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May 6, 2007

Tiger Woods


STEWART MOORE: We welcome 2007 Wachovia Championship winner Tiger Woods to the media center here at the Wachovia Championship. Tiger, great round, final round 69 ties the low round of the day, and in winning today you pick up 4,500 FedEx points and vault into No. 1 on the season-long list.
If you could maybe talk a little bit about your round today, if you could hit the birdies and the bogeys and what it means to finally win this tournament.
TIGER WOODS: I guess I got off to the most ideal start on that front nine. I was 5-under through 9. I felt like I was playing decent, but I was making everything, which was nice. The back nine, I struggled a little bit, missed a short one there at 10, which was a really disappointing bogey considering I only had 78 yards to the hole. It's just inexcusable.
Then made a nice little comeback birdie at the next hole, 11. Then after that 13 was just not very good, a terrible 4-iron out to the right. Pitched it long, first putt I hit way too hard, and the second putt I pulled.
But my whole goal coming in after that was to try to get the lead through 15, and if I had the lead through 15, I figured if I parred in I'd probably win the tournament because these conditions you figure probably no one is going to play those three last holes under par.
So I had the lead after 15, and I figured if I just played the last three holes even par, I'd be golden.

Q. The eagle kind of get the round really going in earnest there? That was like a skip and a fist pump and hands in the air, adrenaline-wise?
TIGER WOODS: It shouldn't have been. It should have been probably 6 on the hole because I lost my tee shot to the right, handed on the hill and I don't know how it didn't go in the water. It should have been wet.
And all of a sudden, here we go, and I had a lie and I took a chance on that second shot to go for it. It was a perfect lie, but the stance wasn't very good.

Q. Below your feet?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, especially wind coming off the left, probably not one of the most ideal things. But I hit a 7-iron up there and ended up on the top shelf, which was fine. I was just trying to two-putt from there and get out of there with a 4 and it happened to go in.

Q. Straight putt?
TIGER WOODS: It was a little left to right, probably moved about a foot.

Q. How far was your ball from the water?
TIGER WOODS: (Laughing) probably about less than a foot.

Q. When you got ready to hit it, it looked like you got ready and then you backed off?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Stevie called me off the shot because the wind was down off the left, and then all of a sudden it switched and came back into my face. If I would have hit 7-iron and hit a solid shot, it wouldn't have made it. So we waited it out until it switched back to where it was supposed to be. As soon as it turned down, I went.

Q. Talk about the entire week. It just seemed like you had a lot of fun from Wednesday on.
TIGER WOODS: I did. Playing Wednesday with M in twosomes, which was nice, and then this week I felt like I was putting pretty good this week. I didn't quite hit it as well as I wanted to, but it was good enough. But I made a lot of putts this week, which was nice. I made some nice crucial par putts from six to eight feet, putts you just have to make. I was able to make them today. Especially like today at the third hole, I had about an eight-footer there for par, and I was able to make that one.

Q. You talked yesterday about the importance of being in the final group. Did it play out that that was huge for you?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it did, because I was playing alongside of Rory. Rory had the lead, and after I birdied the 4th hole, it was all tied up. But as I said, just -- I was surprised at -- before we even went out, I was looking at the board, and you could see just about everybody was under par that front nine. I figured I had to shoot 2- to 3-under par on that front nine to keep pace, and lo and behold, I went out 5-under, which was nice.

Q. What does it mean to win your first tournament in the state of North Carolina?

Q. Amateur events.
TIGER WOODS: Incorrect. I won the Big I at Pinehurst. Ha-ha (laughter).

Q. Talk about 13 and what your mindset was after that.
TIGER WOODS: Angry. Really, really angry. The worst you can make there is 4, and just, okay, fine, you've got two easy holes coming up, you can birdie one of the two and all square. All of a sudden, I had to birdie the next two holes to get all square.
I figured I just let so many guys back in the tournament, gave them a shot of momentum, and I tried to get it right back on the next hole and I didn't do it. But at least I birdied 15 and found out that I had the lead going to 16, 17 and 18, and that's all I wanted to do was have that lead going to the last three holes. Somehow suck it up and play them even par, and I'd win the tournament.

Q. Rory said on TV last night very provocatively that he wanted you, in that sort of street-fighting analogy. Did that provide any motivation for you? I know you played amateur golf with him.
TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, I didn't know what he said.

Q. Three of six by my count this year. Is that as good as you wanted to be, as good as it could be? How does it stand?
TIGER WOODS: It's three short of where I wanted to be (laughter). Or three short of my intent, put it that way.

Q. Do you have, if not a physical, at least a mental checklist of tournaments you haven't won that you've played in in the past, and is that always a goal to make sure you win a tournament you've played and haven't won yet?
TIGER WOODS: You always want to win tournaments you haven't played, and then again, you also just want to win tournaments. You know, over the course of my career, I've won a few tournaments here and there, and it's been nice. This one, considering the field and the golf course and the conditions, ecstatic to have won here.

Q. Did you hurt yourself on 18?
TIGER WOODS: I've been sore all week, ever since that front came through. Old age.

Q. Looked like knee or something.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, old age. Welcome to the 30s, huh?

Q. You've built some really good relationships with the people that run this tournament in the last couple years. What does it mean to win the Wachovia?
TIGER WOODS: It's great. Kym does a fantastic job, Wachovia does a wonderful job, and on top of that, the fans come out here and just support this tournament like no other. We don't get fans like this at each and every venue we go to. This is special.
Last year I wanted to play here but I just couldn't. I wasn't ready to come back. So this year I really wanted to come back and play, and here I am.

Q. How would you assess your season so far? You said you wanted to be perfect, but that might not be a realistic goal.
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's been, I guess, good, just one little negative there.

Q. Augusta?

Q. You were missing a few left as well as the odd one that goes to the right, and you did a little work on Friday. How are you feeling going into THE PLAYERS?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I still need to do some work. The next three days are important. Most of the shots I hit this week were pretty good, but then again, I did hit a couple wide. You just can't do that next week. I've got to get that under control and get that straightened out so that my misses aren't way off line there, still in the fairway. That's the ultimate goal.
These fairways were so fast early in the week that nobody was hitting fairways, but at least I could have actually landed the ball in the fairway, which would have been good. But I didn't do that.

Q. Do you take any more satisfaction -- it didn't look like you were hitting the ball very well most of the week, to still win?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I felt like overall this week I didn't really have my best stuff, but as I said, I putted great. I made just a bunch of putts. You know, most of those putts were made -- most of those big par putts, as I always say, to keep the round going. I made the majority of those par putts, and sprinkle in a couple bombs from 20 or 30 feet.

Q. Do you know if this is the first time you've won when you've bogeyed your final hole each day? Are you concerned about that at all, or is that just kind of the nature of this golf course, the finishing holes?
TIGER WOODS: This golf course is hard. That 18th hole is one of the hardest holes that we'll face. The fairway is wide, but then again, if you miss it you're making bogey or worse. You'd better hit the fairway, especially with that cross-wind makes it a little bit more interesting.

Q. Will you call Michael or Michael call you after this, or has he already?
TIGER WOODS: No, he's been busy. He was at the Derby yesterday and then the fight last night. I'm sure he's probably sleeping in (laughter). Or maybe just getting up.

Q. Do you feel like you almost had to win this thing twice? You were 3-up with six to go, blew it, and then sort of had to dig back down and do it again?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. I felt like I was in control of the tournament after nine holes. If I would have just handled the par 5s I figured I could win the tournament. All of a sudden I didn't do that.
At 13 I made a careless mistake there on the greens, and I figured I had to play the next two holes under par, which I was able to do, and I figured that would get me the lead going into the last three, and it did.
STEWART MOORE: Can you quickly go through each birdie as far as club selection, what you hit in, for everyone?
TIGER WOODS: No. 4 I hit a driver and a wedge to about 15 feet up the hill, made that.
7, as I said, I hit driver and 7-iron, made about a 50-footer there.
8, I hit a 3-wood and a 60-degree sand wedge to about eight feet, made that.
9, I hit a driver and a 6-iron to about 15 feet, made that.
10, I hit a driver, 7-iron, a 60-degree sand wedge short of the green, bumped it up there to about five feet and missed it.
11, I hit a 3-wood and a pitching wedge to about 15 feet, again, right below the hole, made that.
13, 4-iron to the right, flopped it past the hole probably about 20 feet, ran that by about four feet and missed that.
15, I hit a driver and a 3-wood in the front bunker, blasted to about seven feet past the hole and made that.
17, I hit a 6-iron to the right of the green, pitched up to about eight feet, missed it.

Q. I realize you're coming off a three-week break, but it seemed like you were doing an awful lot of work on your game this week. Did it fall off that much, or had it been maybe a few pieces getting out of line even Masters week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you've just got to keep it in check. This game is fickle, you know?

Q. Did it fall out of check more than you thought it would?
TIGER WOODS: Well, this game, you have it for a little bit and it goes away, then you've got to get it back again. One day you're hitting it too high, one day you're hitting it too low, drawing it too much, cutting it too much, there's always something. You've just always got to try to keep it in check, and that's why I was working out there because this golf course is so penal that you just can't get away with bad swings.

Q. You mentioned next week is more intimidating maybe visually or more intimidating, period. Which one penalizes misses more?
TIGER WOODS: There, definitely. The mounding is so severe. In the old days when I played there, the last ten years, it's been six- to eight-inch rough out there, to those greens. I don't know what it's going to be like this year with Bermudagrass. It'll be probably like how I played the amateur there in '94.

Q. Was it Bermuda in '94?
TIGER WOODS: It was Bermuda in '94 because we played in August. Rye could never survive in that.

Q. With the variety of conditions you had this week, how satisfying is this win?
TIGER WOODS: Very. You know, it's been a test this week. The conditions have certainly changed. They were fast early in the week and then they slowed down yesterday. It's been windy today. It was just something you had to keep adjusting. You had to keep adjusting to -- clubs off the tees, shots into the greens. The last couple days we had to worry about spinning the ball back too much. The first day you were hoping to get it down there far enough to get a wedge in your hand so you could stop it. It changed dramatically around this place, and you had to make the adjustments.

Q. There's always speculation where you do and don't play. Was there ever a point when you might not have played this this year?
TIGER WOODS: No, I was always going to play.
STEWART MOORE: Tiger, congratulations. Thanks for your time.

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