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August 5, 2009

Tiger Woods


Q. How was the plane trip, good?

Q. Two days at home, how was the practice? How's everything going?
TIGER WOODS: It was good. I did a little bit of work, and it wasn't cold out there, but it was nice to get some work in and get back to how I was playing on Friday basically. I went back to some of that stuff, and I'll hopefully try it out today.

Q. Did Hank come down or were you by yourself?
TIGER WOODS: No, Hank is doing, what do you call it, an outing at Hilton Head, so he couldn't quite make it.

Q. Two-parter in a way. Did you like this tournament before or after the PGA? What's the difference?
TIGER WOODS: I guess it would be very -- I wouldn't say very, but it is a little similar to how THE PLAYERS was right before The Masters, get a big week in right before a major championship. Only difference is this is the week directly prior. But still, it helps you get into I guess the mode of playing this type of style of golf. This golf course is very difficult, and we're going to be facing one like that next week.

Q. Secondly, they've been billing the PGA for years now as glory's last shot. Do you buy into that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it is your last shot to win a major. There's no more majors this year after that one.

Q. What was your frame of mind in '98 and the other years? How do you balance desperation and --
TIGER WOODS: The thing is you just have to go out there and play. The major championships are set up so that you can't play how you just said. You can't go be very aggressive and go out there and try and make birdies on every hole like you can at most TOUR events. You have to plod your way along and get them when you can. Certain majors are easier than others, but overall they're still major championships, and they're set up to do it that way.

Q. You've always said if you win a major it's been a good year. How do you measure this year?
TIGER WOODS: Well, this year I think just being able to come back and play and be successful again has been a tremendous step in the right direction. If I would have been here -- if you would have asked me at the beginning of the year before I even played whether I'd have four wins by now, I would -- I couldn't see it, because walking 18 holes was going to be a task.
Looking back on it now playing the Match Play, where I was physically then and where I'm at now is just night and day. It was hard to kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when I'm just starting back. To win, and not only win but be as consistent as I've been the entire year coming back, that's one of the things I'm probably the most proud of.

Q. Could you relive that shot you hit at Hazeltine back in the day out of the bunker?
TIGER WOODS: Saturday morning?

Q. Yeah, Ferguson and Steve were the only guys who bothered to get out of bed to watch you hit it. Just set up the scenario and why you view that as kind of the best shot you hit?
TIGER WOODS: I nice hit a nice, quick hook in the left bunker. Wind was coming 20 off the left. I had to stand an inch closer to the golf ball than I normally would because my heels were up against the bunker. Now the ball is below my feet but I had to get it above the lip, above the trees and hook it with a 3-iron. It's not exactly an easy shot. And when I hit it, it was probably just the most pure shot I've ever hit. Just felt like nothing like when guys hit a home run, describe a home run, how easy it felt, even though it went 460 feet. It just felt effortless; that's how that shot felt. And I made the putt, too.

Q. If you would have missed it?
TIGER WOODS: It was still a cool shot, but now it's a better story.

Q. What was your number?
TIGER WOODS: 207 or 210.

Q. It was like 7:00 o'clock or morning, too, so it was cold shafting it?
TIGER WOODS: Pretty much, yeah.
Ernie was playing in our group, too, and he gave me a nice little indication that it was a good shot (laughing).

Q. At the Buick, even though maybe the last 27 holes you didn't hit it as good as you wanted to, you didn't have that stretch which sometimes you've had this year of making numbers, and not good numbers, and you kept it together. How important was that for you just in terms of remembering that you can do that?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. It was about missing the golf ball in the correct spots. I didn't hit all the greens, I didn't hit all the fairways, but if you go back and analyze how I played, I missed it in the correct spots every time. And that's something I didn't do prior to that. I was missing them all in the bad spots, short-siding it or missing it so I had a bad angle into the green. All these different things that if you're not playing well, you need to somehow still miss the ball in the correct spots. And I wasn't doing that this year at times.
When you don't do that, you know, scores pile up. You make doubles, you make bogeys, you get on runs when you make bogeys, and you can't give yourself an opportunity to get it back. And I wasn't doing that. This week I did that, and hence, you know, on Saturday afternoon I didn't hit the ball that great on the back nine, but I shot 4-under par.
I was missing it in the right spots and giving myself some good angles.

Q. And Turnberry was the other side of it?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely the other side. I had the opportunity to miss the ball in the right spots and I didn't. Compounding that with the wind just made it look even worse.

Q. This tournament, this course help at all for next week, or is it just the playing part of it?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely this golf course helps. This golf course is straightforward, no surprises, right in front of you. It's hard. I haven't been out there yet to see how fast it's playing, but even in years where it is soft and you can go low, then the golf course plays really long. This golf course has stood the test of time. They've added a little bit of length over the years, but not much. Still year in and year out this is one of the hardest golf courses we play.

Q. You've never been out of the Top 4 here or Top 5 in all these years. For all the success you've had, that's an incredible run, six wins. What is it?
TIGER WOODS: As I said, it's straightforward. I've always liked golf courses that play that way. Ever since I was a little boy, my dad and I would always play tree-lined golf courses where it's the older style of golf course, not elephant burial grounds. They're just straightforward right in front of you. I've always loved golf courses like that. They're just so defined.
We don't get a chance to play too many golf courses like that, and that's one of the reasons why guys like playing here, like playing Quail Hollow, Riviera. The guys like playing these type of golf courses because we don't get a chance to play them that much anymore.

Q. What did you think of the announcement yesterday? And secondly, what do you know about the Greenbrier?
TIGER WOODS: As far as San Diego, it's unfortunate. Buick is right now not part of the schedule. Maybe they might get it turned around, who knows. But it's unfortunate that that has happened, and so many people have lost their jobs at GM. I think this is part of it. We don't want to see them go. They've been such an integral part of the TOUR. At one point they had four tournaments.
So a tremendous sponsor, and we don't ever want to see them go and hopefully they can work things out and still continue somehow, but as of right now that's not the case.

Q. Have you ever been to the Greenbrier?
TIGER WOODS: The Greenbrier? I haven't been. I don't know if they still have the bunker there for the president or not, but that's about it. All I know is that Sam Snead played there a lot.

Q. Have you ever watched the '79 Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS: No, I wasn't quite four yet.

Q. Did you see the report about the race to Dubai, that they've cut the purse and the bonuses and all that?
TIGER WOODS: By a quarter, right.

Q. You obviously are acutely aware of what's going on. I wonder what your thoughts were on that and if you're at all amazed that they've been able to stay away from that kind of damage on this TOUR so far.
TIGER WOODS: It's unfortunate. Again, it's just a reflection of what's been going on. It's not just here in the United States. It's globally. Unfortunately they're feeling the impact there in Dubai. I've been dealing with it with my golf course there.
What's going on here is happening all around the world. You know, who knows. As I said, maybe they might turn around, as well. I know that they've been working on some things there in Dubai, and the real estate market is on its way up now, which is a good sign. Whether or not that will improve by the time they play their season-ending tournament, who knows.

Q. There appears to be some momentum for the flex schedule in years coming up where they might take a couple of have not dates and flip them with the haves. Do you like that idea?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I do. That's what they used to do for a few events. I remember -- let's see if my memory serves me, Kemper, Westchester, I think one was before The Open and then it switched, week before, week after. I think there's like three events that did that. It has worked in the past, and there's no reason why it can't work in the future.

Q. Do you think that would alleviate the ones who are pushing for a 1 in 4 type thing?
TIGER WOODS: I think so. I think that's a compromise that is certainly valid.

Q. Maybe seven of nine or seven of ten weeks you're potentially going to be playing.
TIGER WOODS: It's a lot of golf.

Q. Has it been a while since you played this much?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's also one of the reasons why I didn't play that much at the beginning of the year. I played very sparingly to get myself into this position physically so I didn't have any setbacks, so physically I could handle playing this much.
After what I went through last year and then the rehab coming back, yeah, you could play a lot prior to the Masters, prior to the Open, whatever it is, and I would have been -- who knows. That's the thing. I didn't want to be physically unable to compete at a high level for all these events coming up. That's one of the reasons why I didn't play that much early and that's one of the reasons why I feel like I can play a lot late.

Q. It's another par-72 major next week at Hazeltine, both you and Jack have feasted on the par-72 majors. I think outside of Augusta you're 6 and 8 and most of his 18 were par 72s. Is that just a matter of power players dominating the par-5s? Can you break that down?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, longer players certainly have two more chances per day, one or two more chances per day, to take advantage of it and make easier birdies. You know, I think that this week, though -- sorry, next week will be a little bit different. There's supposed to be two par-5s over 600 yards --

Q. Three.
TIGER WOODS: I'm not Dustin Johnson, so I can't get there. (Laughter). But who knows, the PGA has been known to move tees around like what the USGA is doing now lately under Mike Davis. I don't know if they're going to play it all the way back or not, but if they do, I don't think a lot of the guys can get to all the par-5s and they're going to be true three-shotters. But still, length certainly has its advantages on any golf course, especially longer golf courses.

Q. After missing this event last year, just your thoughts, excited to be back?
TIGER WOODS: I've always loved coming here. First time I got a chance to play this was in '97, and I love playing it. Over the years I think it's shown up in my record here. Unfortunately I wasn't able to play last year, but this year I'm able to play and really looking forward to getting back out there and seeing how the golf course is playing.
And then obviously playing against such a great field like this right before a major championship certainly helps.

Q. What do you think is a tougher situation for you, to be at a tough course where there's a lot of major champions and high pedigree players or to be in a situation like last week where you don't have a lot of experience but you're on a course where 63 is going to be close to par for the day?
TIGER WOODS: That's the thing. I think last week is certainly a lot of pressure in a sense because you have to average, what, 65, to give yourself -- sorry, 67 to give yourself a chance. That certainly puts pressure on you that you can't afford to have one bad round. I did somehow put together two really good rounds to offset it.

Q. Compared with like here or Memorial?
TIGER WOODS: It's different because you go out here and you know you have a couple bad holes, it's no big deal. Okay, fine, I can make a couple birdies here and there and basically get caught up over nine holes or even 18 holes I can get caught up. Like I said last week, being eight shots back at a U.S. Open after one round is no big deal. You can make that up in one day. Go out and shoot a good round, the leader doesn't play well, boom, you're one or two back or tied for the lead or something like that. There if you don't shoot a low round you're going to get dusted. 4-under par was the cut. If I don't shoot 69 or better, I'm two weeks in a row home getting ready on the weekend.

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