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December 15, 2007

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our leader Tiger Woods into the interview room, Tiger with a 5-under par 67 today, some birdies, a couple bogeys, a couple par saves. Just talk about your day if you would.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't hit the golf ball quite as well as I did yesterday but made some nice putts and up-and-downs and just missed a little short one there at 8, just pulled it, but overall it was a nice day to kind of get through it and actually increase the lead.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Jim was here and was talking about 14, that kind of a swing hole in momentum. Talk about the lie you had there in the bunker and your par save.
TIGER WOODS: Well, when I drove it off the tee I thought I was in the fairway there, and I kind of was but I had a big clump of mud on my golf ball, and it took off left, buried, blasted out and just made a huge putt and stole a 4 there. Then Jim made a mistake on the very next hole. Those two holes, 14 and 15, were big momentum switches.

Q. When you see that ball sitting where it was in an area that by all rights should have been painted white, there's no question it's in the fairway but just a complete dirt spot, can you go to a rules official in that situation, or because it's not painted there's no chance of getting a call?
TIGER WOODS: There wasn't any sod, wasn't any fresh sod, there was nothing there and there was no white line. You could have asked for possibly an unusual -- unusual tire damage, but there was no tire damage, but it was just a burnt out area and I just happened to get some mud on the ball. Tried to deal with it and it came out left, but I made 4.

Q. You like going into Sundays with the lead obviously. Do you play this any different with a big lead than you might with one shot?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I know that I still need to go out there and make a couple birdies and stay away from any mistakes. Jim is capable of shooting a great round, and obviously Zach is there, as well. Zach can go low, as well, obviously proved that at the TOUR Championship this year. I still need to go out there and take care of the par-5s and not make too many mistakes.

Q. The last par-5, about 270 to the front, what was the reason you laid up there?
TIGER WOODS: Well, one, if I was going to go for it, I probably would have hit 3-wood off the tee but I hit 5-wood. I just felt that I'm not really swinging all that great, and if I hit it -- if I happen to catch a bomb 5-wood down there where I had a perfect number to go with that 5-wood again and I felt comfortable with it, I'd go. I got down there, and I think it was 245 to carry the hazard, and I said I'm not swinging good enough to feel I can place the golf ball there because if you miss it, you want to miss it just right of the flag. Well, also the hazard over there, too. So just laid up, the worst I can make is five. I had a five-shot lead at the time, so just keep that in mind.

Q. Is there something about the way the 8th hole sets up that doesn't suit your eye? On your tee shots this week it's been --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you just can't miss it left. You don't want to hit the spinner to the right, either, like I did the last two days. I have to make a better swing there. You have to keep the ball just slightly right of the hole but not where I've been hitting it.

Q. Was yesterday the first day that you felt like you were swinging well?
TIGER WOODS: Not really. I hit a good drive off of 10 -- I mean, it didn't really feel that solid today.

Q. Did you know it early?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I didn't warm up well and tried to fix it. I felt pretty good about the fix, it's just a matter of going out there and trusting the fix. I had a hard time trusting it today, I really did.

Q. The pride you feel over -- what did you shoot today, 67, not feeling very good about it, and a 62 yesterday?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the rounds like yesterday are so much easier on you. Today I had to focus, had to make sure I missed it in the correct spots. I got away with a couple today. The shot today at 9 should have been in a hazard, but it wasn't in the hazard. I made 4 there. You just have to grind so much harder and look at where you need to miss the golf ball instead of looking up at the flags all the time.

Q. Did you take more satisfaction out of today's round?
TIGER WOODS: There's no doubt. When you turn rounds potentially that feel even par or maybe 1-over par to under par and you're actually able to increase your lead, those feel great.

Q. Talk about the second shot on 10 if you would. I'm not sure most guys would try the shot, let alone even think about hitting that shot, just conceiving the shot?
TIGER WOODS: Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, it was kind of a low hook spinner in there, and I wanted to make sure that I hit it with hook spin just in case -- I wanted the first hop to hit short, second hop to hit up on top, but if it didn't hit up on top, the second one, at least I had enough hook spin to penetrate and get up and over. It would still be short of the flag but at least it wouldn't roll back down the hill and in the bunker. But it came out just perfect, landed up there, and I went up there and tapped it.
I thought that was just an easier shot because it was more conservative. I could be more aggressive, hit harder, drive it through the hill.

Q. A scheduling question about this tournament. Is there a chance of a date change in this tournament at some point, and if so, would you like to see that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think one thing we're going to do is maybe move it one week later in the year, closer to Christmas, and I think that -- I think potentially is going to -- should make a better field because obviously we have a bigger off-season now, and the guys from Australia and South Africa aren't playing, and hopefully the guys from South Africa will come over and play on their way over to Hawaii, and the guys from Oz have already played the Aussie Open and the PGA and will come over to play.

Q. Is that for '09?
TIGER WOODS: That's what we're looking at, yeah. It would be great if those guys could play. You try and do your best, try and get the best field you possibly can.

Q. You say you were struggling warming up. You opened birdie-birdie. That must at least relax you a little bit.
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's kind of smoke and mirrors at the start because I hit a big old cut over in the right rough and hit a nice little sand wedge and made the putt. Second shot I hit it and smoked some kid on the elbow, laid up and hit a nice little wedge shot in there. But two not very good tee shots to start out but somehow sneak out of there 2-under through two, it couldn't have been more ideal than that.

Q. Zach said seven shots was too much, maybe not for anybody else, but for you it's too much to overcome. How much of an edge do you think you have going into Sunday with that type of lead like that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, we've still got one more day to go. I can only take care of my responsibility, go out there and play hopefully a clean round of golf and not give any shots back and not let these guys back in the tournament.
At this golf course you can make some mistakes out there pretty quickly and pay a price for it. Jim hit a good shot there at 15 that was just one yard short and makes 5. But it was a good shot. Those are the things can happen here pretty quickly, and you have to be aware of that.

Q. What sort of advice would you give to someone if you saw someone behind six going into the final round, what would you tell someone, you're down six to Tiger Woods going into the final round, what advice would you give them?
TIGER WOODS: Make a lot of birdies (laughter).

Q. I think it was Bobby Jones who once said that some of the most spectacular shots in golf usually follow some of the worst. Your thoughts on that?
TIGER WOODS: Some of the most spectacular shots are followed by the worst? Yeah, I think that they're just kind of recovery shots, aren't they? You hit a terrible tee shot and you hit some kind of bearable shot up on the green, but nobody really remembers those shots unless you make the putt. You can hit a great shot but you've still got to make the putt. I think that's what makes it a great shot, as well.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: Kind of a nice problem to have. Well, you watched -- all you guys watched me in college golf and after golf and even early TOUR days, and I'm up for any shot really. I believe I can pull off any shot. But there's also being smart about it, as well. If I don't pull it off I can make 6, 7, 8, and those were the scores I was making instead of being a little more conservative, and the worst I can make is 5. Learning how to play over a 72-hole period, not just one hole.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Tiger, thank you.

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