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April 9, 2010

Tiger Woods


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We would like to welcome Tiger Woods back with us to the media center with rounds of 68 on Thursday and 70 on Friday. Mr. Woods is 6-under.
Tiger, how did the course play today? Was it much different than the course yesterday?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was a lot different today. It was -- the greens, even though we had a bunch of rain, they were certainly faster, and the wind was blowing, on some of these greens, I was allowing definitely some movement on the greens for wind, holding up putts or taking it a bit more.
Like 11 green, for example, that's pretty quick. And same with 14. So a couple of greens out there that are getting really, really fast. Even 15, as well.

Q. Can you take us through your second shot on 17?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I had a gap there. I just had to turn it probably about two yards. The wind was straight down. Had 156 to the hole and I hit a 9-iron and got it up through the gap and turned it, turned just actually about a yard, so ended up being just right of the hole.

Q. We've never seen you with the sun glasses before; have you got allergies?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, the pollen is just killing my eyes. I've been sneezing and hacking all week. So trying to keep it out of my eyes the best I can.

Q. And the two putts there at the end, 16 and 17, obviously 17 would have been a hell of a birdie from where you were?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, well, at 17, I completely misread the putt. I thought after watching K.J.'s, I know K.J. did not hit it hard enough and it was breaking to the right and I figured my putt would be probably dead straight, maybe left center, I went dead straight and it actually broke left about a cup. That's a great read.
16, it's so fast, you just have to tap it and hope it rolls straight.

Q. Do you like your spot on the leaderboard right now?
TIGER WOODS: (Chuckles). Yeah, I do. (Laughter) Yes.

Q. Can you talk about your birdies on 13 and 15?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, 13, I drove it middle of the fairway and I had a number where I could reach, but not with that wind swirling down there, so I decided to lay up to the right, had a good angle in. I got too conservative on the pitch, left it short, and after watching Matt's putt, I thought he hit it too far right, tried to hit it too hard. But if he would have hit it with the right pace, it would have gone in. But after seeing that, I allowed for maybe another ball, ball and a half more, and it made it. It was about 20 feet.
Then 15, 15 was an interesting little pitch I had there. I had to line it over the sprinkler but short of the green, and I had to line it more, basically, an inch past the sprinkler, so just killed it. I was actually fortunate it actually went on the green, and from there, I made the putt.

Q. Yesterday you said you were a little bit surprised about the 68. Do you have any level of doubt about being able to do what you've done so far in the two days coming up after the layoff?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt that I could put myself in contention. My practice has been really consistent and progressing with Hank. And as I said, I didn't have the luxury of playing tournaments coming in here. So I had to be more focused on my practice sessions coming into it and then take more out of them than most people would.

Q. How much more comfortable were you out there today playing, second round back, after the long layoff, can you quantify that?
TIGER WOODS: I felt more comfortable because I was hitting the ball better and I was putting better, even though I didn't shoot as low a score. I think that's a factor of the conditions. But I played -- I feel like I have more control of the golf ball today from tee-to-green and I hit putts right on my lines. That's something I wasn't doing yesterday.

Q. Are there any things through the first two rounds that you like about the way you're playing?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't putt well yesterday. I missed quite a few putts, and as I said yesterday when I was in here, if I had made those putts, it could have been a really special round.

Q. What about today?
TIGER WOODS: Today I hit a lot of good putts. I made my share. Conditions were so much more difficult today. As you can see the scores, guys are not tearing this place apart like they were yesterday. 30 guys were under par yesterday, and that's not going to be the case today.

Q. You're peeling the tape off your fingers and Hulbert was telling us how you don't even have calluses right now because you ramped up so fast and tried to hit the ground running; wondering where, if at all, you feel vestiges of rough, if any, especially on perhaps the toughest golf course 50 yards and in.
TIGER WOODS: I feel good, I feel very comfortable. As I said, my practice sessions were very consistent with Hank, and we did some really good work leading into this tournament and felt very comfortable with everything. Basically just had to get the pace of the greens, because the times I've come up here, they weren't like this; they never are.
Come tournament time, actually from Wednesday to Thursday, this week, they get faster.

Q. Can you talk about how you played 13, what you had in and your strategy on that hole laying up?
TIGER WOODS: I had 218 front and obviously I could get there with a 5-wood but the wind was all over the place, and it makes no sense to go for it. So I laid up to the right, make sure I had an angle down to the flag, and I had 61 to the hole and was too conservative on the pitch. If I lined it anywhere near the flags it would probably hop over the back, so consequently I kind of eased up on it too much and ended up short.

Q. Do you often lay up on that kind of hole with that kind of yardage?
TIGER WOODS: It depends. Our tee shot was into the wind, and we were I think either Matt and myself, we had numbers in which we could get there but it made no sense to go, just because the wind was just dancing too much.

Q. When you are playing, does it feel like you had a long layoff, or are there any instances where you are wishing you had a few at-bats?
TIGER WOODS: Not at all. As I said, I feel my practice has been very good. I didn't have the luxury, as I said of playing tournaments, so my practice was certainly much more focused, because it had to be.

Q. We've been asking you all week what it's like to be back; what's it like to be back in the mix?
TIGER WOODS: It feels good. It feels really good. As of right now, I'm only two back, three back now. It feels good to be back and in contention.
You know, I usually put myself in contention most of the time most years here, and this year I'm right there. You know, we've got 36 more holes and I'm sure the golf course, they are not going to make it easy for us. They made it easy on the first day for us and today was certainly much more difficult.

Q. I don't want to be too premature here, but has the week gone well enough in terms of your practice and preparation and the feeling of being out there again and in the mix, and obviously within the parameters of your obligations to family and things like that, do you feel like you might start living your more normal schedule?
TIGER WOODS: I would like to, but I don't know. I'm going to have to evaluate some things after this event.

Q. Is it possible that the layoff actually has helped you get around the golf course the last two days and maybe the practice coming in has refocused and maybe made you sharper coming in?
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say it made me sharper, but I know that I had to be more focused when I practiced. I had to get more out of it.
As I said in here yesterday, it's very similar to what Hogan went through coming off the accident. Just couldn't play that much and when you can't play, you have to concentrate on your practice.
It would have been nice to actually have a normal schedule and play, but that's neither here nor there. I had to make sure that I got everything I possibly could out of every practice session. That's one of the things that Hank and I really focused on, and I think we have done a pretty good job of that.

Q. To follow up on your weekend comment, would you take 138 over the next two days and let them shoot at it, or will it take more?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. A lot of it depends on what the committee does on the pins. Today they gave us a couple easy pins, but also, then again, they tucked a few away. The pin over there at 16 is usually on the right but usually it's not that far to the right. It's another probably half a step over there.
They have the luxury of doing things like that, of making it a little bit more difficult. Yesterday, the pins were probably a step, step and a half easier than they normally are. And consequently, you see the guys go low.
Today, the wind is blowing, it's a little bit more difficult, the greens are faster, but the pins are a little bit more difficult. Sorry for not answering your question, but it really is dependent on what they do with the pins. If they give us a chance like they did yesterday, 138 might not be enough.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, congratulations on terrific playing, Tiger. Best of luck on the weekend.

End of FastScripts

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