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August 4, 2011

Tiger Woods


Q. I know Steve touched on this live, but the notion as to what you can only discover, you practice, you work, but what did you discover in competition that you couldn't know until you came out today?
TIGER WOODS: The amount of progress I made in my golf swing, the amount of compression I had in the golf ball, the shots I was hitting. I was hitting proper shots out there, and the distances I was hitting the golf ball. I hadn't hit the ball like this. This was fun, to be able to hit the ball with that much flush feeling through the golf ball and speed I had. It was pretty nice.

Q. Pick one swing, the second shot on 16 from the rough with a very awkward off-balance finish. Take us through that swing and what you felt physically.
TIGER WOODS: Nothing, I was just trying to cut a cut. Nothing.

Q. It looked like the shot that kind of tests somebody because of an awkward stance.
TIGER WOODS: No, no. I didn't feel any problem with that one.

Q. You hit it obviously exactly the way you're supposed to.
TIGER WOODS: I did. I didn't think I could get it that far down there. I knew I could carry the bunker with no problem, but I didn't think I could almost run it through.

Q. People are going, oh, Tiger is back. When do you feel -- when would you feel yourself that you'd be back, and what does "back" mean?
TIGER WOODS: I felt back on that first tee. I hadn't competed. It's been I don't know how many weeks, 11, 12 weeks, somewhere in there, and that wasn't very good. So then you go back to my first -- my other full round of golf when I was in contention at the Masters. So it's been a while.
You know, I felt nerves out there on that first tee just like I did when I had come back off the long layoffs after the winter, or the surgeries I've had over the years, 2002 into 2003, and then '08 and '09. That first tee shot I was pretty nervous. It felt awesome.

Q. Do you do anything leg-wise after practice rounds like this, icing, anything like that?
TIGER WOODS: No, don't need to anymore.

Q. When did you stop doing that?
TIGER WOODS: A while ago.

Q. You hit the ball pretty well from the start, but there were a couple of putts you didn't make. That save on 9, what did that do for you?
TIGER WOODS: I made two of them, two nice pars. I made a par putt at 3 and a par putt at 9, so those are two big par putts. The one at 3 was actually much bigger because I didn't want to go 1-over through 3 when I should be under par, because 2 is playing so short as hot as it is, and I drove it up against the face there. It was a big putt to make, and I stuffed it in there on 5, missed it, but it was nice to make a putt there at 9 and birdie 10 and 11.

Q. Why did you struggle with distance control?
TIGER WOODS: As I said, the amount of compression I've gotten in my golf swing, I'm hitting it just so much more flush, and I'm just not used to that.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, because it's -- my swing was more of a wipey swing, just kind of wiping it out there, so I wasn't getting a full transfer of energy, so now I'm swinging easier. I am not even hitting it hard yet, and that's what's fun. I'm hitting it farther without any more effort.

Q. All things considered, how encouraged are you?
TIGER WOODS: It feels great, feels great. You know, as anybody who's been off and who's been injured, first time back, it's a little nervous to see what happens. But my practice sessions were good, so there's no reason why I should be worried out there. I went out there and just let it go, let it rip and see what happens.

Q. Did you know what to expect today and do you know what to expect now tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I expect myself to be more prepared going into tomorrow. I've got the competitive feel now. I know what it feels like to get into the flow of the round, the rhythm of playing and walking, and just the flow of playing tournament golf, which is way different than zipping around in shorts and a cart.

Q. You've said in the past that there's no eureka moment, no one swing, one putt that gets you back to where you were. Do you still feel that way?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, it's a progress, a progression. You take it step by step. Just when I think this is pretty good, I get a little bit better. This one, Sean and I say, okay, that's wonderful position, that's where you need to get to, I get even better. That's what's fun about it is we keep refining it.
Today some of the shots, some of the drives I hit out there, I got my power back.

Q. When you walked off 17 tee box, you did a little thing with your knee. Did you even notice that you did that? Were you trying to step over something?
TIGER WOODS: The marker was right in my way.

Q. Did you do your own yardages today?
TIGER WOODS: Sometimes.

Q. Did that feel weird after all these years?
TIGER WOODS: No, because I've been doing them at home, so it was no big deal.

Q. How easy is the adjustment to fix the distance control with the new speed?
TIGER WOODS: It's something I'll have to work on. I'm going to have to think about it. It's just different because obviously I play with weak lofts, as you all know, so for me to hit the ball as far as I do with these lofts is interesting.

Q. Was there a point when you felt like you could let it rip or did you protect at all at any point? And when did you get past that, how long ago?
TIGER WOODS: I hadn't really gone at it yet until basically today, just kind of plodding away, just kind of hitting shots. Today was just, let's go, let's go play, just put everything aside and let's go give it a go and try to post a low number.

Q. Is it in the back of your mind at all, just worried? Do you have to get past that mentally?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-uh, uh-uh, because I've done all the work, I've done all the training, I've done all the lifting, I've done all the rehab on it. It's time to go.

Q. Is your excitement level about the PGA any different than it has been in the past because of the circumstances of having missed two?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-uh, a major championship. We get four a year, and try to peak four times a year. It's as simple as that.

Q. Just going through a summer of not knowing when you might come back, if the fact that you get to play one, if it changes your -- not the way you approach it, but just your feelings about playing in it?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-uh, feels the same.

Q. Do your expectations change after today's round for this tournament instead of looking at maybe I've got four rounds to play and get myself -- now are you thinking about winning? Are you thinking about --
TIGER WOODS: I thought about winning going in.

Q. Never changed?
TIGER WOODS: Why would it? I don't know.

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