August 21, 2015

Tiger’s Wyndham Championship press conference: Friday

Q: Tiger, as you work your way through this process, how much has been confidence or lack thereof and how much have the last two days done for that confidence?

TIGER WOODS: I think it’s just a matter of getting something out of my rounds. As I was saying earlier, I just couldn’t seem to get everything kind of out of a round where a round I should be either 1 or 2-over, shoot 1-under. Be 2, 3-under, happens to be 5 or 6. That’s kind of state of my game going into this event. I just couldn’t get anything out of my rounds and a couple lucky bounces here, take advantage of those opportunities. It’s just the flow.

It’s so close to going either way and this week I’ve done a pretty good job of handling it and positioning my golf ball around the golf course. I’ve had a couple putts. I’ve made them.

Q: Tiger, I know that you have a crowd no matter where you go but talk a little bit about this Greensboro crowd.

TIGER WOODS: The people out here are absolutely amazing. They’ve been so nice. It’s such an intimate atmosphere out there. When you go out there and watch a group it’s not where you can camp out and see a whole bunch of holes. You actually have to kind of go around with them in order to see shots.

And they came out here on a Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. and they came out here this afternoon. It’s hot, we’re all sweating and they’re out there just cheering us on. It was a great atmosphere. Great to be a part of and lot of fun.

Q: Tiger, Davis was in here earlier talking about the practice round on Tuesday and how much he learned from you.
How much did you pick up from him about playing the golf course and was there anything during that practice round that sort of helped you?

TIGER WOODS: I learned a lot playing with Davis. I hadn’t — I’ve only seen this golf course on TV and I’ve never seen how much movement these greens have. That’s something that Davis was trying to tell me. And we were both kind of joking, we haven’t played bermuda greens this fast and they were wet. Just had rained. They were still running out.

He was trying to describe to me when the golf course gets fast some of the clubs he would hit off tees and, for instance, the 5th hole, the par 5 he’s hit 3-wood, 9-iron that hole. That golf course can change quite a bit.
Today on the very first hole I hit a 2-iron down there, I thought it was fine. Ran through the fairway and that was 280 mark. I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting a little bit softer than that.

Talked to Joey about it, this golf course is speeding up. That’s where the practice round with Davis helped because of some of the irons he tells me he hits off the tees. Definitely helped playing with him.

Q: Tiger, certainly seem to be a quick learner of this course, 36 holes. Did you feel like you were going to get comfortable quickly here and is there much out there that you feel like you still need to learn?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that playing the practice round Tuesday and seeing the greens, that was nice, and picking Davis’s brain about it.

Then on Wednesday the golf course was still soft and, you know, the good thing for me that it didn’t change overnight into Thursday, still remained soft. How I played Wednesday I was going to play like that on Thursday. That was nice. It would have been tough to play Wednesday and have today. Wasn’t quite — probably wasn’t ready for that but after playing yesterday and now I have a feel for the golf course and today was a little bit quicker.
I was alluding to I couldn’t get the ball underneath the hole so I had really quick putts. I had a pretty good feel for them.

Q: Tiger, every time you’ve changed your swing, even going back to Butch after you won that first Masters, there’s been a fairly lengthy period before it started to really click in for you and work.
First, did you expect it to be this long again, were you prepared for that, and, second, has it clicked in?

TIGER WOODS: Well, was I prepared for it to take this long? No. I didn’t realize the back surgery was going to take that much toll on me. I’ve had knee procedures and come back pretty quickly. This one was a little bit different. So, you know, you compliment — you have that and you have a swing change. That’s a tough combo.

I haven’t been in a lot of tournaments where I’ve played a lot of rounds. My game has struggled at the beginning of the year with the patterns and it’s been tough. But, I’ve stuck with it. Chris has been fantastic. He’s really helped me through this entire process and having Joey on the bag out there as committed as he is, as focused and competitive, it’s been a great team.

Q: Do you think you’re there?

TIGER WOODS: You’re never there. Even when I had my good rounds and tournaments and good spells throughout my career you’re never there. You’re always trying to get a little bit better.

Hell, I’ve shot 59 and I left a couple shots out there. So, there’s always — the great thing about golf, you can always get a little bit belter.

Q: Tiger, do you feel something building? Is it getting bigger and bigger everyday? You mentioned Wednesday, one day is leading into the next. There at the end you seem to have that same putt you were trying to school Chris Paul on.

TIGER WOODS: It was nice how I played at QuickenLoans. I was finally playing like I know I can play and, again, I still didn’t get a lot of out of my rounds.

I went through spells in there where I had it going and then I would hit a bad shot, not make a putt from five, six feet, seven feet, something like that, and I just kept putting myself behind the 8 ball when I had opportunities to get myself out of it.

These last couple days have been nice. I’ve put the ball in the right spot but also I’ve got a few nice bounces and lies here and there and it’s very close.

You don’t realize how close it is from switching. That’s — the lead is 11. The cut is at 2, 3. Eight, 9 shots, 70-plus guys. The margin is very small.

Q: Tiger, you seem to be taking it all in your stride now and I know only halfway but considering where you’ve come from, do you feel any extra sense of excitement with the position right now or do you feel like this is where I’m meant to be?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that I feel like I’m playing well enough. As I said, I’m getting a lot out of my rounds. At the halfway point, I’m only at the halfway point, only 36 holes. We’ve still got a long way to go.

From the forecast this golf course continues to dry out and continues to get faster and it’s going to be harder and harder to get the ball underneath the holes. They’re going to want to chase.

Going to put a premium on getting the ball in the fairway and leaving yourself aggressive iron shots and putting yourself in the right spots. I made 11-under par which is great but we’re all at the halfway point.

Q: Tiger, given what you just said about only the halfway point, on an early question, the crowd support you got this week, could that translate into one or two shots and carry you to victory on Sunday?

TIGER WOODS: As I said, the people have been so nice, the whole city and the whole atmosphere. It’s been — you know, I hadn’t seen too many events like this where the excitement has been like this.

I was alluding to Bob yesterday, like Flint was so small, local town, people come out and support it and do it year after year after year.

Davis has said this and he’s been here for 20 plus years, I know it’s been at different sites, he sees the same people. That’s the neat thing about coming to small towns like this. They’ve come out and supported not only myself but the rest of the players and Brooksey and Hideki and I were talking about that today how nice it is. The people are so genuine and so nice.

It’s up to me to actually hit golf shots. The people are fantastic but I got to hit the shots. I got to make the putts.

Q: Tiger, is it a little bit nicer not to have to hit driver so much? Has that helped you a little bit so far this week?

TIGER WOODS: Not the necessarily. I feel like I’m swinging well enough right now that I want to hit driver more often, ironically enough. It feels good to have my 2-iron back in the bag, though. That’s the way the golf courses are designed now, I don’t use my 2-iron that often and it’s been at an event like this or I do in Japan a lot, Australia, the British Open. Not a lot of American golf courses where I use my 2-iron.

The par-5s send the ball up high. Here there’s only a couple par-5s, probably hitting iron to both of them. I haven’t needed my 5-wood. And on top of that it’s to be able to chase that 2-iron again, feels like the old days to be able to hit that shot.

Also, then again, with this technology of the new 2-iron I can also send it up in the air, too. It’s nice having both.

Q: So, Tiger, it’s your first year in Greensboro and everybody wants to know, will you be back next year (laughter)?

TIGER WOODS: I’m just happy that I’m playing the weekend right now, okay? Let’s focus on that. I’m just working on trying to win this event and let’s go about it from there.

Q: Tiger, this is probably unfair but have you ever heard of Tom Hoge? Do you know who he is? Would you recognize him?

TIGER WOODS: No, I wouldn’t. What is it, or him? I don’t know (laughter).

Q: The guy you’re tied with.

TIGER WOODS: No, I don’t know. I’ve never met him, never seen him. Don’t know anything about him.

Q: The reason I said unfair, probably a lot of guys —

TIGER WOODS: There is so many guys out here I don’t know. The Tour one, I’ve been hurt, I haven’t played that much and then you played smaller events, a lot of guys from Q-School or are in the events.
You go up and down the range they’re all early 20s and you just — it’s just funny because I look on the Champions Tour leaderboard and I know everyone of those guys because I played against them and I played with them.
Now I come out here, I don’t really know a lot of people. Most of the guys that I grew up playing with and playing against, you know, they’re on the other Tour now.

JOHN BUSH: Tiger Woods, thanks.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks guys.