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July 2, 2009

Tiger Woods


MARK WILLIAMS: Tiger Woods, thanks for joining us at the AT&T National interview room. 6-under par 64 in the opening round, two behind defending champion Anthony Kim. If you could just reflect on your round today and we'll open it up for questions.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit the ball well today and made some nice putts, two bombs out there, and overall it was a pretty good day. The greens were really soft. You had to be really careful about spin coming into the flags. A lot of times we were hitting just little bitty half shots in there trying to take some spin off of it.

Q. Are you surprised to see Anthony up there seeing as how he's been the last two or three months?
TIGER WOODS: He's got so much talent, it's just a matter of time before he turns it around. He came back to a site that he feels comfortable at, and he's played well here in the past. There's a lot to be said for that.

Q. Obviously different week, different course, different everything, but do you find yourself out there -- this is your next event after the Open where you couldn't get anything to drop, and today you have one of your better putting rounds of the year.
TIGER WOODS: Sometimes you just have those weeks, and unfortunately I had a week at the wrong time. But it's golf. You have days, you have weeks, and you have stretches where you putt well and you putt poorly. But the whole idea is to make sure you have consistent speed. As long as your speed is good day in and day out, you can turn it around pretty quickly.

Q. Would you like to win this tournament more because you're hosting it, or at the end of the day does that really matter?
TIGER WOODS: You know, as I said earlier, I've always wanted to be -- I've always enjoyed being a selfish host, and that's winning the event (smiling). I've done that out there in LA at the Chevron World Challenge there a few times, and hopefully I can do it this week.

Q. You mentioned the other day you're not crazy about 6, 61/2 speeds on the greens. What did you think about the conditions? Do you think they'll hold up this week?
TIGER WOODS: If you look at it, I think 3-under is in the Top 10, three or four, so they didn't really go that low. There are a few guys that had good days, but overall the field is probably even and 1-, 2-, 3-under par. The majority of the guys are.
Yeah, you can be aggressive, and if you pull it off, this is the day to pull it off because the greens are so soft.
You know, we had -- for instance, No. 2, you're hitting a 5-wood in there. For me I'm hitting a 5-wood in there. I had no worries whatever about it bouncing over the back. Even if you put the pin on the left side, you're still not going to be worried about it bouncing over the back.

Q. When you putt like you did today, does that just make you more frustrated that it didn't happen two weeks ago?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's just part of golf. You have weeks and you have days where you putt well, and other times you don't.

Q. Last year Anthony spent most of the week talking glowingly about you as a hero but also about the day coming when he wanted to compete with you, and you've talked glowingly about him. When do you think that day will come, and are we going to get a preview of it this week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, hopefully we can both get into that situation. We have a long way to go before that happens. Today we both played well, but still, we have a long way to go before we can put ourselves in a position where if we do have a head-to-head battle, it is what it is. But we have a long way to go before it happens.

Q. In the longer view, do you look forward to that day? Is he one of those guys that --
TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, he has the talent to do it. It's just a matter of him working hard and getting the experience and getting up there in position a lot of times and beginning to understand how to do it.
You know, that just takes time. He's still very young. You know, he still has obviously a lot of time before -- I remember Harrington, how many times did he finish second before he started breaking through? Some guys, you just give them a little bit of time.

Q. On Tuesday you stopped by junior kids clinic here at Congressional, and one of the kids said, "What do you think about when you've got a really tough putt?" And you spoke about when you were real little, you had trouble judging distances and you grabbed a picture of where to putt to. I want to know, what kind of picture did you putt to?
TIGER WOODS: I mean, the picture is -- my dad explained it that being so young when I started, you can't disseminate between an inch and a mile. It doesn't make any sense to you. So every time I'd take a look at the hole, and while I'm taking my practice strokes and I'm over the golf ball, that is a picture. And then all you do is just putt to what you just saw basically. That was his idea of trying to communicate to me how to putt.
Even to this day I still putt the same way.

Q. Now that you've continued your first round of tournament play, what have your experiences been both hosting a tournament and playing simultaneously?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've been hosting and playing in a tournament for a while. The tournament that we have out in LA, that's been, what, 11 years, and this is my second time actually physically playing and hosting. So a lot of experience doing it.
You have a lot of things you have to do prior to competition. The staff does a tremendous job of making sure everything is organized and running well.
Once game time starts, it's just my job to actually get up there on the board and try to win an event.

Q. Speaking of hosting, what would Arnie do if someone shot 62 at Bay Hill?
TIGER WOODS: Nothing you can do about it.

Q. Are you a little more accepting about just the overnight rain and the conditions?
TIGER WOODS: You can be so aggressive out there. You can fire at a lot of flags. The fairways got wide because it's not going to run out. If you get aggressive and get it going, you can post a number out there.

Q. The shot you hit on 8, can you talk about that a little bit? I've seen that a few times this year where you're choking down. What was the purpose of that today, and is that a shot we're going to see do you think more often?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's just that a full driver I felt would get me too far down there, and 3-wood couldn't take the bunkers out of play. So it's nice to have like a little bit of a tweener. I drop down and hit just this little softy cut out there. It's a lot further than my 3-wood but it's nowhere near a full driver, and I can keep that in play.

Q. When did you start working on that?
TIGER WOODS: Probably a few months ago.

Q. Do you narrow the stance a little bit?
TIGER WOODS: No, everything is the same. Just hit it a little softer and bleeding it a little bit.

Q. That putt you hit on 17, was that more what you were talking about at the Open where your pace was off, the line was perfect but you just charged a little bit?
TIGER WOODS: No, I actually pulled that putt. The reason why it was hot is because I pulled it. It wasn't started on the line I wanted.

Q. When you look at the way in which this tournament is set up, how much different -- is it set up the way you want it to be set up, or is it a little bit too easy in a sense?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's not the way I want it, no, just because it rained. As far as the rough height, the fairway widths, the green speeds, I'd like to get the greens faster, but you can't do it when you get a half inch of rain overnight. If we get no more rain and this place starts drying out a little bit, we can get these things up to speed and they'll pick up probably another foot, foot and a half.
Come Sunday, they won't be springy, but at least they'll have a little more roll-out to them, and you have to think about how you're going to go into some of these flags. You can't just always fire the ball up there, and if you leave it 10, 15 feet past the flag, you've got a hell of a putt because it's going to roll out. You might want to start playing it underneath the holes, make the guys think a little bit on what they're trying to do.

Q. What's been your thought when you've started in the afternoon and someone has posted something like that already?
TIGER WOODS: You get used to it. You get used to it. You know, you have to shoot something in the 60s obviously.
But then again, you're going to have the same conditions they had the very next day, calm in the morning, good greens, and even if you don't get it the first day, you can always get it the second day.
MARK WILLIAMS: Tiger, we appreciate you coming in. Thanks for your time. Good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts

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