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March 5, 2006

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Tiger Woods to the interview area. Tiger, congratulations, another great win, a difficult day out there for you, but just talk about Sunday again and coming down the stretch and holding everybody off.

TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course was playing a little bit faster today. The greens, especially, they were really quick. A couple of putts out there reminded me a little bit of Augusta how they are. You just had to be patient and still understand that you had to make birdies. The guys ahead of me, Dave Toms and Camilo, were making birdies. So even the greens are getting a little bit quicker, so I had to be aggressive and still had to try to make some birdies.

JOE CHEMYCZ: The front nine, statistically the computer said zero fairways but nine greens hit and still 3 under par.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I didn't hit a fairway, but hit like I guess

Q. You hit two fairways. ShotLink was wrong.

TIGER WOODS: Okay, cool. (Laughter) 3 under, there you go.

Q. How aware were you of the situation when you were playing 17, did you know you were two ahead?

TIGER WOODS: I knew that there was a board there, and after I knocked it over, I looked over at the board and saw that DT had made par, so I had a two shot lead, yes.

Q. Why were you missing left early? Because you had missed right, your misses had been right all week.


Q. So you overcorrected?

TIGER WOODS: No, just hanging my head back a little bit, I was releasing my body but wasn't releasing my head as well. Rectified that and hit some good shots on the back nine. If anything, just overcook it, which I don't mind starting the ball on line and overcutting it or something like that. Just as long as I strike the ball on line.

Q. When you stood there in the 17th fairway with I presume a wedge in your hands, did you think you were going to have work this hard at the end?

TIGER WOODS: No, no. I had 116 yards, I'm trying to land the ball about 105, and it was slightly downwind. I just hit a good shot, I thought. If there's anything I would say, it was just maybe a touch too flat. But being a touch too flat, I thought it would have landed shorter than it did but it landed pin high.

Q. From 18, what point when you got to your ball did you see David and figure out what was going on?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I saw where well, we were on the tee, we were walking off the tee and I saw David was over to the right. I was just hoping I could grab a lie so that if I had to make a 4, I could. So once David Toms had made his mistake, I just said anything in the back bleachers, right bleachers, just anything over there to the right and over the water is all I had to do, just trying to play for 5. I wasn't even trying to make par.

Q. Did you have the kind of lie that if you had made that putt you could have hit the green?

TIGER WOODS: I could have hit the green, yeah, but I didn't have to. So just try to play anything to the right, just take the water completely out of play, 9 iron.

Q. Can you talk about the situation in the bunker on 18, the lie?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I saw it bounce over the hill and I'm thinking, well it's perfect right in the middle of the bunker and if not it looked like it had enough steam to get on the upslope of the other side, no biggy, I got over there, didn't see it, didn't see it and finally saw it and, oh, boy. It was all right, you know. I actually caught a break where they were raking the edges and rolled up on top of one of those rake marks, so I had a little bit of a cush underneath it. If it had settled down into those rake marks, I would have had a hard time keeping the ball on the green.

Q. Where was that rock that you picked up in relation to your ball?

TIGER WOODS: It was right behind it.

Q. Last year at this time, I guess the swing changes were almost there, with this victory at Doral how far ahead of the game are you as opposed to this time last year when you won here?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, a lot further. I'm able to hit so many more golf shots now than I could last year at this time, and on top of that, I could fix it while I'm out there playing. Last year at this time, I had so many things I was still working on that I had a hard time fixing it because if I hit one shot, it could be three, four different things I needed to work on to try and rectify that shot.

Now I know exactly what to do and I can rectify it on the very next shot.

Q. Was an example yesterday when you corrected things midstream after the shot on nine?


Q. Could you have done as good a job of that last year at this time as you did yesterday?

TIGER WOODS: Not really. I would have had to have hit different shots. I would have had to overshape the golf ball in order to get in the clubhouse. I couldn't find finite shots and just work the ball a few feet left or right or up and down. I didn't have that ability before.

Q. Do you think that, talking about how some of the guys are alleviating some of the pressure on you coming down the stretch in your last few victories, does that help?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you think? (Laughter).

Q. You're obviously aware of it.

TIGER WOODS: I look at it this way, I put myself there. So if I put myself there enough times, those things are going to happen, as well as other guys are going to make birdies to beat me, that's the way it goes. As long as I'm there each and every time, it's not a bad place to be.

Q. You get to the first hole, Camilo has already pulled to within one of you, you make a birdie. David pulls to within one of you and you make two birdies in a row. Is there like some other gear you just find, how do you explain that, being able to respond immediately? What happens to you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't know Camilo pulled to within one on the first hole. I did not know that. I just knew that I had to make four somehow. It was not going to be a pretty four, but as long as it's a four on the card, so made four there.

Once I got to 11 green, I saw the board, D.T. had made birdie at I guess 10 and 11 and drew within one. I told Steve that I needed to bury this putt and see if we can get some kind of cush. I stepped up there and made a good stroke and just barely snuck in.

The next little hole was a nice little bonus that I made birdie and he didn't. It was playing a little bit downwind and he it was playing short. I figured most of the guys would make birdie there and would pick up a shot there.

Q. Johnny Miller brings up this thing about how you wish deep down inside you had some competitive equal or some rival. I think you've heard that he's said it, you addressed it the other day. Can you elaborate again on your thoughts on that, do you really care, and does it what goes through your head when you hear something like that printable.

TIGER WOODS: Then I can't answer it. (Laughter) How can I put it? It's Johnny being Johnny. All I can do is beat whoever is in the field, and that's it. That's all I can do. I'm trying to do my part by putting myself there and winning tournaments and trying to improve each and every week and each and every year. So that's the only thing I can do.

Q. I think if you go back to that Dunlop event, you throw out the WD in L.A., this is four straight stroke play wins in official tournaments, what's the state of your confidence right now with the way things are progressing?

TIGER WOODS: Pretty high, considering I've put myself there in virtually every event, which is nice.

It's fun to see that all of the hard work that Hank and I have been putting into it is starting to pay off where I'm able to play consistently day after day. That's why I work as hard as I do is to be as consistent as I have been. It's nice to see it, it really is, because we spent countless hours away, none of you guys see it. It's fun to see it coming together like this.

Q. What is it with the 12th hole in the fourth round in this tournament, you reached it again today, what kind of lie were you hoping for there?

TIGER WOODS: Normally when I got over the ball I thought it was going to be like a 5 wood up there and just trying to put the ball in the front bunker just short of it. As I got over it and started looking at it, I thought, that's a pretty decent lie, I can probably get 3 wood on it. Stevie just said go ahead and hold one up there. I just said, I'm going to hit this thing hard, and if I just hit it somewhere at the flag and if hits short of the bunker, it could hop through and if it lands in the bunker, it will probably stay in the bunker. Just as long as I've got a shot and just make sure I hit it flat with some steam, just to give it an option to get through and make get in the back bunker.

I can't believe it carried that far. It almost landed in the bunker, hopped out, it was nice.

Q. I assume you liked where it ended up?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you think? Yeah, because I didn't think I could carry it that far, I hit it hot to make sure it had plenty of steam to run through and if not get through, get in the back bunker.

Q. When things start out with the kind of difficulty that you started out with, left at 1, left at 2, left at 3, you're a little annoyed with yourself, what are you thinking then? I know you said it got corrected, but are you thinking it's going to be a struggle or good get fixed quick?

TIGER WOODS: It was a very simple fix, so it wasn't like, oh, my, I've got five different things I have to work on to try to hit one golf shot. It was just a simple fix and go ahead and trust it. I hit that tee shot off of 5 and just piped it which is nice, so just keep doing that.

Q. Do you have trouble philosophically understanding why players would not look at leaderboards? You've always been a real leaderboard fan, do you understand why they don't look at them, and have you ever tried not looking at them?

TIGER WOODS: I am never not going to look at it, ever. I want to know what's going on, because that dictates what I do.

If you don't look at a leaderboard and you play 18 with DT making bogey like that, you think, I've got to take on the flag and take on the water on the left; you don't need to, just make 5 and you win the tournament. No, I don't understand that concept, because it dictates a lot of what you do or what you might have to do to play either more aggressively or more conservatively and try to win a golf tournament.

Q. As far as the state of your game, there was a few moments last year, Boston stands out, where the first round that looked flawless and the second and third round it would just go away, some fluctuations, how much more level do you feel; in other words, when you play well, one day, are you fairly certain the same game or close to it is going to show up the next day?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that's evident if you know my scores and the way I'm going to flight the golf ball each and every day. Yeah, I feel like, put it this way, if I hit a couple of bad shots, I feel like it's not the end of the world. I can fix it and I can move on and I can still post a really good number.

Before, it was sometimes it would be damage control and somehow try and wheel around it and shoot somewhere around par or even under par, but that's not the case.

Q. Is this the most four complete rounds you've put together since, St. Andrews maybe?

TIGER WOODS: Close I guess. I've played

Q. British Open.

TIGER WOODS: British Open, I hit it pretty good there. Well, Dubai, I hit the ball really well there, too. I didn't feel like I putted well, but I hit the ball better I think there than I did this week.

Q. How close are you to where you want to be for Augusta?

TIGER WOODS: Still got some work to do. That's the beauty of it that I can be better tomorrow than I am today. The checklist is certainly smaller, but still, I've got some work to do.

Q. What specifically?


Q. The checklist.

TIGER WOODS: The whole swing, basically. Just keep refining what we're working on and making sure it's where I can go out there and hit shots and trust it and flight the ball correctly either way, up, down or right to left, left to right. I want to make sure I can do that on call.

Q. With the change in the schedule next year, does this look to be an open week for you from now on?

TIGER WOODS: What do you mean.

Q. This tournament is not in this date anymore. Honda goes to this date.

TIGER WOODS: I don't know what it is.

Q. Honda goes to this position on the Swing.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't know where Tampa is and where Bay Hill is and where this event is. I just know it's in Florida. (Laughing.)

Q. You've won out here 48 times all kind of different ways, I'm wondering what to you is unique about this week, and what is the thing that you're going to remember as kind of the snapshot of this tournament and how you won it?

TIGER WOODS: I hit some shots that Hank and I have been working on, I hit a few of them this week, which is exciting, and that's a few more than I hit last week. So that's pretty exciting.

Q. What's the best example of that, is there one?

TIGER WOODS: Just the way I was able to flight the golf ball and the feeling of my swing, like on 4 the other day, I hit that 4 iron to about a foot, which was a nice shot. A couple tee shots off of 8, which were nice, the flight of them, the shape of them, the arc of the path was right where I wanted to have it.

Q. I thought you said 4 was a mistake.

TIGER WOODS: But it's the shape of the shot. I started it too far right, but it was the shape. I haven't been able to hit that shot the last few weeks for some reason. My arc has not been right, but finally, I put it on the correct arc.

Q. So I understand it's going to be the Mustang this time; is the car of choice for your right hand man?


Q. That's what he said.

TIGER WOODS: Then that's what it is.

Q. Did the wife have a say in that?

TIGER WOODS: No, she has others. (Laughter).

Q. I guess other than I suppose Augusta last year, have you won any other tournaments out here with a bogey, bogey finish?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. You guys do the research. (Smiling).

Q. Yesterday on 5, I think it was, I know it was blowing right at you and you hit this little right to left kind of, I don't know what you would call it, a burner, it was kind of a takeoff, it was a gorgeous shot, is that what you're looking for, when you hit a shot like that, you go, okay, that's

TIGER WOODS: Well, that was the shot at the time. I was able to play the shot I wanted to play. That's exciting, to be able to hit shots I mean, like today, I thought one of the coolest shots I hit today even though no one really realizes is the shot I hit on 8. I had 103 yards and I hit a little 9 iron in there. That was a cool shot. The flight of it, I hit a draw in there which is hard to do hitting it that shaft, held it back up against the wind, hit it right against the flag. That to me is where I'm trying to get to, the ability to hit shots like that on call.

Q. How hard was it blowing like that, not so hard it made you hit the 9 iron but you wanted to hit a spin

TIGER WOODS: I didn't want to hit a wedge, if anything that hits short of the green, it's wet, where the pin. Is so take the water out of play with the 9 iron, but still I've got to hit it soft enough because it's way too much club, but I've still got to flight it.

Q. Where would that shot have gone if you had screwed it up with the 9 iron?

TIGER WOODS: Over the green.

Q. Was it a risky play?


Q. And you hit 9 iron from 170 going into 18?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, totally different situation. I had 138 front.

Q. Just curious, the third shot, the little pitch shot on 17 coming in, was that the green just

TIGER WOODS: No, it was a terrible shot. I hit it too hard.

Q. You have a couple different shots that you can hit there?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I try to play kind of a little bit of a cut on that and trying to putt a little bit more spin on it and I just hit it too hard. I drilled it.

Q. Was it because it was uphill and you wanted to play that shot?

TIGER WOODS: It was because it the lie was uphill but the green was downhill. It was really baked out down there behind the flag. It was really hard. So just trying to put some kind of cut on it to try to hold it, so I hit it way too hard and flew it probably two, three feet too far.

Q. You looked disgusted with your tee shot on 13, what were you so upset about with that one?

TIGER WOODS: I hit it straight off the toe, I did. I completely whiffed it. Like I told Stevie, luckily it's modern equipment; it was downwind. With the old ball, that's not even close. But with the new ball and aerodynamics of the new golf ball it gets there.

So many shots that you hit nowadays, that you hit bad, still almost fly them the correct distance. And that's a perfect example of that because I didn't hit it anywhere near the face. It was out there where there was no grooves.

Q. 5 iron?

TIGER WOODS: 5 iron, yeah.

Q. So officially, salmon (color of shirt)?


JOE CHEMYCZ: Tiger, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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