Tiger’s Greenbrier Classic press conference: Sunday
Q: 3-under par today. Just comment on your round and then your week as a whole.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, today was a good day. I played really well today. I hit the ball the best I’ve hit it in a long, long, long time, made absolutely nothing. To count it up, I had six lip-outs for birdie, so this could have been one of those special rounds where I could have really gone low.
Q: Your ball-striking has been your emphasis so that’s a good sign, right?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that’s a great sign. As I said, it’s the best I’ve hit it in a very long time. I had full control over all the clubs. My only hole that I struggled on for the last couple times I’ve played here is 17. That’s the only fairway I’ve missed all day. I hit it great, I had it shaped both ways, right to left, left to right. I had it all on call today.
Q: Would you say this constitutes progress?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, absolutely. I felt like we made a big, giant step at Memorial, even though I shot those numbers, but the pattern was set now, just had to refine it. This week was definitely that, definitely refined it, and just needed to — if I just made a couple putts, this week could have been completely different.
Q: Along those lines, does this give you some confidence and momentum going into the Open Championship?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, absolutely. I’m excited about what I was able to do at Memorial, even though I shot those high numbers, but the shift in the baseline like I did, consequently I’m here now in this position, so very excited about that. I obviously needed to make some putts today, and it was just one of those days where the putts that I read perfectly and were hit right still lipped out. The putts that I didn’t hit well weren’t going to go in. Even my putts I made, took a step, they didn’t go in.
Q: Overall you seemed to get the better fortune weather-wise. How would you rate today?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. The guys who played in the morning and afternoon wave the first two days definitely got the worst of it. They had to play in the rain for basically almost 36 holes. Even some of them did play 36 holes in the rain. I was on the good side of the draw this week, and unfortunately, I just didn’t capitalize on it like I should have.
Q: Sum up your whole week here, Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: It’s been a very positive week. I’ve made some nice strides headed into the British Open, and I’ll do some good work next week and be ready come Thursday.
Q: What was the difference in your ball-striking tee to green this week?
TIGER WOODS: It’s very simple, it’s just a shift in the baseline. I’ve just got to get used to the feel. It’s a completely different motion. That’s why I did what I did at Memorial, to get myself into this position now. It’s not a short-term fix. People looking for the one quick fix and the very next day go out and play golf, it doesn’t work that way. It takes time. It takes time to build it. I’m very pleased with what I’ve been able to do, and consequently I’m in this position now.
Q: How tough is it that every move you make is scrutinized, being the center of attention, you’ve had to deal with this for a long time no matter what it is. How do you deal with that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, one, you don’t go online, or I don’t go online, so I stay away from that. Social media has certainly changed the world in which we know it. So many different things can happen and do happen on there, and you just — for me I just stay away from it. I understand that everyone has an opinion, just like everyone has a… so it’s just one of those things where it has changed the landscape certainly for us out here and for all athletes. I remember talking to Gretzky one time, and he grew up in an era when he first played hockey, and he was winning Cups, and there was no 24-hour news cycle, and that was a big deal going to a 24-hour news cycle, and now here we are with instant news with the click of a button. That certainly has changed the landscape again.
Q: With what Jordan is going to see at the British, can you recall in 2002 what you were going through in going through the third leg of the Grand Slam? Do you remember what the pressure and the distraction is like?
TIGER WOODS: It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t bad at all. I was playing great going into it. I was feeling very comfortable. I was playing well. I was only probably maybe either — maybe three back, I think, going into Saturday, and then the hurricane hit. Then I shot something in the 80s but came back the next day and shot a good one. You just never know when you get over there when you get on the good side of the draw or the bad side of the draw.
Q: Can you compare that to the 2001 Masters when you were going for your fourth?
TIGER WOODS: No, no comparison at all because if you think about it, you’ve got, what, nine months of waiting and answering questions at every event I’ve played in from August until April. Here he’s just got a month, and it just rolls right into the next. It’s so much easier. When I won the three in a row in 2000, it seemed so much easier because there’s only a month wait. Maybe you play one tournament, maybe you don’t play a tournament in between. You don’t have that much. But nine months that I had to wait from August to April was tough, and at the time everyone was on me about being in a slump, because I hadn’t won anything. It was a long time, put it that way.
Q: What about the Old White, the course here? How would you characterize this week?
TIGER WOODS: It played very benign this week. If this golf course gets fast and hard, then some of these pins are really tough to get at, but today, just pretty much all week, it’s pretty much throw darts. If you drive the ball in the fairway, you just take dead aim at it, go right at it. The only thing you have to worry about is actually spinning the ball back too much, and that’s something that Joey and I have been laughing about all week because we didn’t have to worry about that at Chambers, the ball rolling backwards.
Q: Given your rounds here at the Greenbrier this week, do you think you might look back at this event and say that’s where I started to get my game back?
TIGER WOODS: No, I started to get my game back at Memorial when I shifted the baseline. I shot those numbers, but people don’t really understand that. But people who are close to me or people who have actually gone through swing changes understand that.