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July 3, 2009

Tiger Woods


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome AT&T National tournament host and current clubhouse leader Tiger Woods into the media center. Thanks for joining us for a few minutes. 4-under 66 today, good enough to take that clubhouse lead. I heard you outside, you commented that you didn't feel like you struck the ball well. You scored well. Can you just kind of elaborate on that and kind of a few general comments as you head into the weekend.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I didn't drive the ball as well as I did yesterday or hit my irons as crisp. Either I hit it pretty close to the hole, within 10 feet, or I was missing greens. So it was a little bit of two ends today. It was nice to actually get a score out of it. I didn't shoot myself in the foot and had a stretch there from basically 17 through 3 where I didn't really hit the ball all that well but somehow was able to get through it and keep the momentum of the round going.

Q. When you play four rounds of golf in a tournament, do you typically feel like there is going to be always one round like where you're not quite on, and is that the key to winning the golf tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, absolutely. Even the tournaments where I've gone pretty low and I've -- a couple tournaments where I've shot 25 under, there's always that one day where you didn't really feel as good as the others. But sometimes those days you actually may score lower. It's just weird how that -- today I hit the ball a little bit scratchy at times, but I putted better. I felt better with the putter today, hit a lot of good putts, easy tap-ins or I was making them.
The game is kind of weird that way. Yesterday I didn't really miss a shot, and I shot -6, but today even though I was at -4, it could have been just a little bit lower, I guess.

Q. Is the course firming up a little bit more to your liking? You mentioned it was a little soft due to the rain.
TIGER WOODS: It's still soft. We can't do anything about that. They didn't water the golf course. But yeah, it was still soft. The greens are still -- you've got to be careful ripping the ball back with some of the shorter irons. You've got to hit a little bit -- maybe take one more club and hit a little bit of a softer shot in there to take the spin off.
Fairways are starting to get a little bit faster, but still, they're still pretty soft. It's sprinkling right now. Nothing we can do about that.
As far as the pins today, the pins were a little bit more difficult today, so if the greens would have been even firmer, it would have been a pretty good test.

Q. A lot of mid to low 60s rounds. Do you expect to see more of that this afternoon?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm sure. If the wind stays up, then someone is going to shoot probably -- a good round is going to be between 1- and 4- or 5-under par. That would be a pretty good round. But if the wind dies down, then you're going to see guys probably between 2- and 6-under par. It'll shift a little bit.

Q. Can you describe the chip shot you had at 2, and then what happened with the approach on 3 and saving par there?
TIGER WOODS: 2, I pulled my tee shot up there on the hill. The only reason why I was able to get that close is it was downgrain. It was sitting decent, but it was downgrain, so I could actually get some club on it. I was able to spin the golf ball. Won't do that next year, but I was able to do it this year.
As far as No. 3, 3 was just a bad shot. I was trying to hit the ball either right at the flag if not just a little bit right of it and use the ridge, and I just stuck it straight in the ground and hit it way right.

Q. There's a good chance you and Anthony Kim could end up duking this thing out this weekend. Is that something you're looking forward to yourself?
TIGER WOODS: If that happens, it happens. I have one more round to go and position myself, and he's got two more rounds. We've got a long way to go before that happens. But right now the leaderboard looks pretty good. We'll see what Anthony does this afternoon. He could stretch the lead out, go right on past us, or hover where he's at right now. We'll see what happens.

Q. That little dead-hand wedge at 8, was that a shot that you liked?
TIGER WOODS: Hmm, I had 78 yards, which is a little bit off of a 60-degree sand wedge, but I actually went with my normal sand wedge on that and hit it even softer to take the spin off. These greens are too receptive and too steep. I would have had to throw that ball past the hole and I can't really control how much it's going to spin back, so I just went with a soft little regular sand wedge.

Q. On 11 you got into a bunker on the right. I was at the green at the time, I didn't see if you mis-hit that, just laying up? Can you --
TIGER WOODS: No, I caught the lip coming out. I tried to hit a 3-iron out of there, and I hit it flush, just didn't get it up fast enough, and I caught the lip coming out and it didn't go very far.

Q. Looking back, would you have done that different?
TIGER WOODS: I hit a good shot, just maybe I could have gone with a 4-iron or 5-iron and played well short of the green. But it was 189 to the front, and I figured a 3-iron would actually get me to the front edge, maybe just a little bit on. I couldn't hit it anywhere near the flag, but at least give myself a chance to get on the green where I could putt it.

Q. A few months ago you talked about recovering from your knee surgery, and you've a won a couple times since then. I wonder where you feel like you're at. Do you feel like you're all the way back?
TIGER WOODS: Physically I'm fine. I'm actually probably better than I have been in over ten years. I haven't had an ACL in a long time.

Q. In terms of the shot-making, the feel and that sort of thing?
TIGER WOODS: That came back within probably a couple months of playing. Once I was able to start practicing after rounds is when it really started to come back.

Q. We were debating a little bit earlier about your best shot that we've ever witnessed. We were debating maybe the bunker shot during the final round of Hazeltine --
TIGER WOODS: That was best shot I've hit, yes. (Laughter.) That was a good shot (smiling). And I made the putt, too.

Q. And secondly, you're pretty much a murderer from this position. When you go home tonight and sit down over your meal, do you sort of enjoy, relish the fact that everybody is thinking you're --
TIGER WOODS: No, more than anything I would just be like I always do, just try and get ready for tomorrow and make sure I'm mentally and physically ready. Hopefully get some rest and be ready to go come tomorrow.
I need to hit the ball better than I did today, just clean up my round, and if I can get hitting the ball like I did yesterday and putt like I did today, we'll be looking all right.

Q. On the home front, are you starting to play any games or do any kind of drills to develop Sam's and Charlie's hand-eye skills?
TIGER WOODS: No, Sam is only two, and Charlie is just -- I think he just found his feet yesterday (laughter).

Q. I know you said you were a little scratchy today, but by and large, after that three-week break that you had from THE PLAYERS, your ball-striking has been just really good, and your body seems to be getting out of the way, clearing. What were the adjustments that you made, and did it take a long time to find? Did you have to tweak things to get it to that point?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Hank and I did some work at home, but more than anything, we were able to actually do serious work. I felt that I had the ability to go ahead and start having the same long practice sessions like we used to, and if I wasn't hitting the ball well, we'd be out there all day. And I was able to do that repeatedly.
That's how I was able to change my golf swing working with Hank and get it going. I felt that physically I could handle -- I won't say the punishment, but just the rigors of practicing that long day after day after day after day and still be able to recover. I could do that a couple months ago or actually a month ago, but I couldn't recover from day-to-day.

Q. So after THE PLAYERS is when you felt physically --
TIGER WOODS: I felt physically good enough to say, okay, we can stay out here all day.

Q. And you had three weeks' break?
TIGER WOODS: Exactly, now we can do some work.

Q. We're doing a story on the economy and I'd like you to talk about how you have created a family-friendly event by allowing people during this recession to come and bring their kids without charging the kids.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I mean, we want to have kids come out here and enjoy golf. A lot of these kids may not have an opportunity to ever be on a golf course or play golf. This is their introduction to the game, and we want it to be memorable. We want them to come out.
A lot like what happened -- we don't want to have what happened at Yankee Stadium. Tickets are so overpriced that you can't bring the family. We want to have everyone come out and enjoy being in a family atmosphere, walk around, have a good time and not have it cost an arm and a leg.

Q. Continuing on that theme, do you have any idea what this tournament has done to the traffic here on River Road?
TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, I was hoping I could get to my tee time yesterday.

Q. 45 minutes for me from the Beltway to the parking lot.
TIGER WOODS: That's about right. It took me 30 minutes yesterday, and I was -- I started my routine later than I normally would.

Q. In the future, when you come back in two years, do you think this is some issue that might have to be addressed, a different way to get people into the golf tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't know how the USGA is going to do it. I don't know where they're going to put the parking lots and how they do all their lot accesses. But I'm sure they'll address it.

Q. What about when you come back with your tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Well, we'll probably do the same plan the USGA did. I'm sure, looking at most of their events, they run pretty smoothly, and maybe we can piggy-back on that.

Q. Have you had a chance yet, or will you, to see any clips of Turnberry, be it Watson, Nicklaus, Price?
TIGER WOODS: I haven't seen them yet. I'll probably see it next week when I'm at home. But from what I hear, they've changed a few holes, as well. I don't know what holes they've changed, but maybe get an idea of that first before I took a look at it.

Q. What stories have you heard about Watson, Nicklaus?
TIGER WOODS: I've seen the highlights. I think everyone has seen that. But I haven't seen it obviously in a while, and I haven't seen what Pricey did there in a while, as well. More than anything, depends on the camera angles, what they show you, what they're able to show you. I'll take a look at it.

Q. I'm trying to get a sense of how much you love golf, not tournament golf but golf itself. How do you think that stacks up to Arnie?
TIGER WOODS: I'm not anywhere near in the same league as Arnold when it comes to playing golf. I don't play anywhere near that much.
I love playing, but when I'm at home, it's more of preparing. I'll go out there and I'll play, but it's preparing for the next event. I rarely ever go out and just play just to play. Arnold used to do that all the time and still does.
I enjoy going out and practicing, playing 9 or 18 and testing what I just worked on. But that's just how I've always done it.

Q. But you also don't seem like the type who's interested in knocking off a Golf Digest Top 100 list. Have you played Pine Valley?
TIGER WOODS: I've never been. There's a few golf courses I've never played up there. I've never played Pine Valley, never played Seminole, Merion. I don't play golf on my vacations. I get away from it and I'm at home. I'd never, ever have a golfing vacation because it's not interesting for me to go out there and do that.

Q. They'd comp you, though, wouldn't they?
TIGER WOODS: Maybe (smiling).

Q. You talked earlier about how you've struggled a little bit today in the middle of your round. Were there certain key swing thoughts or thoughts that you go to in the middle of a round to try to right the ship that you've gone to over the years?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I knew what I was doing, I just wouldn't quit doing it. You know, after I hit a good drive down 4 -- I'd say a good drive down 3, terrible iron shot, but at least I hit a good drive down there. From then on I just tried to make sure I made the same swing as I did on that tee shot. For the most part I did that coming home.

Q. When you're out on the course during a round, every fairway you walk you have people yelling to you. Are you ever tempted to react more to fans than you do?
TIGER WOODS: No, no. I'm trying to shoot the lowest score I possibly can, and that's -- I'm competing and I'm working on shooting a round that will enable me to win a championship.

Q. You've kind of played around a little bit, added some loft to your driver, added some different shafts, talked about the tweener shot with your driver yesterday that you're starting to hit a little bit of. I'm wondering about your thoughts on kind of those shots, how important they are to your game right now and if there's anything that sort of prompted those sort of little changes or tweaks?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I know that from testing if I went to a different lofted driver or a different shaft, I could get significantly more yardage out of it. But I lose the ability to shape the golf ball and lose the ability to really, I feel, control the golf ball when the wind is blowing. This driver has a little bit more loft to it, so any time you have more loft you're able to control the golf ball a little bit better.
I just feel that I can work the golf ball and control it, different trajectories and shapes. And when the wind blows I'm able to do that, and I wasn't able to do that before.
DOUG MILNE: If you would just run us through your birdies and give us some clubs and yardage as best you can.
TIGER WOODS: We'll start on 10, how I started. I bogeyed 11, hit a driver and a 3-iron short, hit a 7-iron up there to about 40 feet and two-putted.
13, I hit a 5-iron to about four feet right of the hole and made it.
15, I hit a 3-wood and an 8-iron to about three feet.
16, I hit a driver and a 5-wood to about 40 feet and two-putted.
1, hit driver into the right bunker, hit a pitching wedge up there to about six feet and made it.
8, I hit a driver and a sand wedge to about three feet.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for your time. Best of luck on the weekend.

End of FastScripts

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