Tiger’s WGC-Accenture press conference: Tuesday
Q: Give us some opening comments about being back here and your first round matchup, please?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I’ve been here awhile. As you say, I just walked in from the parking lot. It is good to be back. I know that from what I hear, some of the guys who played yesterday, the golf is in phenomenal shape again. Looking forward to getting out there.
Q: Your recent putting struggles, is it more mental or mechanical and how do you solve them?
TIGER WOODS: Well, basically I only putted really poorly in probably two of my rounds this year, so it’s not too bad.
Q: Does the final round have something to do with it?
TIGER WOODS: I putted great on the last day in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately it was for pars. The past Sunday was awful. I putted as well as I putted on Saturday, I putted that bad on Sunday.
Q: What appeals to you about this format?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it’s just — one, it brings us back to how I think all of us grew playing. We all played match play in our clubs. We all played junior amateur stuff, they were all match play events. And as a week in, week out we play stroke play. So we don’t get this opportunity to go head-to-head very often. And generally this is– it happens, what, not so often you get a guy head-to-head in the same group, sometimes it’s in different groups, guys two groups ahead or you’re a group behind, then you go head-to-head, but you’re not eyeball-to-eyeball. Here it’s eyeball-to-eyeball and it’s one-on-one.
Q: Anyone who draws you is going to get a lot of media attention. And Gonzalo gave you praise. He said a couple of times, I think, he’s beatable, I think I can beat him. And he also repeated he’s not playing at his best. There’s been a history of people who have made comments like that to you at this event. What’s your reaction to those comments?
TIGER WOODS: I feel exactly the same way as he does. I feel he’s beatable, too.
Q: Have you ever played him, have you ever met him?
TIGER WOODS: No. I’ve seen him before on ranges, generally on the European Tour. I did see that when we were in Australia, he played at Barclays and ended up winning there. I ended up seeing that playoff. And it was life. But I don’t think I’ve ever met him. But I’ve seen him a few times over the years in Europe.
Q: No wonder you don’t have 72 holes, you only get 18 for that one day. Do you prepare differently because of the format difference?
TIGER WOODS: It is a sprint, it is a boat race. You have to get off to quick starts. Generally if you get down early, two or three down, those– you rarely come back. It’s hard to make up ground when you’re only playing 18 holes. 36 holes, over at Wentworth or the 36-hole final here, things like that, you can make a come back. But 18 holes is tough. It puts such a premium on getting off to a good start, and the guys that do generally win the matches.
Q: Do you carry yourself on day 1 like it’s day 4 on stroke play?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely, 100 percent. You have to. In theory, I shot 65 and you’re going home, that’s just the way it is. And that’s just the nature of this format. You have to go low. But there are some matches, I remember I think it was Monty playing maybe Poult or somebody, it was a Monty match, at LaCosta, the winner shot 79, but only 18 holes. That can happen, too. But you just don’t know. You don’t know who you’re going to get or how they’re playing. In either case you have to go out and make birdies.
Q: You were up in Phoenix a few weeks ago, I know the fans like you to play that tournament. Is it possible?
TIGER WOODS: Sure, it’s possible. No doubt. I’ve had great times when I played there. It’s been a while since I’ve been back. I don’t think they quite have libations as close as they did on 16 as when I holed out.
Q: Regardless of the number next to your name, all you’ve got to do is win six matches. With that said, what’s it like to come here?
TIGER WOODS: You know, it doesn’t really matter if you’re 16 or 5, it doesn’t matter. Once you’re in, you’re in. Any guy can win any match. We’ve seen that over the years. And it’s totally different, the world rankings are done over a two-year revolving period. That’s how we get to this point. Two years. And here it’s just– not just one day, but one round. And sometimes not even 18 holes. So anybody can beat anybody at this level. That’s what makes it so interesting for us as players. I’m sure for the fans, as well. You can see guys go out and play well and go home. It certainly makes it difficult sometimes for TV. You don’t always have the marquee names on the final, but that’s the nature of this format.
Q: How does what others say motivate you, if at all, honestly?
TIGER WOODS: It used to quite a bit when I was younger. But as I’ve matured and gone beyond that it’s just an opinion, it’s their own opinion. Everyone has a hole, and it’s just like that (laughter) that’s kind of how I look at it, it’s their prerogative, it’s their opinion. What matters is how I go out and play and how I’m progressing in my game. At the end of the day when I’m retired, I think I will have mastered a pretty good record.
Q: You mentioned putting, if ever there was a course that would test that part of your game, it’s this course, here, how do you like this course as far as match play goes and the format?
TIGER WOODS: Well, one, it’s tricky, because you have to hit the ball here well to give yourself good putts, the greens have a lot of movement. Most of the par-5s are reachable. Sometimes they muck around with that par-5 on the back nine and move it up a hundred yards. But it’s just the nature of this golf course is that a lot of swing things can happen during matches. Guys can be in good positions and still lose holes here. When we were at LaCosta playing there, that didn’t really happen. Here it can certainly do that in a heartbeat.
Q: Would you like to see this tournament stick around at this venue?
TIGER WOODS: I see no reason why it can’t. This is a wonderful venue. I think at Dove Mountain and the Ritz, I think everyone enjoys the facilities. I think from a player, it provides so many different options, that it’s wonderful for match play.
Q: I know you’ve been asked this most every time you’ve been out this year, but are the swing changes, are they now to where you don’t have to think about it when you’re playing, are they becoming more automatic?
TIGER WOODS: You’re always thinking about it, at least I’m always thinking about it. I was like that with Butch. I was like that with John, prior to that and Rudy and Hank. It’s all the same. You’re always thinking about it. But there are times, yes, it feels more natural. The patterns are certainly more ingrained. And that’s how I feel now. But I do think about it. There are certain days it’s a little off and you have to go fix it. This game is fluid and we have to make those adaptations.
Q: You wrote once that like a lot of 20 years old you never saw a putt you didn’t like, how has that changed over the years?
TIGER WOODS: Every putt can be buried.
Q: Every putt can be buried?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely.
Q: So your self-belief, your fearlessness, you would characterize it as the same as always?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah.
TIGER WOODS: I was with the kids all week. As you can tell I’m a little nasally, coming back from a cold. Once they bring it home, we all get it. So the kids have been a little sick and a little under the weather, trying to get them through that.
Q: You say that you’re always thinking about your swing thoughts. Do you think about them when you play or just when you’re practicing?
TIGER WOODS: No, when I play. Different shots require different feels. Different shots– certain days it’s easy. You just go out there and see a shot and hit it. Other days it’s a little more difficult. And I think you’ll find that with every player.
Q: What’s a hard shot for you now?
TIGER WOODS: Probably carrying it 370 (laughter.)
Q: When I play a round and I have a bad shot, I tend to get frustrated. So I was wondering how you get back into balance after a bad hole?
TIGER WOODS: I think that’s a good thing you get frustrated. Because obviously you have expectations of what you can do, what you can accomplish. And I think that’s good. I would challenge you to try and channel that type of energy and that frustration into focus for the next one. There are times when, yeah, I get angry, and I get angry on purpose, to get my energy up, so that I will be focused for the next one, more so than I was at a previous one.