Monday, August 06, 2007

Tiger on Tiger

You've got to hand it to Tiger Woods. Rory Sabbatini does a little trash talking and Tiger responds Sunday with a 65 that blows away the field -- Sabbo included -- by eight shots in the WGC-Bridgestone Invy.

Here are few highlights from Tiger's post-victory press conference:

Q. Twice this year you've gone against Rory in similar situations, pretty much even, and on Sunday you've prevailed. Is there a special motivation there that you get from him?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the whole idea is just -- everyone knows how Rory is, and I just go out there and just let my clubs do the talking.

Q. He said, by the way, that your performance today was far better than the one in May when he lost. Do you feel --

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. The one at Charlotte, I made everything. I did not hit it all that well on Sunday, but I just holed everything. That's the only reason why I probably won that tournament on Sunday.

Q. It's usually over and it's break time. Could you talk about the difference now of this being over and what's coming up?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you knew that starting, basically, this week that it was going to be a two-week stretch, and you're probably going to play golf every day. So there really wasn't going to be a day off. The whole idea was obviously to win this event but be playing well going into next week. I feel I made some nice strides this week, and I feel very good going into next week, getting a few days to prepare and getting adjusted, and off we go.

Q. Did you hold anything back this week? I'm not suggesting you didn't try or didn't play your best, but just anything inside, reserve some strength, whatever you want to call it?

TIGER WOODS: No, that's one of the reasons I train as hard as I do. You go all-out every day.

Q. Being the only guy under par, I don't know if you care about that, but I would think that would be -- the last guy, and I looked it up back to '99, and it's been 15 or 20 guys.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just because the golf course played so demanding this year. We've never seen it this fast. We've never seen the greens this hard and this fast. The rough was up high enough where you hit the ball in the rough -- one, you couldn't get to the green, but if you did get a good enough lie to get to the green, there's no chance of stopping it. And then with the pin locations, it just made for just a very difficult week, and you just had to keep your patience. It just felt like this event was playing more like a major than anything else. You just had to grind it out. Some years here you just feel like you've got to make birdie, three or four per nine, just to keep yourself in the tournament, but this week that wasn't the case. You just had that feeling that it was set up more like a major championship where just having a lot of pars -- pars were probably basically going to win the tournament.

Q. You were so almost emotionless and just focused on that front nine. Was that just a product that you're playing well, or did you kind of have some extra motivation to zero in and really --

TIGER WOODS: No, I just got in my own little world, like I tend to do every now and then. I just wanted to not make any mistakes out there today. I just wanted to keep putting the pressure on the guys that were chasing, because as I said, I got off to a great start, and once I got off to that start, the whole idea was to never go back to them, make them earn their way back into the tournament. I just kept making par after par after par, and the weather kept changing, kept getting more difficult, and I felt if I could just keep making a bunch of pars, the guys were going to have to get greedy and aggressive to some of these pins and probably make a mistake.

Q. Well, with what Rory has said before and the mere fact that he had kind of challenged you or called you out.

TIGER WOODS: I won both tournaments, too (laughter).

Q. He brought up beating you in the NCAAs, though. He said he beat you in the last round.

TIGER WOODS: Who won the tournament?

Q. There are a lot of people, I guess, Rory, some guy said something to him at 9, he had him tossed. Did you get the sense of people kind of -- this is your town here.

TIGER WOODS: Well, certain events people say things, and you just have to become immune to it. You just have to -- the more you acknowledge it, the worse it gets. You know, the toughest crowd I've ever had to play in front of was probably Bethpage. They were all over me and Sergio in the final group. But it was just the way it was. I mean, you just put your head down and you just go. That's fine. But the more you acknowledge it, the more you'll incite them, especially if they've tipped back a couple. That usually helps.

Q. Do you get the sense of the way people have embraced you?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, no doubt about it. This may be a home away from home for me. The crowds have been just as supportive as I've ever played in front of. Even the days where I really haven't felt good with my game, they're always out there supporting me.

Q. Have you ever thought much about Sam Snead's record at Greensboro, eight victories?

TIGER WOODS: It's not too bad, is it?

Q. Have you ever thought about doing that, and if you did, where would be the most likely place to do it?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I would like to have eight at Augusta would be nice (laughter).

Q. You're halfway there.

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