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February 21, 2007

Tiger Woods


LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks for coming in. Improved your Accenture Match Play record to 4 and 25 with a victory over J.J. Henry. Tell us how things went for you out there.
TIGER WOODS: It was actually a pretty tight match. J.J. hit a lot of beautiful putts in the middle part of the round and even on the back nine, and those putts just didn't go in.
Had they gone in it might have been a different story. I had to win the holes with birdie. I gave him one hole with a bogey there, but other than that it was all birdies. Fun match. J.J. is a great guy and we had a bunch of fun out there.

Q. How did you play?
TIGER WOODS: I played all right. You know, I hit a couple of loose shots here and there, but overall I felt like I was consistent enough to put pressure on him most of the day.

Q. With the up-and-down of match play, can you kind of talk about the pressure and stress of just trying to get out of the first round itself?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought -- I mean, with J.J. and the way he can make birdies in bunches, the way the golf course was playing, it was playing pretty short and pretty fast, that he could easily make probably four to eight birdies. I had to go out there and make some birdies myself.
I think the second hole was huge. He didn't get the lead there. It looked like he was probably going to take a 1-up lead and get some momentum on his side early, and it just never happened. He never got up in the match.

Q. Did you fat the second?
TIGER WOODS: I hit 8-iron, and I was just trying to play it one -- I tried to play 155 there because it was downwind -- at the time it was downwind. When J.J. hit it changed, but when I hit it was downwind off the right. It basically gave me a bit of a cushion in the match.

Q. What are you finding out about the course as far as whether it fits your eye and how it plays to your game?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's -- well, today the wind was swirling all over the place. At 6 I didn't think I could hit 3-wood there in the practice rounds ever, but carried it on the green today. It was warmer, the ball was flying a little bit further.
Some of the holes just played a little bit differently than you would think. A lot of it was the pin locations. You had to play smart but also aggressive because it is match play.

Q. How is it feeling to you personally, though?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's fine. I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge of especially the pin setups. I think if they were set up more towards the center of the greens I think -- Steve and I were talking today, somebody would probably shoot 9, 10-under par, because all the par 5s are reachable. Two drivable par 4s and then you've got some easy holes. With easy pin locations somebody could shoot 9, 10-under par.

Q. You left the driver in the bag much of the day. Was that more nature of the format or nature of the holes?
TIGER WOODS: The nature of the holes. The wind was blowing today. 3-wood on the front nine was going just over 300 yards. That usually works (laughter).

Q. Does it matter where the pins are given the format?

Q. How?
TIGER WOODS: Because some pins aren't good pins. If you short-side yourself you don't want to give the guy a hole. You don't ever want to make a bogey. You've got to make a guy earn holes.
Today I made one bogey and he got that hole. You just want to always make the guy earn it with a birdie.

Q. Now that we've kept score for a day, what do you think of the place? How does it compare? Obviously not nearly as much mud. It looks like there's going to be some decent galleries. You had talked about Tucson several years ago. Just your general impressions after one day?
TIGER WOODS: There's atmosphere out here. We always talk about the fact that it's pretty interesting that La Costa and Torrey Pines, the difference in atmosphere. You have actually a better feel at La Costa than you do at Torrey Pines. For some reason there's not much that atmosphere.
But today you could hear roars across the way. You couldn't see them but you could hear them.

Q. What was the most interesting shot that you hit today, interesting for you?
TIGER WOODS: I'm a little lost on the holes here. There was a par 5 where I hit 3-wood and I hit probably three feet fat, something like that (laughter), and somehow it ended up in the fairway where J.J. hit a driver and a 7-iron in there and I hit 5-wood in there.
It was a little bit of a different shot. I'm not really used to pop toeing up quack hooks like that.

Q. It wasn't on purpose?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, God, it was just brutal.

Q. How about the element of playing in the desert? Take the second hole, for instance. You're out in the sticks, and just playing with the heat, as well.
TIGER WOODS: I live in Florida so it's not so bad (laughter). You know, hitting the ball in the desert like this, it's potluck. You shouldn't be in there. There's plenty of room out there. The fairways are huge.
I just hit a horrific shot there, it was a pull hook. I got away with it. I had a shot. More than likely I should have been in a bush or some kind of unplayable, and J.J. should have won the hole with 4. But I got lucky and got a break and was able to make a putt.
LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks for coming in. Good luck.

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