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December 4, 2010

Tiger Woods


MARK STEVENS: A little great round today. Maybe talk about going into the final round with the lead tomorrow, and then we'll take some questions.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, today's back nine was certainly interesting. Couple possible two-shot swings that didn't materialize. Three of them, actually.
But it was a pretty good day overall. I thought I hit the ball a little bit better than I did yesterday. Greens were tough. A few more difficult pins today so they were tough to get at.
But just felt if I could take care of the par-5s - which I didn't really do; only played them 2-under - I could shoot a pretty good number. But 4-under is good score. Tied Graeme today, and no loss between my lead.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Questions.

Q. Do you feel something like from in the past where that wire-to-wire potential win here, does it come back, or is it sort of a renewed feeling because of pride or what?
TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, I don't look at it that way when I'm out there playing. It's just that I'm just in the moment trying to put the golf ball on the different sides of the fairway, where I need to put it on the green. I just play.
You know, it's interesting. You would think that my mind might go there, but it's good discipline. Feels good.

Q. What about post-run?
TIGER WOODS: Post-run, yeah. I got to answer the questions in here.

Q. Tiger, there's been so much focus and talk, questions to you about your golf swing the last couple of months and what you've been working on. Regardless of where you are with that, just how important was it this week just to contend, just to have that feeling again of being in the hunt?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it does feel good, there's no doubt. I felt it was more important to make progress on what I was doing with Sean. Since the PGA, I've had incremental progresses, little steppingstones along the way.
The way I hit the ball the first day was the way I know I can hit the golf ball. I never launched a drive -- I mean, I was booming it out there pretty good. I just kept control of all my shots. It was good to have something in the tank to hit something more if I needed it.

Q. You talked about the potential swing holes that kind of didn't happen today. 14 you had mud on the ball in the fairway, but up in the green you were giving it a long look. What was going on there?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the long look was I was trying to figure out which way it was going to break.

Q. How about the bunker shot?
TIGER WOODS: Ah, the bunker shot. You know, I've had it twice now. I dug in on 11 the other day, and it's like cement. It's weird, almost like it's granite underneath. I know that there's enough sand between that and my golf ball, so...
But still, in the back of your mind you're thinking, Well, maybe it if it isn't. So I forced myself to hit the ball a little bit -- make contact a little bit closer to the golf ball to ensure that I didn't get it, and it came out fine. Worked out okay.

Q. At 18, your second shot, distance and club and how good did it feel?
TIGER WOODS: What did I have in there? 168, and -- sorry, 170. Had 170, and it was an 8-iron. Steve and I were debating between 8 and 9, and we knew that by flushing 9 I could carry it on top no problem.
I just wasn't comfortable drawing a 9 off that lie, so my game plan was aim the 8 right at the flag and have an option to cut and move it away from the flag. I just hit it dead straight.

Q. How about the result?
TIGER WOODS: The result was nice, because I was making sure that I could either hit a straight ball or I would cut it. My start line was at the flag, so it's nice when the ball starts off right where you're aiming. I hit it dead straight.

Q. Two questions on the front nine. The 20-foot putt you made on 6, how big of a deal that was to you? Because it seemed like the first long one you drained. And on 2 on your approach, were you aiming for the pin or did you hook it?
TIGER WOODS: Start off with No. 2. No. 2 I was debating between 6 and 7 on that shot, and went with 7. The wind was starting to pick up off the right. In the back of my mind, I just felt it was just a smooth 6, and off that lie, just slam it up against the wind.
But I went with 7 anyway, and got it riding with the wind and it was done. It flew pin high, but it wasn't the shot to play because the bail-out has to be right in the right bunker, and it's an easy pitch down the hill.
When I hit 7 I had to sweep it, and now I bring the water into play instead of firing away from the water. So that was a mental mistake on my part right there.
And the putt on 6, 6 was a tricky putt. I was lining up, and as I was reading it, it was a double-breaking putt, right to left and left right at the end. It didn't really go left in the beginning. It hung straight, and then at the end it was starting to drift off to the right.
Then to be honest with you, I thought I missed it because it was losing too much pace. It still hung in there somehow.

Q. The long putt on 14, how far do you think that was?
TIGER WOODS: That was about a good 18 feet.

Q. When was the last time you remember feeling this good about your game?
TIGER WOODS: Like this? Probably Monday of the Ryder Cup.

Q. You talked about incremental progress and steppingstones, but we spoke to Graeme who played with you in Shanghai, and he noticed a pretty severe difference, especially with control of the longer clubs. Are you getting or making more leaps and bounds result-wise now, or do you still see this as little baby steps?
TIGER WOODS: I would have to say I understand all the principles that Sean is trying to get me to do. I still view it as incremental. I don't see any big leaps and bounds, because it's been an understanding of the swing, the technique, and becoming more efficient.
I think that's what you're seeing: I'm just more efficient at it. It feels good because I'm able to hit the ball on my numbers and hit my shapes, and they're a little bit tighter than they used to be.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I certainly have made some progress since Shanghai, which is good. That's what's supposed to happen.

Q. You talked all week about how you've been able to make shots when you needed to to keep momentum going. So that said, how big was the putt on 14 and the third shot on 15, 16, I guess, in terms of keeping that momentum going?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, I got a funky break there at 14 picking up mud, and then made a sweet putt there and get it right back on the next hole, a nice little 3-wiggle.
But the wedge shot I hit there at 16 was nice. That was potentially looking like a -- where Graham was, an easy eagle chip. At the worst, he's going to make his birdie. You know, if I make par, he makes he eagle, I miss a huge swing after I just three-putt. So I just picked up three shots in two holes.
I stuff it in there, he misses, I make, big swing. So that was a big turnaround right there.

Q. (No microphone.)
TIGER WOODS: 13. If he hits it out of bounds and 3 for 5, I'm right there on the side of the green and make 5.

Q. If you could take care of biz tomorrow and win this thing, what will it mean? You always talk about how special this tournament is to you, and to do it in your backyard.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it would be nice. As I said, I got 18 more holes and it's a process. I know that we potentially could have some weather coming in here tomorrow, so got to be ready for that.
You know, I'm excited. I'm excited to go out there and go head-to-head against Graeme.

Q. What are your thoughts of Jim getting player of the year?
TIGER WOODS: Just out of curiosity, I'm going to throw that back at you guys. When was the last time that a person who didn't win a major got player of the year?

Q. You last year.
TIGER WOODS: 2003, me?

Q. Last year.
TIGER WOODS: I did? (Laughter.) There you go. See, you guys even know.
MARK STEVENS: Before that it was Greg Norman in '95 and then you last year.
TIGER WOODS: Wow. Doesn't happen very often. He's won, what, three times this year, I believe. He won two big events, and he deserves it. You know, he went through a dry spell for a couple years, didn't really win, and then got it going this year.
So he certainly deserves it. He played extremely consistent all year, especially during summer.

Q. You've been one of the game's best closers. I think they said on TV, three-shot lead or more going into the last round you've never lost it. You obviously have four shots tomorrow, yet obviously you've been going through a lot. Do you still carry the same amount of confidence that you'll be bale to close the thing out?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm excited about tomorrow because of the way I've been playing. I'm excited how I've been hitting the golf ball and how I've been managing my game around this golf course.
This is an interesting course. You can have some big swings. Like today, potentially had some big swings that could have happened that didn't. This is going to be a fun test tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Where do you think Stanford will play its bowl game and where do you think it should play?
TIGER WOODS: Probably I'm guessing probably Orange Bowl would be nice, because then it's right down the -- convenient, so it would be nice.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks a lot, guys.

End of FastScripts

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