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April 30, 2009

Tiger Woods


JOHN BUSH: Tiger Woods joins us here at the Quail Hollow Championship. Tiger, 7-under 65. You picked up right where you left off in 2007. Just comments on a great round.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, a couple years ago, huh? You know, I hit the ball actually not bad today. I hit a couple loose shots here and there, but I really putted well. I had a couple key saves, made a nice little up-and-down at 2 and just a really good save at 4 that kept the round going. It's always nice when you birdie the last three.

Q. With the driver it looked like you had a few that were left and left and left last time out, and today they were manageable and controllable down the right side, which must be a lot more gratifying when you can kind of anticipate that.
TIGER WOODS: Augusta was a little bit frustrating because I was struggling with a two-way miss. I could hit it left and right. If I have it going one way or the other, it's not so bad. You can kind of figure out a way how to play a golf course.
Today, as I said, I hit the ball solid all day, just a couple loose shots here and there. But it was nice actually to hit -- I putted the same as I did at Augusta but this time they went in instead of lipping out.

Q. Before you got your putter going on your back nine, you made a couple great par saves with flop shots and things. Was that a beneficiary of just time off, or is that where you're seeing the silver lining in that eight-month --
TIGER WOODS: No doubt, I hit a lot of pitch shots and chip shots. That's all I could do for a long time. My overall short game is certainly more refined than it has been. That's just because that's the only thing I could do. I was out for such a long time that it was nice to actually work on some shots. I had forgotten a few of my shots, and I was able to dig those things up and dust them off and practice them again.

Q. The last two weeks have you been anxious to get back and play again, or did it take a while to flush Augusta out of your system?
TIGER WOODS: It probably took a few days. I wasn't all that pleased, especially finishing how I did, 17 and 18, especially when I thought I had a chance to post a number, and I didn't do it. That was frustrating.
Yeah, it took a few days, and then once that was over, it was back to getting ready for this event, and the last week and a half was spent in good practice sessions.

Q. In years past, certainly since '01, even when you haven't won Augusta and people go, "oh, my God, he didn't win Augusta," you still come back and have pretty much had a pretty good rest of the year. How much is it to you mentally disappointing and how much do you linger on not winning Augusta, and does it carry over for you for the rest of the year?
TIGER WOODS: As I said when I just answered Ron's question, yeah, it carried on for a few days, but again, you get ready for the next event. Just because you don't win the Masters doesn't mean you can't win other events the rest of the year. I just didn't win one particular week. Does it feel good? No, it never does. But that doesn't mean you can't have good years.
In 2000 I had a pretty good year that year and I didn't win the Masters, either.

Q. You mentioned outside about the rough not being as high. You didn't have to play as conservatively as in years past. Can you elaborate on that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you could get it down there and you could control the ball coming out of the rough. But then again, these fairways, I've never seen them this fast, either. They are cut downgrain, and marginal shots are staying in the fairways, so they're running through. Jim and DT hit some good shots out there today that rolled right in the rough, and it looked like they were good shots.
But it's playable, and the only thing is it'll bait you into being more aggressive into some of these flags. You've just got to be careful on that.

Q. Kind of along those lines, when you went through the fairway on say 10 or 11, is it a jolt from past experience to get up to your ball and see it -- 18, for example, see it really in pretty good shape?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, normally as you said on 10 and 18, it's just a -- 10, you're automatically thinking just lay it down there short of that bunker and wedge it on. Today I actually took a chance at it and tried to go for the green.
18, yeah, I had a great lie. Normally you don't have that opportunity there. Usually it's four- or five- inch rough over there in that little hollow. So it plays differently. You can hit different shots, but then again, as I said, you can get -- you're going at some of those flags you probably shouldn't.

Q. Why is there then only one guy at 7? In other words, no one at 6 or 5 or more low scoring? Is that a product of greens?
TIGER WOODS: The greens, yeah. The pins are I won't say the most difficult, but they're definitely testy, and these greens have got some speed to them on some of the pin locations. You miss the ball above the hole, it's got some speed to it. Luckily enough I was able to put the ball below the hole most of the day and had uphill putts.

Q. How much do you crunch numbers after a tournament or look at stats and fairways, greens, putts, and how much do you base your practice on that, or is it just more about how you're feeling?
TIGER WOODS: Usually Hank just tells me or Stevie tells me. I don't. I have an idea, and generally my idea is right but not all the time. Stevie runs the numbers all the time, so does Hank, and I don't. I figure I'll just play. I'm more of a feel player in that regard. I know what I need to work on, I just need to go do it. But sometimes I can miss a spot here and there, and that's something that it's nice to have Hank and Stevie because I've never been one who actually looks at all these stats. Maybe I should. But thankfully I have those two.

Q. Following up on something you told Sands outside about being able to practice after the round and how long it had been since you've been able to do that, could you sort of go back over --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, my last practice session, except for Augusta that one round, was the British Open 2007.

Q. And you did it again yesterday after your pro-am?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've had two practice sessions basically since then.

Q. I would think that the ability to go out there and kind of correct immediately would be advantageous.
TIGER WOODS: No doubt, no doubt. That's what we do. We usually practice after the round, warm up, play, then practice. And I haven't been able to do that. One, my leg wasn't very good for a long period of time. And then when I was coming back this year I didn't do it just because you just want to get off of it, ice it, elevate it, make sure everything is okay for the next day.
But now I'm able to start doing these things. As I said earlier this week, I'm starting to feel a little bit more explosive, a little more pop in the body in general. I had the strength, but I just didn't have the explosiveness in the body yet, and that's coming, which is very exciting, because I'm starting to feel how I used to feel when I play.

Q. I can't quite make the distinction between those two --
TIGER WOODS: Because you don't play (laughter).

Q. Because I have no strength or explosiveness?
TIGER WOODS: There you go, perfect.

Q. Could you separate those two?
TIGER WOODS: No, I'm not going to.

Q. Is it just ball speed?
TIGER WOODS: There you go. Sounds good (laughter).

Q. You struggled on the greens at Doral and then had a good putting week at Bay Hill, Augusta not so good and now today. Do you do anything different between those tournaments? Are you doing the same thing every tournament and sometimes they just don't go in? And where is the frustration?
TIGER WOODS: Well, at Doral I didn't hit good putts, not consistently. I hit some good putts where the speed was just off, but it wasn't quite right. At Bay Hill I putted really good, and at the Masters I was hitting my lines but evidently I was hitting the wrong line. But I was hitting my lines. So these practice sessions this past week and a half was basically the same, just hey, continue doing what you're doing because you're hitting good putts. It's just a matter of seeing a few balls go in the hole. I made a couple putts early today.

Q. The HSBC, prize money and victory are unofficial on this TOUR but official on the European Tour. Seems like a bit of a mish-mash. I was wondering about your thoughts on that.
TIGER WOODS: I didn't know. Is it?

Q. You're playing in it.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, but is it -- it's official on the European Tour?

Q. I think so, yeah.
TIGER WOODS: Well, is their Race to Dubai after HSBC?

Q. Yeah.
TIGER WOODS: That makes more sense then. Our season is done. Our TOUR Championship is done, so our FedExCup race is done, which is like their Race to Dubai. So obviously it fits more into their schedule than it does ours.

Q. The forecast calls for winds reaching up to about 20 miles an hour each of the next two days. Could you talk about how much tougher that would make the course out there?
TIGER WOODS: It would, no doubt, because it doesn't just blow here, it swirls. It'll get in here and swirl all over the place. We've had years that it's been like that and it's been very difficult to pull clubs. We saw the dots for tomorrow, just a little bit more difficult than they are today. You get some windy conditions, it's going to be tough to get the ball close. As we all know, wind dries these greens out, and they're moving already, so it'll be quite a test if the wind blows.

Q. A lot has changed for you on and off the course since you won here in 2007. Does that almost feel like you were a different person because so much has happened since then?
TIGER WOODS: You're right, yeah. It's been -- it's hard to imagine -- Elin and I talked about it the other day, it's hard to imagine life without kids. For some reason it's hard to imagine, what did I do with all that free time?

Q. Sleep.
TIGER WOODS: Exactly. Yeah, it's night and day from when I played here last time. But life is so much better now than it was then.

Q. Are they here?
TIGER WOODS: No, they're not here this week.

Q. I was wondering are there any tests left for the knee? I was thinking specifically deeper rough or deep rough, or have you passed everything?
TIGER WOODS: No, I haven't dunked yet, so I'm looking forward to that (laughter).
No, golf is not -- hitting balls out of rough or awkward lies, that's past me now. Now it's just about building what I have now and making sure it doesn't ever swell. I can recover from day-to-day, which I have. I haven't had any setbacks yet. As I said, it's exciting to be able to go out and practice again and not have to worry about it. Before I didn't do it because I didn't know how it would react for the next day. I'd probably be doing more harm than good by going out and practicing.

Q. Are you getting more length back or was it more of a product of who you were playing with?
TIGER WOODS: No, I'm getting my length back a little bit. I'm able to carry the ball just a little bit further. Not much, but just a little bit.

Q. Did you change shafts in your driver?
TIGER WOODS: I did, yes.

Q. To what? A different weight?
TIGER WOODS: It's exactly the same weight, just a different company.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through real quick, the birdie on No. 12.
TIGER WOODS: Birdie on 12, I hit a 3-wood off the tee, a 6-iron to about 15 feet and made it.
1, I hit a driver and a sand wedge to about a foot.
3, I hit a 3-wood and a 6-iron to about 12 feet, made it.
5, I hit a 3-wood and a 3-wood just short of the green, pitched up to about six feet and made it.
7 was a driver and a 5-iron to about 30 feet and two-putted.
8 was a driver and a bad chip to about 15 feet short of the hole, made it.
And then 9 was a driver and a 6-iron to, again, about 15 feet, made it.
JOHN BUSH: Thanks for coming by.

End of FastScripts

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