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January 31, 2008

Tiger Woods


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Satisfying start?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I played well today, just a bunch of good golf shots. Only bad shot I really hit today was at the par-5 13th. Other than that, really hit the ball well.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Can you go through your birdies and bogeys, and we'll take some questions.
TIGER WOODS: Started on 10. I hit driver and a 5-wood just short. Chipped up to about an inch and made that.
14, I hit a 5-wood and an 8-iron to about eight feet and made that.
18, I hit 3-wood and a 3-wood and 2-putted from about 35 feet.
On No. 1, I hit a driver and a 7-iron to about 20 feet.
4, I hit a 7-iron to about two feet.
7, I hit a 6-iron to about eight feet and made that.
8, I hit a driver and a 7-iron to again about eight feet and made that.

Q. Did that feel just like last week; better, worse?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, definitely better. I had two good days of practise the last couple days and started to hit the ball a lot better than I did last week.

Q. Pretty chilling thing since you won by eight last week.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I made a lot of putts last week. I didn't really particularly drive it very well. My iron game was all right, but on those bumpy poa greens, for some reason I made a bunch of putts. Just happened to be bumping in. They usually bump out. I just made a bunch of putts last week.

Q. Any putts you left out there today?
TIGER WOODS: I definitely missed a few today. I had a couple good opportunities to make some putts and just kind of ran them over the edge but overall today was just -- couldn't ask for a better start.

Q. Better which way, striking the ball, rhythm, tempo?
TIGER WOODS: Striking the golf ball. I hit the golf ball a lot more clean today and shaped the ball better. Obviously drove the ball a lot better but the shape of my shots were so much more -- so much better than it was last week.

Q. Ian Poulter has been quoted as saying that he doesn't rate any other golfers in the world apart from you; do you think it's just about you and Ian in world golf or do you rate the other golfers you compete against?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I guess he's No. 2 in the world, so he's moved up in the rankings pretty quickly. (Laughter).

Q. You played with Monty today and you said yesterday you enjoy playing with him; he was saying yesterday to us that he wanted to go out there today and sort of learn from you. Do you learn from other players or are you just so focused on your own game?
TIGER WOODS: You pick up things. There are certain guys I always enjoy playing with and watching. All of the times I've had a chance to play with Ollie, how good his short game is and some of the shots he's able to play.
Monty usually drivers the ball on a string; today he missed a couple left, hit one right. But I always enjoy playing with Monty. He's always been great to play with. Just had a really tough finish.

Q. I was just wondering in San Diego, you said that you were not driving the ball well and you were going all over the place, and somehow, I think you retrieved the ball the best in the field; is it something that you consciously practise, going behind trees and hitting shots and going into some dangerous spots and hitting balls from there where you think it challenges you more?
TIGER WOODS: I don't do it anymore. I used to as a kid. I used to do it all the time. That was one of my practise things I used to do. Hopefully I can hit the ball better than I used to as a kid.

Q. Apart from the score today, how would you compare this round with the other first rounds you've played in Dubai?
TIGER WOODS: I think that one, the year that I finished second to Thomas, what did I shoot, 64, I believe. I think I shot three straight 64s that year but one was the Pro-Am.
I can't really remember, you know, how well I played that day but obviously the score was pretty good.

Q. Is that one better than today, is that what you're saying?
TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously the score is but I can't really remember how well I played for some reason.

Q. Is there a way you get over the jet-lag factor which everyone talks about? Is there something that you do that helps better with the jet-lag or are you used to it?
TIGER WOODS: The better shape I've gotten, the easier it is. I don't usually have a problem. It usually takes me maybe a day and I'm good to go.

Q. Do you do something differently, do you sleep mostly on the flight when you're coming?
TIGER WOODS: It all depends on the time when you're going to arrive. Sometimes you may have to stay awake ask do whatever you can to stay awake, because obviously we got here at 2:30 in the morning and you want to get just a little bit of rest so we can come out here and grind away.

Q. Do you think how fit you are is a big advantage at a place like this where it's hot and everything?
TIGER WOODS: I live in Florida. This is not hot. (Laughter).

Q. Compared to some of the European lads, how fit you are.
TIGER WOODS: It's never a bad thing to be fit. But as I said, this is not hot. Tulsa was hot, if you were there. That was hot -- or did you go outside of the tent?

Q. No.
TIGER WOODS: There you go. (Laughter).
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thank you very much.

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