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May 3, 2007

Tiger Woods


Q. How did you hit it after three weeks off?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I started out not that sharp, but I turned it around. I thought I played pretty good from basically 4 on in.

Q. Back nine you were playing out of the fairway most of the time, which is usually a pretty good sign.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, especially on these fairways, as fast as they are, and they're angled. It's really hard to hit these fairways out here.

Q. Fun getting a 10-minute wait on 17 with that wind blowing?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, man, of all the holes you've got to wait on, it's the last one you want to get a wait on out here. It was playing hard. I got lucky and hit kind of a high draw 6-iron there and kept it on the green. You know if you bail right, it's no easy up-and-down, and if you hit left you're going to make a 4 or 5. You've just got to be committed to a shot and pull it off somehow.

Q. What are the landing areas like on some of the greens given the slope? 13, things like that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, as fast as the greens are, it's not easy. You know, it's similar on some holes, probably just a handful of holes, to how you have to play Augusta. You don't have a whole lot of room to hit a golf ball, and if you don't hit the ball in that area, you're going to get punished.

Q. This time of year when you've got an eye on what you're doing right now and also a month on the down at majors and stuff, are you as score-centric as you might be at other times of year when you're not necessarily in prep ramp-up mode, where hitting the ball is more important than the final result on 18? Can you separate those two?
TIGER WOODS: You've always got to separate those two. You've got to go out there and obviously try and win a golf tournament. But you also want to keep building and making sure that you're progressing in the right direction. We've got a big week next week, and hopefully all the guys are trying to get ready and play well this week but also try and win next week.

Q. How difficult were the changing conditions from where you started at 1:00 o'clock to what you finished up in?
TIGER WOODS: It got a lot harder. It cooled off a little bit and the humidity went, and it got really difficult out there. The wind was swirling in the trees, not a lot but just enough, and as I said, these fairways being this hard and this fast and a little bit pitched and angled, it's really hard to hit some of these fairways.

Q. Is it fair to say this is a place that tests your imagination and creativity?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think that's one of the reasons why the guys like it. You have to be able to work the golf ball both ways here. You can't just hit it just one way. You've got to be able to shape the golf ball, and I think that's one of the neat tests about this golf course. We don't get a chance to play courses like this very often.

Q. What were the two clubs you were debating on 18?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was 8 for a while when the wind was off the right, then it became 7 when the wind was in, then the wind went in off the left, then went down off the left, and then when I hit it was down off the right when I thought it was in off the right.

Q. See ya.
TIGER WOODS: There you go.

Q. With the rain on the way, what's it going to do to the leaderboard tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: It depends if it's windy or not. If the wind dies down or it rains, the guys are probably going to make some birdies. Again, you're going to have to go out there and get it.

Q. Stripping titles aside, what's the difference between this week and next week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, probably a deeper field next week. You'll get more guys from around the world playing and probably a harder test next week, especially given the new changes.

Q. Harder in what way?
TIGER WOODS: You get punished. I mean, it's a lot more -- that golf course is a lot more intimidating than this place.

Q. Water and whatnot?
TIGER WOODS: Water, there's no bail-out areas out there. If you do miss, like Pete [Dye] has done with the green complexes and severity of them, I mean, you just can't -- you go around that golf course and you know you're going to hit a ball in a bad spot and have one of the lies that you just -- how the hell did I end up here? But that's just the way it is.

Q. Does it help you when you're playing with guys that play around the same as you, even, 1- or 2-under? Does it help you physically, mentally, in that aspect?
TIGER WOODS: Usually the only time you ever get caught up in that is when the whole group is going low and everybody is making a bunch of birdies. But today that wasn't going to be the case, not with the wind out there, not as difficult as this golf course was playing. It's difficult to make birdies out there.

Q. How does a place like this compare to say Muirfield Village or Memorial in terms of testing creativity?
TIGER WOODS: Muirfield the fairways are a lot flatter. They're angled a little bit, but still, they're a lot flatter and obviously a lot wider and the rough is much deeper at Muirfield. Jack likes to have basically flat shelves on his greens and extremely severe around them, so if you miss it you're going to pay a price. But if you hit the ball in the right area, you've got easy putts all day.
This golf course is not that way. You've got a lot of sloping putts, a lot of breaking putts, putts that just tend to kind of run off.

Q. Is this one of your favorite courses here, fair to say, one of the better ones?
TIGER WOODS: This is one of the best ones we play all year.

Q. I know you like the harder the better.
TIGER WOODS: It's fun. It's fun to play a golf course when you have to shape the ball both ways. You can't just go out there and hit it just one way, and I think that's -- why I think one of the reasons why you see such a great field here each and every year.

Q. Do you have a better chance to win here this year than last year?
TIGER WOODS: A lot better than last year (laughter).

Q. Would this be a type of course you would design?
TIGER WOODS: Given the property. Unfortunately you don't really get property like this very often or get a chance to design something like this.

Q. Not in Dubai.
TIGER WOODS: Definitely not Dubai.

Q. How did today compare to yesterday in terms of the fan interest?
TIGER WOODS: A lot less media inside the ropes, which was nice (laughter). Sorry.
No, the galleries were still big but probably not as big because you had Phil and Ernie on the other side and had it spread out. Yesterday it seemed like everyone was basically following our group.

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