THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: TIGER WOODS
July 18, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Q. How was the round?
TIGER WOODS: It wasn't exactly the greatest of starts but I turned it around, and ground my way round. It felt like, even though I was 2-over through two, I still had four par-5s to go and I still had a couple of short holes. So if I played those holes well and the tough holes even par, I'd be somewhere under par. I felt like today someone was going to shoot seven or eight under par, the way it was early. But the wind is picking up now. It was dancing all over out there. It was hard to get a bead on where it was coming from. It kept changing, different angles. But I was able to get it round today.
Q. After you made that putt on 11 you had a nice rhythm from then on, didn't you think?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was nice to get that putt in. It was a tough little putt. There was a clump of grass behind my ball.
TIGER WOODS: I put it back in my stance, picked it straight up and hit down on it. I was able to get through there and on the green and went in. But my next two approach shots to the green, whether it was the second shot at 12 or the tee shot at 13 were both hit with 6-irons, the same shot. So just tried to hit exactly the same shot and I pulled it off twice.
Q. You had to back off your second shot on 18?
TIGER WOODS: Because, no, because people were taking pictures. And like we had all day today. And there was a lot of cameras out there. We were backing off a lot of shots and a lot of people moving around. It was tough.
Q. Is it a serious problem here and worst you've ever dealt with?
TIGER WOODS: No, it was just -- unfortunately people just don't put their phones on silent or some of the professionals guys were getting on the trigger a little early.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, 1, I had no play. I was trying to play it -- if it stayed on the green, great. If it didn't, I made sure I put it in the right spot to two-putt for bogey and move on. 18, I had a good lie but I didn't have much of a swing. I played pretty conservatively there. And I was just trying to fly it to the hole and let it go past the hole or if not on the side of the green.
Q. Can you talk about the bunker shot on 18?
TIGER WOODS: Back of the lip. I could have gotten a little more greedy and played a little bit more fine, but there's really no point.
Q. Were you pleasantly surprised?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I knew I could do it. That's why I was -- I'm telling you guys it was so important for me to play at Congressional. The fact that I was able to recover every day, and the fact that I was stronger, more explosive the more days I played. I'm only going to get better from that point. And I'm getting stronger, I'm getting faster, I'm getting more explosive. The ball is starting to travel again. And those are all positive things.
Q. This is your first Major in 11 months.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Tom just told me that, yeah. It felt fine. I had a good warmup this morning. And went to the first tee and was just trying to put the ball in the fairway, which I did. Stuck a 7-iron in the ground and hit over to the right. It felt good to be back out there competing again. It wasn't exactly the greatest of starts, bogeying the first two, and especially the second hole was a sloppy three-putt there. I ran it past the hole and blocked the second one.
TIGER WOODS: No, as I said, I think Congressional was a big steppingstone for me. If I would have come back, if this was my first tournament back, not really knowing how explosive I could be, how hard I could go at it, the shots I could play, all those were variables that I took care of at Congressional. So I was able to go out there today and play.
Q. What do you need to work on, given all the time you've had off?
TIGER WOODS: Pretty much everything. I need to get everything a little bit better. That's the case all of time, anyways. But at Congressional I made just some terrible mistakes mentally. My decisions weren't very crisp and I wasn't decisive enough. Today was totally different. And consequently I shot a better score.
Q. You bogeyed the first two holes. Were you concerned?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, that's fine. Because I still had four par 5s to play. I still had a couple of the short holes. I'm not going to be the only guy in a 72-hole event to make two bogeys. I just got mine out of the way early. With the forecast the next couple of days supposed to be iffy, guys aren't going to go really low here. We're going to be bunched. It's the type of golf course where the scores are going to be bunched. And you look at the scores, there's a ton of players between 2- and 4-under par. And that's kind of the way this championship, I think, is going to unfold.
Q. How big was the par-save on 4?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, especially with the a par 5 coming up the next hole. To get any kind of momentum, especially when I had a wedge in my hand. I tugged it trying to hold it against that wind and overdid it. And the frustrating thing about that first putt is I hit that putt in practice rounds and I know it's slower. It's more lush over there, there's more grain, it's thicker. I took that into account and still left it eight feet short. But I buried that one, which is nice.
Q. Is the policy of allowing Smart phones and a wifi mesh a double-edged sword?
TIGER WOODS: Well, just put it on silent. Just put it on silent.
Q. Is that the worst experience with phones?
TIGER WOODS: No, no, I've had numerous years of dealing with this. There's a lot of moving parts out there. And you've just got to stay focused and plod my way around.
TIGER WOODS: I think that I was surprised at how much faster the greens got today, after how slow they were in the practice rounds. I thought they were probably going to keep them there. But they definitely sped them up probably maybe six inches to a foot faster than they were in the practice rounds. It will be interesting to see if the rain comes in what's going to happen to them. But they definitely started getting more of a sheen to them. The balls are starting to chase, starting to bounce. And we were on the morning wave, too. That was a little bit surprising.
TIGER WOODS: No, I felt good. I felt good about a lot of things I did out there today. Especially coming back after that start I had today, to fight myself back into the championship. I feel pretty good about it.
TIGER WOODS: No, zero, same. I played it for what the golf course allowed me to play. As I said to you guys on Tuesday is that I've got a chance to play this golf course with three different winds, and that was big, because a lot of the lines I had to make adjustments today, I'd already done it in practice rounds.
Q. Did it feel like old time?
TIGER WOODS: It wasn't that long ago (laughter). I did win five times last year.
Q. What did you do at the 15th?
TIGER WOODS: I hit 7-iron. Angel hit 8 and it didn't get back there and Henrik hit 7 and it didn't get back there. I went with a 7 and tried to flight it a little bit more.
Q. What were you saying after the drive on 16?
TIGER WOODS: I thought it was in that second bunker, just needed to cut a little bit more in that wind. I wanted to start in that first bunker and hit a hard pull cut. And I hit more of a pulled straight ball. I didn't think it was going to miss that bunker, I thought it was going to go in it. Yeah, I know, I think I made birdie, too.
Q. Are you going back to China this year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I try and get back there every year. I try and get to parts of Asia. I love going there. I've done it for probably about four or five years now in a row, and I plan on doing it again.
Q. What do you have to do now for your back?
TIGER WOODS: Same thing. Same treatments. I've got my physio here. So we'll get working on it.
Q. Hit balls?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm going right now.
Q. What treatment?
TIGER WOODS: Just soft tissue.