TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola interview: Henrik Stenson

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September 18, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola transcripts archive

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Henrik Stenson to the interview room. Henrik, you've had a great playoff, obviously coming in here at No. 2, controlling your own destiny. Maybe just talk about being here at East Lake and your expectations for the final event of the playoffs.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I'm a rookie, first time here. I guess Monday finish in Chicago wasn't ideal for preparations when you're coming into a new venue, but I've done whatever I can here.

I played nine holes yesterday evening, the front nine, and then I just walked the back nine now to have a look at them. Got a little bit of an issue with tendinitis in my left wrist, which isn't great. It's pretty painful. But hopefully, we can stick it out another four days and still play good.

It kind of started last week at BMW. I thought I'd slept funny on my hand on Saturday morning, but it's kind of it hasn't really been affecting my shots that much, but it's gradually getting more and more painful kind of overnight before I get going in the morning.

So I'll try to rest it a little bit today and probably come out earlier tomorrow and do a bit more.

THE MODERATOR: Do you approach this event as the FedEx Cup finale any differently, or is it just go out and try to win it?

HENRIK STENSON: No, not really. All of these playoff events, they're each their own tournament. I know the field is getting less and less each week. But it's another golf tournament.

If you want to do well in the overall FedEx Cup, you've got to play well here. That's kind of the key, try and get back into good into a good approach and do my bit. And hopefully, when we sum it all up at the end of the week, we're in there with a chance. That's all I can ask.
I'm in a good spot, but I still need a lot of good things to happen to be able to pull off the win.

Q. I guess just general thoughts on the course, what you saw, what you liked, what you didn't like.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I would think it's a course that should suit my game pretty well. So far this year, part of my success has been hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and I think that's going to pay off if I can do that out here.

It's got some real long holes, some tough holes. The greens are really slick if you're coming down the hill. So it's key to keep the ball underneath the hole. So good approach play is going to pay off for sure.

You know, I didn't grow up on Bermuda. So it might not be my best surface to pitch from and so on. So to hit a lot of greens is going to be crucial to do well.

I don't think the scoring has been that low here in the past either. I think it's a golf course that kind of keeps the scoring pretty much under control. If I could get some backup on that. I don't know what the winning score is normally.

THE MODERATOR: 10.

HENRIK STENSON: 10, 12 under, something like that. So I think that kind of says it there.

Q. Did you ever watch this tournament on TV much?

HENRIK STENSON: I watched it a few times. I remember Jim's bunker shot. I've seen quite a few of the holes on television.

Q. When's the last time you played this type of Bermuda rough?

HENRIK STENSON: I don't know when we played Bermuda the last time. Must have been in the spring, I guess.

Q. Players?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, around Players, Colonial maybe. It's been a little while, and I haven't been much in Orlando either. It's definitely a difference. It's a big change. It may have been not as much to go from regular golf to links golf, but it's definitely a change in surface and how you approach it.

Q. Henrik, safe to assume you have a new driver in the bag this week?

HENRIK STENSON: Yes, we got the new TaylorMade SLDR in the bag this week. It's not always something bad that doesn't have something good with it.

I finally got a good chance I had a look at that driver at the Scottish Open but didn't have time to test it, and then I had a quick session at Firestone, but I felt like I was in the middle of things. For whatever reason, I kind of had to get into testing a new driver.

It feels pretty good, and it creates less spin for me. It sounds like a commercial now, doesn't it? It's definitely a stronger ball flight into the wind, and I'm definitely a player with quite a lot of spin on my golf ball. So I think it could be a good switch.

Q. Was that sort of in the back of your mind last week when you got rid of the old one?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, absolutely. That was the main focus. Get something with a little bit less spin. Let's finish the old one off right here and now in front of everybody on 18. Perfect.

Q. What did you do with the old one?

HENRIK STENSON: I don't know. I think Keith at TaylorMade has got the old one. He might make it into like a pen holder or something for his desk.

Q. What's your opinion on fans calling into the PGA about rule violations and infractions?

HENRIK STENSON: I don't know, to be honest. I think I've read some other comments I've checked out on the web page and so on. I think it's one of them it's easy to see the down side for the guys being on television, but I know there's a few guys that's always on television, always got thousands of people watching them. I don't think they've lost a golf ball in the last ten years either.

So I guess to I mean, I can see the logic to not everyone's on television all the time and so on, but some of the guys have a lot of crowd so they never lose a golf ball either. So I guess you take the rough with the smooth.

I don't know. It's a big issue, and it's not for me to decide where we're heading with this. I know it's been a lot of talks about it and so on.

Q. How much does this week mean in terms of deciding Player of the Year?

HENRIK STENSON: I don't know. It's obviously going to factor into quite a bit, but then again, you're looking at the whole season as well, who's done what and so on.

I don't know. I couldn't tell you a good answer on that one, I think. It's up to each one to decide, I guess, how much the FedEx Cup weighs in together with all the Majors and individual wins at different events.

Q. I guess I'll put you on the spot then with one or two guys could win here, have three wins, including a Major, including the FedEx Cup, and then a guy in Tiger's got five wins, one of which being the players, two WGCs. How do you think that compares?

HENRIK STENSON: That's difficult. It's always difficult to compare. Probably as hard as when I get the question, where does this win at the Deutsche Bank or any other win, where do they compare? Each one is special.

I think it's the same there. I mean, how do you rate it? Of course, the bigger the events, the more kind of meaning they have, and the more they would weigh in. But it would be hard for me.

If you want to get my voting schedule, I guess I'll need a bit more time, and we can sit down and go through it after the FedEx Cup maybe. I've got a few weeks off.

Q. Do you vote every year?

HENRIK STENSON: Have I been voting? Actually, now you're putting me on the spot. I actually don't know if I have. I think there were a few times.

I know I've been voting back in Europe. Maybe I haven't even been here at that time. I might have missed out actually. But I'll put some good votes in for myself this year. Don't worry about it.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you think you know the rules?

HENRIK STENSON: Of golf? 7, 8. 8.

Q. How did you learn them? Through reading or through experience?

HENRIK STENSON: I guess a bit of both, but I think normally we're pretty confident on a lot of the basic stuff, but for the harder ones, that's why we've got all the rules officials out there and so on.

I think, going back to the question we touched on earlier with all the cameras and then people calling in and so on, to a degree, I guess, it's just you want to be sure. It probably made everyone a little bit more jumpy in that sense. Unless you're 100 percent sure what you're doing, you should always be when it's about the rules.

But that's probably why it's going to be more rules officials being called in than maybe a couple years back because you want to be absolutely 100 percent.

Q. And lastly, I guess you could ask this of any player, but since you're sitting here, has there ever been a time when you realized you'd broken a rule? It might have been a year, might have been two years ago, because you thought you knew what the drop was, and then you were informed it was not right?

Surely, that's happened out here, hasn't it?

HENRIK STENSON: Sure. That probably would have happened to most guys at some point, and I've even been explained the rule by a rules official, not by one out on the Tour, but I've been explained by a referee at one point that I then found out later that wasn't correct.
So, yeah, it's a lot of rules in there. Some doesn't make any logic or sense to us at times, and some are really difficult. But it's kind of hard to cover all the bases and put it down in writing and not make it complicated, I guess, because there's a lot of different scenarios that can happen out there.

I think in general, most of the guys who play out here knows all the basic stuff and have a rough idea. But, again, it's better to be safe than sorry, isn't it? That's why we can call the rules officials in.

Q. And it saves their jobs?

HENRIK STENSON: Absolutely. We get a lot of Christmas cards for that.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for your time. Good luck with this week. Thank you.

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