August 20, 2020
Norton, Massachusetts, USA
Q. The day starts with a couple of Defcon 4 photos of you rubbing your back with a bottle of ice water on your back, what's going on there?
TIGER WOODS: No, Troy put some pretty hot oils on there. My lower back is used to it. It's accustomed to it. We do it all the time just so I can get loose. I decided to put some up on my neck, and it's not as tolerant as my lower back, so it gets awfully hot. It's common in pretty much every other sport and especially hockey, those guys put some pretty hot stuff on their legs, but you become accustomed to it. My lower back is pretty immune to it, but my neck is not.
Q. Were you just pulling it down --
TIGER WOODS: It was hot. No, it was hot. As soon as you heat up, the whole idea is to keep my spine loose. My spine is not what it used to be and never will be.
Q. On the course you talked about familiarity, and I'd just be curious as it relates to Memorial, which is your only other start post-pandemic, but this has got a lot more structure than Memorial does. Are you only looking tee to green or can you notice some of the emptiness and openness?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's very different. Our walks are very different. Coming off the greens, just -- there's no grandstands. The buildout is nowhere near what we had it, and it is very different, and it's very foreign. Some of the greens complexes look -- how can I put it? A lot bigger because they don't have the structure around the greens, and we don't have thousands upon thousands of people walking around this golf course. It's a very different atmosphere.
Q. Just to follow up, I think you mentioned with the previous putter it was longer and helped you practice. What was the decision to go back to this putter?
TIGER WOODS: Just stubbornness, I guess. I practice all the time with -- I have been, with a longer putter, and the one I've been using that one for 21 years, and then also my 8002. I switch back and forth between all of those. I really do practice with my 8002 probably the most because I like feeling that toe release and I like putting with my right hand. That's basically my training aid, and then I went to a longer putter to get more reps in. Went with it at the PGA, had one good day, the first day, and then after that I didn't really putt well. When I was at home practicing I didn't really use this putter. I was practicing with the other one to make sure I could get some reps and get some feel, and all of I sudden -- heck with it, I'll just put it in play and see how it goes, and it worked.
Q. Can you just make your gamer a little bit longer, reshaft it?
TIGER WOODS: That is the thought. I've thought about doing that, but I don't know. I just -- I don't know. I just can't do it. I've regripped it. I've sent it to Scottie to rebuild the hosel because I've thrown it a few times. But I've never dinged the shaft. That's the same shaft for the last 21 years. The hosel has been warped a few times, but it was still the original shaft.
Q. How would you describe your feel on the greens through round 1?
TIGER WOODS: I had a good feel today. I had nice pace, and I like the speed of these greens. They're fast. Even though they're soft, but they're still quick. I just felt comfortable. That's one of the weird things about golf. It's just the way it is sometimes.
Q. Your approach here for the toughest stretch of the season, do you just block off and say, one round at a time, one event at a time, or do you know you've got to build to get to Atlanta?
TIGER WOODS: I've got to get to Atlanta first. I'm not in. The top 30 guys who do qualify for East Lake, they're going to play a hefty load here. So who ever those 30 guys are. But there are guys if they wanted to they could take a week off here and there if they wanted to, either this week or next week. I think the majority of the guys are trying to play their way into -- I think it's a staggered start and try to give themselves the best chance to win at least lake, so the majority of guys I think will be playing.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports