What they said: Tiger Woods

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March 24, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

Courtesy ASAP Sports.

Arnold Palmer Invitational transcript archive JOHN BUSH: Tiger Woods joins us, the 1-under 71, Tiger, a little bit of trouble on 14 and 15, but a good bounce back on 16. Talk a little bit about your round as a whole.

TIGER WOODS: As a whole I played well today. I hit a lot of good shots and was just very consistent today. I had a 3-putt there at 2; bogeyed 14; obviously doubled 15.

But overall, I was pleased with the way I was hitting the golf ball and my pace on the greens.

Q. Did some woman yell something on 15 tee??

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we're finding out what happened, there was an 18-year-old kid that passed out right at the concession stand, hit, and she yelled, and it happened to be right in midway on my downswing, and I tried to stop it but I passed the point of no return. I stopped it and flipped it out-of-bounds.

Q. The position you're in right now, familiar spot for you, a place where you've had some success; can you talk about closing tomorrow and your mindset??

TIGER WOODS: I'm just looking forward to it. It's going to be fun. Graeme and I, we enjoy playing together and it's going to be a fun pairing.

I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing what happens.

Q. You were playing so well, just as you said, very consistent, no mistakes, which has been -- no mistakes, birdies, but no mistakes. How difficult was it to bounce back? You missed the shot on 14 a little bit, then plug lie, and then what happens on 15. Mentally, how annoying was it?

TIGER WOODS: Actually it was very simple, because the only bad shot I hit was there at 14. 15 was just one of those fluke things, and if I take that away, I make par on a hole; rather, I had a birdie putt in my head and I'm at 13 under.

So it was a solid day. Just happened to have just one little fluke thing where a kid passed out.

Q. Are you concerned with the emotions of having a four-shot lead, three-shot lead; it's one, could have been three.

TIGER WOODS: But I still have the lead.

Q. Compare and contrast where YOUR game is now, versus the last time you hooked up with Graeme at your own event, which seems like a long time to go to a lot of us; 15 months that would be.

TIGER WOODS: I had just started working with Foley a couple months, so I was very new to the mold.

I only had one pattern at the time. Now I've got much more of a variety of game I can play out there. At the time I was very one-dimensional, and it was -- I did pretty good with it for three days, but I couldn't do that well with it for four days.

Q. Could you talk about your second shot on 16 and from that lie, did you even consider not going for it because of what had happened on 14 and 15??

TIGER WOODS: No, I had a perfect lie, it was sitting really clean. I had virtually the same number as I had on 15. I had 179 to the hole on 15; I had 180 hole on 16. And the wind was more across than in, so it was no problem carrying 7-iron to the hole, just carry it out to the right and let the wind bring it back and it was all right.

Q. On 15, curious what kind of look you had on the second shot and the significance of it, given it was your fourth shot.

TIGER WOODS: Say again?

Q. On 15 after you reloaded, what look did you have, were you blocked out by the trees??

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit my 7-iron right of the right bunker and turned it just a little bit. Turned it about halfway because the wind was coming in off the right.

Q. You've talked about this plenty in the past. This year, guys have really struggled with a 54-hole lead on TOUR. What is different about playing with a lead? How does it change a player, and how do you account for 48 of 52 when you're in this spot?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I enjoy it. That means I've played well to get here. It's not like I'm slashing it all over the place and happened to be at 11-under par.

If you're in the lead, you've done some good things. That's how I've always looked at it, and it's a nice position to be in.

Q. Why do you think guys have struggled??

TIGER WOODS: Well, they have not won a lot of tournaments. These are not the guys who have won 20-plus events. They are looking for their first event or they have only won one, or maybe even two.

It's a little bit different story when, in my generation, when you have Vijay and Phil who have won 20-plus events and they are in that position. It's different when you're looking for your first win. I think most of the guys here this year are looking for their first win; whether it was Kyle or it was Charlie at Pebble, they are guys looking for their first wins.

Q. G-Mac said he had to play away from a lot of the flags today. Did you find that you could be aggressive at some of them??

TIGER WOODS: I wasn't aggressive at hardly any. It was just too firm. And I just relied on my lag putting. Just get up there and just lag putt it, because the greens were crusty, and they are all different speeds. That's the difficult thing about it is that you have to adjust on the greens; every green -- the first six greens were all different speeds.

So it was quite a test trying to get the feel right, even when you're playing conservatively and you put yourself away from the flag.

Q. It seemed your misses today were not that severe. Are you pleased with every aspect of your game going into tomorrow??

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I am. I'm excited about tomorrow. I'm pleased at what I did today. As I said, just that one thing that happened at 15; otherwise, it's a round in the 60s.

That was a solid round of golf under these conditions, and you know, we are supposed to get some rain probably in the morning, so we'll see what happens with how much that softens things up.

Q. Graeme was just in here and we were all asking him about what it's going to be like playing with you in the final pairing tomorrow. What's it going to be like for you playing with Graeme? Will you change your approach at all? Is there risk of getting sucked into a match-play competition against him?

TIGER WOODS: No, not at all, because we have got guys right behind us. I believe there's, what, two guys at 8. Some guys can make runs.

Obviously Poults and Ernie played well today, and it's the type of golf course that you can post a good number here. So we need to get off to good starts, and go ahead and just play our games.

Q. I think you went like 38 holes where you had birdie putts. Is it safe to say that you feel you're controlling your ball better than you have since 2009??

TIGER WOODS: Absolutely.

Q. Elaborate??

TIGER WOODS: I am. (Smiling).

Q. The putt at 2, putting through the fringe, led to a 3-putt; can you talk about that, and the difference between that and the putt at 6 that rode the ridge from the 90 feet.

TIGER WOODS: The putt at 2, that was probably the slowest green we played on all day, and I happened to be into the grain on 1, and it's the slowest green. I rap it and just miss it on the low side.

Get to 2, I can see it's baked out. I can see it's mostly dirt. And it's like, okay, I know it's fast; I know it's faster than 1, but how much faster is it. Mmm, I'll take just a little bit off of it, and it still rapped it past the hole. That was frustrating.

Got to 6, and it was very similar to what it was on 1, it was slow and soft and green. Even though I was 90 feet, I had to hit the putt probably a little harder than I normally would have, especially against No.2.

Q. With your success conversion ratio and all that tomorrow, does that help between the ears knowing how often you've gotten it done here under a variety of odd circumstances? And not to go all Zen, but what would a win mean? You're probably sick of reading about 30 months and all these numbers we keep throwing around.

TIGER WOODS: I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing and competing again.

As far as what it would mean, it would mean No. 72. Not a bad number, either.

JOHN BUSH: Tiger, we appreciate your time. Play well tomorrow.

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