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September 1, 2005

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Tiger Woods to the 2005 Deutsche Bank Championship. Tiger, obviously a big week for you with the Tiger Woods Foundation playing a big part in this tournament.

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's great for us. With our Learning Center going up and this is huge for the help, trying to create our endowment for the Learning Center. This is a fantastic event for what we're trying to do there in southern California.

TODD BUDNICK: You've had two Top 10s here, talk about how much this course has changed in the last two years.

TIGER WOODS: The first year it was new, didn't have that grow in period and they made some changes after that. Subsequent to the changes to the golf course, I think it's been fantastic. It's become a lot harder. Last year was much more difficult, but this year it's playing soft for the first time. The last two years it wasn't soft at all. The greens are receptive, so it's a little bit different, seeing these greens receptive. Normally they are bouncing over the back of these greens. You'll probably see some better scoring this week.

TODD BUDNICK: Another strong season for you, five victories, two in the majors, 11 Top 5s including your last seven times. Talk about your game coming into this week.

TIGER WOODS: I feel like I'm playing better. The things that I've worked on have really, really started to solidify, and I think that what you're seeing on the golf course now, I'm able to play shot after shot after shot and hit different shots, a variety of different golf shots, and without having to think about how to do it. That's been that's been nice, not having to go through a whole laundry list, just hit one golf shot.

Q. Last year at this time was really the start of Vijay's run. He takes over No. 1 from you, the famous shake at 18th green when you played together, from that point to this point it's been a turnaround for you, just talk about the 12 months leading to this tournament from that point?

TIGER WOODS: It takes time to make changes, and I've made a bunch of changes in my swing. It took time. Unfortunately that didn't happen during the season last year. It happened after the season was over and it happened in Japan when I really put it all together.

You know, after that, after my win at Japan, I've really started to play some pretty good golf. That's awfully nice when hard work starts to come together. I just wish it would have happened during the season, but at least I had some positive feelings starting off the year. I won a couple of times early in the year, which was great.

Q. At this point a year ago, you were no longer No. 1, there were reports that the wedding was off and you had the worst swing in golf according to a lot of people. A, does that seem like a long time ago, and B, which change are you happiest with of those three?

TIGER WOODS: I guess I'm supposed to say my wedding, right? (Laughter). I guess it's all, because I had to answer all those questions. It was just my relationship with my, now my wife, wasn't very good at the time, my swing was God awful, I had no future in the game; so it's nice to see that I made a comeback.

Q. Put your life in perspective: What's the best part of your life and what's the toughest part of your life?

TIGER WOODS: The best part without a doubt is being able to do something you love every day, without a doubt. To do something where you can't wait to wake up and go do it, not too many people in this world can say that. I'm blessed that way.

I guess the most difficult part is something I've always struggled with is the recognizability that I now have and it's something I've never been comfortable with. I don't think I ever will be. I like anonymity. But it just doesn't really happen anymore. But hey, it's one of those things where I've had to try and adjust and get used to it, but it's something I've never felt comfortable with it. I don't know why. I've tried to get more comfortable with it but I just haven't.

Q. Can you talk about the field this week and what you think about it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we were scheduled to have three of the top four players in the world. Ernie was committed to play till he got hurt and Vijay was committed to play till he got hurt. We've still got a really good, solid field here this week, and the golf course is in fantastic shape. So we're still going to have a great tournament, but it would have been an even better event with those two players in the field.

Q. I have a Presidents Cup question. Your record in foursomes is fabulous, your record in four ball is not fabulous?

TIGER WOODS: Great, isn't it.

Q. Can you talk about the peculiarities of foursomes and the reason for the discrepancy?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't know that is, highly be honest with you I'll give you some scores, okay. At Royal Melbourne in '98, I shot 64 and lost my match in best ball playing with John Huston. I shot 63 and lost my match at The Belfry, and I shot a 65 and lost my match at The Belfry. I've shot some good scores and have come out with absolute bagels. I don't think why. And also I've played atrociously, too. I've had both gamuts.

In four ball, you can have a guy, you can nickel and dime him and still win a match, and in foursomes you can't do that; you have to have both players clicking at the same time. For some reason, I've had better luck in that format for should reason.

Q. This is off the tournament a little bit, I had to do a story with Charlie Sifford this past week, if you can just talk about him a little bit and how he was a role model for you or paved the way for you or however you feel about Charlie?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Grandpa Charlie, he's the best. I always call him Grandpa. He basically is; he's like the grandfather I never had. I got a chance to see him in Akron there for a couple of days which was absolutely incredible. He's 83 and just full of energy. It's just so cool to talk to him. He's articulate, he's sharp, and very witty. Told me a couple of jokes, I can't really tell you here, but they were pretty funny. I could sit there and talk to him forever. Just love hearing the old stories of how the Tour used to be. He paved the way. If it wasn't for Charlie, I don't think first of all, I probably wouldn't have played the game, so my dad probably wouldn't have played the game; he probably would not have taken it up. I would not have had access to the game. So obviously I owe a lot to Charlie. But he's still, he's like my grandpa.

Q. Regarding the swing, Hank has said you're never really there; that it's a constant pursuit, yet you're playing so well. How close are you to the ideal, and what do you still need to do technically to reach that perfection level?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you're always going to keep working. You never get there, never. You never arrive. And you can only do better the following day.

The great thing about the things that I've done this year is that I've solidified a lot of the things we've been working on and they have become more natural. The things that I worked on last year weren't natural at all, not even in practice, but as the year went along, it started becoming natural in practice and then I couldn't do it in competition.

Once I was able to do it in competition, now can I do it week after week after week. I've finally started to do that this summer. I've put together some good events this summer, so I think that solidifying my whole swing and the thought process, I don't have to work on so many things because a lot of things are starting to feel natural now for the first time.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Probably the British Open where I was in complete control over I mean, granted the fairways are huge and the greens are huge, but as far as controlling my trajectory and the crispness of the shots, yeah.

Q. Can you compare the intensity and the enjoyment of playing between the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup, and the status of the two different events, and do you think that the Presidents Cup maybe got a bump up because of the drama in South Africa last year?

TIGER WOODS: The last part, there's absolutely no doubt about it. That was probably the best thing that could have happened to the Presidents Cup.

As far as the two tournaments, they are two totally different atmospheres. When we play the Presidents Cup, it's basically like playing guys we face on TOUR every week, because it basically is. You have international players, but they are the same guys we see every week.

Now when we play the Europeans, it's different. Maybe half their team or less than half their team plays over here, and we only see them in major championships and World Golf Championships and THE PLAYERS. Other than that, we don't really see them much. We see them off in Europe playing on TV. So there's some of the guys on that team that you never see, you never face. But the International Team, we see them week after week after week out here.

So I think from that aspect, there's more camaraderie between the two teams, and you don't have you certainly don't have the animosity between the fans. When we play in Europe and we play here in the States in the Ryder Cup, there's definitely some angst, not necessarily with the players, but certainly in the fans.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: They were the amateur partners I was playing with, their kids.

Q. Can you talk about the fact that this tournament has become a very popular staple of the Boston summer sports scene, and also how you play a part and it plays a part in the Drive to a Billion?

TIGER WOODS: Well, first of all, this is one of the besting areas you could possibly have in our entire country and it's great that we have a golf event here. You can hear the fans, I mean, they love sports. They absolutely enjoy it, and when they come out here, especially on the weekend, a holiday weekend like this, they are into it. There's no better atmosphere to play in front of. And this event certainly gives quite a few dollars to charity and we're trying to do our best and we're going to give some more money this week to victims of the hurricane, Katrina, so we are trying to do our best to make an impact.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Well, we're trying to do. We're trying to make you see the devastation that's happened and you feel so bad for all of those people, to lose their home, some of them lose their lives, it's just a terrible thing to watch happen. We went through enough hurricanes last year in Florida, my home, but we never had devastation like this. This is I've never seen anything like this. We're trying to do our best to help.

Q. With two majors in the bag for you this year and that's over with, what kind of goals do you have for the rest of the year?

TIGER WOODS: Win. Sorry, Doug. (Laughing).

Q. Do you look at things like Money List, number of wins or is there anything inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the Money List, it's hard for me to compete against Vijay if Vijay just plays well, because obviously he plays nine or ten more events than I do per year, so that's hard. What I can do is obviously have a higher money total percentage wise per event played, and try to get the number of victories higher than anyone else on TOUR. If you can do that, then you've had a very good year.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to Ernie at all?

TIGER WOODS: No, I haven't talked to him at all. I don't know where he is. Probably not on his boat. (Laughter).

Q. We had a chance to talk to Brad Faxon a little earlier who said between last week and this week, being sort of home events for him, he sort of gets a taste of Tiger Woods. What would you say to somebody like him who obviously wants to win in front of his family and friends?

TIGER WOODS: It's nice to have support, no doubt about it. Brad, he's obviously from Rhode Island, so it was a big win for him last week, and this is basically a hometown event for him here. But to have fan support, especially when you're not playing well, they can actually help turn around a round for you. I've certainly had that happen enough times where their energy has fueled me to turn it around and head it in the right direction. So it does help.

Q. You've probably never had to deal with this, but this is a time of the year where everybody talks about numbers, Top 125, Top 50, Top 70, those numbers most guys deal with, but can you talk about I'm interested to see your perspective on the bubble. You must hear it on the range and on the putting green. It's like a disease; it infects guys sometimes while they are playing. Just give me your perspective on that.

TIGER WOODS: I've had one of my best friends out here, Notah Begay, was on it last year. He was injured but he was right on the cusp, and you could see it, he was struggling. You think about it all the time because that 125 is it, and he didn't make it. I went through it once in '96 and I hope I never have to go through it again because it was not fun.

Obviously you're starting to run out of events. You don't have a whole year, all of a sudden your year is coming to an end and you're thinking, well, I don't have too many more starts to make it. It looks as of right now that I think the projections are, if you make 650,000, you'll have a place to play. So you don't have a job well, you have a job, just not out here anymore.

So it's changed quite a bit. But still, you see these guys just thinking about it all the time, can I get a start, can I get in, can I do this. I don't envy them because that's such a difficult position. A lot of these guys have families and they have bills to pay and mouths to feed, so it makes very difficult for them. A lot of thoughts going through them when they are trying to hit one golf shot.

Q. With this tournament being here, what have you liked about the changes that the course has made?

TIGER WOODS: After the first year, we poled the guys and tried to fix what was causing a lot of the problems out here, and some of the landing areas weren't right, some of the green areas weren't right, some of the green complexes need to be flatten and made less severe. Some of the lay up areas had to be re designed, and we took all of that in. We took all of that information in, and we went to town, did some good work here. It presented a golf course last year that a lot of players liked, which was contrary to the first year.

So now, you know, we've had some wonderful feedback last year and you can see by the field, guys are coming back. We had, as I said, we had committed to play Ernie and Vijay, and you can see that this golf course made an imprint on some of the best players.

Q. You touched on the fans earlier, but since you left last year, Patriots have won another Super Bowl and the Red Sox won a world championship. Can you talk about the fans and the feelings that you have out there as you're kind of going through?

TIGER WOODS: I've been to Fenway and I've seen it. I've never been to a Pats game, but I've been to Fenway. Wow, they get into it a little bit. And they bring that same atmosphere out here and they really get into this event. Especially last year with Vijay and I battling it out for the victory there and also battling for No. 1, No. 2 in the world, it kind of added to that excitement, and then it was a great atmosphere to play in front of last year.

Hopefully it will be the same this year. Hopefully we'll have the same kind of support. We're supposed to have perfect weather, so I think that will just add to it.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you for your time, Tiger. Good luck.

End of FastScripts.

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