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July 5, 2009

Tiger Woods


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Tiger Woods back to the media center. It's been a pretty popular spot for you this week. We welcome him back as the host of the AT&T National and today as the champion of the 2009 AT&T National. You had mentioned how tired you were. You've obviously had a lot going on this week as the host, and at the same time you're trying to win a PGA TOUR event, which you were obviously successful at.
With the win you picked up the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup race, 500 points there, 68th career win, just five away from Jack Nicklaus. Just general thoughts as the week comes to an end and you're holding the title.
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was a long week, but I got the W. I just felt that today starting out with looking at the pin locations that I felt like if I shot something under par it would be good enough, but it wouldn't have been.
What Hunter did today was pretty impressive. I certainly didn't see that score out there. He went out there and put so much pressure on both AK and I. I think he was done when we were on 12, so six holes to go, and at the time I was tied for the lead. It was just like, you can go either way. You can win the tournament or you can lose the tournament from here. Just got to keep plodding along and hopefully maybe sneak one or two birdies coming in and get the title.

Q. Even though he did post a score at 12-under, certainly you knew you had 16 to go and you're at 12. You had just hit a good drive, just missed it left, not a great chip, and talk about that 20-footer. You backed off it. Talk about the importance of that 20-footer.
TIGER WOODS: I hit a good drive and I hit the second shot exactly where I wanted to to give myself an angle that flag. But bad pitch. Just simple. It wasn't that hard. Just straight up the hill. I left it 20 feet short, and I did back off. A guy was taking a picture there, and I refocused. It was about a cup and a half outside left, and just had to make sure I got it up the hill. I figured if it was that slow on the pitch, then it would probably be that slow on the putt. Make sure I get it to the hole.
I got it there, and actually it was breaking left -- it was into the left center of the hole, and at the very end it started going left. It was like, oh, God, just don't lip out now. It went in, and from there I said, okay, now if I can just play the last two holes, fairways and greens, and let's just get the win.

Q. Any more pressure compared with Memorial or Bay Hill just because it's your tournament?
TIGER WOODS: I won't say there's more pressure because of the tournament, I would say there's more pressure because Hunter posted so early. When you post that early on a difficult golf course, a lot of different things can happen. This golf course is not easy, and we only have basically one real birdie chance coming in, which was 16.

Q. Is the desire any different?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's still the same, whether it's my tournament, Jack's, Arnold's, Byron's. It really doesn't matter. You go out there with the same intensity to win.

Q. There was obviously a lot of buzz about your pairing. The fans were excited, Anthony himself was excited. Did today's round feel any more significant for you coming into today than any other way?
TIGER WOODS: No. It was just you knew that you couldn't go backwards. AK right out of the gate got a birdie. Basically a quick birdie, and next thing you know, here we go.
You know, I make a good birdie there at 6 and 7, I misread the putt on 8, and then I don't birdie 9. But then at the time I had, I think, a three-shot lead -- sorry, a two-shot lead. I birdied 10, have a three-shot lead, make bogey, then all of a sudden I'm tied. What the hell happened here? I had a nice little cush to all of a sudden being tied. That's just the way it goes.
As I said to Doug here, there's a lot of holes to go.

Q. Time and time again, we see your opponents crack under pressure on Sundays when they're paired with you. Do you think you have some sort of presence about you that intimidates your opponents? What is it about you that always seems to make them crack on Sunday?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm 6'5", 250, you know (laughter). You just go about your business. The great thing about golf is you just play your own game. You know, you can't physically intimidate anybody. You can't physically influence somebody like what happened to Fed today. In that sport you can. In our sport, you can't. You hit the ball long, you hit the ball short, you have the same chance to shoot a low score.

Q. I know you don't -- it's hole by hole, one shot at a time, all that good stuff. But are you thinking I'm going to have the birdie opportunity on 16, let's kind of keep it in third gear, play error-free golf, maybe pick up one on 16 and then get it in?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was trying to -- once I was tied for the lead after 12, I was hoping I could get one before I got to 16, and then 16 would be my cush. That didn't happen, and I put myself in a spot where I had to make a 20-footer to even give myself a lead. If I don't make that putt, then the last two holes, you can make bogey and lose the golf tournament. So it was an important putt to make.

Q. You looked fairly fatigued on the last few holes. Did you feel fatigued, or was it just a matter of knowing what you had to do and just doing it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was just kind of getting into my own little world. I tend to do that when the situation gets that way. I tend to get wrapped up in what I'm doing and where I need to place the ball, how I need to get it there, and you just get wrapped up in that and you forget what's going on around you.

Q. A quick follow-up. Is there anything about the 11th hole that made it difficult for you this week?
TIGER WOODS: You know what, I found a way to make 5 or worse four different ways. Yeah, beautiful, isn't it?

Q. Versatile.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, great playing. Takes a lot of talent to make 5 four different ways or worse. The funny thing is I didn't feel bad over any tee shot.

Q. It's a hole that sets up for you.
TIGER WOODS: No, the tee shot is pretty easy, and I put one ball in the fairway and still made bogey there. For some reason just one of those holes that just got me for the week.

Q. You were on the putting green when the Wimbledon final finally finished and you didn't get to see it; is that correct?
TIGER WOODS: No, I was on the range.

Q. How long did it take for the news to filter through to you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, at the time I think it was 14-all when we were all on the putting green, and then I went to the range and I heard that he had held and then he broke to win.

Q. So Roger now has bragging rights, he's won 15 Grand Slam titles.
TIGER WOODS: Pretty impressive, isn't it?

Q. Are you looking forward to catching him in two weeks' time?
TIGER WOODS: Hopefully. I mean, hopefully. One good thing is our player career is a little bit longer than theirs (laughter), so I've got one good thing there. But 15 is -- he is the greatest player that's ever played. I've talked to Pete about it, and it's just one of those things where he's so good on any surface. It doesn't matter. If Nadal wasn't around, he'd probably be the best clay courter on the planet. It's pretty impressive what he's done and the humbleness he's done it with.

Q. Do you have any plans to contact him?
TIGER WOODS: I already did.

Q. When?
TIGER WOODS: When I was on the range.

Q. What did you say to him?
TIGER WOODS: "Great job. Now it's my turn." (Laughter.) Not by 15; I meant to win today.

Q. They ran those commercials before he even got the trophy. When did you film it?
TIGER WOODS: We filmed it the week before the U.S. Open for me, so a few weeks ago.

Q. Can we go back to 11 real quick? What happened on the drive and what was that walk like and when did you know it was unplayable?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I saw it from the tee. I saw it go in the hazard from the tee. I was just trying to hit just a low cut up the left side and laid the shaft down and started it to the right, didn't start it on my line. Bad shot.

Q. It looked like you went up and said something to Anthony as you were walking down 18. Can you tell us briefly what it was?
TIGER WOODS: I just said that I enjoyed it, and there will be many more to come. Just keep working hard, and we'll do this for many more years.

Q. Attendance figures way up this week. Part one, what do you account for sort of the bigger buzz around the tournament this year maybe than in years past? And two, what do you kind of do, or does it concern you that some of that slips away from the tournament going to a new venue for two years?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that this week was -- I think overall the weather was perfect, you had obviously the 4th of July and everything kind of coming together with our pro-am with the guys who attended. I got a chance to play with Tony Romo and Justin came out and the Screaming Eagles came in and the Wounded Warriors hitting the tee shots. It was just off to a great start, and I think the buzz started from there.
From then on, looking at the leaderboards we've had, we had some pretty good players up there at the top of the board. That just adds to it.
Unfortunately we have to leave for a couple years and go to Philadelphia, which will be a great market, and on top of that, just an incredible golf course. Aronimink is just a great golf course.
I'll be back here in a couple years to play the U.S. Open, but we'll be back here in three years' time.

Q. I was wondering if you were a tough interview during the ceremony on the green.
TIGER WOODS: Say it again?

Q. I was wondering if you were a tough interview during the ceremony on the green.
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say that, no.

Q. Just back to Federer, it wasn't clear to me, did you speak by phone? Was it a text? I understand you guys text quite often.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we did. We texted. He won the French and I won Memorial, so it was kind of let's do it on the same day, let's do it again today. That would be nice. His are a hell of a lot bigger than mine, though. He won two Slams and I won two TOUR events. Hopefully I can get the majors now.

Q. I don't know if you're aware, but a lot of people were here from Baltimore, not just Washington. Has playing in Baltimore ever been in your consideration?

Q. I mean, like would you use it for an alternate for an event such as the U.S. Open?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know for that, but we certainly considered it, and it just didn't work out.

Q. You went out and played Aronimink before making the call?

Q. Is it long enough, good enough?
TIGER WOODS: It's all you want.

Q. Can you just explain your experiences in Bethesda and the D.C. metro area?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've been here for a number of tournaments. I got a chance to do the pre-inauguration this year. We've been here for The Presidents Cup teams and we've been to the White House and I've visited the White House, as well, on my own. The D.C. area has been pretty fun to be a part of. The only thing I haven't done here is go to a Skins Game yet, but hopefully I can do that down the road.

Q. Timing is everything, but does it cross your mind that you also won your other two tournaments in your final start before a major?
TIGER WOODS: It has now (laughter).

Q. Can you just talk about probably the ideal way to go into a major, just hasn't worked out for the first two?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, hopefully I can play like I did this week and continue to build next week. Our practice sessions, Hank is coming down, hopefully we'll do some good work and continue to build on what we're doing right now.

Q. What do you do practice session wise that's different from the other times?
TIGER WOODS: Just making sure that you can flight your ball and making sure you can maneuver it both ways efficiently because over there you don't know what kind of weather you're going to get. You're going to get years like we had at St. Andrews where it's perfect, or you can get like a Muirfield day or what they had last year at Birkdale. You just don't know, and you have to be able to be confident in controlling your golf ball and maneuvering it all around and feel like you can do it efficiently.

Q. There's been a lot of talk this week about the field, how strong it was, et cetera. What were your thoughts on it? You had good people here and the right people up on the leaderboard. Just your thoughts on that, and are you at a stage now where you're comfortable recruiting?
TIGER WOODS: I've never asked anybody to play. I don't. I feel awkward doing that. If the guys can find time in their schedule to play, we'd love to have them. I've always felt awkward doing that because I understand the guys' commitments to their schedules, their foundations, or some golf courses fit their eye, some golf courses don't. I get it.
For the guys who have come here over the last three years and played, hopefully they've enjoyed their time. Hopefully they've enjoyed the golf course and what we tried to accommodate them with and hopefully take away a better understanding of what we're trying to do for kids and how we honor the military.

Q. Is the spot in the schedule maybe not as ideal as it might have looked, especially for European players?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that's certainly changed things, guys that are playing in Europe right now, getting their events in. That certainly has affected us. But overall the guys that have played, we've had a lot of top guys play. So you can't say it's been a negative. The only thing that we haven't really gotten is the European players to play.

Q. You mentioned things you have and haven't done in the D.C. area. I think one thing you haven't done is play golf with our new president, and he's been hitting the links pretty regularly lately. Is that on the books or on the itinerary any time soon?
TIGER WOODS: Well, his schedule and my schedule are a little bit busy. His is really busy. He's got a lot on his plate. We'll get it done sometime down the road. I don't know when, but we will definitely do it.

Q. It's a long time to look out until you're coming back here. But have you given any thought to whether this is the best time of year to play here, or is it just too far to think about that?
TIGER WOODS: We're looking at all options. We want to have the best field we possibly can. If that means moving the date, then hopefully we can get it done. If it doesn't, then we stay where it's at. But I think that the overall reception has been great to have it here on July 4th. I think that all the fans have enjoyed it. I know that some of the players, the European players, haven't come over because obviously they're playing in Europe and they're getting ready for the British Open and getting their events in. We understand.

Q. Winning Arnie's tournament, Jack's tournament, now your tournament, where does that triple stand on your cool meter or special meter would you say?
TIGER WOODS: Ours is by far the best, right (laughter)?

Q. The three of them together, though.
TIGER WOODS: You can't really rate them. I mean, they're all unique events. To be able to -- I remember when I first won Byron's tournament, to have Mr. Nelson there on the 1st tee to shake your hand, and then when you came off the green to have him shake your hand there, as well, I mean, that's something that you'll always remember.
Same thing with Arnold and Jack. It was great shaking my hand today. I thoroughly enjoyed that (laughter).
All the events that I've won, certainly they're all special in different ways.

Q. You've won tournaments by 15, obviously, and this one you won by one. Do you take any extra -- are they different, and do you feel different about them? And then secondly, I noticed that you're not one to have your kids run onto the green after you win. Is that just you, or is that Elin or is that a combination of you just being more private?
TIGER WOODS: The first part of your question is today was different because Hunter posted so early, and you have to -- you're in a position where you can lose a golf tournament, sitting that far back with that many holes to go. Granted, you can also win it, but also, you have more of an opportunity to go both ways. That puts a lot more heat on you, and on a golf course like this where birdies are hard to come by, that really puts a lot of heat on you. To play well and to have made birdies at the right time at Arnold's tournament and then to play well and make birdies on the last couple holes at Jack's tournament and then make a big putt today at 16, those really give you a lot of confidence because I could have easily lost those tournaments, like I did a couple other events this year. I was in position to win the events going into Sunday and I didn't get it done. But I have gotten it done a few times, as well.
As far as the family situation goes, it's just one of our things. We celebrate in our own way.

Q. Avenel just completed their renovation. Did you happen to get over there?
TIGER WOODS: I did not. I was a little busy this week. Sorry.
DOUG MILNE: If you wouldn't mind just running us through the birdies and the lone bogey.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I birdied 6, I hit a driver and an 8-iron to about 18 feet right below the hole and made it.
7, I hit an 8-iron to about eight feet right above the hole, made that.
10, I hit a 4-iron to about 30 feet up the hill, made that.
11, I drove it in the hazard to the right. I hit a 5-iron short of the green and lagged it up there to about six feet left of the hole and made it.
And 16, I hit a driver and a 5-wood to the right, pitched up there and made a 20-footer up the hill.

Q. What was the better of the two saves, 12 or 13?
TIGER WOODS: 12. 12 was a hard shot. 13 wasn't that hard.
DOUG MILNE: Tiger Woods, thanks for all you did this week, and congratulations.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks. Thanks for coming.

End of FastScripts

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