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February 22, 2018
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Q. Difficult conditions, you're as hard as yourself as anybody, but what grade would you give yourself?
TIGER WOODS: I played hard today. It was difficult out there. I had to try and put the ball in the correct spots and there's interesting putts out there for us. Definitely it was different, like playing a British Open. You get a shot on the green and see a big puff of sand. But it was tough. It was tough all the way around. I just had to grind it out all day and very happy with it.
Q. The putt on 11?
TIGER WOODS: I got a little tease from Patton. I knew it didn't break at the end. I would have missed that. I would expect that ball to go towards the water.
Q. And then you hit a beautiful iron shot here at 17 just over the flag.
TIGER WOODS: I striped that 5-iron. Ended up in a spot where it was sitting down like that and I had to try and play with a bigger shot like I just did there to kill it.
Q. And a really good wedge shot here on the par 4.
TIGER WOODS: I tried to hit a little 60 and sawed off a little cut-spin on it to that front pin. Felt like you could easily get away from you going downwind. So I just had to put a little cut-spin on it.
Q. How much right now of what you're going through on the golf course is in your estimation technique and execution, because we're going to look at 18, you stripe a drive, looks really, really good.
TIGER WOODS: I think it's a blend of all of those. I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing and also I'm actually doing under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.
Q. When you look at what you're trying to do, are there shots out there that kind of fit your eye and and wind directions right now that you don't like, because as we talked off-camera, you haven't played a lot, so fitting your eye to the shot that you're trying to hit, are there any you look at and go, I don't like that one?
TIGER WOODS: I try to play to my normal spots where today easily downwind, could have gotten it a little closer to the green but then again it brought in more trouble. It felt weird to hit some of the little chip shots off the tees. Like for instance, 1, all three of us hit 5-iron off the tee. Not often you hit 5-iron off the first see but that's a major league golf course right now.
Q. Do you feel like you can go out and make good swings and it's a matter of time before everything starts to click?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I feel like I'm really not that far away. I'm starting to really get a feel for scoring again and scoring in tournaments, and today was a day that I'm very proud of because I missed the ball in the correct spots. I didn't do that in L.A., hit the ball in the wrong spots and consequently, I was down the road after two days.
Q. This is a tough golf course and the wind has made it even more difficult. Are you happy with even par?
TIGER WOODS: I'm very pleased. Today was not easy. It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best. It was tough all around today. One, the wind was blowing pretty hard, the rough's up, and it's really tough to make putts out there.
Q. You told us you were only going to hit four or five drivers. Did you stick to that strategy?
TIGER WOODS: I think so. I don't know exact amount, haven't gone through in my head yet but it was right around there.
Q. Scrambling, excellent, six of eight in the opening round?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was good. I felt like I had good touch, but more importantly, I made a lot of the key short putts for par, and especially today, it was really tough. Some of those putts were a little bit bouncy, and the guys in the afternoon are going to have their hands full.
Q. Most encouraging round of the year so far?
TIGER WOODS: It was very positive today. It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.
Q. Do you think that was the best you've hit the ball just in the couple tournaments you've played?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, easily. Just only my seventh round, so it easily was my best ball-striking day. I was very pleased. I made a lot of short putts today because greens are a little scratchy.
Q. What other things, you talked about taking a couple days of practice and working on things from the last two outings. Are there anything that reinforced in particular and what were they?
TIGER WOODS: I had pretty good control of the golf ball all day. I felt very comfortable with my stroke, especially in this wind. It was tough putting out there. I'm sure the guys weren't making a lot of putts. Guys in the afternoon are going to have their hands full, for sure.
Q. The third shot on 3, can you talk us through that, what happened there and what club.
TIGER WOODS: I had 165 and I hit just a little soft 6-iron in there and the wind didn't take it at the end. I held it back up in the wind probably a little too much and then hit a beautiful bunker shot that didn't come out. Putted it up there, bladed a sand wedge to a makeable putt. I got a wind gust, lost my balance and pushed it.
Q. Is that a homemade sandwich that you were eating on the course today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. Did you make it?
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. What do you think would have been an acceptable score when you teed off? What would you have been happy with?
TIGER WOODS: Anything par or better. These are tough conditions. These guys in the afternoon are going to have their hands full. These greens are a little bit scratchy and it's tough to make any putts, especially with the wind blowing, as much as it is. The ball is moving on the greens with the wind and we're going to have to law for sometimes even a half a cup or so or a cup.
Q. Are they thin? J.T. was talking about very little grain?
TIGER WOODS: There's no ridge structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you that there's not a lot of ridge structure.
Q. Given the conditions, what did this number feel like today for you?
TIGER WOODS: It felt good. Felt very solid, in.
Q. Did it feel like a few under par?
TIGER WOODS: It felt solid today. I mean, I was pleased with where I hit the golf ball, how I hit it, and if I did miss it, I missed it in the correct spots. I was able to leave myself relatively easy up-and-downs because of the correct spots.
Q. 2-under par early on but you were tied for the lead. Were you aware of that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, but still have, what, 63 more holes to go.
Q. Did give you a buzz?
TIGER WOODS: No. 63 more holes.
Q. Where is the clean-up stage? You've talked the last couple tournaments about need to go clean some things up. What level of maintenance do you have?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, one bad hole today. That's the way it goes. I was very pleased the way I was able to -- I was telling you guys last week, I didn't miss the ball in the correct spots. Hence, I didn't quite hit the ball as solid as I needed to and miss the ball in the correct spots and today I did. Relatively easy up-and-downs and gave myself a couple looks and I made two putts. But they were nice putts.
Q. 14 up-and-down, easy?
TIGER WOODS: The 14th hole? It was decent. Wasn't too bad. I with as playing back into the wind. Wasn't that bad.
Q. One shot today that perhaps pleased you the most? What's your shot of the day?
TIGER WOODS: My shot, probably the tee shot off of 4 was nice. After just making 7 there, and I was between 2 and 3 off that tee, 2 iron and 3 iron, and if I hit 2-iron, if I hit a normal one, I'm too close to the green, but I want to get down there where I have a 60 in my hand, so I took something off that 2-iron, threw it up in the air, and that felt really good.
Q. What's the difference between that 2-iron, I think you hit it a couple times off the tee today, and the patented stinger shot. You don't seem to be using that, at least not yet. Is it similar or is there a big difference?
TIGER WOODS: It all depends on the situation. On 16 today, I hit a flighted 2-iron. Felt like I hit it head-high but I cut it, but also most of the other 2-irons, I had to throw them up and couldn't quite hit them down.
Q. Numbers never lie, and the numbers today are going to say that you didn't drive it great and you didn't hit a lot of greens, but you were close to a lot of fairways and close to a lot of greens where you used putters. In your process of coming back, where does this round rank? Do you feel like you are where you want to be moving forward, and looking at the leaderboard, how close are you do you think to maybe even getting in contention?
TIGER WOODS: You know, Michael, I felt very comfortable today. I felt like I hit the ball really well, and it was tough out there. I had to hit a lot of knock-down shots. I had to work the golf ball both ways, and occasionally downwind, straight up in the air. I was able to do all that today, so that was very pleasing.
Q. You birdies two of your first few holes, what were you thinking?
TIGER WOODS: Well, just keep on going. Keep doing what I'm doing and give myself some looks. We were talking out there today, it's going to be hard to make birdies unless you hit it close because the ball is not rolling very good on the greens. We were all kind of baffled at some of the things that happened on the greens out there.
Q. Wearing the ribbons today for Parkland schools --
TIGER WOODS: I live here. It's just a shame what people are doing now, and all the countless lives that we've lost for absolutely no reason at all. It's just a shame, and what they have to deal with, at such a young age, the horrible tragedy they are going to have to live with and some of the things we've seen, just don't go away.
Q. What does it mean to have this level of fan support out here every week?
TIGER WOODS: It feels great. Great to be here at home and see a lot of the people that I either play with or against over at Medalist and have them at the restaurant and they are all out here today following. Some of my kids' soccer parents are out here, as well, today. So it was a good day.
Q. Did you know much about Patton until today?
TIGER WOODS: Other than he won those two tournaments this season.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports