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August 10, 2010
KELLY ELBIN: Four-time PGA Champion, Tiger Woods, joining us at the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. This will be Tiger's 13th PGA Championship appearance.
Tiger, welcome back to Whistling Straits you finished tied for 24th here in 2004. You've had a chance to play the golf course. Just some opening comments from the practice rounds and this golf course today versus what you saw in 2004, please.
TIGER WOODS: It's a little bit different than 2004. Obviously it's a lot warmer, but the golf course is a little bit slower, a little bit softer. I don't know what it was than what it was in 2004. A few changes but not too many. I think that it will probably play it a little bit longer than in 2004 just because of how much warmer it is and the wind direction. So it will be a great test.
Q. Since you announced your return at the Masters, it's fair to say that things have gone backwards both in terms of your golf and in life. If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently, and why do you think things have sort of back slid?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think in life you just have to keep moving forward, and that's what I'm doing now. Life is certainly getting a lot better.
Q. With the possibility of you losing the No. 1 World Ranking this weekend, is that something that you're focused on, worried about; would that matter to you and does that put any added pressure on your performance this weekend?
TIGER WOODS: No. Just go out there and play. That's been the case for the last couple months actually, last few months. Whole idea is to go out there and play. I'm trying to win a golf tournament just like everybody else here and I'm going to give it everything I have.
Q. How hurt were you by the performance over the weekend in Ohio and what kind of a Tiger are we going to see this week?
TIGER WOODS: "Hurt" is definitely the wrong word there.
Frustrated, yes. Certainly frustrated in the way I hit the ball, the way I putted. I didn't do a whole lot positively around the golf course. Unfortunately I couldn't put together any rounds. But I've done some good work the last two days, and I've still got one more day of some work and hopefully I'll be ready come Thursday.
Q. If I could see correctly, keep it fun, you've shaved your goatee. I guess the thoughts and reasoning behind that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was didn't have any clippers and I was too lazy, so I decided to shave it. (Laughter.)
Q. When you were out on the practice round yesterday we saw you working with Steve where you were really watching your head position. What was it that you were working on do you feel like that's something you'll be able to correct by Thursday?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was just trying to keep my head a little more steady going back. It's something that I worked on over the years. I've gotten away from that; the head was moving way too much for me and my golf swing. How I like to swing the club was, it was just moving too much.
So I tried to shore that up a little bit so that I can start going down down the line again start using my legs again properly and it's starting to feel a little bit better.
Q. Can you clarify for us the relationship, if anything officially, that you have with Sean Foley and what you were doing today out there with him?
TIGER WOODS: I wasn't doing anything with him today. He was watching Hunter and Sean, and I did ask him to film a couple, I would like to take a look at it, which I did look, so I'm heading the right direction. So I'm pretty excited about that.
Q. When you left St. Andrews the one thing that you seemed to be satisfied with was your tee game; driving it well. What happened in the couple of weeks before Bridgestone?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's the same thing as I said earlier, the question over here, what was I doing with the club; Steve holding the club there, I was rocking my head all over the place. And it was allowing the shaft to lay down and from there it's all timing. So I couldn't get the club out in front of me.
So that's certainly a lot better now. It's starting to get a little bit tighter again and I feel like as I said I can use my legs and my rotation the way that I know I can. And so that's starting to come around.
Q. Since you won your last major, there have been a lot of first-time major winners out on TOUR. Like to hear your thoughts on whether it's you think it's good for golf to have some players like a Graeme McDowell or Louis Oosthuizen who is not known outside of the world of golf winning those types of majors instead of, obviously, what you would like is you, or Phil, winning them. Is that good for golf?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you've got to get your start somewhere. Everyone has to win one sometime. I was there in that same position in '97. I won my first. Even though at the time it was Norman and Faldo and Ernie, Monty, those were the guys. Even price was still playing some pretty good golf at the time. So you got to get your start somewhere.
And Graeme and Louis played great golf and they did it down the stretch when they had to do it and that's, you got to get your start where and they did it.
Q. There's been some talk this week by some guys about seeing 59s being shot kind of inspires them to shoot 59. Europeans seeing other Europeans win helps them win other tournaments. When you were young and won those U.S. Amateurs that was kind of a proved to you that you could win maybe. I wonder what it would take now perceptually if there's something that you could see or a barrier that you need to break to get back to where you were.
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's just like even back then and it's the case now is I'm trying to get better each and every day. And just try and make little bitty improvements. And that's -- you're not going to make these big guy and the leaps from year to year.
But if you can keep having small improvements all the time, over the long haul over an entire career you're going to have, I believe, a lot of success. And that's how I've always looked at it, even from junior ranks to amateur golf to now being out here professionally is to keep improving. Keep finding something to feel like I'm better at.
Q. Quick question. Over the last 48 to 72 hours it seems like you've gone from the No. 1 player in the world to like one of the worst players on the planet, and yet I'm wondering, A, do you think that that coverage is probably a little misunderstood because of -- it was just one of the things where you had said early that you just hadn't had a chance to practice? And do you think the time you've spent here do you think will actually rectify that in our minds?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the good thing is even though I'm one of the worst players on the planet, I might be able to beat you. (Laughter.) So I do feel good about that. (Laughter.) Yes. Definitely.
Q. You've said in the past that a year without winning a major is a loss year for you. How close is this to being a loss year for you, and how much is maybe just looking forward to the end of this year?
TIGER WOODS: Well, one, I never said that. I said if you win a Major Championship, it's a great year. And I still believe that. No matter how bad your year is or how good your year was, you have to get a major in there for it to be a great year.
And there were certainly years that I won a bunch of tournaments, but I didn't win a Major Championship. Yes, it was a good year, yes, but I just didn't think it was a great year.
Last year I won what six times in the year I think and I didn't win a Major Championship. So that's what separates I think a really good year from a great year is you've got to win one of the big ones. There's four of them a year, and we all have a chance this week, and hopefully I can get it done.
Q. We have all played golf and sometimes when you're not in a great mood you're not going to play good golf. How much of you had to how much have you had to come and change or attempt to put a positive attitude mental attitude when you play golf in order to play good golf rather than the chicken or the egg thing? And then secondly I know Firestone you played, I don't know, 13 times, but as you look back on it, do you think that just playing those four holes on Wednesday, not that you don't know the course, but maybe just to get some repetitions in, it might have been the difference between this week and last week, is that you're going to play a lot more.
TIGER WOODS: Right. The second part of your question, is that I've never played more than nine holes ever at Firestone in a practice round. So that's kind of what my M.O. is for the week there.
But as far as the chicken or the egg, as you were saying earlier, is with all that's going on and on and off the golf course, I feel that I have to look at the positives and keep pushing myself to go forward and keep trying to get better. And that just doesn't mean hitting good golf balls. It's getting better all around. And that's what I'm trying to do.
Q. Do you feel like you're getting there more?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, as I said things are starting to normalize, and I think that's a positive step in the right direction for sure.
Q. From when you returned in April, where did you expect to be at this point? And assuming this is not where you expected to be in standings and whatnot, what's kept you from being there?
TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, I thought I would have been here a little bit sooner, with all that's going on. But somehow I've been able to play a little bit better than I thought for a stretch, and then it finally caught up with me last week.
Q. What do you mean when you say "here," if in answer to Doug's question? What?
TIGER WOODS: What do you mean?
Q. You said I would have thought I would have been "here" sooner.
TIGER WOODS: Playing this poorly. For sure. With all the things that have gone on it's, for some reason I've been able to piece together rounds and keep it in there and there were two tournaments where I really hit it well, but other than that, I really haven't done that well.
And even at the U.S. Open I played nine good holes and you need to play a little bit more consistent than that, and this is a new week. And that's one of the great things about this sport is that no matter how poorly or how well you, we all play the week before, it all begins anew. And that's something that I have always looked at down the road in the past and how I'm approaching this week, as well.
Q. It's kind of all Robert's question, but in terms of your drive and determination your willingness to grind it out, have the results and the frustration taken anything away from that in terms of your year?
TIGER WOODS: Unfortunately that's what's kept me in it. I've been as patient as I possibly could or could have been. I've fought hard, and last week, I didn't have anything. I hit it terrible. I putted bad. Just didn't do anything right.
And I've had stretches where it's been like that and I know have stretches where actually it's been good. So the whole idea is to keep progressing, keep moving forward and this is a new week.
Q. Just going back to Sean Foley, he's just been quoted on the wires as saying it's a possibility that he could be working with you. Is it a possibility?
TIGER WOODS: Certainly. Certainly it's a possibility. No doubt. But there also is a lot other coaches out there that's a possibility, as well, that I've talked to. So I just got to -- I wanted him to have him take a look at it today on video and so I can take a look at it and that's what we did.
Q. Two-part question here. What's been the kind of the hardest part about things that have gone on in the last eight, nine months for you? And then the second part is, what kind of advice have you gotten previously from your dad about how to get through situations like this, or what do you think he would tell you now, in how to improve your game on the course, and then how to change things off the course and get better in that respect?
TIGER WOODS: Just life in general the last nine months has been very difficult. But just look my dad always says, just keep living. That's something that I have taken to heart quite a bit. And there were quite a few times that I've definitely have said that to myself.
Q. One of the new things on this course is 18. Is the fairway drivable; is it pretty risky? Your thoughts and do you like it?
TIGER WOODS: What part being drivable?
Q. The down the tree line where they made the new fairway.
TIGER WOODS: On the right side?
Q. Yeah. On left side. I'm sorry. Left side.
TIGER WOODS: I can't carry the ball 330, so I don't have that shot. I can't carry it that far. So that's not even an option. If they move the tee way up, and we get the right wind, then that might be an option. But as of right now, that's not an option.
Q. You might have seen Sergio's going to play this week, take a couple months off and kind of reassess, clean it up and come back with a different outlook, I suppose. I'm just wondering whether it had ever been a consideration for you to maybe take a little bit of time off now while things aren't going so well with before you get into Australia and China and all that?
TIGER WOODS: You asked me the same question last week. Yeah.
Q. Same answer?
TIGER WOODS: Same answer.
(Laughter.) You can look it up. (Laughter.)
Q. It's hard to think at any time in your career that you've lacked confidence, but is that the case at all right now? Has your confidence been shaken, or how would you say it is right now?
TIGER WOODS: We have all been through periods where -- I've been through periods when I've hit it bad. And, yeah, is your confidence not where it needs to be? Of course. I've been there. We have all been there.
But the whole idea is to keep making progress each and every day. And that's one of the things I an excited about the last few days is I made some good progress, and I've got one more day tomorrow.
Q. Would you accept being the captain's pick and playing in the Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. Have you talked to Corey about that yet this week?
TIGER WOODS: No, I have not. Haven't seen him and hopefully I won't be a pick. I would like to be able to play myself on to that team.
Q. You talked about the process of getting back to the form we have come to expect from you. Can you arrive at a week and suddenly find it or do you have to build on successes over a period of time?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you to build on a day-by-day. The two practice sessions I had the last two days have been a step in the right direction. That said, I've got one more tomorrow, and hopefully everything will come right come Thursday.
Q. When you look at the stats, it seems pretty striking in the putting stats compared to last year and past years. It seems like you've rarely had a stretch this long where you've struggled so much on the greens. Does it feel that way to you, and what have you done to try to obviously to change that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, my speed's been awful. This entire year it's been bad. You can't read greens if you can't hit -- can't control your speed, and I'm certainly I haven't done that and I'm working on it. Hopefully it will be better this week.
Q. You said last week and again today that things are starting to "normalize." Can you run us through what you mean by that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't have paparazzi camped out in front of the house, hotel, helicopters flying over the range. That was -- at the time, that was happening every day. They were following my kids every where they went. Taking photographs of everything they were doing. That was very tough. But that hasn't been the case of late. As I said, to me that's assign that it's headed towards normalizing.
Q. You said it's been a long year. What would you say you've learned yourself as a person and a golfer during it?
TIGER WOODS: A lot. A lot. More so as a person than as a golfer. And I think that's a private matter on how I'm going to look at it, but as I said, I learned an awful lot, and I learned an awful lot about my true friends in life and people that I know will be in my life forever.
Q. A TV announcer a last couple of weeks ago said that a player in order to win, he's going to have to learn to read the greens differently. Is that something a golfer can do, or the way you read the greens is the way you read the greens?
TIGER WOODS: I won't say necessarily read the greens. It's I have to be able to get my speed right.
What I'm seeing and what I'm hitting are two different things, and I got to be able to match that up. As soon as I get my speed right then I know what I'm seeing -- I know what I'm seeing. I'm just not hitting it that way and that's just a function of getting my mechanics organized and starting to roll the ball consistently again.
Q. If you do go down the road of working with somebody new, as you mentioned you've been talking to some folks, do you run the risk of taking a few steps backward to work with somebody else, and if so, is that okay?
TIGER WOODS: I've done it before. Certainly I've done it before. Sometimes if you look at may career I've definitely taken pretty major steps backwards in order to go forward. When I worked with Butch when we tore down the swing in '97, I won one tournament in two years before I came right but then I had a nice little run after that.
So it's a matter of believing in what I'm doing is right and then honing it.
Q. You just said about your putting that you what you were seeing was right and what you were hitting was wrong. Does that extend also to your iron game at all where you some of the shots that you were looking at last week didn't execute?
TIGER WOODS: No, that was just pure mechanics. Yeah, the putting is just -- I've just got to get my speed better, day-in and day-out, and start focusing on that again and that's something that I haven't done enough of.
And this week, with all the movement in the greens, you have got to get your speed right. Granted, they're not -- the greens aren't fast, but there's a lot of movement in these greens and you got to have good speed.
As far as my iron game last week, that was, yeah, what I was seeing and hitting are two different things, but that was pretty mechanical.
Q. At the British Open in the first three days, you used a slightly different putter than one that you had obviously been using beforehand. You've gone back to that Cameron putter and I noticed that yesterday you had a different grip on it than you normally have. Could you comment on it? Does that have something to do with what you're talking about with trying to get a feel for the speed or what's the state of that?
TIGER WOODS: No. No. (Chuckling.)
No, Stevie he put my practice putter in the bag and wasn't even paying attention, and so we got out to the golf course yet yesterday and that was my practice putter. So it's one of my training putters that I use at home.
So we were too lazy to drive back and get the putter, so I went with it yesterday. So don't read too much into that. (Laughter.).
Q. Paul Casey was in here and he was talking about his own struggles from a few years ago, and he said if you're not happy away from the golf course, you're not going to find it on the golf course. Does that relate to you, or do you feel like it's just all mechanical and fundamentals?
TIGER WOODS: It depends. What's been apparent in my life right now versus what's been when -- right with when my dad died, two totally different deals. I really took solace in going out on to the golf course after my dad passed because it brought back so many great memories of us growing up and practicing and training and competing and giving each other the needle.
Here it's been different. Every time I come out here, it's been a little bit more difficult. Off the golf course, it's been a lot more difficult. A lot of things have gone on, but in both instances it's about attaining balance and finding an equilibrium, and that's certainly something that I've been trying to do.
KELLY ELBIN: Tiger Woods, good luck in the PGA Championship. Thank you very much.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you, guys.
End of FastScripts