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August 14, 2009

Tiger Woods


KELLY ELBIN: Four-time PGA champion Tiger Woods in with a 2-under par 70 in the second round of the 91st PGA Championship. Tiger's at 7-under par with a four-shot lead over the field. Five birdies again, Tiger, not the way you wanted to finish the round but all in all pleased with 70 today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, very pleased. The wind was up today. It was pretty blustery. It was changing directions a little bit here and there. It was affecting putts. You had to play the wind on putts. And it was all in all just a very difficult day. I had to stay very patient and hopefully you can take advantage of opportunities if you ever got any.
I just had to kind of grind it out.

Q. Nice grinding. Looked like those consecutive birdies on the front nine, you got your rhythm back after sort of an uneven start and you were off and running and then the three birdies on the back.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, just had to stay patient out there. I hit a good tee shot at 1 and I was amazed that even though I cut it down the left middle of the fairway it ended up in the left rough. It was actually blowing harder than I thought. Made bogey there. I was just very patient. You had a couple holes where you could take advantage. I thought 7 you could birdie. If I could just make some pars all the way around to 7 I could get one there and get back to even par.
But I picked one up at 6 which was nice and then birdied 7 on top of that to get to under par for the day.

Q. Typically you take the week off prior to a major. You played your way into this one. If you finish the deal and continue to play at this level, might you revise that approach of taking the week off? And what's different about this week as opposed to those other majors when you had that week off?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I got a long way to go before any of that ever happens. 36 more holes. As far as the other majors, I haven't done it. This is the only major I've actually played prior to.
I've had a pretty good record at other majors as well.

Q. Tiger, after looking out for birdie on 13, just wondered how satisfying that great tee shot was on 14?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that was a good one. It was a 280 carry, 290 front, and downwind. Just a perfect 3-wood for me and I hit it flush. And it carried and got up on the green and I thought I made the putt to be honest with you, I hit a really good putt there. It was a little bit shy. It was nice to pick one up there and then get two more after that.

Q. You appeared to respect Padraig Harrington very much as a rival. I'm just thinking at this time last year, after he won the Open and this championship, his achievements were diminished somewhat by the fact that you weren't here, you didn't play in them, obviously. Did you think that was reasonable, fair?
TIGER WOODS: I'm sorry I wasn't playing. (Smiling) No, I mean, he won the tournament. He beat whoever he needed to beat in the field, plain and simple.

Q. With it being so hot these last two days, can you talk about how much the course changed just from yesterday to today?
TIGER WOODS: The ball was flying just as far. But the greens were -- they were interesting today. They were pretty bumpy. The poa was picking up and later in the day you go the more there's a difference between the poa and the bent.
So that's one of the reasons why starting out early today I had a hard time getting putts to the hole because I didn't want to leave those three, four-footers coming back. Consequently I was leaving the putt short. You have to be aggressive on this stuff, but then again you don't want to leave a putt coming back.
But it was just a tough day all in all, just had to be very patient and hopefully you had to play the wind on some putts, too, some of the holes that were more exposed. You had to give a little bit more and just made for a very interesting day.

Q. Some of your competitors say that your greatest attribute is your mental focus and your ability to stay in the game. You could have been 4-over really early today. How important is it for that aspect of your game? And secondly, are you just exhausted right now? Was that as hard as it seems mentally draining on you?
TIGER WOODS: As far as playing out there, you're right. Today was a day when it certainly could have been -- if you looked at it, it could have been -- I don't know how you explain it -- could have been worse than it is. Could have been better, you know what I'm saying?
I could have easily shot a couple over par today, but I turned it into an under-par round. As far as being exhausted, I'm just really hungry. (Laughter).

Q. You'll sleep well tonight?

Q. Every time you've been in this position after 36 holes in a major you've gone on to win. Do you attribute that to the fact that it's just a matter you've been playing well in these majors, or do you put anything into the fact that you're so good at managing your game when you have a lead?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just -- in order to have a lead in a major championship you can't be playing poorly. And all the times that I've been in this position, I have played well. And I'm playing well now.
So it's just a matter of continuing what I've been doing this week. And I'm very pleased at my execution today especially in the wind. Some of the shots I hit today, I'm very pleased about that.

Q. Did Padraig surprise you with that bomb he hit out of that bunker on 15?
TIGER WOODS: Steve and I were talking, that's one of the best shots I've ever seen. I don't remember what the number was, but you could hear, he didn't mis-hit that, he hit it flush, out of a bunker uphill lie where you can't use your legs to get any power and chance of slipping is there, but you still hit it flush enough to carry it that far. It was a pretty impressive shot and it was definitely worth the price of admission.

Q. You told us at Southern Hills when you won that you wanted to play to the flat portions of the greens so even if you had longer putts you didn't have what you had at Oakmont where you had eight feet of break, seven feet of break on shorter putts. What is the game plan here at Hazeltine?
TIGER WOODS: Depends on the pins. These greens are so different. Some greens like No. 10 has got -- they're moundy and rolly and all the greens are pretty flat like what we have at 6. Just have one little ridge there. So each green is different. But you have to play to certain spots.
I was a little bit conservative today. The third hole I hit a little sand wedge in there. I didn't take a chance of flying the ball up on top. And you fly it up on top as banked out as it is there's a chance of skipping it over. I was conservative there. I hit it down in the bowl, like you said, putt it back up. You've got to pick your spots, and you have a good spot, a good number, good situation, yeah, you can be aggressive. If you don't, there's nothing wrong with putting it on the green and moving on.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Tiger has hit 29 of 36 greens in regulation over the first two rounds.

Q. You talk about patience and your idea of patience is much different than some of the other golfers, they've been saying. Today, with the wind, what is your thought process on patience? Is it after a bogey? What goes through your mind in terms of settling yourself?
TIGER WOODS: Just gotta -- you're going to make bogeys. You're going to make mistakes out there today. And sometimes it is going to be your fault. Sometimes it's going to be bad timing on the wind.
It's just one of those days. And you just kind of limit those mistakes somehow. And if you have an opportunity to take advantage of it and make a birdie, you can't afford to miss those opportunities. They're not going to come very often.
And I did that today. I made my share of good par putts and also made my share of good birdie putts.

Q. If I'm reading the computer right, it looks like you're playing -- you've gone from playing with the guy who has won three majors in three years to the last guy who is ranked number one in the world not named Tiger. Does that give you an extra kick in your step who you're playing with at all or are you just looking at 18 flags and fairways and greens?
TIGER WOODS: Tomorrow you position yourself. Tomorrow is supposed to be windy and Sunday's not supposed to be very good. So you have to make sure that you're there and in position and I know Vijay isn't going to make a lot of mistakes. He doesn't. He's won a bunch of tournaments in his 40s. I think it is the most ever.
He's going to be very consistent. And it's going to be a lot of fun for both of us tomorrow.

Q. The front nine was a real grind for you today. And how significant was that putt on 12 for par? It looked like it helped turn things around a little bit for you?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. I 3-putted 10. Just made -- I made a mistake in the second shot. I hit it too easy. Hit a terrible first putt and unfortunately made a 3-putt there. And then looked like I might 3-putt 11, made a good putt there. And 12, I didn't want to drop a shot there because now we're playing 13 which is not playing easy.
So I could have easily made three straight bogeys there, but only made one bogey and made two good par putts. So that definitely kept the round going and I didn't drop -- looked like I should have dropped some shots there but I didn't.

Q. Your chip on 18, looked like it was about a 6-iron or something from off the fringe. And can you just take us through that chip and it kind of ran out on you and maybe what happened on the putt back?
TIGER WOODS: I hit the chip too hard. I was trying to get a good angle on it. The ball was sitting down just a little bit and having some grass, thicker grass right behind it. I tried to get some kind of angle on it and hit it too hard. The putt was -- I hit like I wanted to. Unfortunately, it didn't go in. I was rolling down there, it was amazing the different type of emotions. Hit it good and then it broke hard early and I thought I missed it left. Then it bounced back to the right. And it looked like I made it, then it bounced even further right. Looked like I was going to miss it. Looked like it had a chance to come back in, then it wobbled back out again.
These greens are a little bit bouncy. It is what it is. And you've got to make sure that you try and hit the best putt you possibly can and if it goes in. If it doesn't, so be it.

Q. We know there's been some instances where it just didn't happen for you at majors. But in your opinion has there ever been a single instance in a major where you've done what you consider to be choking?
KELLY ELBIN: We'll take that to be a no?
TIGER WOODS: Be creative. You usually are. (Laughter).

Q. With you measuring a successful year by winning a major, many analysts have suggested that there's more pressure on you to win this being the final one of the year. Is that true? Do you put any more pressure on yourself because you're in this situation?
TIGER WOODS: No. You just go play. It is a major championship. And you have a chance on winning a championship. At the very beginning of the week you just go out there and do the same things you always do. You don't do anything differently just because it's your last one. Or you don't do anything differently like at Augusta because it's your first one. You just prepare like you know you have to prepare and hopefully you can execute like you know you can.
KELLY ELBIN: Tiger Woods, the leader mid-way through the PGA Championship.

End of FastScripts

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