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September 21, 2018

Tiger Woods

Atlanta, Georgia

Q. Tiger, a challenge today compared to yesterday, but still worked out okay.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, best way to describe it is I ground out a round today. I wasn't quite as sharp as I was yesterday, but hung in there and tried to miss the ball on the correct sides so I had angles. For the most part of the day, I did that.

Q. 16, you drew a horrible lie in that bunker.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was -- I wasn't quite sure I could carry that bunker with that lie I had. I only had a 168 front, but I had 130 cover on that bunker and tried to go up with a 9-iron. And it was between 9-iron and wedge, and I thought I could get enough on a 9-iron to get over that bunker and to have an angle to get back to that back left pin. In hindsight, I probably should have just pitched out and the worst I would make is 5, and with my wedge game right now, a pretty high percentage I would have got that up-and-down. But I thought I could sneak it up there and get up on the upslope and have a good angle in there, and it just didn't work out.

Q. Saturday tied for the lead. That's got to feel great.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we're only halfway home, and this course, the way it's playing right now, you've got to be so patient. It's hard to make birdies, and on top of that, it's hard to get the ball close. It's very easy to make mistakes, make a few bogeys here and there. And look at most of the field, that's basically what they're doing.

Q. Can you talk about that par save on 13 and how important that was to set you up for those great birdies?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I made a mistake there, and I got stuck in the ground a little bit with a 9-iron there. And from the middle of the fairway you just -- I can't miss that ball right of that flag. I could have hit the ball 70 feet left of the flag and been on the green. Only place I couldn't miss it is anything right of that flag, and I did. Had an easy bunker shot, just didn't quite hit it hard enough, but I left myself an uphill putt and was able to pour.

Q. Were you steaming off of (inaudible)?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was pretty hot because I pulled that second putt, and I had been putting so beautifully yesterday and today and just hit a bad pull there. I tried to make sure I was focused enough on that back nine to shoot something under par, and I get back after it again.

Q. What does it mean to be co-leading again going into the weekend, in that final group, playing with Rosey. What can you tell us about that?
TIGER WOODS: It's going to be fun. Rosey and I have known each other for a very long time and been good friends, and we'll have a good time tomorrow. We're going to obviously be competing, but also I think we're both going to enjoy competing against one another. We've still got a long way to go, still got 36 more holes to go, and there's a lot of golf to be played still.

Q. You had an eagle yesterday, birdie today on 18. Any chance you want to lobby for them to change it back to a par-3?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, well, it was a good finish. I piped a drive down there, and I had exactly the same 5-iron I had over on 14. It couldn't be more identical. So I just tried to hit the same shot, worked out well, and ended up there on the green with a putt at it.

Q. Pretty much all year you have had to spend the weekend grinding. Now you're tied for the lead. Obviously it's nice to be up there. Just in terms of having to not --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's hard to say because I was in a similar position -- not really similar position. I was a few back in that British Open and got the lead there, just kind of playing my own game and doing it my way and hanging in there. This is a tough golf course. A lot of pars are going to be made out here. That's basically what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to make a bunch of pars and sprinkle in a few birdies here and there.

Q. The driver was erratic today. Have you determined what the resolution is?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't hit it very well overall today. Didn't quite have the sharpness that I had yesterday, and it was pretty evident. At least for the most part, I missed the ball in every spot that I needed to, so I always had a good angle in there. So that helps. And my short game has been good.

Q. After all you've been through, do you have more patience to weather what this course might bring you on the weekend compared to 10 or 11 years ago?
TIGER WOODS: No, I've been pretty good. I've won 14 majors, so I'm pretty good at being patient. But in order to get ahead, I've been patient.

Q. How do you feel in your body?
TIGER WOODS: Health-wise? Yeah, I feel good. I feel strong. This heat has been -- it's been one of those summers where it seems to me like every event we've played in it's been like 100 degrees. For the most part the only thing I've really struggled with is maintaining my weight, keeping my weight up, and that's always been a struggle when it gets hot like this.

Q. Have you sort of thought about what it would mean to get this win even in the context of all your other 79 TOUR victories?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, well, I need to get there first, and that's my responsibility to get there. And I've got 36 more holes to go, and hopefully I'll be answering that question come Sunday night.

Q. What was it about the lie on 16 that made you feel you could get it over?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the lie I had on 10 was -- I had 140 front, and I wanted to hit sand wedge there, and I was going to chase it back there. It was 170 hole. I thought I could play a similar shot over on 16, but I couldn't quite -- that tree was just -- I didn't know if I could get enough speed and enough angle on that ball to cover that first bunker. If I cover the first bunker, I've got an easy chip and an easy up-and-down, and it wasn't that far away. I just missed it by about a yard left of where I needed to miss it. If it carries that yard right, I've got an easy pitch where I feel like I could hole it.

Q. When you have a round like you did today where you feel like you grinded it out, do you take pleasure in that, that you were able to still post a score?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, rounds like today are hard, and they're hard mentally because you have to grind it out. You're not quite as sharp. It's easy to shoot low scores when you're sharp. It's a little bit more difficult to post a low number when I'm off. I was able to do that today, kept myself in the tournament.

Q. What was the shot you were most proud of?
TIGER WOODS: Today? I don't know. I hit a lot of good little recovery shots, and my touch was good. Speed on the greens was good. You know, after everything I did today, to be able to turn that over on 18 and roast it down there and hit a -- off that lie, a high, drawing 5-iron was pretty sweet.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your comeback?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the fact that I'm able to do it again. That's probably the simplest way to look at it.

Q. When you don't have your best stuff, do you try on a day like today to make do with what you've got and figure out what you can do, or do you try mid-round try to come up with something that can get you into the house?
TIGER WOODS: Kind of both. I'm trying to figure it out as I'm going along, but also trying to manage my misses, trying to manage the shots so that I have -- as I kept saying throughout this interview, I kept having the proper angles. Especially on a golf course like this, because the greens are so fast. You get out of position, and you just can't get the ball close.

Q. What did you have into 14? Two days in a row you've birdied that hole, sort of made it look driver-wedge even though it's a lot harder than that.
TIGER WOODS: I hit a 5-iron today. I had 226 total and hit a nice little drawing 5-iron back there in that corner. And yesterday was 217, and I hit a 6-iron.

Q. You're obviously picking up a lot of ground on that hole --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the most important part about that hole is to put the ball in the fairway. The rough is pretty thick on both sides. You look at Rickie today, he didn't miss the fairway by very much and had no lie and was struggling to make 5.

Q. Same approach the next two days?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, same approach, kind of hang in there and grind it out and just basically try and give myself as many looks as I possibly can. I'm rolling the ball well, but, more importantly, I need to leave the ball in the correct spots. Above the holes is not easy this week, and so it's imperative I hit the ball in the fairway so I can control my spin coming into the greens. Yesterday I had a bunch of uphill putts, and hence I shot 5-under.

Q. You've played with Rosey at Bay Hill; how much better is your game now than it was then?
TIGER WOODS: A lot. My body is different, my game is different. I have all new equipment since then. Everything has been evolving and moving and changing since I first started coming back at Torrey.

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