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September 7, 2007

Tiger Woods


Q. Different story out there today with the wind swirling?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, it was swirling, blustery, it was tough out there. I actually had to worry about spinning the ball back too much, which is a little different.

Q. Take us through starting with the tee shot on 9.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I backed off the shot, and then never got set on my tee shot, never really refocused on what I was supposed to do and hit some kind of pitch out. I caught a tree coming out, hit just some kind of snipe 8-iron up there and made about a 15-footer.

Q. What's it like when you struggle through so many shots to get to the green and then make birdie on a hole like that?
TIGER WOODS: Hey, it turns rounds around, you know? I started out hitting it just great starting out. I hit it up there within it seemed like 10, 12 feet on every hole starting out, and I made nothing. I felt so bad over my putts. And all of a sudden I lost my swing in the middle part of the round and I felt great over my putts. It's just one of those weird things about golf.

Q. How far did you have to bend that shot around?
TIGER WOODS: I had 171 total.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Quite a bit, actually. Unfortunately I have never really driven it in any fairway, so I've kind of had to practice shots like that.

Q. How much did you have to bend it?
TIGER WOODS: It was just outside the right part of the green.

Q. What was the drop for?
TIGER WOODS: I was on the path.

Q. It was that far left?
TIGER WOODS: It was that far left, yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: I just hit bad putts. The first hole I hit a good putt and I got a gust of wind that blew it off line. That's fine. The rest of them were all terrible putts. It was not very good. The speed was bad, the line was bad, just never felt comfortable, and then all of a sudden lost my swing, as I said earlier, and all of a sudden I felt great on the greens.

Q. You must have figured out early how soft it was. There was a lot of guys it seemed like in that five and six range.
TIGER WOODS: I just felt that the guys -- the leader would be somewhere between 10- and 12-under, just kind of had that feeling. With the greens being this soft, some guy who gets hot can get to at least double digits with no problem. I think Camilo was there at one point but it just didn't turn out that way.

Q. This as I recall last year -- this tournament last year in July was sort of when the light went on for you? Is it the golf course or your golf game coming together or a combination of the two, the vibes here, coincidence?
TIGER WOODS: Last year was different. It was nice to -- I turned the corner with some stuff off the golf course about this time. So I finally felt like I was back to playing again, back to competitive flow, and I got things dialed in and then all of a sudden went on a run.

Q. There's a story out there today that you signed with Gatorade or agreed with Gatorade. Can you talk about that?
TIGER WOODS: We're talking about Gatorade right now, and we're working on hopefully finalizing a contract.

Q. Will you do one of those commercials where the sweat is dripping off you in different colors or what?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, we'll see.

Q. Did you consider anyone else?

Q. Yesterday Steve Stricker said that you were an absolute joy to play with. Do you feel the same way about him?
TIGER WOODS: No, I can't stand Stricks (laughter).
No, he's one of the all-time nicest guys you'll ever meet. It's great to see him back to playing well again. I mean, he deserves it. He went through a stretch in his career where he really did struggle pretty hard, and for him to turn it around the last two years and have the two years that he's had, if anyone deserves it, it's Stricks.

Q. Since you got your putter going, you've got to feel great where you are going into the weekend?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I feel really good about it. I hit the ball really good coming in, felt really good with my putter, and hopefully I can put both of them together for 18 holes tomorrow.

Q. Did you go home from Boston or did you come straight here?
TIGER WOODS: I came straight here.

Q. Did you wear that shirt last week?

Q. When is the last time you wore a shirt twice?
TIGER WOODS: I wear it all the time, actually. I'm not that way.

Q. I know it sounds really gay, but I recognized it (laughter). It looks good.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks. I love it.

Q. How were the crowds today?
TIGER WOODS: There were a few more people. Still, it's not the same as the Western, that's for sure. Granted, the weather was a little sketchy, so maybe they didn't come out because of that.

Q. The next two days do you need to be aggressive?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, a lot of it depends on the weather. You know you're going to have to make some birdies out there, no matter what. But the par 5s, at least two of them, are reachable, and a lot of short par 4s with some pretty easy pins. I saw the dots out there for tomorrow. You're going to see some guys shoot some pretty good numbers tomorrow, and hopefully I can be one of them.

Q. This is a public course, you obviously play really well here, and some of the other public courses you play really well. Is that a coincidence? Do you play well at these types of places? Do you feel at home? It's an odd question, but you grew up and cut your teeth on them.
TIGER WOODS: I certainly did not grow up on a country club, that's for sure. Yeah, public courses is where it was at. I grew up on a par-3 course, just with -- the longest hole was 150 yards I believe it was. Granted, I couldn't get there -- I used to hit driver, 7-iron when I first started playing it. That's what we did. The great thing with playing Southern Cal junior golf is you got a chance to play country clubs every now and then, and it was like the coolest thing in the world. Oh, my God, the greens are great here, that kind of thing.
I don't know, that's a good question.

Q. What was the par-3 course?
TIGER WOODS: Hartwell. It's in Long Beach.

Q. You were really in command of your trajectory out there. What, if anything, have you been working on?
TIGER WOODS: I felt good warming up, and I started off hitting the ball really well. As I said, the middle part of the round I kind of lost it a little bit, didn't feel comfortable with my swing, found it coming home, and again hit the ball like I did starting out. You have to control your traj in wind like this. If you get it up above the trees with wind like this, it's going to get slammed pretty hard. You have to pick a traj and be committed to it and hit it, and for most of the day I hit it.

Q. Are you going to the range?
TIGER WOODS: No, I'm going home. I've got to go work out.

Q. You've loved playing in Chicago. What would it mean to you to win here with the TOUR leaving here for a year?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've always loved playing here, ever since my amateur days. This has always been just a great place to play. I always loved coming here and trying to take some money from a good friend of mine who used to play basketball. But it's always been a tournament that's been near and dear to my heart.

Q. Right before you teed off you and Steve were having a little conversation on the putting green. Was that just idle chat or was one of you giving the other a putting tip before you teed off?
TIGER WOODS: It wasn't about putting, that's for sure. I don't know what we were talking about, but we weren't talking about putting, that's for sure.

Q. Do you see any difference in the tournament from last year to this year with the tournament having BMW as a sponsor?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the crowds haven't really come out this year so far. The atmosphere hasn't been quite the same. Granted, we moved the tee times up yesterday and then the bad weather today, so it's been kind of a double dip against the tournament. But hopefully this weekend people will come out and we'll get some great weather, and hopefully we can play some good golf and get everyone fired up.

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