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May 10, 2011

Tiger Woods


Q. Is there one dominant player or is there some interchange happening this year to the average fan?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, I'm not the average fan. I'm out here playing and competing, so that's hard for me to answer that one.

Q. Do you miss being No. 1?
TIGER WOODS: I miss winning. That's the most important thing. That's how you maintain it is you've got to win golf tournaments.

Q. The long run that you went winning so often and now that it's been a year and a half, could you have ever fathomed a period like that when you were in the midst of your winning?
TIGER WOODS: I've gone through periods like this in my entire career, yes. There were some down times, but this one has lasted longer than I would like to expect. But it is what it is. You keep progressing, keep playing through it, and I'm going to let it happen.

Q. Is the knee back to 100 percent and any other aches and pains that you had?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, the knee is better, no doubt. The Achilles is better, as well. So I'm here playing.

Q. Did you rest after Augusta in the days after, and did it surprise you that maybe it started to feel worse after you got away from the tournament?
TIGER WOODS: It didn't feel good on Sunday. That was tough. I played through it, but yeah, it was one of those things, I just had to -- I was in the midst of playing and competing and had to power through it, so I did it. I was able to shut it down for a little bit and was able to take care of it.

Q. Are you taking anything?
TIGER WOODS: Anti-inflammatories, ice, basic stuff, elevation, nothing major, soft tissue work.

Q. Have you played since then?

Q. Nine holes?
TIGER WOODS: Nine holes today, yeah.

Q. When did you start hitting balls?
TIGER WOODS: Yesterday.

Q. Do you expect it to swell up?
TIGER WOODS: Hopefully it won't, but if it does, I'll get some soft tissue work and ice and anti-inflammatories.

Q. That's not your normal preparation. How is your game coming?
TIGER WOODS: It is what it is. The whole idea is that I peak four times a year and I'm trying to get ready for Congressional and I need some playing time. I missed playing last week at a golf course I truly love playing, but I really want to get out there and play and compete. This is a big event, and I want to be here and play.

Q. What's it do for your continuity? You look like you're playing more effortlessly, less robotically and then basically a month on the bench with forced hiatus. It can't do much for continuity.
TIGER WOODS: No, but that's the way it goes. I have a slight injury, and you've just got to take some time off, listen to the docs and do the proper rehab.

Q. What are your expectations for this week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, same as always, try and win the event. Nothing has changed.

Q. I know you and Bubba are friends. I was curious about your reaction to what he said last week about you going in the wrong direction.
TIGER WOODS: That was interesting.

Q. He said this morning that you guys haven't had a chance to talk.

Q. Do you have an issue with it?
TIGER WOODS: We'll talk.

Q. Have you ever told him he needed a teacher?
TIGER WOODS: To each his own. Lee Trevino didn't have a teacher ever. One of the best ball strikers that ever lived, he was in the top two or three of all time, and he never once had a teacher. So it can be done.

Q. What was the factor in deciding you were going to play this week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously the strength of it, the swelling and the pain, make sure that was all minimal, and I felt good.

Q. Have you had any at-bats between now and Congressional, since the Match Play is basically a one-off and you've had less spring training reps?
TIGER WOODS: We'll see how this week progresses. If it flares up like it did at Augusta, then it flares up, but hopefully it doesn't.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: I think they're hand in hand. One acts up and the other acts up.

Q. Are the Achilles from running?
TIGER WOODS: No, that's just from old age.

Q. Can you talk about what you most admired about Seve?
TIGER WOODS: Just the way he played. It was fun to watch. Granted, he didn't drive it all that straight, but when he did, he was virtually unbeatable. You've never seen a person compete from the places he played from, and I think there's no greater example of that than when he played Lehman at Oak Hill. I think he lost 3 & 2 or 4 & 2 or something like that.
But still, the way he played, and chipping in, holing out, up-and-down from everywhere, Lehman is hitting fairway after green, fairway after green, and it was just perfect Seve. I would loved to have played with him in his prime. He would have been so much fun to watch and compete against that.
I got a chance to play with him in several practice rounds. One of my favorites was at Augusta, him and Ollie, just the two of them, and just to hear him explain how to hit shots around Augusta the way Augusta used to play, it was just artful. Just the spin and how much spin you need to put here and where you need to land it, where it needs to kick and the feel, and the way he explained it, and what he needs to do with the body to do that, to do that with the hands.
I'd just hit a ball and try to hole it. He looked like he didn't try and do anything mechanical. But he had a few thoughts, thoughts about what he needed to do, and he just understood it.

Q. Several players have said because of the way he did it that maybe they could do it. Have you ever thought of doing it the way Seve did it?
TIGER WOODS: No (indiscernible).

Q. Course in good condition?
TIGER WOODS: Course is in great condition. Fairways are starting to pick up a little speed. The greens are, I would have to say, just a touch on the -- they could dry out a little bit more. We'll see what happens over the next few days.
Speed is still on the slow side, I think, for now, but it's only Tuesday, and with the heat they obviously had to protect them until tournament time. So we'll see come Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. I obviously expect them to get really crusty and fast.

Q. There's going to be a half inch more rough. Do you think that's going to matter?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Coming into -- when these greens harden out and they start getting a little bit springy you have to drive the ball in the fairway because you can't spin it. If you land the ball short -- you just can't judge the ball out of Bermudagrass. Out of rye, it's not so bad, three, four inches and you can actually get the ball and kind of control it.

Q. Graeme McDowell was talking about he's played with you a few times this year, he's seen a lot of patience in you as you've been trying to get things back going again. How much has this stretch of winless tested your patience?
TIGER WOODS: Well, if I hadn't gone through it before, I probably wouldn't have handled it like this. The period I went through in '97 through '99 was brutal because I had never gone through a stretch like that ever.
You know, I made changes with Butch for the very first time back in '95, but I still won junior events, amateur events. I was still able to win. But I went through a period there where I won one tournament in two years.

Q. What's been more difficult, that period or this period?
TIGER WOODS: That period, by far. As I said, if I had never gone through '97 through '99 then this period would have been just brutal.

Q. What did you take from the final round of the Masters?
TIGER WOODS: That was fun. I had it going there for a little bit and got myself right back in the event. Missed a few short ones. 13, the 7-iron I had in there, was just a terrible golf shot after I just three-putted there, and I missed a short one at 15.
You take those three shots it would have been a very special round. Had I posted a number, I might have been up there.
But, hey, I gave it a run. It was fun because I hit the ball the way I know I could on the weekend and just made a few more putts and less three-putts would have been good.

Q. Where are you with putting right now?
TIGER WOODS: Not very good quite frankly. I haven't chipped it as much, I haven't putted as much because I've been working on my full swing. That's part of the trade off. You can't do all of the above. Things are starting to piece together, and it takes time. I've gone through this stretch before where I've had to change my release and my swing and everything and it starts getting dialed in. Augusta was the way that I know I can play golf.

Q. Talk about the 15th hole at Augusta.
TIGER WOODS: It was 12 and 13, those two. When I had all the momentum after the front nine, 15 would have been nice, but I had already done the damage. Even if I made that putt at 15, I still had to make one or two more coming in. But obviously 12 and 13 were huge because I had all the momentum and everything was going my way at the time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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