Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tiger on Phil flubbing the Open

Check out these juicy excerpts from Tiger Woods' pre-Western Open interview...

Q. Did you watch the end of the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I watched both days. That was my punishment.

Q. Thoughts on Montgomerie and Mickelson?

TIGER WOODS: I thought in my opinion that it was Monty's tournament. In the fairway on 18 with -- not only in the fairway, he was on the right side, on the flat spot with a perfect angle with his fade. It doesn't get any better than that. With Phil on the tee, anything can still happen. He could still make bogey on the last hole and lose the tournament. I thought it was Monty's tournament, put the ball on the green and it's over. Obviously that didn't happen, and then Phil had his mistakes. It was a very interesting finish, one that none of us who are involved in the game of golf probably ever would have predicted we would have seen happening.

Q. Will Phil be able to brush off what happened to him at Winged Foot?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. (Translation: I hope not)
More than likely to stay competitive you have to, especially in our sport. In our sport we fail more times than we succeed. Failure is a part of our sport; that's just the way it is. You pick yourself up off the ground and you have the next week to play. If we had a percentage very similar to baseball, if you put a .300 in your winning percentage, you'd have one hell of a career. But that's normally not the case. Your winning percentage is a lot lower than that, and you have to deal with losses quite a bit. It's nothing new to him, nothing new to any of us. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, come back out the next week and play.

Q. What did you not playing on the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I went spear fishing and came back and have been working on my game ever since.

Q. How frustrating was the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: You know, it's something I don't normally do, missing the weekend at a major championship. Missing a weekend means that you have no opportunity to win the tournament. With the way I was playing, I felt if I could just get into the weekend and play two good rounds, I figured the guys would come back. I never even gave myself that opportunity to even fight for the championship.

Q. After Phil won The Masters there was a lot of talk about a rivalry between you and Phil. Your sense of the history and the Ernie and Jack legend, would you look forward to that rivalry blossoming?

TIGER WOODS: Well, all my career I've had rivals with Ernie, for a stretch with Vijay, with Duval, and I've had it with Phil. Just as long as I'm part of each conversation over the rest of my career (laughter), it's never a bad thing. (Translation: Don't mistake these pikers for No. 1 me).

Q. Were you ready to play the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: I was rusty. I didn't execute properly, there's no doubt about that. There's no excuses for it. I had the same opportunities as everybody else to hit shots and I didn't do it.

It was very disappointing because I had good practice sessions, I felt I was prepared, and come game time I did not hit the proper shots. I didn't putt well on top of that, and it was just bad from tee to green.

Q. Can you speak about Sean O'Hair?

TIGER WOODS: Sean is good. I'll tell you, he's got just an enormous amount of talent, and on top of that, he is a nice guy. He really is fun to be around, and I think that he's got the proper mental attitude and approach to be successful, and not only be successful but be successful for a long period of time out here.

Q. Did you get a text message from Annika after she won on Monday?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, she texted me (laughter). We're all square now. That's fine, we do that all the time to each other. It's fun having a friend who's competitive just like I am. She's one of the greatest that's ever played this sport. To see her go out there and how she prepares, it's pretty phenomenal to watch, not only from the golf standpoint but from the physicality standpoint of the effort level she puts into it. There's really no surprise why she's that successful if you watch how she prepares.

Q. Thoughts on Michelle Wie playing the John Deere Classic next week?

TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, she's playing great from what I've seen in the highlights, the way she's hitting it, it's been phenomenal. She's missed a couple of putts here and there, but overall she's hitting it great.

I think at the John Deere, that golf course is a little bit more wide open, where she can go ahead and let it go like she did last year and get it out there. There really is not that much trouble. I think she can go ahead and free-wheel it and let it go and hopefully she can make the cut.

Q. Has time helped since your father passed away?

TIGER WOODS: I'm sure it gets easier, but it's something you'll never, ever forget. I don't think it's ever something you ever really want to forget or ever really want to truly put behind you because having a parent that is so loving in your life and that you love so much, you never, ever forget that. Life lessons always come about, each and every day. I've talked to a bunch of my friends who have gone through it before, and they think about their lost parent every day. It happens.
That's something I've done and I will continue to do probably for the rest of my life.

Q. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would bet he could make a par on the PGA TOUR before you could get a hit in a major league game.

TIGER WOODS: I'd make a bet on that.

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