TOUR Championship interview: Henrik Stenson

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September 19, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: TOUR Championship transcripts archive

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Henrik Stenson back to the interview room. Just saw you yesterday. First round at your first TOUR Championship, 64 has to feel pretty good. Talk about today.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, there was a couple of good things out there today. One, my wrist didn't feel bad this morning when I woke up. It's been a pretty heavy regime there, icing it, couple of anti inflammatories and treatment on it. So that seemed to have done the trick. We're happy with that, and I hope I continue the recovery.

That didn't bother me today playing, which was very nice. Going from just hit a couple of shots on the range yesterday and didn't play to feeling almost no problem whatsoever. So that was a big turnaround.

I think I just I really knew I had to be in a good frame of mind coming out there if I wanted to play good golf this week. As some of you noticed, I wasn't that on Monday when I finished up in Chicago.

So it was a good turnaround mentally. I stayed very level headed, kept the head on, on both myself and drivers, and played a great round of golf.

First seven holes is probably as good a proximity to the hole as I've ever had on seven iron shots and made five birdies out of that. So that was really nice.

Got a half of a lie in the bunker on 9 and didn't play a good bunker shot. So that opportunity went away. Did a couple of par saves between 10 and 14, and then a good up and down for birdie on 15. And then I ended up on a root down the right hand rough on 16. Given the state of my wrist, I was always going to clip that one off the top and got another bad lie. It turned into not much of a chance for making par.

Then lovely 5 iron to four feet, five feet on the last and made another birdie. So as good of iron play as we've been playing, I guess.

Q. (No microphone.)

HENRIK STENSON:
It was 205. Probably about 220, somewhere around there. That's just a normal 5 for you, isn't it? All right. 205 meters. That's your normal 5 iron.

Q. Henrik, you mentioned Monday you go from destroying a locker to destroying this golf course. Is it a situation where you just need to get that fit out of your system?

HENRIK STENSON:
I just needed to realize the world is a good place again.

Q. And I take it you're there now.

HENRIK STENSON:
I'm there now for sure, and I intend to stay there.

Q. Stenson, your ball striking today took a lot of pressure off your putting. Can you talk about overall how comfortable you felt out there all day?

HENRIK STENSON:
Yeah, I mean, obviously, I ended up with quite a lot of good yardages. Then it's always that bonus factor.

When it's your day, you're hitting good shots and getting them as close as I got them, I'm pretty sure I could have hit the same number of good shots, but another day, you're 20 feet away, 10 feet away.

Today I was like 4 inches away on 4. I was 4 feet away on 5 and a foot away on 6. Just some days it works out really good for you. Of course, I had good numbers, and I hit good shots.

Like I say, that's what I said to you guys down today. It's a golf course that it's hard to play well out of the rough, that's for sure, and I definitely hit a lot of fairways and greens. Of course, I did enough in that department today and when I didn't, I scrambled well.

So, yeah, just a very good round of golf. Still very early in the tournament. One day down, got another three to go. So at some point looking ahead more tomorrow and try and do the same good work out there tomorrow.

Q. Henry, you're not playing like someone who's got a painful wrist. Has it eased off there, or has it eased off since you spoke?
 
HENRIK STENSON:
Like I said, I it was really bad yesterday, but a lot of icing and treatment and some anti inflammatories, and I've brought it down and seemed to have made a world of difference. I was surprised that it didn't bother me today given the state it was in yesterday.
Like I said, touch wood, it continues and doesn't bother me for the rest of the Championship.

Q. How did you hurt your wrist originally? Did you consider playing nine holes yesterday and just decided that it was hurting too much?

HENRIK STENSON:
Well, woke up I can't remember if it was on Friday morning or it was on Saturday morning, but I thought I'd slept on it funny.

I did some work with Pete on the range both at Lake Nona and in Chicago last week, and I think I got into slightly different finish position. I'm not sure I had the range of motion in my wrist. I never had the problem. It's kind of on my top one. A lot of other guys had the problem down here action but mine was on this way.

I just felt it in the finish. So then I figured it was through the slight adjustments I made in the swing, and then it kind of gradually got worse there, and when I came up here on Tuesday, it didn't feel great here when I played the front nine. Not really bad.

But then to Wednesday morning, it was just like just holding the toothbrush was painful. That turned to just walking and giving it a rest. It was a very good recovery from then until now. I haven't again, touch wood, I haven't had much issue with my wrist in the past. I hope it's just a one off that will go away.

Q. You've talked about having good numbers all day. Was there a shot where you were between clubs at all that you felt particularly good about?

HENRIK STENSON:
I think it was just like on 2, it was a little bit. It was a really, really good 7 iron to get it there. Tiger hit a cut up 6, and I didn't quite fancy that shot. So I just stepped on a 7 and gave it all, and it came up like five feet, six feet short. Yeah, six feet short or something.

A slight mis-strike there, I'm in the bunker or in the rough. So it was not really I had to take a lot off. It was more I could go pretty full at those shots, and a lot of them came really close to the hole.

Q. Henrik, did venting on 18 Monday or in the locker room have anything at all to do with your sore wrist?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, sir. I was sore in another place, but that's a different story.

Q. I think a lot of people would wonder how someone can go to winning a tournament to the world not being in a good place so quickly. How does that happen?

HENRIK STENSON:
I can hear you don't have much experience with Swedes, do you?

No, I mean, I'll tell you, I mean, I've always been a bit of a hot head, and it kind of builds up, and eventually it goes over the limit. To me for me, it comes down to being tired. I played so much golf. I played so well, and I just haven't been able to get any rest.

I was looking forward to that Monday back home and lying on the couch. The kids in school and me just doing nothing, and I ended up playing golf again on that Monday. So it was you know, I was just tired, and I pushed myself over the edge there.

That's not the best place to be and not the best frame of mind to play good golf. I'm really delighted with the change I made to today.

Q. How did you handle it with the club? With Conway farms?

HENRIK STENSON:
I apologized and spoke to the guys in the locker room, you know, to keep in contact.

Q. And back to golf for just a second, if you don't mind. The irons you hit on 5 and 6, what were they?

HENRIK STENSON:
The club selections? It was a 5 iron from 198 meters, I think, on 5. And a 6 iron from 190 meters on 6.

Q. And secondly, when you hit that run of 4 and 5, when you stand on 6, are you at a point then where you're almost expecting it to go exactly where you're aiming it?

HENRIK STENSON:
No. I was it's a dangerous hole to 6. I'm sure we've seen some drama there in the past. You've got to be a bit careful. I just I wasn't aiming exactly for the pin. I was aiming a little left of it. But the way it came out, it was just like straight at it.

I guess those are the times why you aim three yards to the left or something like that. Now you make that shot sound worse than it was. You're talking me out of this glorious 6 iron to a foot now. When I told you I was aiming three yards left.

Q. Did Tiger say anything to you after you kept hitting it stiff?

HENRIK STENSON:
No. I mean, he said really well played when we came off 18. It's a nice feeling to hit those kind of shots playing with the world's best player RMT normally, it's him who does it to everyone else, but it was kind of nice to throw a couple at him.

We know he didn't have the best of days, and he's going to fight hard to try to come back into the tournament. It's still a long way to go, but it's always nice to perform the way I did when you're playing with the world's best player.

Q. Henrik, just wanted to see if you could elaborate a bit on Tiger. Your thoughts on his game today.

HENRIK STENSON:
Obviously, frustrating on the greens. He didn't make a birdie out there. That's very unusual. I wouldn't say he was playing bad, but he missed you know, it's one of those days. Missed a couple of times in the wrong spot and made bogeys on three occasions, I think, then.

I mean, if you're not making any birdies, then it's going to be a bad day, simple as that. On a good day, you might make one or two up and downs and then roll a couple in. We know how small the margins are. He could have been 2 under or 1 under with the same play if you just take your opportunities. Certainly days, it just doesn't work out for you.

Q. Any advice on how to handle the frustration?

HENRIK STENSON:
I don't think I'm the right person.

Q. Henrik, what is your history of, A, playing the course for the first time, and, B, playing with Tiger?

HENRIK STENSON:
I've played with Tiger a lot over the past couple years and reasonably well. He's been in the field. I played with him at Akron in the final group. So I'm no stranger to that situation.

It's normally a position where you need to be extra focused because it's a little bit extra going on in the round. It's a bit more shouting, a bit more people moving around and such, and a few more guys inside the ropes. So there's a few more things going on, and that just demands a little bit of higher concentration, I think.

What was the second part of the question?

Q. You played the course for the first time.

HENRIK STENSON:
Playing the course for the first time, yeah. It could be a bit of both. Sometimes it's not the end of the world. I mean, at least I've seen the full course, played the front nine on Tuesday evening and walked the back nine yesterday.

You know, the back nine is still it's always nice to play them, but it's not the end of the world if you can't. I got a good look at them, and a lot of holes seems to be pretty straightforward.

As long as you hit the fairway and hit the greens, then it might be the odd occasion where you're a little bit more defensive when you don't quite know it.

But I remember one tournament back in '04 on the European Tour and I had a really bad neck, and I just walked the course with a putter and a long wedge, and I went out and won the tournament by four shots. So obviously, it's not a must.

But you've still got to know where you're going, and my caddie's been around it twice. So that would help as well.

And now I've been around it once.

Q. Henrik, given your injuries, if this had been a normal, run of the mill tournament, would you have considered not playing?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, not the way it felt today. If it would have felt the same as yesterday, it would have been a different light for sure. I think I would have most times you would try, and then, yeah, if you're playing seven holes and it just gets worse and worse, I mean, if you have an injury, you don't want to make it any worse.

But the way it felt today, absolutely, I would have played any tournament the way it felt today. Yesterday it would have been a different situation.

THE MODERATOR: Henrik, thanks so much. Good luck tomorrow. Thank you.

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