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December 17, 2006

Tiger Woods


DAVE SENKO: Tiger, congratulations on your third win in the event. Maybe just get us started, talk about your day, and then we'll get some questions.
TIGER WOODS: Well, starting out the day I was one back with Chris, and I knew that given the conditions as soft as they were today and really no wind out there, I knew I had to make some birdies out there. I figured those two guys would maybe make some birdies back there. I guess I knew if I had 5- or 6-under par by the end of the day I'd have a pretty good chance of winning the golf tournament, and I was fortunate enough to shoot 66 today.

Q. I hope it isn't too early to flip the calendar, but you're halfway to another Grand Slam. What are your thoughts about that and is that realistic?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you've got to keep plugging along and make sure you peak at the right times. Obviously Augusta is obviously a long way away but still in the back of all of our minds, and the whole idea is to play well leading up to the tournament and hopefully have your game just peak at the right time that particular week. Hopefully I'll do the same thing at Oakmont.

Q. How important was it to finish the year with a win, and does something like this carry over into the next couple of events next year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was a real nice positive because the last two 72-hole stroke play events I finished second, and I didn't want to have it a third straight time. Even though I got the Grand Slam, it was only two days. But to play four rounds against a quality field like this and come out on top, it always gives you a shot of confidence going into next year.

Q. Can you talk about when you have -- I believe you go up by two shots after Ogilvy and DiMarco finish three holes. Do you sort of thrive off that knowing that you've built that lead so early, and does it feel like --
TIGER WOODS: Before you even go on, I didn't know I had a lead until we got to the 9th hole because there's no leaderboards on the front nine. So when I got to 9, I looked at it, and I had at the time a two-shot lead, and if I made the putt on 9 I knew I had have a three-shot lead. I told Stevie, let's get a three-shot lead going into this back nine, and I made the putt.

Q. You saw it at the turn because there's no boards, just one on 4?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I only saw that one on 9, otherwise I didn't see any leaderboards on the front nine. I guess you're right, there is one on 4 but I didn't see it. I had just made bogey so I wasn't real happy. My head was down.

Q. You opened with a win in your first tournament of the year and closed it with a win in the last tournament, and obviously you talked about what a traumatic year this was. Can you just sort of review it quickly? Start with first and end at first.
TIGER WOODS: Well, the bookends, it's always nice to get Ws for bookends. But the middle part for me, my year golf-wise was pretty good this year. Overall I'm very pleased with the progress I've made working with Hank, and things started solidifying this summer.
I mean, it was nice to actually put a lot of the pieces together and just go out there and play. Obviously to win as many tournaments as I did from summer until now was an awful lot of fun.

Q. When you come in here every day and have kind of a laundry list of things you weren't happy with, whether it was speed of putts or iron play, yet you win by four strokes, you kind of win going away, what does that say about the state of your game and where you are in relation to the rest of the guys on Tour?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was just being honest. You asked me how did I do out there, and I was just being honest. I just told you the things that I thought I needed to clean up in order to win the golf tournament, and today I did that. Today I hit the ball a lot better and I made some putts.
But prior to that it was one or the other. I drove it great, hit my irons not so good and putted not so good. I mean, it was just one of the three was working.
I put most of the pieces together today, and it was fun to go out there and obviously make birdies early and put a lot of the heat on the guys behind me.

Q. Drawing comparisons between this and 2000, not based on mechanics but purely results, where would you see the biggest difference? Would you just see it as one extra major or margin of victory, things like that?
TIGER WOODS: I think if you compare the two years, I think this year would have to be better because of obviously things I've been dealing with off the golf course. 2000 I didn't have to deal with that.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, I won my first two events of the year. I got off to a quick start of the year. Hey, life is full of mysteries and you've got to deal with things as they come. Who's to know that if Dad didn't struggle and end up passing that I wouldn't have played that well in the summer; who knows.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Understanding of mechanics now and things are starting to solidify. This summer was huge for that. Basically we went back to -- Hank and I went back to what I was working on at the beginning of the year after I took the break at the Western after that first round where I did not play well. I said, you know what, let's forget everything that's happened. Let's work on what we did at the beginning of the year that won the first two events and let's get everything organized, and we did that in one afternoon, and all of a sudden it turned around, and boom.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt, there's no comparison. No other practice session was more important than that one. I had played three consecutive poor rounds, three in the U.S. Open and one at the Western.

Q. How much can we expect you to play this coming season? Can we expect to see you in the Mercedes? Can we expect to see you in all those events that are playoff events and leading up to it?
TIGER WOODS: Jerry, I'm going to play every event next year (laughter). I'm not taking any weeks off (laughter).
You know me, I'm going to sit back here in the next week and start playing out my entire schedule for next year. I wanted to get this tournament over and done with and get on vacation and enjoy skiing, having a great time, and then I'll get the entire itinerary for next year and start planning the schedule, what I need to do and when I need to do it.

Q. You described the 16th hole. How important was that? And can you describe your second and third shots?
TIGER WOODS: What hole?

Q. 16.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, 16. It was not a very good 5-wood second shot. I kind of lost it -- I was trying to hit just a little smoothie up there and I hit just a nice little cut and I over-cut it and ended up embedded on the bank, took the two drops and got a decent lie but the stance was terrible, but it was good enough -- the lie was good enough where I felt comfortable I could get the ball over the bunker and keep it on the green. I was just trying to build some kind of stance where I could basically make contact, and I was able to do that and then make the putt. It was nice to do that because the guys were back out in the fairway watching.
That could have easily -- that ball goes in the hazard, I could have easily made bogey there just like I did yesterday.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was about an inch closer. Just wanted to make sure to clarify.

Q. I didn't hear the ceremonies. I assume just as in the previous two wins, you donated the money to the Foundation?

Q. Obviously you want to win the tournament, you were talking about your competitive nature. But I assume being able to win and give the money is almost as gratifying, if not more so?
TIGER WOODS: You know it's going to help kids, and that's the beauty of it, is that this entire tournament, all the people that came out and supported it and all of you guys who came out and are basically covering this event enhance what we're trying to do to help kids. The learning center is one small steppingstone toward what we're trying to do in building the overall Foundation, trying to grow it globally.
This was a step in the right direction for that.

Q. We all know how much you like racking up all the Ws, how much you like being in contention on the last day. But so much rides on this week for the Foundation and because you're the tournament host, does it feel different for you being out there in the zone?
TIGER WOODS: Once you're on the golf course, you're out there playing. That's the beauty of it. Obviously I've got a lot of responsibilities off the golf course this entire week, but once you get inside the ropes, it's time to mix it up with another 15 boys out there, see what we've got. That to me is fun, and especially today when you've got the U.S. Open champion there and you've got Chris DiMarco who's played so well the last few years, and you knew it was going to be a battle. That gets your juices running.

Q. Talking about next year, do juices start to flow when you think about the new points structure and how that's going to change the mindset out there?
TIGER WOODS: Well, first of all, I need to understand the points structure. I don't. I don't know it yet. I don't know what each tournament is worth, if a major is worth more or less or the same, I don't know. I really don't know. We'll see what happens.
Once I figure it out, then I'll let you know. It's like the World Ranking system, isn't it? Or QB passer rating.

Q. Do you like the concept of it? Not the fact that it ends earlier, but do you like the concept of it?
TIGER WOODS: It's interesting, it really is. It's so different that we've never experienced anything like this before. It's weird in the sense that the points system determines the Top 30 but the Money List determines whether you keep your card or not. I don't know, it'll be very interesting to see the two dynamics there.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: That's it? Just dump it off to the running back and let him do all the work. Perfect.

Q. As you look back on this golf year, is there one shot more than any other which stands out as the most satisfying? And is there one shot that if you could take it back and have a second crack at it, you would?
TIGER WOODS: How about all 36 holes at the U.S. Open. They were pretty dreadful. What did I finish, 50-over par or something? It wasn't very good there.
As far as -- I wish I could have putted better at The Masters this year. I didn't putt well the entire week and especially didn't putt well on Sunday. I was struggling with speed the entire week, and then on Sunday it just became even worse. I hit the ball great the entire week. I put myself in position to make a bunch of putts, and I didn't do it at all.

Q. And if there was one shot you had to pick that was your most satisfying of the season?
TIGER WOODS: Most satisfying? Well, that's a great question. I know there was a series of shots, but they weren't in competition. It was a practice session I had at the Western when I hit balls about three hours out there. I had about an hour where I really hit it -- that was fun. I really hit it good. I had every shape shot, height, spin, whatever you wanted, I had it for about an hour. That's what you're always looking for. Then I just built upon that for the rest of the year.

Q. In terms of your will to win, you've described yourself as having a football player's mentality. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't think you really lay up on par 5s on the football field, do you? You'd get run over. Obviously you've got to bring everything you've got or else you get hurt.
In our sport it's different. Some of the guys don't bring it every day, and I just don't understand that. It's not that hard to concentrate for five hours. Like I said, you've got 19 other hours to recover, which is fine.
That's why I bring it each and every day. It's not that hard to focus for five hours, step up and bring everything you've got, and that's the way I've always played. I can't play any other way because I can't deal with the fact that if I go home at night and look at myself in the mirror that I didn't try as hard as I could have. I just couldn't live with that.

Q. What did it mean to you to have some of the kids that you've helped at the learning center now come out today?
TIGER WOODS: They were all out there, I could seem them out there and recognized most of the faces out there and I could hear them hooting and hollering, which was fun. That's what it's all about. Some of these kids were going down the wrong path and now these kids have turned it around and now they're going off to college, which is something they never thought about doing before.
It's nice to make a positive impact like that on someone's life, and hopefully we can do it on a much grander scale than just here in Southern California.

Q. In the looking ahead category, Ernie won the South African Open today. He vanished most of the year except for the Open. What did you see out of him this year, and what are your expectations of him going forward concerning the past couple years he's had?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Ernie just basically struggles with his knee, getting confidence to go ahead and swing aggressively onto it. Hey, when I came back after my knee surgery in 2002, I just dealt with the pain and just played through it. But there is some -- you have to suck it up sometimes and say this is really going to hurt and hit a shot. His knee surgery was a lot more extensive than mine. He had to deal with a lot more scar tissue and things than I ever had to deal with. So for him to try and battle through all that and as well as get his game back because he took so much time off, it's not easy to do.
There are repercussions that you don't really realize until you have to hit a shot from awkward lies, and it's like, well, this is where it really grabs me. I've got to hit it anyways. Sometimes it's not too bad, then other times it kills you, then other times it's not too bad. It takes a little bit of time.

Q. Just going back to your previous answer about hopefully the scale of the learning center will be much bigger in Southern California, could you say where you hope it will be in say five years' time?
TIGER WOODS: Well, in five years' time hopefully we'll have at least another one built and our Start Something program will already be overseas and we'll be expanding that way.

Q. Just going back to your answer before that about concentrating for five hours, do you think one of the reasons why other players can't is that they play too much? Some of them played 31, 32 events this year.
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, I've never done it before.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you, Tiger.

End of FastScripts…

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