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March 17, 2018

Tiger Woods

Orlando, Florida

Q. We are with Tiger Woods. Tiger, a rare straight down fist pump out of you with that birdie at the last. What does it say about where you are right now that you're able to bounce back with a birdie and you're fired up about it on a Saturday?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I figured that would probably get me within five or six of the lead. Right now it's four back, but those guys will make a couple birdies coming in. So I'm within reach if I shoot a really, really low round tomorrow.

Q. You've been telling us this for the last couple of weeks you got a lot of fight in you and you love seeing that out of your self since it's been so long. How would you describe that inner fight for those of us who are watching?
TIGER WOODS: Well just never to give in. Never to give in to the golf course, certain shots. Just always trying to make the best possible score and dig it out on every single hole. Unfortunately I made three bogeys today, but made three birdies right after that, so that's positive.

Q. You've won here eight times, so you know what it's like to win from behind, you know what it's like to win with the lead and you know what it's like when you see the golf course in this lightning fast condition it is right now. So where do you think you stand going into the final round if you are in that three, four shots back range?
TIGER WOODS: Well right now I'm four, I probably will be about five or six by the end of the day. The so as I said I'm going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow and probably get a little bit of help. But my responsibility is to go out and shoot a low one first.

Q. They're still on their feet over on 18, you gave everyone quite a thrill with another birdie out there. Same as you've done throughout the years.
TIGER WOODS: That was a nice one to get. After hitting a good shot on 17 and just buried in the face, I just didn't want to -- I just felt like 7 was within reach. I know I'm four back right now, but I'll be five or six by the end of the day and maybe a low one tomorrow will give me a chance to kind of steal one from behind.

Q. I've never given you a lesson, but I'm going to tell you that 16 plays easier from the fairway.
TIGER WOODS: Oh, really, you think?


Q. That's two days in a row that's a 5-iron today that you just buttoned out of the bunker there.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I went in there with sand wedge initially just to lay up. But as I looked at it, if I started that ball a little bit right of the flag, the lip was a little bit lower and I'm like, okay, well, right now I'm as far back as I am I can either take a chance but at least I had a little bit of room to the right side. So I went ahead and tried to pull it off and I hit a good one.

Q. It looked like I said right on the button. Your thoughts going into the final round. You've got a chance?
TIGER WOODS: I've got a chance. I'm going to be, as I said, probably five or six back going into tomorrow and hopefully shoot a low one and the golf course is getting a little bit quick, balls are going forever out there on tee shots and then the greens are, they're definitely bouncing a little bit and the putts, oh my gosh, they're, I wouldn't say quite like Honda, but you put the putter down it does slip a little bit. So they're getting testy.

Q. How did you play versus how you scored?
TIGER WOODS: I probably did both well. I played well, scored well, it was a good day all around. Can't complain about anything I did today. I really hit the ball solidly, I controlled it, and I hit a lot of beautiful putts, some went in, some didn't.

Q. Some of the challenges you had enjoyed today seemed to be the shot making. Seems to be, from the outside, the things you enjoy the most, which is sort of the artistry parts as opposed to the technical parts of the. Where is the balance there?
TIGER WOODS: Well today the golf course is evolved and it's really gotten faster since that first day when I played when temperatures were in the 40's they have gotten faster, tricky. The 3-iron I hit down 11 today went about give or take about 315 or so. So we're hitting the ball a long way, the golf course is playing short, but then again the greens are getting dicey. You come across grain and the grain changes, it picks up speed and you got to be very careful not to run it easily, four, five, six feet by. You can do that on a good putt if you're not paying attention.

Q. What was the degree of difficulty on 16 and when you pull shots off like that what does it do for your confidence?
TIGER WOODS: It felt good. I had to hit it, I had to flush it in order to get it there. I had 205 hole and as I said, I initially went in there with sand wedge, just to look left. As I looked at it, I could clear it to the right. Now if I had to hit a cut out of there I couldn't do it, the lip was a little too close. So luckily I had a little bit of room to the right and decided to try and pull it off and pulled it off.

Q. Other than 17, the three bunker shots prior, what was it lie, execution or both?
TIGER WOODS: Well the one I got up-and-down at 5. That was a good one there. Just left of the green. What other one? The one on 12, that was a long bunker shot, just tried not to go over the green there. There was a lot of sand I just did not want to go over the green. 2, I was trying to hit the bunker shot not past the hole. There's so much sand in the faces, both of them on 17 and 2 were both on the up slope with a lot of sand on the face. One buried, one not. There's a lot of sand on the face. I saw Tommy hit a ball on 16 and it buried in the face with a driver. So you just got to be very careful not to fly into those bunkers.

Q. How long into your comeback did it take you to get the confidence to take on a shot like 16? Could you have done that at the Hero or Torrey Pines?
TIGER WOODS: Hero, no. I was just kind of starting to feel what my body could do golf-wise. Didn't know anything what it would do under tournament conditions. But Torrey Pines was big for me because I could go at it pretty hard out of the rough and I did, nothing hurt. It was just, okay, well you can go at it hard. If I can have, if I can put the speed into it, I can do it. And that was a big tournament for me. Then from then on I've gradually build on from there.

Q. How do you strike the balance between trying to temper expectations and knowing that for a second straight Sunday you're in a position where can you go out and win a golf tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's -- for me I'm just happy to be back playing again, competing, grinding out there and trying to work my way up the board, work my way around the golf course. It feels good to be able to finally understand and feel that I can get into around again. I'm not really thinking as much as I was initially. I'm just playing shots, playing the holes, playing angles, where to miss the golf ball, all these things are becoming more intuitive, which is great, because if you look at the last two days I've missed the golf ball in the perfect position on almost every single shot. Sometimes maybe more conservative like I was yesterday because I wasn't on, but I felt I missed in the correct spots on just about every single shot and today was the same thing.

Q. Listening to you speak it sounds as if you're deriving as much joy from that shot you pulled off on 16 and the one yesterday, the improbable ones, as you do a score or a place. Is that accurate?
TIGER WOODS: I would say, yes, but I think that my entire career I've always loved making those par putts and today at 14 it was a nice par putt. I don't like making bogeys, I don't like dropping shots, because then I have to get it back. So if I don't have to get it back, it's nice. And I derive a lot of confidence from making big par putts than I do birdie putts. It's so much easier to play when you keep a clean card, you work your way up the board so much faster if you keep a clean card. So I'm always trying to do that. Today I made three bogeys today, and I came back on two of the three.

Q. What did you hit on 18 coming in? Your 3-wood must have rolled forever?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit a good 3-wood there and I had 29 total and I hit a sand wedge.

Q. Do you feel in your head that you're still in the middle of a comeback or are you behind that?
TIGER WOODS: No, I still feel like I'm coming back, I'm still getting used to what my body can do, shots I'm hitting and playing, competing again. It feels good to be back out there.

Q. How many practice rounds requests have you received for Augusta and have you been able to accommodate any of them yet?
TIGER WOODS: I've gotten a couple requests here and there. I traditionally have played with Freddie, if he can, we're hoping he can come back and play again and play Augusta. He hasn't played for awhile. I've played with Mark just about every single year and then maybe one or two somewhere else. But it's generally been those two guys and those are the two guys that I've grown up with out here on the TOUR, we sit next to each other actually at the Champions Dinner and so we have known each other for very long times. Actually I think Mark and Freddie both turned pro the same year. Went to the same Q-School.

Q. Have any of the young guys that maybe you wouldn't have expected approached you about that? To try to pick your brain around there?
TIGER WOODS: No, just the normal JT. He's always trying to get some practice rounds in.

Q. You talked about your kids yesterday, were they out here today?

Q. Did they get to see you play?

Q. Will they be here tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: Probably not, no.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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