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December 16, 2007

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our host and our champion for the 2007 Target World Challenge Presented by Countrywide, Tiger Woods, with a 4-under par 68 today. 22-under par ties the tournament record set by Davis Love a few years ago. Tiger, congratulations on a great week.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Just talk about your day and we'll open it up for questions.
TIGER WOODS: It got a little interesting there. I made two mistakes there at 7 and 9. Jimmy played just a great front nine, even with a mistake on the second hole, and the whole tournament changed at the 10th. It looked like I was going to be basically one up with eight to go. I made mine and Jimmy made a couple mistakes there, and all of a sudden it went from -- back up to four shots and changed the entire tournament and the entire feeling on the back nine.
I happened to make a couple birdies coming in.

Q. Do you think they saw you sweat today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was wearing a sweater vest and it was -- (laughter).
I made the mistake there at 7, blocked a little short one, and I made just a terrible swing at 9. I wasn't swinging very good today. I was struggling a little bit and I was playing very conservative because I obviously didn't quite feel right with my swing.
But I felt really good with the putter other than the putt I hit at the 7th. I felt really good. I felt like I could make anything. Just tried to get the ball on the green where I'd have a putt at it.
Even though I made those two mistakes at 7 and 9, I kept reminding myself that I still had the lead and Jim had to come get me and just try to make myself aware where I was with nine holes to go. You try and put the spin on it, try and make it real positive. Even though I made two bogeys there on the front nine, I was even par for the day. It wasn't like I was backing up and shooting over par. If I could shoot 2-, 3-, 4-under par on that back nine, I felt like I could win the tournament.

Q. You took some time off. I'm sure the other players were hoping you'd come back a little rusty. How did you plan for today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was a pretty interesting week. It's a week -- I shot 62 on Friday, felt pretty good about my game, then yesterday I was just a little off and today I was a little bit more off. I just managed my game real well and made some putts this week, which was nice. But I felt really good about my preparation coming into the event. Unfortunately I wasn't able to hit the ball consistently like I wanted to for all four days, but I putted well for all four days, and as we all know, that also makes up for a lot of sins.

Q. I was wondering if you recall the last time that you won on a Sunday the same day that the Miami Dolphins did.
TIGER WOODS: They did? How about that (laughter).

Q. Just goes to show you that anything can happen.
TIGER WOODS: You're right. Wow, I can't believe they actually won a game.

Q. In overtime.

Q. What's the most satisfying about the way you won this week?
TIGER WOODS: I think the time off and then coming back and playing as well as I did the first two days. I felt like I should have shot 66 or 65 the first day and made a couple mistakes on the par-5s, on 18, and turned that into a 69. Then the next day really played well. As I said, the weekend wasn't quite as -- well, I didn't really hit the ball as well as I wanted to, but I putted well all week.

Q. Does it take anything away from this victory that you only beat 14 players today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think I still have some things to work on. That's the great thing about it this week. Even though I shot what I shot, as you can see out there, I have some room for improvement, which is nice.

Q. We know that you haven't lost a lead on a Sunday. When things start going a little south, do you think, hey, I always win on Sunday? Does that reassure you a little bit?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I didn't really think that way. I just kept telling myself that I still had the lead. I felt like Jim had to come get me. Even though he played a great front nine, making the turn I still had a two-shot lead, come get me. I felt like I could get off to a good start on the back nine and be at least 1-under par on the first two holes. I felt I had at advantage on the par-5s. I could reach all three of the par-5s on the back nine with irons -- except for 13, I could get there in two where Jim might be struggling to get there in two. So I felt like I had the advantage on the back nine, I just needed to make sure I got off to a positive start. I made the putt at 10, birdied 11, and then off I went.

Q. A good day for you today. It was a great day also for one of your good pals in South Africa, Darren Clarke, tied for 3rd there, his first top 10 for 18 months. Does that performance bring home to you? And now that you're a father, how difficult has it been for Darren to bring up two kids?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I can't even put myself in his shoes in order to truly understand what he's gone through, to lose someone that you figured you'd spend the rest of your life with. Not too many people can really and truly understand what he's gone through and how hard it's been. I've talked to him on quite a few occasions. It's been pretty painful, been very tough.
You know, the thing is he alluded to is he's become so much closer to his kids, and that's given him a lot of strength. I think now they're just starting to see the game turn around and I think he's going to make some nice strides this year.

Q. A two-parter. Could you talk about Sam Alexis being on the 18th green watching you win I believe your second tournament, PGA being probably the first? And also, could you talk about short of maybe winning the first three majors of the season, could this year have been much better both on and off the course for you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously having her on the 18th green, you asked me if I saw her, I didn't see her out there until I was done, but it puts things in perspective real quick. Even though I had won, I just want to know how she's doing, how she's been all day. I forgot that for a moment, hey, you won a golf tournament.
I can understand how Paddy reacted the way he did at the British Open, having his son run out there and maybe just had a big debacle there at 18, and it put things in perspective right away. That's how powerful family is.
This year on the golf course it's been a great year. It's been the greatest year I've ever had. As I've said before, it's been a polar 180 of last year.

Q. Do you feel disrespected by Sabbatini pulling out and not really telling anybody, or are you going to let him off the hook?
TIGER WOODS: I just don't really understand -- I've had conflicting reports. I've heard he had shin splints, I heard he pulled out for personal reasons. He packed his locker up at 3:00 o'clock yesterday and I think headed to Hawaii. A lot of different things going on, and I'd like to try and get to the bottom of it when I'm done here, and we'll see what happens.

Q. Do you consider this win today more the end of a great year or the start of the new year?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's the end of the year. Stevie and I, we were talking about it coming up the last hole, that it's been just a great year. It's been a long year but also one that we've thoroughly enjoyed. I just can't wait until obviously next season starts. I think that's where I think this break has been really nice. I've been fired up to come back and practice and play and get after it again, and this week gives me just a lot of excitement heading into my practice sessions and getting ready for next year.

Q. Do you shut it down now again for a little while or do you keep maintaining this into the start of next year?
TIGER WOODS: I'm going to shut it down a little bit, go back home and think about it and talk to Henry about some of the swings I've made this week. Obviously I've got a lot of room for improvement, which is great fun. Obviously I hit a lot of good shots this week but I also hit some loose ones. The great thing is my bad ones aren't as bad as they used to be. Either I just miss fairways or just miss greens, but obviously not off the planet like they used to be.

Q. Room for improvement, why is that a good sign?
TIGER WOODS: Just imagine if I could hit the ball the way I wanted to.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your birdies.
TIGER WOODS: 1, I hit a 5-wood just in the right rough there, hit a sand wedge to about two and a half feet, made that.
Par-5, I hit a driver and a 3-iron up there to about 18 feet and two-putted.
7, I hit driver and a 9-iron to 15 feet, ran it by two and a half feet and missed that.
No. 9, hit a 3-iron off the tee, hit an 8-iron in the right bunker, blasted out to about 12 feet, missed it.
10, hit driver and hit a 60-degree sand wedge to about 15 feet right below the hole, made that.
11, I hit a driver and a 3-iron to about 30 feet and two-putted for birdie.
14, I hit 3-wood off the tee, hit an 8-iron just over the green, just hit a terrible chip, ran it by about eight feet, missed it.
16, I hit a 5-wood off the tee, I hit a 5-wood for my second shot to about 18 feet and made it.
17, I hit a 9-iron to about seven feet, made it.

Q. This is the first Christmas, of course, you'll have an offspring, and your birthday comes up so fast. It's going to be a very hectic five or six days there. And do you ever think on your birthday at the end of the year, I'm a year older and another year is gone? Do you ever think philosophically like that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. In our family growing up, I didn't really like Christmas, I didn't really like my birthday because I used to get one sock for my Christmas and one sock for my birthday (laughter). Right shoe and then left shoe (laughter). Yeah, it was always very interesting growing up.
But this one will be a lot more special and one that Elin and I will obviously cherish because we've never experienced this before, and we're looking forward to it. Even though she's not going to remember it, we certainly will.

Q. I'm curious, as your swing has come together over the last couple years, have you ever found yourself knowing it was in really good shape and getting ahead of yourself being so anxious to play so you don't let the round come to you?
TIGER WOODS: I had probably one experience like that. It was in Germany, up in Hamburg. I had probably one of my best warmup sessions I've ever had. I couldn't have hit the ball any better. I hit every sign from the 50 all the way up to 300, hit every sign all the way up. Stevie and I were going, oh, my God, this is unbelievable. We could shoot nothing today, and I was putting well going into the event, and I started off double bogey-bogey. I learned from that pretty quickly. That was the last time that ever happened.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm excited about the things that we've worked on. The most important thing as I described earlier is my misses aren't what they used to be. I hit a couple bad tee shots today where I'm like, that wasn't very good, and it's right there in the middle of the fairway. That wasn't the case before. As you've seen before, my misses used to be over trees and off houses and stuff like that. Now it's amazing that I can hit bad tee shots like I did -- I didn't hit a good one at 10, I didn't hit a good one at 11, and both of them were right in the middle of the fairway.
JOE CHEMYCZ: I know it's important to you with the win, but the foundation wins this week, as well.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the foundation has been just a huge winner this week obviously with Target and Countrywide and everyone coming out, and everyone knows that I donate my winnings to the learning center and the foundation. We couldn't have had a better ending to the week, and we're looking forward to next year.

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