WGC-Cadillac Interview: Tiger Woods

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March 07, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: WGC-Cadillac Championship transcripts

CHRIS REIMER: Welcome Tiger Woods, first round 6 under par, a course you've had a lot of success, first talk about the conditions, you mentioned they were good scoring conditions today, probably some of the best.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, this is probably the easiest win we'll have, some of the hardest holes were playing downwind, and it really wasn't blowing that hard most of the day. Picked up a little bit towards the end but wasn't anything that well, it's something that it's calm for here, and to have some of the harder holes be downwind and then some of the par 5s be able to reach, saw some of the guys around 16 there, this is the easier of the winds.

Q. Crazy that you shot 6 under but seemed like you could not keep your momentum; you could make a birdie and then make a bogey and then make a birdie. What was making it so hard to just take advantage and get on a run of any kind?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I made a couple birdies early at 11 and 12. Then followed it up with a 3 putt on 13 and caught a heater coming out of the rough there on 14 and drew an awkward lie and didn't hit a very good chip and almost holed it from there.

Right around the turn, I got hot, made some birdies there. Unfortunately made a bogey at 3, but got it right back at 4. So it was and I missed a couple putts coming in, too. So it was certainly a day that could have been a little bit lower.

Q. I think you switched to a 5 wood today; can you talk about your decision to do that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the 5 wood that I use is the SQ, so it's, what, three versions ago.
This one they made was a little deeper face, which is very similar to what I had, and something where I could get it out there, which is nice. So I finally put one in play that I felt comfortable with. I hit it a little bit further, so there's a little bit bigger gap between the 3 iron and the 5 wood but I can hit this 5 wood a little bit higher, so I can actually take something off it and throw it up in the air, which is nice.

So even though that gap is a little bigger, I still have the option of being able to spin it up in the air.

Q. When there is no wind and you're standing on 10 tee, and you play half the round and there's no wind, do you change your mind set? Do you have to start thinking, going low, low, low?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I figured that something's going to have to be, at worse, around 68, 69. Just the way it was playing, and we were the first ones out, so we had fresh greens. I know we are all in the same block, but still, these greens are a little bit faster this morning. And they picked up a lot of pace overnight, so it was something that I felt we needed to shoot at least a couple under on each side to be right there. I got a few more.

Q. You spent about 45 minutes to an hour yesterday with Stricks; can you touch on what you guys worked on?

TIGER WOODS: Well, whatever he says, I'm going to do. He's one of the best putters that's ever lived.

Basically what it is, he got me into the same posture that I was at Torrey. I had gotten off a little bit. So I felt comfortable, basically just like I did at Torrey, and I started rolling it just like I did then. He can see the things that are off a little bit, because he knows my stroke so well. Just gave me a couple little things to think about, and, lo and behold, I started feeling just like I did at Torrey and the ball started rolling.

Q. Two things on that. How much did that rub off today? And secondly, what is it about golfers; he's trying to beat you today obviously, but you're helping each other and that seems to happen quite a bit. I wonder if you can just talk about that, that dynamic.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think, did it help me today? Yes, it did, certainly, because when the greens are grainy like this, you have to flush it. Otherwise, it's going to get chewed up. You know, especially these up into the hill grain, cross grains, you just have to flush the putts. It was nice to be able to hit putts like that again today. As far as our score, this is what we do. We always try and help out each other, and whether it's one generation to the next or it's your current competitors, whatever it is; it's just the nature of our sport. We just do that.

Q. Your short irons seem to be so much more better controlled now; is that going to propel you through these next few majors?

TIGER WOODS: My short game is certainly much better since last year, and that's just because of the fact that the things that I've been working on in my long game are finally starting to solidify and I'm starting to do the things that Sean has been trying to get me to do. I feel comfortable with it.

I'm able to now hit the shots I want with the trajectories and the shape, and I don't get any surprises on distances. All of these things have now solidified, because it took time to make the change. I came from my old swing to now, it's a pretty drastic change; it took a little bit of time.

Q. Talking about adjustments in swings, you played with Rory up close, what do you think of his performance today?

TIGER WOODS: He certainly struggled today but he got it back at the end, birdied 7 and 8. His putt kind of wiggled left over there on 8, or obviously he could easily have gone birdie, eagle and posted a decent number for the way he was swinging out there today. Made a few mistakes, but he can get it back. We have three more days. With the conditions being benign, until I think probably Sunday, certainly he can do it.

Q. In the spirit of Steve Stricker, did you say or do anything to Rory, and is there anything you can say or do to help him at this point?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we've talked a little bit, yeah.

Q. Can you elaborate 

TIGER WOODS: Am I going to share? No. (Laughter).

Q. Given what Steve has seen in your putting over the course of time, playing in Ryder Cup and everything else, is that something that you would do regularly in the future is touch base with him?

TIGER WOODS: I think I'm going to have a contract with him, because he's only going to play, what, five tournaments this year. So I'll bring him out in his off weeks put his ball away for a week and come out. (Smiling).

Q. Seriously.

TIGER WOODS: No, that's what friends do. Friends help each other out, and Steve and I have been friends for a long time.

Q. Do you prefer the one, two, three, pairing, or would you just assume it be a random draw?

TIGER WOODS: I enjoy that. We don't get a chance to do it very often. You know, the first time for my entire playing career that it ever happened was the 2008 U.S. Open. What was that, 12 years into my career that we got one of those pairings on Thursday, and it's usually the top two players are always on opposite end of the draw, so that never happens. I know the USGA has made a concerted effort to try to get us in these pairings more often, because it's fun and we don't get a chance to do it very often.

Sometimes it doesn't materialize until Saturday or Sunday, and sometimes it may not materialize the entire year. So to be able to have an opportunity like this, it's fun for us.

Q. Sorry if you have already answered this. You made two back to back bogeys, 13 with the 3 putt and 14 not a good chip. How important is it to bounce straight back from that in terms of losing that momentum; how important was it to kick on from there?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it was important just the fact that I had only hit one bad shot those two holes. So, okay, fine, made a couple of bogeys, but I only hit one bad shot. So be it. It's not like I'm playing poorly and slapping it all over the place and I'm really struggling. I was playing well.

So just keep doing what I'm doing, and it will turn, and it did and I got to 4 under very quickly. Made a mistake there at 3 as I was saying and got it right back at 4.

Q. You played with Rory a lot in the last year, and a couple times now this year. What do you notice that's different, as much as you're able to watch somebody else, is there anything that stands out?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't think he's quite drawing the ball like he used to, that he wants. Maybe just a little bit defensive out there. And that happens, and we have all gone through stretches like this. It happens, and it happened to him last year in the middle of the year, and ended up all right at the end of the year.

When you play golf and you play golf for a very long time, you're going to have spells like this. You can't play well every week, even though you try. You're going to have up and downs and just got to battle through it.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, Tiger, good luck this week.

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