Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tiger's 5 in a Row: The interview

Excerpts from Tiger's post-victory interview after his 5th straight win in a row at the Deutche Bank Championship.


PGA Tour: The 2006 Deutsche Bank champion, Tiger Woods. Five in a row. You went out there and took charge pretty quickly. Why don't you just talk about the day.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit it good today. I got off to a quick start. I eagled missed a short one on No. 1, eagled 2, and birdied 3. And I didn't think I would get all of them back within the first three holes, but the par 5 No. 2 playing downwind, with the length that Vijay and I both have, put the ball in the fairway and you can have an iron to the green.
And he missed the fairway there and I made eagle there and just got all the momentum. I got back two shots instead of basically feeling all square.
Made a nice putt at the third and then all of a sudden I had all the momentum on my side and just tried to continue doing what I was doing. Hitting the ball well and making some putts.

PGA Tour: Questions, please.
Q. You go to the 7th hole and just take us through that shot. I got to believe that was a pretty good shot?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit that good. But it was basically possibly a full 5 wood there, but I just, I wanted to hit 3 wood and make sure that the pin was up front so I figure if I missed it long over the green it's fine. I had the angle coming back.
And I hit it, I hit it really low and hot, so I figured it would roll over the back. But it landed right into the bank. And the bank just killed it. And it took all the momentum off of it and it just rolled up on the green. So that was a huge bonus, because that shot should have been over the green.

Q. At that point it looks like you're in decent shape in terms of building your lead then he his a tremendous shot out of bunker to nothing. Would you talk about the importance of making that putt?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I thought I was in control of the hole. And was going to basically I had the lead there. And all of a sudden he hits it just a great golf shot. And it's a shot that he practices quite a bit, actually. He goes in a lot of the fairway bunkers and hits those wedges and mid irons and practices that shot a lot. And it wasn't a real big surprise that he hit it close, but the kick in was pretty sweet. It was a pretty sweet shot. So if I make my putt, again, I have all, I take all of his momentum away from him; and I knocked it right in there.

Q. On Friday and Saturday on hole No. 2 you both pushed your shot way left. Coming in today, what was your thought process and exactly how close were you trying to get on that shot.
TIGER WOODS: No, I actually missed my tee shot that I hit terrible there the first couple days. And today the wind was down off the left and I just peeled it down there and hit it right in the middle of the fairway. And the second shot was 206 yards blowing down off the left and I hit a full 6 iron. Just aimed right at it and if I miss it, miss it right. Because obviously it's shorter on the right hand side. And even if it falls down the hill, that's fine. I can 2 putt from down there. And it just started to bleed a little bit to the right and hit soft and stayed up, which was a big bonus. Because then I had actually a makeable putt for eagle.

Q. You talked about the change of momentum and it happened so quickly starting with that second hole, but how can you feel the momentum changing? Is it by body language of Vijay or do you feel it yourself or the crowd's reaction?
TIGER WOODS: Generally I just feel it myself. Vijay's a player who he's so he's a veteran player, he's been there so many times, he's not going to show you through body language. He knows what to do. So it wasn't that. I just felt by making eagle and basically stealing two there, two strokes from him on his lead, I had all the momentum on my side. And then I stuffed it on the third hole and made that putt. And all of a sudden it was, now we're all squared, now we can basically play our tournament from here.
I just had to run him down as fast as possible, try to at least get him by the front nine was over. But I was able to do it within three holes.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Well with, he's won a bunch of golf tournaments, not only here in the United States, but all over the world. And he's one of the most consistent players there is on our TOUR, actually in the world. So you know Vijay's not going to make a lot of mistakes. And he knows how to manage his game and get it around. So, but still I still think one of the hardest things to do in our sport is follow up a great round with another great round. It's one of the most difficult things, I don't know why that is or we're still trying to figure that out ourselves. So I just kept thinking that if Vijay shot something in the high 60s, figured mid 60s would either get me in a playoff or win it. And that was what I had in mind today and I was able to actually go a little bit lower than that.

Q. When do you go for six in a row, and could you talk about 15. Vijay hit it in real close there and you were able to get a birdie.
TIGER WOODS: When do I go for six? In two weeks. I play the Match Play and then play the Ryder Cup and then I play the American Express championship. So three weeks in Europe right in a row.
15? Yeah, that was a big momentum, again, keeping it on my side. Because anything can still have, could still happen. I make my putt, at the time I had a two shot lead, if I miss, he makes, one shot lead with 17, which is a pretty easy well if you drive the ball in the fairway you feel like you can make birdie there. And then 18 you can make three pretty easily there as well. So I needed to keep that lead at two. And I was able to make that putt and basically took all the momentum away from Vijay, when he could have easily cut my lead in half it stayed the same.

Q. We heard you say in the past if you're not getting better you're getting worse. But the way you're playing right now, what could you possibly be working on now?
TIGER WOODS: Everything. Everything can always be better. This game is fluid. It's always changing, it's always evolving and you can always get better. That's the great thing about it. You can get better tomorrow than you are today.

Q. Completely satisfied with anything right now?
TIGER WOODS: I could always hit the ball better, chip better, putt better, think better, yeah. Other than that, yeah.

Q. Along those lines, when you look at how you had to patch together a 72 a couple days ago, not hitting it very well and going through a stretch like you did in Akron where it wasn't that sharp for a period, in some ways is it more satisfying when you battle your way through and win on a week like this when everything doesn't click for 72 holes?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's a hell of a lot harder to do. I just wish that the big leads and the big ones are a lot easier on the system. But weeks like this you really find out a lot about yourself and how to manage yourself around the golf course. And you have to dig down deep to find something. A lot of times you just don't have it and you just got to find a way to keep your self in the tournament.
And that second round I kept myself in the tournament. Could have easily shot myself right out of the tournament. But I hung in there and gutted it out and all of a sudden I was only two back when it could have easily been five, six, seven, eight back and would have been really asking for a lot to get back in the tournament, the way I was hitting it.

Q. It's almost ten years exactly since your debut, could you even imagine ten years of what you've done in these ten years?
TIGER WOODS: Nope. No. Hey, over that ten year span you're just hoping to keep your card for that long and stay out here and win tournaments and hopefully if everything goes right to win Major championships. I just got off to such a quick start in my career by winning twice in the fall of '96 and then to win the Masters in my first go round, in my first Major, just gave my whole career as a professional just a great shot of momentum and confidence. That I could do it. And from there I could always rely on that experience to carry me forth in the future.

Q. This is on a short list of tournaments that you hadn't won, even though you played it a couple times, did that weigh on you at all, you had the affiliation with the tournament and you had done well, but you hadn't won here?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't really look at it that way, no. I really wanted to play well and win this tournament, obviously, for the foundation, and the things that we're trying to do and the money we're trying to raise to better chances of our youth. So for me to win this golf tournament I think it's just, it adds more I guess the word was exposure to what we're trying to do and trying to accomplish with our foundation.
So for me I think that's probably the most important thing is that people are now becoming aware of what we're trying to do. And the tournament and the fans and Deutsche Bank and that really help us to do that, because now we're able to touch more lives.

Q. Do you ever think about 11 in a row?
(Laughter.) It wasn't just 11, it was 11 in a row, 12 out of 13, 18 for the year. That will work.

Q. You don't even play 18, do you?
TIGER WOODS: Good point.

Q. Kind of along those lines, where do you see Byron's record, the 11 in a row, as it relates to UCLA or some of the other or some of the other great streaks in sports?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's part of the streak that it's probably the streak that I've, he had to have so many things go right first of all. In this day and age and the competition, to win 11 in a row would almost be unheard of. What Byron accomplished, that right there goes down to probably one of the greatest years in the history of our sport. Consistency I mean you got to have one bad week somewhere. He never did. His bad week was a win, I guess. So it's I mean it's truly amazing. I know that there were a lot of different circumstances. It was one of those, the field's weren't as strong, it was one of the war years, but still, I just think that what Byron accomplished there goes down as one of the greatest streaks in all of sport. I don't know what DiMaggio's record, I see that being broken more so than winning 11 golf tournaments.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Is it doable? Yeah, it's doable, you know, if a lot of guys pull out.

Q. With all the success you've had, including financially, how do you maintain your competitive drive and avoid a sense of complacency?
TIGER WOODS: Work hard.

Q. It would be easy to sit back and say, "I got everything I want, I got 12 Majors." You've seen athletes, you've been around long enough, it's such attribute to you that you are still really wanting to win.
TIGER WOODS: Well, you know, yeah, I'm a competitor, all right. And I love to compete. I love to mix it up. I like to go toe to toe, eyeball to eyeball, that to me is fun. And I love to feel that rush of getting out there and trying to beat everybody. That to me is fun. And there's no better place than the back nine on Sunday at a Major championship to go get in that arena. And that's what we as players, that's what we practice all those hours, all of those hours in the gym, run all those miles on the road, is to be in that position, to feel that rush, to win.

Q. Along those lines of motivation, was there any revenge today from what happened two years ago and did that help drive you today?
TIGER WOODS: No, not at all. Vijay just flat out outplayed me last time. I had an opportunity and I bogeyed what? 14 there and made a mistake and then he birdied 15 and it was basically over.
This year I just felt that I was playing well enough to catch Vijay on that front nine and I was able to do it earlier than I thought I would, but I was still able to get the lead on the front nine, which was a huge bonus and basically play a little bit more conservative on the back nine and it forced Vijay to try to make birdies.

Q. Curious as we look ahead, you got a week off and then Wentworth, Ryder Cup, Am Ex and then I'm sure you've got a fairly full fall schedule, post whatever it's called.

Q. We'll leave it at that. What do you think you'll do the rest of the year TOUR wise? Is there a chance you'll miss Disney?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know.

Q. Where would you put your performance today? I think we're going to need Joan's help. Someone mentioned that 63 is your lowest Sunday round to win a tournament. Where would you rank it?

Q. Today I guess we'll ask for help.
TIGER WOODS: To win a tournament?

Q. To win the tournament. And in your own mind, what are your top three performances ever?
(Laughter.) Can I just put tournaments instead?

Q. Sure.
Okay. Not in any particular order, so. Probably '97 Masters, 2000 U.S. Open, probably 2000 British.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: What about today?

Q. (Inaudible.)
(Laughter.) I got 12 Majors there, so.

Q. For years now there have been so many comparisons to 2000. Can you ever get back to it.

Q. Is it doable again. What are your thoughts on that now and do you see any difference in the way you're playing that you could compare with that stretch?
TIGER WOODS: Well, people are always asking me that, just like you just did. And I just think that if you're looking for blow out wins to compare the two, there's only a couple tournaments that you can possibly blow out anybody in. One would be the U.S. Open, because if you play great rounds of golf, it's hard for the other guys to do the same. You're going to have you have to have difficult golf courses and play great in order to have blow outs.
I think that's what people are always looking to compare 2000 to now. Said, yeah, he's winning but he's not winning by as big of margins. But I'm still getting W's.

Q. Could you make an argument then that this is almost more impressive, the fact that you're at 50 percent right now on TOUR, in wins, and that's about what it was in 2000, almost a more impressive performance in your eyes?
TIGER WOODS: In a sense. Just because I think everyone's improved. Everyone's gotten better. You can't compare the two because in a sense everyone's gotten better. I've gotten better, the rest of the guys have gotten better. Technology's gotten better. It's just evolved. And that's one of the more difficult things is to try and compare generations and obviously even in my little section of my career to compare the two. Because it keeps evolving. It's not like in baseball where they all got wooden bats and it stays wooden bats. It's hard to compare the two sometimes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding TW's hard work, his mental toughness is the most important aspect of his game. In his interview after winning at Hoylake, he mentioned his ability to control his emotions on the course before his swing, etc as what allows him to win. He is fully committed on each and every shot. How many of us can do this?