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September 8, 2007

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Tiger Woods to the interview room, Tiger with a 65 today, 16 of 18 greens today, 13 of 14 fairways, another solid day for you. Maybe just talk a little bit about the round and then we'll open it up for questions.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I felt -- boy, I really hit it good today. I told Stevie that's probably the highest score I could have possibly shot today. I felt like today if I could have made a few putts, it could have been a really deep round. But I'm still back there, I'm only one back, and I'm in good shape.

Q. With Stricker's Illini thing and being in close proximity to Wisconsin, you may very well be the underdog tomorrow. That's an uncharacteristic position for you. What do you suppose that's going to feel like?
TIGER WOODS: I've been there before, so hey, I played with Stricks the first two days. You couldn't ask for a nicer guy to play with. He is one of the nicest guys, a great competitor, and -- I mean, it really is great to see him come back the last two years from where he was and to have the success he's having right now.

Q. Now that you're a dad, can you understand how a guy like Steve could maybe fall out of love with the game and maybe want to stay home, and maybe the game falls down on sort of his hierarchy, I guess?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there's no doubt. I mean, it doesn't really take much. You know, things off the golf course change, your life changes, it evolves, and all you need to do is have your game slip just a little, you're not able to practice, you're not able to have -- he lives up in Wisconsin, so he's not able to practice during the winter. So when he comes out here, he's a little bit rusty, a little off, maybe gets into a bad rut, it's sometimes hard to get out of.

Q. Your swing obviously was in a pretty good groove today. Can you talk about how good that felt, how easy it felt?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it felt pretty good warming up and I was kind of hoping that I could continue it onto the golf course. I hit the ball just basically the same way the way I did the first day. I really hit it well the first day. I didn't get a whole lot out of that round; even though I shot 4-under par I felt I left a lot of shots on the golf course.
Then today hit the ball about the same, and again, felt that I left a few shots out there. It's hard to say that; I shot 6-under par. But I really felt like I was hitting it pretty good, and I hit some good putts that just didn't go in or I left them right on the edge.

Q. I think you had 30 putts for that 65. How low could that have been today?
TIGER WOODS: As I said, a couple putts lipped out, and I had that chip hanging on the lip on 16. You know, as I said, it was about as high a score as I could have possibly shot today. It really could have been a pretty low round.

Q. Position aside, how do you feel about tomorrow? You don't look terribly excited about a 65. I hear what you're saying, but are you feeling like you're due?
TIGER WOODS: I feel like I'm in good shape.

Q. Hitting the ball good again?
TIGER WOODS: Feel like I'm in good shape going into tomorrow. We've got three guys, I'm at 14, Badds is at 14 and Stricks is at 15. The way the course is playing, you've got to make birdies. You can't just go out there and make a bunch of pars. If you make pars you're going to get run over.
You saw some of the guys today shooting over par, and they just got lapped. I'm sure it'll be the same thing tomorrow, greens being soft. You can be aggressive. The only thing you've got to worry about is actually spinning the golf ball back too much, hence you fire at just about every flag.

Q. To practice your putting you go to the putting green, but how do you prepare yourself mentally before a round?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I just get in the same routine. I know where the pins are going to be because obviously the dots are out there. You kind of have some kind of strategy to how you're going to play the golf course and how the wind is blowing on the range. You get a feel for what you can hit off the tees and places you need to miss the ball if you do have to miss it. But the way it is right now, you've just got to fire at a lot of the flags and really got to make some birdies.

Q. Was it a little more Western Open-like today as far as the atmosphere was concerned?
TIGER WOODS: Not quite, but it was sneaking up on it.

Q. It still wasn't? It seemed like there were a lot of people out there.
TIGER WOODS: You've been out here all these years. You know what I'm talking about.

Q. Just kind of run through the 11th hole and talk about that second shot. Pretty good shot.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the shot was a 2-iron. It was 245 front -- sorry, 254 front, and it was just a nice high drawing 2-iron to the front edge, and if I don't draw it, I put it in the right rough and have an easy pitch. But the wind switched from being in off the right to in off the left, so hitting a draw 2-iron wasn't going to go anywhere against that wind. It was coming off left and it would be fighting it instead of riding it. So I had to hit 3-wood. If I hit 3-wood and draw it, it's outta here, fired over the flag. So I had to hit some kind of high slice and try to take something off of it.

Q. Just curious, did you have the 2-iron in all week, or did it just come in today?
TIGER WOODS: What do you mean?

Q. Or the 5-wood.
TIGER WOODS: No, 2-iron has been in the bag all week.

Q. Secondly, can you talk about the other par 5, 15? Didn't it hit -- didn't Camilo hit your ball?
TIGER WOODS: Camilo hit my ball, yeah.

Q. And they were talking about you taking a drop?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, because they didn't know exactly where it was so I had to drop it someplace, and it rolled back into the divot. Right in the middle of the fairway, dropped into a divot. I was real happy about that.

Q. Did you not pay attention to detail on that?
TIGER WOODS: I had to drop it on the spot they said. I wish I could have dropped it a foot left or a foot right, but I had no choice. I had to drop it where they thought my ball --

Q. But it was right on top of a divot?
TIGER WOODS: No, it rolled back into the divot. It rolled probably about a foot and a half to go back into the divot.

Q. And from there I think you had 251?
TIGER WOODS: To the hole, I don't know what I had. I had 232 to carry.

Q. Which was a --
TIGER WOODS: 3-iron.

Q. I know you took a week off but still a lot of golf in a pretty truncated amount of time. Are you feeling pretty fatigued, still ready to go, or do you feel like a long season is sneaking up on you in any way?
TIGER WOODS: I feel good.

Q. I know from my experience of watching you play here at the Western Open, now BMW Championship, that the person who's ahead on Saturday is not necessarily the winner on Sunday. How are you mentally steeling yourself tomorrow to take it all?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm in great shape, so I've just got to go out there and play the way I've been playing. I think you've just got to have the mindset that you just can't go out there and make a bunch of pars. There's too many guys up there who can take it low. As soft as these greens are and the way they're holding, 5-irons are backing up. That's normally not the case here. But since 5-irons are backing up -- I backed up my 3-wood there on 11 downwind about a foot and a half. You've just got to go after flags, and hopefully you hit it well enough and make some putts and get it rolling because if you don't, you're going to get run over.

Q. Aside from the pressure you normally put on yourself to try and win, have you felt any at all to try to help this thing along? Obviously you being in contention the last two weeks is a big boost to the Playoffs, to this new concept.
TIGER WOODS: What was the question?

Q. Did you feel any pressure aside from the other pressure to sort of boost this FedExCup thing up?
TIGER WOODS: No, I just go out there and play. That's all I can do. I'm inside the ropes trying to get a win. That's all I have control over.

Q. Assuming Baddeley doesn't birdie the last, that puts you and Strick in the last group. How will your final pairing this week be different from last week?
TIGER WOODS: I think we might talk a little bit more (smiling).

Q. Looks like next week there's a possibility that the practice round and Pro-Am are going to get canceled. Just wonder what your thoughts are on that.
TIGER WOODS: I've never heard of anything like that before. Certainly in my years on TOUR and my years in amateur golf and junior golf, I've never heard of it being canceled with good weather. This will be interesting to see.

Q. You talked about how soft the greens are. They're renovating the course here and they're going to put that SubAir system in those greens. How differently would this course play if they already had the SubAir system in there today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you need those front pins. You just can't get it close. When we first played -- obviously this year at TPC, you just couldn't get a ball close to any of the front pins. It was just bouncing over. You had 20- and 30-footers coming back. That's with 9-irons in your hand.
This would be just one heck of a test if you had the ball bouncing. The greens were a little bit firmer on Wednesday in the Pro-Am, a little bit faster than we're used to seeing, but that was all erased with the rain we got that night. I think it'll be a fantastic change to have this golf course toughened up because you get any kind of rain here, guys will just tear it apart.

Q. What would you do next week if that were the case, no Pro-Am or practice rounds or whatever?
TIGER WOODS: Just be at home in Florida.

Q. Go out with Phil on Wednesday night?
TIGER WOODS: That's it.

Q. Just in general, what favors a good putter more, fast greens or slow greens, and by extension, looking at the next week, what favors a good putter, bad greens or good greens?
TIGER WOODS: I think all good putters want to have the greens as fast and as slopy as possible, just get them as fast as can be, where you can use basically creativity to get a ball in the hole. You know, if you look at the winners at Augusta, you don't see bad putters there. I think that if you've got a little hitch in your giddyup, you want the greens a little slower, and if the greens are a little bit bouncy, that's fine, because if you hit the ball off line, it might bounce back on line. You know, fast, pure greens, if you don't start the ball on the right line with the right speed, it's not going in, period.

Q. Are you popping it more instead of stroking it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, some of the shorter putts you definitely do. You try and get that putt rolling a little faster, try to get the ball lofted a little bit more. I know some guys change lofts on putters, add weight. But overall what it boils down to, you've got to hit the ball solid. You still can't mis-hit putts, you've still got to flush them.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Tiger, thank you.

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