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March 20, 2008

Tiger Woods


CHRIS REIMER: Tiger, 5-under par today, just comments on the round to start.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't really do anything all that special today. I just kind of hung in there and took care of the par-5s and made a couple other birdies here and there. But all in all, just kind of ground it out.

Q. You said you didn't do anything special, and yet you're just two shots off the lead. Does that make you feel good? Does that [] bode well for the next couple days?
TIGER WOODS: I just took care of the par-5s, basically, played those well. I made a couple mistakes out there, but overall I feel like I wasn't hitting the ball that poorly. I was hitting the ball in the right spots and just didn't make any putts until 15, 16. That was about the only putts I made all day.

Q. Were you having some problems reading the greens? You had a couple shorties. It's been a while since I can recall you missing that much inside five, six feet.
TIGER WOODS: What's interesting is -- I found it hard to trust some of the greens here because it goes up hills. For instance, that one on 18, that grain actually goes up towards the bunker. It's kind of breaking towards that water, and it actually went left early in the putt. That's kind of the way it goes. I've got to trust what I see. I didn't do that enough times today, unfortunately.

Q. You just seem like you're kind of down a little bit. Was it 18, or is it --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm pissed (laughter). You three-putt 18, you're not going to be real happy.

Q. That's where I was going. It is 18 then?

Q. If you take that away --

Q. Could you talk about your strategy on 15 and how that played out for you? I'm sorry, not 15, 16.
TIGER WOODS: 16, a good drive for me gets it into the greenside bunker, easy shot with the back pin, and I hit a good bunker shot and hit a bad putt, just I blocked the putt.

Q. Where were you when the wind shifted?
TIGER WOODS: We were on 17.

Q. I would have thought it would have shifted earlier, downwind on 1.
TIGER WOODS: A little, not much. We did it -- on 9 it switched just a little bit, but only like 10, 15 degrees.

Q. Just talk about the playing conditions, lots of low scores out there today.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, the pins were pretty accessible today. You get that with as far as the ball is going out there today. Guys are going to be hitting a lot of wedges if they drive the ball well, and you can take it low.

Q. The shot out of the bunker at 18, what was the club and what happened there?
TIGER WOODS: I had 38 to the hole and I hit a wedge, and I hit it just a touch fat.

Q. Did you hit a cart path on 17?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. No one told me that. I didn't think I could hit a ball that far, so I assume it hit the path.

Q. How have your injuries strengthened you, more emphasis on your strength game?
TIGER WOODS: I think the whole idea is to just be ready to go, and that's one of the reasons I train as hard as I do. You never know when you're going to be called upon to play a bunch of holes. That was evident a couple years ago when I won The Masters, played 54 holes on the weekend up and down those hills and I felt great. That's why I think it's important to train as hard as I do.

Q. Johnny Miller had a teleconference this morning and was kind of making an observation about your streak and some talk about that and the whys and the wherefores, and he says the guys, if you want to use the Big Five term, a lot of those guys are not firing on all cylinders right now and that Phil is the only guy poised to be a consistent threat along the arc of time. Do you see that? Do you put him kind of like Vijay hasn't won in a year, Ernie has got some problems, Furyk is using a belly putter? It seems like Phil might be the only guy who's still knocking on the door.
TIGER WOODS: Of those guys, yeah. But each and every week you've always got somebody new. That's the nature of our sport. You're not going to be -- even a few years ago when all five of us were right there basically in the World Rankings, but you're not going to have all five of them hitting all cylinders every week. It's going to be one or two, three at the most.

Q. Stricker said earlier this week that your whole career is nothing but positive reinforcement, which you talk about quite a bit, having been there before and done that. I'd be curious, from someone who's won The Masters four times, are there any spots or holes at Augusta where you've got some baggage, some demons? Every hole has not been perfect. Do you have anything there where you have to fight through a bad memory?
TIGER WOODS: You've got to fight through every hole.

Q. From just something that may have happened badly?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's just the nature of that golf course. I've played some interesting clubs off of some holes. For instance, 12, I've hit as little as a wedge and as much as a 4-iron. It's hard to describe. People don't realize how difficult that place is until you actually get there and you see. Any hole can get you there, so it's not just one hole.

Q. Was it just as difficult before the lengthening based on that?
TIGER WOODS: It wasn't difficult off the tee, but it was still pretty difficult into the greens. They've softened some of the pins over the years, because with the longer clubs and how they're cut out there in the fairway, they haven't put the pins as close to the edges as they normally do. They used to be just right on the edge. A lot of times from about six feet on 6 up on the top shelf you'd hit it a foot or two past the hole and it was going to go off the green. They really haven't done that because we're hitting more club.

Q. Bogeys happen in different ways, but does anything burn you more than a three-putt?
TIGER WOODS: A three-putt is certainly -- they don't feel good, especially when you have bad speed. That first putt was bad speed.

Q. If all the holes at Augusta are difficult, how do the three at Amen Corner fit in? Are they more difficult, equally difficult?
TIGER WOODS: 11 has become by far the hardest hole. They put those trees in there, and the angle off the tee shot. They've raised the green up on the right so that you can't play -- Larry Mize's shot, that shot doesn't exist anymore. They've made that hole so much more difficult.
12, it depends if the wind is blowing or not. If the wind is not really blowing, it's just a 9-iron, 8-iron or even a 7-iron to the back right pin. 13 has changed a little bit. They added a little more length to it, and they've actually moved the tee box more to the left and they fire more away from the corner, and it makes it a little bit harder to play those holes under par.

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