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February 23, 2006

Tiger Woods


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger Woods, thank you for joining us. Victory over Robert Allenby, 1 up. Some opening comments about your game today.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I didn't get off to a good start today. Robert won the first two holes with pars, and that's the worst thing you can do in match play is have your opponent win holes with pars. I felt if I could turn the thing around, I could be up at the turn. That was my goal.

I almost got there. I got to even, and then I won 10. So it was close to my goal. And then from there just trying to keep putting pressure on Robert. We both made a couple of birdies. He birdied 16. He played well all day, didn't make a bogey.

Q. When you made that long putt on 8, did that give you some momentum?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, big time, big time. I hit two just really nice golf shots and then just chickened out on a bunker shot and left it way short. I wasn't in position to make birdie and he was. And I made the putt and he didn't. All of a sudden it looked from potentially going back to 2 up for him, now we're all square.

Q. Guys have been able to kind of play bad the first day or two and still get by, depending on who they drew. Are we at a stage in the tournament where you've got to bring pretty close to your best?

TIGER WOODS: You've got to play pretty well. Once you get past the first few rounds, most of the guys, if you win that many matches, have played well to get to that point.

Q. Just kind of following up on No. 8, can you talk about process of how you flipped a switch? You just hit a bunker shot you were really disappointed in, and now it looks like he's got the upper hand, and then you stand up there and knock in the putt and turn it around again.

TIGER WOODS: It wasn't a putt I was trying to make; it was a putt I was trying to have good speed. I always focus on good speed. I hit putts in the practice rounds, I zipped it past the hole, eight, ten feet. Just make sure you have good speed this time. I hit the putt and thought it was good speed, either it will be dead or might go in, and it ended up going in.

Q. Any danger of a letdown after you make seven birdies in nine holes and win 9 & 8? Any danger of having a slow start?

TIGER WOODS: No, not at all. That's the beauty of match play; it's all over again, let's start again. What you did yesterday is no consequence for what you're going to do today. You have to block it out. Whether it was a good day or bad day, your opponent is right in front of you. It's not like you're trying to build for Sunday and trying to win a tournament that way like you do in stroke play. This is, you better bring it right now.

Q. Curious of the thought process on two shots; one being on 6 when you chose not to hit driver; and then on 8, hitting driver off the deck with that little water hazard to the right was somewhat of a risky shot. I wonder if you could talk about the two there.

TIGER WOODS: On 6 I didn't hit it because it was slightly more into the wind today. Yesterday was more across. I nailed it yesterday and I still didn't carry it to the green. If it's a little more in, I can't get it there now, that's for sure.

Q. Did his drive affect your decision at all?

TIGER WOODS: No. Stevie thought I could get there, but I knew I couldn't do it. Yesterday I smoked it and I saw the replay of it; it didn't carry.

Q. Was he trying to talk you into it?

TIGER WOODS: He thought it was a better play. But I didn't think it was if I didn't feel it and then the second shot on 8, I thought it was a better play to hit driver, because if I do miss it, I'm going to pull it left. 3 wood I'm going to have to try to hit a draw up there to get it there, keep it down, that's bringing the water into play. I'd rather hit my driver and pull it left.

Q. That was kind of a pull swing?

TIGER WOODS: A pull cut up there, and if I cut it, great; if I don't, I'm in the bunker and no big deal.

Q. You were talking out there about finding kind of a swing key. Did you find that this week? And how do you have you used it on more than one occasion out there to keep things going or does it click one time?

TIGER WOODS: It's more of a commitment to what Hank and I have been working on. And I finally felt comfortable with most of the pieces now. And on Tuesday I hit it great. I was finally able to do virtually everything that Hank wanted me to do on the golf swing, and I haven't done that yet. That's what was exciting about Tuesday.

Yesterday I just tried to make sure I did everything I did on Tuesday on Wednesday, and I did. And today tried to do everything on Thursday like I did on Wednesday, and I eventually got there. But that's one of the things that I'm really proud of, that I'm able to turn it around like that, to figure it out, and it's something that I couldn't do last year. Because I had so many things that I had to work on, I didn't know what was causing what.

Now I can figure it out, piece it together and understand that's what the fix is going to be, and all of a sudden, boom, I hit great tee balls, iron shots. I had a couple of shots where I had 118 yards and I hit 9 iron in there; that's exciting.

Q. Can you talk about what you'll expect tomorrow from Chad, and starting with the point if he's ever said thank you for freeing up a [] scholarship for him in Vegas?

TIGER WOODS: Second part, no. As far as playing Chad, I think Chad is a wonderful ball striker. And he drives it great, hits his irons really well. When he gets that putter rolling, he can really put up some good numbers. Times I saw him back there, he was in the fairway.

Q. Did you ever talk about that situation, about

TIGER WOODS: Uh uh. Sorry.

Q. I was reaching, as usual.


Q. You're not delivering, as usual.

TIGER WOODS: I'm sorry. Consistency is the key (laughter).

Q. What hole did you figure it out today? When did you kind of click back into what you were working on? Was there a shot or hole?

TIGER WOODS: Tee shot on 3. I didn't quite do what I was supposed to do enough and still hit the ball in the first cut but it wasn't enough, so make sure that the next shot, the 3 wood around the tree, make sure I did it enough, and there it was. I hit some really good shots after that.

Q. What is "it"?

TIGER WOODS: Backswing and downswing and getting the follow through other than that? I mean, I don't want to sound like it's a bunch of things, but sometimes it is. But it's all feel. I feel like I'm here, here, here, here, then it's right where it needs to be. But it felt really good once I put it back together.

Q. People talk about the different thought process in stroke and match play. Does it change back a little bit to stroke play on 18 when it's even, are you playing more for a score?

TIGER WOODS: Just birdie. Somehow, whatever you do, make 4. You figure 4 at the worst you're going down 1. You're not going to lose the hole with 4 there. So just make sure you somehow grind out a 4. And I hit a nice drive down there and I protected a little bit too much on the second shot, I didn't want to leave it in the right bunker, I was dead over there, and I pulled the second shot into the left bunker.

Q. How do you feel about the course conditions this year and the weather as compared to last year?

TIGER WOODS: Fairways are much better, the greens are still soft. Very interesting. Guys this week, we've been talking, having lunch, it's really weird, they're faster than they've ever been, but they're still bumpy. You've got so many putts you see them wiggle down there, it's in, it's out, it's in, it's out, just the nature of the greens right now. As you go on in the week, the greens will get better because they have less traffic. Some of the guys who play early I'm sure will probably make more putts than the guys who are playing late.

Q. You seemed to be pretty animated today. Do you find yourself getting more intense as the tournament goes on, or is your approach on the weekend no different than say opening day?

TIGER WOODS: It's the same. You give everything you've got on every shot. I think it's just the nature of the situation. Sometimes you get more frustrated and more excited at times just because of the situation at that moment.

Q. I was curious, there's a couple of players who seem to always get fairly deep into this tournament, you, Davis, Toms, DiMarco, Adam Scott, even though he lost today. Any explanation for that? Is that a comfort thing, do you think, with the course?

TIGER WOODS: I think just being comfortable with match play. DT, I know, he drives it on a string, and one of the best putters out here. So that's one of the tough guys to always play against in match play. And CD, he, again, drives it great. And I think the key Davis drives it long, but the years I've played against him, he's long and straight and tough to beat.

I think it's also a comfort level with the golf course, too. Some guys just don't feel comfortable with this golf course. Davis has had a pretty good record here in stroke play, and same with Lehman and myself.

End of FastScripts.

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