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August 8, 2009

Tiger Woods


LAURA HILL: Thanks for coming in where's it's dry. Nice 65 today. I think things really came together on the back nine.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I had just a stupid bogey there at 8 with a wedge in my hand, hit it right of the hole. So it was nice to get it right back at the very next hole at 9, nice birdie there, good drive and a wedge and a good putt.
And then from there hit some really good shots and hit a couple in there stiff.

Q. I apologize if you got asked a variation of this last week, but you're playing maybe three in a row. You've never done that going into a major before as far as we've been able to tell looking at the history. How much of playing last week was loyalty for your connections with those guys, and how much, if any, was you feeling like you needed some at-bats to make put Turnberry behind you?
TIGER WOODS: It was the first part of it. Buick has been great not only to myself but to the TOUR, and they're going through some really hard times, especially the people there in Flint itself. I believe that their unemployment is 27.3 percent. It's a tough time, and I just wanted to come there and say thank you for all the years of support.
People came out and supported the event like they always did, which was great.

Q. The rain today, the weather, did it allow to you play the greens differently? They were really firm in the afternoons yesterday.
TIGER WOODS: You had to make an adjustment, yeah, certainly. When I was first warming up, I always putt before I hit balls, putt right before I go to the first tee. The first time I putted it was still quick, then we got that huge downpour when I was out there chipping, it changed the speed of the greens and then it changed more as the day went on. You had to make a certain effort to hit the putts harder.
Pins that -- shots that you had to just hit -- little shots, little soft arm shots to take the spin off the ball. You can't afford to be ripping the ball out there because the shot I hit there at 10, didn't quite hit hard enough. Normally that ball would have bounced up there pin high, but instead it ripped back off.

Q. When you stand over those birdie putts and see them going today like they did, what does that do for your confidence?
TIGER WOODS: It's great. Yesterday I didn't make anything, but I hit good putts. That's one of the good things about yesterday, I hit a lot of beautiful putts that didn't go in because I didn't hit the putts hard enough. They were diving over the front part of the hole. Stevie and I were talking today, even though the greens are slower now, you've really got to make sure you focus on your speed and hit the putts a lot harder than what you're seeing. I did that all day.

Q. I'm wondering whether you had a little discussion with Charlie out there, kind of your self-appointed adopted grandfather, what you guys talked about, whether that sent you off to work today with a little spring in your step.
TIGER WOODS: I saw Charlie earlier in the week. As I've always said, he's a hero of mine after what he had to endure for all of us to play out here on the PGA TOUR. I just wish more people would understand what he did. The sacrifices he made for us.

Q. Like Jackie Robinson --
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely.

Q. When you won last week, Sunday especially, I think you seemed to suggest you did it without playing your best. Where are you from there to now? How do you feel about your game in the last six days to this point?
TIGER WOODS: I've made some improvements. I had a couple days at home, Monday and Tuesday, to work at it. As I said, I know what to do, it's just a matter of doing it. I just need to get more reps in. I'm more confident in what I'm doing. And this week I hit the ball pretty good. Especially today on the back nine, I drove the ball pretty good all day and hit some really good iron shots in there today.

Q. With six career victories at this course, what is your comfort level, especially going into tomorrow, considering how well you played today?
TIGER WOODS: I do feel comfortable here. As of right now I'm tied for the lead, but more than likely I'll probably be one or two back going into tomorrow. You know, this golf course, you've got to be very patient on this golf course. Even though you have some -- the greens have softened up and you have some pins you can go at, you miss it, more than likely you'll be making bogey. That's one of the penalties of this golf course is that you've got to really hit your ball well, and if you do, you're going to give yourself a lot of chances.

Q. When you drive in here when you arrive, does something -- I don't know, do you think back to something or do you think of some good things from the past? Just wondering if --
TIGER WOODS: I've always felt comfortable here, there's no doubt. Certain golf courses no matter how I'm playing going in, I always feel very comfortable once I get there. If you look at my record on certain golf courses, I've played well almost every year. You know, there's certain golf courses that just fit your eye. It's just hard to describe. You just feel comfortable on tee shots, you feel comfortable with the approaches. You understand how to play the golf course.
That doesn't happen every week, but there's certainly some golf courses I feel that way, and this is one of them.

Q. With your loyalty to the Buick, and I know Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker talked about trying to save the tournament in Milwaukee, and the women's tournament is losing sites, do you think we'll ever get to a point where players have to campaign or lobby to save certain tournaments?
TIGER WOODS: In this economy, yes, I can certainly see that happening. It's just tough right now. We're very lucky that we have most of our sponsors locked in through probably '12, and we have the next round of TV negotiations coming up soon. Hopefully the economy will turn around so that we'll have a better opportunity of continuing what we have on the TOUR.

Q. It looks like at the moment you might be playing with Padraig Harrington tomorrow and you're playing with him next week. I just want to take you back to Japan in 2006. Is that the last time at the Phoenix you played with him?
TIGER WOODS: No, I played with him at the U.S. Open this year.

Q. But in the final round of a championship. Did you see the major champion in waiting in him then?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. We all did. Paddy has worked very hard, and we've seen what he's done with Bob over the years and how many hours he's put in and how he's not afraid to obviously change his game. That's something that we as players certainly admire in him.
Before he won the major championships, before he won tournaments, if you noticed, he finished second a lot. And once he started winning and he started understanding how to do it, he started repeating it. It's just something that -- it happened to Duval, same thing. Once you understand how to do it, it's amazing how you can repeat it.

Q. A bit similar to Brian's question, but I wonder what your thoughts are playing with Padraig next week in the first two rounds of the PGA?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, just go out there and play. I'm playing with Paddy and Rich, as well. Just go out there and play. It is a major championship, and they'll be working on getting their ball around the golf course, and so will I.

Q. Another one I think I've asked you before, but speak to your dominance of these WGC events, and then maybe as an aside, are they easier to win because the field is smaller or tougher to win because the field is thicker/deeper?
TIGER WOODS: I see what you're saying. I think they're more difficult just because you get the best players in the world playing. That's also one of the reasons why we wanted to have them is have more of the top players play against each other, not just four majors and THE PLAYERS Championship, but a little more often and even a different format, as well, in the match play. I think it's worked out well. The World Golf Championships have been I think just a big, huge hit.
When I used to play, what was it, the American Express Championship all over the world, that thing has been everywhere. It's nice to have the opportunity to play against the best. We don't get to do it very often. Everyone supports their own Tours. The Europeans play a lot over there, and we play a lot over here. So it's nice to have more than just the five tournaments. Now we have a few more.

Q. Does that get your attention a little more when you're playing against the varsity, fair to say?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, absolutely.

Q. The PGA is the only major that you've played the week prior to, this tournament and the Buick in the few years past. Can you compare what you get out of playing the week before compared to the other majors like The Masters and U.S. Open where you never have? Do you find that there's any detriment to doing this, playing this week, or do you find the benefits out of it?
TIGER WOODS: Depends how you're playing. If you're not playing well, it wouldn't be very good to play the week before. I've always found that tournaments aren't exactly the best place to find your game. Go at home, work on it for hours. You have plenty of daylight during the summer to work at it.
But if you're playing well, it's nice to get the momentum going into a major championship. I've played well at Warwick Hills and certainly have played well here leading into the PGA.

Q. So you've never really felt about the whole -- it's more about working on your game than the competitive part of it, actually competing against someone the week before?
TIGER WOODS: You know how to compete out here. That's what we do for a living.

Q. One more thing about this place: When you come here, you talked about being patient and all that. Do you kind of just wait for the time to go for the jugular, so to speak, like today in that four-hole stretch?
TIGER WOODS: You don't. You don't look at it that way. You just let it come to you, let it happen. You hear other guys in other sports say just let the game come to you, and that's basically what you do, you keep plodding along, keep playing, keep putting the ball in correct position. If do you that on each and every hole you're going to have the opportunity to make putts. You keep doing that here and there, all of a sudden you move up the board. You start forcing a few things, on a golf course like this you're going to pay the price, and it's hard to get it back. It's hard to make a lot of birdies here.
Today with the wind blowing a little bit and the rain coming in and out, the greens are getting a little bit softer and just a little bit more bumpy, it's just wise to be a little more conservative.

Q. So even though it looks like you did that, you didn't?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I got away with a couple shots to be honest with you. The shot I hit there at 15, it stuck in the ground a little bit. I was aiming left of the hole, not right of the hole. I happened to be in a good spot to make a putt. I saw Goosen's chip and that helped. You've got to get away with things every now and again, and certainly I did that today.

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