Accenture Match Play interview: Tiger Woodstext sizeFebruary 18, 2013
MORE INTERVIEWS: Accenture Match Play transcripts archive
TIGER WOODS: The U.S. Team does it every year in the single in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, but not for six days or six matches hopefully. It's very similar to what we did as kids and as amateurs, so it's a lot of fun for us.
Q. The PGA TOUR has put the doping program in the spotlight. When was the last time you were tested outside a tournament site since turning professional?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't play in the event, but I was tested at the World Challenge.
Q. When was that?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't play. I was hurt, I was coming off‑‑
Q. But you were at the site.
TIGER WOODS: I was at the tournament site, coming off‑‑ no, I know guys who have, but I have not.
Q. How many guys have you‑‑
TIGER WOODS: I'm not saying.
Q. And how concerned are you that someone out here might try to take a shortcut to be able to achieve‑‑
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it happens in all sports, and hopefully it doesn't happen in this sport, and it's one of the reasons why we have the testing policy that's instituted with WADA. Rules are rules, and they're pretty strict guidelines.
Q. Can you talk about how much work you put in during the time off, and how was your round with President Obama?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I took the first week off and didn't do anything golf‑wise, I was just with my kids. And the last couple weeks, I started getting back into it and the last week really hard. And playing with Mr. President was pretty cool. He's just a wonderful person to be around. We won.
Q. Going back to '08, how far away do you think you are from having that type of confidence?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's the only reason I enter events is to win. It's not to make the cut or finish top 10 or even second. It's to win the event. There's really no reason to enter if you don't have the mindset or belief that you can't win, and I feel like I can win every time I play.
Q. Do you change what you do after the first match?
TIGER WOODS: It's a sprint. As I said, we play this a lot as amateurs and juniors, and it is a sprint. Anything can happen in 18 holes, and it's imperative to get off to a positive start. It's impossible to come back in 18 holes. A 36‑hole match like we're used to at the World Match Play or a 36‑hole final, it is capable to make a big comeback, but 18 holes is a sprint, and it's hard to come back, so it's important to get off to a quick start and keep on the guys.
TIGER WOODS: It depends. Sometimes I am and other times I'm much more conservative, but it all depends on how my opponent is playing. Hopefully I don't have to worry about 155 other guys, it's just one guy in front of me. It's a lot of fun because we don't get a chance to do this very often, and usually it takes three days, sometimes three and a half days to come to a situation where it's one‑on‑one. In general it's not the same group, so from here from the door it's go where we're going at each other and we know exactly what they're doing.
Q. What's your all‑time favorite match play moment or memory?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I wouldn't say‑‑ I'd have to say probably all of my finals in the Am. I was down in the final all three juniors and all three Ams and came back and won all six of them. It's something I'm pretty proud of. Not one stands out. They're all different in their own way, but the fact that I came back in each one is something that has certainly given me a lot of confidence going forward and when I turned pro.
TIGER WOODS: I believe it was a quarterfinals match, something like that. I believe I got him 3 and 2 or 2 and 1, somewhere around there. It was a pretty tight match and we were both playing well in the final.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I feel my weights‑‑ I've increased my weight over the years, and when I first came out here, I was very light, like a graphite shafted 1‑iron, and I've put on weight since then. I think over the years I've leaned out my body fat over the years, and that's something that has taken some nutrition. I wasn't exactly the most keen on that. I did work out, but the nutrition part was certainly lacking, and I've certainly adopted that and it's helped a lot.
Q. You've been real complimentary of Charles Howell's work ethic. What is it that makes you say that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I lived with the guy down there in Orlando, and you'd see him out there on the range and the putting green just grinding away. His work ethic has never changed, never waned. He's out there working all the time. He's trying to get better. I admire guys who put in that kind of work. It's not easy to do, and he's implemented some swing changes over the years, but his tireless work ethic is something we all look up to.
Q. How many presidents have you played with?
TIGER WOODS: Two.
Q. The other one being?
TIGER WOODS: President Clinton.
Q. Recently you mentioned that your short game has been getting better, and I was curious, is that due to more time spent, or a change in technique? And do you prefer Chipotle or In‑and‑Out Burger?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the last one, neither. I haven't had fast food in a while.
As far as the short game part of it, that's something that is not necessarily technique. It's more time spent. And as I said, as you all know, I went through a swing change with Sean, and I didn't have a whole lot of time to devote to my short game. I have family matters that are very important to me and that are my responsibility, so I only have a certain amount of time in a day, and I devoted pretty much all my golf time to making the swing changes. Because of that, my short game, it fell off. I didn't chip as well, I didn't putt as well, and consequently I didn't score as well. My swing changes were coming around and were implemented and I didn't have to spend so many hours working on it, I could now spend that time chipping and putting.
My scoring average has dropped, saving shots here and there, and I've won a few tournaments.
Q. You've won this tournament three times, but in the last few years you haven't advanced as far. Are you playing at a level right now where you think you could go back to where you were playing before?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the whole idea is just to beat one guy at a time. That's the thing. There are times where I've played well in matches and I've lost, and other times where I've played poorly and advanced. It's potluck in these 18‑hole sprints like this. As I said, it's imperative to get off to a quick start and get up on your opponent early. It's just so hard to come back in 18‑hole matches, and hopefully I can do that conceivably for all six.
Q. Would you be disappointed if the TOUR decided to go against the USGA?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I understand if we go either way. We put in local rules every week, and this may or may not be a local rule, but we'll see what happens.
Q. What do you do in these two weeks before this tournament to gain a competitive edge?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, as I said, the first week, I didn't touch a club and just got away from it. And the second week I started hitting balls, chipping and putting. And then the past week I started playing quite a bit. Got most of my work done last week and then got my playing feels and all that done this past week.
Q. The last time we saw you, you were taking four hours to play 11 holes. Have you spoken to anyone on the TOUR about the slow play and what needs to be done to rein that in?
TIGER WOODS: I have not spoken to any officials on the TOUR. Players, yes, but not any officials.
Q. So Robert saying he had‑‑
TIGER WOODS: Robert?
Q. Garrigus, had lunch, flew home, turned on the TV, you were still playing.
TIGER WOODS: I didn't see that. We were back in the final group taking our time, I guess.
Q. What was the best shot the President hit?
TIGER WOODS: He hit a few. He's a pretty good athlete, and we all know he played a lot of hoops. He's a lefty, but to see him out there hitting shots‑‑ he hit it well, and we didn't play under the easiest conditions. It was blowing harder than this and it was a little bit cooler than this. So we played under some tough conditions, and as I said, he hit the ball well. He's got amazing touch. He can certainly chip and putt. If he ever spent‑‑ after these four years, spent more time playing the game of golf, I'm sure he could get to where he's a pretty good stick.
Q. How's his pace of play?
TIGER WOODS: He's quick.