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January 24, 2008

Tiger Woods


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger for joining us four a few minutes here in the media center at the Buick Invitational. Good start to the week with a 67, little bogey there on 16, but all in all, a great start to the week. Just talk about the day and maybe the conditions when you started this morning.
TIGER WOODS: I think overall I just scored well. I didn't drive it very good at all today. Whether it was 5-wood, 3-wood or driver, I didn't drive it very good at all.
I hit my irons pretty good, and I made some putts. I didn't have the speed of the greens early, kept running them by, but after a few holes figured that out, and from then on hit a lot of good putts.

Q. Can you just talk about getting a 67 under your belt on the South?
TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, shooting 67 always is going to feel pretty good on the South Course. It was actually pretty interesting today because a lot of pins were in the back, and these greens were so soft. Every ball is just ripping back. You hit just little ones, 120-yard, 115-yard 9-irons, and they're still ripping back 10, 15 feet.
It was a little bit of a test out there. But just had to keep patient. You know, get the ball on the green and try and make a putt, and if it doesn't go in, try not to leave yourself a second one, that's for sure.

Q. Why were you swinging the irons well but you weren't swinging well on the tee?
TIGER WOODS: That's a great question. Your guess is as good as mine. I was asking Stevie the same thing, do you see anything. I really couldn't tell you. I had a low left ball or a spinny high right. Kind of hard to aim when you've got both of those things going.

Q. You had some great saves. Could you go through those?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, on 5 -- well, I had one on 3 actually, I ran the putt by about ten feet, made that.
At 5, hit a low pull up the left up against a tree and pitched out. I had 118 or 119, I think, to the hole, and I hit a little the iron up there to about three feet.
I think that was it on saves early. The rest of them were putts I just ran by.

Q. When you play your first round of the year, how many holes does it take to get the adrenaline going again and how different is that than a practice round?
TIGER WOODS: Totally. I said to you guys at Sherwood, it took me probably a hole and a half to find the rhythm of the round. Today it took me probably three holes before I felt back into the rhythm of playing tournament golf. We're not used to, at home at Isleworth, walking. That was a little different. You hit a bad shot, just drop one down and off we go again. It's a little different deal.
But as far as getting back in the rhythm of thinking and just the flow of basically playing competitive golf again, three holes.

Q. What is it about Torrey Pines? Is it geographics and you being from an hour and a half or so up the coast? Is it the grass? What is it about this place that seems to prevent you from playing a poor round?
TIGER WOODS: It's pretty interesting because when I played here in junior golf it was baked out in the summer, ball ran forever, and then after the redesign it's changed, and for some reason I've still played well. The golf course just fits my eye. You hear me say that about a few golf courses that I really like to play, and this has always been one of them. Even with the redesign and the changes to a lot of the holes, it still fits my eye.

Q. Is it much different after Rees reworked it? Are the sight lines different?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, they're definitely different. Different angles, it's a lot longer. Probably the green complexes are the biggest change, especially that first year when Ollie won. I'm sure that's how it'll probably be during the Open, balls springing, instead of like today, ripping back.

Q. Do you remember anything from winning the Junior World here when you were, I guess, 15?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah.

Q. Who was in the hunt?
TIGER WOODS: I kicked Riley's butt, are you kidding me? It was me and Riley in the last group. I was one or two back, whatever it was, starting the last day, tied him at 12.
Funniest thing ever happened on 15. I hit my drive down there, he hit his drive. I'm away, I hit my wedge, and Riley back then played -- you think Riley plays fast now. My ball is in the air still climbing, and you hear, "fwoooop." That's how it was.
We got to 16, the par-3, and I hit my putt up there, and I said, "I'll finish out," and the next thing I'm over the putt tapping out, and you hear "click." I tap it in, pull it out of the hole real quick. That was a fun day. But yeah, I got Riley on that one occasion.

Q. Was he drooling back then or did that come later?
TIGER WOODS: No, that came when I was 16. That was an interesting one, too.
The first tee there was just kind of drool hanging out and he hit it, and all of a sudden he turned his head, and "fooosh." The captain says, "Don't say anything," and the whole team was laughing. He was my partner for the whole day.

Q. Are you that much bigger or did Elin shrink your turtleneck over the winter?
TIGER WOODS: No, this is our thermal line. It's really tight and obviously the nodes are different, so it keeps all the heat in. I was perfectly warm with just this on.

Q. It's kind of intimidating.
TIGER WOODS: Really? Especially when I'm hitting it low left at people in the gallery or high and spinny to the right and taking people out on the right.

Q. I was just going to say, when you're not sure where the ball is going off the tee and you come to maybe the hardest driving hole and pipe that one, how do you explain that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was trying to hit -- on 15 I was trying to hit kind of a low cut, and to be honest with you I hit it a little bit off the toe and hit kind of a low draw.

Q. I was thinking more about 12.
TIGER WOODS: That was actually a good one. I think the hardest drive was 15, and I actually had a mis-hit and ended up okay.

Q. Do you ever play for the miss? Does Tiger Woods say, okay, I've got to play one of these?
TIGER WOODS: If you play to miss, if you've got one, it's no big deal, you can aim for it. If you make a mistake, shade it one way or the other, but I had both.

Q. But when you have both --

Q. No kidding, you're preaching to the choir. But do you set up maybe a little bit like Fred and just kind of bash it out there to the right and play from the right if it's a left-to-right hole?
TIGER WOODS: Well, if I was trying to miss it I'd rather hit the spinner because I know that's the line of the fairway and I'd stay in the fairway. Then I'd aim for the spinner or hit some kind of cut, and I'd hit a low pull. Okay, well, that didn't work.
Like on 9, I said, okay, a low pull would be great here because a low pull, actually right-to-left wind, might actually tumble, get home in two. I hit the low spinning slicer over to the right and I'm hitting a 4-iron for my third shot.

Q. The North Course is playing quite a bit harder today because of the conditions, the wind and the cold. Given your history on the North, which is not quite as good as it is on the South, would you almost rather see it play a little bit harder than guys just going at every pin?
TIGER WOODS: You have to explain harder because, one, the greens are soft and every pin is in the back and a couple new tees on the par-3s make it a little more interesting. We're not used to hitting longer clubs on the North Course. Usually even on the tee shots with it being this cool, driver and 9-irons on down is kind of the norm over there. With this wind it's a little bit more than that.
The key to that North Course is take care of the par-5s and then try and sprinkle in a few more here and there where you can. For instance, No. 2 is kind of down off the right; I'm sure some guys could probably drive it on the green. You've got to take care of holes like that and try to avoid bogeys.

Q. Would you say that the North doesn't fit your eye as well as the South?
TIGER WOODS: It always has, yeah.

Q. Rory was just in here and I know at Sherwood you were not happy about his departure. Was that ever resolved to your satisfaction and how would you sort of describe your relationship with him?
TIGER WOODS: I haven't talked to him about any of it. It is what it is.

Q. Did you hear he donated that money to the military?
TIGER WOODS: I heard he donated it to a charity but I don't know what it is.

Q. The exact amount.
TIGER WOODS: Oh, that's good.

Q. You mentioned the greens were pretty receptive. Obviously there's supposed to be rain for the rest of the week. Does that change how you attack some of the pins?
TIGER WOODS: If the pins are back it makes it really difficult. The ball was just spinning a lot, but some of the front pins, if you do have front pins with the weather coming in, those are pins you can probably attack, run it 10, 15 feet past, let it come back, try and make a putt. The back pins are always the most difficult when greens are like this because you just don't get that forward push.
It wouldn't surprise me if somebody spun the ball back in the water on 18. With that ridge it could come right back in the water. Jim didn't hit a good shot and he was kind of surprised at how it came ripping back toward the water.

Q. Would you like to see the course get a little wetter?
TIGER WOODS: I wasn't carrying it very far today. If I could fix my driving a little bit, yeah, I wouldn't mind it. But this golf course is going to play pretty difficult when it gets wet like this. You're hitting some long clubs, and actually today was kind of nice, they moved the tee up on 12. If they would have played it back, it would have just been brutal.

Q. You'll probably kill me for asking this later, but in your younger years did you ever happen upon Black's Beach when you were a kid?

Q. Really?

Q. What do you suppose that's got to be like down there when you've got a golf tournament going on for a gazillion dollars on the cliffs above?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. Why don't you go down there and tell us all about it (laughter).

Q. I'm just curious if this is about what you expected.
TIGER WOODS: With my game? I was disappointed the way I drove it today, because I haven't been driving it like that. I drove it pretty good. And my iron game was -- well, it was about exactly the same as I've been hitting it. I just had to get the feel of the greens and after a few holes I did, got the speed. But I was really surprised at some of the shots I hit off the tees because I haven't been doing that.
My putting felt good. I just had to get the speed. They were a little bit quicker than I thought. Once I got the speed down then I was pretty good.

Q. You've alluded twice, you were driving it well back home, and you got out here -- you obviously practiced out here earlier in the week and you drove it well out here.
TIGER WOODS: I did, yeah. I've been driving it well, and just one of those days. I'm sure Hank is here, he probably saw a few things, and I'll go do some work. But hopefully I'll get organized by tomorrow.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Let's go through your card real quick.
TIGER WOODS: 4, I hit driver and a 6-iron to about 10 feet, made that.
No. 8, I pulled a 7-iron just left of the green pin high and chipped in.
10, I hit a driver and a 7-iron to about four feet, made that.
11, I hit a 3-iron to about 25 feet short and made that.
13, I hit driver and a 3-wood left of the green, pitched up across the green to about six feet, made that.
And 15, I hit a driver and an 8-iron to about eight feet and made that.
16, I hit 3-iron just short of the green. I hit a chip that kicked up and spun and missed about a 10-footer.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger.

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