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August 6, 2009

Tiger Woods


Q. Did you just tell Sands you never play more than nine holes when you come here?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've never played any more than nine holes.

Q. How did that evolve? How does no practice make perfect?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's the same golf course every year. It doesn't change. They've added some new tees like on 16, for instance, and 9, but you just play a few holes here. It just doesn't change year after year. I haven't played here in two years and it's still the same. They've added a couple bunkers, but you can't tell.

Q. When you're playing a course like this that you know so well, are you constantly thinking about the next shot out there or in between shots are you trying to step back and relax because you have such a familiarity with what this course is like?
TIGER WOODS: Just try and plod my way along. Wherever I put my shot, I try and figure out the best angle from there or on the greens remember putts that I had from those locations and get a feel for that. Yeah, you take time off here and there, but I've always been one who usually focuses pretty good.

Q. What did you find on the back nine with the back-to-back birdies? You seemed to get a little more comfortable on the back nine.
TIGER WOODS: I did hit some good shots on that back nine. It was nice. Some of the things that I was working on Monday, Tuesday at home, put it together for a little bit in stretches today.
I hit it good on the front nine in stretches. Starting out I hit a couple bad shots there and middle part of the round I got it back, started hitting it good again, hit it a little scratchy coming in, so it was kind of in spurts today.

Q. So kind of a little streaky? You've kind of been doing streaky off and on this year a little bit.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, just kind of the way it's been this year, even though -- I've done all right this year, I think, four times, and people thought I was done after THE PLAYERS and should fire Hank. I've had a pretty good season, I think.

Q. On that Hazeltine shot I asked you about yesterday, how many people do you figure were out there? It must have been 8:00 o'clock in the morning, the wind is blowing and it's gray and misty.
TIGER WOODS: Probably a few thousand. They came out in droves that week.

Q. Even that early?

Q. I don't want to go over old ground, but you've never shot worse than 68 here in your opening round, and you've managed to get a 68. Did you know about that?
TIGER WOODS: No, no idea. Thank God. After the round, thanks for telling me, not before.

Q. Do you feel like -- obviously you got a good score out of the round today.
TIGER WOODS: I did. I did. You know, it's a totally different mindset. I was telling Stevie out there, we were at the time 1-under par, and I think I was in 15th or 17th spot, a little different than last week at 1-under par. You know, you don't have to go super low here, just kind of plod your way along, make a few birdies here and there, and if you get on a little stretch like I did, make two in a row, boom, all of a sudden you're in eighth place. That's what this golf course allows you to do. It plays very similar to a major championship. I think that's one of the reasons why guys love playing here. Well, they've hosted a major championship here, so...

Q. If you don't win next week, given the background and the surgery and the recovery and getting back to varsity shape here, would you call it a disappointment or would you put an asterisk on it because of the --
TIGER WOODS: No, it's been a success to come back and play again. To come back and play and play as consistently as I've played this year considering how I felt at the very beginning of the year, I didn't know. And from what I was playing through last year during the Open, I thought that was similar to how I was going to be feeling coming back this year. I didn't know.
All that was an unknown starting out the year, and how long would it take for me to get my game back after taking such a long time away from it and having some big adjustments that I had to make because I've never had a leg feel this way.

Q. Would you say you're ahead of schedule?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, absolutely. To win four times? I don't think anyone would have seen that this year. I know you guys didn't.

Q. Would you have thought back then that playing three weeks in a row, no way? Would you ever have dreamed that would be possible?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's one of the reasons I didn't play very much at the beginning of the year, to make sure I was healthy and fresh and didn't have any setbacks in the knee throughout the year so I could play this stretch, to play a lot towards the end of the year. It's kind of the nature of the way the new schedule sets it up.
I had to be very smart about it and make sure that physically I was ready for this haul. I didn't want to play this stretch and not feel that I could play up to my best because of my knee holding me back.

Q. Are you doing anything different this week or last week just to try to make sure that you don't overdo it?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely not, no. I'm good. That's because of the training the entire year and what we've done, not rush back and not put it under too much stress early like some of the guys have done. I remember talking to Ernie about it. He came back too early and struggled with it for a couple years.

Q. You haven't played with Sergio for a long time. You played with him today.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think the last time was at Hoylake. Was that the last time?

Q. Was that Sunday?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think so. I think that was the last time I played with him.

Q. The lemon outfit. Can you believe it's been ten years since Medinah?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it has been. You're right. It is a long time, isn't it? You know, he's not the new young gun anymore. He's become one of the TOUR vets. That's certainly a transformation that happens out here. There's a whole 'nother generation. Sergio is a generation right behind me and now there's a whole 'nother generation with AK and guys that age and there's a whole 'nother generation with Danny Lee and Rory, who are teens.
The game is very healthy, and Sergio has -- I would say had a pretty darn good career so far.

Q. He made a par from the trees on 18, just to remind you.
TIGER WOODS: Perfect par, wasn't it? Four shots.

Q. Talk about that big bender you hit on 18.
TIGER WOODS: It wasn't that much, actually. I had it started probably halfway between the left edge of the green and the grandstand. I had a little bit of wind helping off the left. Even out of the rough, I could cut it, just a matter of -- only thing I didn't want to do is actually over cut it and put it in that bunker because that would be dead.

Q. You said you were plodding up to a point in time on the back nine where you got a couple birdies together and you were able to score on the back nine. Any difference in the greens that you saw today comparatively speaking to anything you've experienced in the past?
TIGER WOODS: No, they've actually just slowed up a bit today. When we were warming up, I always putt prior to hitting balls and then post and then go play. They were certainly a little bit quicker. They definitely slowed up quite a bit as the day went along, a little more humidity in the air, and they definitely had a little bit -- they had to make a little bit of an adjustment, at least I had to make that adjustment, hit the putts a little bit harder than when I first got on the green this morning.

Q. You were talking about your focus out there. It seems like the only people that ever catch your eye are little kids. Is that the father in you, or why is it that every once in a while you notice something like that?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, kids are so cute. Even before I was a dad, kids, that's one of the reasons why I started my foundation is to help these kids, and to see them out there coming out and watching us play. I get a big kick out of it. Any ball that gets in the air, they think that's just so cool. It's either kids or the guys who are really hammered.

Q. Would you have thought Sergio would have got a major by now, given what happened ten years ago?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I would think so. You would have thought. He's been so close. He's been in the final group a few times and he's been right there with a chance. He had a major on his putter on the last hole at Carnoustie, and he hit a good putt, it just didn't go in. He's been there, it just hasn't -- he hasn't gotten over the hurdle yet, but he's been there. It's just a matter of time. Sergio certainly has the talent to do it.

End of FastScripts

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