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July 27, 2005

Tiger Woods


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: World No. 1 Tiger Woods, thank you for joining us here at the Buick Open. You've won here before. First and foremost, I'm sure you're excited about how you're playing after winning the British Open. Let's start with some opening comments about coming back to Flint.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've had some success here. It's been great. Over the past few years, I think I've really played well here. So I'm excited to be back, the fans here are absolutely incredible. They really support this event. It's always been fun to come here each and every year.

The golf course is playing a little differently this year. It's a little softer. Generally it plays pretty fast, but with all of the rain, it's pretty soft. Probably see the guys going pretty low.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Winning The Open Championship, there was a lot of sentiment with Jack Nicklaus, and in a couple of months you'll have the opportunity to play for Mr. Nicklaus again at the Presidents Cup. Can we just get a couple comments about that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's fun. I've played on two teams that Jack has captained, both of them Presidents Cup teams; one in Australia and one in South Africa. I've always had a blast.

It's always been fun for me to just talk to him. We don't really talk about golf. It's kind of funny, we talk a lot about his fishing spots. He's got a lot of good spots up in Russia, Iceland, Canada. So any time I want to get up there, there's some great fishing spots. Overall it's always fun to play for a team that Jack is captaining.

Q. You've had about 11, 12 days now to reflect on what happened at the Old Course, what stands out in your mind when you think back about it? Obviously the Claret, getting that thing handed to you, when you think back, what is it that kind of hits home all the time?

TIGER WOODS: It's just how consistent I was all week. I hit the ball beautifully all week and my speed on the greens I mean, that golf course, you can't get the ball close. A good shot sometimes can be 40, 50, 60 feet away and you have to lag putt. To play that golf course with really only one 3 putt is pretty good. My speed of the greens from that distance with the wind blowing a little bit, all of the different mounding you had to go through. To be able to lag putt like that like I did, I think really made it more at ease for me to hit the ball on the greens, because if I didn't hit it close, it's no big deal, I know I can walk out of there with par.

Q. When you come back to the States, how much re gearing of your game do you have to do? Things are different here, you're not hitting putter from 85 yards. How much do you have to change back into American mode?

TIGER WOODS: I think more than anything, it's where you're going to carry the golf ball. It's always going to be a lot closer to the flag. There, the greens were so brutally just brisk. Downwind, you just have no chance of getting the ball close. So you have to land it so far short, you don't know what kind of bounce you're going to get. The only chance you have to get the ball close was hit into the wind, and then you can be a little more aggressive and get it close, stand the ball up against the wind.

Otherwise, it was, a good shot sometimes a wedge downwind is going to be 20 feet. Here, it's totally different. In America, generally, especially this week, you can be aggressive, fly the ball right to the hole. Here you have to watch out for how much spin you're putting on the golf ball; hopefully it doesn't rip back off the green. Trust me, we are trying to put as much spin as we possibly could on the golf ball there, which is totally contrary to how it's going to play this week.

Q. In the past when you come here inaudible when you're in competition with Vijay and the other great players here, does it keep you more sharp in a competitive aspect?

TIGER WOODS: I think both. I generally don't like to go into a major just dry. I generally will play two weeks prior to a major. I usually take the week off right before and be at home practicing.

But I enjoy basically two weeks prior to a major because I'm still in a competitive mode, and success or failure, whatever it is that week, at least I know what to work on when I'm at home. At home, at peace, just kind of work when I want to work, how long I want to work, I think that's been a pretty good formula over the years and I've done pretty well with that formula.

Q. Looking at today's Pro Am inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I busted him on the first hole right away and I thought it was absolutely B.S. that he beat up on my Cardinals so bad. We at least had a chance at halftime and he just blew us apart by 20. Gave him some grief about that.

I tell you what, all of the stories you hear about Tom (Izzo) are true. This is one of the greatest guys and I can see why the guys want to go play for him, because he's straightforward and he's just a nice guy. Certainly a guy that if I was, you know, playing ball, he's the type of guy I would want to go play for him.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that's fine, he just needs to pick it up a little bit.

Q. Why do you keep coming back here every year?

TIGER WOODS: I've just always liked this tournament. Very few golf courses that you play over the course of a year that you really enjoy the lines off the tees, and I've always felt comfortable here. I think my record kind of reflects that. I've played pretty well here over the years, and if you can come to a golf course you feel comfortable at, for some reason you always seem to play well. Guys take advantage of that. I, so far over the years, I've had a lot of success here.

Q. After the travel and then Battle of the Bridges, are you tired at all?

TIGER WOODS: No, not too bad. Only took me a few days to get over it, which is longer than normal. Usually I'm pretty fast on getting adjusted to time zones. I have really no problem.

Q. You said in Scotland that you had not seen Baltusrol. Are you going to go there next week?

TIGER WOODS: I'm going to see it before I go up.

Q. Do you know how many majors Stevie has caddied for at Baltusrol? I'm sure when he was with Floyd he did.

TIGER WOODS: He worked '93. I don't think he worked in '80. I don't know, maybe one or two majors.

We talked about it, but it's just so different. They have lengthened the holes. It's like, "Yeah, have you caddied at St. Andrews?" Yeah, but it's a totally different golf course now. You throw out your old yardage book and you have to get a new one because it's so different.

Q. What do you anticipate in how that golf course is going to be set up?

TIGER WOODS: Well, like any other PGA, it will be fair. The rough will be up, but at least it will be fair. Greens will be quick, but they won't be over the top. The PGA, over the years that I've played, has certainly been very fair. They are set up stern, but fair. I think that's why we all love playing that championship because they never go over the edge.

Q. Is it possible that inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: They are two totally different deals, you know. 2000 was a wonderful run and actually from '99 and 2000, is basically when I started. I won 17 times in two years, which is pretty good.

Granted, I haven't won as many times, but I'm doing better in the majors now and that's where you want to perform. To have the confidence going into each and every major feeling if I just play my game, I'll be in contention, that's exciting to be in that kind of feeling, that kind of mode.

Q. How do you deal with the adulation and the praise? We were outside listening to Izzo's comments, he said he felt like he played with the best golfer ever. And you know the crowds that follow you around this course, you are the big favorite and you make a big difference when you commit to play here; do you how Dole with that?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I don't, really. (Laughing). Adulation, I kind of really don't deal with very well. Never really have. I just kind of go about my business. And it's awfully nice and very flattering when people say these things, but I'm just here to do my part, trying to win a golf tournament, entertain the gallery if I can by doing that.

Q. What were the thoughts going through your mind when you compare the PGA to the other majors?

TIGER WOODS: I would have to say just like I told Mark here, it's fair. It's always hard. I mean, the rough is always up; the greens are always fast; the pins are always tucked. But it's always the fairest major. They never get it over the top. You know, Augusta, the greens can get kind of dicey; the U.S. Open, the rough and the greens; the Open Championship over there, it can get dicey because of the wind, you can have some horrible weather days.

The PGA has always been a very fair test. Even at Winged Foot when which you thought would be absolutely brutal, but it was fair. Look at what Davis Love shot, three straight 67s. I think that's one of the great things about playing that Championship is that it's always a stern test, always, but it's always fair, as well.

Q. Playing a round with Izzo, does he have any potential, if he had time to go out and play golf every day?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he can play, but it's just that he's been doing a job and trying to get a good team for you guys. He's been on the road recruiting, working really hard and he has not got a chance to play as much, but you can tell he knows how to play. He knows how to hit golf shots. Given some time when he can play, you can see he can post some pretty good numbers.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: First time I thought about it, you just mentioned it. I haven't thought about Ryder Cup or U.S. Open or anything, no. Just been kind of celebrating my win.

Q. Question sort of along those lines. If you would compare Ryder Cup to the Presidents Cup, you seem very enthused about playing for Jack again, and last time most of us saw you was Ryder Cup and playing for your country.

TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, you're playing for your country, but also you're playing for 11 other guys. We don't ever get a chance to do that. We're an individual sport, so going to bat with 11 other guys is a totally different concept for us.

But it's a lot of fun, I'll tell you that. You go out there and I don't like all of the functions and stuff beforehand. I always said that. That's not me. I don't like to prepare for a tournament that way. But once the gun goes and it's time to play, that's when it fun to play in a tournament like that and get into that environment and try to beat them like they are trying to beat us. That is a lot of fun.

Q. Will you do any preparations this week for the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the thing about the PGA, I don't really think about it a lot because I haven't really played the golf course. I don't know what to prepare for. The only thing I can prepare for is this week and try to get my ball striking and my putting and everything dialed in so I can win the tournament and that's it. Then once I play Baltusrol, then I can sit back and get a game plan and decide what we need to work on so I can be ready for Baltusrol.

Q. So much has been said and written about your swing changes; not nearly as much has been said about the short game. How do you compare your short game now to what it was when you had, you know, all four?

TIGER WOODS: I have a lot more shots now than I did then.

Probably the only thing that's been inconsistent this year has been my putting. My speed has been off this year, which for me is not I don't normally struggle with my putter. That's the one thing I don't have to worry about. This year, I've kind of had up and downs which is normally not like me. Usually I'm very consistent.

The last few events I've started to putt a little bit better. You take away the U.S. Open where I really just did not putt well at all, I putted pretty good this summer, which is good. I just need to keep working on the things I'm working on.

Short game, certainly I think is better overall, but then again, if you don't make the putts, then your short game probably doesn't look as good.

Q. The fact that you have more short game shots, is that something you worked on or out of necessity?

TIGER WOODS: I work on it. I always try to learn new techniques. I'm always trying different things and picking guys' brains, why do you do this, how do you do that. It's never ending. You can always do things better.

Q. Picking Annika's brain at all?

TIGER WOODS: No. I'd like to hit that straight. It would be nice.

Q. What do you enjoy in particular about this event?

TIGER WOODS: I enjoy, one, the fans are actually incredible here that support this event. As I said earlier, I love the line and it's not too often you get to play a golf course where you enjoy the lines. You play a lot of golf courses where you don't really feel comfortable, but certainly this is one of the courses I really feel comfortable and I think my record reflects that. I've really played well.

Q. We saw you out there walking with Tom Izzo, he had his arm around you a few times and even patted you on the back, were you coaching him through the round or was he helping you through the round?

TIGER WOODS: I think we were making fun of one another and saying things that I probably can't say here. (Smiling.)

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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