January 26, 2012

Tiger’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Press Conference: Thursday

Q: How would you assess the way you played today?

TIGER WOODS: Hit the ball well all day today. It was a good ball-striking round. I had a hard time reading the greens out there. The greens were pretty grainy and I just had a hard time getting a feel for it. Towards the end I hit some pretty good putts but overall I got fooled a lot on my reads.

Q: You told us on Tuesday before you played the practise round, nine holes with Rory McIlroy, that you were going to go out and try to learn how the greens worked. How hard is it to read greens when you’ve never seen them before?

TIGER WOODS: It’s harder to read them when they are grainy. It’s a little bit easier when it’s just pure bent or poa. But these have a little bit of grain. I hit a lot of good putts after I saw someone hit a putt, but other than that, it was just a little bit– a little more difficult than it should have been.

Q: You took a nice, prolonged break and worked on your game at home in South Florida; what is the most difficult thing that comes back into competitive play after a long stretch away?

TIGER WOODS: I think just getting into the flow of the round. Just getting into the rhythm and the flow of hitting shots like that in a competitive environment. I think by the second hole, I was back into the rhythm of playing, which was good. I would like it to be good on the first hole but a break like that, it’s going to take a little bit.

Q: What was it like out there with you, Luke and Rory?

TIGER WOODS: It was good. We talked quite a bit. Rory didn’t quite hit the ball as well as he would like, but boy, he sure chipped and putted well today. It was good stuff to watch.

Q: If we can, let’s talk about your long game, first. That looked very good to us. How did it feel to you?

TIGER WOODS: It felt the same as it had from Oz to the World Challenge to here. I controlled my ball all day and just had a hard time getting a feel for these greens. They are grainy enough where I just didn’t quite read them right, and I hit them good, and then the grain would take it, not take it. It was just difficult. I think my speed was off because I just didn’t quite have it right.

Q: Hitting the ball a long, long way, further than you were last year. Is that a question of better mechanics or the fitness work you’re now able to do?

TIGER WOODS: It’s all of the above. Have to be fit in order to train and Sean is getting me in position where I can put more speed in it. It’s nice. I don’t really feel like I’m hitting it hard, but the clubs, it’s flying through the zone and it’s able. So all of those things are very positive.

Q: First time here, how much does this course examine the different aspects of the game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you have to drive the ball well to give yourself some looks at it. Rory did it today. He didn’t quite hit it that well, but he sure chipped and putted well. You know, we were saying that the rough is long enough where it’s not every time you get the ball to the green. Sometimes you can get a lie and get it to the green. Other lies, just can’t and you have to wedge it short. Luke had a couple of times today where he has had to wedge out and try to get up-and-down from 40 or less yards. But it is a pretty good test. We had no wind today. Most of the guys were hitting pretty good numbers out there, around par or even par and I’m sure it will be like that in the afternoon, as well.