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August 6, 2006

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: Congratulations, Tiger, on your monumental 50th career PGA TOUR win here at the Buick Open, your second win here, four rounds of 66.

TIGER WOODS: Thank you. It was a nice number to get stuck on. You knew that starting out the week, with as soft as it was, you're going to have to shoot something 20 plus to have a chance and it ended up being just that, 20 under par finished third.

The golf course was playing soft. It could be had. The par 5s were reachable. The balls were hitting soft, so you could be pretty aggressive, fire at just about every flag, which I think all of us did this week.

TODD BUDNICK: You've hit a lot of milestones in your career, you're now the youngest player to reach 50 victories, topping Jack, what does that mean for you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, that's very fortunate. I've had a lot of just really wonderful things happen to me on Tour in my career so far on Tour in ten years, been very blessed. Started out my career just hoping to get my card and I was able to do that, and lo and behold, I got on a nice little run there.

It's been just a great ride, really.

TODD BUDNICK: You set a personal best with 28 birdies this week. Talk about that.

TIGER WOODS: Well, you needed every bit of it, too, because as I said, this golf course was not playing difficult this week. You had to make a bunch of birdies. You couldn't afford to let up, and I played pretty aggressive all week firing at the greens. I was fortunate to make enough putts. I made a lot of putts from 15 feet and in. Winning golf tournaments, that's what you have to do.

Q. It's been such an extraordinary year for you this year, so much going on, you always say you love winning events and you've won four of them now, how surprised or amazed are you that missing as much of the season that you have, that you're in this form now that you are?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I just felt that I count three, I won Dubai early this year, so I won three prior to Augusta, and I played just really well at Augusta, and I didn't putt well, especially on Sunday. I just figured if I could just keep improving on that, I'd have a pretty good summer.

Things happened and I didn't play for a while, didn't play well at the U.S. Open at all. But went back to the drawing board and my practice sessions were so good going into the U.S. Open, but I didn't put it together during the tournament.

Then at the Western, I got it going from there, and I've been building ever since.

Q. Your relationship with Buick, what does it mean to win the 50th tournament here, the birthplace of Buick?

TIGER WOODS: It's special. It's special for me and hopefully it's special for Buick and our entire family to have this happen here. This is where it all started, as you said, and the people that come out and support this event, and playing here for a few years now, and just how nice it is to see the same people each and every year. Especially the fans out here, to see them, you recognize the same people on every green, they have their own little spots.

It's a very family oriented tournament, which that's not really the case in most events we play around the world. That doesn't really happen. But this is a very intimate atmosphere, and as I said, you see the same people each and every year.

Q. You talked in the past about owning your swing, where do you stand in that quest now?

TIGER WOODS: Getting better. You never get there. It's a lifelong ambition to get better, and as an athlete, you're always trying to get better no matter what.

Q. Two weeks ago you win the British Open, an incredibly emotional time, and had you come here not playing so well and had a letdown, it would have been understandable in some people's eyes. Just talk about the pride you have showing up two weeks later and capitalizing with another victory.

TIGER WOODS: You enter a golf tournament to win. There's no reason to enter if that's not the belief that you have.

I came here to win a golf tournament. I was in the golf tournament. Hence, I came here to win it. I was fortunate enough to get it done. There's plenty of times when it does not happen, but you know, your intention should be is to win the championship, and that's my intent that I have this week. My practice sessions were good last week, and especially the last few days right before I got here. Just hoping I could just continue it on and I was able to do it.

Q. Where does making this personal best 28 birdies, where does this rank in your mind of victories over the year, and do you enjoy the shootout atmosphere of this, where guys just go low every single day?

TIGER WOODS: As far as ranking, I don't know. It's been nice to make that many birdies in the golf tournament.

As far as enjoying this type of golf tournament, no, it's not my favorite. If you look at my tournament schedule, I usually don't play events that are like this. I enjoy playing where single-digits is a good winning score; if you shoot 70 or 69, that will shoot you up the board. Here, you will get run over with spike marks all over your back. It's two different mind sets. When you play a golf tournament where pars are good, you fire away from a lot of pins and it's okay to lag putt and get your pars and move on. Here, you're looking at a number, and saying, okay, I'm firing right at this flag. That's normally not how you play a lot of golf tournaments.

Q. Did you hit driver on 12 and 14, both places?

TIGER WOODS: I did, yes.

Q. You were cruising it seemed like and all of the sudden you made bogey at 12. Can you talk about your mindset at that point with Jim chasing you and at one point I think catching you?

TIGER WOODS: I kept saying to myself that even if Jim's tied with me, I'm in the driver's seat because I have the easier holes to play still coming up. If I birdie the same holes he birdied, I have the lead. If I could play 12, 13, 14 and 16 well, if I could play those 2 or 3 under par, I win the golf tournament. Didn't do that. Bogeyed 12 and made a nice birdie on 13.

Actually, 14 was a huge hole to make basically an 8- or 10 foot par putt there. That really got me going. I hit two good shots into 15 and once I birdied 15, I figured if I just made pars coming in, the guys who were ahead of me, Scotty, didn't have enough holes to birdie in. He still would be short if I parred in.

Q. Going back to the swing question a moment ago, you've come to an understanding that you're always going to be working to get that swing even better, how old were you when that mentality was taught to you? Was it your dad that said that this would be something you would have to work on and not be complacent with?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you never have it. You may borrow it occasionally for a couple swings here and there, and you never have it. That's why we all enjoy it and keep coming back. You hit that one shot and you're hooked, you've got to come back tomorrow. That's professional and that's what we do for a living, we're still that same way. Hitting those shots are what bring you back.

As a kid I really didn't play that much. I was always a practicer. I always loved practicing and getting ready for tournaments. For me, I always had a tournament every Saturday at my little par 3 course where I grew up at, and so I did that, and as I got a little bit older I could play with my father because there was a minimum age requirement at the course he played at. Once I got up there, my entire five days of practice were to get prepared to kick my dad's butt. And we went through about two, maybe three years where we had some pretty good battles. He was a 1 handicapper at the time and that was a lot of fun.

Q. We're used to seeing you wear red on Sunday and used to seeing you win. How far back does that good where you've worn red? Have you done that since your rookie year and what's the story behind that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I started in amateur golf really. Mom thought that being a Capricorn, it's some kind of power color thing. So I won with red. And see, there you go. The very next week I was playing, I wore blue and won with blue, and so she didn't like that very much. So I gave in and wore red ever since.

Q. You have 50 wins now. Do you see yourself getting to 83?

TIGER WOODS: Well, hopefully, hopefully. It's a long way away. That's also a big number. You know it's going to be a lifetime, a career basically, to get to that point and attain something like that. It doesn't happen overnight and it's not going to happen next year. It's going to take a long time. It took me ten years to get here. Hopefully I can continue playing well over the next 10, 20 years.

Q. A lot of birdies but four bogeys on the week, which I think you've got to be pretty pleased with in terms of control of your game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you don't really have much of a choice here. You make bogeys, you're going to get run over. A couple of times I made a couple bogeys, like for instance today at 12 and you feel like you lost two shots, not just a shot and I think that's the difference when you're playing these events.

You play major championship golf or other tournaments where you get away with bogey, most of the guys are making bogeys. Here that's not the case. You feel like you lose two shots.

I didn't drop that many shots, so consequently I didn't have to make them up.

Q. When is the last time you felt like you were playing this well going into a major?


Q. You win the British, you win here, what does that do for your confidence level coming into the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: It's really nice. It sure does give you a big boost of confidence that the things you're working on are positive. I was able to control my ball there and I was able to control my ball here, and more importantly, I was able to putt well. I really controlled my pace on the greens, and that's what you have to do to win tournaments.

Q. You didn't show the emotions today like you did after the British, are you still feeling some of the same emotions?

TIGER WOODS: Not quite the same, no. The British Open was something that really hit home pretty hard because Augusta, I've said this a few times already, but I guess I knew that when I lost that one, that one hurt a lot more than any tournament I played in because my dad would never watch me in another major tournament again and I knew that. I had an opportunity on the back nine and didn't get it done and that hurt a lot; and hence, he never saw me play again.

So winning the British Open, a major championship, two majors later, was a huge thing for me, and I just wish I could have done it two major championships earlier.

Q. We watched you cross drivers and have good approaches and putts and also get in and out of trouble, and one fan in the gallery said you were only in trouble if you were in the water. Looking back, are they both as enjoyable when you look back at a tournament and seeing how you scrambled for par on 2 or had a spectacular hole? How does the enjoyment compare for you?

TIGER WOODS: Playing the way I played the last two tournaments, is a lot more satisfying than hitting it all over the lot and contending and if you're lucky enough, to win the tournament. Playing this way is a lot more fun. A lot less stress, too.

Q. You said you don't necessarily like playing tournaments like this where the scores are so low. Why do you keep coming back here?

TIGER WOODS: Golf course sets up well to my eye. There are certain golf courses that you really enjoy playing. If you look at my record here, it reflects that. It sets up well to my eye. There are some golf courses that I play that I don't go back because it doesn't set up well to my eye. You just don't feel comfortable on a lot of tee shots or approach shots. Well, here I do, and consequently I think my finishes tend to indicate that.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your birdies and bogey.

TIGER WOODS: No. 3, I hit a 6 iron up to about six feet, made that.

4, I hit a 5 wood and a 9 iron to, oh, about 15 feet and made that.

5, was a 5 wood off the tee and a 6 iron to about 15 feet again, as well and made that.

7, I hit driver and a 3 iron and had about a 50 footer, ran it by about ten feet and made it.

12, I hit driver left. Flopped it up there short of the green. Hit a terrible little chip shot, went by about seven feet and I missed it.

13, I hit driver just in the left rough. Didn't have a swing, so I pitched out and hit a pitching wedge up there to about a foot.

15, I hit a 5 wood off the tee and a 7 iron to about six feet and made that.

18, another 5 wood off the tee and a 9 iron to about 12 feet.

TODD BUDNICK: Congratulations, Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

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