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December 14, 2007

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Tiger Woods to the interview room, Tiger with a tournament record, a course record 10-under par 62 today, 11 of 13 fairways, 16 of 18 greens, total of 27 total putts. Tiger, obviously a very, very good day for you. You made a lot of putts and hit the ball very well it looked like.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, actually I hit the ball just a little bit better than I did yesterday, but I made just a lot more putts. I made a couple bombs in there, which was nice. The putt I think I made on 12 is still rolling. Then I made that lucky one up the hill on 17. Even that one I hit just a touch too hard, as well. When things kind of go your way, they kind of go your way.

Q. Did you find something on the putting green, or was it just one of those days where they were just going in?
TIGER WOODS: They were just going in. I hit one really good putt yesterday on 17, my second putt, not the first putt, and I just tried to make sure when I warmed up that I tried to keep that same feeling that I had, and the majority of my warmup I felt pretty comfortable just like I did on the second putt on 17 yesterday.
For some reason all day I saw my lines. I was able to start the ball on line the majority of the day, which was good.

Q. Can you ever remember after such a long layoff playing this well and feeling this good this early?
TIGER WOODS: No, because I've never taken a layoff this long before. It's usually probably four or five weeks, certainly not ten weeks.

Q. First of all, thank you, that was really fun to watch. Second of all, can you explain the difference doing it here today versus what the heart rate would be, what you would be if it was the third day of a major instead?
TIGER WOODS: Well, to be honest with you, when you're in that rhythm, it feels the same, whether you're at home or whether you're here or you're in a major, like the second round of a major championship, the PGA this year, you feel the same way. It's the same type of rhythm, the same type of flow, concentration feels the same, everything just feels very even, and I felt that way all day today.

Q. How would you characterize the course setup today, and what do you think of the job the field staff does in general?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the field staff set it up probably a little bit more difficult today pin-wise, but the greens were soft. I mean, that's the thing that allows us to be aggressive. I fire at pins that I normally don't fire at here. One, we had no wind, and we had greens that were backing balls up. We had to watch out for spinning the ball back too much with 9-irons and wedges. They did all they can do to hide the pins and make it a little more difficult, but when you've got receptive greens then the guys are going to shoot good scores.

Q. Two things. One, nobody likes to finish on a bad note, any golf tournament. Yesterday you have a double. How long does that stay with you? Do you just forget it or did it take an hour to say why did I do that? And the other thing was, do you ever -- until you get out here on the golf course, even though you've been hitting shots or playing at home, do you ever have any doubts on how your game will be?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the first part, it actually took me a little bit, probably took me a couple hours to kind of wind down after that fabulous 6 yesterday on the last hole. I didn't really feel too good about that. I had such a good round going yesterday. As I said, I had two easy up-and-downs on the par-5s on the back nine, blew both of those, then made 6 on the last. So I turned a really good round into a decent round.
As far as preparation, A, when you're hitting the ball well at home, it's all well and good, you feel comfortable. But it's totally different once you get into a competition. As I said yesterday during the press conference, I felt like I got into the rhythm of the round within a hole and a half, and once you can feel the rhythm of the round develop, for some reason things piece together easier, you feel your touch and your score. At home, you hit a bad shot, you drop another ball. Even if you're playing for a little Nassau, you're usually playing match play anyway, it's a totally different feeling.

Q. Do you wish The Masters were starting next week?
TIGER WOODS: No, I still have a few things I need to work on before then.

Q. After where you hit your tee shot on 16, was the par there as good as some of the birdies?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt.

Q. What were you doing with the drop there? You asked for a ruling?
TIGER WOODS: I hit it in the hazard, and there were TV cables. So my ball was in the hazard but up against the TV cables. I asked whether or not I can move the TV cables, and the rules official said yes, so I moved the TV cables, the ball moved; hence I pulled the ball back, replaced the leaves that were underneath the TV cable. I looked at the shot, didn't have a shot, didn't have a swing. This is a two-parter, dropped it out of the hazard, was on the cart path, then took relief from the cart path.

Q. To follow up on that, I'm curious how much -- how significant you considered saving par on that hole?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I thought it was -- making great par saves save rounds, and I had such a good round going, on the par-5 where it was just a 3-wood and a 4-iron or 3-iron, and for a while there it looked like I was going to make 6. Again, it would have been like yesterday, playing a good solid round of golf and making 6 at the last. You don't want to throw away rounds like that by making silly bogeys or doubles on easier holes, so it was nice to get the save, and then lo and behold, I birdie the last two.

Q. Two-parter. Could you give us a timeline from The Presidents Cup when the clubs went into the closet to when you hit balls again?
TIGER WOODS: I really didn't start hitting balls until probably a week and a half ago.

Q. Secondly, when you've been off that long and just started back up again and have played fairly clean golf, almost like it's August now, does that give you any indication of your swing, and how?
TIGER WOODS: See, the thing is I guess the best way to describe it is a lot of the swing changes, the major swing changes that I had with Hank, we had already made them. And understanding that when I hit a bad shot, I know how to fix it in a lot of ways. Not like if I do this, would this be the fix. I already know it's the fix. That's a big difference. I know I can trust it.
And today I hit a loose one there at 8, hit a bad shot there, and I knew what the fix was, boom, hit two good shots, birdie 9. So things like that, that's what gives you a lot of confidence.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: Well, I certainly have a lot more things to work on. I'm still trying to make sure that a lot of those major swing changes that Hank and I made were solidified. Now they are solidified, now you just have tweaks here and there. But understanding what the fix is, I think that's the biggest thing.

Q. People used to say all the time, it became a cliché, that when somebody goes really low, it's tough to follow it up the next day. What are your thoughts on that? Obviously you've followed up low rounds with low rounds a number of times.
TIGER WOODS: Well, when you go really low, like today I shot 10-under par, I guess unless you're Lickliter, it's really not that hard (laughter). You didn't like that, did you (laughter)?
It's a little more difficult because for some reason you want to feel the same, but you know you never really do. And then if you got off to a hot start the day before, you may be 2-, 3-under par on the front nine, you just feel like, man, I'm so much more off the pace than I was yesterday, so you start thinking that way. But over time I've learned not to do that, so just go out there and play shot for shot. Right now when I walked in there I had a five-shot lead. I don't know what it is right now, but that's how you play.

Q. Because of the layoff, did you come in here at all with lowered expectations? And over the years have you put any extra pressure on yourself here because it is your tournament and your name is on it, it benefits your foundation? Is there a different kind of pressure than you might otherwise feel?
TIGER WOODS: Well, as far as expectations, it's still the same. I still expect a lot from myself on each and every shot, expect to go out there and give my best and try and get a W here. And as far as added pressure, it doesn't change. It feels the same, whether it's this event or all the way up to a major championship. It's still the same. I want to get a W; that's why I enter the tournament is to get that W.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through birdies if you will.
TIGER WOODS: 2, I hit a good drive and I pulled a 4-iron and it cleared somehow. Hit a nice little pitch to about a foot, made that.
5, I hit a driver and a 5-iron to about 20 feet, two-putted.
6, I hit a 3-wood and a wedge to about eight inches.
9, I hit a 3-iron off the tee, hit a 9-iron to about ten feet, made that.
11, hit a driver and a 5-iron to about 15 feet, made that.
I hit a 7-iron on 12 to about 30 feet, made that.
13, I hit a driver and a 3-wood, and I two-putted from about 25 feet.
I described 16 already.
And 17, I hit an 8-iron, kind of stuck in the ground on the right in the bowl and made about an 18-footer up the hill.
Then on the last hole I hit a 5-wood and 8-iron to -- sorry, 9-iron to about ten feet, made that.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: It's funny you say that. It was less than a foot from where I hit it yesterday. I figured out to aim like a yard right of it or something like that (laughter).

Q. Do you know your number all the way through? Did you know you were at 8 and then 9?
TIGER WOODS: Under for the day?

Q. Yeah, or are you so in the flow that you didn't think about it?
TIGER WOODS: Today I knew. Sometimes you don't because generally when I don't realize what the number is, it's usually when it's on Sunday when I'm battling somebody else, and it doesn't matter how many under par, as long as I'm one ahead of them for the tournament. It could be between 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-under par for the day, whatever it might be. So long as I'm ahead for the tournament, that's all I'm really focused about. But today since it's only the second day of the tournament I knew.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: Yesterday it was into the wind and I didn't think I could get there. Today was no wind and I thought it would carry if I hit it on that line, and both ideas did not work.
JOE CHEMYCZ: There were only two rounds of 10-under par or below on the PGA TOUR regular season this year, Snedeker 61 at the Buick, and Zach Johnson's 11-under and 10-under at the TOUR Championship. Just wanted to have that for a note.

Q. You've won pretty much every prestigious trophy in golf. The Harry Vardon Trophy for the European Order of Merit is something you haven't gotten yet. Would you ever consider at some stage in the future trying to get your name on that trophy and playing those 11 events?
TIGER WOODS: I've thought about it ever since probably '99 about trying the European Tour. But it's just too much trying to play back-to-back and then trying to play that many more events. It would be hard to actually go over there and play three, four, five more events and try and get my card over there. I have enough worries over here.

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