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August 15, 2009

Tiger Woods


KELLY ELBIN: Four-time PGA Champion, Tiger Woods joining us after three rounds of the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Tiger is the leader at 8-under par, two-stroke lead.
Tiger, fairly clean round today, two birdies, one on the front and one on the back, bogey on 4. Comments on the round and feelings going into the final round tomorrow.
TIGER WOODS: I was pretty consistent today all day. Only mistake I made was 3-putting there at 4.
But other than that, card was pretty clean. I didn't give myself a lot of looks at putts, though. I was lag putting a lot. Given the conditions and my position in the tournament, I didn't mind it.
KELLY ELBIN: Talk about the blade shot on 14 for birdie, what your thinking was on that, in terms of why you used that club and so forth.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I just couldn't get a putter on it, and I couldn't chip it. It was sitting down. I couldn't get a club on it clean enough. And so my only shot was to just kind of basically blade it and have kind of a topple out of there and hopefully it jumped straight, and it did. It jumped perfectly straight coming out, and held its line and broke at the end and went in.

Q. How far?
TIGER WOODS: About a 15-footer there.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Tiger had 28 putts today, fewest of any of his rounds this week.

Q. So even though you definitely had a clean round today, the other guys were going low, or certainly going lower than they had been the last few days, four-shot lead is now a two-shot lead. Is it going to change the way that you approach tomorrow, and do you feel that you can't be as cautious as you might have otherwise been?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that all depends on the weather, what we get tomorrow, how much rain we get overnight, and how soft the golf course is going to play. You know, I thought it was going to be playing a little bit more difficult today, but it wasn't. They gave us a lot of room on a lot of these pins, six and seven even from the side, so you can be fairly aggressive. I just felt that with my lead, I erred on the side of caution most of the time. If I did have a good look at it, a good number at it, I took aim right at it. Otherwise I was just dumping the ball on the green and 2-putting.

Q. It's pretty clear that you're tight with Harrington, you admire him and respect him; can you say what the qualities are that make you feel that way?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Paddy is just -- I've always felt he's a great guy and I've known him, as I said, since amateur golf. We've gone back a long way.
Paddy is an extremely hard worker, very patient and really believes in himself and his game. It's really nice to see someone who works that hard at his game to accomplish his goals, and that's certainly one of the things I've always admired about him.

Q. I know you keep your head down the final round of a major; can you address the dynamics of if Paddy does not bogey 18 and you would be playing with him again; but instead you'll be playing with Y.E. Yang; would you rather play with a guy like Padraig in the last round?
TIGER WOODS: Well, no, because if I was, I'd have a one-shot lead. (Laughter).
Just kind of the way it turns out. Y.E. played just a great round of golf today, shooting 67, and he got himself into the final pairing and Paddy put himself right back in the tournament. It will be a fun day tomorrow and hopefully we can get it in.

Q. It was remarkably windy out there today, and yesterday; have you made any adjustments in the way you play in severe winds over the last couple of months? Because we know at Turnberry it was a little rough and back in Muirfield a couple of years ago, as well.
TIGER WOODS: Well, today and yesterday, you have to really be committed to what you're doing and hopefully you time it right. If you look at what Vijay and I both did on 13 today, just kind of waiting out the gusts, normally you don't do that. Usually you can play because wind is not blowing that hard. But it was blowing so hard today, at times. Other times you get in lulls, and when you get the lull, you have to go and you have to take advantage of it because obviously the ball is not going to move as much.
You just have to be committed, hit a really solid shot, and as we all know, solid shots don't get affected by the wind that much, so you have to really be committed to that. The last few days I've hit the ball pretty good.

Q. Paddy was saying that he senses the fans want you to win, but they also want it to be close down the stretch for drama purposes; do you sense that?
TIGER WOODS: Mm-mm, no. (Laughter) I see them yelling a lot.

Q. If you win tomorrow, you'll tie Jack Nicklaus for five PGA Championship victories, could you talk a little bit about what that would mean to you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I have a long way to go before that happens. Hopefully I can play a good enough round tomorrow and get into that position -- yeah, I know.
KELLY ELBIN: A victory would also tie Tiger with Walter Hagen for the all-time mark.

Q. 18 holes to play, you've got a two-shot lead, not trivial by any means. Major No. 15, what is your mind-set, exactly, tomorrow, in order to close this one out?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, obviously you've got to play well tomorrow. With what the guys did today on the golf course, you know the guys can shoot some good numbers today -- or they did today in the wind.
And obviously, a lot depends on the weather. You know, it's supposed to be bad tomorrow, and I don't know quite how bad, and hopefully we can get it in, if it is bad. You know, if it becomes softer, obviously the fairways get bigger, but you can get a little more aggressive going into some of these flags. But boy, these greens got a little bit interesting this afternoon. Towards that back nine, you had to be very cautious on your putts and not run them by.
So if we get some more rain tomorrow, it will be even worse.

Q. I've asked you this before, and I'll try again. You have a significant shot differential between yourself and your playing partner in the final pairing, final round of a major. Why? How do you explain that?
TIGER WOODS: I just go out and I play my own game. You just go out there and just play and see what happens.
You know, the guys, you have to realize, we are fighting for a major championship. We are all nervous out there. I'm in the same boat as everyone else, but you've got to go out there and execute shots, and that's the fun, and that's the rush and that's the thrill of it. That's why you play hard.

Q. I know you're not walking in their shoes and you're in your own game, but time and time again, what do you witness from a playing partner, as minimally as you pay attention to them, that you see any effect that that pairing has, if anything?
TIGER WOODS: I think more than anything, it's just the amount of distractions inside the ropes. There's a lot of movement, a lot of cameras, a lot of media, a lot of people moving, and it can get you at times. It's gotten me and it's gotten my playing partners.
You know, other groups don't quite have to deal with the amount of distraction inside the ropes. We all have to deal with it outside the ropes, but inside of it, it gets a little bit interesting at times.

Q. You've said many times that you prefer Pebble Beach in 2000 and the majors when you run away, but you obviously really relished that duel with Padraig last week. Can you describe the adrenaline when you're in a battle like that, and maybe the electricity in the crowd; it seems like fans really want that again.
TIGER WOODS: It is a rush and especially when there's a major championship involved. You know, if you're in that position, you know you're not playing poorly. It's fun to go out there and test what you have, and other guys are throwing it at you and hopefully I can throw it back at them.
It's fun. As I said, that's the rush of it is to try and go out there and try and deal with it and execute.

Q. The closer thing, 47 out of 50 now, I think it is, you know, better than Trevor Hoffman's winning percentage. What do you attribute that to, and in terms of, you know, your many accomplishments, the cut streak and all those long, impressive runs, where does that fit in your mind in terms of the things you've done?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's -- you have to enjoy being in that position, and also, too, that to be in that position, as I said, you're not playing poorly.
You know, I've played well to get myself in those positions, and fortunate to have won most of those events. You know, you just have to go out there and compete and play, and that's what's so much fun about it.

Q. When you have been in this position before, do you look at the calibre of the leaderboard, do you look at the guys behind you and consider, okay, Harrington has won before; does that make any difference in your approach going into the final?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it does, absolutely. You know, because you get guys who understand how to win major championships, and the guys that know how to deal with the situation, and how -- they know and they believe themselves, they know how to get it done.
It's something to be said that when you go out in the final round of a major championship and say, I've gotten it done before. I can say that. Harrington can say that. Ernie was up there and he can say that. Definitely you understand how to do it and it's just a matter of replicating it again.

Q. On 16 when you hit it over the green, your ball appeared to be in a marked-out circle. Was it in the circle and did you have an option to get a relief?
TIGER WOODS: No, it was in a drop zone. There was no relief there. I was very lucky for it to stay up because I did tug it and it landed on the downslope just on the left edge of the green and it shot over the top. I thought it was going to be wet. Very fortunate to have it hang up and hit a good pitch and a good putt from there.

Q. I think Yang won the tournament you were in in Shanghai?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, he did, the HSBC event.

Q. Anything you can recall?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, he was playing a group or two behind me. He was leading the event, played well -- (looking upwards at sound of rain) -- yeah, I think it's going to get softer, you're right. You're pretty smart, Steve, you know that. (Laughter)
Yeah, Y.E. played great. I think he held off myself and Howeller, I believe, and it was -- I believe he won by two, I think, I think.

Q. In terms of distractions and turning a negative into a positive, do you feel that all of the distractions that you deal with every single time has in a strange way made you a better player and made you block out things, block out rain, block out distractions?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you just have to be a little more patient and let people settle down and quit moving sometimes, and it helps that I have just a great caddie to help me out. Steve does a great job at giving me an opportunity to play. As I said, sometimes it can be a little bit distracting. It can be a little bit tough at times, but you just deal with it and you move on, stay patient, execute your shots and go ahead.
KELLY ELBIN: Third-round leader Tiger Woods, thanks very much.

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