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August 7, 2019

Tiger Woods

Jersey City, New Jersey

TIGER WOODS: Looking forward to the Playoffs and looking forward to hopefully these three weeks. What am I, 28th I think, so I need to do some good playing the next couple weeks to get into the TOUR Championship and get into East Lake.

Q. Why did you just chip and putt on the back nine?
TIGER WOODS: Just feeling stiff, being smart about it. What I did pre-Augusta, where I chipped and putted for nine holes. Same thing.

Q. Has this season given you -- your new normal with the back?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I thought last year, I learned a lot last year by playing too much. Coming back from my procedure and not really knowing what to expect, I pushed it pretty hard.

Vowed I would never do that again. I've cut back the schedule quite a bit, and that's the challenge now because I cut my schedule back, but the problem was, the season changed. And so now we've got a more condensed season, and it's trying to figure out how to stay sharp, practice and also have my back feeling good all the time, it's a challenge.

Q. And practice?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, how much -- I can't practice as much as I would like. Certainly can't even sniff how much I used to practice. So that's a challenge, and trying to build up to events is more difficult. Now we have a new season where it's condensed, and it certainly was a challenge.

Q. Did you get nine in?
TIGER WOODS: We got nine in yesterday. Modified nine.

Q. How did you feel after that?
TIGER WOODS: I was great. As I said to you guys, all year, this is how it is. Some days I'm stiffer than others. Yesterday I was out there hitting it great. Driving it out there with Brooksy and DJ. Today I'm stiff. Hopefully I'm not that way tomorrow.

Q. Are you at all concerned about trying to play three in a row? You haven't done that basically in a year.
TIGER WOODS: Yes, there is concern. Yeah. Just because given the -- hopefully the pressures I'm going to be facing, obviously hopefully put myself in contention. That's why it gets difficult. If you're missing cuts, who cares. You're taking weekends off and a couple extra days of rest. But I'm trying to get myself where I'm in contention, where yeah, it takes a toll on you, and that's what I want to feel. I want to feel that type of tiredness where I have a chance to win, had a chance to win, had a chance to win. That's a good feeling.

Q. How does it feel posting a low score -- doing what you did last year, and not getting the win, because of the staggered scoring?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that's something we're going to all have to try and figure out. I don't know if the handicapping system that's being implemented -- it's going to be different for all of us.

Since we started the FedExCup, it's been different a lot. You know, how the points are structured, how it's weighted. Vijay didn't even have to tee it up at East Lake one year and he had it locked up. We are trying to make the system perfect. We are trying to make it great for all of us. NASCAR didn't get it write the first time around. They made a few adjustments, and we're doing the same thing.

This is no different. We are making slight adjustments. This year is going to be a challenge for all of us. You know, Steve Sands is out of a job for trying to figure out who is doing what during THE TOUR Championship.

Q. How will your mind-set change at the start of THE TOUR Championship?
TIGER WOODS: It's going to be weird for all of us because we've never really done that. We've all been ten back after one day with 54 holes to go or 36 to go, or Paul Lawrie in '99 with one to go. But starting out ten back, it could be different for the guys who are there. It really puts a premium on placement of going into that week and where you're seeded. You don't want to be too far back. You don't want to give any top player too far of a lead and too big of a head start, especially the way Brooksy has been playing the big events.

Q. Looking at next year --
TIGER WOODS: Say again?

Q. You said earlier -- is he helping with your full swing?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he's taking a look at it. He's seen me hit a lot of golf balls. Trying to get me to basically swing very similar to how I was looking at Augusta. But easier said than done. I've been trying to do that all summer. Just hasn't worked out that way.

Q. How would you characterize your relationship with this course? You've had a couple run-ups. You were called out once in a Pro-Am about criticizing the course.
TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course has a lot of movement to it. It's got a lot of undulations on the greens. It's got a lot of undulations in the fairways, and especially off the fairways.

This course puts a huge premium on driving the ball in the fairway. Because of the mounding on the greens and around the greens, in order to get the ball close, you have to be in the fairway, and if you look at the guys who were in the top 5, those last two playoff events that we've had here, they were in the Top-10 in driving accuracy that week, too. It puts a premium on getting the ball in play.

Q. Is there a chance that Captain Woods doesn't put you on the Presidents Cup team?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there is. I told the guys last night that's what guaranteed are the top eight after next week. That's what's guaranteed. I'm like all of them, all the guys in the room -- guys who are in probably 50th, 60th in points can still win these two events and hop into the top eight, or play well with the nine events that we have and get a pick.

So the guys who came last night, it was fantastic to have them there. But understand that this is not the team, not yet. We're still trying to earn our way on the team. There have only been a few guys who have locked up their spots. But in reality, most of the guys who are there are going to be on the team. But there's no guarantee unless you finish in the top eight after next week, and then obviously continue to play well leading up into my picks on November 4.

Q. This year begins the toggling back and forth between here and Boston. You were so entrenched in Boston from the start. If Boston had been the odd man out, would you have been disappointed?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I would have, because Jay and I, we started at the event there. Huge relationship with Boston and with my foundation, and playing there, we love playing there. The fans were so supportive over the years. It's a shame if we never went back to that market. I know we are guaranteed to go back next year, but it's a shame if we never go back there again.

It would be nice if we're able to get back there every other year, at worst.

Q. It's sort of an odd alliance because of the great rivalry between the two cities. There's no reason why you group where you would have felt an allegiance to Boston or New York? Any chance you did as a kid?
TIGER WOODS: No, the fact that -- it's ironic, because I had such a deep love for playing there, and played well there. Because honestly, when I grew up, we in Southern California, did not like Boston (laughing).

Q. How was the trip with your mom to Thailand?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the whole trip was awesome. The fact that my mom is getting up there in age and health, she can't do that anymore going forward. We wanted to have at least one time where the kids got a chance to experience Thailand with my mom, and so it was special for all of us. There's not just one thing that stands out because everything was awesome, whether it was the palace or other places we went. Just the fact that my kids got a chance to be with my mom in her home country was pretty special considering that that may never happen again.

Q. Is the reception you get there different?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, people had no clue who I was.

Q. You mentioned Brooks earlier. He's been very vocal about slow play to the point of basically calling out his playing competitors. Is that what needs to be done? It's not the most gentile way to go about it, but if people aren't being penalized, is that the next course of action?
TIGER WOODS: There's so many different ways. We've had guys -- I'm not going to mention any names here, okay -- we're going to keep that. But we've had guys that have played with slow players, that will play slow on purpose to put them on the clock, so the group will play fast. They want to play fast. And that's their version of combatting slow play is they will play even slower -- well, what about the guys behind them, you know, and the logjam that creates.

We've been fighting that for, God, ever since I grew up watching the game, guys were complaining about slow play. We can only go as fast as the group in front of us goes. It's important that the first group goes out and sets the pace, because as you know, the times get slower as you go on, and if the first group goes out slow or has rulings, hits the ball bad, it just logjams everyone behind them.

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