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August 9, 2009

Tiger Woods


LAURA HILL: Tiger, congratulations. I think you said during the closing it was a battle, it was fun. You described it in about ten different words. Give us your reaction on today's round.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was a great battle. I think the wind conditions was exactly what Paddy was probably looking for to protect the lead like that on this golf course, and I just knew that I had to get off to a quick start somehow, and I was able to do that. Fortunately I was able to keep it going and post a good front nine number.
But Paddy was just hanging in there, never made a mistake, made a nice birdie at 11, then I made two mistakes right there at 13, 14. Paddy made a great par there at 14 to take the lead, and then -- until 16 it was just a great battle.

Q. Congrats on No. 70, amazing number. What was it like standing there on the 16th green? He hit five shots while you were standing there, six if you count the penalty stroke. Have you ever seen the tournament in the throes of the last few minutes go down like that for you?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know if you guys know it or not, but we got put on the clock. I don't think that Paddy would have hit the pitch shot that way if he was able to take his time, look at it, analyze it, but he was on the clock, had to get up there quickly and hit it --

Q. The flop?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, and hit it in the water. I don't understand why we were put on the clock considering that he ended up taking a penalty drop from all the way on the other side of the lake, taking a penalty drop, coming back, we hit our tee shots on 17 and the guys were just walking off the tee on 18. So I don't know.

Q. I was just curious on the yardage, on the 8-iron I think it was on 16. If could you just talk about that.
TIGER WOODS: I had 170 to the hole. I'm sorry, 178 to the hole. It was more across, that's why I had the 7-iron out early, and then it switched and went almost straight down. So I figured it was a full 8-iron and don't draw it, make sure and use the wind a little bit to get it there.
When I hit it I knew it was going to be a good one. I thought it was going to be just a little bit past the hole. I was surprised it spun that much considering it was that much downwind. But it came back and ended up a kick-in.

Q. The officials seemed to be at least timing you early on in the round. At what point did they come up and tell you?
TIGER WOODS: They came up and told us to speed up on 6. We ended up catching the guys there at -- when we were on 7, the guys were just teeing off on 8, so we caught them there, a hole and a half. And we got put on the clock on 16th tee.

Q. Who told you?
TIGER WOODS: John Paramor.

Q. You threw a 30 at him on the front nine and maybe could have even been a couple more. You had some chances. I know you know that he's not going away, but at any point are you thinking to yourself, what do I have to do to shake this guy?
TIGER WOODS: No, just got to keep plodding along. I told Stevie, we need at least two on this back nine to win the tournament. I figured Paddy would probably shoot 1-, 2-, 3-under par on that back nine. I needed to keep going forward. I didn't do that. I came back two shots.
But you know, Paddy is just -- he's a grinder. Considering that he's won three major championships of late, and I believe the last two he shot 32 on the back nine. So you know he's not going to go anywhere.

Q. After the great front nine, a great ten holes, your swing starts going a little bit awry. You're on 16, not a great tee shot, you've got to just punch it out. You're looking at him. In the end that 8-iron that you hit there, I mean, he said -- he was in here and said I couldn't hold that green with a lob wedge, and you hit an 8-iron. Do you get into that thing where you go, okay, now I've got to do it, now I've got to make birdie?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I knew I had to birdie two of the last three, as well, and I kept telling myself on the tee. I'm like, okay, this is going to be interesting. Maybe I could birdie 17 and 18 instead. (Laughter). But I just had to make sure I gave myself a shot at it going into the third shot, and I did.
I had a situation where the wind was in my favor, and I hit a good shot in. It carried far enough -- I was surprised it spun back that much considering it was downwind.

Q. Just as a follow-up, did you feel when you hit that and it's a kick-in, did that influence the way he played the rest of that hole?
TIGER WOODS: No, I don't think so at all. I think being on the clock influenced him. I'm sure he would have taken a lot more time on his third shot to try to figure out how to play it, where to place the next one. Then as I said, on the flop shot, he had to get in there quickly and hit it. That was a shot you don't want to get in there quickly and hit it, you want to take your time and figure out exactly what you want to do. And I think by rushing like he had to that it forced him to make a couple mistakes.

Q. How daunting is the monster, and is it different when it's not the last round of the tournament?
TIGER WOODS: What do you mean?

Q. Is that hole still relevant every round?
TIGER WOODS: Not today, no. The tee was up probably 25, 30 yards. They moved it up yesterday. I think yesterday they moved it up. Not when it's downwind like that. The first two days it was into the wind and you did well to get past the bunker. Today I'm sure guys were hitting irons in there, driving it down the right side it's going to go all the way down to the bottom and you're going to have iron into the green.
That hole is misleading in the yardage if the wind is blowing in your favor. If it blows into the wind like it was -- the first day I hit a driver and a 5-wood and a 9-iron into the hole. It's a little different hole today.

Q. Can I get yardage and club for No. 2 on the eagle, and your thoughts heading to Minnesota?
TIGER WOODS: 2, I had 226 to the hole, then I hit a 5-wood and about a 30-footer up the hill.

Q. And your thoughts going to Minnesota?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's going to be a quick turnaround. I'll be out there tomorrow. I'll celebrate quickly.

Q. Was there any point before the 16th hole where you really felt like you were in the driver's seat or got comfortable and thought that you had it?
TIGER WOODS: I never thought that, no. I was certainly in a good spot being 1-up, and Paddy made that birdie -- I was 2-up, then he made that birdie on 11 and I was 1-up. As I said, if I just played the back nine 2-under par, it would force Paddy to have to make some birdies on that back nine, get a little more aggressive.
Unfortunately I made mistakes at 13 and 14 and got them back at 16 and 18.

Q. Just curious, did you shoot 65-65 to finish this? Is that what it ended up being?
TIGER WOODS: I think so.

Q. Where does that rate in consecutive rounds and how nice does that feel and how long has it been since you strung two together you felt that good about it?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think my 65-61 here is not too bad, either. (Laughter). Yeah, but considering how the golf course was playing, it was playing a little bit trickier on the weekend, and I was able to get into some hot little stretches there, some good little streaks and take advantage of it.

Q. This is repetitive here and everything, but Firestone, this is a record, so seven. Just your thoughts about that. I know you've answered it before.
TIGER WOODS: No, it feels good. I've always felt comfortable here. Certain golf courses you just feel comfortable. You see the tee shots, you see the approach shots, and the greens seem to be easier to read than others. This golf course is one of those for me. I think my results kind of show that.

Q. In your whole career, you've never won at one place seven times, right, just different events when you were younger or anything like that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, because of age brackets you keep moving to different golf courses.

Q. Torrey you're at seven aren't you, US Open?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, six and seven, yeah. And Junior World, hah, eight.

Q. Why do you say he had to rush those shots at the 16th given that no player has received a one-shot penalty for 20 years? What do they do in those instances?
TIGER WOODS: Obviously you don't want to get that one bad time because if you put yourself in a bad situation, the very next time you're going to get that penalty. If you take your time, the gallery hoots and hollers, the wind changes, the cameras go off. They don't take that into consideration, so that's a bad time.

Q. But given the circumstances, given the context of the situation, would you have just taken --
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. It depends, because if you take the bad time there -- as I said, if you get into a situation with this many people inside the ropes moving around, people hooting and hollering, a wind change could happen, you back off a shot, that's a bad time, then that's a one-shot penalty.

Q. Are there any tweaks, changes you'd make heading into next week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm just going to keep working on things I'm working on. I think they're doing all right. (Laughter).

Q. Did you win this tournament because you hit a great 8-iron into a foot on the 16th or was it because Padraig was put on the clock?
TIGER WOODS: Both. I think I hit a good shot that put a little heat on him, but also, then again, I think the worst he would have made would have been bogey.

Q. Next time we do this WGC will be 12 time zones away on the other side of the world. What are your thoughts on the significance of that for the WGC and also for golf globally?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I mean, the old American Express Championship, now the CA Championship, used to travel all around the world. I played it everywhere. These World Golf Championships used to move around, but now we've got one in Asia, and I think it's great. I think you'll see I've always got a good feel there, but I think it'll be even better now.

Q. You handled it just fine two years ago winning here and then winning the PGA. Does winning and being in contention take a toll, and does it take you a little longer to kind of rebound from it? Will tomorrow be a little bit harder trying to prepare for a major?
TIGER WOODS: I would say no because I'm going to do my normal routine. I'm going to play Monday and Tuesday and then do nothing on Wednesday, just practice, that's it. Wednesday will be my rest day. Get to know the golf course a little bit on Monday and Tuesday and then shut it down Wednesday.

Q. During weekend play when you're a few strokes behind and with the fans and the weather and then today the time, how do you maintain focus?
TIGER WOODS: You just have to. You don't have a choice. If you want to win, you'd better bear down, especially against this field and against Paddy. Paddy is not going to make mistakes. You just have to just get in your own little world. I mean, Paddy doesn't talk much when he plays, and I don't, either. So it was a quiet round that way. But we were very focused.

Q. A couple things. The first is it's two weeks in a row, now three. In retrospect is it maybe -- obviously you've won so you're going to say yes, but is it a good thing to play the two weeks and get on that bit of a roll, you sorted out some swing things obviously here, hit the ball well. And then also, Paddy said he looked at you and said, "We'll do battle again," as he walked off 18. I thought that was an interesting thing to say.
TIGER WOODS: The first part is, we'll two days off to prepare to get ready for the stretch. Yeah, so that was nice.
But I just felt that I had six bad holes, and that six bad holes took me out of the championship, and I only missed the cut by a shot. It wasn't as -- I don't think as bad as everyone thought it would have been. I kept hearing it was just devastating for me to miss the cut, miss the cut by a shot. I said, guys, I just had one bad stretch. And you have those bad stretches, and unfortunately it cost me an opportunity. You've just got to not have those bad stretches, just clean it up a little bit. I was able to do it the last couple weeks, and instead of having a bad stretch, I had positive ones.
The second part of your question?

Q. Paddy saying, "We'll do battle again."
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. Like I was telling him out there, I'm sorry that John got in the way of a great battle because it was such a great battle for 16 holes, and we're going at it head-to-head, and unfortunately that happened. You know, Paddy and I will definitely do it again.

Q. Thursday.
TIGER WOODS: You don't win the championship on Thursday. But you know, Paddy and I have done it before, did it at the Dunlop Phoenix, we did it here, and we'll definitely do it down the road.

Q. Just as another follow on that, do you respect a guy like him more than you respect a guy with bundles of talent who maybe doesn't work as hard?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I think that they always ask me who are the guys you should go watch and play, who are the guys you think you should model yourself after, and I always say Paddy and Jim Furyk and Vijay. Those guys work so hard on their games. A guy like Paddy and a guy like Jim, they don't have the length that Vijay does, but how they manage themselves around the golf course, I think everyone can learn from that, especially kids.
And the work ethic for Paddy, you know what he's done with Bob over the years, countless hours, in the snow, it doesn't matter, he's going to get it done. I've seen him miss cuts and he's out there all weekend long practicing and getting ready for the next week.
I admire guys like that because that's how you become better. You have to go earn it. And I think that Paddy is a great example of a guy who goes out there and earns it each and every day.

Q. Just a quick thing. Bridgestone announced they're extending the sponsorship, they're playing here five more years straight. I assume you're overjoyed?
TIGER WOODS: I'm not against that. (Laughter).
LAURA HILL: Tiger, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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