those holes are a little bit tougher, too. You've got 3 and 4 into the wind. 5 is a par 5, but 6 is tricky. And 8 is tough. That is a good stretch of holes. I think Martin is right; it's tougher than the back.