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September 5, 2007

Tiger Woods


Q. What is it about this course and being in Chicago that brings out the best in you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, one, I played here as an amateur. This is the first time I ever made a cut on the PGA TOUR was here. I've just always enjoyed this golf course. It's always fit my eye. Certain golf courses you say fit your eye; well, this is one of them for me.

Q. How did the course play today from what you remember since the last time you played here?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the fairways were probably a touch faster as of right now before the rain, and the greens were definitely a lot quicker. We don't normally see them this kind of scalped down a little bit. You see some of the cut lines, which you normally don't see around here. But overall the golf course is in fantastic shape. It's playing probably a little more difficult than what we normally see it.

Q. How do you still, I guess, maybe deal with the crowds and whatever? Does it still amaze you that the excitement, the aura that you create through your play still happens?
TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah. One, today was a pretty light day. There's not too many people out there so it was kind of quiet out there today. But hopefully this event will be like it normally is here in July, and hopefully we'll have the same kind of atmosphere and everybody will get fired up about it.

Q. How is this week different from last week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, atmosphere-wise, we don't quite have the same amount of people out here for the Pro-Am so far, but hopefully the tournament will start cranking up and people will start coming out.

Q. In terms of how it stands leading to Atlanta, the field has shrunk by 50. Any sense of building toward that illustrious climax?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I guess the positive thing is I'll make the cut this week (laughter). Everything is starting to shape up now. We're starting to understand and get a feel for how the points work, and that's one of the things I think we all didn't really know how it would go. We had never experienced it before, and now we're starting to get a feel for what it takes and how important Ws are.

Q. What's the difference do you think between someone like the guys in the top five or six who are still jostling for position and the guys who might be 35 through 70 who have to golf their ball around pretty good just to make it next week?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, it's hard to move up. You have to win in order to move up. I mean, last week was probably a perfect example of that, of what Rich Beem had to do. But hey, you have an entire year to position yourself, so it really puts an onus on positioning yourself during the regular season, and then for the Playoffs to obviously continue playing well, which hopefully you end up winning the FedExCup in the end.

Q. Has the format been working out? There were concerns about how many weeks in a row you'd have to play, but it seems like players have been able to schedule a week off at some point.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, a lot of guys are taking weeks off. I took the first week off, Ernie took last week, Phil and Paddy are taking this week off. If you combine the total for the guys who are playing The Presidents Cup, it's seven out of nine weeks, end of the year, end of the summer. Guys are finding it out to play seven out of nine weeks, except for Vijay. He's the only one.

Q. When this things was pitched to you, the idea that the schedule was going to be so bunched, did you express reservations about your ability to play that many in a row?
TIGER WOODS: We all did. We all didn't think it was in the best interest for us as players to play that much. We normally don't play that much, especially towards the end of the year. Most of the guys usually shut it down post-PGA, and maybe the only time you start playing a lot is maybe trying to get ready for the Ryder Cup.

Q. Should the TOUR maybe have listened a little bit more to you guys instead of scheduling the tournaments the way they are, especially going into next year when you have the Ryder Cup right after that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see what happens. It's a lot of golf for a lot of guys. These are all big events. It's not like these are small events. They're all big events that you have World Golf Championships follows by a major, and then you have these four events and then you have The Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.
It's a bunch of big events. It's not like you have events where most of the guys like at Kapalua take it easy out there and go have fun at night, and if they play good golf, great. That's not the case.

Q. What did you take out of last week, and are you kind of bummed that Phil isn't here this week so you could keep that thing going that you had with him?
TIGER WOODS: We understand it, why he's not here. Hey, we had a great run together on Sunday. It was fun. I mean, anytime we get in that position, which we have in the past, it's fun for both of us. But hey, he's taking the week off, and he should be ready for next week.

Q. The deferred issue, where do you come down on that? I know you talked about how you might be dead by the time you collected it, but how much is it an issue, and could that be solved?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it is an issue. I don't think -- well, I know a lot of the players weren't aware of it this year, that that's what we were playing for. If the players aren't aware of it, obviously the public won't be aware of it. I think that's one of the major issues for all of us is that it's not the true payout. It's like, how great would it be like in the World Series of Poker, at the first tee starting the first day of the TOUR Championship, that's all you see is it stacked up there and that's what you're playing for. That would create a lot of buzz.
But as you said, I may not be around to collect it.

Q. How disappointed are you to not come back to Chicago for two more years?
TIGER WOODS: Hey, I didn't like that idea. I think this is a great town. It's one of the biggest sport towns, if not one of the biggest markets we have in our country. I just don't understand why we can't play here year after year. People have always come out and supported the Western Open. They've always come out in big droves and really supported this tournament, and it's unfortunate that we're leaving here. I have a fondness for this tournament because I used to play here as an amateur, and it's always been near and dear to my heart.

Q. Would you support either a U.S. Open or a PGA Championship being held here at this course?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's not quite ready for that. It's not up to that level yet. I think after Rees gets a hold of it and makes some alterations to it, I think that it depends on how severe he's going to tweak the golf course, then yeah, you could possibly say you could get a PGA here or maybe a U.S. Open. But probably a PGA, if anything.

Q. Would building in a week off in the playoff schedule, would that address some of the problems? Would that help?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's the way the schedule is with where you moved the Firestone event, prior to the PGA. Even if you put it post-PGA, it's still there. And then you have these four events, and then next year we have the Ryder Cup in there, as well. That's a lot of events for the guys. As I said, it's not easy events. They're all big events and events that you feel like you have to play well. It is what it is.

Q. It sounds as if there's really no logical place on the calendar to put something like this.
TIGER WOODS: There really isn't. If the schedule is this short, there really isn't. That's kind of what you're running into.

Q. Does it seem strange that it's early September and the TOUR Championship is like next week already instead of two months away?
TIGER WOODS: You're right, that does seem different. Plus also, I think a welcome change for all of us, too. Most of us are going to take some time off and shut it down -- some of the guys, Vijay will still continue to play.
But some of the guys it's nice for them to take a break before they head down to Australia and support their Tour or South Africa and support their Tour. You know, Phil has usually built in his break post-Firestone event. But I think it's great for a lot of guys. It's a time for them to take some time off before they have to go out and support their Tours and travel all over.

Q. On a personal note, how is fatherhood going?
TIGER WOODS: It's been great. It's been great. Sam is doing wonderful, Elin is doing great, and it's been a lot of work but it's one of those things where you look forward to it each and every day.

Q. Are you getting much sleep at home?
TIGER WOODS: No (smiling). It's okay, though.

Q. Is it rare to not be able to find the speed you were talking about last week, to go a whole tournament without really finding it? And then how do you find it when you get here?
TIGER WOODS: Well, hopefully for this week it's all taken care of. Hopefully it's out of your system and you can focus on a whole new week and learn these greens.
Last week for some reason I just had a hard time. Certain weeks are just that way. Sometimes your speed is great, other times it's not. Certain weeks you're drawing the ball great, other weeks you're not. Welcome to golf.

Q. You took 32 putts the last day and shot 67 or 68. Is that aggravating? Did you have any thoughts about that as you left?
TIGER WOODS: Well, if I'd just clean up my three-putts for the week, then I felt like I should win. I had four three-putts -- actually five three-putts because one of the three-putts was from the fringe, so five three-putts, it's just not going to cut it.

Q. Weird going from a Labor Day finish to here?
TIGER WOODS: It's a quick week. I took yesterday off, which is nice. Today, get out here and do a little bit of work, and all of a sudden it's tournament time. It's a very quick week.

Q. Next week there could be the possibility that you're leading the FedExCup points and in contention for the tournament and yet you might be put in a position of maybe protecting one at the expense of the other. Do you find that odd --

Q. And could it be a little bit weird for you, or do you just play to win and not worry about it?
TIGER WOODS: You play to win. You win and see what happens. That's why you tee it up. At the beginning of the year you don't tee it up for the Arnold Palmer Award, you don't tee it up for the Nicklaus Award, you tee it up to get the most Ws you possibly can and see where the awards fall from there. The whole idea of our sport is to get wins. Wins always take care of everything.

Q. There's been a lot of conversation as we go forward in the Presidents Cup about who you should be paired with on Sunday. If you had a choice, who would it be?
TIGER WOODS: Probably whoever is playing -- I'm sure what Jack would want to do is whoever is playing the best on their team, whoever is the hottest at the time. That's kind of how it's been in the past. If I've been playing well that week, then I take on the hottest player. Hopefully I can take him out.

Q. He loves telling the story about you asking for Norman in '98. Do you remember that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely. He's an icon down there, and he was playing pretty good, not that great but pretty good, and I just thought that getting Greg in his home country would be huge for me as a young player. It was '98, only my second year out, and I wasn't going to be afraid of shying away from that challenge. I really wanted it. If I would have lost it, yeah, it would have blown up in my face. But I welcomed that challenge and somehow was able to get it done.

Q. What about Weir being in Montreal? What would playing Weir do?
TIGER WOODS: It would be loud (laughter). The crowd would not be on my side on that one, that's for sure.

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