Tiger’s Quicken Loans National press conference: Friday
Q: Nice round of 5-under today to get to 8-under for the tournament. Just kind of take us through the round and couple of the highlights. Obviously the — that 36-footer towards the end.
TIGER WOODS: That was a nice putt on eight. Overall, I hit the ball really well today. I was very pleased with that and made a few putts but also I missed a bunch, too. This could have been one of those really low rounds. But as of right now, I’m only one back. I’m sure I’ll be two, three back by the end of the day. I’m in a good spot hitting the weekend.
Q: Tiger, once again you started slowly. Was there one shot that turned it around, because you’ve been talking about get a bounce here, get a good spot and miss. One thing that happened today?
TIGER WOODS: Probably that great tee shot I hit on 14, big high draw that went about 90 yards.
Q: That did turn it around.
TIGER WOODS: Actually it got me going a little bit. I hit — laid up from there. I should have made bogey there. I hit it on the green and three-putted. After that, kind of got me kick-started a little bit. Got me a little fired up. Got me a little more focused on what I’m doing out there instead of just hitting a shot, little more focused what I’m doing, where I need to play is, shot shape and I really hit it good from there.
Q: Tiger, what would be your response to people who see your round and see your score today and proclaim that you’re back?
TIGER WOODS: (Indicating). Does that sound answer it?
Q: Pretty much. Do you feel like you’re back from anything? I know you talked about patience and the process throughout the year.
TIGER WOODS: That’s part of it. As I said, I have been through this before and you make changes to the game, it takes a little time sometimes and got to be patient with it and I know what I’m doing out there. It’s just a matter of time before things start to click in and get more jelled and things that — the new patterns become more natural. That takes time. That’s not going to happen overnight. People want the immediate fix, the one tip that’s going to work for the rest of their life. It doesn’t work that way. Takes time to build it.
Q: Tiger, are you still having a lot of swing thoughts out on the course or just going out there and playing right now?
TIGER WOODS: There’s a couple here and there based on the shot shape. But that’s about it. I’m not — I don’t need to think about positioning and have the club in this position, that position, that kind thing. It’s more feels for certain shapes I’m going to hit.
Q: When you get up near the lead like you are now and haven’t been for awhile, does it feel like old times? Is it just like nothing has ever — nothing has changed or does it feel different to actually be in this position rather than struggling to, you know, to hang on, so to speak?
TIGER WOODS: It doesn’t feel anything that’s unusual. I was in this spot at Augusta going into Sunday. So, it’s obviously been awhile since then. Obviously I don’t know how many months it is. It’s been a long time since April. I’m in a good spot. I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’m looking forward to getting after it.
Q: Tiger, how important has the crowd reaction been here because I noticed you showing a lot of emotion and the spectators have been saying that’s why they’re here.
TIGER WOODS: It’s incredible. They’ve been so nice. I know this is a little bit more of a haul to get out here than it is at Congo. They come out and support us. Look how many people came all the way to the ninth hole, furthest hole from the clubhouse and they come out and support it. It’s fantastic to play in front of people like that. To have that kind of support it means a lot to not only me but to our Foundation, what we’re trying to do and obviously all the military that come out and all their dependents and spouses. It’s a great atmosphere.
Q: On the back-9 the putts were close but missing a little bit. Did that give you some confidence going into the front-9 that you were basically right there?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I had four lip-outs on my front-nine for birdies so I wasn’t — I wasn’t hitting bad putts, they just weren’t going in. Just a matter of time, be patient with it and if I keep hitting goods putts eventually they’re going to go in. I made my share on my back-nine and especially that bomb on eight, that was a bit lucky, but I’ll take it.
Q: You mentioned you missed some putts, too, but you made a lot of par putts of four, five feet. That was always a trademark of yours, solid on that.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I felt very good. I putted pretty aggressively. I felt — I have felt very comfortable with my stroke. A couple times I didn’t mean to hit it four, five feet by but it rolled out a little more than I thought they would. But I’ve taken more of the aggressive lines. I’ve just felt — I felt very comfortable hitting the putts.
Q: Just run us through — you kind of laughed off the accidental birdie on eight. Run us through the four
shots and what happened there.
TIGER WOODS: The driver I thought I hit perfect. Hit it down the right side. I drew it up against the wind and
evidently it got knocked down at the end. Tried to play a 5-wood up on top and it landed on top but it was cutting too much and hopped in the bunker. I drew a decent lie and I was trying to play, trying to figure out what shot I was going to play there, “Do I use my 56 and kind of play it to the center of the green or do I use a 60 and swing in to out, use the toe of the club or blast it with a 9-iron or 8-iron?” I went through all the different release patterns. I finally decided to toe a 60. Get the toe on the golf ball and just kind of squeeze it to somewhere right of the pin on the green and I did. From there that putt — if I didn’t see “Ruby’s” putt first I probably would not have played that much break. His putt snapped at the end and I gave it some extra — probably actually another foot and a half and it went in.
Q: Tiger, while you’ve been going through all this the last few months and you’re practicing on your own working on your game, has there ever been any moments of just utter frustration, it wasn’t coming together? I know you’ve said you’ve been through this, you’re patient and all that. How do you get through those times and what do you do?
Do you sometimes say I’m walking away from this for right now, you know, then try to get back to it later because obviously it doesn’t do you any good to work on something that isn’t working?
TIGER WOODS: Well, at the beginning of the year you saw how bad I was chipping it. That was probably the worst — changing my pattern of my chipping was so hard to do. I mean I hit — for three days in a row I hit about 2,000 chips a day to try and fix it and finally got it to where it was good enough to play at Augusta and I almost pulled it off. And so, yeah, you have to go through moments like that. You got to dig it out of the dirt and put in the time. There’s no easy fix. It’s just logging the time.
Q: Tiger, I know you often say that you don’t read anything, you don’t watch anything about yourself, but can you derive any motivation from those who have said you’re done or you’re nothing but a ceremonial golfer anymore?
TIGER WOODS: I feel like I can still compete and win. I mean what, year and a half ago I won five times. I think that’s a pretty good number. So, it’s not that long ago that I was Player Of The Year. I know my ranking is awful but it’s a matter of obviously I was away from the game for a long period of time plus playing poorly compounded it and I just need to keep playing and keep plugging along. Eventually I’ll climb back.
Q: Can that motivate you?
TIGER WOODS: You know, it could but it doesn’t. There’s a lot of experts out there that think they really know a lot about the game. They’ve never been inside the ropes and never hit a shot. They really don’t understand how this game is and especially at this level, and the longer you play you’re going to have periods like this. Some guys’ careers are 48, 50 years long. I don’t think they all played well each and every year for 48, 50 years. This is my 20th year on Tour. I’ve had spells where I played great and other spells where I played awful. It’s just the nature of our sport.
Q: Tiger, have you thought about adding anymore tournaments to stay within the rhythm?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I’m playing the PGA in a couple weeks. Hopefully I can play next week at Bridgestone if everything goes well this week, and then we’ll see about Wyndham after that and hopefully I’ll be in The Playoffs and we’ll move from there.