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April 8, 2011

Tiger Woods


ROB JOHNSTON: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, we are very thrilled to have Tiger Woods with us today at 7-under par with a 71 yesterday and a sensational 66 today, Tiger, congratulations on a great round.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you.
ROB JOHNSTON: If you would, please, sir, would you go over your nine birdies today, please.
TIGER WOODS: Okay. I birdied 2. I drove in the right bunker and laid up and hit a sand wedge just over the back and made that.
I birdied 6. I hit a 7-iron to oh, about five feet behind the hole and made that.
8, I hit a driver and a 3-wood, middle of the green just left off the collar, and 2-putted from about 50 feet.
9, I hit a driver and sand wedge to about 15 feet and made that.
10, I hit a 3-wood and an 8-iron to oh, about three feet and made that.
13, I hit a 3-wood and a 3-iron into the left swale and lagged it up there to about ten feet and made that.
14, I hit a 3-wood and a full wedge to about a foot and a half.
15, I hit a driver and a 5-iron just off the back, lagged it up there from about 35 feet.
And 18, I hit a 3-wood and an 8-iron to 12 feet right of the hole and made that.

Q. When you finish a round like that, how do you feel right now about your chances of winning?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm three back. So I played myself back in the championship. We have still got 36 more holes. We have a long way to go.

Q. How is it to feel that things have gone your way again? You have had a lot of tournaments where they have gone and they haven't. How did it feel, that 11-hole stretch?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just how patient I was today. I think that was the key. We are in a major championship. You have to stay patient.
I made a couple mistakes early, I 3-putted 7 and made a bogey at 3 from just short of green and just stayed patient, just turned at even par for the day; I would be 1-under par, then shoot 2-under par on the back nine, and I would be right there in the championship still; but I shot a little better than that.

Q. Is there one shot that kick started things, the approach at 9?

Q. The par on 11?
TIGER WOODS: 11 was a nice putt to make, no doubt, because I just birdied 8,9, 10 and it was nice to make that putt. It was a hard putt, too, God. I had to throw it out there quite a bit, probably maybe about a foot. But the problem is, I had to allow for another ball and a half for wind, which I didn't want to have to do but the wind was blowing, coming off my left and I had to throw it out there. Because it takes so long to get down there, the wind was going to affect the putt. So I flew it out there, the wind affected it and the wind blew it right back in the hole.

Q. Can you compare this back nine to Pebble Beach last year and how you performed?
TIGER WOODS: It was nice to get it done a little bit earlier than that. That was on Saturday. It was nice to get it going today and it was nice to put myself only three back.

Q. With all things considered, would you consider this one of your best round of the year? I know you had one lower, but just the venue and what you've been dealing with the last few weeks and trying to sort things out?
TIGER WOODS: Well any time you shoot 66 in a major, it's always going to be good. I'm very pleased about that, very pleased.

Q. Do you feel that there's enough left in the tank for you to do it again over the next 36 holes?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we've got a long way to go. The forecast is supposed to get a little bit warmer. The ball is going to start flying probably a little bit. I saw the dots for tomorrow. There are some good pins out there tomorrow. You know, we'll see what they do on the greens; see if they firm them up or not.
I mean, Jesus, I think, this is, what, the lowest cut in Masters history, isn't it? I mean, there's so many guys with a chance to play themselves into the Tournament tomorrow.

Q. Today's round, your putting, how much is it the next step in getting your game in gear and how much is it here and your familiarity and comfort on these greens?
TIGER WOODS: I would like to say all of that, but I made a mistake on 11 today because I putted that from memory, and they flattened that green out from last year. So it's one of the reasons why I left it so far short. That putt used to be steeper than that. It used to run a lot more to the right.
So I should have putted what I saw, but I putted more from memory on that putt and made a mistake. Overall I felt like I really putted well today except for that 3-putt there at 7.

Q. How confident are you that you'll be able to duplicate today's success on Saturday and also on Sunday?
TIGER WOODS: I'm looking forward to it. I'm definitely looking forward to it. As I say I played myself back in the tournament, I'm three back, and we have got a long way to go. We have got a long way to go. It's going to be fun.

Q. You answered every bogey with a birdie following up on the front nine; how important is that in setting the tone with the putter through the rest of the round?
TIGER WOODS: Did I? I did. I did. (Laughter) hmmm. Let's not have any bogeys.
It's a nice thing to do, but also I wish I didn't drop those shots either, especially on and 3 and 7. Those are a couple little careless mistakes.

Q. After that final round at Doral, the two rounds here, how much confidence do you have compared to earlier in the year in your game right now?
TIGER WOODS: The whole idea was to peak for this, this event. We try to peak four times a year, and it was nice to go through the learning curve and some of the changes that Sean and I had to make in the game. It was good and positive and here we are.

Q. Do you bother looking at a scoreboard on a Friday, and if so, does it influence anything as far as your play?
TIGER WOODS: No, I look. There's no doubt, I look.
I was surprised that so many guys were posting good rounds. I thought there would probably be only a handful of guys who could shoot probably 67 today, but a lot of guys went low.
The greens are firm, soft, they are quick, but they are soft and the ball is holding. So if you get the right gust and the right wind at the right time, you can be pretty aggressive.

Q. There's a lot of young guys who if they have been in this position before, they have never been in it with you on the leaderboard with them. Are you interested and excited to show them something this weekend?
TIGER WOODS: I'm just trying to put myself in the mix come Sunday. It's irrelevant who is there. My whole job is to get myself there with a chance with nine holes to go. That's what we have always done. I've been successful at it in the past by doing it that way.

Q. You're playing with K.J. again tomorrow; is that a good pairing for you?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we had a lot of fun last year. We played all four rounds last year together. Never, ever seen a putting display like we saw last year. Best putting display for a 72-hole event I've ever seen in my life.

Q. This course, being turned into a plodder's course, and now it's turned back into what it's used to be; is this the type of Masters you like?
TIGER WOODS: I think what they did, Art, is they gave us another step, step and a half on some of these pins. That's a lot here with these slopes. You give us a step, step and a half, that's quite a bit.
They are just that much more forgiving; even though they are fast, there's no doubt they are fast, but that little bit of a c U.S. h helps and on top of that they are still soft. They are not springing like they can. The shot I hit on 14 today, when it spins back downwind that, doesn't happen. I was trying to play long, past hole and just trying to have a 15-footer coming back but the ball spun back. I was as surprised as anybody.

Q. You've been leading majors at the age of Rory McIlroy this weekend; can you remember what it was like to be that young? What's the other side of the coin in the sense that you and Lee Westwood have experience?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I enjoyed it. (Laughter) Yeah, I definitely enjoyed it.
It's fun being a part of the mix, and especially at an early age. I was fortunate in my first professional major to be a part of the mix. So it was good, and I mean, as we all know, he's got an inordinate amount of talent. It was just a matter of time before he started to play like this in major championships.

Q. Did you sense the crowd's energy build behind you as it did in past years? Did that energize you?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. Absolutely. We definitely could feel that. It was fun.

Q. Obviously you were dialed in; did your swing feel as good as it has all year and as second nature as it has since you started working with Sean?
TIGER WOODS: Mm-hmm. (Nodding).
Want me to elaborate? (Laughter).
Yeah, it felt good. (Laughter).

Q. Day, McIlroy and Fowler, they all use the '97 Masters as inspiration, they were nine, eight and seven at the time --
TIGER WOODS: (Chuckling , shaking head).

Q. What perspective does that give you?
TIGER WOODS: A little older now I guess. It's the next generation. It's good to see these guys out here playing and that much enthusiasm and that much zest for the game. And that good.
It's not just these guys. Don't forget Ryo, as well. It's a whole crop of guys that are that age. That generation is going to be a fun one to watch and how it matures over the next ten 15 years.

Q. Rory McIlroy has looked particularly comfortable over the first two days, wondering if you see anything of yourself in McIlroy? And secondly, over the next 36 holes, what do you think he has himself in for? Do you think he has any idea what he has set himself in for?
TIGER WOODS: Did you ask him that?

Q. No.
TIGER WOODS: Oh, okay.

Q. How hard were the second shots on 13 and 18?
TIGER WOODS: 13 was 217 hole. I was trying to hit a nice, soft 3-iron in there and fly about 220. Just hit it past the hole. Hit it to the left which is fine, no big deal, easy putt.
And 15 was --

Q. 18.
TIGER WOODS: 18 was a buck-fifty on top, a buck-sixty to the hole. Just started the ball on the left edge of the left edge bunker and cut it in there. That felt good, especially off that lie, because actually coming out of that second cut, it was tough to maneuver the ball.
ROB JOHNSTON: Thank you so much for being with us and we wish you the very, very best of luck this weekend.

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