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November 6, 2005

Tiger Woods


Q. Disappointed nobody really put any pressure on Bart today?

TIGER WOODS: Well, he did what he had to do. That's what he was doing all week. I had my opportunity early in the round to make some putts. I hit it in there stiff on a few occasions and lipped out. If those putts go in, then obviously I put a little more pressure on him going into the back nine. I got a little momentum on 9 and 10 but I still was on the periphery trying to play my way into it. He just kept hitting fairways and greens and making a couple putts and he had a little spurt on the back nine that basically iced it.

Q. Your driving was outstanding.

TIGER WOODS: That was the best I drove it all year. I drove it one out on 16. Other than that, it was the best driving I've had all year.

Q. Any explanation?

TIGER WOODS: Hard work (laughing).

Q. On 3 and 4 you had a little scoop on your chip shots. How long had you been working on that?

TIGER WOODS: Since I was about five (laughing). I grew up with a 7 iron, so I didn't have a sand wedge, so that's kind of the shot you had to learn how to hit. When the ball was sitting up great on 3, zoysia fairways, you can spin the ball, and from the fairway on 4, so it wasn't that hard a shot. It's just a matter of putting enough speed into it at the bottom.

Q. How do you assess your season in you've just ended two majors, six wins?

TIGER WOODS: A great season. To make all the changes that we've made, all the past couple years now, and to have this type of contention in major championships again, that's ultimately where I want to be. I want to be there on the back nine in every major with a chance to win it. This year I was there on all four. That to me is exciting.

I'm excited about the prospects of the particulars of my fall here and then obviously into next year because of the things that have transpired this week.

Q. Has this been your second best year maybe?

TIGER WOODS: Probably, yeah. If you look at it that way, yeah. '99 is probably pretty close.

Yeah, it's a toss up.

Q. When you assess do you factor in the 2nd and the 3rds, too?

TIGER WOODS: I was close at a bunch of tournaments. Unfortunately I had a couple MCs this year, which is not normal. Overall to be in there this year in contention at all the majors, and then obviously to win two World Golf Championships and then to be in contention at other events down the stretch, that's exciting. That's awfully exciting, and that's why I made all the changes.

Q. Obviously you want to win this thing, but can you step back and take a look at Bart's story?

TIGER WOODS: That's impressive. Around this golf course it's impressive. The golf course is playing fast and it's right up his alley, but still, you have to make putts, hit fairways and hit greens, and he did that all week. He was very consistent all week. He didn't have any bad stretches where he could have lost it. He had a couple bad holes, but he got right back there yesterday.

He played consistent. He made some putts, so hats off to him.

Q. Coming in did you think there was any particular number you had in mind that you had to do early?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought if I could get to 3 or 4 under par, by the time I got to 12 or 13, I'd probably be right in the mix, right in the thick of it. But he got to 17 under real quick there in the middle part of that back nine. You know, we're sitting there on the periphery trying to play ourselves back in it somehow, and it looked like he wasn't going to make a mistake so I had to go get him.

Q. Next time you play in a real event that counts, you'll be 30. In what way are you a better player mentally, physically than you were say five years ago or ten years ago looking down the road at the next decade and what may or may not happen there for you?

TIGER WOODS: Understanding how to manage my round, leaps and bounds better, just through experience, through all the mess ups I've had over ten years, to learn just ten years from now be more experienced and learn how to manage my round. I think that's indicative of some of the times this year I haven't hit it all that great but I've managed my round to keep myself in the tournament, and that's just sheer experience.

Q. How about off the golf course?

TIGER WOODS: I have a foundation now with my marriage to Elin, and that's been huge for me, to have that type of connection off the golf course, that type of support. I've always had support with my family and friends, but this is well beyond that.

Q. They always say guys don't peak until their 30s?

TIGER WOODS: I'm excited about that, very excited about that. God, I hope that's the case. I can understand it because physically you're not going to change a whole lot in your early to mid 30s, but sheer experience, learning how to manage your round. If I were to put my experience that I have now back when I first turned pro, I wouldn't have let some tournaments slip away that I had.

Q. You see what these guys are doing in their 40s, too. Do you feel like there's 20 more full competitive years ahead of you?

TIGER WOODS: I think that guys are finally starting to take care of themselves. They're not out hitting it pretty hard at night because they can't. They used to all do it, hence it was all a level playing field (laughter). Now we come to the golf course, guys have gotten proper sleep, they're rested, they've worked out, gotten stronger, they've stretched, they've got personal trainers that travel with them. You can't be doing that stuff anymore or it's not a level playing field. Working out has become a level playing field and they've extended their careers because of it.

Q. Player of the Year, Varden Trophies, obviously wins are the driving force, but do those other awards mean anything to you?

TIGER WOODS: The Player of the Year award means a lot because it's from your peers. They pick you as the representative of the best Player of the Year, so that is like the ultimate compliment you can possibly have.

The Money List doesn't really interest me all that much, only because if you play more, you have a better chance of making more money. Obviously I don't play that many events, and I'm concentrating on the bigger events. If I can win more events than anyone in the year and more majors than anyone in the year, it's going to be a great year.

Q. What about Snead's record? Have you started thinking about that at all, your 40 odd wins or whatever we are now, about halfway on that?

TIGER WOODS: I'm just above halfway. If you count the British Open, the Norman rule, right? So 82. I've got a ways to go.

Q. You've got a lot of years, though, too.

Along the lines of everybody working out like you said, do you still feel like you put your distance between you and your competitors with your performance as opposed to the last year or two?

TIGER WOODS: The last year or two I've been trying to organize my game and rearrange it, and having a new coach and new philosophy and new technique, it's going to take a while to implement. But once I did it in the major championships, there I was, right there, so that's exciting.

Some of the guys got hurt this year, Vijay got hurt a couple times and obviously Ernie has been hurt, so I haven't seen all the guys at the top of their games physically.

Q. How do you define your new philosophy? Are you just talking a swing philosophy or off the

TIGER WOODS: It's just everything because Hank and I work on a lot of different aspects. Obviously the technical side is totally different. The way he believes the club should be released and the plane of the golf swing is totally different. That took a little bit of time getting used to. I understood the philosophy and I thought it was sound, and I just had to implement it. I could do it on the range for you all day, but it's hard to take it to the golf course under tournament conditions and ultimately you have to do it in major championships and then you have to do it on the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win.

This year I think the biggest moment for me was the playoff at Augusta because I had just hit played three bad holes in a row, but then I hit my two best golf shots the way Hank and I have been working on when I absolutely needed it the most, so that was a huge turning point for me this year.

Q. You got back sort of what you had lost off the tee a little bit this year. It's got to be sort of a nice development, somewhat self inflicted with the shorter club and metal shaft and such.

TIGER WOODS: Correct. My swing is more sound now, more efficient, but certainly technology has helped, too. I got with the times (laughing), slow learner, but I'm an inch and a half longer on my driver. That's significant. Plus I went to a lighter shorter shaft, and the heads are bigger and faster and my golf ball is a little faster. You add all that in it's going to be significant.

Q. The little pitch behind 16, is that the shot that you'll remember from that tournament?

TIGER WOODS: It's probably that shot probably four shots that I think I'm really pleased about is that shot at 16, a chip shot I hit on 6 that was pretty sweet. I was on the green, the pin was on the top left, I was on the top right and I hit a sand wedge down there and spun it and hit it down there and made par to keep my round going. Obviously the two shots I hit at 18 in the playoff were just huge.

Q. You putted through the water on 13?

TIGER WOODS: The drop was good, though. I got it up high enough.

Q. Does Hank's thinking throw your philosophy? Did it change coming off the tee with the driver?

TIGER WOODS: I hit driver a lot more now because I'm more comfortable with driving it now. If I was going to hit driver say a year or two ago, as many times as I have now, there's no way because I wasn't comfortable. Yeah, do I drive it in the rough? Yes, that happens. Do I drive it in the fairway, yes. But how many times do I drive it out of play. That's one thing you learned by watching Vijay play last year and winning nine times last year, and he didn't drive hardly any golf ball out of play. But did he drive it in the rough, yeah. But he didn't drive it out of play. When you drive it that far, that's a huge advantage, and that's kind of the nature of the game now.

Q. You say you put on an inch around the waist? You're all the way up to 29 now, 30?

TIGER WOODS: I'm actually past 30, I'm 30 and a half now.

Q. Home cooking?

TIGER WOODS: No, working out. I'm a lot bigger now. My legs are bigger.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: '96 I turned pro, 158. Cross country weight was 129, so I was a little thin then. But now I'm 185.

Q. Are you in the best shape of your life would you say?

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt, strength, endurance, flexibility, yeah.

Q. Could you carry two bills comfortably?

TIGER WOODS: No, I couldn't. I tried to get close to 190 and I felt just sluggish. I didn't have enough energy, and then if I get too light, the same thing. I'm pretty comfortable between 183 and 185 where I still feel like I have some exclusiveness in my body.

Q. Have you had to start watching what you eat yet?

TIGER WOODS: I still have that, but actually I've had to watch what I eat because I'm working out harder, so I need better fuel or else I can't keep up with my workouts.

End of FastScripts.

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