Bridgestone interview: Tiger Woodstext sizeAugust 04, 2013
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CHRIS REIMER: Another fantastic victory by a player that's had a ton of success here, Tiger Woods. Whether you're talking about total numbers or victories at World Golf Championships or victories at this course, it's all phenomenal. You talked about it outside, but talk about what those numbers mean or the total body of work.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the total body of work is pretty good. I think that one thing I'm proud of is obviously how many times I've won, how many World Golf Championships I've won, but also how many years I've won five or more times in a season. I don't know what that total is, eight or nine‑‑
TIGER WOODS: Ten? That's even better. That's something I'm very proud of is how many tournaments I've been able to win consistently, year in and year out, and then how many World Golf Championships I've been able to win.
Some of the greats, these championships weren't around when they played, but for my generation they have been. To be able to beat the best players in the world at more than just the major championships and the players, to have a few more tournaments where we get assembled and to get to go battle against each other, that's something we all look forward to, and that's one of the reasons why these World Golf Championships were constituted. So to be able to have won this many, that's something I'm very proud of.
CHRIS REIMER: Maybe talk about today's round.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, today was a day with it being as blustery as it was, it was going to be really hard for someone to shoot 62 or 63. If I didn't give any shots away today and played my game and shot even par or better, I'd have to force these guys to go and shoot something super low on a golf course that wasn't going to give it up under these conditions.
I thought that if I just handled my business and just made a bunch of pars and sprinkled in a few birdies here and there, if I had an opportunity, but not drop any shots‑‑ the only shot I dropped was I three‑putted, I blew a putt past and missed it. But overall it was a solid day. I played well and played conservative but also played very aggressive to my spots.
Q. If playing for par is always good in a major, does this kind of prepare you for it because you played for par all day?
TIGER WOODS: You know what, Oak Hill is going to be a golf course where we're going to have to make a lot of pars, there's no doubt. If you have an opportunity to make a birdie, you'd better because there aren't a whole lot of opportunities to make them. There are a few holes that you can be aggressive on and maybe a few pin locations that if you have the right situation you can be pretty aggressive to it, but otherwise it's going to be a tough golf course.
The rough was already up when I played it on Tuesday. It was already up then. It has another week of getting thicker and more lush. And I don't know what they're going to top that out at by game time come Thursday, but I think that it'll be a very, very difficult championship.
I forgot what the winning score was, maybe just a few under par when Shaun won, but it was playing hard, and I think it may be playing even harder this year.
Q. You just won by seven, so what do you work on for three days? What do you want to refine?
TIGER WOODS: I'm just going to take it easy for probably the next day or so and do very light work, make sure that my mind and body are fresh for Wednesday and Thursday. I think those are‑‑ Wednesday is an important day to get refined, and especially playing the week before, I don't normally play the week before a major championship. I'm going to take it easy on Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday is an important day. Make sure my lifts are nice and good and clean and feel ready come Thursday.
Q. The stat that's out there is the last time you won by more than six shots the week before a major was here in '07 and then you went on to win the PGA the next week. Do you see any parallels in your game where it is now compared to where it was then?
TIGER WOODS: No, zero. I had a totally different golf swing back then compared to now.
TIGER WOODS: Performance‑wise, yeah; scoring‑wise, yeah. But for me it's hard to relate because it's a totally different emotion, and it's Southern Hills versus Oak Hill, two very different golf courses.
This golf course is very similar to Oak Hill, but Oak Hill is much more difficult obviously, and with it being more penal with the rough being up, it'll be interesting to see what they do with the greens, how much speed can they add to it and what's going to happen come Thursday.
Q. Torrey, Bay Hill, Firestone, eight wins at each. One tournament you had a win and they said, okay, where do you want to tee it up‑‑ of those three where do you tee it up?
TIGER WOODS: Can I play six holes on each? (Laughter.)
Come on, that was a good answer.
Q. What is the characteristic of the three of them that obviously you're comfortable there, but why?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know what, it's interesting because they're so different. Torrey being seaside, and Bay Hill has got a lot of twists and turns, and this one is just as straightforward and as plain Jane as can be. But for some reason, on all three golf courses I feel comfortable with my sight lines, even though they're three distinctly different golf courses, I feel comfortable seeing the shots. There's a few other golf courses I feel like that on, as well, Doral, Augusta and St. Andrews.
Overall I've had a few courses, but it's one of those things where just because you see the lines and you see it and you feel it, you've still got to go out there and execute, and that's something that I've been able to do over the years.
Q. Apart from all those numbers you mentioned earlier and of course the W, what's the biggest thing you'll take out of this week? And secondly, how would you assess the quality of your iron play all week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt like this week I was‑‑ it's interesting, it's a continuation of the British Open. I hit it really good there, I just didn't make anything after the first day. Once the speed started changing, I didn't adjust to it very well, and consequently I didn't win the tournament.
This week I felt like I had the same type of control this week as I did at the British Open. Only difference is I had one hot putting day, and the rest of the days‑‑ I putted well on Thursday, but the last two days I didn't really need to. I had a big lead and just had to make sure my speed was good and protect with pars.
But ball‑striking‑wise I feel after coming off my injury at the U.S. Open very proud of what I've been able to do the last two tournaments.
Q. I saw you walking Charlie to the clubhouse this morning. How special was it having him there when he walked off 18, and does he know what's going on, what dad's achieving?
TIGER WOODS: He understands it now, but this was the first win he's ever been at. That's what makes it special for both of us. He's never seen me win a golf tournament.
Sam was there when I won the U.S. Open in '08, and she loves to look at the YouTube videos and back to daddy. She loves looking at that, and Charlie has never had that, never felt what it's like to be with the trophy. They always say, daddy, when are you going to win the tournament? It was a few years there, or a couple years, I hadn't won anything in a while. Last couple years have been a little bit better, and they always want to know what place I'm in. Are you leading or not? That's always a stock question. Not leading. Well, are you going to start leading? Well, I'm trying.
This week was nice. I was able to get the lead and I held it, and it was awfully special for me to have him here to witness it because he understands it now. He understands when I make birdie, when I make par, and he understands the difference. It's awfully special to share that kind of moment.
Q. I'm surprised you didn't let him run out when it was over. Did you think about that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I had to go the other way. He was on the wrong side, so I mean, I had to‑‑ my responsibilities were with the player Henrik and his caddie. And Feherty grabbed me for an interview, and next thing you know I've got to go sign my scorecard and make sure it's legit. I've still got to sign the scorecard or I don't win the tournament.
But to see him when I got to the putting green right there, he caught up with me and gave me a big hug. That was pretty cool.
Q. I was wondering about your reaction to the extension with Bridgestone to keep it here until 2013.
TIGER WOODS: Well, mixed feelings because every time they extend I win. So I was telling the guy out there, they've got to do one‑year deals. Talk to Tim and let's tear this thing up and do one‑year deals and now my stats will be looking pretty good.
But it's a great company. This is a fantastic golf course, as Tim was alluding to out there, 60 years of PGA TOUR golf here. The first time I ever saw this was when the big three were playing, and they had their challenge matches here. I got a big kick out of watching that because Arnold is hitting‑‑ Gary hits wood into 7; Arnold hits 1‑iron and Jack hits 2‑iron into 7. Hell, we're hitting 6‑irons and 7‑irons now. The ball is so different and the game is so different. But it's the same golf course, but it's really neat to see the routing‑‑ the routing hasn't changed one bit. We've added some length on some of the tees, but it's virtually the same golf course, and it's neat to kind of dip back in time like that and play courses like that, like we do at Augusta every year.
Q. When you first came here in 1997, did you feel an immediate comfort level when you came to Akron and Firestone?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I played it here once when I was a junior. I came down here, I was up in Cleveland and came down here and played the course across the street and played the South here. I liked it then, and then when I started playing it as a professional, started really understanding how to play it, and by '99 kind of figured it out. Then I've had some pretty good success since '99.
Q. It didn't take long, I guess, for the questions to turn to the PGA. What sense of urgency do you feel coming up this week in getting a major? Is it any more than it's ever been, or can you quantify how much you want to get this one?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. As far as wanting it more than any other, no. It's the same. Those are the events that we try and peak for and try and win. There's four of them a year, and next week, as I said, it's important for me to get some rest come Monday and Tuesday and do some light work but make sure it's clean work.
Come Thursday I've got a great pairing with Keegan and Davis. Basically just try and get a feel for the golf course and how it's playing. Do I want it any more? No, it's the same. Each and every major, I always want them. I've been successful 14 times, and hopefully next week will be 15.
Q. Steve Stricker after his round joked that everything in the world of golf is back in order when Tiger and Phil are 1 and 2, and you guys are the two guys in the race for player in the world, you're 1 and 2. You've been rivals for the last 15 years. Through age, maturity, you guys have kind of evolved as being very much rivals in a different way. How would you explain the difference in your relationship with Phil?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think we've battled since I've been out here on TOUR in '96. We've had our fair share of head‑to‑head battles and head‑to‑head duals. For me it's been three guys over the course of my career. It's been Vijay, Phil and Ernie, and those are the three guys I have bucked heads with not just here in the United States but all over the world, and that's something that's‑‑ my generation of guys. Those are our big three, and that's what‑‑ they've won, what, four, four and five, I think, major championship‑wise. It's been fun.
Phil and I have gone head‑to‑head, but we haven't gone head‑to‑head as many times as people might think. I've gone against, I think, Phil and Vijay more often than I have Phil. But when Phil and I have battled, it's been in big events and we've shot some pretty good rounds together and against each other.
Q. Just curious, do you actually have seven of those at home ‑‑
TIGER WOODS: Uh‑huh.
Q. And seriously, all your trophies, can you say where they are and what you do with them? Do you trip over them? How are they organized?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the majors are in a certain section of the house, and the other trophies are downstairs where I have basically a media room and stuff like that. I have a trophy area, and that's where that goes. But the majors are in a different spot.
CHRIS REIMER: Tiger, congratulations, and good luck next week.