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July 5, 2006

Tiger Woods


Q. Is it nice to get back to playing a 'normal' golf course after the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I wasn't there very long. It wasn't all that long. I'm excited to be back here in Chicago, back on a golf course that I love playing and had a lot of success here, too. It feels good to be back here.

Q. What did you not playing on the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I went spear fishing and came back and have been working on my game ever since.

Q. How frustrating was the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: You know, it's something I don't normally do, missing the weekend at a major championship. Missing a weekend means that you have no opportunity to win the tournament. With the way I was playing, I felt if I could just get into the weekend and play two good rounds, I figured the guys would come back. I never even gave myself that opportunity to even fight for the championship.

Q. What were you working on?

TIGER WOODS: Quite a bit of stuff. I had to go back to logging hours and piece it together, slowly but surely, and hopefully it will come together this week.

Q. Are you hitting driver out there often?

TIGER WOODS: Depends on the wind, what the wind is out there. A lot of the holes I do hit drivers, but some of the holes, like today 17, I hit 3-wood off the tee just because it's downwind today. Driver, there was no room for it. So it depends on how the wind is blowing because it's an unusual wind here.

Usually it's coming down No. 11 -- like 10 and 11 are usually downwind where you think you can drive 10. Today there's no chance.

Q. Can you talk to us about your thoughts on the name change and the venue changes?

TIGER WOODS: Well, they've gone through some name changes here, or sponsorship changes rather, I'm not sure of the name. I think it will be great for this event to have a big event like this come to this area. But unfortunately it's going to be every other year. That's the only downside to it.

Chicago is such a great sporting town, it's a shame that we can't come here every year with a golfing event.

Q. After Phil won The Masters there was a lot of talk about a rivalry between you and Phil. Your sense of the history and the Ernie and Jack legend, would you look forward to that rivalry blossoming?

TIGER WOODS: Well, all my career I've had rivals with Ernie, for a stretch with Vijay, with Duval, and I've had it with Phil. Just as long as I'm part of each conversation over the rest of my career (laughter), it's never a bad thing.

Q. Was this two-week stretch coming into this tournament more intense and longer preparation than your preparation coming into the Open?

TIGER WOODS: No. My prep coming into the Open was longer than this, but I hadn't played competitively in a while. Unfortunately I just didn't piece together the shots the way I needed to, and consequently I was down the road.

Q. How difficult has it been to find a rhythm on the course during competition?

TIGER WOODS: Well, this year has just been a difficult and different year. You know, that's just the way it is. But right now from here to the rest of the year, I'm playing in quite a few events, so I'll be back in the swing of things.

Q. Do you feel like you're ready to play this week?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's now where it needs to be. It's been nice to get away and be at home with the family and deal with that, and now it's back to try and make birdies and try and win championships.

Q. Do you like tournaments where more of the top players tee it up such as this one?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's always a lot more of a buzz when you get the top players in the world playing. From what I saw, I think it's Phil, Vijay, Jim, Adam and myself, so I think that's a pretty good group of the top players in the world playing in this event. It's a great event and always has been, ever since I came here as an amateur.

Q. Were you ready to play the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: I was rusty. I didn't execute properly, there's no doubt about that. There's no excuses for it. I had the same opportunities as everybody else to hit shots and I didn't do it.

It was very disappointing because I had good practice sessions, I felt I was prepared, and come game time I did not hit the proper shots. I didn't putt well on top of that, and it was just bad from tee to green.

Q. Can you speak about Sean O'Hair?

TIGER WOODS: Sean is good. I'll tell you, he's got just an enormous amount of talent, and on top of that, he is a nice guy. He really is fun to be around, and I think that he's got the proper mental attitude and approach to be successful, and not only be successful but be successful for a long period of time out here.

Q. Talk about your preparation for Hoylake.

TIGER WOODS: Well, prepare when you get there. I haven't been there, haven't seen any photos of it. All I know is it's in Liverpool.

Q. Have you spoken to anyone about it?

TIGER WOODS: Well, Stevie caddied there I think in '83, and he can't really remember anything about it, except that he caddied there in '83.

Q. Talk about the 1999 PGA at Medinah.

TIGER WOODS: It was really exciting because with Sergio making the run at the end, and I made a few mistakes, it was just a very interesting finish. I know that one of the biggest putts I've ever made in my career was right there on 17, the 71st hole. To make that putt after messing up there on a par 3 and then bogeying 16, step up there and make a putt I actually had to make was one of the bigger putts I've made in my career.

Q. Do you get a good feeling going back there?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. I just know it's a bigger ballpark now. I have not seen it. I'd like to get out there before the event, but it won't be this week.

Q. Are you going to Hoylake right after this week?

TIGER WOODS: No. I'm going there over the weekend.

Q. Did you get a text message from Annika after she won on Monday?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, she texted me (laughter). We're all square now. That's fine, we do that all the time to each other. It's fun having a friend who's competitive just like I am. She's one of the greatest that's ever played this sport. To see her go out there and how she prepares, it's pretty phenomenal to watch, not only from the golf standpoint but from the physicality standpoint of the effort level she puts into it. There's really no surprise why she's that successful if you watch how she prepares.

Q. What's your schedule look like? Are you concerned about playing in 15 events?

TIGER WOODS: If I get to 15, then I'll still retain my voting rights.

Q. Do you know where the seven will come from?

TIGER WOODS: I know where they are.

Q. Can you help yourself at the British by playing well this week?

TIGER WOODS: It would be nice to play well here. I've had some good success here. Even the times I've played poorly coming in, this golf course has allowed me to turn it around, so hopefully this will be one of those years where I can really play well and win the championship and then head off to the British for some good positive vibes.

Q. Thoughts on Michelle Wie playing the John Deere Classic next week?

TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, she's playing great from what I've seen in the highlights, the way she's hitting it, it's been phenomenal. She's missed a couple of putts here and there, but overall she's hitting it great.

I think at the John Deere, that golf course is a little bit more wide open, where she can go ahead and let it go like she did last year and get it out there. There really is not that much trouble. I think she can go ahead and free-wheel it and let it go and hopefully she can make the cut.

Q. Has time helped since your father passed away?

TIGER WOODS: I'm sure it gets easier, but it's something you'll never, ever forget. I don't think it's ever something you ever really want to forget or ever really want to truly put behind you because having a parent that is so loving in your life and that you love so much, you never, ever forget that. Life lessons always come about, each and every day. I've talked to a bunch of my friends who have gone through it before, and they think about their lost parent every day. It happens.

That's something I've done and I will continue to do probably for the rest of my life.

Q. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would bet he could make a par on the PGA TOUR before you could get a hit in a major league game.

TIGER WOODS: I'd make a bet on that.

Q. Did you watch the end of the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I watched both days. That was my punishment.

Q. Thoughts on Montgomerie and Mickelson?

TIGER WOODS: I thought in my opinion that it was Monty's tournament. In the fairway on 18 with -- not only in the fairway, he was on the right side, on the flat spot with a perfect angle with his fade. It doesn't get any better than that. With Phil on the tee, anything can still happen. He could still make bogey on the last hole and lose the tournament. I thought it was Monty's tournament, put the ball on the green and it's over. Obviously that didn't happen, and then Phil had his mistakes. It was a very interesting finish, one that none of us who are involved in the game of golf probably ever would have predicted we would have seen happening.

Q. You knew Geoff Ogilvy was a good player, though.

TIGER WOODS: No, I mean, he's a heck of a player, there's no doubt about that. He hits it long, wonderful putter, and he actually plays better in majors for some reason. He can get a little hot at times, and in majors as we all know, you have to be level-headed in major championships, you can't flatten the handle, and I'm sure that helps him.

Q. With all the scandal in some of the other sports, such as steroids in baseball, talk about golf and its rules, where players call penalties on themselves.

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's different. We are in a different sport, and it's a bygone era. I think that's one of the great conditions of the game of golf that separates us from any other sport is that we do police ourselves, and when guys out here have rules infractions they call them upon themselves. I think we've all DQ'd ourselves at one time or another. I've done it twice actually.

I think that's just the way it is. I think that's what we all love about this game of golf is just the honor that we bring to it, and we never, ever want to disrespect any of the traditions of the game of golf. That's one of the deep-rooted traditions of our sport.

Q. Talk about Cog Hill, and your thoughts on the changes to the course that are in the works.

TIGER WOODS: I like it just the way it is, which I understand. They're problem is they're obviously trying to make it a little more difficult and obviously probably longer. It's one of the neat golf courses. If the greens ever get firm there, the scores aren't low. The only time they get low is when the greens are soft and when the balls are plugging and you can be aggressive. If it gets a little bit springy then it's a totally different deal.

Q. Will Phil be able to brush off what happened to him at Winged Foot?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. More than likely to stay competitive you have to, especially in our sport. In our sport we fail more time than we succeed. Failure is a part of our sport; that's just the way it is. You pick yourself up off the ground and you have the next week to play. If we had a percentage very similar to baseball, if you put a .300 in your winning percentage, you'd have one hell of a career. But that's normally not the case. Your winning percentage is a lot lower than that, and you have to deal with losses quite a bit. It's nothing new to him, nothing new to any of us. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, come back out the next week and play.

End of FastScripts.

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