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March 6, 2013

Tiger Woods


TIGER WOODS:  I played the back nine.  It's blowing a little bit.  And I just took a look at the golf course and it's playing good.  It plays like it normally does each and every year.  There's a lot of grass out there and we'll see if this wind stays up for the rest of the week.

Q.  Are you going to miss this course at all after its reconfigured?  You obviously have some pretty good memories here, and how will you feel, miss it at all?
TIGER WOODS:  I played it before the redo, before Raymond came in here and redid it, and obviously Donald is going to redo it again.
I've liked the venue, I like being here, and this course and this tournament has been good to me over the years.

Q.  When you had to leave last year, was there any fear at the time, here we go again with the injury, were you scared?
TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, it was a point that if I kept going, then, yeah, I could have pushed it to that point, just like when I came back and tried to play THE PLAYERS.
So I learned my lesson from THE PLAYERS and I didn't do it, and consequently I was able to go on and win the next tournament I played in, which was Bay Hill.

Q.  Have there been any issues since, or is it something that you have to keep in the back of your mind?
TIGER WOODS:  No, I'm actually able to do everything.  I don't have to worry about my Achilles or my knee anymore.  I can now actually train instead of rehab.  I've made some pretty significant gains in my strength, and it feels nice to be able to, as I said, be able to train and not go out there and do the little bitty knickknack rehab things.

Q.  How much difference has that made in your game?
TIGER WOODS:  That's one reason why I'm hitting it further.  I have my legs underneath me and that's where our power is.  It's nice to be able to have that and I'm moving the ball out there to where ‑‑ that I know I can again, which is nice.

Q.  I talked to Sean about the situation with his son.  What was that like during your relationship at that time when he was going through that?
TIGER WOODS:  It was scary.  You know, it was touch and go whether or not he was going to be born with, obviously a birth defect, or have immediate surgery, or actually die.  It was tough, very tough.  Sean and Kate were both scared.  It was a tough time.  And any parent who has been through that can understand.
Luckily everything worked out perfectly and he's a little strong little fighter.

Q.  Rory in his situation last week, he talked about that this morning; a stage like this, is it a good opportunity to bounce back from that and put it behind you?
TIGER WOODS:  You know, that's what we do.  We play week‑after‑week, and you know, once one week ends, you have to move on to the next one, and we are on a different venue and different golf course, and you just have to, for me over the years, I've just put it aside and moved on, whether it was good or bad, whether I won the tournament or missed the cut, whatever it may be, somewhere in between; you move on and you get ready for the next event.

Q.  If you can go all the way back to when you first ascended to No. 1 Rory talked about the pressure he put on himself to try to back it up and how he found that essentially that resulted in what happened to a degree on Friday.  What's the pressure on a newly‑crowned No. 1, what prepares you for that?
TIGER WOODS:  Nothing.  Nothing prepares you for that.  It's just one of those things wherefore me, it happened at 21 years old and I was pretty young, just fresh out of college the year before.  And it happened very quickly for me.  I won some tournaments, won the Masters, had a pretty good season in'97.
For me, it wasn't necessarily the pressure of being No. 1.  It was more the scheduling.  I had never played that much golf, playing around the world.  We have our seasons in college, but we were only playing 12 events during an entire school year.  Out here, we are playing 20‑plus events.  That was a big, big change for me to be able to play that many tournaments.
It didn't take me for‑‑ but probably until '99 that I may an adjustment on scheduling and finally got it right and had some pretty good years after that.

Q.  Ten years ago, Mike Weir won the Masters, what are your memories of his victory that year?
TIGER WOODS:  I don't think he missed a putt inside ten feet that week.  His wedge game was unreal.  He laid up to his numbers.  He hit it there and he made some big putts.  Even the putt to get into the playoff with Len on 18 was not an easy putt, even though it was uphill, still, it was a putt he had to make to force a playoff; buries it, goes on and wins the playoff.
He did all the things that he needed to do to win at Augusta.  You need to wedge it and you need to putt, and he did it better than anybody else that week.

Q.  Can you tell us just what you and Sean were working on today, this week?
TIGER WOODS:  You know, we are working on the same exact things.  It has not changed.  We are just trying to refine it.  You know, we are trying to maneuver the golf ball both ways, be efficient, because obviously with the wind blowing like this, we have to be able to turn it and cut it and hit it high and hit it low, and just make sure I am proficient at all of the above.

Q.  You've already committed to Arnold's event in a few weeks; why do you like it there so much?
TIGER WOODS:  It was my first move away from home, besides college, and I settled in there not too far away over at Isleworth.
I played Bay Hill in the U.S. Junior and had some success this week, and I've played there as a professional.  Any time you can get to go‑‑ it's very similar to what it is when you play Jack's event or Mr.Nelson's event.  You walk off the 18th green and there they are; it just makes the event so much more special.
To have Arnold there all these years, and I've been able to make a couple putts on 18 to win, and have him there and say some really kind things.  It's just so special, and both of my kids were born there, too, with the Winnie Palmer.
So Orlando and Bay Hill and what the event means, it means a lot to me.

Q.  Following up on Rory, answered every question this morning from the media and took full responsibility and apologized; do you think that the scrutiny was too harsh on him for the reasons that he pulled out last week?
TIGER WOODS:  I don't know.  I really haven't read much.  I've seen a couple things on the ticker, but I've been watching other sporting events.  I know he's gotten a little bit, but to the extent that you're saying, I don't know how much.  I'm sure that most of you guys have taken it to him pretty good.

Q.  Will you get a chance to catch any Heat while you're down here?
TIGER WOODS:  As of right now, no, but that certainly could change.

Q.  When you got to No. 1 at such a young age, how long did it take for to you realize that everything that you were saying and doing was under an intense spotlight and how long did it take you to stopreading?
TIGER WOODS:  It wasn't when I was No. 1.  It happened the first week I turned pro.  That was‑‑ that week in Milwaukee was pretty hectic.  The weeks subsequent, following that, they weren't exactly easy, because I was are trying to get my card at the time, too, and dealing with a whole new life.
You know, I wasn't in college at the same time‑‑ well, could have been playing college golf; I'm playing professional golf and trying to get my card and dealing with a lot of things I've never dealt with before.
So that part, when I was No. 1, even after winning the Masters, I think that when I first turned pro in '96 was a little bit more difficult.

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