August 9, 2020
San Francisco, California, USA
Harding Park Golf Club
JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, and welcome back to the 2020 PGA Championship here at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. We're pleased to be joined by four-time PGA Champion Tiger Woods, who closed with a final-round 67 today to finish at 1-under for the championship. Better play today, Tiger, more indicative of how you opened the championship on Thursday?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, I felt -- I drove it kind of like I did on Friday, and irons were a little bit more crisp and I hit better putts. I made a few early on, and just kind of kept the momentum going. It's something I hadn't done the last two days, and it was an under par tournament score, which yesterday I was saying that's kind of what I wanted to do. I made it happen today.
Q. What did you get out of this week, and what's encouraging as you go forward?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think what I got out of this week is that I felt I was competitive. If I would have made a few more putts on Friday early on, and the same thing with Saturday, I felt like I would have been right there with a chance come today. It didn't happen, but I fought hard, and today was more indicative of how I could have played on Friday and Saturday if I would have made a few putts early.
Q. You mentioned that you could have played. Is it at all frustrating knowing that there was a round like this kind of waiting the whole week?
TIGER WOODS: That's golf. We lose way more tournaments than we win. This is one of those weeks where I didn't quite make the putts when I needed to, and I missed a couple shots on the wrong sides.
But overall, I think I had one three-putt for the week and I had no doubles, and that's always something that you want to do going in throughout 72 holes of a major championship.
Unfortunately I didn't make enough birdies, and I'm not there with a chance come this afternoon.
Q. Your overall assessment of how Harding Park played this week, and what do you foresee happening this afternoon?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's definitely more gettable today. The greens aren't anywhere near as dried out as they were yesterday. The wind is not blowing the balls on the greens.
The course is playing a little bit longer because it is cool out there. Into the wind, the ball is not going very far. There are some difficult pins but also some really receptive pins. I think you're going to see more scores today in the 60s as an overall field than you did yesterday for sure.
But this afternoon is different. They've got a chance to win a major championship. Probably the biggest difference is you're not going to have the energy of the crowds and all the noise and the distractions that you normally would have, so that's going to be a little bit different for some of the guys who have been there. For some of the guys who haven't been there, I think that's advantageous.
Q. Beyond your game, this was going to be a physically demanding week for everyone because it's cold and it's damp and everything that goes into that. How encouraging was that for you to make it through, as you said, competitive for four rounds?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I kept layering up, made sure that I stayed on the warm side, if anything, and tried to make sure I stayed, if anything, sweaty, kept loose. Overall the body reacted pretty good.
The best thing to do is stay out of the rough and not have any of those jarring shots. If I could have done that like I did on Friday the entire week and made a few putts, then it might have been a different story.
Q. Depending on what you decide to do, you're now maybe looking at playing consecutive weeks, maybe even three if you do well enough. What's the challenge of that? It's been a while. Maybe I guess the Presidents Cup would have been the last time you did that, just having to try to do it multiple weeks.
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's potentially what could happen, and we've been training for that. Trying to get my strength and endurance up to that ability to making sure that I can handle that type of workload.
We knew once I started playing again when I committed to Memorial that this was going to be a heavy workload, and my training sessions, we've been pushing it pretty hard, making sure that I kept my strength and endurance up.
This week off will be no different. We'll be pushing it hard to make sure that I can stay strong and have the endurance to keep on going.
Q. Did you skip last week because you were concerned about trying to do back-to-back? Where are you in the big picture of all these big tournaments coming up?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's looking at what I needed to do to be ready for this week. With it being potentially near 100 last week, having to -- I've never played there. So having to have to learn that golf course and then come here, learn another golf course -- some of the guys that did play last week were a little fried come Wednesday. Their practice rounds, someone didn't even play their practice because they were worn out from playing last week, and then playing practice rounds and having to learn this golf course, mentally fried. I knew that could be a potentiality for me if I did that. Made sure I was fresh and I was ready to go, and I was pretty sharp the entire week and just didn't hit the putts hard enough on a couple days, and that was the difference.
Q. Speaking of no fans, I'm just curious, you're one group ahead of Ben An. Were you anywhere near that, what was going on, and if you were, was that the weirdest thing ever?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Joey told me he made it after I hit my tee shot. The other three guys in my group, Tom and HD and Joey, they heard a scorer yell. I didn't. I was grinding on my tee shot trying to make sure that I turned that thing over and didn't hit it in the right rough, and after I hit my tee shot, Joey said, yeah, landed three feet from the hole and rolled in like a putt. I didn't know. We had that hold-up because Jim lost a ball there at 16, so we got a chance to say congratulations to Ben, and he owes a round to all of us.
Q. As one of the few people who have had a chance to try for a three-peat at a major at the PGA, can you put into perspective how difficult that is, and what is it about Brooks Koepka that most impresses you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that the hard part is the expectations going into the week, the number of distractions that you have to try and prepare. This week is different. We don't have as many obligations, and it's a little bit easier to prepare for the week.
I've had a couple different times -- what makes this championship as well as the other two Opens hard to win multiple years in a row is that we're at different venues. You have to learn -- he's had to learn three new sites, and so that makes it more challenging and more difficult. You can't just rely on memory. You have to make sure you do your homework on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then be fresh somehow come the rest of the week. It's a challenge.
Q. Do you have a feel having gone through this week, how much that will be advantageous to you as you get toward Winged Foot, to the next major, which obviously what you're gearing toward.
TIGER WOODS: Well, after The TOUR Championship, we have a couple weeks off. That will be a nice break for all the guys who have played their way through the Playoffs and through this grind of World Golf Championship, a major, then a Playoff run. It'll be a welcome couple weeks.
But most of the guys have been gearing up and training hard, making sure their bodies are good. A few of the guys are banged up out there, but that's just the way it goes. You've got to manage those things and get through.
It's a long grind. Playing well at the right times, it's all about timing when you get to the TOUR Championship, so the Playoffs is a different structure, so we'll see what happens.
Q. I just meant for you, you're going to have had a lot more reps than you had coming into in week, which wasn't ideal but that's just the way it played out for you.
TIGER WOODS: Mm-hmm.
Q. Personally even though there's a break after The TOUR Championship, to have some more reps, hoping that you stay healthy between now and then, how much better can you be do you think at Winged Foot? How much more sharper, whether it's the putting, all this stuff --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, that's an unknown just because of the fact that we've never had a schedule like this before. No one has ever experienced this, having a shutdown during the year. No one has played competitively trying to figure out how we're going to deal with the restrictions, the policies that are on board, the adjustments that we've made as the TOUR has come back.
It is very different. This is unlike any other year that we've ever experienced in golf. A lot of unknowns, and it's very different. I know that we have a couple weeks off, and as I said, a lot of the guys are looking forward to those couple weeks to get ready for Winged Foot.
Q. Does the putter earn another start, and is it really more about the length of it than it is the actual putter itself?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the length, as I said earlier, it allows me to practice. Bending over for long periods of time is not easy on the back, as most golfers can attest to. I haven't spent as much time over the course of my last, what, five to seven years putting, because I can't stand over the putts for that long or can't stand bent over for that long.
One of the reasons why some of the guys went to at the time when it was legal to go to belly putters, you don't have to bend over as far. Look at most of the putters now, guys are arm-locking, going to different lengths, different sized grips. The guys aren't as hunched over as they all were 30, 40 years ago. It's different.
It allows me to practice, but I still always putt with that. I'll also always putt with an 8802. I love a heel-shafted putter, feeling that toe release, and so those are things that I've always done. That won't change, and what makes the starting lineup, who knows, but I know that putting at home when I do putt -- I've done it, as I said, since my childhood playing with a sand wedge, it is a lot longer than my putter, and I've putted with that thing pretty much my entire life.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports