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August 5, 2007

Tiger Woods


LAURA NEAL: Tiger, congratulations, six wins here at this golf course, which actually you're only the third player ever to do that. Is this the sweetest one?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, this one felt good. Starting out the day one down and basically getting off to probably just the most ideal start, 4-under through 5, and then obviously with the weather as inconsistent as it was all day, the whole idea was just to try and keep the card clean somehow and not drop a shot.
Chip-in over on 9 certainly helped that, and I had a big enough lead on the back nine where I felt if I just made pars on every hole that the guys behind would have to play just an unbelievable back nine just to have a chance.

Q. You spoke about your difficulty in adjusting to the pace of the greens in rounds 2 and 3. Rain today, more adjustment needed, didn't seem to be a problem?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought it was easier today because I had a hard time because it looked to me -- to my eye, looked fast but putted slower. So today with the rain, you just said that they were slow, just go ahead and just hit it. I didn't have a problem with that because what I saw and what I felt and how they were rolling, it all matched up. It was actually pretty easy.

Q. And the putt at the last was the most satisfying of the day?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. I remember back in 2000 at the U.S. Open on 16 when I had to make that putt for par. People wonder why you're grinding so hard. Well, I didn't want to drop a shot. I played so hard all day, and the whole idea was not to drop a shot, put keep heat on the guys, once I got off to the great start, for them to come get me. I just did not want to end the day that way, with a bogey.

Q. How do you think you would have reacted if you would have missed that putt to win by seven shots?
TIGER WOODS: I figured I would have handled that (smiling).

Q. Could you give us a blow by blow on No. 9, from the rough to the poncho?
TIGER WOODS: It was a nice tee shot. I almost hit the ball in the 10th fairway. From there I tried to play some kind of cut 9-iron something up there on the left side, either in the bunker or -- I thought I could probably get it to the back left part of the green if I cut it, but I kind of pulled it.
And then from there, I was -- I don't know how it ended up there, and it ended up right on the lady's jacket, poncho, whatever you want to call it. Took a drop, hit a terrible pitch over the green, and I holed it from there with a little 9-iron. Four shots (laughter).

Q. Twice this year you've gone against Rory in similar situations, pretty much even, and on Sunday you've prevailed. Is there a special motivation there that you get from him?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the whole idea is just -- everyone knows how Rory is, and I just go out there and just let my clubs do the talking.

Q. He said, by the way, that your performance today was far better than the one in May when he lost. Do you feel --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. The one at Charlotte, I made everything. I did not hit it all that well on Sunday, but I just holed everything. That's the only reason why I probably won that tournament on Sunday.

Q. On 4, the two-shot swing, did you feel like that gave you an extra boost or anything?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought -- after the start -- we all birdied 1, and then I got one there at 2 and then I birdied 4. When I birdied 4, as you said, it was a two-shot swing, but the way I looked at the way Rory was playing, he made two good saves at 2 and 3 just to be where he was at, and if I just -- I felt if I could just keep putting the pressure on him, keep hitting fairways, keep hitting greens, keep giving myself a lot of looks at them, I could put a lot of pressure on him because he didn't look all that comfortable with his swing today. He looked like he was making some putts just keeping himself in it. I wanted to put some pressure on him because I felt I was swinging the club well, and if I could give myself some looks I could put some pressure on him.

Q. It's usually over and it's break time. Could you talk about the difference now of this being over and what's coming up?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you knew that starting, basically, this week that it was going to be a two-week stretch, and you're probably going to play golf every day. So there really wasn't going to be a day off. The whole idea was obviously to win this event but be playing well going into next week. I feel I made some nice strides this week, and I feel very good going into next week, getting a few days to prepare and getting adjusted, and off we go.

Q. Did you hold anything back this week? I'm not suggesting you didn't try or didn't play your best, but just anything inside, reserve some strength, whatever you want to call it?
TIGER WOODS: No, that's one of the reasons I train as hard as I do. You go all-out every day.

Q. Being the only guy under par, I don't know if you care about that, but I would think that would be -- the last guy, and I looked it up back to '99, and it's been 15 or 20 guys.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just because the golf course played so demanding this year. We've never seen it this fast. We've never seen the greens this hard and this fast. The rough was up high enough where you hit the ball in the rough -- one, you couldn't get to the green, but if you did get a good enough lie to get to the green, there's no chance of stopping it.
And then with the pin locations, it just made for just a very difficult week, and you just had to keep your patience. It just felt like this event was playing more like a major than anything else. You just had to grind it out. Some years here you just feel like you've got to make birdie, three or four per nine, just to keep yourself in the tournament, but this week that wasn't the case.
You just had that feeling that it was set up more like a major championship where just having a lot of pars -- pars were probably basically going to win the tournament.

Q. You were so almost emotionless and just focused on that front nine. Was that just a product that you're playing well, or did you kind of have some extra motivation to zero in and really --
TIGER WOODS: No, I just got in my own little world, like I tend to do every now and then. I just wanted to not make any mistakes out there today. I just wanted to keep putting the pressure on the guys that were chasing, because as I said, I got off to a great start, and once I got off to that start, the whole idea was to never go back to them, make them earn their way back into the tournament. I just kept making par after par after par, and the weather kept changing, kept getting more difficult, and I felt if I could just keep making a bunch of pars, the guys were going to have to get greedy and aggressive to some of these pins and probably make a mistake.

Q. You've talked about how well this course fits your eye. How much of your success here is due to just the time of year? You've had three majors within seven or eight weeks, your game is honed to a fine edge, at least it should be, around the PGA time. You've got to feel like you're always ready to go. Is that a factor?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it may be, but I think it's just -- more than anything, this golf course just fits my eye. You know, some years I've come in here not playing all that great but have somehow played well here. It's hard to describe, but this golf course just gives me a bunch of confidence every time I come here.

Q. It's your first victory as a dad. You had an insurmountable lead the last few holes. What went through your mind?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it wasn't that. The whole idea was to just keep putting pressure on the guys, keep it bogey-free and not drop a shot coming in.

Q. Anything especially family oriented?
TIGER WOODS: No, not when I'm out there playing. The idea is just to keep putting all the heat I can on those guys to come get me, and as I said, not drop any shots coming in.

Q. It would seem to be that if anyone challenges you it would be human nature that it would really grab you and make you be attentive to them, either on the course or if they say something. Is that the case?
TIGER WOODS: What do you mean?

Q. Well, with what Rory has said before and the mere fact that he had kind of challenged you or called you out.
TIGER WOODS: I won both tournaments, too (laughter).

Q. He brought up beating you in the NCAAs, though. He said he beat you in the last round.
TIGER WOODS: Who won the tournament?

Q. I don't know if you heard somebody say come be our quarterback.
TIGER WOODS: How about that, and safety, too.

Q. Do you have a second career?
TIGER WOODS: Are you kidding me? Those big guys, are you kidding me? I'll be the little water boy.

Q. They'd let you be the water boy.
TIGER WOODS: Do you think?

Q. In this part of Ohio I think you're pretty much in demand.
TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, I've seen those guys up close. We've had a couple of those guys that live at Isleworth. It's unbelievable how big they are. No, I'm glad I chose my sport.

Q. When will you go to Tulsa?
TIGER WOODS: Right now, as soon as I'm done with you guys.

Q. So you're anxious?
TIGER WOODS: I'm not really anxious (laughter). That's just the schedule (laughter). What is it, 120 today?

Q. 110. Bring your sweater.

Q. How much better do you feel about your game now going into the PGA this week than if you would have had your off week this week? Everything looked in place today.
TIGER WOODS: It really did. Considering the way I hit the golf ball at the British Open, I didn't really hit it all that well with my irons, and this week I hit it a little bit better, which was nice. I didn't putt as well as I did at the British, but I've gotten everything kind of more organized, which is nice. I feel like I'm in better shape heading into this one than I do going into the last major.

Q. Just curious, like some of the majors, do you have to give those trophies back when you return, or do you now have five others just like that sitting at home?
TIGER WOODS: I have five others at home.

Q. Where do you keep them?
TIGER WOODS: The only one you actually don't get is the PGA. That's the only major you don't get the trophy.

Q. What happens to it?
TIGER WOODS: They keep it. You get a small little replica.

Q. Have you ever asked them why they keep it?
TIGER WOODS: They've never given it away. It's the only major where they don't. Obviously Augusta doesn't really give you a trophy, but you get the jacket.

Q. No matter where this is on the schedule or whatever, can you ever imagine not coming to Firestone?
TIGER WOODS: No. I like this place (laughter). It's been good to me (smiling).

Q. There are a lot of people, I guess, Rory, some guy said something to him at 9, he had him tossed. Did you get the sense of people kind of -- this is your town here.
TIGER WOODS: Well, certain events people say things, and you just have to become immune to it. You just have to -- the more you acknowledge it, the worse it gets. You know, the toughest crowd I've ever had to play in front of was probably Bethpage. They were all over me and Sergio in the final group. But it was just the way it was. I mean, you just put your head down and you just go. That's fine.
But the more you acknowledge it, the more you'll incite them, especially if they've tipped back a couple. That usually helps.

Q. Do you get the sense of the way people have embraced you?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, no doubt about it. This may be a home away from home for me. The crowds have been just as supportive as I've ever played in front of. Even the days where I really haven't felt good with my game, they're always out there supporting me.

Q. Have you ever thought much about Sam Snead's record at Greensboro, eight victories?
TIGER WOODS: It's not too bad, is it?

Q. Have you ever thought about doing that, and if you did, where would be the most likely place to do it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I would like to have eight at Augusta would be nice (laughter).

Q. You're halfway there.
TIGER WOODS: Halfway there. I mean, Jack always said he wanted to have eight at Augusta. That would be a pretty nice title record there.

Q. What do you think is the better achievement, having won six here at the same course or six of the other on six courses, the Amex/CA?
TIGER WOODS: Probably the other, six different venues. Here, you get used to the lines, you get used to the breaks. The greens haven't changed. The speeds may, but the overall greens don't really change. You can putt by memory here. Playing the other events, it's all over the place, all over the world. Well, it has been all over the world. Probably that one is a little bit more difficult.

Q. Do you get to keep a copy of this trophy? And if so, where does it go? Does it go the same place you have your other major replicas?
TIGER WOODS: It's in the office at home, nice little collection.

Q. Do you keep candy or M & Ms in them?
TIGER WOODS: No, I really don't eat that stuff.

Q. Yogurt bars, anything?
TIGER WOODS: I guess I could put a few protein bars or something.

Q. But you don't?
LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks.

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