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March 27, 2009

Tiger Woods


DOUG MILNE: Thanks for joining us for a few minutes after the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, 1-under 69 today. Everybody is backing up so you've got to feel good about the position you're in.
TIGER WOODS: I played decent today. I didn't hit the ball as well as I'd like to, but I kind of grinded my way along the golf course today and had two chip-ins today, which was nice.

Q. Talk about some of your chipping, which looked like it saved you a lot.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the up-and-downs, especially at 7, that was a pretty good up-and-down there. 6 was just a perfect second shot over there, just had a nice pitch out and good pitch out for a third shot. I drew actually a pretty good lie on the fourth shot because it was downgrain so I knew I could spin it. That was a good one. But overall today was just kind of a grind-it-out day. The golf course is getting fast. The greens are really getting fast.

Q. In the big picture of things, do you get almost as much out of rounds like these two as you did at Doral?
TIGER WOODS: Well, scoring at Doral was certainly easier because I was hitting it so much better. I didn't hit it quite as good today or as well the first two days here as I did all four rounds at Doral. But this golf course can -- you can make bogeys in a heartbeat out here today because the greens are starting to repel; they're not accepting shots very well today.

Q. Is there anything that could happen this week result-wise or performance-wise that would alter your mindset heading into Augusta?

Q. You're pretty much locked and loaded for two weeks?
TIGER WOODS: Correct, yeah. I feel good about my first two weeks back, then obviously this week, and then this will be my last week before Augusta.

Q. When you play here, do you think the setup has got that of U.S. Open type feel to it, and is that helping you in terms of getting that part of your game sharp?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's a U.S. Open type feel except for the fairways are a hell of a lot wider. We don't see fairways this wide in the Open.
More than anything I think we haven't seen the greens repel like this before. It's been a while. You know, we might get some rain tomorrow and it would change everything. But as of right now, the wind is blowing, and it's getting a little difficult out there.

Q. What was so good about the shot at 7 in your eyes?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I had a little tuft of grass behind it, and I went ahead and hit it harder than I normally would, just to try and get through it, and hopefully it came out the way it did; if it didn't I was going to miss it long and try and putt back from 15, 20 feet. But it came out soft.

Q. You seem a little disappointed with the way you're hitting the ball, especially compared to two weeks ago. Is that just part of golf, or are you disappointed that you haven't been able to keep that going?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm a little bit frustrated in the sense that I haven't controlled my flight as well this week. I was really flighting it pretty good at Doral, and I'm not flighting it as well here. My shapes are fine. If I miss it, I just overshape it, that's fine; that's an easy fix. But I like to be able to control my trajectory a little bit better, especially when the wind is blowing like this.

Q. You had all that time during your forced hiatus to work on the short game. Has that come to fruition in the three chip-ins in two days? Is that an example of that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, but I think it's also getting more game time experience. When I first came back at Match Play I didn't feel my short game was very good. It got a little better every day at Doral and then this week is even better. It's just getting my feel back. It's a little different than chipping at home. We don't have rough like this, so it was kind of nice to get out here and experience that and actually get my feel.

Q. Could you give us a little more detail? You had to kind of take a safety sideways on your 10th hole and then again on the 6th hole?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, correct.

Q. Tell us about what you had on the lies on those?
TIGER WOODS: On 6, I just hit a terrible second shot. I tried to hit a cut 5-wood in there and just hold it on the wind and it just flayed it to the right, and it buried in the bunker and I had no shot so had to pitch out sideways and make sure I got down there far enough on the pitch-out so I could take the bunker out of play. I didn't have to go over the bunker and actually could pitch not over the bunker and not have to worry about that, which I came out fine.
But on 1, my 10th hole, it was certainly interesting. The ball landed in the bunker and took one more hop out of its pitch mark and then embedded at the base of the bunker, the lip of the bunker. I was just happy to advance it in the bunker, just try and make sure I didn't double hit it.

Q. Is the water in play at all on 6? You swung at it pretty hard.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was 230 --

Q. I'm talking about the bunker shot.
TIGER WOODS: No, it wasn't. I couldn't hit it that far. I just wanted to make sure I hit it far enough where I took the bunker out of play on my fourth shot.

Q. I know you are probably a little bit tired of talking about the hiatus and the injury and everything. What is your post-round regimen like now? Has it changed, or what will you be doing today? Are you working harder on rehabbing the knee?
TIGER WOODS: Most of the work I do as far as strengthening goes is prior to when I play. Afterwards it's all recovery and getting ready for tomorrow.

Q. In terms of Masters preparation, is Isleworth right now playing closer to Bay Hill or is it playing closer to Augusta, and how much are you actually out on the golf course next week?

Q. At home.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think it's playing more towards here right now. They're going to start speeding them up I think next Tuesday. Our putting green is down to speed. I think it's rolling somewhere around 12, 13. But as far as the golf course, it's not quite up to speed yet. They'll get it next week, and I'll be out there every day.

Q. Actually out there playing?
TIGER WOODS: Have light, will play (laughter).

Q. Can the course this weekend be taken for a low score basically from what you've seen?
TIGER WOODS: Depends on the weather. If we get wind like this, then probably not. But if the rain comes in and softens this place up, then the guys can start making birdies.

Q. When you're at a course and you know the Masters is coming and you're building towards that, I know you're playing this course, but how much in the back of your mind are you sitting shots and thinking about things that you'll need at Augusta?
TIGER WOODS: Not at all. Not at all. If I do, it's going to be in practice and at home, just hitting shots. But that's certainly not what I'm playing out there, this is just trying to win a golf tournament.

Q. I just wondered if you could tell a good green jacket story. I mean, there was that story about how you fell asleep with it on or holding it, and I'm just trying to get a sense of --
TIGER WOODS: I didn't fall asleep.

Q. Passed out?
TIGER WOODS: Thank you (laughter).

Q. For example, did you know when you won that you were allowed to take the jacket home with you for the year?

Q. And what exactly did happen?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I remember the guys who have won, they've always said the jacket shrinks over the years. I don't know if it actually shrinks. Guys just might fill out a little bit more (laughter). So yeah, my jacket is just a touch big.

Q. It still is?
TIGER WOODS: Still is, yeah, still is a little bit big. It always feels good to put it on, even though it is a touch big.

Q. It's a 46L if I remember?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's 44L.

Q. When you go back to the club, the last time you do or whatever, beyond Masters week, do you have it on then?
TIGER WOODS: No, I would never wear it. The only time we wear it is for the champions' dinner. Even if I win the tournament and I have it home in my closet, I never put it on.

Q. Has it been outside your house ever, either in '97, '01, '02, '05?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's just kind of nice to wake up in the morning, put your clothes on and see this green jacket sitting there and then off you go to start your day.

Q. I know it's a simple explanation, but why does it have such a mystique of all the trophies you get in golf?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just so different. As champions you get the clubhouse trophy with everyone's signature on it, which is pretty cool. But I think it's just the history of it, just that everyone has worn a green jacket, and you go in that locker room -- I think that's it more than anything. It's more symbolic than anything else. But being able to go into that locker room and to hang out when Mr. Nelson was alive and Mr. Sarazen was alive, Mr. Snead, to be able to hang out with those guys and have them tell you story after story after story.
I remember my first champions' dinner, I'm hosting it in '98, and I'm sitting next to Ben Crenshaw and Mr. Nelson. So we start talking about how you hold a club and blah blah blah. At the time I was changing my grip a little bit, and Mr. Nelson says, "This is how I hold it." We have knives out. "This is how I hold it. Back in 1934 I changed it to this," and I'm thinking, '34, that's a long time ago. And Ben says, "No, you've got to hold it like a dove" and the whole deal and the feel and the flow. He's got a knife in his hand. That was pretty neat.
To me that's more special than anything else, to be able to go into the champions' locker room and the champions' dinner, to hear the stories of a bygone era.

Q. Do you get pictures of all of you sitting there in your green jacket?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we do.

Q. Keep them all?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I do.

Q. On that mystique factor, do you feel a little bit for Greg Norman in that I know he'll be back next year but the fact that he can't go into that champions' locker room?
TIGER WOODS: I do. It's amazing, for someone who's had such a great career and come so close, you almost feel like he has won the tournament, even though he hasn't, because he's been there so many times. I don't know how many second place finishes, but he's been so close so many times, and it's hard to believe he's not in the locker room. Of all the great champions you would think that you would be the one, especially that golf course because it sets up so well for him.

Q. Are you looking forward to seeing him again?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, no doubt, I think we all are. Hopefully it's not his last time, but it might be.
DOUG MILNE: Tiger, thanks for your time.

End of FastScripts

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