THE HONDA CLASSIC
February 27, 2013Eastern Indiana Sports
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA
JOHN BUSH: Tiger, welcome back to The Honda Classic, just get some comments.
TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course has certainly got a lot of grass on it this year. The rough is up. The fairways are a bit watery. We've had probably five or six mud balls today. Greens are running perfectly smooth. But there's a little bit more grass on it than there was certainly last year for sure.
Q. You've got a very early tee time tomorrow at a soft golf course. Do you think that will change how you approach your round tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: Well, depends how the weather comes in. The front is supposed to be moving through here and picking up a little bit of wind and cooling off a little bit.
So we'll see what happens. We'll see what the adjustment might be, and whether or not the game plan will change or not.
Q. You and Rory have some symmetry here after last year, being friends; just talk about your relationship with Rory.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he's a friend of mine, who just happens to be the No. 1 player in the world. That's about it.
Q. Do you look at him at all like how Mark helped you?? that he needs your help, but a lot of pros ??
TIGER WOODS: I don't think it's quite the same level as I was with Mark and Cookie. Back in those days, those guys really took me under their wing. Went out to dinner all the time and basically travelled together on TOUR, went fishing all the time. Whether it's here in Florida, whether it's to Alaska, we did a bunch of vacation trips together but they were like my big brothers at the time. They basically still are. It's a different type of relationship.
Q. Can you take us through the match you guys played the other day at Medalist and how it came together?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he moved down here, and we figured, let's get a game sometime. We were kind of hoping that it wouldn't be that Sunday, but we were both free, and went out and played. Played a quick 36, and he headed off to do whatever he needed to do, and I went back home and did some more training.
Q. Can you give us your assessment on the latest banned putter stuff? Obviously a lot of developments here recently?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, my position hasn't changed. I still think that it should be swung, it shouldn't be anchored, and that hasn't changed at all. But obviously nothing is set in stone, nothing's firm.
The USGA and R&A are the governing bodies of our rules, and we'll see what happens. Hopefully we don't have to bifurcate or adapt a local rule like we do sometimes out here on TOUR with the stones and bunkers and things of that nature. Hopefully we won't have to do that with our putter.
Q. What about what the Commissioner said on Sunday, taking the stance that he hopes that they don't do it?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I understand that. I get it. I mean, the guys that play our TOUR, all three of them play our TOUR full?time, have won major championships with an anchored putter. I understand his position but I still feel that all 14 clubs should be swung. That hasn't changed at all whatever.
Q. In terms of this tournament, you moved here a couple of years ago and a lot of players live in the area now; is there any reason why this tournament seems to elevate in players' minds and grown in so much in the last four or five years?
TIGER WOODS: I think it had to do with the re?do, with Jack coming in here and making the golf course more difficult and better. I think it brought a lot of guys into the field, and it's a nice home match for a lot of guys. I know some of the guys who live here aren't playing it but that's the way it goes.
I think in general when Jack made this golf course and made it better for a championship venue, a lot of guys really took notice of that.
Q. When you lost in the first round last week??
TIGER WOODS: It's different. Generally if you're missing a cut, you're probably not playing that well. I actually played well, and only played one day. So I missed a few putts out there, but other than that, I really played well and unfortunately I ran into a guy who also played well, actually better than I did. He made a couple more birdies, and that's just the nature of the business in that format.
You know, you can win matches, as I said, when I was out there, I've seen guys shoot 7?under par and go home. I remember at La Costa, a guy shot 79 and moved on. It's just the nature of the format.
Q. How much do you see the course conditions changing?
TIGER WOODS: I don't think they are going to be changing that much. There's so much water out there right now. It's so soft, we're picking up mud balls, and if we get anymore rain, it's probably going to be even more of a factor. It will change, obviously it's going to get cool, but it's not going to dry it out enough.
Q. You had a 62 last year, can that final round be a positive coming into this year?
TIGER WOODS: It was a totally different wind that we had today, exact opposite direction. We had it so that when it was pumping on 18 today?? in the bunker, not even sniffing it. Totally different wind, totally different shots but that's the way the golf course will play. We will probably have a totally different wind tomorrow than we do right now. As the week goes on, you're just going to have to adapt and play.
Q. (Regarding final day last year).
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was not exactly best position to start off the round, that far back. I made a run and I thought it might get me into a situation where I might have a chance at a playoff. But Rory made a couple birdies down the stretch and basically iced it.
Q. How did you deal with the scrutiny and the focus on you when you first became No. 1 with the spotlight on you and are there any changes you might have made, and how do you think Rory is dealing with that so far and what advice would you give him?
TIGER WOODS: What question ?? when you ask?? (laughter).
Q. How did you deal with it? And how do you think Rory's dealing with it?
TIGER WOODS: I think Rory is doing a fantastic job. As far as in my career, it happened very quickly. I turned pro in August; I think by Augusta, somewhere in there, I became No. 1.
So it was a bit quick. Just came out of college and next thing you know, I'm No. 1 player in the world. It was a little bit faster than what Rory has had. He's had time to adapt and to grow into it. I think he's done a fantastic job of it.
Q. Related to Rory, do you have a good sense of what he's dealing with with the equipment change, especially given the attention that he's now receiving? Obviously the scrutiny is far greater; people do this all the time, but yet you've gone through it.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I went through equipment changes over the years, but as I said, it's over the years. There have been a lot of players who have done wholesale changes with sponsorships. I think Ernie has played for every company there is out there. There are a few guys who have done that and they have had a lot of success, and there are a lot of stories where they have not done well and been off the TOUR soon.
Rory, understandably, he's going through the process. We talked about it a little bit. It is a process. The good news is about today's equipment, we have so many different ways of testing it and tracking it and getting numbers, which back in the days even when I came up and obviously well before then, you didn't have these numbers in which you can get your launch conditions, your spin rate, basically any kind of data you want, any kind of data you can get; that wasn't the case.
Q. There's two weeks between Bay Hill and the Masters this year. Will that alter your schedule a little bit in what you might plan to do pre?Masters? Maybe take a little trip or come into Augusta earlier?
TIGER WOODS: I definitely will go to Augusta and play. Don't know how many holes I'll play. Sometimes it's 18; sometimes it's 36, but I'd like to get up there and take a look at it, they made a couple little changes here and there. Would like to chart those and get that all situated so that I don't have to do any charting during the tournament week.
Q. Is this a longer break than you would rather have between starts before a major?
TIGER WOODS: It is what it is. A break's a break. Always take that little time to get ready, and more than anything, get refreshed and focused, because I've played, usually, a bunch of tournaments in Florida and would like to kind of shut down for a little bit and then gear back up.