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September 14, 2007

Tiger Woods


LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks for joining us, great round and absolutely fantastic start, 28, your best score, I think, out here on nine holes. Just tell us about that start.
TIGER WOODS: Actually, it was a nice start. I had a nice little roll there from 4 through 9. Some lucky things happened for that stretch, which was nice. I also hit a few good shots here and there.
Overall the round was a good, solid round. I shot 7-under par today and had a three-shot lead.

Q. Given that the scoring is pretty easy and you started the way you did, needed four birdies on the back for a 59, did that ever cross your mind once?
TIGER WOODS: It's funny, someone asked me that earlier. I didn't know I shot 28 on the front nine until we got in the scoring tent, until we added it up.
You just play shot for shot. You place the golf ball and you don't worry about anything else. I didn't know I shot 7-under on the front nine.

Q. Were you in the zone?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't know if it's a zone or not. I just felt that the rhythm was good. I just felt it was a nice rhythm. The pace was good, walking pace was good, the swing was good. I hit one bad putt that went in. I made a bomb there at 9.
But I was hitting good shots through that stretch. It was nice. The only poor shot I hit was the tee shot there at 5. It was just a terrible shot. Other than that, I really hit some good shots.

Q. What goes through your mind when you make that bomb on 9?
TIGER WOODS: Pure luck. If you could have been right behind the golf ball and seen how that thing was bouncing all over the place, it was actually quite funny.

Q. You were laughing pretty good there. Did you almost feel like apologizing to Stricker?
TIGER WOODS: To Stricks? No, never (laughter).
It was just one of those moments where you just -- as I said, the ball was bouncing every which way, and to have it -- it was left of the hole, right of the hole, left of the hole, right of the hole, and then it went in.

Q. Do you find it hard sometimes to keep a straight face after that putt you missed left edge on 7?
TIGER WOODS: What I said earlier about this week, when you have bad greens, that you can hit bad putts that go in, but when you have pure greens and hit bad putts, they never go in. That was a perfect example. I pulled it, I hit it with too much pace, hit some kind of -- it wasn't really a spike mark, more like a putter indentation, and I hit the left side of it so it kicked it right and it went in.

Q. Bunker shot on 5, could you tell that went in?
TIGER WOODS: No, I didn't know. I was down there so far, I didn't know. I just tried to -- I had a terrible lie, and I was just trying -- there was a bunch of sand there, I was just trying to get the ball within 10 or 15 feet, give myself a putt at it. By the crowd's reaction I thought it came screaming in there and hit the flag and ricocheted off and I had a one-foot putt or something, and I got up there and it was gone. Nice surprise.

Q. What club did you use?
TIGER WOODS: That was my 60.

Q. You're three shots up on the leaderboard, but do you pay attention at all now to the Cup standings and the point chase?
TIGER WOODS: No, you just want to win the tournament. Winning always takes care of everything. The whole idea of this week is to go out there and get it done. At the halfway point I'm in good shape for that.

Q. You played 25 holes today?

Q. Ten birdies and an eagle; is that right?
TIGER WOODS: I think so.

Q. Thoughts on that?
TIGER WOODS: (Laughing) I made a few putts. These greens are such that you just take the low line and just hit it, and hopefully it goes in. I had some putts that went in and other putts that just missed, but the majority of the putts I hit went in.
You're not really used to putting this way, always taking the low line and hitting it. I'm used to taking the higher line and kind of feeding the golf ball in there. It's a different mentality. Firing it into the greens is a totally different mentality. It's just different this week.

Q. I think you were 13-under through 27 holes. Do you recall other instances where you've had that good a start?
TIGER WOODS: I think I played Augusta one year on a stretch like that, where I was like 12- or 13-under par through 27 or 26 holes.

Q. So it's memorable then?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it is. This was a pretty good day. I really played well. I didn't particularly drive it as well as I would like, but I was able to fix it and then I hit some good shots.

Q. Woody said that you're not hard to beat if he's playing as well but you're hard to catch. Would you agree with that?
TIGER WOODS: Say that again?

Q. He said you're not hard to beat if you are playing as well, but you're hard to catch. In other words, they don't want you to get too far ahead.
TIGER WOODS: Really? Fergie, I don't know how you answer that one.

Q. Were you at all cognizant of what your lead was at one point when you made the turn? Was there any part of you trying to stretch it out?
TIGER WOODS: I saw I was three at the time, and I wanted to get -- on the back nine just try and get to four or five, and I felt if I made two or three birdies on the back nine, I'd get it to that number. I made the two birdies but I also made the two bogeys.

Q. Due to the course conditions, is a three-shot lead the same as a normal three-shot lead?
TIGER WOODS: Well, certain tournaments you've just got to make a bunch of birdies, and this is one of them. You just can't make pars.
For example, I mean, Harrington is a shot back going into the second round, shoots even par and gets run over by most of the field. That's just the nature of this tournament this week, which is so different than most TOUR Championships. You've got to be aggressive, you've got to make birdies, and if you don't, you're going to get passed.

Q. Butch paid you a really nice compliment last week and said he felt last week was the best you had ever swung it, period, 2000, 2001, everything. I'm wondering where you think you are in the grand scheme of things, I guess?
TIGER WOODS: Heading in the right direction. I can't say that it's -- I just feel that I have room for improvement and I'm going to keep working to get better.

Q. You made seven birdies in a row at The Masters once. How would you compare that birdie stretch to the one you had today?
TIGER WOODS: I liked the one at Augusta a lot more actually (smiling). That golf course is a little harder -- I should correct that, a lot harder.
LAURA NEAL: Tiger, thanks.

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