Tiger Woods Interview - Target World Challenge
BY iseekgolf.com | US PGA Tour | 2004 Target World Challenge | General | 09 Dec 2004
Tiger Woods: All right, guys, welcome to the Target World Challenge. It’s great to be here again. We’ve got another great field this year. Hopefully this weather will blow out so we have some great weather on the weekend. Again, this is a great event for us and the Foundation. We raise a great amount of money to go to our learning center as well as fund the grants that we give out, so this is a big event for us.
Q: Assessing the year, where you started and where you ended up — (inaudible).
Tiger Woods: Yeah, I’m really excited about 05 just because of all the work I’ve done this year. I’ve put a lot of work in and changed my game, and I started seeing signs of it in the last three, four months, but it was kind of spot at this. You see one great round here and then all of a you’d I’d lose it and then get it back. The TOUR Championship was a positive success, even though I had those two bookend 72s. Middle part was very encouraging, then I just tried to do the same thing in Japan, and I played four solid rounds there. I’m very excited about it, and I’ve worked really hard this year. I’m trying to change a few things.
It’s finally nice to see some positive results.
Q: Start to finish, getting married, obviously in your life, it’s been a very interesting year.
Tiger Woods: It has been. The marriage part is probably the easiest thing to do. The hardest part was obviously with my swing changes, a lot of different things going on, didn’t have the results I wanted, and obviously I was struggling with the confidence of it because I could do it on the range but couldn’t do it on the golf course. Obviously with dad this year, it was an interesting year.
Q: When did you start your swing changes?
Tiger Woods: I started tinkering around early in the spring.
Q: Did you make a conscious decision — (inaudible).
Tiger Woods: I felt like something needed to be changed because I wasn’t having the results. I won at La Costa, but I won because I putted great. I hit it all over the map. My iron play was not what it normally is, and I just made everything. Even though I won the tournament, I knew that I wasn’t going to do it for the rest of the year, so I had to start changing a few things.
Q: You’re not hitting the fairways as often as you did. Is that one reason you changed your swing?
Tiger Woods: Well, it’s just coming together. It starts with the sand wedge, and then you’ve got to work it all the way up to the driver, and the driver is the last thing to come around.
In Japan I hit almost 80 percent of the fairways that week, which for me is unheard of. Going back to 2000, I never hit that many, or any day I never hit that many. I always seemed to hit nine fairways a day, maybe ten on a good day. There were times I hit 12 or 13 fairways, so that’s very exciting, and that’s how I won.
I’m excited about next year, Kapalua, you’ve got to throw that one out, but I’m excited about Buick and the rest of the tournaments where the fairways aren’t landing strips out there.
Q: Are you starting to think more about playing the game of golf than fixing your swing?
Tiger Woods: Even when I’m playing really well there’s always a swing thought here and there, but that’s just the way I’ve always played, as long as I don’t have a laundry list of things I have to go through. Sometimes you may have a swing thought, hit the ball low or hit the ball left to right or right to left. That’s normal, but this year it was more than just one.
Q: Now that Vijay is No. 1, do you consider yourself more the hunter than the hunted?
Tiger Woods: There’s no doubt about that. I’m ranked No. 2 and he’s No. 1, so all of us behind him are doing the hunting. That’s just the way it is. The key to it is how do you get there. How do you get to be number one in the world? You have to win golf tournaments, and there’s no one better at it in the last two years than Vijay. He’s won more golf tournaments than anyone else in the world, so he should be No. 1 in the world.
Q: When did you start working with Hank Haney?
Tiger Woods: A while. Does that answer it? You’re unbelievable. It’s been this year.
Q: You’ve been under scrutiny your whole life. Why were you frustrated this year?
Tiger Woods: Yeah, I was, just because I had to defend myself after each and every round. I was always getting questions, Singh shot 66 today, what was the difference between your 66 yesterday and 69 yesterday? Why were you able to shoot much a better score? At the end of the year my worst finish was in Ireland — I looked back on the stats, and I looked at my results from Wachovia to the end of the year, and I had two tournaments outside the Top 10. That’s a pretty good run. For most people that’s pretty good. But I had to defend myself the entire time, what’s wrong with you.
If you look at it in the context like that, you see why I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t winning, but I was close, and all it takes is just a putt here and there. At Byron Nelson and Wachovia I was one shot out of the playoff both times. That’s one putt or one fairway or one green, whatever it is. Constantly through the entire year I felt like I was defending myself after each and every year, so I was getting frustrated with that.
Q: When did you feel that coming on?
Tiger Woods: Well, it started last year. You haven’t won a major all year. Well, I’ve won five tournaments, two World Golf Championships, but I was getting it last year. It was kind of funny, my mom pulled out a nice little thing about 2001, beginning of the year, and it says in one of the Golf World deals, “What’s wrong with Tiger?” I was about ready to win my fourth major in a row, coming off of winning three majors in a row, them asking, “What’s wrong with you?” I’ve gotten it my whole career. That’s just the way it is.
Q: At first you were somewhat coy about whether he is actually your coach.
Tiger Woods: Because he doesn’t like to refer to it as a coach. He says, “I’m your friend, I’m just trying to help you out with your game.” When he worked with Mark all these years, he never referred to himself as a coach. He’s not on the sidelines pacing back and forth and trying to call plays. That’s a coach. He’s always wanted to say "I’m your friend and I’m just trying to help you." He’s a friend who’s hired to help me (laughter).
Q: Do you feel pressure to win a major championship?
Tiger Woods: You always feel pressure to win a major championship. Once you get on Tour and you feel you’re good enough to win major championships, you always feel that way. I felt that way in 97 when I had my first opportunity at Augusta, and I feel that way going into this year. Nothing has changed in that regard. If you feel like you’re good enough to win a major championship, you should feel pressure because you have a chance. You should be a little nervous and apprehensive and excited, all these different things. That’s part of it.
Q: As far as being good for the game of golf — (inaudible).
Tiger Woods: I don’t know. I mean, it’s something you guys have to answer. No (laughter). It certainly was a lot more fun when — you know, it felt like I was winning every three or four tournaments I was playing in. That was a nice little stretch there.
Q: As your swing has changed, has your physical workout changed?
Tiger Woods: Never. Never changed.
Q: How would you change things to get back to No. 1?
Tiger Woods: You don’t change anything. All you do is just try and win tournaments. Back when I first came on Tour, trying to become No. 1 in the world, how do you do that? You win golf tournaments. When Duval was No. 1 in the world, how did he get to that point? Well, he won golf tournaments. That is the only way you can do that. I mean, you can’t become No. 1 in the world by not winning golf tournaments. That’s how I got there. I got there a few times, and hopefully I can do that again.
Q: Do you ever feel like it’ll never get better?
Tiger Woods: You always know it’s not going to be like this forever. That’s just — it’s part of playing sports. You’re always going to have down cycles. Unfortunately we go through those times. You don’t ever want to go through them, trust me, it doesn’t feel good, but it’s just part of playing sport, and especially in our sport, longevity is just huge here. You’ve got a career that could literally span — for me, 30 years on the regular Tour.
There’s no other profession really like that, that you can play at a high level for that long. No, you’re going to have periods like that. You can’t win every tournament.
Source – Target World Challenge