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May 9, 2009
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
Q. So you finally got a break at 18, huh, your second shot?
TIGER WOODS: That was -- yeah, unfortunately I had turned it just a touch, and I was trying to hit a straight ball to a little bit of a holder and I just turned it. So I came out just a little bit warmer than I wanted it to.
Q. How fast did you have?
TIGER WOODS: 600.
Q. Could you tell from the cheers what was going on?
TIGER WOODS: No, we didn't see any splash, so that was good. I figured probably it would end up in the bunker, but it was fine where it was at.
Q. Similar to yesterday's shot at all?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we had one step. It was actually one yard away from where it was yesterday, I could see the divot there.
Q. How about the left-handed shot, you hit that quite nicely?
TIGER WOODS: I don't have any problem hitting the ball left-handed. Unfortunately I had to hit it left-handed. So I actually hit it too good and I was stimied there for my third shot.
Fortunately I made 6 on a hole that I should have been making 4.
Q. Johnny Miller said you looked like a 14 handicap?
TIGER WOODS: Coming from him that's pretty good, I guess.
Q. You said yesterday the way the pins were set that there would be a chance to go low if you hit the right slopes. You were pretty even most of the day and making a steady climb. What was it about the course?
TIGER WOODS: It dried out. These greens got really dry and really crusty. The shots just weren't holding. Before, yeah, they were fast, but they weren't as springy as this. They're not putting a whole lot of the water on of these greens.
Q. How long did it take you to figure that out?
TIGER WOODS: It didn't start drying out until about 9. The leaders I'm sure have been playing with it all day.
Q. Was it frustrating about the way things were going, to really, really hang in there, knowing what would transpire --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I just kept saying if I keep plodding along, not coming back, that's the whole idea, just making pars, par after par. If I happen to sprinkle in a birdie that would be fine. But I made a few bogeys out there and thought it would have been a little bit better.
Q. Does the knee hurt at all?
TIGER WOODS: If I would have kept the round cleaner than I did --
Q. Are you surprised to be this close with you've been expressing your levels of frustration, it's been a little unpredictable how it's going. And you somehow put three straight under par rounds together on a hard track?
TIGER WOODS: Just grinding it out. This is basically our fifth major, and that's how it's playing. It's playing just like a major championship. It's fast, it's hard, it's dry. And you just have to keep plodding along.
Q. When you're on the tee with a wood do you feel confident?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. If you look at the way that -- you said okay, I'm playing this way, this first three rounds, did you think you would potentially be 2 shots over the lead on the third round?
A. No, just because there were so many guys at 7-under par. You figured some of the guys would shoot 3- or 4-under par today. But it's just like it's not happening out there.
For it to start changing on the back nine. They have to play more holes that way. The shot I hit on 13 I thought it was a great shot, and it still went over the green. It just gives you an idea of how fast the greens are getting. 17, you put that ball on the top shelf, it's going to be hard to keep the ball within four or five feet past the hole.
Q. When you're struggling, do you always feel that you're one hole, one shot away from figuring it out?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, if I have an understanding of my misses, yeah, I can figure it out. Sometime you don't. It's a little frustrating. But this week I have an idea of what I need to do, it's just a matter of doing it when I do it properly.
Q. Are you close in that regard?
TIGER WOODS: I'm not that far off. Look at so far my rounds since I've come back and played again, I really haven't been that far off. But I just haven't been as consistent as I was before my injury.
Q. When you're starting from behind, Tiger, is the greater deficit strokes or number of players?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you need to have both. Both is nice. Luckily there aren't a whole lot of guys. Usually this leaderboard is pretty packed. But today the golf course being this fast has kind of spread out the field.
Q. Was this week attributable as much to stubbornness and tenacity as anything you're doing with 14 clubs, just fighting through it and grinding it out?
TIGER WOODS: That's how you're supposed to play, isn't it?
Q. Sometimes stubbornness and tenacity you don't need necessarily need when you're up by 20?
TIGER WOODS: I always play that way.
Q. How crucial was it finishing birdie, birdie, par?
TIGER WOODS: It was. I made a mistake at 15, leaving that second shot to the right, fat and off the toe, and it's the only place you can't put it. You have to put that ball left of the hole. And made bogey there. I just kept saying if I birdie just one of the last three holes, that would be nice. Just kept me kind of on the periphery of in this tournament of having birdied 17, and it looks like the guys have come back a shot, since I made that bogey on 15.
Q. The 47 footer, that putt, did that give you confidence?
TIGER WOODS: On 6?
TIGER WOODS: I got a nice little read from Daniel. It was a double breaking putt, left-to-right and right-to-left at the end. Daniel hit a great putt, it should have gone it in, but it fell a little to the right. I didn't see that, so, got a little assist from Daniel.
Q. Was the tree in your way on 11 on your third shot?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, big time. I couldn't have gone over and gotten it to the green.
Q. And then on your left-hand side, what was your target for that, and did you just start --
TIGER WOODS: I was trying to either put the ball in the bunker or in the fairway. Because I had a good lie so I can pitch and wedge. So I can go ahead and hit it pretty clean.
Q. It came out hotter than you wanted?
TIGER WOODS: It landed on the fairway, but it's hard to spin the ball left-handed.
Q. The grooves are going the wrong way?
TIGER WOODS: Exactly.
Q. Do you practice left-handed?
TIGER WOODS: I don't have a problem hitting shots left-handed, no.
Q. How slick was the putt on 17?
TIGER WOODS: It was, it was really fast. I played almost a foot and a half of break there, that little short putt. And I was joking with Stevie, thank goodness I'm wearing spikes. At least I can hold myself on that slope.
Q. Anything special you're going to work on tonight?
TIGER WOODS: No, I'm just going to go home and relax and just kick my feet up and get ready for tomorrow.
Q. What was the last time you hit a left-handed shot?
TIGER WOODS: Probably last week.
Q. Do you feel confident in the knee, is there any pain at all?
TIGER WOODS: No, zero.
Q. How often would you practice around with a left-handed shot?
TIGER WOODS: We do all the time at home. It's a contest, closest to the hole, stuff like that. Usually it's around the greens and try to take money off your buddies or stuff like that.
Q. You haven't had a top-10 in a few years, is this the best you've been playing at this event in the last few years?
TIGER WOODS: I think so. I can certainly sense a change. It's nice to get back out here and play a golf course this fast, I really enjoy it. I think this is how we've always thought this golf course should be played is hard and fast. And it's playing that way.
Even the guys back in '99 when David won, the guys weren't really complaining it was hard and fast. We like that. We just don't like it when it's super soft and picking up mud balls.
Q. How fun was 17, making birdie?
TIGER WOODS: It was nice to make birdie and get myself up the board a little bit more. The atmosphere is nice, I'm just trying to block that out and make your putt.
End of FastScripts