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August 31, 2006

Tiger Woods


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Before we get started, Seth Waugh, CEO of Deutsche Bank America, would like to make a couple comments.

SETH WAUGH: It is true, I was one up on Tiger through 1. I know everybody is worried about that today. We could not ask for a better partner in a lot of ways for this tournament in terms of our sponsors and the city and all the people that have been so great to us, but the best partner we've had of all has been the man to the left of me and his father and the Foundation, and this tournament wouldn't there's no way it would be what it is today without having these guys as partners.

It's been a relationship that was great in the beginning and it's getting more and more special over the years. I'm very proud to not only call him a partner but a friend now after a few years. We wanted to recognize that, the ten years of the Foundation, which is I know the soul of a lot of the way you look at the world and certainly I know how your father looked at the world, and also your ten years as a PGA professional, which has been moderately successful so far.

We're all really excited about this week and we have a little gift for you, but we want to say thank you, and congratulations, you're a great partner, a great friend and a great human being as far as what you're accomplishing, so thanks very much. (Applause.).

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us here for a few minutes in the media center at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Leading off from what Seth was saying, you're on a pretty good roll.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's been a nice little run there, basically since the Western, and to get two major championships this year after the things that have transpired this year, it's been a big bonus. This year has been off the course has been a little difficult at times, but on the golf course it's been extremely successful. I'm headed in the right direction, which is nice.

Q. As you were coming up through the amateur ranks and knew you were going to be a professional, now that you've been a pro for ten years, as you sat there before you became a pro and in your own mind said I want to do this, I want to do that, have you met your goals or exceeded your goals as a professional in the first ten years?

TIGER WOODS: Exceeded, by far exceeded. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams I would have this many majors and this many wins, not only here in the United States but around the world. I never dreamt that it would ever transpire like it has. At the time I was just hoping to get my Tour card and not have to go to Q school.

The TOUR Championship back in '96 was just a dream, and after that, my entire start of my career could not have been any more positive or any better than it has been.

Q. This run that you've been on, is it one thing when you get to the course that you're more confident than another, or is it just your entire game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think my entire game has become more solid. Well, I think also I have a better understanding of how to get more out of my round now, understanding how to manage my way around the golf course, how when I'm not feeling comfortable with my game, how to get it around. I'm understanding my mechanics a little bit more, too, which helps, so I'm able to fix it along the way. Just a better maturity on the golf course to maximize my day. I didn't quite have that early on, and certainly it's gotten a lot better and also continues to get better.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Sometimes they're pretty nice. I've had a few in my career that have been really cool.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: You always want to keep going, there's no doubt about that, if you're on a positive streak. It's nice to try and keep that run going. But you also have to understand that not to get ahead of yourself and still understand what did it take for you to even get it started and then stay in that same frame of mind.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Well, if we didn't start this thing on Friday, I would have been in a world of hurt. I would have been tired. I still am tired. But hey, it's nice that I've got a late tee time tomorrow, so that helps out a lot. But I'll be good to go come game time. Once the adrenaline kicks in and all that stuff goes away, you just play.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: The trip was important for all of us, to get over there. A lot of the guys haven't played there before. It was nice for all of us to get over there and play, even though the rain was coming down sideways the first day. That wasn't a whole lot of fun. Hanging out at night, most of the guys played poker and we tipped back a couple, so that was nice.

Q. Having played here, what are your impressions of how this course plays into your game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's changed quite a bit from the first year we played here, and it's changed for the better. I think the golf course has become a lot more mature, some of the fairways and some of the green conditions have softened up to become more playable. I love playing this golf course. It's very fair. This is the most grass I've seen on the greens, so look for the guys to make some putts this week because they're at a wonderful speed. I think the guys the rough is not as high this year, so I think the guys are going to shoot some low scores.

Q. Would you have made the trip would you have squeezed in a trip to Ireland in five years ago?


Q. You would have?


Q. Along those lines, just the perception that you don't care about the Ryder Cup or don't treat it as you would a major championship, does that bother you, raggle you? What are your thoughts on that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, people don't understand how hard I try, and sometimes you have to understand, in an 18 hole match anything can happen, especially when you're in a team format. I've played some of my best golf in these matches, especially the Ryder Cup, and have not come away with wins because the team is just going so low. As I told Doug and Jim out there, I've shot 63 and two 65s in best ball and come away with only one point. I think that's good playing.

But obviously it's not good enough in match play. That's what can happen, and that's what's frustrating about that format sometimes.

Q. Specifically about this tournament, not necessarily the course, you look outside, they're four deep to see you. Talk about the fan support you've received at this tournament. And also, is there a numbing effect when you see this crowd everywhere you go?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think here, this is a great sports town, period. They come out and support sports in general. Each and every year at this event, it turns out the crowds. They're not normal golf fans, so it's always a little bit louder here, and it's exciting to play in front of fans like that. We all enjoy it as players, and the times that I've come down the stretch with a chance, the fans are absolutely fantastic. They really get into it. It's not like that every week that we play. Here it's always special to come back.

Q. Two years ago there were some people questioning what you were doing with your swing, changing swing coaches. It was right here two years ago you fell out of the top rankings for the first time. Here you are back two years later and playing just as well if not better than you were in 2000. You've had a couple of personal things happen in that time. Take us through that period where you were making the change and how you feel about where you are right now.

TIGER WOODS: Well, change takes time, and I went through a similar stretch when I reworked my swing after the Masters in '97 with Butch. I didn't really put it together until middle of '99 in May, so that's almost two years where I think I only won two golf tournaments in that stretch. So that's not a whole lot of winning. Three tournaments on Tour. So that wasn't a whole lot of winning, so going through that stretch, I've been through it before, so it wasn't a shocker, and it takes time to rework things.

I went through a change not only in my swing but also the fundamental change of philosophy of how the swing is. That was probably the biggest adjustment, to work with Hank versus Butch. Two years later, here we are. Things can get better, there's no doubt about that. I feel excited about the things that I'm working on because I know I can get better.

Q. Given the fact that you've probably matured as a player, do you think you're a better player and can win in more ways now than you could even in 2000?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about that. No doubt. As I said earlier, I have a better understanding how to get more out of my round when I'm not playing my best and keeping myself in tournaments. You don't always win every tournament with your best stuff. Sometimes that one round when you can shoot yourself out of a tournament, you don't. You turn a 73 into a 69 or 70 and it keeps you in the ballgame.

Last week, for example, I shot 71 on Saturday, which could have easily been 75 or 76 but it kept me in the ballgame and I was only one back instead of putting myself out of it. Those are things that I'm proud of that I've learned how to do better and will only continue to get better at it.

Q. You've changed your swing a few times, but many people think the best part of your game is putting. You've never changed much with your putting, have you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, my routine used to be three practice strokes for my amateur days, and then into May of '99, then I went to two practice strokes, but other than that, it's been exactly the same. I'm getting a little older, so pretty soon I'll have to do one.

Q. You've obviously had tremendous individual success but not too much in the Ryder Cup. What should we read into you taking four rookies out for dinner on Friday night in Akron while you're leading the tournament and then making the long trip over? Are you trying to do everything you can to win, or is it just the way things fell?

TIGER WOODS: I'm trying to do everything the way it happens. People don't understand it's about making putts at the right time in these Cups and playing 18 well. Oakland Hills, we only won one match on 18, and the Europeans won every one. Last year at the Presidents Cup, we dominated 18 and we putted well, hence we won The Presidents Cup. I think people read too much into it.

I just wanted to take the guys out to dinner and explain to them some of the things that I went through my first year, some of the things they can expect, some obligations we have to do before the Ryder Cup that they weren't aware of. It's a very, very busy week and there's a lot of things going on and a lot of distractions and a lot of things tugging on you, and I just wanted to make them fully aware of it.

I was in a similar situation; I had O'Meara and Payne Stewart pull me aside before '97 and say, okay, this is how it's going to be. There's a lot of different things that go into it before you get to play golf.

Q. I talked to J. J. And he said he was especially appreciative that you had taken the time to do that and he mentioned that you had talked about what you had gone through. Are there any particular tips or anything that you could have offered them to be able to handle, especially being in Europe?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that's why it was good for me to do that with him because my first Ryder Cup was overseas. My first Presidents Cup was overseas, and you play in a hostile environment. When you hear when you miss a putt from four feet and you hear everyone erupt screaming and yelling, "You missed it," that's different. That's something that I wanted them to understand. That's going to happen. If you miss a putt or you hit a bad shot, there are cheers that go up.

But hey, the whole idea is to go over there and silence them and play well and try and keep the crowd out of it. That's what they did here at Oakland Hills a couple years ago. The Europeans played great, kept the crowd out of it and we never had any momentum, versus '99 when we had all the momentum.

Q. Can you talk about the Ryder Cup; playing with partners can be a fickle thing. You and Jim seemed to form a nice partnership in the Presidents Cup. Just curious, what are the two or three qualities you like to see in a partner?

TIGER WOODS: Well, drive it in the fairway, hit every green, make every putt (laughter). Hey, I'll get out there and I'll cheer I'll have the pompons out. Playing with Jim was great because believe it or not, Jim and I play the game the same way. It's just I hit the ball further. But our belief in how we play the game, strategically, how we read greens, the philosophical way of getting around the golf course, we're almost identical. It's just that I hit the ball further.

So when we paired up, it was great. It was like we were playing the same game. When we were reading each other's putts, it was great, because we read putts exactly the same way. Some guys read putts totally differently and sometimes you have to make that adjustment and it's hard to make that type of adjustment because you're not used to hearing that type of information. Jim and I, I think we were a fantastic team then, and hopefully Tom will let us go out there together again.

Q. Have you suggested that pairing before?

TIGER WOODS: Jim and I have been suggesting that pairing since '97. We like to go out there together and it's never happened because everyone sees that I hit the ball further than Jim and they think that we have very dissimilar games, but I think we have very similar games.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, just our speed in general is now about the same. When I first came on Tour I was pretty aggressive, so it wouldn't have worked. But my speed now, we putt the same way. And then how we pick our spots and where we need to feel it in from that spot, we feel a lot of it through our feet. You see me reading putts; I get up there and put my feet down and line up the blade, and so does Jim. We're trying to get a feel for the terrain in our feet and our sight. Some guys just don't do that, but we do, and I think we have a pretty good way of communicating because we saw the same things.

Q. Is it fair to say during a major championship week you do very little besides practice, play and work out?

TIGER WOODS: That's about it, really.

Q. So it's a radically different environment for you at the Ryder Cup? It's a polar opposite almost. You're talking about a lot of social functions and things?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I mean, I like getting my rest and being fully charged come Thursday, ready to go. In the Ryder Cup with the functions and everything, you don't quite get the sleep that you want, the rest that you want, but hey, that's an adjustment you have to make. It's a little bit different.

Q. Do you feel like you've adjusted?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, through experience, without a doubt.

Q. Do you feel at all more comfortable in being more vocal, however vocal that is, in a team meeting, just given the fact that the veterans on this team are you and Phil and Jim?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think that I've earned my right to be one of the vets now. When I first played on these teams, I wasn't. I was still wet behind the ears and I hadn't earned my stripes. Davis was one of the veterans, Freddie and Jay Haas and O'Meara and Payne Stewart, these guys were the leaders of the team, Hal Sutton. They've been around the block for 15, 20 years out here. I'd only been out here for a few years.

I think ten years out here and I've played on enough Cups that I can help some of these guys out, and hopefully I can use that this year.

Q. Back to this event if you could real quick, based on your relationship with Deutsche Bank and the nice little gift you got there, you know you want to play well every week, we know this; but maybe at this event when you're the signature guy it seems, do you want to play maybe a little bit better here?

TIGER WOODS: Well, a little bit better than I have. I haven't had the "W" here yet. This event has been fantastic; to bring this type of event to this area and our Foundation involved and Deutsche Bank and all the people we've gotten to know and gotten to introduce this game to the area, I think it's been fantastic. I just wish I could play a little better, and hopefully I will this week.

Q. What's in the box?

TIGER WOODS: A beverage.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Probably it would have to boil down to my distance control with the long irons, which means that my trajectory has been what I want on most of the iron shots that I've hit, my speed on the greens has been pretty good, and I've driven the ball pretty good in streaks. But that could obviously be better. And my short game really hasn't been all that great because I've been hitting so many greens. I've hit more greens and I don't get up and down the percentage is a lot lower because of the disparity; I miss two or three greens. You just don't get the same feel as when you're missing nine, ten greens.

When you can hit the ball on the trajectory that you're seeing in your mind's eye, then your distance control is going to be good.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I guess a little bit different because I'm still midway through the season. I've still got some more tournaments to play after this. When I won four in a row then, I was done, and the next tournament was going to be Mercedes at the time. This is a little bit different. We're not crossing two different seasons. I'm still in the season.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I did, right after the Ryder Cup. The week after the Ryder Cup I had it. My first tournament back was Disney.

Q. What tournaments do you expect to play in later this year?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm playing I'm taking a week off and I'm playing three in Europe and probably a couple more here in the States, and then I play in China, Japan, Hawaii and LA.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

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