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August 7, 2009

Tiger Woods


Q. How's the ankle?
TIGER WOODS: It's good, all good.

Q. Was today sort of an example if you don't have to go low but you're still there and you really haven't really lost touch with the lead?
TIGER WOODS: You just have to be very patient. This golf course is playing like it normally does, and it's very similar to a major championship. It always has played that way. There's certain years, yeah, when it's been soft, and when they didn't have the tees moved back like they do. Now in recent years -- you could shoot some good numbers, but a good number this week is going to be somewhere in the high 60s and more than likely you can move up the board.

Q. When you were doing your various swing changes, this relates to Harrington who seemingly the light bulb has come on for him this week after a long time in a deep, dark place, was yours a gradual assent back to where you were or did it kind of come and go like fits and snippets of it or how did that work out?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I couldn't afford to go to that deep, dark place like you just said. I would have been getting killed by you guys. (Laughter). I win five tournaments and you would think I was having a slump.
You have to make changes, yeah, of course you have to make changes in order to get better. A lot of times you're going to get worse before you do get better. It's a matter of other parts of your game trying to pick you up and understanding how to score when you don't have your best stuff. But you know it's coming. I don't know how Paddy's -- how his progression is, but mine is usually on the range at home, and then at home playing, start hitting the ball a little bit better. Then I start doing it out here from time to time to time. And for me I built it. It took me I don't know how many months with Butch, was it eight, nine months to get it where I felt comfortable with what we were doing, and same thing about Hank. Then I put it together.

Q. Do you admire his patience when he says this year I'm not going to let somebody say I had a bad year because I had a purpose to this year which is to try and win. Do you admire that sort of patience in a golfer who's just won three majors?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, you have to believe in what you're doing, absolutely. And you have to believe in what you're doing is right, even though people tell you what you're doing is wrong. I've been through that twice, and I think I've turned out on the good side both times. It's just that you're going to get a lot of bombardment, not just from the media but from fans, from friends, family, whatever it may be, they're going to always doubt and question you. But you've got to have the internal resolve to stick with what you believe is going to be right and you're going to get better.

Q. You played with him earlier this year. Did you notice that he was having some issues or maybe struggles, whatever you would call it?
TIGER WOODS: I've only played with him at the U.S. Open.

Q. Bay Hill.
TIGER WOODS: Did I play with him at Bay Hill?

Q. Yeah, two days.
TIGER WOODS: I just remember him at the U.S. Open making some of the most unbelievable pars on the second day.
Yeah, it's just you're going to go through stretches that way, and Paddy has always done things according to his own accord. He's worked extremely hard. You know that with Bob, all the countless hours and bad weather they used to practice in to get better.
We've all admired him for that, because I don't know how many second place finishes he had, but he didn't really win that much. But then he kept progressing and kept getting better and better and more consistent, and then all of a sudden, boom, he's a three-time major championship winner. That's the thing you have to admire about some guys when they are able to do that.

Q. On 18 what kind of options did you have? Could you have gone low? Why did you go high?
TIGER WOODS: I wasn't trying to go high. The ball was sitting down a little bit, and I was trying to hit a low draw, but it was a lie that the only thing I was afraid of, it could pop up before it actually turned. It did, unfortunately. It did pop up a little bit and I caught the tree, got a break where I had a shot. Just playing for 5, and had a putt at it for 4.

Q. What did you have on 2, putting just short of the green?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, 2 I was just about two feet short of the green.

Q. Putting question, your Gamer has been in the bag a decade now. Have you ever come close to replacing it when you go through bad stretches or you chalk it up to trial and error?
TIGER WOODS: You go through bad days. You have bad stretches, bad weeks, bad months.

Q. Some of these guys every week they're kissing a different girl.
TIGER WOODS: But the thing is, the only thing I don't understand is each putter swings differently. Even if you change a grip, it's a big adjustment. It's a new -- you have a little bit more rubber. You can feel a little bit of a counterbalance, it's a little different. I've always been one that hasn't changed putters throughout my entire life. I've only had about a handful of putters I've ever putted with. I've never been a big believer in changing putters, and you just go back to basics and work hard.

Q. Do you still have all of them?
TIGER WOODS: Not all of them. I'm missing one of them somewhere. I still bring them out every now and again. I mean, beginning of this year I was just rummaging through my garage and cleaning it out a little bit, and over in the corner was this putter, and I said, oh, what is this putter? Oh, it's the one I won The Masters with. It's just sitting over there.

Q. You've got like us, a garage or a barrel in the corner with clubs stuck in there?
TIGER WOODS: I've got clubs everywhere, yeah.

Q. What about the ones you tie behind the cart when they misbehave?
TIGER WOODS: Those are wedges. They're different.

Q. Is this course getting hard and firm enough that, in your opinion, 62, 63 is not out there for the next couple days?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's out there. Yeah. If you play 16, 17 holes you can get it. (Laughter).

Q. Scores today have not been as low as yesterday, and I don't think they're going to get much better in the afternoon.
TIGER WOODS: No, it's getting faster, and these fairways are getting unbelievably difficult to hit. You know, I hit a good drive (inaudible) could be like some of those years where shooting under par didn't mean moving up the board.

Q. Tiger, Arnie turns 80 next month. Can you remember the first time you met him in person and how that was, and what has he meant to the game?
TIGER WOODS: The first time I ever met Arnold was at Bay Hill. We played the U.S. Junior when I was 15. He was the keynote speaker, so I got a chance to meet him and just say briefly hi, and that was it. It was quite an honor to meet Arnold Palmer. He didn't know me from Adam, but once I started winning a few tournaments and I got a chance to play in the majors as an amateur, got a chance to play with him a few times, which has been certainly one of the highlights of my life.

Q. What has he meant to the game?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, everything, are you kidding me? I mean, without his charisma, without his personality in conjunction with TV, it was just the perfect symbiotic growth. You finally have someone who has this charisma and they're capturing it on TV for the very first time. Everyone got hooked to the game of golf via TV because of Arnold.

Q. Didn't you buy him dinner once in college?
TIGER WOODS: He did. I went out to -- where were they playing? What's that wine country out there, Napa. They were playing at the Napa Valley Inn or whatever, and he invited me to dinner. I said, okay, cool, I'll go out to dinner with Arnold Palmer. Well, tab comes (laughter) I'm not going to say, hey, Arnold, it's on me. He goes and picks up the tab like it's no big deal. And come to find out my coach had to report me because that was a violation. I had to send him a check. I was at El Paso for the All American, got down there, played the pro-am, or am-am rather, and I was waiting that night for his check to clear and have a fax sent to NCAA headquarters to clear me or else I couldn't play, or else I had to hop on a flight that next day during the first round of the tournament and come back to Stanford. His check cleared and I ended up winning the tournament in a playoff.

Q. What was the total? Do you remember the number on the check? Was it like 30 bucks?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, like 25 or something and change. Actually we had to go back and get the exact number or else you're not eligible.

Q. Last time you picked up the tab since you took those guys to the Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS: Exactly. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts

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