WGC-Bridgestone Invitational interview: Tiger Woods

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August 03, 2013

KELLY BARNES: Please welcome Tiger Woods to the interview room. Tiger, you've got a seven shot lead going into Sunday. You obviously have an impeccable record. When you hold the lead going into the final round, talk to us a little bit about how you feel heading into Sunday.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I feel pretty good. You know, today was a day that I didn't quite have it, but I scored. And that's the name of the game is posting a number, and I did today. Grinded my way around that golf course today. It was playing a little blustery.
As smooth as yesterday was, as difficult as today was, it's just one of those things where I was just trying to build on my lead somehow, just trying to build on it, and for most of the day I was doing that. Ended up being a dead push for the day, but that's not too bad, either.

Q. Take us through No. 13 and what you were able to do on that one.

TIGER WOODS:
13, I piped a drive down there. I was stuck right in between clubs, and I tried to hit a little softy 7 and flipped it left. The pitch shot I had a decent lie, but I had a lot of green to work with which was nice and the greens were soft. All I had to do was throw the ball somewhere and land it just over the collar and it was going to get down to the hole. Certainly wasn't a shot I was trying to make, just trying to get it down there where I could get a par and just get out of dodge and dodge a bullet. Just happened to go in. That was a big bonus right there.

But 14 was even bigger to escape with a bogey there. It looked like I could make anything, and it was nice to just salvage a bogey on that hole.

Q. What do you make of that old mantra that it's hard to follow a really low round, and do you find that to be true? And also, does it feel like you're shooting a lot more the next day even though you're really not?

TIGER WOODS:
You know, it's dependent on the golf course. Some of the easier venues that we play, it's not too unusual to see guys 17 deep at Bob Hope or the old Disney when we used to play Palm and Mag and LBV. You could do it on certain venues.

Here it's not going to happen. It's just not. This golf course is too hard. I was just trying to post something in the red. It was blowing today. I thought that anything in the red today was going to be a good number, and I started off with a great start. I birdied the first two right out of the gate, and I figured if I could somehow just keep the card clean and not make any bogeys and maybe throw a couple more in there, it would be a pretty good day. All in all, 2 under par is not too bad.

Q. With a seven shot lead going into tomorrow, can you allow yourself to sort of play defense, or is it still foot on the gas pedal throughout the round?

TIGER WOODS:
It will all depend on how I feel out there. I had a nice warm up session today. Starting out my start lines on all my shots were nice and tight, and I felt really good.

As the round progressed, it just got a little bit worse, so I had to play a little more conservatively, and even the shots that I hit some really pretty bad ones out there, and I was trying to be even conservative through that stretch, but I was still hitting some bad ones. I was missing the ball all on the correct angles, and that's what you have to do on this golf course. If you're going to miss it, you've got to miss it in the correct spots, and I did that today.

Q. You've gone to the PGA Championship before of course having won this tournament many times before. How important or special is it to go into a major with a victory under your belt?

TIGER WOODS:
Well, I think any time you can go into a major tournament or any tournament with a win under your belt it's nice. It validates what you're working on and you have some nice momentum going in there. And hopefully I can seal the deal tomorrow and get ready for the PGA at Oak Hill.

Q. Could you talk about the scrambling you did from like 3 to 8? You had three really nice pars when things could have started to get away early.

TIGER WOODS:
Yeah. 3 was I blew the first putt past the hole there, and it was nice to make that one.

4, I hit just a terrible drive there, but I had a gap, missed my gap and hit the tree and ended up in the fairway. It was an easy pitch. I figured it was a shot I could get pretty close, and I did, which was nice. You know, that's kind of how the day was.

I stuck it in the ground over at 7, hit it to the right over in the bunker, but that's an easy bunker shot straight up the hill. It was one I was trying to make. It had a perfect lie.

8 was a funky one. I didn't hit a very good drive there, lost it to the right, and I figured if I sliced it over here, I can slice the next one, so I did that. The chip shot was a chip that we've been practicing here to the first pin every day, so it was almost exactly the same distance. I said, I've hit this shot all week, hit the same exact little spinner in there, and I almost holed it.

Q. You had a couple awkward lies, you just mentioned one on 8. Any issues, lasting issues, with the elbow or anything else with the two awkward swings?

TIGER WOODS:
No, zero.

Q. Just wanted to ask you about 16. The hole has been generally really good to you over the years, but seems like lately it's giving you some trouble. Is it just a fluke, or where they put the tees or anything made it more difficult for you?

TIGER WOODS:
You know, I've hit three really good drives down there. I tattooed all three of them, and especially today. I hammered that down there, and the wind just slapped it out of the air. It's a foot from being over the top of the bunker and it's an easy little shot, lay up down there, and I've got it where I've got a wedge in and try and make birdie.

The other day I hit another good one, thought it was going to be perfect. I picked my tee up like it was no big deal, and the wind hammered it again at the end, and it ends up almost burying under the lip.

Basically I just need to get longer. I need to hit the ball a little bit farther and take that bunker out of play.

Q. You've been in this position going into Sunday a number of times with big leads. What is your mindset when you have a lead of this size?

TIGER WOODS:
Just go out there and execute my game plan. Whatever game plan I'm going to implement tomorrow, just go execute it. It all starts with what the weather is doing, and then I build it from there, and we'll see what I do tomorrow.

KELLY BARNES: Thank you, Tiger.

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