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December 8, 2013

Tiger Woods


DOUG MILNE:  We'll go ahead and jump right in.  Tiger Woods, thanks for joining us for a few minutes.  Not the outcome you'd hoped for, but your tenth Top 2 finish here in the event, and with that said, I'll just turn it over to you for some comments on the week.
TIGER WOODS:¬† Yeah.¬† It was‑‑ overall it was a great week for us, the foundation, to have‑‑ this is our last year, and to have it come down to what it did at the very end, it was pretty exciting, as a player and I'm sure as a spectator, all the people that are here, I think everyone was pretty entertained.
DOUG MILNE:  Okay.  We'll open it up and take some questions.

Q.  Tiger, you're four shots ahead with eight to go, I believe, and rolling along pretty good.  Then he starts rolling balls close.
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah.  I mean I don't know how with the last three holes those balls didn't go in.  Obviously the one on 18 went in, but 16 looked better than any of the three.
But it was just one of those things where, you know, he‑‑ excluding that last shot on 18 regulation, I mean he really hit it well coming in with three good approach shots.

Q.  Talk about the roller coaster of emotions I'm sure you felt over the last hole and then the playoff hole in terms of what was going on.
TIGER WOODS:¬† Yeah.¬† You know, the last‑‑ regulation in either case, whatever happened I had to make 4.¬† You know, I figured he was going to probably get that up‑and‑down for 5, and I would have to make 4 either way to win the golf tournament.¬† And ended up being 4 was going to get me into a playoff, but either case it was still a 4, so mindset never changed.
So I hit a hell of a bunker shot and then made par, and in extra holes I hit another really good bunker shot and didn't have as good a lie the second time around and took a chance, and it came out great.  To get it that close was, I thought was pretty good.
The putt, I've been blocking them all day, and then with that little left‑to‑righter, I didn't block that one.

Q.  What did you hit on 18 the second time around, 7?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah.  I was stuck right in between clubs, between 7 and 8.  And that downhill lie, I missed a soft 7 and just let it go on the hill.  And I just got one of those half numbers.  I was right dead in between clubs and tried to hit a little smoothy in there and just let it go in the wind a little bit.

Q.  Given how well the fact he was hitting the ball coming in, how shocked were you when he pushed it into the pond on 18?
TIGER WOODS:  Well, I thought it was going to be 4 to get into a playoff, and I knew my ball made it to the bunker.  So he made 4.

Q.  Tiger, when you were up 4 with eight to play, are you thinking you can play conservatively, hit fairways and greens, and at what point do you need to change your mindset to play a little more aggressively?
TIGER WOODS:¬† I took it down there on a pretty good line on 16.¬† I could have easily done what Zach did.¬† Zach made it a three‑shot hole to begin with.¬† He could easily hit 3‑wood in the neck with no problem, but he decided to lay back and hit some little hybrid down there and play it as a three‑shot hole.
I took a chance and put it down there.  I thought that, you know, with my shot shape and the way things were going, I thought that was a good prudent play and I ended up making 4, but 4 just got me a half on the hole.  And then looked like he almost made one on the next.

Q.  How would you assess your year?
TIGER WOODS:  Pretty damn good year.  Five wins, and you know, on some pretty good venues, so very pleased with the year.

Q.¬† Tiger, the standard bearer in your group today is going to USC on a full‑ride golf scholarship.¬† Leaving Southern California and seeing things like that, can you maybe just kind of sum up your feelings about the run here and also seeing things like that where the actual benefits of the foundation pan out?
TIGER WOODS:  For us, we've raised 25 million dollars in this event alone in the 15 years.  So without this event we wouldn't be able to build the learning center which we did down in Orange County, and over 100,000 kids have gone through our facilities.  We've had so many success stories.  And it is very sad to obviously leave Sherwood, because there's so many approximate great memories, for me personally.
This was the last time my dad ever got a chance to watch me play live, and this event has always had special meaning for my father and I, and as I said, if we didn't have this event, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to build a learning center down in Anaheim.

Q.  Tiger, regardless of the outcome today, even if you had won, is there anything that you are wanting to take out of this heading into next year or anything that you feel like you need to clean up or work on going forward, and anything specifically from this week?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah.  I thought I drove the ball great this week.  You know, I found a nice driver this week, and very pleased at the changes that I found in that driver.  And you know, I think the changing the shaft really made a big difference there.

Q.  Tiger, can you talk about a record crowd of 24,000 today?  And I don't know if you heard it was like the 405 outside today trying to get in here, there were so many people.  Just your reaction to that and fans kind of responding that way.
TIGER WOODS:¬† Well, they've kind of done that most of the years here, if the weather has been good on Sunday, and this was a picture‑perfect day.¬† It was a little bit cool, but people came out and they supported what we're trying to do, and it's been fantastic.
The club here at Sherwood, to host this event and hosted many other events here over the years, have done a hell of a job.  From all the volunteers and all the people that came out today and the entire week, it's made it a very special week for all of us.

Q.  You've won on obviously some tough courses, but the strength of field in the tournaments you play is extraordinarily high, compared with others.  I think I'm just looking for a comment.  Is that anything you pay attention to?  I mean obviously being No. 1, that's going to jack it up, but is that anything you pay attention to or is any of it by design?
TIGER WOODS:  Most of my events I play in in the majority of my career have been on the more difficult venues and against the better fields.  And now that we have not just the majors and the players, but we also have the World Golf Championships, you know, which is different than the beginning of my career, and also the playoffs at the end of the year.  So you're getting the top players to play together more often.  And I'm very proud of I think my overall record, especially in the bigger events.  I think my World Golf record is pretty decent.

Q.¬† Tiger, you started the week by missing a short putt on the first hole on Thursday and ended it with the one out there on 18.¬† Were you uncomfortable over those three‑ to five‑footers all week?
TIGER WOODS:¬† You know, most of the week, except for Friday, I was struggling blocking putts, and today was a perfect example of that.¬† I blocked a lot of putts today and just hadn't‑‑ had a tough time finding my release point, and I just could not find my release point, no matter what I tried to do to adjust and just wasn't there.
So the last hole, you know, being left‑to‑right and just didn't want to block that one, and I didn't.¬† I over‑released it.

Q.  What was going through your mind at that point that you blocked some?
TIGER WOODS:  Absolutely.  You're making adjustments all day.  It's part of the game, whether it's swing or putting stroke or chipping.  Whatever it is, whatever facet of the game.  The game is fluid.  You're always making adjustments and trying to find something that clicks, and if it does click, you run with it, and you try and monitor it, like I did on Friday.  I think I did a pretty good job of that on Friday, and I had it going that day.

Q.  Tiger, you're talking just now about the competition in general and even earlier this week about how it's so strong and it's evolved really.  And you were mentioning Ernie and Goose about a decade ago being a strong part of that.  When you look at fields now, what players step out in that sense in your mind, Tiger?
TIGER WOODS:¬† Well, it's a whole different generation of guys.¬† As I've told you, most of the guys that I've played, I've played probably more head‑to‑head matches against Ernie than anybody because we played around the world; and Vijay would probably be the second and Phil would probably be third.¬† But along the way, as I was explaining, I had Goose in there and Duval in there as well for a number of years.
And you know, it's a different crop of guys.  All those guys are in their 40s and 50s.  So we got a whole new crew, and I think the youngest probably being Rory.  But there's a lot of guys who are in their late 20s, early 30s that are right in their prime.

Q.  Tiger, Zach's been a bit like Justin Leonard, I guess, back in the day, guys who barely hit it out of their shadow in this power era and still win 10, 11 times and a major.  Having never had to play that way, is there any part of you that admires what they can get done with what limited stuff they have to work with in a power era?
TIGER WOODS:  Well, one, you have to pick your venues.  You know, I think you see some of the guys who are on the shorter side pick some of the shorter, tighter golf courses.  And you know, whereas Harbortown or something like that, you see guys pick venues like that and have done well on.
You know, the only‑‑ you know, I think for me and my generation of‑‑ obviously Zach's about my age.¬† Furyk's a little bit older than me.¬† Same with Justin.¬† But those guys have really gotten a lot out of their games, and you know, if all the venues, I mean it was pretty cool to see Jim play as well as he did at Oak Hill this year.¬† Wasn't exactly a small ballpark.¬† And it just goes to show you if you're precise and you're putting well that week, you can do well.
I mean there was a time when Augusta was‑‑ when Zach won at Augusta, he'd never won for a par‑5 in two and played 12‑under that year.¬† You just have to be precise.¬† And you just don't have that wiggle room to make a few mistakes when you're on the shorter side.¬† You have to maximize a lot of your shots and get a lot out of your rounds, because you're not going to make cheap birdies by hitting par‑4s in two or drivable par‑4s or getting up there close.¬† You have to maximize your opportunities.

Q.  Tiger, you mentioned the putting issues, but you also said you found something with your driving.  What do you think is more difficult for you to fix.  In other words, is the putting something that comes and goes, not that big of a deal, but you may be more happy to have found something off the tee?
TIGER WOODS:  I'm very pleased to find something off the tee there.  As I said, I think that shaft change, obviously it's a new head, but it's about the same feel wise.  The shaft has definitely made a big difference.
Putting comes and goes.¬† It is what it is.¬† You have your good days and bad days.¬† Friday I made everything, and a couple of these days I made a lot of mid‑range putts for pars.¬† And today was just one of those days where I just didn't make a lot.¬† Shot 70.¬† Just didn't make a lot.

Q.  Tiger, you had a great year this year.  I'm just wondering, some players when they're getting ready for the new year they have a sense of trepidation, wondering where their game will be, will it be there.  Do you have more or less trepidation about your game as you go into the new season, more or less confidence, more or less belief?
TIGER WOODS:  Well, I've done well at Torrey Pines.  I've done pretty good.  That's my fifth tournament back.

Q.  Is there ever any doubt there, I mean as you start a new year?
TIGER WOODS:  Of course there is.  I mean I've come off of long breaks.  I've come off of surgeries, you know, whatever it may be.  I've had my share of off seasons, and I can tell you one thing, I'm looking forward to this one.

Q.  Tiger, what is your thought process about how you choose the next venue for the tournament starting in Florida next year?
TIGER WOODS:  Started with obviously the Tavistock Cup, being at Isleworth and Lake Nona back and forth.  And partnering with the Tavistock Group, it just made sense for us to go there.
We know how to run events there.¬† Our staff is going to obviously run the event.¬† But both of those sites, either Lake Nona or Isleworth, have had events there, and we understand how to run these events.¬† So it was kind of a no‑brainer for year one.

Q.  We'll miss you here.
TIGER WOODS:  Thanks.  Appreciate it.
DOUG MILNE:  With that, Tiger, thanks very much for your time.  Thanks for a great week.

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