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April 8, 2010

Tiger Woods


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, we are delighted to have Tiger Woods with us after shooting a terrific 68, lowest opening round ever for Tiger Woods. We'll open it now for questions, please.

Q. What did you expect today?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, I expected to go out there and shoot something under par today. And after looking at all the scores, guys were just tearing this place apart, and looking at the tee setups, the pins were friendly, especially on the par 5s.
And most of the tees were up, except for 4. 4 is the only tee that was back, basically. Most of the tees were up. So you could see if you drove the ball well, you could get it down there where you could be pretty aggressive.

Q. Were there any more or less nerves than normal given the layoff and uncertainty about how you would be received? What did you think about the reception, did you see the airplanes, the whole circus atmosphere?
TIGER WOODS: No, it felt normal, I'm going to go out there try to hit a little fade off the first tee, try to take something off of it and make sure I got it in play. That was about it. From there, I just went about my business.

Q. Reception?
TIGER WOODS: Reception was incredible, from the time I went to the putting green to putt, the range and back to the putting green, off to the first tee, and pretty much all day; it was just incredible.

Q. Were you consciously changing your exuberant or toned-down reactions to shots with some of your fist-pumps, or in relation to being on Thursday?
TIGER WOODS: I was just pretty calm all day. I felt that I was just trying to plod my way along and not throw away shots. I felt like today, most of the guys were going to shoot some good numbers and they did. 30-plus guys are under par. It wasn't a day I could, you know, splash it all over the place.
I had to hit the ball well and I had to make some putts. Unfortunately I didn't putt very good today, otherwise it could have been a very special round.

Q. At No. 9, the birdie at No. 9, can you talk me through the drive and the second shot, specifically, the way that the wind gusted up before you went to hit it?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the drive, I actually hit a good drive. The wind just snagged it a bit and it caught the last tree limb in there and it dropped straight down. I had 85 carry on the flat, and 207 hole. Depends on which way the wind was going to blow, it was going to be either a 6-iron or a 5-iron and for some reason it just wouldn't lay down.
So I went with 5 and hit a nice little sweeping 5 in there. I'm surprised it held because it did come out pretty low.

Q. When you made the eagle at 15, were you consciously trying to hold back your exuberance?
TIGER WOODS: No, I was just trying to make the putt. First putt I made all day.

Q. Subdued reaction?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, was it?

Q. Seemed like it?
TIGER WOODS: Then it was. (Laughter).

Q. What did today mean? What did it mean to you?
TIGER WOODS: It meant that I'm two shots off the lead. That's what it means.

Q. Nothing beyond that?
TIGER WOODS: I'm here to play a golf tournament.

Q. Were you aware of the airplane that was flying overhead on a couple of occasions and how do you feel about someone who would go to such extreme lengths to poke fun?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't see it.

Q. Wasn't the most complimentary of messages, it was intended to be flippant but for someone to hire an airplane to do that, how do you feel about that?
TIGER WOODS: It wouldn't be the first time.

Q. How would you assess your game just from a golf standpoint in terms of what you expected today?
TIGER WOODS: Very pleased. I hit the ball well all day. I hit one loose shot there on 14 and hit a sweet pitch and just, ah, I should have made that putt. I knew that putt doesn't break, but I talked myself into playing too much break.
But anyways, for the most part, I think I hit the ball well all day. And I just didn't make a lot of putts. As I said, if I putted well today; it could have been a really special round.

Q. The shot on 14, how would you have reacted in the past compared to today?
TIGER WOODS: Just a bad shot. I just tugged it.

Q. Going back to the beginning before your round started, you were noticing -- the pathway cleared for you and you seemed to hold everything in and a smile came over your face and you seemed to say thanks; can you go through that moment for us?
TIGER WOODS: Which one?

Q. Just walking out when you got to the ropes, coming from the clubhouse?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, I said thank you all the way. I was -- I was saying thank you all day. The people were just incredible, incredible all day.

Q. How do you simulate competition in practice?
TIGER WOODS: Mentally getting the right spot. You've got to get in the right place and you've got to really take it seriously. I didn't have the luxury of playing events coming into this tournament. Other players did. Even if I did play, I wouldn't have been ready, anyways, so my practice sessions had to be more intense than usual. And, well, it's been done before. Hogan did it after the accident. You have take your practice seriously and go out there and play like you practiced, then everything will be all right.

Q. What do you make of breaking 70 in the first round; first time you've ever had two eagles in the first round.
TIGER WOODS: Guess I need a longer layoff then. (Laughter) We'll see what happens. I feel like I'm in the right spot, and there's so many guys up there. This is a bunched leaderboard. As I said, 30-plus guys under par, I mean, anybody can win this event. So we've got some work to do.

Q. There's a sense, I was walking the front nine, that it was just golf as normal, nothing had changed. It was just like last year. Did you sort of sense that?
TIGER WOODS: It felt like that, Art, it really did. I got into the flow of the round early. I get into the rhythm of just playing and hitting shots and thinking my way around the golf course and ball placement. I got into that very early, which was nice.
And at the U.S. Open, after my dad died, at Winged Foot, I didn't get into the rhythm of the round. It took probably three four holes; by then I was probably 2- or 3-over par, and you can't do that at the U.S. Open. Today I was 1-under through three, and that's a positive start.

Q. As you know in addition to this being a big day in golf for you, your Nike ad did start airing and there's been a lot of conversation on it; on such a private matter you don't want to speak about, why then would you have an ad come out?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's very apropos. I think that's what my dad would say. It's amazing how it -- how my dad can speak to me from different ways, even when he's long gone. He's still helping me.
I think any son who has lost a father and who meant so much in their life, I think they would understand the spot.

Q. Billy Payne said some pretty tough things about you yesterday; did he say those to you personally before he said them to all of us? Did you discuss that with him?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we did have a conversation. Yes, we did.

Q. What was your opinion of what he said?
TIGER WOODS: I was disappointed in myself, too.

Q. What was up with the putter today, because it could have been a low round, had you --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I just -- my speed was good. But I just kept tugging the putts. And either it would be a pull or a cut, one of the two. Putter had one swing and one release. The toe wasn't releasing like it normally does, and I have to get that thing moving.

Q. It's never an easy assignment to be paired with you; can you take a little bit about K.J.'s round?
TIGER WOODS: K.J. played great. He made a lot of putts today. He drove the ball on a string all day. When he did put himself in a spot, he just knocked it up there and made a putt.
So K.J., as we all know, can play. He gets into his own little world and he focuses and he gets the job done, and he did today.

Q. After all of the destabilizing stuff you've been through, did you feel a certain extra security being out on the golf course again?
TIGER WOODS: I normally do feel pretty good on the golf course. You know, sometimes maybe a little bit difficult at home when helicopters are flying over taking pictures, but normally I do feel pretty good.

Q. What's your take on the two old guys being at the top of the leaderboard?
TIGER WOODS: How about that. I mean, Tom played great early. He had some tough conditions most of the day. We later in the day, we had a lull there the back nine, which was kind of nice, and you could see most of the guys take advantage of it.
But Freddie, I played with Freddie on Monday. He played just like that. I said if it was a tournament round, he would be in the top five. That was just on a Monday.
Winning breeds winning. Winning breeds a lot of confidence, and whether you win on a mini-tour, regular tour, Senior Tour, it doesn't matter. Wins just give you a lot of confidence if you can get it done. And you can see Freddie is just exuding that.

Q. Last year at majors, sometimes you were more conservative, on the conservative side; today it seemed like you were very aggressive. Is that just a by-product of easier pins and conditions, or do you feel in any way different?
TIGER WOODS: No, the pins were easier. They are probably one step easier than they normally are. Look at the first hole, it's right in the center of the green. You don't see that ever.
I was surprised at how many -- I was surprised at how many birdies were made until I saw the pin sheet. You see a lot of guys 1-under through one; I was kind of curious about that. You see the pin sheet, and it's, okay, now, you understand. But that's kind of how it was most of the day. They were either one or two steps easier than they normally are. I don't know if they did that intentionally to lower scores or they may move them back afterwards, I don't know, but we'll see the next three days.

Q. You said the other day you hope to go back to being more at peace as you were younger, as a younger golfer; did you feel any of that today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I did. I felt very much so. That's just through a lot of the works, a lot of my meditation, and that is where it all stemmed from before. I have to go back to my roots.
THE MODERATOR: Well, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much and Tiger, we wish you the very best of luck the rest of the week, sir. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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