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December 6, 2013

Tiger Woods


DOUG MILNE:  Tiger Woods, congratulations on a 10‑under 62 in round 2 here at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, ties the course record which you yourself shot in the second round in '07, I believe.  Congratulations on a great day.  Just a few comments on it.
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, it was good today.  I certainly hit it good, obviously.  But I left myself in some good spots most of the day.  Most of my putts I made.  I only made probably two putts that were downhill.  Most of them were uphill.  I hit a lot of good shots, leaving myself in these spots so my putts weren't really that difficult to make, and then when I did have those downhillers and they were breaking a little bit, they were inside 10 feet, so it wasn't too bad.

Q.  When you're playing as well as you did today, does it sometimes look like the fairways are wider and the cup is bigger than it normally is?
TIGER WOODS:  You know, it felt, to be honest with you, it felt good on the course, but I did not warm up well.  I was not hitting it very good on the range, and it was just one of those things where I thought, well, it's just warm‑up, warm‑up is warm‑up, that's what it's called, let's go play now.  I hit a good tee shot down 1, good second shot in there to a kick‑in, and it still didn't feel very good.  But I think the third hole was a nice shot in there.  It was the first swing I think I made even during warm‑up that felt really good, and I tried to keep that feeling the rest of the day, and I did.  I hit a lot of good shots after that.

Q.  Obviously this ties your course record here, but in terms of the way you were striking it this way, how does it compare to maybe some of the better rounds you've had?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, this is similar to what I did at Firestone this year.  I think Firestone is obviously a much more difficult golf course than Sherwood, but as far as quality ball‑striking, I hit it equally as good today if not even better.  I think I made more putts there that particular round.  Today I played the par‑5s, I think, 4‑under par, and that really helps.

Q.  That two‑putt on 12 was a key part of the round it looked like.  Was that a putt where the more you hit it up, the more it was going to go past the hole?
TIGER WOODS:  Exactly.  I had to miss it low right, and I was obviously not trying to hit it 10 feet past, but trying to get it inside that range.  But you're right, the more I threw it up there, the steeper the slope was, the more it was going to go past the hole.  I just accepted the fact I was going to be low right and I had to make something inside 10 feet.  I didn't want to have it be as far as it did, but I ended up making that putt.  It's similar to what we face sometimes at 14 at Augusta when you get the ball above that hole to the middle pin, right up on the left.  You know if you throw it up there, it's gone.  You relegate yourself to understanding that you're going to have to make a second putt, so just get focused on the second putt, and I was able to bury it.

Q.  (Inaudible) how much more does that make this round maybe better?
TIGER WOODS:  I don't think I've seen them quite this fast unless we get Santa Anas blowing when it's dry.  Today‑‑ I mean, there are some really tricky pins out there.  I think the TOUR staff, I mean, this is the last tournament of the year for a lot of us.  I'd think they'd make it a little bit easier on us.  But they gave it to us pretty good the last couple days.  You miss the ball in the wrong spots, you're making bogeys.  You just can't get the ball close.
You just have to make sure your misses are in the correct spots.  For a perfect example, 13, Graeme hits it in there, he's right below the hole with an almost impossible bunker shot.  He can't get it close, and I knew I had to throw it to the right and make sure I missed it to the right, and I did, and I had all the green in the world to work with.  That's what you have to do around this golf course.
The next couple days if the weather is‑‑ if the weatherman actually does get it right, we are going to have one hell of a test.

Q.  With the passing of Mr.Mandela, with you turning 38 at the end of this year, I hope you don't mind the question.  Do you ever take the time to slow down and look back not at your golf career but the effect you have had through this foundation on the kids of the world and what you've been able to accomplish in half a generation of playing on this TOUR?
TIGER WOODS:  You know, it's been quite remarkable what we've been able to accomplish.  My staff at the foundation has done just an incredible job over the years.  As I was saying earlier this week, this tournament has been the key factor in a lot of our development.  It's allowed us to raise the funds to build a learning center in Anaheim and consequently expand our learning centers around the country.  But if we didn't have this tournament, if we didn't have the local support and we didn't have the opportunity to build what we have in Anaheim, I don't think that we would have had the success we've had, over 100,000 kids going through our facilities and the countless kids that are coming through and in the future and obviously our future expansions internationally.
I just think that for me, and I've alluded to this throughout the years, I think we're just getting started.  I think the impact that we've had in a lot of these kids' lives, especially in these underserved communities, it's changed their life, and I think that's what's exciting for me, to see that, and to see a lot of these kids actually coming back and being role models and mentors for the next generation, and that's what you ultimately want to have happen, and we have.

Q.  You mentioned the other day being ready for a break here at the end of the year, but the way you played today, does that have you wishing tomorrow was April 10th already?
TIGER WOODS:  No.  (Laughter.)  Not at all.  Two more rounds.

Q.  You said yesterday that you didn't want to bore us with any more details on Mandela.  It's such a huge story, I just kind of search for more details.  He was one of the greatest men ever.  You got to meet him, you got to talk to him.  I'm interested in what he said to you, what the conversation was like.  I was there for the story when you said you walked in the room and all those things, but what did you talk about?  What was your first impression?  Did he look you in the eye, all those things?  It seems really pertinent right now.
TIGER WOODS:  Well, I think that probably one of the most interesting things is I asked him‑‑ he was over there in a corner and he was folding up his newspaper and he was taking so long to fold up his newspaper, and he was so meticulous about it.  I asked him why did he pay so much detail to folding up a simple newspaper.  He says, when you're incarcerated for 27 years, you have to slow down time.  He's right.  Being incarcerated for that long and having to deal with things, you try to slow up time however you can, and for him being able to read a newspaper and take his time reading it and enjoying it, that's what he took great pleasure in, and he did it every day.

Q.  There's a picture on the internet of you sitting on a chair like outside, you and Ernie.  Did you see him more than once?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, that was at the Presidents Cup when we were playing whatever year that was, '03 or '04.  '03.  Obviously he came out to the Presidents Cup.

Q.  The first visit was there any advice?  You were there with your dad.  Did he say follow your dad or listen to your dad or I'm a father or anything like that?
TIGER WOODS:  No, I was just‑‑ to be honest with you, we just BS'd a lot, and that was the neat thing about President Mandela is that he was able to turn on the switch.  He was such an intelligent man and so well balanced and so articulate that it was just a pleasure to be around him.

Q.  Did he ask you about golf?
TIGER WOODS:  He did.  He asked me a lot of golf questions.  This is going back a ways.  It was '98.

Q.  Yeah, I know.
TIGER WOODS:  But we had a nice talk.  I mean, we had a few‑hour lunch, and as you know, when you're president of a country, taking a few hours out of your time is quite amazing.

Q.  What did he ask, how do you line up a putt or‑‑
TIGER WOODS:  No, we didn't get into that detail, no.

Q.  I don't mean to dominate here.  One more question.  Obviously you talked about getting chills and everything when this happened.  How long after this, or was it after it at all that the real significance of this hit you, that I've just been sitting with President Mandela?
TIGER WOODS:  No, I've read a lot of books over the years, and certainly understand what he went through and what he had to deal with, and to be able to meet a human being as gracious and as humble as that, quite an honor, especially at his home.

Q.  Obviously you want to win and came in here wanting to win, but was there anything else that you were hoping to walk out of here with this week in regards to your game, whether it's a good feeling about your driving or your iron play or something that you can take into the off‑season to build on?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, you know, I think that I did take a pretty extended break after Turkey and didn't really do much, but I just thought that I played pretty well there, and I just wanted to keep building on it.  You know, I did pretty decent I think during the Playoffs this year, but I thought I really played well in Turkey, and if I could have just made a few more putts, I thought I could have won that event.
But I thought I was hitting the ball well enough to do well here.
Today was, I think, an example of that.  I left myself in some good spots.  That's the key.  The key to this golf course is you have to miss the ball in the correct spots, and when I did miss, it was 20 feet in the correct spot, and when I hit it good, it was under 10 feet but still in the correct spot.  As I said, I only made a couple downhill putts that were breaking.  Most of the putts were in the correct spots.

Q.  On 13 it looked like your second shot wound up in some pebbles in the bunker.
TIGER WOODS:  No, I had one of those acorns right behind the golf ball, and unfortunately it was right in my‑‑ right where I'm going to be entering the sand, and I basically played it like a buried lie and figured if I just slammed down that acorn it was probably going to explode, but I felt that if I could just get the ball out of the bunker playing it as a buried lie shot that it would just roll down to the hole somewhere inside 10 feet, and it rolled down there to about three feet.

Q.  At any point during the round today did you think 59, or were you just kind of plodding along?
TIGER WOODS:  No, I was just kind of trying to make one more, until I missed that putt at 17.

Q.  When it comes to putting and making the big ones, you mentioned the Presidents Cup, Torrey Pines, etcetera.  What is it about not just you but maybe a couple other players that seem to be able to make the big putts in the big moments?  What is it they have that allows that to happen?
TIGER WOODS:  I can't speak for other players, but I can speak for myself.  I enjoy being there.  I enjoy having that opportunity, whether I make or miss.  Just being in that position is fun.  I remember talking to MJ a number of times; he'd much rather have the opportunity to hit the game winner, win or lose, and you can accept the responsibility for it.
I relish being in that position, accepting whether I win or lose, just being in that spot.  That's why you practice, that's why you train, and that's why I've put in all those hours to put myself in that spot.

Q.  Has failure ever entered your mind over a putt?
TIGER WOODS:  Absolutely.  Oh, yeah.  It's going to be one of the two, you either make or miss.  (Laughter.)  Might as well try and make the thing.

Q.  That would free you up I would think.
TIGER WOODS:  Sometimes it does.  Other times the situation and scenarios, sometimes the putts are‑‑ I could make it but then again, if I run it by, the guy is playing right behind me, the scenario where is he off the tee, blah‑blah‑blah, are you posting a number.  There's so many scenarios you're running through that I've experienced.  It's not just, okay, I can free reign and role a putt in the back of a hole and don't worry if it goes five, six feet by.  Scenarios dictate a lot of times what speed you hit the putt at.

Q.  The most pressure putt you've ever faced?
TIGER WOODS:  Probably the putt at Valhalla.  Yeah.

Q.  How does that stack up to 18 at Torrey‑‑
TIGER WOODS:  The putt at Torrey was hard because it was bumpy, and I had to get it through some bumpy spot and put a little spin on it.  But the putt at the Valhalla, I'm going for three majors in a row that year.  I think I can put myself in another position to win a U.S. Open, which I have, but to win three majors in a row doesn't happen very often.  It's only happened, professional majors, to two guys, and I'm one of them.  That was a big putt, and that was just to give myself a chance.

Q.  Was that a harder putt than Torrey, in terms of just degree of difficulty?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, it was a hard putt because I had to throw it outside the hole.  After watching Bob's putt go down there, you know, if you think about it, if I miss that putt, I shoot 32 on the back nine and lose the tournament after being tied going into the back nine.  Granted, he shot 31 and lost the tournament with the lead going into the back nine, tied for the lead going into the back nine.  That was one hell of a shootout, and for being in a major championship, both of us shooting 31 on the back nine, it was some good stuff.

Q.  And then Fancourt would be not in that realm, either, just given the teammates sitting there‑‑
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, that's a different feeling.  I just think‑‑ that was a hard putt, but I think the significance of having to‑‑ the opportunity to win three major championships in one year, I don't think that really falls in your lap very often.
DOUG MILNE:  Tiger, congratulations on a great round.  Thanks for your time.

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