Monday, January 29, 2007

Excerpts from Tiger Woods' victory press conference at the Buick Invitational

January 28, 2007

Tiger Woods


Q. You've had a lot of streaks with the USGA, cut streaks, four majors in a row, what's seven in a row do for you, and what about Nissan, people are going to kind of wonder where we are going to see you again and whether you would take a seven-game winning streak into that place.

TIGER WOODS: I'm going to Dubai. But as far as how special seven is, you're in elite company. There's only one person that's ahead of you. You know, he's one of the greatest legends in the history of the game. To be in company like that with Mr. Nelson and Mr. Hogan up there as well, it's pretty special to be in that kind of company.

Q. Just kind of following up on that Tiger, what is your sense where seven in a row belongs in the list of accomplishments you've had, the Tiger Slam, the cut streak and so forth?

TIGER WOODS: If you want to rate it, I think the -- you can't compare four in a row in majors. There's no comparison in that. That' what we play for. As far as the cut streak, I think that goes to show you, consistency and heart. You know, sometimes you don't always have it, but you just have to find a way to keep yourself eligible to win the tournament on a weekend. As far as seven in a row, as I said earlier, it's pretty elite company to be mentioned in the breath of Mr. Nelson.

Q. You have to take advantage of the opportunities when you're there and that's what you do. Describe the mode that you go into back nine on Sunday and the tournament is there for the taking?

TIGER WOODS: It's just fun, fun to be there. That's why you bust your butt as hard as do you in practice sessions to get yourself in that position. And when you do, I feel comfortable being there, been there enough times, and I've had success and also I haven't had success. You learn from both. I knew this golf course and how it plays and the things I need to do to get it done. When you somehow pull it out, that's what makes it so much more special. All of the challenges that were up there, Charlie played just an amazing back nine. He put some serious heat on me there on 16 with that tee shot there right at the flag. I was lucky enough to dodge one there. It looked like it was closer than it was. When I got up there, I figured he would make three and I would make three.

Q. Your cut streak was hard to compare, and Nelson's streak he had one or two team events in there and it seems like it's getting harder and harder to compare records in one generation to previous ones. Curious your thoughts on that, and secondly, what categories do you think can be compared no matter what the generation?

TIGER WOODS: You're right, it's hard, because some tournaments are gone and we've added new events. Compare generations is apples to oranges a lot of times. I guess the only thing you can compare is major championships, but then you have to alleviate Bobby Jones. So that part's hard. You'd have to say just professional majors, but it would be up to a certain time era and you don't to justice to a lot of champions in the past.

Q. There's been kind of an anti-streak sentiment over in Europe because the Shaun Micheel factor and because of the Asian events, etc., etc. What would you say to them if they were to grill you on this quote unquote streak, and does it mean something to you no matter what your global record is?

TIGER WOODS: You have to clarify it. It's not a worldwide streak. I play all around the world. It's a PGA TOUR streak, which it is. And on top of that, it encompasses two different years, just like '99 and 2000. I play all around the world. I lost to Shaun Micheel, I lost the Ryder Cup, I lost in China and I lost in Japan. There are some L's in there, and they are not all W's.

Q. Is it on your mind?

TIGER WOODS: The thing I'm really excited about is the fact that, you know, my stroke-play record since the Western, well, since the U.S. Open. My worst finish has been second in stroke-play events. That's pretty good I think.

Q. Charles was in here and said, I really can't imagine what he feels like on the inside when you get in these positions and you said you just feel comfortable. I'm wondering from there's a comparative factor that you could share with us, how comfortable, what is the feeling, like when you get to that moment when, okay, got to start making these shots down the stretch?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I've been lucky over my career to have had successes doing it. And I can only say, I've done it before, and know that I've done it. Some guys say I've done it before but they have never done it on Sunday in a tournament before. Well, I've done it on Sunday in a major championship, so I know I can pull these shots off and I just keep reminding myself of these things. It's like what Jack had always said. Winning breeds winning and the more you win, the more you understand how to do it, and you do it different ways. I've done it with great ball-striking, I've done it with lousy ball-striking, I've done it with great putting and so-so putting and sometimes I've done it with my short game. If you're able to do it different ways, it just breeds more and more confidence when you're put in that situation again.

Q. How did you feel when you did it this week?

TIGER WOODS: Starting out not so good on the North Course but after that I feel like I hit the ball better and better each day. The stats may not show I hit the fairways or, but my misses were so much better. I could play these misses and I could easily fix these, which I did. They were not misses off the planet, they were just off the fairway in the rough or bouncing in the bunker. Those are things that -- that's how I know I've really improved over this off-season and towards the end of last year when I played in the American Express as well as in Asia. My misses were getting so much better off the tees.

Q. Where will we see the next PGA TOUR installment of this streak, and also Charles said that even at Isleworth, he doesn't recall beat you, is that feeding the mythology or is that true?

TIGER WOODS: As far as when I'm going to play again, I don't know yet. Going to go to Dubai, play over there, come back and see how I feel. I always feel -- it's always hard to get back for some reason over that time zone when I come back, I don't know why. But we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'll come back and play but we'll see what happens. As far as Charles, I don't think he has. (Laughter).

Q. Is it safe to say it's either Nissan or Accenture?


Q. Because you've won seven, this might sound like a stupid question, but is it tougher to win or easier to win now than say a couple of years ago?

TIGER WOODS: I'd have to say it's harder. Fields have gotten deeper. Look at the guys on top of the board now. All of these rookies, they all can play now. Couldn't say that they weren't playing before, but the overall fields have gotten deeper. That's only going to get more so in the future as well.

Q. Do these other golfers have to lift their games higher because your game is at a higher level?

TIGER WOODS: We all have to lift our games, period. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse, period.

Q. If you don't play Nissan for whatever reason, if you're not ready or what-have-you, there will probably be some speculation like at East Lake where you're now at a point where you're trying to protect your streak, especially at a place like Riviera where you've never come close to winning; what would your answer be to that?

TIGER WOODS: People can say whatever they want. That's their opinion. They are entitled to it.

Q. Are you saying you're not looking at the courses to say, where is it best for me to be able to continue the streak?

TIGER WOODS: My whole goal is to get ready for Augusta and prepare and make sure my game is peaking towards that.

Q. Seven in a row or fifth green jacket, what's more important?

TIGER WOODS: Fifth green jacket.

Q. We threw out Torrey Pines South, Firestone South, Bay Hill, where you've had a lot of success too, where does that fit it in the comfort level of adding to a streak if it's still there?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's another one of the golf courses do I feel very comfortable at. Actually Doral is very similar. For some reason, some golf courses fit your eye, and some courses just don't and it's just the way it is. Every time I played on the Cottonwood Course at the Byron Nelson, it doesn't fit my eye at all. I've shot some low rounds over there, but it doesn't really fit my eye. But that's how it is sometimes and you've just got to overcome it. It's more of a mental challenge. You've still got to place the ball correctly around the golf course. That doesn't change, just because the golf course doesn't fit your eye doesn't mean you can't execute. Granted some courses I've had more success at and maybe it's different comfort level.

Q. What turns you on more, the process or the outcomes during all this winning?

TIGER WOODS: It's both. It is both. You have to understand the process in order to have the outcome.

Q. When the last time you spoke to Byron, what were the circumstances and did you guys ever talk about streaks, even back in, say, 2000?

TIGER WOODS: No. We never mentioned that. Usually it was always about his ranch, we would usually talk about what he does on it, things that he's bought and things like that. Sometimes we would talk about golf. But you know, it really wasn't about that. I was very lucky to have a different type of relationship with Mr. Nelson where we could talk about other things besides golf, and that's what made it so neat was that I picked up the called him every now and then just to see how he was and he said, oh, I'm out here at the rather, blah, blah, blah, doing this, I've got to go cut this wood down. It's pretty impressive.

Q. Can you recall the last time you spoke to him?

TIGER WOODS: Unfortunately it was at the Masters this year, or last year.

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