Tiger’s Memorial press conference: Friday
CHRIS REIMER: Tiger, thanks for joining us. Obviously different conditions out there today, but you came out first two holes, seemed to be hitting the ball well really early. Talk about the day as a whole.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit the ball well all day. It was a day that I needed to. The wind was blowing out there, was swirling in those trees, and it was just a tough day. Granted, the greens were softer, but still, the wind was a little bit of a test. With these pin locations today, some were pretty hard. Only a few were accessible.
But I figured anything under par was going to be a good score, and I was able to post something in the 60s.
Q: What does it say about your game that you had really different conditions these two days and you adjusted really well?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I’m very pleased with the way I was able to hit the golf ball today. I made the adjustments on the greens, as well. Yesterday they were — they had to have been close to 14, and today they’re obviously nowhere near that. So had to make the adjustments, and even putts that I know are quick, just from past experience, you’ve got to make the adjustment and go ahead and rap it.
After playing yesterday, it becomes sometimes a test, and I think I left two putts out there, and one about six or seven feet short, and then the one on 18 I left about eight feet short, so I made a couple mistakes there.
Q: Is it a question of if you feel good, you play good, and then you’re happy to play golf? I know it sounds obvious, but if you’re not playing well you’re not so happy because you seem quite smiling and happy. Is it a function of playing well?
TIGER WOODS: You know, for me as a professional golfer, I’m not really too happy when I’m shooting in the 80s. It’s hard for me to answer that question, because yeah, you want to play well and obviously it affects your mood, no doubt.
Q: The last three tournaments you’re obviously not playing your best. Is it that that makes you look like you’re not having a good time, or are you not having a good time?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I’m not having a good time shooting those scores, there’s no doubt. I’m more pleased with the work I’ve done this past week and the things that I’m supposed to be doing for the past few tournaments I was able to do. This is the way that I hit the ball at Bay Hill and the way I hit it at the end of last year. That’s what’s exciting about it.
Q: Can you talk about 12, especially after the way that gust knocked Freddie’s ball down?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, Fred hit 6, and I was between 7 and 8, and Freddie hit 6 and he tugged it, so actually he stood it up against the wind, and it just slammed it. That forced me to go to 7, and I didn’t feel comfortable hitting 7. I thought I had to take a lot off of it, but I didn’t want it to ride, so I started it way left and just bailed out on it, hit it long, and I drew a good lie. It was just a bad chip shot.
Q: Which, both of them?
TIGER WOODS: The second chip was just an awful lie. I mean, I had a huge clump of grass right behind the golf ball, and I was just protective of hitting it in the water. So that’s fine. But it was actually the first pitch wasn’t that hard.
Q: Can you talk about the birdie on the last par-5, 15, and then getting blocked out on the first two, and 11 obviously was really well struck but the birdie didn’t convert. Did that put pressure on your game at all, especially given the weather conditions?
TIGER WOODS: No, just hang in there, shoot something in the red today. That was the goal starting out today. It certainly helps when you birdie the very first hole, and I birdied 4. It was just a day where you just kind of grind it out, shoot something in the red. The leaders weren’t going to go anywhere today. It’s just too hard out there. I figured it might be stacked up, might be somewhere between 2 and — the lead might get to 7, so it would be pretty stacked up in between there, but at least I’d be there, and I happened to get to 5.
Q: How does this compare to the way you played at Bay Hill or maybe earlier in the year when you were seeing a lot of progress, Abu Dhabi or even Australia last year? Can you say if it’s better or in that range?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it’s better because I’m able to shape the ball both ways and hit the ball the correct distances every time. That’s been — if you look at over the course of my career, I think that’s one thing that I’ve been very good at, hitting the ball pin high. The last couple days I’ve done that.
Q: This was probably more trying conditions obviously than Bay Hill, so I mean, does it make it even better, feel even better because —
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, absolutely, except for Sunday. Sunday was more like a U.S. Open that broke out in Orlando. But this golf course is obviously harder than Bay Hill, and when you get these kind of conditions, it’s fast and hard yesterday, and today it’s soft, but it’s blowing in there. It’s nice to be able to hit the ball as well as I did today and control it.
Q: Your next win you move up a notch and tie a certain somebody in the win total. I’m just wondering whether it would be fun for you to do it here.
TIGER WOODS: Well, we’ve got a long way to go for that. Yeah, obviously it would be nice, but I’ve still got half a tournament to go.
Q: When you talk about your ability to control the ball and have the distance control that you had today, is it even — are you even happier with it because of the wind that you had to play in today?
TIGER WOODS: It obviously puts more of a test on it and more of a premium, and I hit the ball well all day. When you play on a golf course like this, over the years you have to hit the golf ball well here. You can’t fake it around this place. That’s one of the reasons why most of the guys who come here just absolutely love this place just because of that. It’s just a quality, shot-making golf course. When the wind blows around this place, it gets awfully tricky. Today I was able to hit the ball through the wind pretty well.
CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Tiger. Good luck this weekend.