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August 26, 2010
PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Tiger to the media center at Ridgewood. Glad to have you in. You made some comments outside about how good this round felt, how important it was to get off to a good start here. So maybe just talk us through how today went.
TIGER WOODS: Today I got off to a start on the very first hole, I made birdie there. It was a good ball-striking day. Nice to have control. I didn't warm up very well initially. Was struggling a little bit. But fixed it, and I was committed to it all day and see what happens and it's a good day.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. In simplest terms, whatever the swing thought today that you alluded to that you kind of started to put in the PGA, looked like you're obviously trying to get your head still and checking your wrist position with the backswing?
TIGER WOODS: You're right, but it's a bunch of things because it's very different. And for me understanding where I go wrong in my swing. So like today's warm-up if I had the same warm-up to the PGA I wouldn't have known how to fix it because it was too new. So I had a week and a half of as I said out there prep time before here, I get off to a bad start in a warm-up, at least I know how to fix it, and then once I fix it, I was able to go out and play.
But if that happened at the PGA, I wouldn't have played like I did today. There's no way, because I didn't know how to fix it.
Q. What did you fix?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was backswing, downswing and follow through. (Laughter). Other than that, it was good.
Q. Did you think obviously too much has been made about the fact that mentally you haven't been as sharp because you've been distracted, and has it really actually been as much the fact that you just struggled hitting the ball?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's all the above. To be honest with you, I think it's all of the above.
Q. So as a follow-up to that, do you think now, are you really ready for the climb to start again and scratch, break it all down?
TIGER WOODS: That's what I said earlier this week. I need to wrap my head around having a commitment level going forward with this new change, because this would be my fourth new swing since I've been on the TOUR.
And it takes a while to implement it and put it all together. And it's something I'm still mulling over. And when I do commit to it, I will commit to it. I just haven't quite figured out which way I'm going to go with it yet.
Q. Are you excited about it? Today obviously was a good day. Is it exciting to again think, okay, I can do this, I can hit the good shots?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's exciting to hit the ball flush like this again. It's something I've been missing all year. I haven't hit it flush. And it felt good to hit the ball and shape it both ways and really hit it through the wind. I've hit so many shots this week -- not this week but this year -- that haven't been hit flush enough to get through the wind. But today I was doing it all day.
Q. You mentioned it was -- if you had the warm-up like today you wouldn't have been able to fix it?
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't have been able to fix it, no.
Q. Given the fact you were able to do it today, given it was just one round, does it give you the feeling if there's some kind of change or adjustment that's needed, it might not be as long a process to sort of find --
TIGER WOODS: I understand what you're saying, but it's understanding a new system. And I have to understand it thoroughly, just like I did with Butch, understand our two new swings, what we did there, and as well as with Hank, understanding his new system. If I go with Sean, another new system. It's about understanding it so I can fix it.
But today was good.
Q. Can you talk about No. 5?
TIGER WOODS: I hit 271, I think, front and I think 290 hole. And just hit a driver up there. I figured it was -- I could carry it to the middle of the green, 280 uphill, if I just hit a little bit of a cut, I can get to the middle of the green.
Q. What was the miss?
TIGER WOODS: The miss was going to be left bunker. It was back right, over the knob, if I put the ball in the left bunker I had a chance to get it on down there. Hit the ball on the right side where Troy did to that pin, I don't think you can get it close.
Q. Would you agree it was a good shot?
TIGER WOODS: It was a really good shot.
Q. Do you feel like a weight's been lifted from your shoulders?
TIGER WOODS: I can't really say that's the case. As far as golf-wise, it was nice to put it together.
Q. Are you aware of what you needed to do this week just to play next week and do you find that amusing that what's being written and said, Tiger has to finish between 50 and 57 to advance?
TIGER WOODS: I figure if I win I should be okay. So that doesn't change things.
Q. On 12 you scolded yourself and said, "Back off Tiger, back off Tiger." What was that about?
TIGER WOODS: As I was taking the club back, you hear the gallery roar to my right. And there was another player on the field who hit a great shot. I completely forgot what I was doing with the shot, where my fields were, where the club had to be, the shape, the shot, everything I totally blanked out on the shot and hit it into the left bunker. I should have backed off, gathered myself get my field back and shape the shot correctly on the center of the green which is where I was trying to go.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the strategy. Obviously a lot of fairway winds, a lot of fairways hit?
TIGER WOODS: Today with the conditions, I just felt that for me 3-wood was getting to all the corners. Driver, I actually had to take it over some of the corners. I didn't feel comfortable taking it over the corner. With ball in hand it's more important to hit the ball in the fairway, and even if I had some holes 3, 4-irons into the greens it really didn't matter. The greens were soft. On top of that 7-iron on the rough, guys aren't going be able to get the ball on the greens. It's too rough and too wet and thick. I went with a more conservative approach just because it's ball in hand and the greens are as soft as they are.
We're hitting 4-irons and they're backing up. So it's really not too hard.
Q. Was 5 the only driver you hit?
TIGER WOODS: And 18.
Q. What was the most pleasing shot you hit and why?
TIGER WOODS: 18. It just was a low bullet fade right around the corner. It was just the shape of shot because that's different than most of my 3-woods I played all day. I didn't hole a single 3-wood all day. I was turning them over. Now the shape of the driver in the complete opposite direction, I hadn't hit a driver since the fifth hole.
So I did not have a feel for hitting a driver, rhythm hitting a driver and pulling it out there hitting a bleeder around the corner.
Q. Was there ever a point this year, struggling a bit, that you found yourself kind of protecting around instead of firing away?
TIGER WOODS: I hadn't played this good. So I haven't been in this position. I mean, look at my rounds. I really haven't done this.
Q. You've had some decent starts.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, probably the only other decent start would have been at Whistling Straits I got off to a good start and then probably St. Andrews, that was about it.
Q. The hesitation on the swing change, is it just because it takes basically a year or has it sort of taken about that time frame of focusing?
TIGER WOODS: You know, for the first, when I first worked with Butch it took me a year and a half. Then my second change with Butch took me almost two full years. With Hank it took me about 18 months or so. That's a long time before things start clicking.
And that's the reason why the hesitation, because I know it's going to take a long time. It may not take -- say if it takes less than that, that's still a long time.
Q. Better to do it now since we're kind of winding down one season you've got eight, nine months to adjust it; is that part of the thought process?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's a commitment. And it's a commitment to going that route and I have to figure that out.
Q. Having just said that, are you confident, comfortable that it will be there tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, or is it still too early to know?
TIGER WOODS: I'm going to go work on it this afternoon a little bit. And the more reps I get, the better it is, and just like with any change, the more reps, proper reps. So that's what I'm going to go do this afternoon.
Q. From watching yourself, are you going to get on the phone to Corey Pavin?
TIGER WOODS: No.
TIGER WOODS: It might be on TV somewhere. It might be on some highlight.
Q. What were your practice sessions like? Have you had any contact with him (Arjun Atwal) over the past five or six days?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, since I was at home now because I left right when he got back. But prior to that, we were every day we were in town together, we were out there practicing together and playing. Usually all day. So I think he's still recovering.
Q. For both of you, seems like maybe you bring out the best in both of you?
TIGER WOODS: Arjun's a great guy. For him to win, I know how much effort he's put into it. I know the changes he's made in his swing and the physical ailments he's had. He's had a bad shoulder for a while, bad knee. And to get through all that and with all the swing changes over the past year, then have to go through Monday. It's the only way he could keep his card. He did it and won. That's a great story.
Q. Can we go through your card real quick, birdies.
TIGER WOODS: Birdied 1. Hit a 3-wood and a -- what did I hit in there -- pitching wedge to about 15 feet below the hole. Made that.
3, I hit a 7-iron in there for my third shot to about eight feet, made that.
5, I hit a driver to about 18 feet left of the hole and 2-putted.
7, what did I do on 7? 7, I hit a 3-wood and a 8-iron in there, and made about a 12-footer.
12, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and a 4-iron in the left bunker. Blasted long. Chipped up there to about a foot and made that for bogey.
13, I hit a 3-wood off the tee. A 5-wood for my second shot. Sand wedge in there to about eight feet left of the hole and made that.
And 14, I hit a 3-iron off the tee and a 6-iron to about two-and-a-half feet and made that.
And 18 I hit a driver and a 7-iron to about ten feet and made that.
Q. Outside of that have you ever hit 3-wood off of every par 5?
TIGER WOODS: Not that I can recall.
Q. What's it like being the first guy out with the first ball?
TIGER WOODS: It was nice, the greens were perfect the first nine holes. We were the first ones out there. They were fresh.
Q. Have you ever been first off?
TIGER WOODS: On Thursday? No.
Q. What time did you get up?
TIGER WOODS: 3:50.
Q. That's even early for you, right?
TIGER WOODS: Not really. I get up early.
Q. When you talk about changing the swing, the other part of that equation is undoing things you've been doing in this case five, six years. So is that almost as difficult as trying to do the new thing as not having two clashing together, doing a bit of this, a bit of that?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt. No doubt. If you look back at my success I've had with Hank, it's been pretty good. We won a bunch of tournaments. I won I think, what, six majors or so, I think.
So it's hard to say. It's just one of those things where as I said, I've got to get my head wrapped around committing to it or not. And once I do, I will either way. There's no fencing it. But I just gotta get my head wrapped around it which way I'm going to go and once I make the decision, I'll stick to it and stay committed to it.
Q. To clarify in your mind, it's not sticking --
TIGER WOODS: No, no, no. There are some parts of it that do look like it. But there are other parts that are very, very different.
Q. Maybe like 20 percent in at this point in terms of implementing, baby steps?
TIGER WOODS: I'm still understanding concepts. And I just need the reps if. I'm going to go this way, I really need a lot of reps. But there's no sense in doing it if I don't understand the concept first, and that's what I had to do with Butch on both of those two swings and what I had did with Hank. I didn't commit to it unless I understood the concept where we were going.
If it didn't make any sense, then I'm not going there. So that's where I'm at right now.
Q. You said before you actually liked practicing almost if not more than playing. Is tinkering around a potential change in your swing fun?
TIGER WOODS: Is it fun? It's fun hitting the ball well and getting a reward for it. That's the fun of it. When you make a change and I'm out there on the range and I'm hitting it and I'm just striping it, that's when it is fun, yes. But it's not fun when you're out there hitting hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of balls and nothing's going right. And you just can't find it. And that's not fun.
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