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January 24, 2007
LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA
TOM WILSON: Good morning, everyone. My name is Tom Wilson. This year we have a sponsor for this conference, and that's our good friends at Barona Creek Golf Club. For those of you that don't know, Barona Creek and the Century Club are working together this year to produce the 2007 Nationwide Tour Championship. We're very proud to do that.
In fact, the tribal council is here, and I'll introduce them shortly, they had Notah Begay come out and indoctrinate that golf course back in 2001 when it opened. It's a great test of golf, and I think when you come out to cover it in November, October, actually the dates are October 27th through November 4th, that you'll see that it really is going to be a good test for these great players.
I would like to introduce some of the tribal council, starting with Beaver Curo, our vice-chairman; Councilman Joe Banegas; Councilman "Thorpe" Romero; Councilman Tony Rodriguez; Councilman Beth Galasco and Councilman Adam Reyes, so thank you, Barona, for being a great partner in us, and now I'd like to introduce the golf marketing manager from Buick, Larry Patton.
LARRY PATTON: We'll just be a minute here. Great to be back for our 16th Buick Invitational. To start I'd like to congratulate Tiger on a phenomenal year in 2006 on the course that started right here at Torrey Pines. Before I turn it over to Joan for Tiger's briefing, I just wanted to thank Tiger for being the host of what we think is going to be a tremendous new program for Buick this year. It's called the Buick Clubhouse. It's a brand new owner benefit program offering new Buick owners access to exclusive golf events and once-in-a-lifetime golf opportunities in golf; for instance, the opportunity to play with Tiger with a Pro-Am, attend a fantasy weekend with Tiger Woods or VIP access to Buick tournaments and the PGA Championship. So a lot of great things.
We have a press release for you about the Clubhouse program. It'll give you more details on that.
And to conclude, we're going to show you two TV commercials here that are going to air for the first time this week, give you a sneak peek. The last one you're going to see, if I just might add, in typical Tiger style he was just supposed to chase this guy, and you'll see what he decided to do. Congratulations on a great season and we wish you well in 2007.
(TV commercials played.)
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Buick Invitational. First of all, congratulations on being a father. It's exciting news for you and your family. Once again, you're back at Torrey Pines starting your season, defending your title, and kind of a new era or definitely a new era in golf at the PGA TOUR, some changes with the FedEx Cup. Talk about your off season and where you are with your game and we'll go into questions.
TIGER WOODS: Well, off season was really nice. We went skiing up in Colorado and just basically hung out. Yeah, burned a few calories up there, which is nice. I started by practicing a few weeks ago and started getting ready, and I've been very pleased with the progress I've been making with Hank and some of the things that we were working on towards the end of last year. I'm just really excited to get back in competition again. I kind of missed it, missed teeing up and competing against the boys, and obviously I'm a little behind on FedEx Cup points, so hopefully I can get on the board this week.
Q. Could you talk about your impressions about the expansion of golf outside of the United States? I know you care much about that, and are you satisfied about that situation, especially in countries that are not very powerful, how you see golf growing, with the impact of your success and of Lorena Ochoa in the LPGA and the Player of the Year?
TIGER WOODS: Wow (laughter). First question right out of the box. First of all, I've played all around the world and have seen obviously golf grow tremendously around the world. It's great to see. It's great to see younger galleries out here. Wherever you go around the world you see a lot of kids following and watching. Obviously they're getting introduced at a younger age to the game of golf, so it could only be a positive thing.
Obviously Lorena had a fantastic year. You're looking forward to seeing her progress throughout her career because obviously she's an amazing talent, and what she did at U of A, she just transcended that into the professional ranks, and it's just a matter of time before she starts winning multiple major championships.
Q. Congratulations on the news about your first child.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you.
Q. I know this is not comparing apples with apples, but could you talk about the difference in emotion when you heard you were about to come a father compared to say your first major victory, the '97 Masters?
TIGER WOODS: Two totally different things. You know, it's an amazing thing to hear news like that and then to obviously go through the process of it. It's been eye-opening because you only hear about it and you only -- some of my best friends have gone through it, and to be a part of it yourself and just to watch the whole process unfold, and you look so much forward to the future, usually with golf you're just preparing for the here and now, andal of a sudden you look a little bit further out in the future.
Stevie has been obviously -- he just had his child basically about 16 months ago, and I went through that with him and Kirsty, and just to see him light up and to see how changed, I'm sure I'll change quite a bit. I'm looking forward to it.
Q. There's a streak at stake here this week. I'm just wondering whether you think in your mind there's an asterisk on that. How do you think that should be addressed? And could you sort of address your play over the last six months since the MC Hammer at the U.S. Open, where that ranks in your career?
TIGER WOODS: Well, as far as the streaks, it's a PGA TOUR streak, it's not really a win streak because obviously I lost at the Match Play, I lost at the Ryder Cup, I finished second in China, I finished second in Japan. I was on the losing streak there for a bit.
You know, the last few tournaments I've played well. I'm looking forward to this year and get off to a good start. This is one of my favorite golf courses on the whole Tour, so to come back here and play, I've got six in a row on our Tour, but looking for seven in a row on our Tour, I guess that's exciting because I've played all around the world.
TIGER WOODS: It's a good little streak there, yeah, ever since the Western Open. Stroke play events, worst finish has been second, so it's been pretty good for about six months.
TIGER WOODS: Of course it is. It is meaningful because it's not easy to do. Even though I've done it before, it's very similar circumstances. I crossed over last time I did it in '99 and 2000. It's very similar to that.
Q. Those of us who have children know how children change your commitment and your priorities. Have you thought about that, about your commitment to golf and your priorities? It's going to make it tougher because the way you do your business? Do you think having a child is going to change that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, of course it's going to change. Our priorities do change. You're bringing a new life into this world, and it's 100 percent dependent on you for survival. So yeah, it does change. I don't sleep a whole lot to begin with, so that will be easy. I think it'll be interesting to try and figure out your tournament schedule, preparations, my commitments that I have to my sponsors, to try and balance that as well as with adding a new family member. I think that's going to be a challenge for not only myself but for Elin, as well, to try and balance everything out together.
Q. Two questions on that. Nicklaus has won 18 majors having kids. Do you think you can match that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've got to start with one, don't I? You know, it'll be interesting to see what happens with it all.
Q. Secondly, on another streak, you're probably the only guy who can remotely have a chance at 146 consecutive major starts, and a lot of that depends on this summer. Can you say exactly when the due date is and have you thought about what might happen if it crossed into a major?
TIGER WOODS: It's in July sometime, and if it happens, it happens. If it crosses over, it crosses over. That's the most important thing, not another golf tournament. I just wouldn't go.
TIGER WOODS: Just don't go. If she's going to have it during the week of The Open, I just don't go. That's the most important thing, not a golf tournament.
Q. There's some talk out there that THE INTERNATIONAL may be in trouble. There are obviously other tournaments that have been lost. One of the common themes is their tournament director is saying they can't get you there. Obviously you can't be everywhere, but is there a sense of regret, or what are your thoughts about that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you can't play all tournaments. I played THE INTERNATIONAL a couple times, and I think it's a fantastic event and a great course, and what Jack Vickers does up there has been tremendous. He's been very creative to create the whole Stableford system and how he created THE INTERNATIONAL.
I think we would like to play all over the place, but generally if you ask most of the guys, what they end up doing is playing golf courses that fit their schedule but also golf courses that cater to their style of play. Playing out here enough on TOUR, you kind of see certain guys play certain golf courses all the time. It's just because they have a lot of success on those golf courses or like the style of play there. Unfortunately we can't play them all.
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. We'll see.
Q. At this point in your career obviously you're chasing Jack. What else motivates you right now?
TIGER WOODS: Well, golf-wise?
TIGER WOODS: Ws.
Q. Your emotions have really run the gamut here in the last 12 months. When you were here a year ago you were worried about your father, and now the exciting news about your first child. Can you just talk about your emotional frame of mind going into this season as opposed to going into last year when in spite of everything you had quite a successful year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. One, this year I'm looking forward to the year and what's going to transpire. Last year I was not looking forward to the year that was going to transpire. Two totally different mindsets. One is just praying and hoping and the other is just pure excitement and enjoyment, so it's two totally different opposite ends.
Q. Does that affect you when you get out on the course?
TIGER WOODS: When I get on the golf course, I mean, that's the place where you can get some freedom from all the stuff and just compete and just delve into a concentrative atmosphere out there and try and beat these boys. That to me was my outlet last year. That was my way of just trying to -- wanting to give my dad a chance to see me on TV, something for him to look forward to on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, something that he unfortunately wasn't able to do towards the end.
Q. When you see Stevie with his kids and other friends with their kids and you see the joys of it and the hardships and all that, when you envision yourself as a father, what do you envision at this point, what kind of father you'll be? And also, will you still do skydiving once the baby arrives and all these other semi-dangerous sports?
TIGER WOODS: Well, as far as seeing my friends change, yeah, they do change because now all of a sudden they have a responsibility, a tremendous responsibility, to raise a person that is going to be obviously a good person and have high morals and values and obviously be a great citizen, and that's what you're trying to do. I'm going to try to do the same thing.
As far as my other activities, I don't see that ever stopping because that to me is fun. That's my way of getting away from things, and that's a way for me to enjoy doing things that are outside the realm of golf.
Q. Can you talk about what it was like for you the first time you saw or you went through the ultrasound and saw that picture, and then also your preparation for golf tournaments and things that you do is second to none. Can you talk about your preparation for this? Are you reading books? What kinds of things are you doing to prepare for becoming a father?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I got kicked out of school after two years, so I don't read very well (laughter).
No, as far as the ultrasound, it was pretty cool. There's one photo I'm trying to put in my office. I know it's my kid because it looked like he was telling me he was number one in my heart. It was a cool photo, so I've got to have that one in my office. Some of you guys know what I mean.
Q. Have you hit the Sumo(tm) and any chance you'll put it in your bag?
TIGER WOODS: I've hit the Sumo(tm) and I've hit the Sumo Square(tm), as well, and I have not put them in the bag, either one of them. I've found that I just could not get enough spin on the golf ball. I was hitting it farther, yeah, but I just could not hit a ball with enough spin on it. It was frustrating in the sense that I was hitting it farther but because I was just obviously carrying it and running, and I don't like roll. I want my ball to kind of land a little soft. I hit it far enough, and as the fairways on TOUR have gotten narrower and they're pinching fairways in. I don't want that ball running anywhere.
Q. I just happened to bump into your niece Cheyenne. What are your impressions of her golf game and what's been your advice to her over the years?
TIGER WOODS: Cheyenne has been great. What she's done this year, winning the State and obviously shooting just some unbelievable numbers, she's started to come into her own now. She's starting to understand the game. It's fun to see. Occasionally we'll talk about it, and it's neat for me to see her progress from -- I remember the day she first started. She started in the garage where I started. I'll never forget that day. And then all of a sudden to see her go out there and win State and shoot 29. She's just a great kid, too. She's super-great, super-nice, extremely intelligent. What Sue, her mom, has done has been tremendous.
TIGER WOODS: We talk about just random things. It doesn't always have to be golf.
Q. You said he, when you referred to the ultrasound. Is it a boy, and if so, what does that mean to you to have a son?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know what it is yet. We won't know for another, I guess, few weeks. It'll be one of the two, 50/50.
Q. Will you be taking mental notes on the South Course in preparation for the '08 Open, or is it too soon for that?
TIGER WOODS: I'm looking at possibly them changing a couple holes to par 4s from what I hear, and it's going to be an interesting golf course at about 7,450 or 7,400 yards par 70. That could be really interesting. But I've played here enough times, and the guys who have played here since they made the changes, the first year they made the changes were probably very similar to that green-wise. We couldn't hold sand wedges on the green that year. I'm sure the USGA will do the same for us, but the rough will probably be a little higher.
Q. You've obviously been very open with the influence your dad had on your life. I'm curious if there's any one or two things, lessons you learned from watching him as a father that you envision applying to your fatherhood?
TIGER WOODS: Well, he was always there. I don't mean physically. He was always there if I wanted to talk to him about anything and everything. He would stop what he was doing -- if he brought home a bunch of work and he had to get it done that night, he didn't care. He would stop and talk to me about whatever I wanted to talk about for however long, sometimes it would be hours, and then he'd go back to his work and work until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and get it done. But I was the priority.
That to me is something that I will certainly do.
Q. You mentioned your two years at Stanford. I'm curious of a synopsis of how those sort of two years at Stanford shaped you as a person. You obviously weren't there for four, but you've talked fondly of those times.
TIGER WOODS: I look at those as probably two of the greatest years I've ever had, being away from home for the first time and trying to learn how to cope with things, how to learn, how to grow. We're all in the same boat together. We're all in the freshmen dorms, coed dorms, so we're all away from home. We try and get through it together.
Just the intelligence that people had and their perspectives on so many different subjects and the things I was exposed to I will never forget. It certainly did shape me, there's no doubt about it.
I mean, one of my mentors, obviously he's sick right now, is Bill Walsh, and to see -- I would be in the gym lifting, go to the training room and then go up to his office, and I'd just -- not too often you get to rap with Bill Walsh about anything. That's something that I'll never forget.
You have moments like that. Some of the classes I was able to take and some of the people I was able to meet, an experience that I wish that everyone would end up having one time.
Q. Look back at the work you've done with Hank. At what point during the early stages of that process did you feel like you were equipped enough to do what you wanted to do? What was the turning point?
TIGER WOODS: There was really no turning point. It was just more of an evolution of understanding ball flight and how to fix it, what caused it and some of the things that I had to fix in my game. We had a long-term plan of things that I needed to change, but we couldn't change everything at once. You had to take things in stages.
Understanding the whole process, yeah, was I frustrated through that process, no doubt about it because obviously I wanted to get better. Those things I had to do in stages. I think that's what allowed me to have the success that I've had out here is learning my golf swing and learning how to fix it throughout the stages that I've progressed with Hank.
Q. Can you look at a turning point, though?
TIGER WOODS: There really wasn't a turning point, though. There wasn't one dramatic moment. It was more, okay, if you hit this shot, it could be a number of different things with you what causes it, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, and understanding it and fixing it while you're out there playing, and that's not the easiest thing to do when you're on the 4th hole and you've had three bad shots, what were those three shots and how can I fix it.
Q. What's your thought on the FedEx Cup and leading up to the Playoffs, how many tournaments in a row you think you'll start playing?
TIGER WOODS: It'll mainly depend on what the guys do. It's going to be a very busy end of the summer for a lot of us. We're going to be playing a lot of golf. I'm sure our bodies will be taking a pretty good pounding towards the end of the year. But at the end of it you get to have some time off. So that's a plus.
Obviously we have the major championships, we have the World Golf Championships, we have the Playoff events and then you have the Presidents Cup, as well, so that's a lot of events right in a row. As I said, it'll be interesting to see if some of the guys, if their bodies are able to hold up through all that.
Q. With everything that's happened to you since this time last year, both on and off the golf course, would this off season be the most relaxing you've had since you turned pro?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. No doubt about it.
Q. I'm just wondering since you're back atop the world in your World Rankings a mile ahead of everybody else and riding high, the stories are all being written and everything, whether when you're going that good, whether you have measured in your mail or things that you might hear sort of the anti-Tiger element because there's always the pulling for the underdog thing in this country or rooting against the Yankees just because they're Yankees. When you play good, do you get more of the other, as well? Do you sense that or do you block that out?
TIGER WOODS: It happens, and that's part of it. The whole idea for me is not listening to either. As I said earlier, it's a process of always trying to get better, and that's what I focus on. Am I able to continue to get better and continue to get the Ws throughout the year, then yes, that's what I focus on.
There's a lot of different things that can be written or said, and if you start getting caught up in that, you start going down the wrong path, and that doesn't allow you to have the wherewithal to keep progressing, keep moving forward with your game.
Q. We've heard the best way to make sure you do something is to tell you you can't do it.
TIGER WOODS: True. That doesn't mean I'm always going to do that. But if I'm able to do it, yeah, I'll take him down.
Q. Can you talk about that second commercial they shot, and were they holding their collective breaths when you went and tackled the guy?
TIGER WOODS: It was interesting because the director -- I had an idea because we did the first one throwing the golf ball, and I just think that that wasn't me. If someone took my bag, I would do something a little bit more than just throw a golf ball at him, okay. You guys know my personality. I would have obviously handled it a little differently.
So I told the director, "I have an idea; what do you think if I went out there and tried to grab the bag away from him." He said, "Well, I think it's a great idea." I told the actor there, "You know what, I think I'm going to come up from behind you and I'm going to get you." He said, "All right, I'll be ready for it, no worries."
Well, as I got closer to him I got into it a little bit, probably too much, and I got a little excited, and yeah, he had a little scratch on his forehead (laughter). It was just a little scratch. He toweled off and he was fine.
Q. You mentioned the garage where you grew up and where you learned. What are your fond memories of that garage and can you describe it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it wasn't very big. My dad had a net in there and these lines on there on the carpet, and I would hit balls and then putt on the carpet there and listen to my rap music, and dad would think that I was nuts. He was strictly a jazz guy, and he thought I was filling my brain with a bunch of stuff I shouldn't be filling it up with.
It was just a great time looking back. My dad and I during El Niño years when it would be raining pretty hard and couldn't go out to the golf course would work inside there, and he'd watch me hit golf balls and we'd just listen for contact, obviously look at my swing and things I needed to work on. There were many times when we had to redo the net because I would hit to a certain spot where he wouldn't all the time. His trajectories weren't as consistent. I'd make him well aware of that, too.
Q. Can you just talk about playing in Pro-Ams and what you like about always playing with these different guys that are fans of you and watch you and are probably really, really nervous when they're out there with you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, we had a great time today. The guys were good players. We played quick. We told jokes and told lives and stories and had a great time. That's the whole idea.
My responsibility in a Pro-Am is obviously to make them feel comfortable and make sure that they have a great experience out there playing and being a part of our Tour. Hopefully I was able to do that, and that's what we all as professionals, that's what our obligation is.
Q. Riley yesterday was talking about how he's got a separate room in his house in Vegas of all his Ryder Cup stuff from '04 which may or may not include a pillow (laughter). With your trophies, how do you display them? What have you done with them all? Do you break them down into majors? Do you have anything for Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup? How do you arrange that?
TIGER WOODS: On the mantle, it would be my majors, and at the bottom of the fireplace, the Player of the Years.
TIGER WOODS: A lot of it is actually at the Nike building, our conference center up there, and displaying a lot of the stuff that I have.
My mom has quite a bit in her house, and I've got some scattered throughout the house. I gave my dad a bunch of stuff, especially towards the end of his life, make sure that he understood that without his help I wouldn't have had these things, so I tried to make sure that I put a lot of the major championships into his house.
TIGER WOODS: No, they've all been auctioned off.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us.
End of FastScripts