home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 19, 2018

Tiger Woods

Atlanta, Georgia

CHRIS REIMER: I want to welcome our two time TOUR Championship winner and FedExCup champion Tiger Woods here to the media center. Welcome to East Lake Golf Club. Just some opening comments on the season ending event and being here in Atlanta.

TIGER WOODS: It's exciting to be back. I haven't played this event, haven't been here in quite some time, and it's great to have accomplished one of the goals I set out at the beginning of the year, to make it back to East Lake to be part of the TOUR Championship and part of these top 30 guys. I've accomplished that. Now I want to get the W and then head into next week in the Ryder Cup.

Q. You mentioned getting the W. How much do you feel a win would help validate your season, a season that's already seen some terrific performances and high-place finishes?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the season itself has been amazing, to be able to have played this well after coming off of what I came off of. I didn't know how many tournaments I'd play in, and next thing you know, here I am in the TOUR Championship. There's some guys that can't say they've accomplished that, have gotten into the TOUR Championship, but to have come back from where I've come back from and to get here has been a pretty tall order and something I'm proud of.

Q. You mentioned the close finishes; can you put your finger on any one thing that it's been that's kept you from getting over the line, or is it just, that's golf?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's always been something here. You know, it's been I haven't driven it well, I haven't hit my irons well, I haven't chipped well, I haven't putted well. Just pick one of those things, and it happens to be that particular week. I seem to have gotten most of those things going well, but there's always something missing. It could be any of those facets of the game; I just haven't put it all together at the same time. That's something that hopefully will come together this week.

Q. Just wanted to get your thoughts on the new FedExCup format for the TOUR Championship and having some of the leaderboard determined Thursday before you even tee off. Does that change what you guys do or change your job at all?
TIGER WOODS: It makes it a lot less complicated. That's for sure. We've made it a lot easier on Steve Sands (laughter), so he just has to do all that quick math. It's pretty simple, pretty straightforward. It's very different, but I think it has simplified things, not only for the players, but certainly for the fans. The scenarios don't play out as complicated as what is being described on TV. It has made it much easier to understand going in.

Q. At the beginning of the year, we never thought you would be coming back here to East Lake. Let me ask you about the bigger picture. Two years from now, do you see yourself playing in Tokyo?
TIGER WOODS: That would be an accomplishment to be part of the top American players, have worked my way back to that point. And then obviously it's two years from now, and to have played that consistently for that period of time, it's something -- put it this way: I'd like to see that happen. I just need to go out there and do it. I need to keep my game at the level it is and maybe refine it a little bit more and then stay healthy for that long. It's something that I haven't done in a number of years, and this is a good starting point.

Q. You said one of your goals this year was to make it back to East Lake. Overall in 2018, how many of your personal goals did you meet this year?
TIGER WOODS: Put it this way: I've exceeded most of them. Because the beginning of the year was such an unknown, I didn't know if I would be able to make it to Florida and to play the Florida Swing. Let's just start out at Torrey and see how it goes. Then I added Tampa in there because I missed the cut in LA. And just to have that opportunity to be able to add a tournament -- I thought I was going to be taking tournaments away, but to have added a couple and to have earned my way into Akron, those are some things that -- I look at this year more as I've exceeded a lot of my expectations and goals because so much of it was an unknown.

Q. Given what you just said, from where you were last year to where you are now, how would you rank this year in your career?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the W category doesn't compare to some of the years I've had where I've won eight or nine times in a year, but to have come off the last few years of inactivity and to be able to have qualified for East Lake and to be as consistent as I've been and to have put together a game from pretty much nothing, that's something I'm very proud of.

And I don't know if it's one of the -- it's not going to rank up there as one of my top seasons because I didn't win eight or nine times in a season; I didn't win two to three majors in a year. But to have accomplished what I've accomplished and to have gotten through what I've gotten through to get back to this point is something I'm very proud of.

Q. Looking ahead to next week, there's been a lot said about the strength of the American team, possibly one of the strongest teams of all time, et cetera. With your experience, is that fair, and as the Americans are strong favorites to win this Ryder Cup, is that also fair or is that something you have to be slightly wary of?
TIGER WOODS: No, I think the European side is one of the best they've ever had. Yeah, we have a solid team, but so do the Europeans. It plays out over three days. It's about playing well at the right time and partnering up well at the right time and making putts. I think both teams are very deep this year going into the event, so I think it's going to be a lot of fun for both sides and see how it plays out.

Q. A few years ago you wondered aloud why more players didn't seek you out to pick your brain, and I was wondering if the stints as a vice captain sort of showed them that you are approachable and how much of a difference that's made in just letting them feel comfortable seeking your advice?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's not necessarily -- not necessarily seeking my advice in that regard, but I think that -- I didn't really get the chance to play with a lot of these young guys. They were just coming out, and I was leaving the game because of my back. So I didn't get a chance to be around this young crew of guys. Put it this way: The vice captains and the captain of this year's team and the teams in general the last now, what, since '16, were the guys that I grew up playing with, and they know me very well. These young guys that are in their early 20s, as I said, they were coming in when I was going out, and so being a vice captain, being part of the teams and getting to know them on a different level, I think that's where the questions started popping up, and they started inquiring of some of the things that I've gone through and how they could become better.

Q. Speaking of next week, if you were to partner with one of those good young guys, Bryson DeChambeau, why would that partnership work?
TIGER WOODS: Well, with Bryson in particular, I've gotten to know Bryson very well, and what an amazing talent, and an unbelievable hard worker. He has figured out a way to play this game his own way, and he's very efficient on what he does, and he's not afraid to think outside the box on how he can become better.

That's one of the things, that if you look at all the great players of all time, they've figured out their own way and kind of understood how they need to become better. He's doing that, and he's proving that this year, and winning those two playoff events back-to-back showed that he's on the right track.

Q. Tiger, when was it in the process this year or the moment you had where it clicked for you when you realized that you were going to be able to consistently compete at the top of leaderboards?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that more than anything, it was the fact that I was -- after I had missed the cut in LA, and I was -- I felt good enough to add a couple more rounds at Tampa. If I stayed healthy enough and was progressing along the way I was progressing, I would figure out a way to play this game. I would have to alter my swing a bit, alter my equipment a bit, but I would figure out a way to do it, but I just needed rounds. In order to get rounds I needed to be physically fit and healthy enough to do it, and I felt pretty comfortable to be able to add a tournament in there. So that added a couple extra days of competitive play that I hadn't accounted for, and so it started early in the year that I could actually do this. I just needed to keep my body strong, keep it moving, and eventually I would find a game that could contend and that eventually would lead to wins.

Q. Tiger, the last Ryder Cup you played in was obviously a tough result for the U.S.; just wondering how much you think back to that, how much that's come up in your mind over the last several years since you played, and also maybe where it might rank in your own career disappointments?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was tough because we had a four-point lead starting out the day on Sunday, and to not -- I had worked my way back against Francesco, I was 1-down with a few to go, and I turned the match and I was 1-up, and thought my match would be the deciding point. Some of the guys had some tough losses. I wasn't feeling physically well that Ryder Cup, and it's where my back started bugging me. If you know, that's the only wave I've ever missed was a Saturday afternoon wave, because I told Davis I just really couldn't go. I said, can you put me out later on Sunday because I need the time to get my back organized here.

It was tough watching them celebrate in the 18th fairway when I thought we should have won that one. It was tough listening to the celebrations at the Belfry in '02. I was on the 17th hole playing against Jesper, listening to them celebrate going up 18. To hear that sound and to not have the point count on Sunday is tough.

It's a tough situation. It's tough as a team, it's tough for our captain, it's tough for everyone involved not to have won the Cup because that's the ultimate goal. That's why we go over there and play is to win, to win as a team, and we didn't do that that year.

Q. Can you remember -- now that we're at the last event of the season, a tournament this year when you came back when you didn't think about your back or there was an instance where maybe you realized you hadn't thought about it, there wasn't an instance where you approached a shot or you just realized -- just never thought about it today?
TIGER WOODS: Not for an entire day, no. There are certain shots I still think about it. More than anything, I just feel it. I'll never be as flexible as I used to be. I can't. It's not moving. And so there are things that I'm limited by. I get reminded every day when I wake up in the morning that this is not what it used to be. But it's a hell of a lot better than it's been the last few years.

Q. What have you missed most from not being able to play in this tournament? What have you missed most from this tournament? What have you missed most not being able to play in the Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS: What I've missed most about playing this event is that in order to get into this event, I would have earned my way in here in being part of the top 30 most consistent players of the year and the best players of the year. No exemptions into this event. Either you get here or you don't. It's a very hard line.

I haven't done that in a number of years, and to have done it is something, as I said earlier, that I'm very proud of. And missing the Ryder Cup, I missed playing in it, missed competing in it. I missed that rush of going out there and trying to get a point for my team. I was a part of it in a different way in '16, which was very different, because I had been a part of these teams since '97 as a player only. And to have looked at it from a different angle and a different side, or actually had been forced to -- put it this way: I really want to play in it. I've been a player my entire career. I've been a part of these teams now for the better part of 20 years, and to have earned the confidence in my teammates and my captain to have been selected is something that gives me a lot of excitement going into the Cup.

Q. It's been said that when you lose something you love and it's taken away from you, when you come back, you appreciate it more. In essence, you lost golf for a couple years, now you're back. The whole interaction, interaction with the fans, interaction with players, media, whatever, do you appreciate it more than you did maybe five, ten years ago?
TIGER WOODS: I would say yes because I didn't think I'd ever play again. When I was laying on the ground and couldn't move for a number of months, golf is the furthest thing from my mind. And to have gone through that and have gotten to this point, it's been fun.

Q. What advice would you give a student-athlete trying to be successful?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I think it would be very simple. It's hard work. And I've always believed in working hard, and I have -- in my career, and for me personally, I've derived a lot of my confidence from practice and putting out the effort. I have always said I'll outwork you, and because of that, when I get into an event, I know I've outworked you. So that mental edge over my career has panned out.

I think that some of the student-athletes that I've been able to work with over the years have learned that there really is no substitute for hard work and putting everything on the line.

Q. At a venue where you've had so much success in the past, what specifically is it here, whether it be the history of East Lake, what specifically is it about this setup, about the whole place that has brought out the best in you in the past?
TIGER WOODS: Well, these have been some of the -- once they've redone the greens and went away from bent, some of the best Bermuda greens we'll ever putt on. They're as smooth as you can ever ask for. But in general, this golf course is a ball striker's course. I mean, you've got to hit your golf ball well. You've got to drive it well, place your irons correctly. But it really does set up for a good ball striker. For most of my career, that's basically what I've done.

Q. This is your first time playing here since they reversed the nines. Just thoughts on the finishing stretch now?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we were going to go off and play the back nine yesterday, and we played the back nine, and I thought it was the front nine (laughter). So I've seen it on TV, but I haven't -- I still think that 18 is a par-3. I haven't reworked the holes and having to think that some of the holes are -- like 15, I'm usually thinking that's 6. It's a weird concept, but one that I'll figure out here over the next day or so.

Q. What do you feel like you're going to need to be able to close out these 72 holes this week?
TIGER WOODS: Basically to keep doing what I'm doing. I think I've -- I'm close to winning golf tournaments again, of putting the pieces together. I've changed some of my technique as well as my equipment, and it's -- I'm very close. I've come close in a couple events towards the end of the summer here, and it's all about putting it all together at the right time.

Q. The World Cup in a couple of months' time has the unfortunate timing of falling during Thanksgiving. Can you talk about how tough it is for a professional golfer to leave his family for that entire week and travel somewhere across the world?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think a lot of it is dependent on what country you're from. For us as Americans, Thanksgiving is a very important time of the year for us. Other parts of the world probably don't look at it that way, so probably it's a little bit easier. Other players have different holidays. Fanny is here; mid-summer is a big deal. It depends on where you're from, and for us it's a big deal here, and some of the guys that are going to head down there probably will bring their family along and enjoy it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297