Tiger Woods Round Four: 2009 US PGA
US PGA Tour | 2009 US PGA Championship | Round Four | 17 Aug 2009
Kelly Elbin: Tiger Woods, ladies and gentlemen, runner-up in the 91st PGA Championship here at Hazeltine. Tiger shot 75 today, finishing 5-under par for the Championship. Three strokes behind champion Y.E. Yang. Tiger, comment on the round today and not being able to get that 15th major championship.
Tiger Woods: Yeah, I hit the ball so much better than obviously my score indicates. I hit it great all day.
I made absolutely nothing. I just have to say terrible day on the greens. And I had it at the wrong time. I either misread the putt or had bad putts. I didn’t make anything except for the 14th hole. I think it was the only putt I made all day. I had plenty of looks.
I was certainly in control of the tournament for most of the day, but just didn’t make anything today. I hit the ball great off the tee, hit my irons well. I did everything I needed to do except for getting the ball in the hole.
Kelly Elbin: Tiger’s 33 putts today were the highest for his four rounds.
Q: Is there part of you that you do feel as if YE won this tournament or do you feel there’s a part of you that lost this tournament?
Tiger Woods: It’s both. I mean, I certainly – as I say, I was in control of the tournament most of the day. I was playing well, hitting the ball well. I was making nothing, but still either tied for lead or ahead.
And YE played great all day. I don’t think he really missed a shot all day. He just made that mistake at 17. But other than that, he hit it great all day. And it was a fun battle. Unfortunately, I just didn’t make the putts when I needed to make them.
Q: Can you talk about where you thought you started losing control or lost control of this tournament, and what it was like going down the stretch in the situation that you’ve rarely been in in your career?
Tiger Woods: Well, I’ve been in this situation a lot, actually. But as far as the tournament switching, 13, I stuffed it in there. He made a mistake, hit it in the left bunker. He blasted out. I missed my putt. He made his. And then he chipped in on the next hole. So that two-hole stretch turned – if I make my putt, he doesn’t chip in, you know, he doesn’t make his putt on 13.
A lot of different things, a lot of different scenarios could have happened in those two holes. But I didn’t execute. I didn’t make the putt, and certainly he did. And he chipped in as well.
Q: Can you talk about 17? Looked like you put a great swing on it. Did you feel the ball was going to hold when you hit it?
Tiger Woods: I made just a sweet swing. If you notice, I backed off because the wind had switched dead against me. And it was supposed to be down and across. YE got the same gust that I got when I backed off. He hit a good shot, but you could see the ball stand up.
He got the wrong gust, got it into his face. And I hit my shot. I got the downwind gust. I couldn’t ask for a better golf swing, just hit it right over the top of the flag. And unfortunately didn’t get up-and-down.
Q: You’ve had a few seconds here in the last couple of years, couple of three years. Early on it was kind of winning or nothing. I’m wondering, maybe it will take you a few weeks before you can look back on this as a positive development, if at all. But putting yourself in contention so much more often I guess these days is not a negative, is sort of where I’m going with that.
Tiger Woods: That’s certainly one of the reasons why I changed my game with Hank, is to be more consistent in the big events. My career has certainly been much more consistent over the last five years. I’ve finished higher in major championships, if I don’t win. And I give myself a lot more chances. That’s the only way you’re going to win major championships over the long haul is give yourself as many chances as you possibly can. Nobody in the history of the game has done better than Jack, finished second 19 times. You have to give yourself enough chances to win them and I’ve done that. And very proud of the changes I’ve made to get to this point. But unfortunately today I just didn’t get it done.
Q: Was this day, statistically, inevitable? Nobody is bulletproof through life?
Tiger Woods: I don’t think anyone has gone 14 for 14 or 15 for 15. So I’ve certainly – like today I played well enough to win the championship. I did not putt well enough to win the championship today.
I didn’t get it down on the greens, and consequently I didn’t win the golf tournament.
Q: For many of us, I think there’s a feeling of disbelief, because you were 14 for 14 and all those other finishes you’ve had. Are you sort of in disbelief that you didn’t win this tournament, because you were leading basically from day one?
Tiger Woods: You know, I felt, as I said, I played well enough to win today. And the frustrating thing is I didn’t make any putts and that’s something I had been doing over the last three weeks. I’ve been putting pretty good. And the last three days, the last three weeks.
Today was not very good at all. I had a few misreads out there and as well I hit some bad putts, too. So it was just a bad day at the wrong time and that’s the way it goes.
Q: Beyond just the context of today and the struggles with the putts, given the context of this year, what disappoints you most today?
Tiger Woods: I didn’t win today. As I said, I played well enough the entire week to win the championship, and especially today I hit the ball well enough.
And you have to make putts, and I didn’t do that. All the other 14 major championships I’ve won, I’ve putted well for the entire week. And today was a day that didn’t happen.
Q: There’s a lot of talk on TV about you playing conservatively, erring on the side of conservativism, 6-under on the par 5s. Is that just a case of not making the putts? Would you look back and think things I could have done differently, mentally, maybe playing more aggressive at times? Just talk about that.
Tiger Woods: When you’ve got 640-yard par-5s I really can’t get there. I don’t know how aggressive I can play. The only hole that I really laid up on was today on 7. That shot was off a downhill sidehill lie, would have been a cut 3-wood out of the middle of the lake. Coming on slice wind to that green, I told Steve if we got a 5-wood number, I’m going. But the number was a 3-wood. So that was the only other hole that I could have actually have gone for and been more aggressive.
Other than that, I couldn’t get there or I just played the hole how you’re supposed to play it.
Q: Taking a broader view of today’s outcome, do you think there was a certain inevitability about an Asian player making this sort of break-through?
Tiger Woods: You know, it was going to happen one day. If anyone would have thought it would have been a Korean player, people probably would have suspected it to be KJ because obviously he’s played well for such a long period of time. YE has won now a couple big events.
He won one here in the States prior to this down in West Palm. He’s getting better. He’s playing better. And it’s a matter of time before an Asian-born player was going to win. We’ve had a lot of great players over the years starting with Jumbo, and Isao (Aoki) has come close. And even Tommy.
But it was just a matter of time.
Q: Out of all your wins, compare this one to – for 18 holes, the locked battle with Bob May even though you had more scoring in that 18-hole stretch, from an intensity standpoint, has this been the most intense final round you’ve had in a major since that time?
Tiger Woods: Probably not, no. I thought the U.S. Open last year was pretty good. Sorry (smiling).
Q: You’ve played with a lot of different guys in the final group of majors in a lot of tournaments. Can you talk about the way YE was able to handle the situation having never been there with you before and what it was that was different about what he could do today that others haven’t done?
Tiger Woods: Well, if you look at him as a player overall, he’s always been a wonderful ball-striker. And I think the only thing that’s really held him back was the flat stick.
And today he went out there and executed his game plan. He was driving the ball beautifully, hitting his irons in the correct spots. He didn’t really make a lot of putts except for a couple par putts here and there.
But he was doing exactly what you have to do, especially in these conditions. It was so blustery out there, nobody went low. I thought today if I shot under par I would win the tournament. And that would have been the number.
But it was just a tough day. He did things he needed to do. He was driving the ball in play, hitting the ball in the correct parts of the green and giving himself looks. And he did all the things he needed to do at the right time and just had that one hiccup there at 17. But other than that, you look at his round, I think he played beautifully.
Kelly Elbin: Tiger Woods, thank you very much.
Source – PGA America