Interview: Tiger Woods

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August 29, 2013

MORE: Deutsche Bank Championship interviews

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Tiger Woods into the interview room here at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Tiger is currently No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, making his actually five Top 10 finishes at this tournament, including a win in 2006.
First of all, welcome back to TPC Boston.

TIGER WOODS: I'm excited to be back. This is exciting for us. The Foundation is now running the event. And also it benefits our Foundation. So it's incredible for us as a staff.

And I just played 18. The golf course is in great shape. The greens are running nice. Played a lot longer today, obviously with a little cooler temperatures and a little bit of drizzle, the golf course played really long.

The forecast is supposed to be pretty good, and if that's the case, I think this course has made some changes over the years, and players have really liked it, and I think that it will be a great championship this week.

JOHN BUSH: Speaking of your Foundation, the partner with the Red Sox foundation to provide scholarships to five local kids from the Boston area. We've got two of those here with us, Jamal Adan and Vladimir Cassues. Also joining us is Gena Borson and Jeff White from the Red Sox Foundation. Talk about how important it is to provide those scholarships.

TIGER WOODS: It is an opportunity for these kids to go to college and make something of themselves and their lives. And we're excited to be able to provide that opportunity.

But ultimately, we can provide the opportunity, but they have to take the responsibility and initiative to go ahead and do it. That's what's exciting for us. If you give these kids a chance, it's amazing what they're able to do. I believe Vladimir is going to be singing the National Anthem tomorrow at the game. It's pretty exciting stuff.

Q. How is your knee?

TIGER WOODS: It's great. Thanks.

Q. Just get an update on your back and at what point you felt you were good enough to play?

TIGER WOODS: The back has been it's a lot better than obviously on Sunday. It was nice to have that extra day of rest, having the tournament start on Friday certainly helps. And I've gotten treatment every day, two to three times a day. And it feels good.

Today was nice. I was able to go out there, I hadn't swung a club since Sunday at the Barclays, and it was nice to go out today and feel comfortable and be able to hit shots. I was only going to play nine holes and chip and putt on the back nine like I did at Barclays, but it felt good so I continued playing today.

Q. A two parter, related to your back and also the Foundation. Since you have a connection to this event, and always have, was there a greater urgency to make sure that you were healthy enough to play here this week because of that? And secondly, with the Foundation sort of taking over the day to day operations is your week different at all because of that?

TIGER WOODS: The second part is very simple, is my responsibilities don't change. They're the same. We were the beneficiary of the charities and then the dollars that were raised here. So that hasn't changed, just because my staff is running it, doesn't mean that I have to do anymore obligatory things.

As far as getting back here, I want to get back here. This is one of my favorite tournaments. The crowds are incredible here, great sporting town. And a golf course I like. I've played well here over the years. And as I said to Ferg, here, is it was nice to have that extra day. It made a big difference. It was nice to go out there today and be able to play all 18 holes today and have no issues whatsoever.

Q. What kind of treatment have you received over the last couple of days and if your back feels better, is it something you're going to continue to do over the course of the next however many days and weeks and months?

TIGER WOODS: Ice, stim, ultrasound, soft tissue, make sure the firing sequence is good, it's in the proper sequence, and that and plenty of rest, something I'm not real good at, but I was forced to do it.

As far as receiving that type of treatment, yeah, I'm going to have to do it. I don't want to have to do it. So hopefully my back will stay where it's at right now and, if not, improve so I can start doing the other little exercises, start strengthening it and getting back to where it needs to be.

Q. A lot of the fans are obviously looking forward to you playing tomorrow with Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson. Can you just talk about what it's like to play with them. And I think it was in 2007 here you and Phil played in the last group together and he edged you by a couple of shots, can you talk about your memories of that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Adam, Phil and I don't think we played in the same group since Torrey in '08. It's fun to have that type of pairing. I think we're all one, two and three in the world. And we had that pairing at the U.S. Open, but that's obviously a little different pairing, but still it's a fun, exciting pairing for us. We enjoy it.

And going out there in '07, you know, Phil and I were definitely battling. I think he had either a one or two shot lead starting out the day. And I tried to make a run, and we were both making birdies. I think he birdied 16, which was huge. It was close until the end where I just couldn't make enough birdies. And in the end he beat me by two or three in the tournament that week.

Q. I'm curious if your back at all would prohibit some clubs, maybe a driver, and that's, A. And B, do you hit driver as a rule here a little bit or not much at all?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I hit driver pretty much almost every hole today. It was soft, drizzly, cold for a Florida kid. So it required a bunch of drivers. And I had no problems hitting them and it felt good to be able to have that feeling again, considering the last time I swung a club, it wasn't that way.

Q. Is there any connection to, and if you answered this already, I apologize, but from the issues from the PGA on Sunday to what you experienced at Barclays?

A. No, no, totally two totally different deals.

Q. Secondly, the fact that you haven't gone through a year without some kind of an injury at some point in the year, is that something you're either concerned about or just going to have to get used to at your advancing age?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's part of playing sports, you know. We push it and we have little knickknack injuries that happen. That's part of playing sports. And I've had plenty of surgeries over the course of my career, starting in '94, when I was in college. So it's the nature of what we do as an athlete. I try to do a lot of preventative things, but the nature of it is that we are subjecting our bodies to things that probably it wasn't meant to do.

Q. Did you have treatment before the Pro Am this morning, do you expect to have it this afternoon?
TIGER WOODS:
Yes. Yep.

Q. Do you foresee this kind of the injury, the back injury, impacting the kind of practice you're able to perform for the rest of the week?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's a good question. I don't know. I don't know. It's a day to day deal on how I feel, whether I'm going to practice or not after, whether or not I'm going to get a little bit tight now, go eat, if I get a little bit tight, then I probably won't hit balls. But I'd like to putt a little bit, get a feel for the speed of the greens. But as far as hitting balls it's going to be day to day. This was, as I said, the first day I hit balls or swung a club since Sunday. And it was a pleasant surprise to go out there and play without any discomfort today.

Q. With other injuries that you've had you've been able to treat them anywhere from surgery to rest. A back injury often is something that can be debilitating for a long time, you've seen guys like Freddie and Rocco over the years deal with them. Is this something that worries you over the long term?

A. No. Do you want me to elaborate?

Q. Yes, please.

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's the nature of it is it could be fixed through the treatments that I just the protocols I just gave you. If that's the case, that's fantastic, and I've just got to adhere to it and do it. And obviously it's going to be a long stretch through here and through The Presidents Cup, I'm playing a lot of golf. And that's why it's great having the physios that I have and have been working on my body for a number about of years. And they know my body.

Q. Was there a turning point during the week when you did start to feel better, and maybe was there a mental hurdle that you had to get over?

TIGER WOODS: I started feeling better yesterday. As far as any mental hurdle, no. I felt great this morning. The treatment was good and felt ready to go. And I did full activation and went out there today and warmed up, had no issues, and then went out and played. As I said, it was a pleasant surprise to play all 18. I was just going to play nine and shut it down and chip and putt on the back nine. But I felt good.

Q. You said that you hadn't swung a club since Sunday. Were you apprehensive at all this morning the first couple of times or were you pretty confident that you were going to be able to go issue free?

TIGER WOODS: It was nice to do a full activation this morning and go through the whole program. So if I'm able to do that I can go out and play.

Q. Today the college football season starts. As you know, up and down the range guys like to crow a bit about their teams as the season progresses. Considering Stanford has been playing well the last couple of years, do you get involved in that banter with some of the players?

TIGER WOODS: Of course. Are you kidding me? (Laughter).

Depends on what poll you ask. We're either one to four, somewhere in there. But that's all preseason stuff. You've still got to go out there and earn it. You've still got to go out and win the games and execute. Just because people pick you to be up there for a chance to go to a national championship game, that's all great and fun and all, but still you've got to go out there and earn it on the field. I'm excited for them, for the boys this year, Coach Shaw has done a hell of a job taking over from where Jim left it and just has run with it. It's fantastic.

Q. Do you have expectations for Stanford this year?

TIGER WOODS: Of course.

Q. Can you share them?

TIGER WOODS: Every year. Win every game (laughter).

Q. With all the changes they've made to the FedExCup playoffs over the last couple of years, it seems to be getting more dramatic and exciting at the end of every season. Is that the feeling among the players, and if there's any tweaks, anything you'd want tweaked?

TIGER WOODS: The first couple of years there was really no drama going into The TOUR Championship. I had won it outright and Vijay had won it outright, and all we could do is just tee it up.

There was a minor reset, but still didn't quite have the same drama and came up with this where it's just two different resets now. And anybody that's in the top five, they win the Tour Championship, they automatically win the FedExCup. You're playing all year to be in the top five, so if you win The TOUR Championship it's an automatic win, versus just gathering points the entire year, and add them up at the end of the year.

It was a bit of a shift for us as players, because we were always based on the money list, how much money we made for the year, and that basically won you the Arnold Palmer award. And generally led you to the Player of the Year award.

So the FedExCup has changed our way of thinking, and especially now with the two resets, it makes it very exciting at the Tour championship for sure. There's a lot of different dynamics that can happen. We saw it last year. I think Billy was well out of it and then the top guys didn't play well, he won the tournament and moved past everybody.

Q. You raised a point a minute ago, we've always had the one, two, three pairings in the FedExCup, but I think this is probably the first time the one, two, three, have also been one, two, three in the world. Do you think that adds to the momentum? And the second half of that question would have been has your outlook on this part of the year changed at all since the year started?

TIGER WOODS: What was the last part?

Q. The last part is has your outlook, excitement, enthusiasm, level changed since you started in '07?

TIGER WOODS: The pairings of one, two and three, and points always happens, but it's exciting for I know for me to have it one, two, three in the world. It also goes to show you that those are three hottest players in the world. And also that's one of the reasons why they've gathered the most points.

The outlook, has it changed since '07? I think it certainly has, because of the different formats that we've gone through in the playoffs. Before it was just, as I said, just gather as many points as you possibly can throughout the whole year, and try and hopefully be enough at the end of the year. But as I said, Vijay and I had already won it by the time we got to

Q. Is there any chance that you could have won it all and not won The TOUR Championship and lost, kind of what Rory went through laster use?

TIGER WOODS: Technically, you can win every tournament you play in all year, you win 30 events and lose the last one and lose the FedExCup. So that's I know the Tour has been on us it's very similar to what the Patriots went through. You have an undefeated season, but you don't win the last game, you don't win the Super Bowl, you don't win the FedExCup. They're trying to create some excitement towards the end of the year. They've done a great be job of that.

We as players have gotten used to the new resets, and got our minds wrapped around it and what we need to do. And I think the fans have really gotten into it. And I think also the markets we go to, having three huge markets to start off the playoffs certainly helps.

Q. Were there any maybe check points during the round today where you thought I feel better than I should right now? And maybe that approach shot on 17, did that kind of reassure you there, too?

TIGER WOODS: I felt good all day. I felt good, as I said, on activation. I felt good in the warm up today and went out and played. I hit driver just about every hole and had no issues today. The lie like that on 17 is just a wedge, not going to do much. If it was a tournament, I had to hit a different shot, you never know, but today it was just nice to kind of pop it on the green and let my boy try and putt it in there.

Q. Kind of an off beat question. Yesterday helped your back. Just how important is the bye week next week helps in terms of that. And secondly, what's your sort of favorite scenario, where it's going to be four weeks in a row, what's sort of your favorite of those scenarios for the bye week?

TIGER WOODS: I'll answer the first part. The first part is I think it certainly does help me. The extra day helped. Having next week off helps.

As far as when the bye week is going to happen, it's interesting, because I think we've gone through different scenarios. We played three in a row, taking a week off, play The TOUR Championship, Ryder Cup on the back end, whether it's here in the States or it's abroad. Two two on, and then a break, and then The Presidents Cup on the back end. So as long as we get a little bit of a break in there, because a lot of the guys, starting from the British Open on, we play a ton of golf. And some of the guys are obligated to play in Canada or some of the guys have to play or do play in Greensboro. And I think Sneds was saying he's played ten weeks in a row or something like that. That's a lot. And especially for him, for instance. He had a big injury this year, early in the year and asked his body to do that at the end of the year. It's a lot. But having a little break here and there, it does help.

And I don't know what the easiest flow is, whether it's two on or one off and two back on or it's three and one and a Cup on the backside. As long as we get a break in there somewhere.

Q. What kind of bed are you sleeping on this week?

TIGER WOODS: A flat one. No, it's a good one.

JOHN BUSH: Thank you, sir, appreciate it.

TIGER WOODS: Thank you.

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