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April 29, 2009

Tiger Woods


Q. What was it like playing with Peyton?
TIGER WOODS: It's always good. We've played a bunch of times, and he's gotten better. You can see he's been playing all summer, actually all winter. Now it's time for him to start focusing on football.

Q. What's your favorite Peyton Manning TV commercial?
TIGER WOODS: It's hard to say. He does such a great job on all of them. His funny personality comes through because all you do is see him on the field. You see him focusing on what he does on the field leading his team all the time. You don't get to see the side that we see. His commercials are on outlet for him to express that.

Q. The same could be said for you.
TIGER WOODS: A lot of us are like that, and people see different sides to you.

Q. The Masters over, at what point do you hit U.S. Open mode?
TIGER WOODS: Probably took me a couple days. Just wanted to go over what happened there and make sure I thought about what I did right and wrong and analyze it and prepare and start game planning for the Open.

Q. What was the longer list?
TIGER WOODS: In what way?

Q. Of the right and wrong.
TIGER WOODS: A lot of right, a lot of right. I wasn't that far off. It was just enough off, and I didn't putt well until Sunday. That obviously was something that kept me from winning the tournament.

Q. You were frustrated afterward, but do you ever put it into perspective, you've got three Top 10s in stroke play plus a win. Given what you went through, three Top 10s plus a win, that's pretty good. Do you look at it that way?
TIGER WOODS: I've had people remind me to look at it that way (laughter). I have a hard time looking at it that way. It's just the nature of how I am. You want to try and win every event you play in, and obviously I haven't done that this year, but I've had some success this year. Sometimes it's hard to look at it that way. Even the years that I've won nine times, eight times in a year, you still look at all the times you didn't win.

Q. There was some speculation because you were a little cranky at times at Augusta about Hank and your status and his future. I was wondering whether that was just asinine speculation.
TIGER WOODS: That's complete speculation. It has nothing to do with Henry. I didn't hit the ball the way I wanted to and I didn't make any putts. I felt like that every day. It was 17 and 18 that hurt. I didn't finish off my rounds the last couple days, and it cost me a chance to win the golf tournament.

Q. So he just happened to be standing there when you were at the point of frustration as much as anything?
TIGER WOODS: No, I mean, usually you just leave me alone, let me vent for a while and then I'll be ready to focus on what I need to do to get ready for the next day. It's happened before, he's seen it before, Stevie has seen it. You've got to vent. We don't get a chance to do that because we come off the green, we do media right away. You're constantly on, and I just need to vent for just a little bit. Give me five minutes, ten minutes, and once that's over, it's what do we need to do to get ready to win this golf tournament the next day.

Q. Are you about where you need to be at this stage?
TIGER WOODS: I'm ahead, because I didn't think that -- looking back on it, I didn't think I'd be playing pain-free in my knee, just because of what I went through and all the rehab. It wasn't fun. It was long days of just not feeling very good at all, and to come out here and do whatever I wanted to do, hit shots however I wanted to hit them and not have to worry about it, certainly ahead of schedule.

Q. What about swing-wise and then the competitive side?
TIGER WOODS: I'm just now starting to get my pop back. I'm starting to get my speed back, and that's obviously going to take a little time. I've been away from the game for such a long time, and I haven't been able to hit as many balls. So I'm just now starting to get my speed back, which is great.

Q. I don't understand why that takes so long to come back.
TIGER WOODS: It's the same thing. It's rotation. Your ACL, you try and not go into rotation. You don't want to stretch out the ligament again. It's still healing. It takes basically two years. But it's still healing, still got to watch out for that, and my muscles are now starting to come around where they're starting to become more explosive.

Q. Would you have thought you would have won by now?
TIGER WOODS: I was hoping. Realistically when I first came back, I was hoping just to get back in contention before Augusta, and when I did, I actually won a tournament. That was a nice bonus.

Q. Did you consider the final round at the Masters to be fun? You got in the mix, you were one shot back at one point, the crowd obviously with Phil was quite the scene.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was great for 16 holes. I was having a great time out there (laughing). The last couple holes, obviously I didn't really hit a bad drive on 17, I just pulled it just enough with the wind coming off the right. It didn't cut back, and up the left side is dead now. I made bogey there and I made bogey at 18. It's just like all that work to get into contention, if I just could have gotten one more and posted one more, posted 11, just hoping that that would have been good enough to get into a playoff, but who knows.

Q. When you say you're still continuing to heal, when you decided to come back, was it based upon you and how you felt, or did your doctor say I think you're ready to come back?
TIGER WOODS: Doctor said I was ready to go. It was just a matter of everything becoming explosive again. That's going to take a while. That's going to take time. I'm starting to feel that now, which is great.

Q. On days like this where you share the stage with another person who's a name, an icon, what is that like for you to be sharing the spotlight?
TIGER WOODS: I don't care what it is, we just had fun. Whether it's Peyton or when I played out here with MJ, we have fun, and that's the thing, these guys are my friends, and it's great to play with friends. We don't get a chance to do it very often with our schedules, and seasons overlapping at the wrong times, so when we do get an opportunity like that, it's fun. It's trash talking the entire day.

Q. He said it's not fair because he's always on your turf.
TIGER WOODS: This is true (laughter), very true. Keep it that way.

Q. Is your pre-round and post-round the same now, with the recovery, as it was at the beginning?
TIGER WOODS: Define beginning.

Q. Well, when you came back.
TIGER WOODS: No, not even close.

Q. Can you just give us an idea of how much less you have to do now?
TIGER WOODS: I can actually hit balls after a round now, which is nice.

Q. When did that start?
TIGER WOODS: After Augusta.

Q. You've made a lot of life changes the last two, three years. How has having kids helped you? I assume it has.
TIGER WOODS: It puts things into perspective really fast, you know? You have days where you're just not feeling very good, especially during my rehab process, or you have a bad day on the golf course. You go home, and I see Sam smiling, and you forget everything you did that day. I think that's -- and to be able to teach, I love to teach, and to be able to teach Sam and as soon as I can start teaching Charlie a few things, that's fun. I live to be able to do that.
Each and every day is -- like my dad always told me, each and every day is a way to teach your kids something new. He's always done that. My entire life he always looked at each and every day as that, and I do the same with my kids.

Q. How is Cheyenne liking Wake Forest?
TIGER WOODS: She loves it. They just won ACC, so they're doing well, and regionals is coming up. Right now she's going through finals, which is not fun, but she's playing better and she's getting accustomed to college life being away from home and across the country, so it's been a little bit of a change but she's doing great.

Q. Do you think it was important for her to get off on her own, maybe not go to Stanford where you went?
TIGER WOODS: If you look at her in general, she's extremely smart. For her to go to Wake and play golf and her studies, she gets straight As, so she's just a well-rounded person. But she was going to be successful anywhere she went, whether -- I was hoping she'd go to Stanford, but she chose the East Coast.

Q. In the three years you've been here, have you seen the rough this short?
TIGER WOODS: I've never seen it this short. I've seen it short in spots because of bad weather, and they haven't had the right growing conditions, but this is consistent. It's filled in and is just short.

Q. What does that lead to?
TIGER WOODS: It just means that it's going to run. I've never seen fairways this fast, though. Balls that I hit borderline on the fairway aren't going to stay in the fairway and they're going to run, and then guys who land the ball in the rough are actually going to run into the pine needles.

Q. Do you buy into the you and Anthony Kim are both defending champions coming back because you didn't play last year?
TIGER WOODS: Well, he's defending, I'm not defending. I'm not the champion, he is. He's defending champion, he played great last year, and that was his first win. You know, he's just got all the talent in the world, and it's great to see him out here playing well and getting better.

Q. You were up at High Carolina yesterday. Can you just talk about the progress and what you're still seeing in that course?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we're making progress. Just waiting for a few more permits to really get going. But some of the corridors are opened up. We've got some pretty cool ideas, and it's a matter of the permitting, how it goes, which will determine how we decide to go with the golf course. But it's pretty exciting to actually get up there and walk it and be a part of that again.

End of FastScripts

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