home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 25, 2006

Tiger Woods


LARRY PECK: I'm Larry Peck, I'm the marketing manager for Buick. Thank you. Before I turn the mike over to Todd Budnick from the PGA TOUR for Tiger's media briefing, I have a few brief comments and then a very special presentation to make to Tiger.

First of all, on behalf of everyone at Buick, it's my pleasure to congratulate Tiger on an awesome season in 2005. We wish him the best of luck in his season debut here at the Buick Invitational and a fantastic 2006 season ahead of him.

We've been very fortunate at Buick to have a partnership with Tiger for the past six years. In fact, that deal was originally inked right here at Torrey Pines and we plan to continue that partnership for years to come. This year as many of you know we're now implementing a special new promotion surrounding Tiger and the new Buick Lucerne. It's called "if Tiger wins, you could win." Simply stated, whenever Tiger wins a tournament, this season between this week's Buick Invitational and the PGA Championship in August, somebody who signs up at Buick.com will win his Buick Lucerne that he drives that week, the actual car. Inside is going to be a signature from Tiger authenticated by Upper Deck, as well.

If he doesn't win and we certainly hope he wins and we give away a lot of his cars. If he doesn't win, we're going to send one person to meet Tiger in October for a contest, closest to the pin contest, to win a Buick Lucerne. Any time Tiger plays it's going to be a win win for somebody who signs up at Buick.com.

To support this unique promotion, we've prepared several TV spots scheduled to start running this week, and I want to give a sneak preview. There's a total of five spots. The first one is on introductory spot that will begin showing this week, and it basically kicks off the promotion and tells people to go to Buick.com to sign up.

The next four spots we're going to roll in as Tiger continues to play throughout the year. They're kind of cute; they're fanatical fans rooting for Tiger. Why would they root for Tiger? Number one, they like him, but they want to win his Buick Lucerne. With that, let's roll those spots.

(Video shown.)

LARRY PECK: We had a lot of fun filming those. In fact, we're going to have a tournament setup where we're the title sponsor where fans on the course are going to have a chance to be videoed, and if we get some good ones they may end up on television, as well. Tiger, you're a great sport in all that, too.

Tiger, you've carried your current Buick golf bag since we originally formed our partnership here at Torrey Pines here six years ago. It's been pretty much a good luck charm for you. I know you have had a phenomenal six years in that partnership.

But now as our Buick product lineup has been totally revamped and it's really exemplified with the addition of this Buick Lucerne, a full sized luxury vehicle from Buick, we thought it was an appropriate time to go ahead and change the bag out and reflect a more premium image and the whole new renaissance at Buick.

With that, Tiger, I'd like you to help me unveil this new bag. We hope it certainly brings you the luck, at least equal to what you've seen in the past and many years of good luck and many PGA TOUR victories and many majors, and well. Here goes.

(Bag unveiled.)

TIGER WOODS: Thank you, Larry.

TODD BUDNICK: I guess if you follow up this year like you played last year, if you win Buicks you're going to make a lot of people happy next year.

TIGER WOODS: Hopefully I can put together some wins this year and hopefully I'll have a more successful season than I did last year.

TODD BUDNICK: You had a pretty busy off season. You defended your title at Dunlop Phoenix, finished 2nd at the HSBC Champions tournament, turned 30 years old. Why don't you talk about that busy off season of yours.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, after the TOUR Championship, I went overseas for a while; after that I played in Hawaii, then obviously played The Skins Game and my tournament, so it was a busy time since the end of the TOUR Championship. And then I took some time off. I told some of the guys here, I didn't touch a club for 24 days, which is the longest I've ever gone, I think, ever. Yeah, I didn't touch a club.

Normally I would say I didn't swing a club for 24 days, but I would be monkeying around with it at home. But I decided this time that I should get away from the game completely and come back recharged.

TODD BUDNICK: How do you follow up on a year where you win six times, including two majors, made $10 million for the first time in your career? Talk about some things that you'd like to accomplish.

TIGER WOODS: I certainly have some things I'd like to work on, putting, chipping, with my swing and bunker play and everything. I just need to touch up on those things and try and get them more refined as the year goes along and put myself in contention more often than I did last year. If I can do that, then obviously from there try and get some W's.

TODD BUDNICK: You've had a lot of success here at the Buick Invitational. You're defending this year. Talk about your success here and the course this year.

TIGER WOODS: I love this place. I've been playing here since I was basically I think 12 years old when I first played here. I've always loved coming down to San Diego and always loved playing Torrey Pines. I've had some success here even in the junior ranks and then when I came out here and played as a professional. I've played pretty consistently over the years here, had some pretty high finishes.

The golf course just suits my eye, and it's not too often you get the chance to play golf courses that really fit your eye, and certainly this is one of the places.

Q. What did you do during your time off?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't do much of anything. I just hung around the house and just really chilled and just laid low.

Q. Did you do any skiing?

TIGER WOODS: I did, I went skiing. I went for about four or five days. That was it.

Q. Are you any good at it?

TIGER WOODS: Better than I was before.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I did a little bit of work here in southern Cal, but then I went back home to Florida and started practicing there. I had some commercial shoots I had to do, so in between the shoots I'd go out and hit balls and start working, then Hank came down and we did some work, and we came together here and did some work here.

Q. What was the work?

TIGER WOODS: Basically it's trying to get my backswing level better, a little more consistent, which will help my downswing so I can react on the way down.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Hopefully improvement. That's the whole idea is to get better. Hopefully in my 30s I can progress and become a better player and more of a consistent player than I was in my 20s.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Both. I had some new knickknack things that I was trying to play through in the last year, and was just really tired towards the end of last year, too, and just mentally trying to play that many events overseas and come back and play, it wore me out a little bit.

Also my ankle wasn't doing too good and I had a little bit of a shoulder deal. You make up for one thing by all of a sudden something else acts up, and that's what happened. So I had to lay low and let everything heal.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I just wanted to shut it down because last year I did more practicing than I normally do throughout the entire year because I felt that we had a lot of things we needed to cover and a lot of things I needed to refine. It wasn't a big major overhaul like it was the previous year, it was more refinement, and I just had to get the reps in, so I hit more balls than I normally would just trying to get the reps in. Eventually I just needed to get some time off.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's going to be exciting for the fans. I think it will be exciting for us as players with basically one big event every month, from beginning to end. I think that's going to be exciting for all of us. That's the whole idea is to build excitement in the game of golf. By having more of a condensed season, I think that you'll see more of the top players playing against each other in the same fields, and I think that's ultimately what the fans want to see.

We as competitors want to have that happen, as well. We're not spread out over a long period of time. Especially at the end of the year I'm sorry, end of the season it'll be a lot more interesting I think than we all probably can foresee now because playing that many events and playing on golf courses you know, some of those guys don't play these events because the golf course doesn't suit their game. All of a sudden one of the playoff events they've got to go play these golf courses, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. Some of the guys aren't too happy with the places we're going to play because they haven't had success there.

I think it'll be interesting, especially the rotation, moving tournaments around.

Q. There's a lot of interest in south Florida and the reports that you bought in Jupiter Island. Can you tell us about your decision to buy there and what appealed to you about that area?

TIGER WOODS: I'm close to the water. You know, I grew up here in southern Cal not too far away from the beach, and I miss the ocean. Being in Orlando close to water, there's a bunch of lakes, but it's not the ocean. It's something I've always had my entire life, always been close to the ocean. Even when I was up at Stanford, we were only 15, 20 minutes away from the ocean. I just miss being close to it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: You never know. I haven't started designing yet. No one has presented me any opportunities yet as far as that, but maybe one day.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Both. It's certainly one of the places I think I could play, wonderful practice facilities, but there's a number of golf courses in that area that I could practice and play at. That's the whole idea. One of the reasons why I like playing down here in southern Cal is all the different golf courses we can play.

Isleworth is such a great golf course, but there's no golf course in that region, in West Palm, that's as hard as Isleworth, so that's interesting. So I think it'll be more to my advantage to play different golf courses in that area, not just limit myself to one golf course. There's no golf course that equals Isleworth.

Q. There's some changing in your bag. Did you change your clubs?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I changed irons. I just put a backup set in. My grooves were getting a little worn down from all the practicing. Wedges are the same, putter is the same, 3 wood is the same, 5 wood is the same, and the driver, I've been testing the Sasquatch. I think well, I am going to play it this week. I'm just tinkering today with different shafts. I found the head that I like and the launch conditions I like, I'm just messing with the shafts to mess with my spin rates, and I think I might have found it.

Q. With all the great things you have going on outside of golf in your life now, what motivates you to practice? We know what motivates you to play and winning, but what motivates you to practice?

TIGER WOODS: You have to be ready. I mean, you have to be any event you go to, you have to be ready to win. If I'm ill prepared, how do you expect to win?

People have no idea how many hours you've got to log in to be prepared to win. It's a lot more than anyone ever thinks.

Q. Follow up, Tiger, a completely different subject, your center is going to open up next month. How much is the Foundation a part of your emotions and a part of your heart, not just a part of a business decision?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I basically have taken over the operations of the Foundation. I deal with it almost on a daily basis now. For us to have the biggest moment of our Foundation's history coming up here is pretty much monumental to us. To have a building like this and to have the things that we're going to have able to have to offer to these kids, it's I never thought we could ever pull this off, even when I first started the Foundation. I thought maybe we could just do clinics, but I thought we were so limited in doing clinics, I didn't think we could touch enough lives. With this building and hopefully subsequent buildings down the road, I think we can really make a tremendous impact on kids' lives and futures.

Golf has been merely a vehicle for me to gain awareness for our foundation, and now that what we're doing right now with our educational and some of the philanthropic activities we're engaged in, that's what I would ultimately be remembered for, not hitting high draws and fades but the people I was able to help and change their lives in a positive way.

Q. Norway has a rookie on the Tour, and I have two questions. One, have you ever heard about Henrik Bjornstad; and two, since you're married to a Swedish girl, would you ever consider going to Norway for vacation? It's a much more beautiful country (laughter).

TIGER WOODS: I haven't heard of that side of it. I've heard of the name, yes. But as far as I've never seen him swing, don't know what he looks like, but I've seen the name before.

Q. You played with him two years ago.

TIGER WOODS: I don't remember. But I do remember the name.

As far as visiting Norway, from what I was told, they have some wonderful mountains there to ski, so hopefully we can get there one day.

Q. How close is the South Course here to Open conditions, and what changes do you think the USGA would want to make to get it ready?

TIGER WOODS: Not very close at all. The fairways will be a lot narrower, rough will be a lot higher. We won't be playing it par 72. And the greens, you won't be backing up 8 irons like I did today. So from that standpoint, we're not even close.

But come June, when we don't get any more storms and they can dry this place out and they can get it where they need to have it, it'll be a totally different golf course. It's like playing Pebble Beach during the AT & T and playing Pebble Beach during the U.S. Open. It's two totally different venues, and when it dries out, it's totally different.

Q. As synonymous as you've become with Isleworth and Joe Louis, do you see yourself punching out of there?

TIGER WOODS: No. Whether it'll be in a house or the villa, I don't know yet, but still, I would love to be there still. I mean, that place is a great place for us as players. Joe has done such a great job to help keep it private so we can get our work done and just basically enjoy. Once we get inside the gates of Isleworth, you can take a deep sigh of relief. That's the whole idea of why Joe created the place in the first place is to create it so that we can all enjoy a little hangout and have a great time and there's a no autograph policy, no pictures, no nothing; we all just mingle.

All of a sudden you see Shaq walk in the men's grill, which is kind of funny. He has to kneel down to get in. Just to see the people walk around there no one pays any attention. No one makes any bother. I think that's so attractive about Isleworth.

I'm going to miss that, as well as the golf course. The golf course is so difficult that it's a great place to prepare, and that's why I said, I'd like to keep a house there so that I can prepare for certain tournaments.

Q. I know you're a big sports fan. What did you think of Kobe going for 81 on Sunday night?

TIGER WOODS: He had to be tired (laughter). I mean, it was pretty remarkable. I didn't get to watch it. I was actually flying that night so I never saw it. I saw the highlights the next morning. It was impressive. He put up, what, 46 shots that night? That's a lot of shots. You know, to score that many points, that's just unheard of except for Wilt. It's remarkable how talented he really is.

Q. A year ago you showed up at this tournament and you had yet to see the swing changes that you had made come to fruition in major championships. A year later, two majors. I'm just wondering how your outlook might be different this year going into a season when you obviously have seen results so tangibly already?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't have as far to go to get ready for the Masters this year. Last year I had a long way to go. I had a lot of different things I needed to fix to be ready for Augusta. This year it's not as many. The list is a lot shorter, and the changes aren't as big. They're real small, real finite.

From that standpoint, I've got a head start on last year. I've still got to log in the time and bust my butt and try and get ready, but I don't have to make as many changes.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, the timetable you never know. You never truly know what the timetable is going to be. I knew from my practice sessions that I was making huge strides and that I could carry those practice sessions into events. I was starting to do that and starting to win tournaments. I didn't have the stuff that I would like to have, but things were starting to come together and starting to solidify. I didn't have to worry about so many different things on shots, and then toward the middle of the year I could go up and just play shots. That's when it gets a lot of fun.

Q. Going back to the break, when did the 24 day hiatus end? When did you first pick up a club again?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know, it may have been January 3rd or 4th, somewhere in there. You figure out the days. It started Monday right after Target, and then 24 days. So I think it's 4th or 3rd, somewhere in there.

Q. Phil was talking about yesterday finding himself itching to go play but giving himself not starting until this day or whatever. Did you find yourself getting antsy to pick up a club again?

TIGER WOODS: I started towards the end of it. Once the new year came around and I started to realize I only had a couple more weeks to prepare, to start getting ready, then my mind kind of switched over.

But before that, I basically had made a decision not to touch a club until the following year, and I just waited a few more days afterwards.

Q. Was it a little bit hard?

TIGER WOODS: No, it wasn't. It wasn't at all actually.

Q. Did you watch any tournament golf on TV?

TIGER WOODS: I saw Mercedes for probably about 15, 20 minutes, and that was about it. I saw it was blowing about 40 miles an hour and guys were shooting pretty high scores, and I said, "You can keep it."

Q. Last year this time there was a lot of talk about the Big 4 or Big 5, just how closely bunched at the top it was. Your success last year created some separation. Do you feel that way, that you have reestablished your hold on that spot?

TIGER WOODS: I've made improvements and I've gotten better. I guess my lead in the World Rankings has gotten bigger, so my answer would be yes.

Q. Have you had a chance to witness Bubba Watson's swing?


Q. And if so, do you conclude that that's the future of golf?

TIGER WOODS: I've been telling you that for a long time. You know, Bubba was playing we were playing Dunlop Phoenix, 13th hole, par 4, dogleg left, reachable. For me a driver is too much, 3 wood is not enough. Pin is front right. If I hit a good 3 wood, I'll probably fly it in the front bunker or bounce it in the front bunker.

Well, we see him two groups ahead of us and we have a big logjam and he pulled out iron. We heard he's long, but come on. All of a sudden you hear this huge roar. He pumped it on the green. I don't have that shot.

Yeah, he's long. On top of that, he was throwing a golf ball across one side of the range and across, over the putting green, across the chipping green to these flags. He has an arm, too. If he ever hits it crooked, "Look, there's Elvis," and he throws it over there (laughter). This guy can play.

He's a character on top of that, too. But honestly, in all seriousness, that is the future of the game of golf where the guys are going to be longer, bigger, more athletic. I'm only six foot. Wait until guys who come out here are 6'5" and 6'6" that have the skills to play the game of golf and have the speed. It'll be truly remarkable to see how far they can hit it, and it will also be controllable. They'll have the mental aptitude to play.

Q. What are your latest thoughts about the lengthening of Augusta almost in the context of what you just said? And do you think it's going to be a better test of skill that's going to require a better player to win now?

TIGER WOODS: The only way I think it would be a better test is if it remained dry because then every player can hit a good drive and have a reasonable iron to the green.

But if it's soaked I hit driver and a 3 iron to 11 one year when it was wet, and all the guys that were in front of me and in my group and behind me were all hitting lumber in there. That hole is not meant to hit 3 wood or 5 wood or something into that green.

Same thing with No. 7. That hole was not designed for a 5 iron. If it was, it was not at that green speed.

If the fairways are firm and they're running, then I can see it being a great test. But if they're soft, then I think it eliminates a lot of guys that have the skill to play but they just don't hit the ball far enough.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I think you need to move it around, depending on the conditions. If it's soft, why play a 500 plus par 4 all the way back when it's soft? Give the guys a chance a little bit. But now give the guys a chance a little bit and make it 480 (laughing). I think the staff needs to understand moving around. The prerequisite now is almost you have to hit the ball long. Length has always been an advantage in this sport, always has been and always will be. You just need to make it fair for all the rest of the competitors, as well.

Q. Over the years you've become more, I would imagine, in tune with technical parts of the game. I'm wondering, a lot of players out there have like picture perfect swings but zero wins. Is there anything you can pinpoint as to why maybe that is? What is it that turns a person into a winner as opposed to just having a great swing? It's more than that, I guess.

TIGER WOODS: You've got to have the guts to get it done. You can have a picture perfect swing or you can have a range swing that looks great; you can put the club in every position. But can you pull the trigger when you have a 3 iron over water on the last hole and need to make 3? Can you do it? Well, that's when it comes down to what do you have inside.

Picture perfect swings can work. It makes things a lot easier. But when it comes down to it, do you actually have the guts to get it done? Some people may or may not have it, and that's something you can't teach. Either you have it or you don't.

There's other guys who have very unique golf swings and they're the greatest champions that ever lived because they've had the guts to get it done.

Q. Would you say that growing up and developing your game you had more what helped you more was playing courses or sitting out on the range and belting balls? I guess what I'm saying is are some of these guys, the young kids now, too technically oriented?

TIGER WOODS: I think so. But then again, I grew up when there was no video cameras. I grew up on feel and learning how to hit golf shots.

I was never an accurate driver of the golf ball. I drove it for miles for my age, but I didn't hit it very straight, even though I wanted to. I had to learn how to hit golf shots. I always enjoyed being creative. I always enjoyed moving the golf ball all over the place. That to me was fun.

A lot of these guys have one golf shot, they have one trajectory. The golf balls now don't move as much, but you can still make it move and you can still hit shots where you move it subtilely. It's not as much as it used to move like Chi Chi would boomerang it both ways, or Corey in the day used to move it both ways a lot. The ball can't do that anymore; it doesn't move as much.

But we can still do a little bit on every shot, and I don't see the kids trying that. All the kids that I've tried to help either in clinics or at home or wherever I'm at, hey, can you hit this shot? Okay, hit this shot, hit this shot. Well, why would you want to do that? When you're out there on the golf course and the wind starts blowing, you have to hit certain shots. You may not have an opening in the trees, you've got to hit this one. Practice these shots, don't be so limited in what your mind creates.

Q. When you decided to build a learning center for the kids, was there like an epiphany or a moment I heard it was maybe when you were driving back from St. Louis during 9/11 you thought about it, but was there a defining moment when you said we've got to do something more or this is what we should do?

TIGER WOODS: There was a moment, but I don't remember the exact day or time or where I was. It was just a feeling that I thought we weren't doing enough. I felt being a I don't want to say this in a rude way, but being a circus act, going to a city, performing a clinic, getting everybody fired up, where is your leave behind program for the next 51 weeks and subsequent years after that? You can bolster the junior golf programs where you're at, but I think that's limited.

I wanted to make more of an impact than that, and the learning center is a step and something concrete, something that these kids can feel and breathe and it's their own. I mean, it's their learning center. That's the thing we're going to teach all the kids that come through there, this is yours. You take care of it, you understand that this is your place, this is your sanctuary.

The curriculum that we created for them was done in conjunction with the school districts but also the kids. What did you want to learn? What weren't you getting out of it? A lot of kids were watching shows like CSI or wanted to be rappers. To become that, what do you want to do? We'll have classes that will teach them that, people from LA who are in the industry and teach these kids and become mentors, and I think that to me is what it's all about.

Q. I'm curious if you can recall the first time you ever won a golf tournament or brought a trophy home

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, I remember that.

Q. What the feeling was like and if that was instructive in what you wanted to do?

TIGER WOODS: I was about four years old, and I played in a pitch, putt and drive for little pee wees. It was a ten and under deal, and I finished 2nd. I just remember the trophy being as tall as me. I thought it was the coolest thing ever that you'd get a prize that was as tall as you and big as you. I thought that was just so cool.

Over the years I've won a few more trophies, but that trophy was awfully memorable.

Q. With the Tour leaving La Costa, people are looking back over the 38 years. The shot in the rain maybe a moment there that I think will be remembered more than any other. What do you remember as a buildup to that? I know you had some great shots the day before to get to where you were for that playoff. Can you take me back a little bit to your thoughts before that shot and then during the shot and afterward?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I knew that there was a forecast for a big storm coming in, and Fluff and I were talking about the fact that we needed to shoot something low because we might not have an opportunity to play the next day.

On the back nine I put together a really good back nine and got myself in position where I was tied with Tom. Heaven and earth opened up that night and the next day, and play was called, and we could only play one hole. I knew that it was only a one hole playoff, and I saw Tom going through his whole routine like he normally would, hitting wedges, 8 irons, maybe driver, everything in the bag. I was thinking, boy, I don't know if that's quite the right game plan. We're playing one hole and one hole only. I'm going to keep hitting whatever it is. I'm going to hit 6 iron and I'm going to hit 7 iron. It depends on how the wind switches.

I hit mostly 7 irons because the wind was kind of down. Well, I get up on the tee and all of a sudden it switches into me, and I've got to nuke this 6. I stepped up there and flushed it. It looked pretty good in the air, but it was one of those things where I was actually aiming right, and hit a little bit of a pull I've got to be honest, I did pull it a little bit. Tom hit it in the soup before me. I was making sure to hit the ball right of the pin, right of the pin, right of the pin. I aimed in between the bunkers, pulled it a little bit, wind got it. My heart kind of sunk because I did pull it. It kind of straightened out towards the end, okay, it's going to be dry. This will be on the green, and it was on the green and ended up closer than I thought it would be.

Q. With the courses getting longer and tougher, have you yourself tested out any hybrids or 7 woods or 9 woods at all?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've got a senior 5 wood now. I'm not as strong as I used to be. I can't hit a 2 iron up in the air anymore no. I have a 5 wood in the bag. It depends on the golf course. When I was in Japan I used a 2 iron because it catered to the golf course and into the par 5s. Some of the courses here I'll be using the 5 wood. That's the only change that I have to make. I'll travel to every golf course this year with 15 clubs, 2 iron and 5 wood.

Q. As you reflect back on the two majors you've got, the $10 million in winnings and the swing changes you've made, is there one thing you can pick out that's been most difficult for you to accomplish?

TIGER WOODS: I think over the years just trying to put myself in position every tournament that I play in. It's always hard, especially days when you don't have it, you don't have your game. You've somehow got to figure out a way to put a score up there, or on the days you might be sick, might be injured. But you've still got to perform and suck up and get the job done somehow.

There's a lot of things I'm very proud of, that I was able to perform at a high level consistently for well, I guess it's only like ten years, but that's a long period of time. And hopefully I can do that for the rest of my career.

Q. Can you give us an update on how your dad is doing, and did you find yourself spending more time with him?

TIGER WOODS: Dad is doing better, thanks. He's hanging in there, and I spent the entire break with him, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: He's doing better.

Q. In a similar vein, how important was it for you to be able to spend that time here with him at home in your off time and getting ready here?

TIGER WOODS: It meant the world to me. I mean, he's my dad and I love him to death. He's my best friend, and any time you can spend as much time with your parents that you truly love, especially when he wasn't feeling all that well, it meant the world to me.

Q. In competition, how many clubs from 150 yards are you confident that you can hit?

TIGER WOODS: That I've had to hit? I've had to hit all the way up to a 2 iron because I'm playing out of trees (laughter). Normally I've hit as much as up to a 4 iron with the wind howling from 150 yards.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: If we're out here hitting golf balls, I can basically stop all the way up to a 2 iron on the green, but I've got to hit different shots. You can hit a big slice and keep it on the green. A normal standard straight ball, I'd have to go to probably about a 5 iron, taking probably 9 iron through 5 iron and hit it dead straight and still stop it on the green. 4 iron is coming in a little hot.

Q. This being your first tournament of the year, how important is it to get off to a good start?

TIGER WOODS: It's always important. I think that playing the first event you're excited. I'm excited. I can't wait to get out there and compete. I've missed the competition, I've missed the rush of trying to shoot low numbers and win tournaments. Tomorrow I'm on the easier side, and hopefully I can post a low number before coming over to the South.

Q. How do you evaluate yourself throughout the tournament?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's feel, shots I was able to perform, shots I wasn't able to perform. The first tournament of the year you're always just trying to get into the competitive flow again and the rhythm of a round. Playing with your buddies is one thing at home. We're in a cart, we're flying, trying to play as many holes as we possibly can.

But it's the rhythm of the flow and the concentration, the zone, the anxiousness, all the different things that you have to try and deal with. I think sometimes it may take a few holes, sometimes it may take nine holes. But you end up getting into the rhythm of the round. That's one thing I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. You touched a little bit on turning 30. How much do you think the mental aspect of your game has changed since say your mid 20s or early

TIGER WOODS: Oh, a lot. It's just experience. I've put myself in so many different scenarios and have been successful and have failed, and I've had to learn from both. Why did I fail? Well, because of this. Why did I succeed? Well, because of this. You have to analyze, you have to be critical and you have to understand that you have to take hard looks at yourself.

Over the years I've done that, and I think that's one of the reasons why I've been able to keep progressing through the years. Trust me, it's not always easy, but my father has always harped on me, always be honest with yourself, true to yourself, look yourself in the mirror and be honest. Some days are tougher than others. When you know you've absolutely messed up, you have to admit it and move on and learn and apply. And I've done that.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you for taking your time today and good luck in your defense of the title.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks, Todd.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297