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November 4, 2009
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you for your attendance this morning, and Tiger, thank you for yours, welcome to the WGC - HSBC Champions. Just give us your thoughts looking head to the week.
TIGER WOODS: Looking forward to it. I think everyone is. Having this now become a World Golf Championships event, I think everyone is very excited about it, very excited about what this tournament means in the scope of things, not just here in China, but I think in all of Asia, and as a player, we are looking forward to playing this golf course and against such a great field.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It's been a couple of years since you've been here; do you remember much about your last visit?
TIGER WOODS: I do. I don't know how the golf course is playing this year. I have played under two totally different conditions. I played here when it's been soft, and when it's been hard and firm and springy on the greens. So I'm curious to get out there and see how it's playing.
Q. You've won a lot of World Golf Championships tournaments; what sort of strategy do you have this time?
TIGER WOODS: Simple strategy. Finish lower than anybody else. I've enjoyed playing against such great fields. That's the whole idea of having the World Golf Championships, it's not just major championships that we all get together, and THE PLAYERS; it's now these World Golf Championships events. It's a lot of fun for us as players to compete against these guys but for some reason, I've also had a lot of success.
Q. You were just talking yesterday about the importance of being a global golfer and promoting the game. Were you a little disappointed that there are not a few more Americans out there this week, people who are eligible to come and haven't come?
TIGER WOODS: I think everyone has their own playing schedule. A lot of guys have opted to obviously not come but are playing the Fall Series, as well. That has a lot to do with it.
There are a few of us who have played all around the world. I think it's part of the responsibility of us as players to play all around the world. Plus, golf has become such a global sport. There are so many golfers who play at the highest level from different countries now.
It's fun for me. I've always enjoyed coming over seas and get a chance to play different golf courses and see different things.
Q. You've been going through a lot of training as a professional sportsman. How are you going to handle your pressure from training, and also on the road, travelling, playing all over the world?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think, well, one, it's fun. It's fun playing at this level. It's fun training and trying to get better.
To me, I've always enjoyed the process. Whether it's the off-course conditioning or it's the practise sessions; I've always enjoyed that.
Q. You're spreading the golfing gospel by travelling the world; if you were here and you had a lot of Chinese people around you giving a clinic, what would be the one word of advice you would say to them to help them enjoy their game more, from someone who is right at the top?
TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously it's more difficult in certain countries to get access to the game. It's one of the things that China is actually learning and developing, the facilities to practise. But I think I always -- every clinic, I get asked the same question, how do you get better. Well, you work. It's the only way. You get out there and enjoy going out there and practising and enjoy going out there and trying to prove each and every time you practise.
That, to me, has been fun. I just wish the more people enjoyed the practise part of it, because that's how you improve.
Q. Do you see the golfing compass as pointing inevitably east, and this part of the world is going to become a powerhouse for the game in the way that the United States is now; and if so, how long do you think it will be until we reach that situation?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that now with the inception, or rather, the inclusion of the Olympics, I think that certainly will help. If you look at countries like Sweden, where the government got behind kids' programs and funded them and let them travel into Spain and Italy and got behind it, and look how many Swedish golfers they produced.
China has done the same thing in pretty much every other sport, except for golf. It will be interesting to see what happens if they make a push towards that, and if they do, then there's no question they will become a powerhouse in golf, with the populous and with the amount of golf courses that are being constructed, the game obviously we know is exploding over here. So it just a matter of time.
Q. What are your thoughts on why this it doesn't count as an official victory on the U.S. Tour when it does for all of the other tours, and do you think that changes the perception of this WGC, compared with the other three?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Doug, I think when we are in-season, the official season from I think Mercedes (SBS Championship) through Atlanta, THE TOUR Championship, I think that the U.S. Tour pretty much considers everything else official wins. But outside of that, I don't know any other event that is considered an official win that's outside of that time frame.
Q. Should it be?
TIGER WOODS: Should it be? Depends. If it counts towards the Money List, I certainly would see it, but our Money List is over.
Q. I wanted to get your thoughts on Doug Barron, the first drug suspension.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I just heard about it today. Unfortunate, but that's also one of the reasons why we have the policy, to make sure that no one does anything that's improper for the game of golf, and you know, I think it's great that we have the policy in place.
Q. Are you happy with the decision to go back to the V-grooves in January? Are you happy about the V-grooves?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely. For me, I've only had my two sand wedges that are non-V-grooves. So for me it's not really going to be that big of a change.
Two, I play a softer ball. So my change won't be as much as some of the other guys.
Q. And who do you think it's going to benefit overall?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's going to obviously benefit the guys that have probably grown up with V-grooves and understand the flyer and what can they do and how to play it.
A lot of players don't understand how to do it, and it's going to be interesting to see how guys strategise and how they set up their golf bag, as well. You know, obviously .
Q. Do you see the game being played much more conservative or less aggressive?
TIGER WOODS: Depends. Depends on if the guys change the golf balls. Depends on what's the loft in their wedges. I'm sure you'll probably see many more 64-degree wedges in the bag, but as far as playing more aggressively or conservatively, who knows. Depends on the situation.
But it will be curious to see how the guys do play, yeah.
Q. How do you feel about Y.E. Yang and his game?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Y.E. I first met him a few years ago when we were battling here, and he's obviously improved. He's won the Honda this year and the PGA Championship.
So Y.E. has always been a pretty good player, but also a lot has to do with he's learned how to win, a lot of confidence, and on top of that, to be the first Asian-born player to win a major championship; a pretty big thing. He should be very proud of all of the things he's accomplished so far in his career, and I believe that many more positive things should happen down the road.
Q. Obviously you focus now on this week, but what are you looking forward to about next week and what do you know about Kingston Heath?
TIGER WOODS: As far as next week, I don't know a lot about the golf course, other than the guys have generally said it's either one or two on their list of venues in Melbourne.
Just like anybody else, I'm looking forward to getting down there for the first time and taking a look at it and seeing how it figures -- how to figure out how to play the golf course. But all of the courses that I've seen down there in Melbourne, I've always loved bunkering, some of the best bunkering in the world. From what the guys have said so far, to me; that Kingston Heath is no different.
Q. And have you played any apart from Royal Melbourne and Huntingdale?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've been over to the Metro once.
Q. You have so many people following you all the time, is it a distraction you to you, or do you like it? And will you consider playing in Singapore sometime in the future?
TIGER WOODS: As far as distracting, yeah, it can be at times. You know, it's part of the understanding of how to play with big crowds or a lot of media inside the ropes. There are a lot of different things that go on in our pairing that probably doesn't happen in most pairings. But it is what it is.
And as far as liking it, I've never liked it. So that's pretty easy (smiling).
As far as playing to Singapore, I've always wanted to go there and play. I've been there, but I've just never played. Maybe one day I can get there and play.
Q. A lot of people think that this time the people can come and see you with the family; will you take your family, coming over to China?
TIGER WOODS: As far as this week, no, they haven't come. It would be a little tough with an eight-month-old and a two-year-old and change.
So it's a little bit much for that. But down the road, certainly, we would love to come here with the family and have them experience the culture. Yeah, absolutely.
Q. And any changes after you've become a father on the game?
TIGER WOODS: On the game it makes your practise sessions have to be more precise. You have to be more focused when you're practising because you just don't have the time. You need to be home and you need to be with the kids, and you don't want to miss a lot of different things that you get to experience in life with your family.
My practise sessions revolve around their schedule. So it is a bit different now with that, but also it's a great change in my life, as well.
Q. What is your feeling about the HSBC Champions to become in such a short time a World Golf Championships event?
TIGER WOODS: Great question. For this tournament to be the first Asian World Golf Championships, it's truly remarkable. To go from, what is it, four or five years, to where it's at right now, I think it's great to see, and one, it's deserving. This is it the biggest event here in Asia, and for it to be here in Shanghai and with the growth that's happening in China, I think it's just a perfect fit.
And hopefully this tournament stays. I know HSBC has been just a tremendous sponsor for this event and will continue to be for this event. So again, I think it's very deserving, of being a World Golf Championships.
Q. You reaped the benefits from working in the gym and on the range to keep your skill, what would be your message to someone who would consider trying to enhance their performance via drugs, as in the recent case of Doug Barron?
TIGER WOODS: It's unfortunate. It's also one of the reasons why we have the policy set up. I don't know if you know if he tested for performance-enhancing or recreational; you might know. I don't know. But the whole idea is to keep our sport clean, and that's the whole idea and that's why we created the policy, and it's been executed and unfortunately one player didn't obey the policy.
Q. I met Gary Player a couple of weeks ago and Gary Player thinks you might win the tournament; how do you feel about that? And also, what is your favourite win in 2009?
TIGER WOODS: As far as Gary's comments, that's awfully nice. I hope I win, too. So we'll see this week and how it unfolds. I'm playing obviously in the Pro-Am today so I get a chance to look at the golf course and figure out how to play this year. So look forward to that.
But as far as 2009, if you look back on the wins this year, it would probably have to be the very first one, coming back after eight months away from the game, and within three tournaments, getting a victory there at Bay Hill, I still don't know how did I that after being away from the game after that long.
It was a great feeling, and one that certainly springboarded me into the rest of the year.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks, as always, for your time. Good luck this week.
End of FastScripts