TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola interview: Henrik Stenson

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September 20, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola transcripts archive

THE MODERATOR: Let's welcome Henrik Stenson. You had a little bit of a scare conversation in the scoring trailer. Tell us about that.

HENRIK STENSON: It wasn't much of a scare the way it turned out. No, I was they're not going to believe me anyway after last week that I didn't that the forward broke during natural causes.

I was warming up, and my 4 wood started to sound a little funny on the range there. I looked at the face on the two shots, and there was a funny sound, and the face had caved in on the top groove. That's the problem when you hit it too hard, right?

Doug can tell you all about it later.

So we put the club in the locker, and I played with 13 clubs today. So I didn't have my second fairway wood. So it was good, though. I had a lot of nice 3 woods. Probably hit two good 3 woods on the hole. So I missed a fairway with my 4 wood yesterday.

So I played with 13 clubs, and I guess the scare you were mentioning there is that, if you carry a non conforming club that's broken before you play, you will get a two shot penalty, and if you use it during the round, you're disqualified. So that's obviously not a good thing.

But I wasn't I wouldn't say you asked me how well I knew the rules the other day. I gave myself 7 out of 10, didn't I? I guess this was in the other 30 percent then.

Yeah, I wouldn't have said I was 100 percent sure that I would have gotten a two shot penalty if I would have carried the club, just had it in my bag and not used it. But that was obviously the case. Good thing that we put it in the locker before we teed off, and I'm going to see if I can find another head, a similar one or a different one to pull that shaft and put in a different fairway wood for tomorrow.

Q. Why did they question you about it? Did they not realize you put it in the locker?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, they didn't know. I think it was another one of our callers. Someone had seen what we talked about before. I showed Steve Stricker. He was next to me, and I showed him the face because it was like a big V groove, the whole thing.

So I don't know. Someone called in, and someone that is probably more like 8 out of 10 or 9 out of 10 on the rules of golf and just wanted to see if I'd carried the club in my bag or not.

Q. Just curious, Henrik, was there anywhere today you would have hit that club?

HENRIK STENSON:
Potentially, the second shot into 9, but I went for a 3 iron instead and left it just short and left of the green and hit a nice pitch in and so on.

But that was the one time. I hit it twice on the back nine off the tee yesterday, but like I said, I missed fairways, I think, both types with it. So it might have been a good thing that it wasn't in the bag.

So I mean, it worked out fine without it, but the one occasion I would have used it was 9 for sure on my second shot, but I managed to make 4 anyway. So no harm done.

We'll see if I can find something that fits my eye or a replacement for tomorrow. But it's always a little bit iffy if I get another one or even the same one, that doesn't always feel the same, and to take that straight out into competition, sometimes it's better to go with a known than the unknown. We'll see how that works out. Gareth, my caddie, is staying with a friend who runs a golf course. I think it's called Ashton Hills or something like that in the Atlanta area. So he's got a pro shop and a repair facility. So I should be able to work something out, I think.

Q. So your bag went driver and then straight to the 3 iron?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, my 3 wood is still good, yeah. And that's the one I would I carry a backup of my 3 wood when I travel, but not on the 4 wood. Up until now.

Q. How many drivers did you hit today?

HENRIK STENSON:
The 3 wood?

Q. No. How many drivers did you hit?

HENRIK STENSON:
Drivers, yesterday I hit two on 9 and 15, and today it was probably only on 9.

Q. What's the difference distance wise between your driver and your 3 wood?

HENRIK STENSON:
About 20 yards, something like that.

Q. There's a feeling out there that you smashed that 3 wood excuse me, hit it so far.

HENRIK STENSON:
No, I like smash it.

Q. You're not a guy that hits driver a lot. Are you just as comfortable hitting driver as you would 3 wood?

HENRIK STENSON:
I think for me, when I hit the ball well, I'm normally fairly, you know, like not much turn to it, pretty straight balling, and a lot of times after 300 yards you have the same problem, I know. After 300 yards, a lot of fairways are kind of turning a little bit. So certain golf courses, certain holes, it definitely feels like you need to thread it in a little bit more if I'm going with driver.

With a 3 wood, I can take a line, and it's less of a problem running out. So that normally and I can afford that since I got probably another 10, 15 yards in my 3 wood and getting up to probably the average drive on tour with my 3 wood.

I mean, when I won at Sawgrass in '09, I think I had five drives the whole week on that golf course and four of them were on 11 and one on 5 or something. So certain golf courses, I really don't need to hit that many drives.

Q. Henrik, have you allowed your mind to wander to what $11.4 million could do for you this week?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, not really. I know that's part of for me, it's more important to leave here with two trophies.

I mean, at the end of the day, it's just money, isn't it? I care more about the two trophies than I do the $11 million, that's for sure.

Q. I don't mean to make light of it by any means, but after the reported investment problems you had a few years ago, would the financial status from this mean more to you than maybe some other players?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, I don't think so. I don't think so. It's still the outcome is still unknown. Like I said, it's a personal matter, but I'm not struggling by any means.

So I'll just say money is paper, right?

Q. Henrik, did they tell you that it was a fan that called in or an official?

HENRIK STENSON
: They just said a call in, and they wanted to clarify the situation that I hadn't carried the club in the bag because, obviously, if I had, it would have been a two shot penalty. So I just wanted to make sure.

I don't know. It's probably all Golf Channel's fault for showing that it's broke before, right?

Q. In light of all this, I'm sure you've been asked this, but what is your stance on calling in and couch rules officials?

HENRIK STENSON:
Well, we debated that the other day in the press conference. I don't have a great answer. The only thing I would say, like I said then, that some players is probably more in the limelight of that happening, but on the other hand, they haven't lost a ball in the last ten years either. So it's kind of the rough with the smooth in that sense.

I mean, yeah, it's it's always tricky. It could be some funny situations, but it is what it is, and it's not for me to decide.

Q. Given the quality of this field, how surprised are you to be four shots up on everyone? And what kind of front runner are you?

HENRIK STENSON:
I'm sorry. The second part?

Q. What kind of front runner do you think you are?

HENRIK STENSON:
I think I've done pretty well. I've led won quite a few of my wins from being in the front. I've always looked at it like, if I'm ahead, the other guy's got to play better to catch up. So I don't mind it at all.

They got more work to do than I have, in that sense. It might seem like a large lead or whatever, but four shots during two rounds is not that much. We know sometimes four shots isn't enough on nine holes.

So I'm pretty cool about that. I'm just going to go out and try to do the best I can for the next two days, and hopefully that's good enough.

I won a lot of tournaments from a good position like this, and, yeah, I hope I can do it again.

Q. Henrik, this great run of form you've had worldwide, since before the British Open, including this week, which do you think has been your best ball striking week?

HENRIK STENSON:
I mean, it's it may not have felt it possibly might have felt a little bit better on one or two occasions, but given the results or how close I hit it yesterday and how close I've hit a few shots today is probably the you know, how do I wrap this up? Probably the closest to the hole I've hit so many of the good shots this week.

But I think I might have felt a little bit more confident maybe at Deutsche Bank at times. But I was hitting a lot of good iron shots there as well.

Like I said, I didn't feel like I drove the ball fantastic yesterday, but I still managed to get out of trouble when I was in trouble, and I thought I hit it better off the tee today than I did yesterday.

But it's yeah, it's hard to kind of say which week was absolutely the best. Still got two more days. I'll try and answer you better on Sunday.

Q. You said you were going to look at some other 4 woods. If you don't find something, is there another club you would look to add, another wedge or something like that?

HENRIK STENSON:
No, not really. I'll just try and get the job done with 13, if so be. Unfortunately, now we've got weather coming in. So the start of tomorrow's round, I think we'll start at 9:00 or something. So it's not going to be a huge amount of time to test stuff either.
 
Going to try to get something sorted for tonight. It would have been more time with similar tee times that we've had. So we'll just see.
If we find something, I'll hit a couple tomorrow on the range, and if something feels right, then I'll put it in the bag. It might be a certain shot out there where you kind of got no option than to try it. But otherwise, it might be the safer option or 3 iron or 3 wood.

Q. 20 years or so ago, John Daly used to have a problem of denting drivers a lot. I mean, he had trouble finding something that he wouldn't mess up when he hit it. Is that a common problem that you have?

HENRIK STENSON:
I think I've had three or four clubs cave in over the last ten years or so. So it's not been a huge problem.

I know certain players had definitely issues on the driver a couple of years back. It was one of the brands that were caving in quite easily, I remember, and so on. So even though I hit it pretty hard, I haven't really had an issue with it.

Q. Have you ever finished a ruined with less than 14 clubs?

HENRIK STENSON:
With less than 14 finishing rounds. Yeah, I did it one day.

Q. Let me rephrase that. Never mind. What's the least amount of clubs you finished a round with?

HENRIK STENSON:
I don't think we should go there.

Q. Have you ever started played a round with less than 14?

HENRIK STENSON:
Okay, now I'm with you. I thought we were heading somewhere else with this.

Q. We can.

HENRIK STENSON:
No, we don't need to. I'm actually not sure if I've no, I've had a couple break for different reasons, but I never I don't think I've ever started a round with 13, not that I can remember. It might have happened.

But in general, I try to keep it at 14. Most rounds I manage to finish with 14 as well.

Q. What's the most difficult or intimidating shot for you on this golf course?

HENRIK STENSON:
I think the tee shot on 17. It's not a tight one, but it's you know, it's a little bit of that similar feeling to 18 at Sawgrass with the water all the way down the left on 17. So that's definitely a key shot on the back nine.

And I think the 6, the par 3, because when we're playing it off the back tees there, it's still a fair distance. It's roughly 190, 200 yards, even 210 I think it was yesterday.

It's not much margin for error. If you're not hitting the green, there's not much around it before it's swimming. So I'd say those two holes would probably be the toughest ones, and the most intimidating ones out there.

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