Tiger’s Wyndham Championship press conference: Thursday
Q: Tiger, great playing today. Iron play or putter, which was better?
TIGER WOODS: They were both solid today. It was nice, you know, nice to finally get something out of a round, a round that could be 2- to 4-under par. Funny, 6, nice to actually get something out of the round, especially on 9.
Q: You hit a lot of the great putts today. Lot of people seeing you for the first time here. Draw some energy from the crowd today?
TIGER WOODS: It was electric, especially early. Nice, probably my very first hole there. Walked off. Overall, people have been fantastic. So nice and so supportive and this is a ton of atmosphere.
Davis has seen — I played with him on Tuesday, “I’ve seen the same people here for the last 20 years.” They play two different places but sees the same people, and I love that about tournaments and I like this. Nice ballpark. People are great. Very close. It’s fun.
Q: You are selling a lot of tickets.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks.
Q: Best opening round of the year for Tiger Woods. Tiger, I was watching you out there, proximity to the hole was awesome, your iron play and putter was on fire.
Talk about how difficult these greens are the last two days. Would you say those two aspects were the best part of your game today?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. My iron play was very solid, but it was nice to finally get some putts going in, and on top of that, it was nice to make some par putts. Ripped a couple putts past the hole. 16 ripped it past the hole, 15 feet. Made that one for par and the par putt on 9, ripped it past the hole and also made it.
It’s nice to make birdie putts but I think those par putts are probably — I feel more energetic when I make those putts than I do a birdie.
Q: The energy. Every time you show up at an event you have energy and focus. When you come to a new event, new city for the very first time, and you have this energy of the crowd around you, does it energize you?
TIGER WOODS: It’s electric out there from the very first hole. The people have been so nice and so supportive. It’s a small-town atmosphere. Really cool. Davis has been here for 20-some years. “Yeah, I’ve been seeing the same people for the last 20 years out here. They come and support this event.” I holed one on the very first hole, and people went nuts. Pretty much like that for the rest of the day.
Q: See you tomorrow.
TIGER WOODS: Got it.
Q: Tiger, just talk about this round. Pretty well for you. You’re in contention moving forward. Confidence gained from this?
TIGER WOODS: I felt very good out there today. I hit a lot of good iron shots, made some putts, a round that probably could have been 2- to 4-under par and turned into 6. Finally, I got something out of my round. I was telling Joey today it was nice to finally get something out of it today, instead of going the other way.
Q: What did you like about this course?
TIGER WOODS: The golf course is tricky. I know it’s wet and the fairways, ball in hand, but the greens are so fast. They’re so speedy. Hideki, myself, even Brooks, we ripped a couple putts down there probably 10, 15 feet past the hole, and even though as wet as they are, they’re still that fast downhill, down-grain and got to respect it, and it puts such a premium on iron play to put the ball in the right spot and give yourself putts. For the majority of the day, I was putting myself in perfect spots where I can be aggressive.
Q: To set yourself up as you had today, it’s got to be encouraging.
TIGER WOODS: It’s nice to be able to get off to a nice solid start finally, and I know that everybody is going low out here and it’s going to probably take something 20-plus if it stays like this, ball in hand for the rest of the week.
Guys are going to go low, and it’s nice to get off to a good start. I got to continue making birdies because everyone else is going to be doing the same thing.
Q: Can you talk about the chip-in on No. 1 that you made?
TIGER WOODS: I got lucky and got a good lie. The greens were soft. I went for the shot and instead of playing something more conservative, the greens were hard and fast, and I wanted to play something long. Soft today, I got aggressive with it and I went for it and I pulled it off and nice too. I could see it going in. I give it a little early call. That helped pretty good too.
Q: You know you have to make birdie is a good thing for you this week. In other words, you’re not going to (inaudible).
TIGER WOODS: I don’t know if that’s good or bad. You just have to do it, accept how the golf course is playing.
Some years, let’s say golf course could be brutally hard like Firestone when it’s dry. No one is thinking birdies. The other two years, when it’s rainy and soft, everybody is thinking birdies. This is one of those golf courses.
Davis has said that he’ll go down 5- with a 3-wood and 9-iron to that hole. It’s hard and fast. Now I hit driver and 5-iron today. It’s just the way it is when the golf course is hard and fast. This, of course, is unbelievably tricky. When it’s like this you got to throw darts and go low.
Q: What’s different about today than any of the struggles you’ve had? You mentioned earlier —
TIGER WOODS: I guess I made a few putts, key putts. I made some nice birdie putts but also made two good par-putts. I made a par-putt on 16. I had it kind on the back edge and ran it by at least 15 feet and made that coming back. And then the putt on 9, I hit a good tee shot out there, perfect iron I thought right at the flag. Came up a yard short.
And even though we played lift, clean and place, I’m looking at every single spot within a club length of the green and even the greens, wet bermuda, it’s a tough shot. I went for the putter and got probably a little too conservative, little by the hole and step up there and make that putt to end my day really feels good.
Q: Early in the round did you get a sense this is going to be a good one?
TIGER WOODS: Probably not until five, six, seven holes into it. I felt the rhythm of the round and felt that I was starting to feel the numbers, hitting the ball right on the number, the right shape, hold the ball on the hills on tee shots. I was getting into the flow of the round.
TIGER WOODS: Quicken Loans. I think on Friday I hit the ball about like this. I just didn’t make any putts. But I hit the ball about like this.
Q: Tiger, what does it do for your confidence when you sort of have a tough week like you did at the PGA last week?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, one, I felt like — I know it’s crazy to say, but I wasn’t playing that poorly at the PGA. Every spot I put myself — I missed, I had no lie.
We’re looking at Martin, he hit a couple shots on the same spot, and he had perfect lies and made three birdies and where I made two bogeys in the same spots.
That’s kind of unique for that golf course. If you play well, you’re going to do what Jordan and Jason did, but I wasn’t playing quite that sharp.
Any borderline shot I never got away with it, and that’s the way it goes. I felt like I was hitting the ball good enough and just keep progressing and today was just a continuation of it.
Q: Tiger, could you sense the energy from the fans?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. They’ve been fantastic. People even on Tuesday evening with Davis and I went out late to even yesterday morning and today, early in the morning, they were out here for all 18 holes. They were into it.
It was nice. I was making birdies, Brooks made some birdies, Hideki got off to a good start as well. All under par and all making birdies and putts, and I think it was fun, I guess, for everyone because all three of us played well.
TIGER WOODS: He was. He had some good ones.