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October 5, 2011

Tiger Woods


THE MODERATOR: Like to welcome Tiger Woods. Tiger, you just got done playing the course. If you want to kind of talk about your thoughts and what you expect this week and then we'll have a few questions.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. Well, we've had a little bit of rain out there, so the golf course was playing a little bit wet. Had a few mud balls out there. The greens are pretty receptive, a little bit on the slow side for now. As the golf course dries out, I'm sure they'll pick up a little bit of pace.
But overall the golf course is in wonderful condition. It was good to get a feel for how it's playing out there, some of the sight lines, some of the numbers, and overall the golf course is certainly going to be, one, if we get some good weather with no wind, the guys are going to post some pretty good numbers here. So going to have to make a few birdies.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll take some questions.

Q. Tiger, what part of your game are you most happiest with and what part of your game are you least happiest with?
TIGER WOODS: I think I'm happy with how everything has progressed from tee to green. You know, I've got a chance to practice and work on everything, which has been good, which is something that I hadn't been able to do for a while. So I have to say I'm very pleased with every facet of my game.
Today I didn't putt the way that I wanted to. I had a hard time getting the pace. I played yesterday over at The Institute. The greens were much faster than they are here, and I had a hard time getting the ball in the hole. So that's something I'm going to have to -- after this little press deal here, I'm going to go out there and putt for a while and try and get the pace a little better.

Q. Tiger, the last time any of us saw you was Atlanta. You were in a lot of bunkers. You just seemed to -- everything seemed to be going wrong. In the last few weeks did you sort of regroup? Was it physical? Was it mental? Was the swing not good? Were you down? What happened?
TIGER WOODS: I hadn't practiced. You know, I spent basically a week to get ready for Bridgestone, and I played Bridgestone and PGA back to back. Not a whole lot of prep time.
So I've had a chance to practice and really work on my game and had Sean come down a few times. And basically just getting my ball count, get the reps in. And that's where my comfort's coming back, being able to hit shots and go out and play 36 holes a day. That's something I hadn't done because I just hadn't had the time.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I was limited to a ball count. I was limited to how many holes I could play, how long I could be standing on my leg. All that was limiting.
That was all taken off right before the Bridgestone, but still, that's not how I'd like to prepare.
This is different. I've had a chance to prepare, and then obviously after this event I've got a few more weeks before I play in the Aussie Open. So that's more how I'd like to prepare and practice and play in events. So I'm getting back to my normal routine.

Q. Tiger, you talked about how much healthier you are now than earlier in the year. I wonder if you can offer an example. You kind of just addressed it with no limitations, but is there any shot or moment out there that maybe illustrates how much stronger your knee is than it was earlier in the year?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just I'm able to -- well, first of all, I'm able to walk the golf course. This is a golf course that I would have a very difficult time walking. As you saw me at Augusta on Sunday, it was difficult.
But hey, I've got my strength back. I got the explosiveness back in the leg. All that's come back. And that's just from training and having time to heal. And then once I've healed, to train on top of it and build all that back up to where it used to be.
But then on top of that, I've also had to implement swing changes. Can't do that unless I was healthy. Obviously at the PGA I didn't play very well, and I've had plenty of time to practice and basically continue what we were doing way back in April. We haven't changed anything. What we're working on is the same exact stuff. Sean and I are working on the same exact stuff. I just refined it. And I've been playing a lot of holes which has allowed me to get my playing feel, my playing instincts back. And it's been good.

Q. Tiger, your first time playing here and also a new caddy. How do you prepare for the new golf course, and also this wrinkle now of having Joe on the bag? How do you guys kind of attack the new golf course?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Joey came out here a couple days now and worked the golf course and got all the numbers. He's trying to envision how far I hit the golf ball and what I would like to see off of -- what I would like to hear for certain numbers through bunkers or carries. So he kind of got all that.
And he basically said, okay, just let me know what you want on each hole. And that's how we kind of did it. So he got a feel for what I liked, or would like to think or see, and he's got a good understanding of it.
But more than anything today is just to take a look. The tee shots are -- the numbers are pretty self-explanatory. The greens are a little bit different, though. They've got some movement in them and some areas in which you can play away from the flag and feed it into.
And some of the greens are blind. So it's kind of nice to be able to see it and get an understanding, because sometimes the yardage book just doesn't quite do it. But as I said today, more than anything I kind of struggled on the pace, trying to get the feel for it after putting on greens that were running quite a bit faster yesterday. So I still need to do some work on that before I'm ready for tomorrow.

Q. Tiger, when you see guys the stature of Greg Norman and Nick Faldo saying you won't win another major again, is that a fair assessment and what do you feel when you hear stuff like that?
TIGER WOODS: I've heard that before. It's not the first time I've heard that.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: I've kept on winning them, too.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: I think I just answered that, didn't I?

Q. Tiger, I'd just like you to comment, if you can, on your upcoming trip to Australia, your expectations of the Australian Open, and also the Presidents Cup. It will be your first time in Sydney for a long time; correct?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I hadn't been since, what, '96. I've never seen the lakes before, so that'll be a first for me. I think we played the Australian, I think, back in '96. So it'll be different for me because I haven't played the golf course.
I'm looking forward to it, looking forward to getting down there and obviously really looking forward to playing at Royal Melbourne. Certainly one of my favorite golf courses.
I don't know the rotation, how they're going to do it. I don't know if it's the same composite layout that we played and the same order that we played back in '98. But it was a hell of a test, and you know, you just don't know. We played it when it was 110 and we played it when it was like 60. You know, anything can happen there in Melbourne, so we're looking forward to the team event, but also I'm looking forward to playing in Sydney as well.

Q. Is that sort of atmosphere and also being away Down Under and whatnot, is that the sort of atmosphere that might springboard you into another good season?
TIGER WOODS: I've always loved playing down there. I always have. But my first time to -- last time I played, I just have always loved playing down there.
People are fantastic. People are great. They really do understand the game of golf, and they're sports nuts down there. They're sports crazy, which is great. They love their sport, and they support every sport, and they have so much knowledge about sports, which is fantastic. So it'll be a great crowd, especially at the Presidents Cup because I think with how Greg picked the team, having I think, what, five Aussies on the team. So that'll certainly help the atmosphere.

Q. Another Australian question. I know you'll be in Australia for a decent amount of time. Do you think you'll have any extra time to get out and sight see, see Australia or just be golf only? Will there be any leisure time?
TIGER WOODS: No, not really. I'll be practicing, playing and competing.

Q. Tiger, what's your measure of success this week? By that I mean being able to hit your shots or is it simply just winning? Kind of where are you at in that progression?
TIGER WOODS: Getting a W.

Q. How encouraged are you after shooting 62 last week? What does that kind of show you about kind of where you're heading?
TIGER WOODS: That's something that I -- I hadn't posted a low round in a long time. So that's something that it felt good to do, and to be honest with you, it was pretty easy and I left a few out there.
So it's just one of those days where, you know, I've been playing so much golf at home. I've been playing 36 and 45 holes a day. So trying to get my playing instincts back and just my playing feels.
And working with Sean, what thoughts are going to be working playing wise. You can do whatever you want on the range, but actually playing thoughts are a little bit different. And that's one reason why I've been playing so much.
And finally, I've started to turn the corner. I was starting to shoot some really good rounds, a bunch of 66s and 65s, but I hadn't taken it deep. And that was fun to actually post a 62 because I -- it was a pretty easy round. It was just one of those rounds that just -- it's hard to believe I shot that because I didn't feel like it.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was -- I had a chance to earn my spot into the PLAYOFFS and I didn't do it. I had my chances.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: You know, it was kind of similar to how I've -- normally I've done it after the TOUR Championship before I leave for my overseas stuff. I usually take about a month off before I head to either China, Japan or Australia or something like that.
But this was a little bit earlier. And you know, playing here just fit perfectly in the schedule. With John, what he's done for the TOUR with this event and what he's trying to make of it, it just was a perfect fit.

Q. You've mentioned a couple of times you wanted your playing instincts back. How will you know they're back and how will we know watching you that they're back? And also, another different question. This is a different kind of event for you. Is there a part of you that wishes you were a young guy, one of these guys trying to --
TIGER WOODS: Are you trying to tell me I'm old?

Q. No. I mean, but you know, that feel you have when you're a kid.
TIGER WOODS: I'm not a kid?

Q. Like most of the guys -- like most of the guys in this tournament.
TIGER WOODS: Right. Except for Rocco; right? You know, it's just -- you know, I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to play.
But the first part of your question about my playing instincts, I think it's hard for me to explain other than that I just need to play a lot at home because I haven't played that much.
You know, I was shut down basically from the Masters until the Bridgestone. I played, what, nine holes at the PLAYERS. That's not a lot of golf. And I didn't really practice a lot prior to that.
So I just need to get out there and get the reps, get holes, hit shots, get the feel for it with the different winds that come up. You know, granted, every day is hot in Florida, but at least we have different winds. And hit different shots, different lies. I had to get all that, and then meanwhile just kind of work my way gradually into what we've been doing with Sean.
And that's -- Sean kind of alluded to even today, he said, you're just kind of stepping up there and just hitting it. I said, yeah, I don't need to worry about whether I have the club here or here or here or here or here. I've kind of done all that legwork and now it's time to play. And that's where I needed to to get to, which I hadn't been able to get to because I wasn't healthy enough to get there. And that part was frustrating because I know what I can do in the game, and I just needed the time to practice. And that's why I'm so excited about being here and playing.

Q. Tiger, given how much you've been working on your game in recent months, what do you look for this week? What do you need to see? Is it the shape of the shots, or obviously, as you said, winning is a goal, but in the process, what do you look for to judge where you are in your progress?
TIGER WOODS: I'm just going to go out there and just play. You know, I'm at that point now where, yeah, we're still fine tuning it obviously. We're always fine tuning the game, but the major overhauls are done. I've done all that work. Now it's just fine tuning, and I'm going to be fine tuning day to day, shot to shot. That's part of golf and it's part of the challenge. But understanding the principles that Sean wanted me to implement and then getting the reps in, I've done all that now.

Q. Tiger, last time we saw you out on TOUR, you were competing in a major, this week in a Fall Series event. Just wondering, does that feel a little strange to you at all?
TIGER WOODS: No. It feels good. I hadn't played. If you think about it, I haven't really played a whole lot in the last couple years. So just getting out here and competing, it's fun because I just haven't done it a whole lot.

Q. Tiger, Sean suggested that (indiscernible) time to come back. You had a golf swing. (Indiscernible). Since working with him, you've come back a couple times after the off season. How hard has that been to get to the point where you feel like everything feels natural?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's a great question, Bob, because that's the truth is that I hadn't -- it's always easy to come back from a layoff when you already know what to do. That's very simple. I've done it before and I've done it a bunch of times. But I'm implementing a new golf swing, and in order to do that, you have to get the reps in, and I haven't gotten the reps in. You know, I have to hit thousands of balls to do that and to where it feels natural.
But I've done that now, which is good. So now, as I said, I've been able to do all that, get to the point where I can go out there and just play golf with my buddies and play all day every day, and you know, that's -- and not really worry about a whole lot. I can just go out there and play.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: I was on the cusp of kind of getting it. I was kind of just right there. Didn't truly have the understanding of everything that Sean wanted me to do in the golf swing, but I was starting to really put the pieces together, and it was exciting because it was coming quickly. And I was so excited to get out there every day because the pieces were coming together very quickly.
And then after that I was kind of shot for a while. And that was frustrating because then I had to go back and kind of piece my way back to where I was at Augusta. I was like, okay, now, what led me to this point? And it's not like I left off that point and it was easy to jump back on, because it wasn't natural yet.

Q. Joe said that for him it was a no-brainer that he contacted you to see if you would be interested in having him as your caddy. How did you look at it? How much consideration did you give to the partnership and why did you choose him?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Joe is one of the best caddies out here. There's no doubt. I've known Joey since I was an amateur playing with Freddie in the Masters practice rounds, U.S. Open at Shinnecock, and then just playing with him -- playing with Freddie over the years, whether it be in practice rounds or tournaments. And Joey's obviously caddied for Davis a few times, too, as well.
So known him a very long time, had a very nice comfort level. I like the way he worked, and you know, it's just one of those decisions where my gut said it was the right thing to do.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: I liked his personality on how he was with his players, how he would step in when need be, and he also knew how to encourage and he knew when to step out.
But each player is different, you know. Freddie's very different from Davis, and obviously Dustin is a little bit different than both of them, and he's been successful with all of them.

Q. Tiger, coming back to Bob's question talking about coming back from the layoff, not having that comfort level that you have to have, what sort of (indiscernible). How much does that enter your game and how much different is your confidence now compared to say nine months ago?
TIGER WOODS: You mean pre Augusta? Like headed right into it? Headed right into it I was feeling really good about my game. But obviously getting hurt there and --

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: When I came back, I didn't have it. I had one great range session at the PLAYERS, which was how I was hitting it at Augusta, but a little bit better. Then I hit my first tee shot and I was kind of toast after that on Thursday. So that was kind of a setback.
But that range session was something to build on. So when I started to prepare and come back for the Bridgestone event, I kept going back to that range session because that's something that Sean wanted me to do. He said, we're not going to deviate off of this. This is how I want you to hit the golf ball.
And I said, yeah, this is it. I was just striking it. And my shot shapes were very tight. My start lines were there. My track was the same every time. He said, we're not going to vary from this. We're just going to work on it and fine tune it from here. I said all right. So I had something to build on, something exciting to build on. Then I tried to come back and play, I didn't have it, just didn't have enough reps to feel comfortable and hit shots in tournaments when it really mattered.

Q. Tiger, did Joe have a hard time adjusting to you? Did it take a little while, even for someone with his experience?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. There's been an adjustment period for both of us. There's no doubt. You know, I hit the ball a little bit further than Freddie does, but certainly shorter than Dustin. So I'm kind of like right in the middle.
But you know, he's going to have to get an understanding of what I like to hit, what clubs I like to kind of favor, do I like to hit one hard or do I want to take something off of it. These are things he's going to have to learn, but that just takes time.
But we're ready to go.

Q. This is kind of a local question here, but the last time you were at a Stanford game they won this week. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: Do I like where they're ranked? No. We should be one. Over you guys. Just saying.
As far as my last time I actually went to a game, it was a big game a couple years ago. We lost to Cal, which wasn't very good.
But I'm excited to see, you know, how this season is going to turn out. This is -- to have Luck stay another year, which was huge for us and we're dialed in, and hopefully this will be our season to kind of take it all the way.

Q. (Indiscernible).
TIGER WOODS: Yes. He's a hell of a lot smarter than I was.

Q. Are you going Saturday?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I'd like to. I hope I can get tickets.

Q. Tiger, you said earlier in the year before you made Bridgestone you were giving serious consideration to playing Greenbriar. Your doctor called you off of that start. If you had been able to make that start, how do you project your schedule would look different and where your game would be at right now?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought if I could have gotten more tournament reps, I could have gotten into the flow of competing and playing, and I would have found it faster. But that wasn't the case. And I played six rounds, four at Bridgestone, two at the PGA.
That wasn't enough. I thought I needed -- as I was telling my doc, I needed 10-plus rounds to kind of turn the tide around and get a flow for it, get into a rhythm and then play the PLAYOFFS. So I wasn't physically able to do it. So that was really disappointing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for taking the time, Tiger. Good luck this week.
TIGER WOODS: Appreciate it.

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