MORE INTERVIEWS: Hyundai Tournament of Champions transcript archive
JOHN BUSH: 6‑under par 67, Steve, a challenging day for you health‑wise, but nice playing. If we can get some comments.
STEVE STRICKER: it was a long day but a good day. I hung in there and you know, kept the ball in front of me. I made some nice shots. Hit some poor ones out there and got a way with them. But made some good up‑and‑downs, just kept the round going. It was still tough conditions. A couple times the wind really kicked up again and made for some difficult club choices but all in all very happy.
Q. (Regarding injury).
STEVE STRICKER: Nobody knows if it's a muscle with pressure on the sciatic nerve or if there's a problem with a disk. My back feels great. I don't feel tight. I don't feel stiff. Just every time I get over to my left side, I'm getting a shooting pain down my leg.
So hence sometimes I don't get over there and so I'm just kind of‑‑ like I say, I'm not hitting it full strength and I'm just trying to keep it in front of me and play the smart shots.
My tempo was good because I can't swing at it very hard and that's a blessing in this wind. So you hit a lot of chip shots underneath the wind. It was uncomfortable to play but it never really got any worse than when it really started. It felt as crappy on the first hole as the last hole. (Laughter).
There were a lot of shots‑‑ there's quite a few tee balls where the tee box is up, where you're hitting up; it's elevated up the hill and it was very difficult for me to get over there, and walking downhill is probably the toughest. Walking uphill felt pretty good. Walking downhill felt rotten. So it was just to try to get through it.
So I really gave myself a break. I didn't have any expectations today. I didn't know if I was even going to finish 36 holes. I told one of the rules officials that I didn't know if I was going to be able to make it all the way around. Fortunately it didn't get any worse and that was the best part, was it just stayed the same all day.
Q. And tomorrow?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I think I'll be able to play tomorrow. What am I, in second place? I'm three back, so yeah, I've got a chance. I'll go out there and give it a whack, give it a try. Yeah, who knows what can happen. Maybe I'll feel great tomorrow, too. So I'll get some rest tonight and hopefully I'll feel a little bit better tomorrow.
Q. Playing 36 holes on this course‑‑ are you feeling worse‑‑
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I am. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing or if anybody can tell me what the problem is from that. But yeah, I had a feeling like it was just going to lock up as I kept going and it pretty much stayed the same.
Just a shot of pain every time I try to get over on my left side and it never really progressed any worse.
Q. Talking about the finish‑‑
STEVE STRICKER: You know, everything is a challenge. We started the second 18 on No. 10 today and it was blowing. You know, I hit a driver and I had 97 yards and I pulled out a 7‑iron from 97 yards. I didn't get it there. I hit it about 80 yards‑‑ well, 80 to the front. I didn't get it to the front. I could have gotten there, but you're trying to keep it down and there's all these challenges and I couldn't even get my pitch shot to the hole. It's just hard to judge, because we are not used to that kind of wind.
And the greens, they are slow because they have had to let them grow and they are not the fastest or smoothest because they have had to let them grow and that's a challenge. There's a lot of things. It's tough.
But they set the course up great for us. They made it so we could get around fairly quickly. They played us up on a lot of holes, and pretty benign pin positions. In that regard, I thought they did a great job of just getting us around.
Q. If you had felt the same way last week, would you have made this your first tournament to start the year?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I don't know, good question. I'm sure we would have came. Kids would have dragged me over here for sure.
But, you know‑‑ yeah, we would have been here, I'm sure. I never thought it was going to continue to get worse. I was riding in a cart here for four days, you know, with the practice rounds and the Pro‑Am. It was bothering me, but sitting down gives me some relief, so I would get in the cart, sit down and go swing again and feel okay.
Q. (Is three shots close enough to catch Dustin tomorrow)?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, he's such a good player and he's got length on his side and he's got a lot of talent. It's going to be tough to make up three shots on him here. I wish I was feeling 100 percent.
Like I say, I could be feeling better tomorrow, who knows. But you know, we never know, either. That's why you play. I mean, three shots, two shots can be erased really quickly, one hole.
So you've just got to go out and play and play your hardest and see what happens. I've been in that position where he's at now. It's a tough spot. You know, it's tough to win in front and everybody's got to come from behind. We've got really nothing to lose tomorrow and it makes it a little bit easier for us, but tougher on him.
Q. And you got a hole‑out today?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it was over here on 18. I hit an okay drive and then I kind of fatted a utility club. I had about 68 yards to the hole and I just tried to feed it up there to the bank and get it somewhere close to the hole.
A shot like that, a lot of luck is involved, too. You're just trying to get it somewhere in the vicinity and it disappears and goes in the hole.