Tiger’s PLAYERS press conference: Sunday
Q: Can you just assess where you’re at now after four more rounds?
TIGER WOODS: About a couple pounds lighter. (Laughter.) No, it was a mixed bag pretty much all week. A lot of really, really good stuff out there, some mediocre and some bad. I had, what did I have? Three 7s on the week. That’s not very good.
Q: Is it almost to be expected though, given the lack of golf or do you think that those things should be different?
TIGER WOODS: They will get cleaned up over time. But this golf course definitely exposes that. Ernie and I were talking about it the other day, boy, it can turn quick here. You can be going along, playing fine, all of a sudden make a double here and it’s like, what just happened? It’s just the nature of this golf course, but also when you get it going here you can really get it going. The greens are soft today, obviously it’s hot, so the ball’s flying, so it was playing pretty short out there.
Q: Is the Open Championship any kind of focus in your thought as to where you want to be by then, given it’s at St. Andrews?
TIGER WOODS: I take them one at a time. After the Masters it was getting ready for this event. Now this event’s over, it’s now getting ready for the U.S. Open. Then after the U.S. Open, it will be getting ready for The Open Championship.
Q: Do you feel more or less comfortable with your swings since the Masters?
TIGER WOODS: Way more comfortable. Way more comfortable. We have added a couple little pieces to it. I reverted back a couple times out there over the course of the week, but also I did some really good stuff out there, too, it’s going to pay dividend in the end.
Q: After Tiger Jam, how much work are you going to put in?
TIGER WOODS: I’ll put in quite a bit of work this week leading up to it, because obviously I’m pretty busy during my time in Vegas there, a lot of obligations and board meetings and all that kind of stuff I got to do with the foundation, so I’m pretty busy that week, the weekend. But after that, then I can get back to grinding again.
Q: At Augusta you talked about how hard you worked to get your short game better and you saw some results. Did you need to put as much work in on the rest of your game or do you feel a lot closer?
TIGER WOODS: It feels a lot closer. As I said, we added a couple new pieces and they were really good. I’m very pleased. I didn’t have one bad warm-up session this week, which is great. So that’s a sign that we’re heading the right direction. Out there, as I said, I reverted back a couple times, so be it, it happens. But also I did some really good stuff out there too.
Q: Same sort of question, what aspect of your game would you give sort of decent marks to?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I would have to say that I, for the majority of the week, I hit my driver a lot better and definitely a lot further than I had been hitting it. I just wasn’t as — I just wasn’t as sharp with my irons. Normally I’m a pretty good iron player and I can get the ball in there tight. And I had a lot of clubs where I was 8-iron on down and I didn’t stiff them. That’s something I got to do a little bit better on.
Q: Anything physically? Any issues?
TIGER WOODS: No, I feel good. I feel good. Just probably a little dehydrated today.
Q: Are you getting enough tournament golf? Have you considered adding another tournament Tour schedule or are you pretty happy?
TIGER WOODS: We’re progressing. It’s a matter of putting the pieces together first. I mean, look where it was at on the West Coast and to where I’m at now. So let’s just keep progressing, keep putting the pieces together, keep chipping away at it. And I’m very pleased at the way we’re just chipping away at it. We had some glaring weaknesses at the beginning of the year, those are now gone, and now we can start cleaning up some other stuff, too.
Q: Do you have any plans to go to Chambers Bay?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I’m definitely going to head out there before the U.S. Open week to take a look at it. When, I don’t know, but I will definitely get out there. From what I hear, it’s a golf course we need to take a look at a few times before the week.
Q: Did you hear what Mike Davis said about that?
TIGER WOODS: I honestly didn’t, I haven’t read anything on the U.S. Open on purpose, because I wanted to focus on this event. Then after this event was over, then I’ll start. I’ll probably start tomorrow. Start looking at what guys have said or if I can get any video of it. Only thing I ever seen of it is when I think David was playing in the final there from Stanford and the U.S. Amateur. I just remember a lot of guys 3-putting and 4-putting and eventually NBC didn’t show a lot of putts, they just showed a lot of the tap-ins. Guys were putting balls off the greens.
Q: As your game’s progressing now after this week, is contention and winning something that you see happening some time this year?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely.
Q: (Talking about his swing change.)
TIGER WOODS: It is. It’s hard. I’ve done it before though. Don’t forget I’ve done this a few times throughout my career and it takes time. I remember going back to that period of time from 1997 to 1999 where I didn’t do anything. I think I won one tournament overseas and that was it. I struggled for a long time before it clicked in. But then I had a decent run. But it takes time. It takes time to make change and then on top of that, as I said, it’s nice to make the changes. I had a good warm-up session every day, hit the ball very well, and then I’m able now to practice after rounds, which is huge. Because for a long time there you like to make changes, but I can’t practice after a round, because my back was so bad.
Q: If you took 30 swings in a row at home, how often do you get stuck between old and new?
TIGER WOODS: I would say probably one or two.
Q: What’s different out here?
TIGER WOODS: No, it just, pressure of having to hit shots. Now we got to hit shots. We got water, tree, bunkers wind, different flights, different trajectories, different shapes, different lies. All these different things start coming into play now. And some of my go to shots are a little bit different and I got to obviously fix that. I’m pleased at how high I’m hitting the ball again. I’m getting the ball up in the air and how far I’m hitting the driver again, which is nice. Not as far as D.J., but in the same neighborhood now.
Q: Is this a harder golf course to test you at this point where you’re at, given that it is kind of a unique place that nobody seems to master it.
TIGER WOODS: You got to have — this is a ball-striker’s golf course. You got to hit the ball well here. If you don’t get the ball in the fairway, you can’t get on the greens. And then, when you’re in the fairway, if you are not sharp with your irons, you can’t feed the ball in tight to the flags. Because once — if you’re hitting the ball well and getting the ball in the right sections, the putts aren’t very hard. They’re breaking very little. But if you’re not in those sections, I mean this is a brutal golf course. It’s one of those things where you look at, I think, most of the player’s careers, either they play really well that week or they’re way down the road. It just is the nature of this golf course. It just kind of does that to you.
Q: Have you ever seen Justin Thomas swing it?
TIGER WOODS: I have, actually.
Q: Did you swing that hard when you were 21 or 22 or 19?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think my club head speed was about 126, 127 when I was that young.
Q: When did you start slowing down?
TIGER WOODS: Probably when I made the changes back in after ’97. We tried to get more in play. And probably early 20s I started slowing it down, just to get the ball more in play. At the time I was still second longest on TOUR behind Daly, but so I was okay to slow it down. It’s like Davis Love when he first came out here, he would drive it a mile, but he started backing it off to get the ball more in play. You play college golf and amateur golf, there’s no rough. There’s a big difference.
Q: How much did you weigh back then?
TIGER WOODS: I turned pro at 158. And then by the time I was in my early 20s I was probably at 170. All the — probably the — well, about 24, 25, 26, I was probably 175.