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March 9, 2011

Tiger Woods


Q. A couple general comments on the state of your game as you're heading into the week?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I've had a week off to get ready and practice and it was good. Worked a little bit with Sean, again, working on the same things. Haven't changed anything so just keep going down the path.

Q. Not the results, obviously, but how much do you enjoy the process of working on the game?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it is fun, especially when you're seeing signs of it. I'm seeing some really good signs. Unfortunately just haven't been able to carry it to the golf course yet at a consistent level. I hit spurts of it where it's really good and then I lose it for a while. And unfortunately when I lose it for a while, also don't get up-and-down at times for easy shots so just kind of adds to it.
I just have to keep working on it, and as you said, the process is at times tough, but a lot of times, it's pretty fun.

Q. You've always been a guy that you said you like to go to the range and work on the range and you enjoy that part of it; do you still enjoy it?
TIGER WOODS: I do. That's how you get better and you have to put in the hours and we are doing that.

Q. Is there more pressure to win now that you have not won in a while than, say, when you were winning?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's still the same. I still get asked a bunch of questions about winning, whether I was winning or not winning. Still got to do press conferences and everything is still the same. The only difference is I just haven't won tournaments.

Q. When you say you lose it, temporarily, is it in a particular part of your game -- some fans would point to off the tee.
TIGER WOODS: No, it could be pitch shots, as well, because I have to change everything. It's the whole release pattern. That's one of the things I've described to you guys before is I've seen changed my putting stroke. It's a release, how I release the putter, how I release the short game, how I release irons, drivers, they are all related. You just can't have one swing and not have another; they are all interrelated. It's just something I've had to change, and you know, it takes time.

Q. How much do you enjoy returning to a course where you've had success before when you're going through this?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's part of the deal. I've been through it before. I've been through periods in my career where I have not won and I've struggled before. When you're making change with the game and change instructors, it takes a little time.
Trust me, we have been working on it. As I said, I've shown signs it; unfortunately it's in spurts and is not consistent. It has not been for 72 holes yet, so, we need to get to that point.

Q. How did you feel being compared to Mike Tyson? Pretty unfair, wasn't it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't think I'm as big as he is. (Laughter).
No, but that's Johnny being Johnny, and making statements like that, I think he's done that before in the past, hasn't he.

Q. Isn't that crossing the line? There's criticism and there's criticism.
TIGER WOODS: Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and he has his, which is a lot.

Q. What do you like about working with Sean, what does he bring?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's knowledge of ball flight, knowledge of numbers. Also, he's a very well-read person. He's very philosophical, and you know, he's very well rounded. I think that's something that we pick each other's brains on, not just golf but just life, and it's been good.

Q. The times you've reconfigured your swing, has this been the most challenging of the changes, or previously, were they more challenging?
TIGER WOODS: No, all of them have been challenging. I was questioned after the '97 Masters, why would you change your swing, and that was for a couple of years there. And why would you leave Butch; and why would you leave Hank.
I've been through these periods, and they all have been challenging because they have all been hard because I've had to learn different philosophies and different motions. Changing a motor pattern just takes time. It just takes a lot of reps.

Q. When you were changing your swing, and fair enough, you were not hitting it very good last year, but your short game throughout your career has been very top-notch. Why would you essentially start from scratch and learn to chip again at the age of 35, basically?
TIGER WOODS: Well, as I said, it's the release. I changed my entire release and how I did it with Hank, because it fit into that mold and how I putted; how I putted earlier on in my career and how I was moving the blade and swinging the arc and all of these different things were different than what I used to.
But you want to have the same type of swing with the putter all the way up to the driver. It's the same motion just smaller, and the pitch shot is the same. If I use one swing; if I hit thousands of chip shots and only hit a few hundred balls, well if I'm doing the same release than I used to, that's totally contrary to what I'm doing with the swing; so hence it feeds into it.
So the best way to change it is actually to work on the short game.

Q. That would take not only discipline but a lot of patience because there was nothing wrong with it?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. I've been through it before. It takes time.

Q. What tests your patience the most in this process?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think I know what I can do, because I've proven it to myself on the range and I just haven't done it on the golf course consistently enough, because I can do it on the range and I can do it at home in Isleworth but it's in spurts. It's not just an entire pure ball-striking day, days on end; play 36 holes at home four straight days and never miss a shot and play good rounds of golf. I'm not to that point yet. Well, I'll get there, but I'm just not to that point yet.

Q. Do you think it's more mental and about your confidence?
TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously it is about confidence, yes, but also it's motor patterns, because I revert back to similar motor patterns; unless you've done it enough times.
When I was working with Hank, I still would occasionally put in the motor pattern that I used with Butch. Just it took time to get that out of there.
And the same thing with this process. And even when I was working with Butch and we changed our swing, from what I was when I was an amateur to what I was in '99, 2000, I still would revert back and it just takes a lot of reps.

Q. What is it about golf that makes you guys change so much, as opposed to just maybe tweaking what you already have?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it depends on the person. You know, if you are going to say somebody does make a lot of tweaks, and they are awe making tweaks out here, some guys are making complete overhauls.
If you look at baseball players, look at -- I'm drawing a blank here, short stop, Cal Ripken, all the different stances that he used. They were completely different stances and completely different swings. But it all worked and some of the guys are like that.

Q. The rankings, is that a motivating factor?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's a process, and it's about winning golf tournaments, and I haven't done that. There's no reason for me to be up there at the top. You have to win golf tournaments and you have to do it consistently. Lee did it, Martin's done it, and that's what it takes. If I have not gone -- however many months it is since I last won a golf tournament, shouldn't be up there.

Q. You're going to play with Graeme and Phil Thursday and Friday, only the fifth time in your career you've played with Phil on a Thursday and Friday at a PGA TOUR event. What do you think it will be like?
TIGER WOODS: It will be fun. It just doesn't happen. We don't get paired together very often. I'm trying to remember, Bones and I were on the golf course today and trying to remember the last time it happened in a non-major and he thought it was in '98. So for the first two rounds in a non-major at Valencia. So it's been -- obviously we don't get to do it very often and major championships it does happen occasionally but certainly not in non-majors.

Q. You talk about the process and I know you're an NBA fan, and the Miami Heat are talking about almost the same thing, the process. What do you think about their struggles and what advice would you give them with what they are going through?
TIGER WOODS: They are trying to gel and obviously they are adding pieces. I mean, as soon as they become more cohesive, they add Bibby, so it's going to take a little time. They have 18, 19 games left in the season, somewhere around there. They have plenty of time to turn it around and get rolling for the Playoffs.

Q. When you are having as much trouble getting your game from the driving range to the golf course how does it affect your confidence on a day-to-day basis?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I know what I can do, so just a matter of doing it. That's where I drive a lot of my confidence from practice, always have. And when my practice sessions are good, there's no reason to replicate it out on the golf course.

Q. I would like to have your opinion on the performance of Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I got a chance to play with him in San Diego this year in the final round and he had just been the week before at the Bob Hope. Very long. Nice kid. I got a chance to meet him for the first time actually when his brother was playing at Isleworth at a college event and said hi real quick to him and his mother. He's an amazing talent, hits it a long way, got a lot of touch and it's just a matter of getting more experience.

Q. You're excited about moving into your new home in Martin County, can you talk about that and any plans to bring your charitable or design businesses to the Martin County area?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely charitable, there's no doubt. We are certainly expanding and that's certainly one of the sites we are looking at. We are doing some pretty neat things coming up in the future, so that's certainly going to be a topic of discussion and already has been.

Q. You talked a lot about needing more reps, and the natural question is, why don't you play more tournaments?
TIGER WOODS: Well, because I have a family. I'm divorced. If you've been divorced with kids, then you would understand.

Q. Have you heard from the neighbors about the practice facility --
TIGER WOODS: I haven't heard from the neighbors but my staff is there every day tearing up the place. It will be good. Going to have four greens out there and going to have a lot of if un.

Q. Time line on moving in?
TIGER WOODS: No time line, not yet.

Q. Last week Jack Nicklaus expressed confidence in you making it all the way back; what does that mean and do you take any solace from the 1979 drought and the way he turned it around?
TIGER WOODS: It's nice to have Jack say that. That's something that is very humbling. I respect the heck out of Jack, and what he's done and the person he is. And for him to still believe that I can still play top-notch golf it certainly is a confidence-booster, there's no doubt.

Q. '79, the fact that he turned it around after a winless year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he turned it around, and in 1980 he did pretty good, a couple majors.

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