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April 28, 2010

Tiger Woods


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger Woods, welcome back to Charlotte, the PGA TOUR and the Quail Hollow Championship. You've had some great success here including a win in 2010. Maybe start with some brief opening comments about coming back to Charlotte.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, looking forward to it, to teeing it up here. I've had just great times here in Charlotte. The galleries have been -- each and every year here have just been enthusiastic. They get into this event, and it's good to see.
Last year was probably the loudest it's ever been here, and I'm sure with the weather being warmer this weekend, we'll probably get another incredible fan base.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You mentioned walking in that you came to North Carolina a little bit early yesterday.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was up at Asheville yesterday, High Carolina to be more specific, took a look at my course, and did some work up there. It was cold and windy. A little bit different than Florida.
But no, we had a good time up there, and things are progressing nicely.

Q. Given two weeks to reflect on Augusta, what is your take on that, given the way you played, and just the whole week, what was build into it?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, immediately after the event they asked me how did I feel about it, and I wasn't very happy I lost. But given a little time to reflect on it, it was an incredible week. I think it went as well as it could have possibly gone, and obviously I didn't do what I needed to do on the weekend, but overall after not playing for that long and coming back and finishing 4th, I think that's pretty reasonable.

Q. How are you deciding where you will play, and specifically why did you want to play in Charlotte this week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's a great question. As far as my playing schedule, it's kind of up in the air. I'm trying to get back to normalcy in that. But Charlotte has always been one of my favorite TOUR stops. The golf course, we don't get a chance to play golf courses like this very often, and it's always a treat to play a golf course like this.
It's very similar to a major championship, especially right now the greens speeds are up, the fairways are running, even though they had rain. It's hard to believe the golf course is still playing this fast. If you just added some high rough around this golf course, with I think three par-4s at 490, it's pretty stout.

Q. Going to Asheville and your course there, Jim Anthony was one of the few business partners who showed up for your statement that day and talked about the relationship you have. How is that progressing? How has that been impacted and your course design business with all that has gone on?
TIGER WOODS: The course design business has been good. Everything is progressing there. We just had a few environmental issues we needed to get through, some impacts, but that's all been passed, and now we've ready to go. We'll start moving dirt here pretty soon. We've got the clearance, but now we can start moving and creating a golf course.

Q. Do you think things have been impacted by everything that's gone on off the course?
TIGER WOODS: No, we're still getting offers, offers all over the world to design golf courses, it's just a matter of do I have time to do it.

Q. I noticed last week you were criticized because you went to a rock concert. Is your life going back to any kind of normalcy, or do you still feel like everything you do is under intense scrutiny on a private level? And then on a golf level, what have you worked on in the last couple weeks since Augusta in terms of your swing?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I went to the concert, had a great time, Nickelback. A couple of the band members are friends of mine, and that's why I went. I just had a great time. And unfortunately I got criticized for seeing my friends.
But as far as golf-wise, yeah, I've been working on a few things from Augusta, and just trying to get everything -- analyzing the event. I had five months off, and I knew things weren't going to be quite right, and then I can analyze it, how I did. I did pretty good. There were some things I didn't like in my golf swing, so I started to work on that, simplify things a little bit, got everything more fine-tuned, and I feel very comfortable.

Q. Just as a follow on the personal stuff, do you feel like you're at a point now where maybe you can start leading a relatively normal life, or do you still feel like every move you make --
TIGER WOODS: No, there's paparazzi everywhere, at home, helicopters here and there, people driving by, paparazzi camping out in front of the gates. That hasn't changed.

Q. You just mentioned that some time away gave you some perspective about the Masters; you look back at it a little bit differently now. What do you feel was the biggest negative to the time off? How did that hurt you the most being away for so long?
TIGER WOODS: Probably the biggest negative would be -- golf-wise would have to be the fact that I didn't have any prep time. I had to put so much effort into my practice sessions to make it as realistic as I possibly could and try to simulate the same emotions, the same intensity as I would feel in a golf tournament, and that's hard to do, but I came as close as I possibly could -- came as close as I've ever done, put it that way.
And when you're playing tournaments week in and week out, you can kind of get a feel where things are off and you can kind of work on them. It's a little different when you're playing at home, practicing at home.

Q. You mentioned some uncertainty about Augusta and the reception you would receive after being off for so long. Is that any different this week or next week, getting more into public venues, public tournaments?
TIGER WOODS: No, I'll tell you what, the people here have always been very gracious, very excited about this event, and the same with the players. These fans here really get into this event, and again, with a great field like this, I think it'll be another great week.

Q. Just as a little bit of a follow to Doug's thing, coming back at Augusta it was much more controlled environment, and we were walking out there and people seemed very respectful today. Do you expect that to continue? Are there any worries at all that there might be one knucklehead or two knuckleheads out there that say something?
TIGER WOODS: Whether they do or not, it's happened before, and it happened before any of this ever happened. I've dealt with that before.
But as far as the fans here over the years, they've been great. There's no reason why that shouldn't continue.

Q. Just as an unrelated follow, you've mentioned getting back to normalcy in your schedule and that things are up in the air a little bit. Why are they up in the air? It seems like at least this week and next week you've kind of returned to places that you normally would go. What's different about --
TIGER WOODS: Personal things.

Q. A couple of times at Augusta you yelled at yourself for tee shots that you hit with the driver. I guess you hit a couple today that you didn't like too much. What is that exactly that's happening there that's causing those rights with the driver?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the right is caused by hitting it left. (Laughter.) This morning I was warming up, I was hitting it left, and on the golf course I hit it right. So there you have it.

Q. How long do you think it'll take before the golf swing itself returns to kind of normal?
TIGER WOODS: Just trying to get more fine-tuned and I guess into the rhythm of just playing and competing. That takes a little bit of time.
Usually after I come out of the West Coast Swing, I usually feel pretty good about my game. Usually two tournaments in the States and maybe one tournament overseas, so it's usually three events. Coming into Florida, fine-tune a few things and now show up at Augusta. This has been a little bit different.

Q. On your blog you mentioned you had gone scuba diving with your family. I know your family is important to you. Will you be able to spend time with them while you have this busy schedule?
TIGER WOODS: Playing-wise, no. When I come home, yes, definitely.

Q. I just wanted to follow up a question at the Masters you were asked about Dr. Galea and why you decided to see him, and you said he seems to be the go-to guy, a lot of other athletes have seen him. I'm curious, who was the first person to specifically recommend Dr. Galea?
TIGER WOODS: I had a therapist, a physical therapist that recommended him.

Q. Can you say who that was?

Q. Were there any others or just him?
TIGER WOODS: A few others. A lot of guys have worked with him, a lot of athletes have worked with him. Look at the list of athletes he's worked with, it's a who's-who.
As I explained earlier at the Masters, the same thing with Dr. Whitten with your eyes, with my eyes. One of the reasons why I went to see him is because he's worked with so many athletes and had just a tremendous amount of success, and Dr. Galea was the same.

Q. In your press conference before the Masters at Augusta, you had mentioned that you weren't having fun playing the game anymore. Was there a specific moment where the fun came back to you, and has it come back to you yet?
TIGER WOODS: It's been more fun, no doubt. I've had a lot of struggles internally for a while now, and that's one of the reasons why it wasn't that much fun. The game is now where it used to be, and that's where it should be. It should be fun, and it is a game. Even though I do it for a living, it's still a game, and it wasn't that for a while.

Q. Was there a specific moment where that came back to you?
TIGER WOODS: No, uh-uh, sorry.

Q. I'm working on something for next week, so if we could talk about THE PLAYERS a little bit, could you take me back to the "better than most, better than most" putt and what your favorite memories are of that putt and after you made that putt how many times you heard "better than most"? Was that said to you a lot?
TIGER WOODS: That putt -- well, I'll kind of preface it. Right in front of me I just watched Fred Funk four-putt it, so I knew how fast it was. When I hit the putt, I knew it was pretty good, but I could just start seeing it take off, and I was just praying it would hit the hole to be honest with you. It stuck in the hole, and I got pretty excited, pretty fired up. And as far as the saying "better than most," I've heard that a ton. I think Gary Koch has called it -- it's been said a lot by fans.

Q. Do you handle defeat any differently now than you did when you were younger?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I handle it a lot better, a lot better. I used to be pretty irate when I lost.

Q. Can you just explain what mentally -- how you handle it now?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, it's just part of the game. It's part of -- you have to understand as long as you try your best and it doesn't work out, as long as you can learn something from it -- I didn't quite have that approach when I was a kid. Yeah, things used to be thrown, things used to be broken around the house, in my room. I took losing very hard at the time, very, very hard.

Q. In your blog you talked about a double eagle, the third of your life, at Isleworth, the round with John Cook. And as an ancillary question, the quality of your play today, the shot value.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the double eagle, I had 260 to the hole, hit a 5-wood, and never saw it go in. The green is slightly elevated, so I didn't -- I knew it landed on the green, and when we got up there, there was a ball mark and there was no ball, and that's a pretty good feeling, especially when we had a few dollars on the line, too. That put me up on the last hole; it was the 17th hole, so I was even more happy.

Q. And your play today?
TIGER WOODS: Today it was scratchy. I hit some bad tee shots, some bad iron shots, bad chips, bad putts, but I still shot under par somehow.

Q. It looked like you were experimenting with the new golf ball on the golf course. Were you, and what are the characteristics of it?
TIGER WOODS: It's just a ball for later this year. I just wanted to get a feel for -- I tested it when I was off the last couple weeks but I didn't really do a lot of short-game testing with it, so I wanted to hit some chips with it. I know how it flies, but I didn't know how much it was actually spinning versus mine.

Q. Softer or harder?
TIGER WOODS: The inner layers are harder, much harder, but the outside -- the cover is much, much softer, and the ball is actually going further.

Q. Leading up to the Masters, you used the term you didn't have the luxury to play rounds. It seemed to us that you could have played Bay Hill, Tavistock but chose not to. Was there any outside influence that didn't allow you to play in those events? Did the TOUR step in? There's been players that have been suspended for conduct detrimental --
TIGER WOODS: No, nothing like that. I just wasn't ready. I just started practicing a few weeks prior to Bay Hill. I wasn't anywhere near being ready to compete at this level.
Just like Jack says sometimes, it wasn't ready for public consumption.

Q. You had to get back on the road to play golf, but the road is also where temptation lies. Was there any trepidation on your part to get back on the road because of that possible temptation?
TIGER WOODS: No, not at all, not after what I've been through and the treatment and all my peers.

Q. The word "normalcy" has come up a couple times today. You normally come to a PGA TOUR event and you normally play early on Wednesday in a pro-am. Do things feel normal to you this week more so than they have been?
TIGER WOODS: I have to say this feels a heck of a lot more normal than the Masters did. I just need to go out there and do a little bit of practice session this afternoon, gym work this afternoon, as well, to get ready for tomorrow, and back into tournament mode again.
I think just two weeks in a row competing is -- I'll have a better barometer of what normal really feels like because I haven't done that in a while.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger Woods, thank you, and good luck this week.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks, Joel.

End of FastScripts

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