What they said: Tiger Woods

July 04, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE: The Greenbrier Classic transcripts archive

MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Tiger Woods into the interview room here at The Greenbrier Classic, making his first start at this event and come off of his 74th career win last week at AT&T National.

Tiger, welcome to The Greenbrier Classic. Get some comments on being here for the first time.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, this is my first time here, West Virginia, so I'm excited about being here. You know, the only connection I've really had to West Virginia has probably been probably either Sam Snead or my college roommate. Other than that, that's about it. So for me this is -- it's fantastic to be here and I'm really looking forward to getting out there and I'm going play a practice round today and check out the golf course and see how it's playing.

MODERATOR: Quite a week last week at AT&T National. Just comment on that win and also everything that went into it in terms of the weather.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the weather, I think everyone understands the impact that the weather had in D.C. because they had it just as bad here and it was pretty devastating. It was tough on our staff and the maintenance crews and everyone involved in the tournament. Long, long hours on Friday; well, early Saturday morning to get the golf course ready to play. We were fortunate to get it in on Saturday so we didn't have to come back and play 36 on Sunday. That would have been really tough to play 36 holes in not only the heat, but also logistically trying to get -- it was a little over 80 players around the golf course in two rounds, so it would have been really tough.

MODERATOR: We'll get started with questions. Pass the microphones around. We'll start with Brian.

Q. Tiger, last week's win, how much do you kind of take from that from a confidence standpoint? Obviously you talked last week that there was a point where it waned, or is it sort of you compartmentalize, put it away, move on to the next week, or do you actually still kind of draw from it into this week?

TIGER WOODS: You know, you try and -- if you have a positive tournament, you try and ride that, and if you have a negative tournament, that didn't exist. So I feel obviously very excited about what I had done last week. Yesterday I kind of, I wouldn't say -- I would say kind of took the day off, but I really didn't. I had to do a shoot for Nike yesterday, so I was hitting some balls during that and working on a couple things I've been -- I wanted to work on, talked to Sean a little bit about some of the things that were slightly off during the week, and also we talked about a lot of the things that I did right. Now I'm excited to come by here and take a look at the golf course but also work on a few things as well.

Q. (inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: I finally have an understanding of everything he wants me to do, so I know what to do to do it right. Sometimes it's not quite there, but I know the fixes. And warming up, it is what it is, it's a warm?up. I'm going to get out there and warm up and then go play. I don't have to learn a system and have his eyes there all the time, but I do like having his opinion after the rounds so we can do some practice sessions. Sometimes it's, hey, everything's good, if you want go hit some balls, go hit some balls; if you want to go putt, go putt, everything's dialed in. Or other times, hey, I saw a couple things out there that you just want to be aware of. We may work a little bit or I may just go home and just think about it, but it's nice having his opinion afterwards.

Q. Tiger, when you have a week like you did last week where things were by and large going pretty well, how do you look back at, let's say, the U.S. Open and say, you know, what happened to you -- now that you look at last week; with the U.S. Open, what happened to you on Saturday and Sunday that you can like now look back and say, okay, this is what happened??

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's the U.S. Open, so if you're fractionally off in a championship like that, especially on that golf course, it doesn't take much. As you know, you were there, if the ball wasn't shaped properly into the fairway, it wouldn't stay in the fairway. And I hit a bunch of fairways but they didn't stay on the fairway on Saturday. Hence, I was playing from the rough, you can't control the ball from the rough, and I missed a couple opportunities. Next thing you know, I'm shooting a high score. So it wasn't as far off as my score my indicate, but on that golf course, it sure made -- it could make you look like that, especially the first six holes. I was sort of subject to that on Sunday. I got off to a terrible start on the first six holes, but battled back after that.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Well, I did a lot of things right and that's one of the positives I took out of it. Did I do a few things wrong? Of course, but it just didn't -- I didn't get anything out of my rounds. I felt that Friday was a big day. I ended up being tied for the lead, but I felt I was just a fraction off from birdieing the last three holes. Sometimes you need those kind of momentum shifts and it didn't work out.

Q. Tiger, can you talk about the process of coming here, when were you sold on coming to the Greenbrier? Did Jim Justice have to do a lot of pulling your arm or what --

TIGER WOODS: This tournament since its inception has been absolutely incredible. I knew about the history of it from Sam and how much he loved coming here and loved being here. He was a representative of the club for a number of years. I knew all that, but I think that what sold it to me is just watching it on TV and then seeing how much the players really enjoyed it. I wanted to play it last year, it fit in my schedule, but I was hurt. I didn't play anything that summer, so that was disappointing. But this year again it worked out perfectly. It's close to D.C. and a lot of guys were driving here from D.C. On top of that, we get a week off after this to get ready for the British. Some guys may go over there and play the week before the British. At least we have that option and that's one of the reasons why the field is so strong here.

Q. Tiger, as someone who has dabbled in course design a little bit, I know a lot of guys would rather play an old?style course like this one as opposed to some of the new resort?style courses.

Is that true for you to have an appreciation for the old?style courses and their characteristics?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, even though it's called TPC now. I'm excited about getting out here. The history of the golf course, having a Ryder Cup here and all that, but I haven't seen it yet. All I've seen is from the telecast of the event the last couple years and seeing Apples and Scott win.

From what I hear from the guys who have played the last couple years, it's a totally different golf course than what it was the first year, much more difficult, and all the players say there's plenty of room to drive it out there, but the greens are a pretty tough complex and you've got to hit the ball in the right spot. Joey was out here earlier today charting all the greens and getting all the numbers, but I need to get out and get a feel for them.

Q. Tiger, I know familiarity is a good thing but is there a freshness to playing a course for the first time and seeing it all for the first time??

TIGER WOODS: It's exciting, it's exciting. It's exciting to go to other places in the world that I have never been. I've traveled all around the world but I've never been to West Virginia, so this is new to me. It's exciting. I've been fortunate to have gone to a lot of states and a lot of different countries on my 17 years out here and this is new. So not too many times you get to say it's new in the United States, but this is new for me.

Q. Tiger, over -- you've won two events before last week and last week you had said that -- well, six months ago nobody said that you could win again, but you had already won two events. What was the difference between last week and kind of giving a shout?out as opposed to your first two wins this year? Do you know what I mean? Is it a confidence thing?

TIGER WOODS: I think that after I won at Bay Hill, I struggled at the Masters with some of the technical stuff that Sean and I were working on. I went back to some of my old patterns. Then winning at Jack's tournament to tie his all?time record was something pretty neat. But also now to break it at my tournament, I think that's -- to me that's special to have had the success that I've had in a relatively short span of time. I've been pretty consistent over the years. The average, I think it's, what, over four wins a year for my career. Even though I've had a few spells in there where I didn't win, I still think that's pretty good.

Q. Tiger, kind of following up on what he said, you said again people said that I wasn't going to win again six months ago, but here we are. I know you have a personal inner drive, it's phenomenal, but can you quantify how much the doubters fueled your determination to get back to where you are right now??

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's just like answering your question. I have to do it in every single press conference and I do press conferences at every tournament except for one, or two now. So that's something that it's -- I have to answer it after post rounds, whether it's in front of you guys or live, a live shot. You do that for a couple years, sometimes you guys can be a little annoying.

Q. Would you talk about your relationship with Sam Snead and what it's going to be like to chase his record??

TIGER WOODS: You know, I met Sam when I was five. He was playing at Calabasas out in L.A. and I was some -- he was doing that outing where he would play with a new group every two holes, so he had nine groups, and I was this little snot?nosed kid at five years old that he had to play the last two holes with. I remember it was a par 3. You know, I'm five, I can't carry it very far. I hit it into the water and he tells me to go pick it up out of the water, and even my -- when my dad was alive, he would tell me that I was slightly competitive even at that age and I didn't like him telling me to pick the ball up, because my dad always taught me you play it as it is, there's no such thing as winter rules. So I went in and played it and I made bogey on that hole, the par 3, and I made bogey on the last hole. I still have the card at home, he signed it and he went par?par and I lost by two.

That was the first time I ever met Sam, but after that we've had countless dinners and conversations, and he was always so funny to be around and the stories he would tell and the needling, the needling was nonstop. That was one of the neat things about Sam.

Q. Two different questions, one kind of taking off on Sam. What does his record mean to you personally? There's obviously been so much attention on Jack's record and the 18 majors. What does 82 wins mean to you?

And then secondly, just a different question, you mentioned Notah giving you a putting tip, if you can kind of expand on that a little bit.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that Sam's record's just absolutely phenomenal, to do it for that long, to win a PGA TOUR event in his 50s, I think he was 52 when he did it, and the consistency that it took. He didn't exactly have easy guys to play against, Hogan and Nelson. Those guys aren't chops, so to be able to do it that long for that many generations, five decades of doing it, it's pretty phenomenal. It's a testament to not only the -- his swing is one of the classic swings that we all try and replicate, we all looked at it, we all analyzed it and we all tried to do it. But he was blessed just like Hogan with just amazing flexibility that a lot of guys just can't do. I mean, he's kicking door archways in his 50s and 60s, just phenomenal. But it was great to get to know him over the years and it was sad when he had to leave.

As far as my putting tip from Notah, that was a conversation we had on, what was it, Tuesday night, and it was kind of more of a philosophical talk, you know, about how I used to putt, what I used to think about. And Notah's known me since I was 11 years old, we go way back from the junior world days. He was from New Mexico and I was from SoCal, and we would meet and we would also play subsequent tournaments and college golf together. He knows my game inside and out, and just talking to him and picking his brain about what he thought about a few things. He made me think back to some of my things I used to think about in college, how I told him how to putt. He said, you might want to go back to that, so I did and I putted pretty good.

Q. Tiger, you've expanded your schedule a little bit this year, I believe it was the Honda you played earlier this year and now here at the Greenbrier. What are some things that you look for when you say, hey, I want to add a tournament to my schedule? What kind of things do you look for in the field and the tournament?

TIGER WOODS: One, it goes back to the golf course. A lot of it is how good a golf course it is and you have to also have the right date for a lot of players to play. We have tours that we play all around the world and so many different playing opportunities and it's tough to make it all work. I've added a couple events and probably will add a couple more throughout the year, so I'm trying to play different events at different places. It's the first time that I've been healthy enough to do it in a very long time and I want to get back to playing a full?time schedule. I think that once I'm able to play a full?time schedule, I'm starting to see some of the consistency come back. I think that's one of the reasons why, from basically Australia on, I've played a pretty full schedule. Australia, end of last year to now, I think my results have reflected that.

Q. You made reference to a connection to West Virginia through a college roommate. Could you explain that??

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, my freshman roommate, yeah. What's that?

Q. Who was that? He was from West Virginia?

TIGER WOODS: He was from West Virginia. I'm not going to give his name because I'm sure you'll research him, so we'll let him be, but I'll tell you what, the dude was smart.

Q. Tiger, you talked about playing more events over the past year now that you're healthy. You're ranked fourth in the world. It's been a while since your minimum divisor in the World Rankings -- I know this isn't Inside Baseball, type stuff but your minimum devisor has been at 40, but at your current pace it's going to go up. How much of a student of the world ranking are you and do you kind of pay attention to that stuff??

TIGER WOODS: Not at all. I haven't hit the minimum divisor, I think, since probably '99, '98, '99, somewhere in there. I've never played it. It's hard to play that many events for me.

Q. You understand how much it will help you, though, in that ranking if you do hit that divisor??

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I can do math.

Q. Think back to the Memorial and you played with Scott Stallings. I know you were completely miserable that day with the flu and fever, whatever. He said you talked about -- you two talked about this event and coming here, you picked his brain about it. Can you talk about those conversations??

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was -- I was going to play in the event and I just wanted to get his opinion on the golf course and what he thought of it. He obviously liked it, he won here last year. We talked about how he won in the playoff and how exciting it was and what a rush that was. But he just liked the family atmosphere that the Greenbrier has and how it's kind of like a very quaint place to play. He was just -- he said everything was positive about the golf course and what Jim has done and the entire facility.

MODERATOR: Tiger, we appreciate you stopping by and play well this week.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks, guys.