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August 13, 2009

Tiger Woods


KELLY ELBIN: Tiger Woods, ladies and gentlemen. In with a round of 5-under par 67 to take the lead in the opening round of the 91st PGA Championship. Tiger, congratulations. Nice playing. Five birdies, no bogeys. Pretty good start to the PGA Championship.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I played really well today. I hit just a bunch of good shots. And this round could have been really low. I missed a bunch of putts out there. So it was just a very positive start.
KELLY ELBIN: What were the length of the birdie putts starting on 12, please?
TIGER WOODS: 12, I made about a 20-footer there. 15, I had about a 2-footer. 2, I made about a 20-footer up the hill. No. 3, what did I do on 3? I can't remember them all. Oh, yeah, I made about a 30-footer there.
And then at 7, I 2-putted from about 30 feet.
KELLY ELBIN: 67 today equals Tiger's final round here at Hazeltine in 2002.

Q. Tiger, in the other three majors this year, you've had to play from behind. You're out ahead. Different mental attitude going into the next three rounds?
TIGER WOODS: You know, it's just one of those things where I just keep ploding along. Tomorrow the weather's not supposed to be very good. I've got to go out there and just be consistent.
Like today I was very consistent. I hit my irons well. And as I said, I hit a lot of good putts that were skirting the edge and lipping out.
Just gotta keep doing that. I felt very comfortable what Hank and I were working on the last three days and it carried over to today, and hopefully it will carry over to the rest of the week.

Q. It could have been a bit of a gamble to play three in a row. You could have got burned out. A lot of negative things could have happened. But as we look at it now, it might be the other way. You might be playing yourself into your best form of the year. Talk a little bit about that?
TIGER WOODS: I had that nice little rest there after the British Open, those two days, that's what got me. (Laughter) I have plenty of energy.
No, but I felt that my practice sessions right before the Buick were good. I played well after the first round, I got it going. Then I played well last week. But I just -- you've got to take advantage of your off days, I think, in between. And I was at home kind of relaxing.
Here I took it pretty easy the first two days. Even when I played 18 holes it was very light. Didn't really practice that much. And yesterday it was just a very light practice and went home. Just trying to get my energy up. And so I was ready for today. I feel like the things I've been doing, they are getting progressively better. It could easily have happened the other way, but it's been very positive so far.

Q. Have you ever had a major where you've played as well as you expected for yourself for the week and failed to win because somebody just came out and beat you? Are you on your game pretty confident that you can win every time you're on your game?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I felt pretty comfortable once -- if I'm playing well. No doubt. There are times I've put it together and I've had some pretty good margins of victory. Just feel that overall my game over the years, it's gotten better and become more consistent.
And when I'm playing well, I usually don't make that many mistakes.

Q. Could you give us a sense or a picture of where you were a year ago this week or this day in the rehab process, how much of this tournament you watched, just to give us a sense of how far you've come in the last 365 days?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was I think just now starting to try and walk without a brace. I wasn't very good at it, but just trying to get a little bit of flexion at the time. And walking in a pool and all those different things. But I couldn't do much of anything.

Q. Did you watch the tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I did watch the tournament. I watched -- I believe Charlie was playing well. Charlie Wi was up there. We were up playing against him in junior golf, wanted to see what he was doing. Then I caught the last four or five holes, I think five holes coming in on Sunday.

Q. This is the longest PGA ever. The courses seem to be getting longer and longer, but it doesn't seem to affect the scores adversely. Why is that happening?
TIGER WOODS: It's long on a scorecard, but we didn't play it that long. Kerry move the tees up on 12 right to the edge of the tee box and we played the front of the tee on 13 as well. And even on 7. It's a long par 5, one of the -- it's the shortest par 5. We still played it from the front of the back tee.
So we didn't play anywhere near its yardage. If we played all the way back, 12 would have been a little bit tough. And 13, guys would probably be hitting little cut drivers in there.
So it was -- the beauty of having a golf course this long is having the ability to move the tees around based upon wind. And I think that's one of the neat things about it; is that, yeah, it's a long golf course from the tips. We never ever play from the tips. It's like Torrey Pines is supposed to be a long golf course, but we never played it from all the way back.

Q. The length doesn't bother you as much as the wind?
TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. The fairways are plenty wide here. Plenty of room out there. And the fairways are soft so the ball's not really running. So they're playing a little bit wider, even wider still.

Q. You have won a bunch of these things despite not great starts. You've got one going now. How important is it -- do we overrate it? Obviously it's a numbers -- the lower the number the better, but how crucial is it to get off fast?
TIGER WOODS: It's always nice to get off quick. But the first round, you can play yourself out of a golf tournament. Certainly cannot win the golf tournament on the first day.
And it's something that I've always believed in, is just keep yourself around -- you don't have to be eight ahead after the first round. That's not it. Just gotta just keep plodding along, and major championships are set up so they're difficult. They beat you into making mistakes.
And the whole idea is not to make that many mistakes. All the majors that I've won, made very few mistakes for the week, and I think all of the other guys can say the same as well for the championships they've won.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Tiger held the lead outright after the first round of the '98 PGA, was tied for the lead after the first round in 2000.

Q. Just to get an idea, you were talking about the length. What did you hit into 12? What was your tee shot on 13 and what did you hit in the 7?
TIGER WOODS: 3-iron, 3-iron and 6-iron.

Q. In your mind, are you still kind of feeling like a defending champ since you won it the last time you played?

Q. Can you talk about, you scattered a couple of squirrels with approach shots on the 1st hole and 3rd hole and got really good bounces. Came down where you could get up-and-down and made par on birdie and I'm wondering when you're playing like that, do you go in your mind it's going my way today?
TIGER WOODS: It was a terrible shot at the 1st hole. I was trying to hit just a soft 4 iron putting it in the air and didn't do it. Got stuck and hit it to the right.
The thing is, yeah, I was over to the right, but I had a good lie. That's the only reason why I got that ball up and down is I had a good lie. It's one of the hardest greens on the golf course. It's nice to have that kind of lie.
3 was just a bad miss. You can't miss where I missed it. And I did get a great break, because that ball -- it was always going to be on the -- just in the rough but the tree overhangs. And if anything, you can miss that shot 60 yards left of the green and have a shot, perfect shot to that flag.
But you can't miss it two yards right of the flag. And I hit it just a little bit right of where I was trying to start it. And I didn't draw it. So third shot was a good shot because I was -- I didn't have a very good lie. And as I told Steve, it was only 60 yards, but we'll do well just to keep the ball on the green. Kept it on the green and made a putt.

Q. Your reaction to Alvaro's second shot on No. 11, and what did he say to you on the 12th tee?
TIGER WOODS: He apologized. Nothing to apologize for. I mean, that's just stupid long, isn't it? To hit it that far into the wind is phenomenal. It's just absolutely phenomenal. I used to be able to move the ball, not anymore. I just plod my way around, shoot 67. (Laughter).

Q. You and Paddy seem to be having fun. In terms of intensity, how did today's round compare to the final round in Akron?
TIGER WOODS: Not quite the same. The situation is not the same. As I've said, this is just the first round. You're trying to play yourself into that position where we were last Sunday.
Yeah, last Sunday we didn't say much. I think he said I have a Titleist. And I said I have a Nike, good luck today, and that's pretty much it. Today we talked a little bit more because obviously it's the first round and most of the guys usually talk the first two or three days. But you get a little more quiet on the weekend.

Q. What do you remember Walker Cup with him back in the day? I guess it was 4 ball. You must have been 18 or 19.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was 19, I believe. I don't remember a whole lot. I remember him being on that team. I don't remember a whole lot from the championship. I know that they ended up winning. And we had some pretty good matches overall.
We had a hell of a team, actually. We had myself and Noda. Tripp Kuehne. The other older guys. We had Tim Jackson was leading at the U.S. Open. Allen Doyle. John Harris. Buddy Marucci. We had a pretty good squad, but we still didn't win.

Q. The IOC executive board today decided to recommend golf and rugby sevens. What's your reaction to that? I know the other day you said you'd like to play?
TIGER WOODS: I'd love to play for the rugby team, that would be great. (Laughter) No, I think it's great for golf. We're long overdue to have it in the Olympics. Our sport is a global sport. It's played all around the world. And I think it's a great time and hopefully it will be passed in October or November and hopefully it will be truly in the Olympics.

Q. What actually happened with Quiros' ball? Did it come close to hitting you?
TIGER WOODS: No, it didn't come close to anybody. But it just rolled up on the front edge. And you have to understand. You know how big a hit that is? What is this hole playing? 606 into the wind. Tee shot's uphill. Yeah.
KELLY ELBIN: Tiger Woods in with 67 to lead the PGA Championship. Thanks.

End of FastScripts

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