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August 1, 2007
LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks for coming in. Welcome back to Firestone Country Club. Must seem like kind of a home coming. You've played so well here. Looking forward to this week?
TIGER WOODS: I am. Each and every year I've played this golf course, it just seems to have worked out. I don't know what it is about this golf course; it just looks right. For some reason I've had some success here.
LAURA NEAL: Something you really look forward to, you've had a such a busy couple months with the baby and AT & T National and the British?
TIGER WOODS: This is a World Golf Championship and then we have the PGA next week, so two big weeks back-to-back, trying to get ready for both. It's just two weeks I really want to win.
Q. You had the British, you had a week off, now this week, next week and then kind of like the FedExCup thing is going to be right on you. Does that change anything, your schedule? Talk about the duration of that whole --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I haven't played this much in a long time, this many weeks. It's going to be interesting to see how everything holds up. It's a lot of golf later in the year. We'll see.
Q. Do you think the guys who are fit like you will have an advantage over this long stretch?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's going to be hard. Obviously we have these two weeks, then obviously the FedExCup Series and then the Presidents Cup. Some of the European guys don't have to play The Presidents Cup, so their season is pretty much done, and we have one more.
There's a lot of events all together. You know that after all that, you get a nice big break, which is nice.
Q. Do you have an explanation for your success in all World Golf Championship event, not just this one?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just -- you know, you feel like this is -- you always get obviously pretty excited when you play with the best players in the world, and I've had success in major championships, I've had success here in the World Golf Championships, and they've -- I don't know, it's just when you get the chance to play against the best, we don't get to do it very often. That's one of the reasons why they instituted these championships, so we get to meet more often than just the majors and THE PLAYERS Championship.
Q. A couple questions on the date change. Could you talk about the difference of -- this has always been somewhat of an exhale after the PGA. What's it like being the week before?
TIGER WOODS: Well, being the week before, you can look at it one of two ways. As you said, the exhale part of it, but I also think it's a nice way to prepare for next week, being such a demanding golf course. And basically the same field; we're just playing back-to-back weeks. It helps. You get to see where your game is at going into the last major of the year.
Q. How does it affect you? You prefer to take the week off before a major, but I think there was probably a couple Buick Opens before the PGA.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, this is the only -- the PGA Championship is the only major that I've ever played the week prior. I played the Buick Open I think two times, I believe, maybe like '99 and 2000, and did all right those two years, I think (laughter).
Q. As a final and then hang up and listen thing here, is there a difference going into the PGA when you haven't won a major this year as opposed to having won a major going into the last one of the year and not winning one going into the last one of the year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you never want to be shut out. You never want to have a year where you don't win a major championship. This year I've come close in two, and it just didn't happen. I've been in this situation before. The PGA Championship is also one of the toughest championships, especially now at Southern Hills. It'll be a really fun test.
Q. Are you able to fully be satisfied with the year regardless of all the other successes you've had if you don't win a major in a season?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, as a whole, yes. Last year all the success I had on the golf course, it still felt like a failure of a year because of what happened off the golf course. And this year what's happening off the golf course has made this year a huge success. It's a polar 180. No matter what I did on the golf course last year it just never felt right, and this year no matter what I do on the golf course, it just feels right.
Q. Are you definite to play all four weeks of the FedExCup or might the points allow you to maybe take the first one off?
TIGER WOODS: My intent is to play all four.
Q. What has surprised you the most about having a child?
TIGER WOODS: I think just the work (laughter). I don't sleep a lot to begin with, but then it's even less now. It's just amazing because she's so small. I mean, she was born early, smaller than average baby, extra precautions there.
Q. Just one more quick thing about the FedExCup. I mean, you've got this commercial with the Eye of the Tiger. Do you feel any pressure that you've got to carry that thing in the first year? They've kind of made it about you at the moment.
TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. I think this is -- it'll be interesting to see how it all pans out, the whole reracking system. I don't know how that all works out, where the points go. I don't think anyone really knows. This is an experiment for all of us, the first go-around, and once we understand it this year, I think we'll get a better feel for it.
Q. Would you mind coming back to Carnoustie and telling us about your performance there, firstly; and secondly, about Paddy Harrington, what you felt when he won?
TIGER WOODS: As far as my performance, I felt like I was driving it well. I didn't hit my irons good enough. I didn't hit it close enough, and I putted great. But I just never gave myself enough looks. Every putt was 20 feet-plus. When I got it inside 10 feet, I made it. I just didn't hit the ball close enough to make enough birdies. My birdie output wasn't what it normally is. If you don't make a lot of birdies, you can't win a major championship, period. And I can't do that.
As far as Paddy, I think we all felt it was basically over after he made double on 18. I think we all thought Sergio had basically won the British Open. But the 18th hole was playing very, very hard. It's one of the hardest fairways to hit, and on top of that, it's one of the toughest greens to hit. And then once you get on the green, it's not the smoothest green. It's the worst green on the whole golf course. So we knew it was going to be difficult to make 4, but if Sergio knocked the ball on the green, it was pretty much a guaranteed two-putt.
But it didn't happen that way. Then got in the playoff. I didn't see the playoff, I was already heading home, so I only saw the highlights, what transpired.
Q. Did you hear about his little boy asking his father if he could put ladybirds in the Cup?
TIGER WOODS: No, I didn't hear that.
Q. And should Sergio have taken a driver on the 18th?
TIGER WOODS: No, because driver brings the bunker into play on the right. If you can land the ball in the right center of the fairway it'll still be in the bunker, so there was really no point in hitting driver. If anything, you might want to hit a 3-wood down there because 3-wood -- for me, I don't know how Sergio was hitting it that week, but for me 3-wood would keep the ball short of the bunker. The bunker was 300 off the tee. The wind was coming slightly off the right which meant you could cut it and keep it short of the bunker and probably have a 4-iron or 5-iron. He roasted a 2-iron down the middle of the fairway, but he just had a long iron, a 3-iron into the green.
Q. How much were you aware of what Andres Romero did?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was at home packing up when all that transpired.
Q. Hard to believe someone can make ten birdies in 16 holes there on Sunday?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't see it (laughter). I knew you could make 10 pars; I did that (laughter). But he played just a great round of golf. Those pins were on slight knobs. They weren't like they were the first two days. They got progressively just a little bit more difficult on the weekend. And for him to make that many birdies was just unbelievable play.
Q. Do you know much about him, and do you realize you're drawn with him the first two days?
TIGER WOODS: I did know that. But as far as anything prior to that, prior to the Open Championship, no, I really haven't heard much of him except for -- I thought he might have been some kind of relative of Eduardo's (laughter).
Q. Southern Hills and this course are both tree-lined and all that, very similar doglegs to Southern Hills. How similar and dissimilar are some of the shots you'll be playing this week versus next?
TIGER WOODS: Well, as a whole the golf courses are actually pretty similar. I think obviously the huge standout is one is Bermudagrass and one is not. But other than that, I think it's a very similar from tee to green.
The greens there are a little bit more undulating than they are here, a little bit more movement. The greens here are relatively flat, and you see a lot of bigger putts made here than you did at Southern Hills during the U.S. Open when I played it.
Q. Do the tee shots here suit you better than the tee shots at Southern Hills?
TIGER WOODS: The tee shots here, you can be slightly more aggressive here. Obviously the fairways are wider. Even though they're doglegged, you can be more aggressive off the tees here. There they've pinched in the fairways, maybe one or two strips narrower than they were in '01, so it will be a little bit more demanding off the tee.
Q. What did you think of the course yesterday compared to '96 and '01?
TIGER WOODS: '96, I don't really remember too much about it. But as far as '01, it is playing -- the greens are sewn a lot better than they were in '01.
Q. All the same speed?
TIGER WOODS: All the same. You don't have 2 and 16 and all the others. The redesign has been good. I think all the players will really like it. They weren't up to speed yesterday. Obviously trying to save them from the heat. But the rough is not as high as it was in '01. As you know, the PGA Championship likes to have things a little bit more fair than the USGA and allow you to try to go for greens, and I think that's what this championship will allow you to do. The only difference is, as I said, the fairways are narrower than they were in '01.
Q. Did you find it any more appealing to your eye than in '01 or did it change because while Torrey and other places are a good look for your eye that's not the case there?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Southern Hills is a place I've only played one time. I can't really count '96 because off the golf course I wasn't really there. As far as '01, I didn't really hit the ball good. I wasn't hitting the ball well going into it. For some reason, I don't know why, I won The Masters that year, but after that, post-Masters, I didn't really hit the ball very good.
Q. For this week you've always played well here, been comfortable here. What do you like best about this course and what do you see as the biggest challenge on this course?
TIGER WOODS: I think over the years this golf course -- I've had some success here, but I think it's just because I love old, traditional golf courses. We don't get a chance to play these type of venues anymore. There are certain venues that I think all the players thoroughly enjoy playing, and this is one of them. It's a tree-lined golf course. There's no elephant burial grounds out there, it's right there in front of you, and you just have to go play.
This golf course, its only defense really is the weather. It's soft, and the guys are going to go low. But if it's firm like it is now, then I think the guys are going to have a hard time making birdies.
Q. When you play 9, do you ever stand there from either the rough or the fairway and wonder how your ball got to where it did last year?
TIGER WOODS: No (smiling).
Q. In terms of going over the clubhouse and --
TIGER WOODS: No -- well, that week I did because I don't know how it hit the cart path without hitting the building. You know, that was -- the thing with the angle it had to come in, I shouldn't have missed the entire building.
Q. That was skill.
TIGER WOODS: I made 5 (laughter).
Q. As a follow-up to that, you often talk about the courses where you thrive, Augusta National, Torrey Pines and here. Would this place perhaps hold the edge given that last year you owned the course and a portion of the clubhouse roof?
TIGER WOODS: Well, this golf course, as I said, I've always felt comfortable here, and if you look at my record overall over the years it's been pretty good. I think there's basically four venues that I've had a lot of success at. This is one of them, as you said, Torrey Pines, Augusta and St. Andrews. Those are places I seem to play well every time I go there. Certain golf courses just fit your eye, and it's hard to explain, but this is one of them for me.
Q. Yesterday K.J. Choi said if he won the FedExCup he would donate the entire $10 million to charity. Just wondering if you had a reaction.
TIGER WOODS: Well, you don't get the $10 million. You know that, right (laughter)?
Q. You don't?
TIGER WOODS: No, it goes right into your retirement account, so he may want to donate but he can't until he actually retires.
Q. So when he's 65?
TIGER WOODS: Then he can donate it, yes.
Q. How much do you think that takes away from the prize, if you will?
TIGER WOODS: I think it does a little bit, because you're actually not really playing for the $10 million. I may be dead by the time my retirement fund comes around for me to be able to utilize it.
Q. Did you have any input on that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think we all did, but it just didn't turn out that way.
Q. You've had such unique experiences here. I remember one year you won this tournament and you were really sick. Do you remember that year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. It might have been the Furyk year, I'm not sure.
TIGER WOODS: I'd say it was the Furyk year, correct.
Q. Is there another place that you are more tied to? I mean, we can talk about Augusta, you've had great victories there, but I don't think you've had the other issues come up in your game as you've had here, involving with the roof, being ill, winning in extra holes at dark, those sort of things?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just panned out that way. I just think that, as I said, the four golf courses I've had a lot of success on, you can probably pick certain different things, weird things that have happened at each of those venues.
Q. Holes 8 and 9 have been lengthened. Give your viewpoint on those two holes and what that does to the course.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I haven't been out there yet, but I'm going to play the front nine and check it out. 8, I think had to be lengthened. Guys were just hitting driver down there and a wedge on the green. You know, 9 is going to be interesting because if they have lengthened it enough where the shorter hitters are going to have a hard time carrying the hill, a ball that lands -- basically it could land in the center of the fairway and end up in the right rough if you don't carry it far enough. I think that will be an interesting tee shot and make that hole a lot more difficult.
As far as 8 being more difficult, it's still a pretty wide fairway, and anything that carries up on top of the mound is going to get down there where you can still have a short iron in your hand.
LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks for coming in.
End of FastScripts