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August 27, 2006

Tiger Woods


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome your 2006 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational champion, 52nd career PGA TOUR victory, tying him with Byron Nelson, fifth victory here and fourth in a row. All pretty good numbers, Tiger.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, thank you. I guess I was very lucky to even be in a playoff. I wasn't swinging the club very consistently today at all. I got hot on the back nine with the putter, made some nice putts and messed up on 16. But I was fortunate to get into a playoff and then made a sweet up and down there on the first one on 18, and then when we came around for the second one, I left my putt short and figured the way Stewie has been putting all day the tournament was probably over. He missed it, which was a big break, and I birdied the next hole.

Q. On 16 did you hear the fish behind you pop out of the water?


Q. Do you feel like you just won a pretty prestigious tournament with your B game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I was not hitting it all that well the last two days. I was kind of struggling. I was just trying to piece it together somehow, somehow just piece it together. I was putting well today, but I just couldn't give myself any looks at it. Then when I did, I was missing putts.

But I was just trying to get it around somehow and keep myself in the ballgame. If I got to double digits, I thought I could win it at either 11 or 12, and 10 or 11 would have been a playoff. If I could just get to those numbers somehow, forget what everyone else was doing, just get to those numbers, I'd be all right. I got to 11 and just didn't stay there. 10 ended up being the playoff number.

Q. That last playoff hole, how far were you out and how far did you stick it to?

TIGER WOODS: I had 166 to the hole, and I hit it to about eight feet.

Q. Using what?

TIGER WOODS: 8 iron.

Q. Your victories here have been a little strange if you think about it, two playoffs, candle light basically, darkness. Can you comment on that?

TIGER WOODS: As long as I'm part of that discussion that way, I don't mind. I've certainly done it differently, but still, it's always nice to walk away with a W, however you do it. The playoff with Jim, that was a battle of wills, and I got hot that one year, I think it was 2000, 21 deep I think it was.

Today was just trying to get it around somehow and hopefully it would be good enough where I could just hang around, and it worked out.

Q. On that iron shot on the fourth playoff hole, just as you're getting into your routine, the rain starts, and it's pumping down pretty good. How did that affect your routine or did it not affect your routine on that shot?

TIGER WOODS: It didn't only because I took my practice swings under the umbrella where Stevie was. I walked out, made sure my grip was good and just didn't adjust my grip and just played the ball left of the hole somehow. The first time we went around there I hit a good shot and it spun off the shelf to the right, and just put it anywhere to the left, and I hit a good shot.

Q. For someone who was trying to piece their swing together, it must have been kind of weird to go from two down to three ahead in the matter of probably an hour and then three ahead to a playoff in a matter of another hour. Could you talk about that?

TIGER WOODS: It certainly was. It was kind of a roller coaster out there in a sense. If you kept looking at that board, I was down, all of a sudden I got hot, and Stewie made a couple mistakes and Jim made one mistake in there and all of a sudden I had the lead. I was thinking if I could par in I'd win the tournament. That didn't happen.

Then Stewie made two nice birdies on 16 and 17, just great putts, and all of a sudden it was a ballgame going down 18.

Q. Assuming, going out on a limb here, that you're happy with your game overall right now, four wins in a row, how could you get better? What can you do better?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously hit the ball better than I did this weekend. I felt like I was I've putting consistently well each and every day. I just need to still continue going down the path that Hank and I are working on and keep refining it.

Q. What is it with Akron and this course that's really been so special?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I love this golf course. As I said earlier, we don't get a chance to play this type of course very often. The new, modern golf courses never look like this. You never have a piece of property where there are no homes on it. It's just a golf course.

So from that standpoint, it's a treat to be able to play a tree lined golf course that's straight forward in front of you, and we saw what happened yesterday when it got hard and fast, that any round that was in the high to mid 60s, you would vault up the board. Most Tour events that's not the case. You shoot low scores just to try and keep pace.

This golf course, if it got hard, dry and fast, nobody would ever be in double digits.

Q. How about this type of tournament?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's a World Golf Championship. The best players in the world are here. You get a collection of the best players in the world on a great venue, it always makes for a fantastic championship.

Q. Usually guys who are as young as you, the birth of a child or the death of a parent is a life altering situation. How has that changed you or matured you more than say six, eight months ago?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it certainly has changed my life and changed my life forever. I'll never get to talk to my dad again. He was my dad, he was my best friend, a person I could always talk to about any subject at any time, and that's no longer there.

But to see him battle the way he battled through what he went through he was never supposed to live as long as he did. He was a miracle, really, that he hung around that long. To see the fight in him certainly inspires everyone who had a chance to see that.

I've never wanted to not fight on a golf course, so you can see where I get it from.

Q. On that last playoff hole, he hits out of the bunker under pretty tough conditions and actually puts a pretty good shot up there. You had about six feet?

TIGER WOODS: About eight feet.

Q. And what was your thinking process on that? Was it just an aggressive lag that went in? What kind of thought

TIGER WOODS: On the last playoff hole? Just making it. Just end this thing right now. I don't really want to give Stewart a chance to make that putt. He's too good a putter. He's not going to miss two of those in a row. I just felt that he was going to make it. If I make mine, it's over.

Q. He said with benefit of hindsight that the third putt he missed on the playoff hole was his best chance. Did your thought process going into the next playoff hole think I just dodged one there?

TIGER WOODS: I got a huge boost in momentum there because I shouldn't have been there. I left my putt short. You don't leave a putt that length short. I mean, come on (laughter). I figured that Stewie should make that putt, and nine times out of ten, he makes it. He just didn't make it that one time. So it was just a huge boost. I felt like I had all the momentum going into the next hole.

Q. I just want to check whether that was the first time you played with Paul since the Ryder Cup?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know.

Q. A comment about his two contrasting halves today, front nine and back nine?

TIGER WOODS: He drove it pretty good all day. He just made a couple mistakes on that back nine, and it's very easy to do on a golf course. You miss the green a couple times, and it's not exactly easy to get up and down around this place.

Q. Are you taking particular pleasure beating Europeans?

TIGER WOODS: I'm just happy to win golf tournaments, man.

Q. You've got five of those trophies. How much beer do they hold?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know about beer, but certainly other beverages (laughter).

Q. You have 11 of those at home or do they let you give them back?

TIGER WOODS: No, I don't have them all at home. Some are at my mom's place and used to be at my dad's place, but I also have some.

Q. Putting on your Ryder Cup hat for just a minute. I was wondering how encouraged you were as a teammate to see Stewart come down the stretch as he did?

TIGER WOODS: I think it was very similar to what happened when Scottie got picked by Curtis and went on and won Canada. I was thinking about that today on the last few holes. I don't like that ending (laughter). I don't like that ending at all. I just wanted to make sure that I came out on top this time.

But Stewie, what a fantastic player. God, he made everything on that front nine and just really put a lot of pressure on both Jim and I to try and keep up.

Q. I think you've probably been a top points earner for every Ryder Cup team. Does that sound about right?

TIGER WOODS: And presidents, yes.

Q. Do you feel at age 30, I guess, any more sense of leadership now than you might have, well, when you started, and even two years ago?

TIGER WOODS: Well, when I started, I wasn't the leader of the team, being that young and all the guys who were so much more experienced than I was just on the Tour, let alone the Ryder Cup. It was their team and I was the one who was wet behind the ears and just absorbing it all. I think I've had enough experience now to take more of a leadership role, and I'm certainly trying to do that.

Q. Has it even changed from two years ago, how you view yourself on this team?

TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, I think I certainly have more experience than I did even two years ago. Davis wasn't Davis and Freddie have been on more teams than myself, so those guys I think were the leaders of the team.

Q. With five victories here at Firestone Country Club, where does this one rank in terms of the other ones compared with today, you had the playoff in the rain, the four bogeys yesterday, the ball on the roof, a lot of things going on this weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I wish I would have played like I did back in 2000. It was a little bit easier playing the last couple holes.

Yeah, my hairline used to be further up (laughter). Days like today, you understand why. It's doing the moon walk.

I'm just happy to come out on top because, as I said, I didn't really have any game today and I was just trying to hang around with my putter, and I did that today on the back nine. All in all, very lucky.

Q. With this being four in a row, the pressure has to be building. How do you go into each tournament? I'm sure that has to wear on you a little bit. What's your approach?

TIGER WOODS: It doesn't change. I'm just there to win.

Q. You said yesterday you needed your mind to get you back into this tournament. How satisfying is this win from a mental standpoint?

TIGER WOODS: Wins like this show what you have inside because you don't really have it physically, and you just somehow get yourself to execute a shot properly, somehow find something, and that's not always easy. But I've done it before, and I've been successful, so I've kept drawing upon my experiences in the past and just trying to hang in there somehow.

Q. Is there anything besides just liking both courses to your success in Ohio, and also Sam won the GGO eight times. Is that possible here?

TIGER WOODS: I guess if I continue at this pace.

Q. Anything about Jack's course and this course other than that you just like them?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I love both layouts. I always have played Nicklaus layouts very well. I've actually won quite a few times on Nicklaus layouts on our Tour. And this course, as I said earlier, is just a treat to play.

Q. A lot of the guys were saying when the course plays like it did the first couple days, hard and fast, it's a lot like a major. Would you agree with that?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about that. Obviously no doubt about that. Yesterday was the first day we saw it get to where it looked like a major championship. The fairways were getting really hard to hit, especially that 4th fairway. You land the ball in the first cut of the rough up there on the right, and it's probably still going to end up missing the fairway to the left. This golf course with its pitched fairways, it becomes very difficult to hit.

Q. Is this more of a test even than last week at Medinah?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, because the conditions kept changing, kept varying. Last week it was soft all week. You didn't have to change anything, it was just soft. Here it was firm, it was windy, it was soft, so each and every day you had to keep adjusting.

Q. Stewart talked briefly about how he really liked the atmosphere of the playoff, sort of give and take with the fans, the noise, sort of energy. Do you allow yourself to absorb any of that when you're involved in it?

TIGER WOODS: Uh uh, just trying to beat Stew.

Q. The fish was rooting for Stewart.

TIGER WOODS: I don't know what you're talking about.

Q. Did Stevie say anything to you when it started to rain like, Can you win this hole and get us out of here, it's raining pretty hard?

TIGER WOODS: I tried to win it earlier. I told Stevie that par would win 18. I was right, it's just that we didn't make par (laughter). So yeah, Stevie wanted it to end actually his heel was ugly. It was bleeding all over the place. I don't know what the hell happened to him, but he had a bunch of blood on his heel.

Q. Getting back to how you can get better, as you go forward, who is your competition? Is it Snead, Nicklaus, the guys that you play with out here, or is it yourself?

TIGER WOODS: It's always yourself. You're always trying to better what you've done in the past, always. Hopefully that's good enough to beat the rest of the guys. But if you keep improving each and every day, then in the end you're always going to have a very successful career.

CHRIS REIMER: No. 52 and being tied with Byron Nelson, you're in the Top 5 now. Talk about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, that's misleading, I think, because Mr. Nelson retired at a very early age, and if he would have kept playing another ten years, kept playing to the longevity that the guys do now, I'm sure he probably would have even eclipsed Mr. Snead. Yeah, to be tied with him, it's very misleading because his span of success was pretty impressive.

Q. Take us through 16, please, and what all happened there. Is that like as long a third shot as you've ever hit into that hole?

TIGER WOODS: I would have to say no to that because I've done that before, close to it last year, actually. I was a little further back this year. After I hit it through the trees and I hit it in the fairway, it was a perfect 4 iron, a full 4 iron. But I couldn't take the chance that the wind ever changed, that the wind changed from being down if it went across I couldn't get there, so I went with 3 and had to take the water out of play, tried to hit an easy cut 3 and absolutely flushed it. Where has that been all week (laughter)?

It goes over the green, and I hit a good chip, and when the ball got down there it settled into just a little bit of a hole, and I knew that I had to try and release the putter blade up to get this thing rolling, and when I did that I blocked it and I missed it low. That was a bad putt.

Q. Given what you've got going on next week with your Foundation, can you say when and why you decided to rearrange your schedule to get to this plane tonight?

TIGER WOODS: It was important for all of us to get together and be together and to gel as a team and to go over there some of the guys have never played there and I've played there more than anybody else on the team, so hopefully I can help out some of the guys who have never played there. Some of the rookies haven't been there. Hopefully Tom will pair me up with those guys and I'll help them out if I can.

Q. Tom said it was a pretty strong message, I'm just curious if you think it's a stronger message to the other ten guys, the fact that you and Phil swap things around and go, or if it's a stronger message to Europe?

TIGER WOODS: Whether it sends a strong message or not, our whole deal is to come together, gain experience, gain some knowledge on the golf course and be ready to play come time for the Cup.

As we all know, it's not about sending messages; it's all about making putts and executing and making 2s, 3s and 4s, nothing higher.

Q. Are you looking forward to the flight or would you like us to ask a bunch more questions?

TIGER WOODS: I'm a lot happier now.

CHRIS REIMER: Congratulations again.

End of FastScripts.

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