Tiger speaks ahead of Australian Open

Australasian PGA Tour | 2011 The Australian Open | General | 08 Nov 2011

Tiger Woods faced a packed media conference today and as could be expected the first question he was asked was regarding the comments made about him last week in Shanghai. He would go on to cover a lot of topics in his lengthy press conference.

QUESTION: Tiger, can I ask you to respond to the remarks made by your former caddie in Perth recently. How badly did that affect you?

TIGER WOODS: Yes actually, we talked this morning, we met face to face and talked about it, talked it through. Obviously it was a wrong thing to say, something that we both acknowledge it now and we’re moving forward.

QUESTION: Has he apologised?

TIGER WOODS: He did apologise. It was hurtful certainly, but life goes forward.

QUESTION: Tiger, just on that subject, how is it that two people seemingly so close together could sort of drift so far apart in a short time?

TIGER WOODS: That’s a great question. I don’t know that one. For me personally it was a tough decision to make to go in a different direction in my personal life, but as far as personally, I don’t know how that could have happened the way it did, but it did and here we are. So as I said, life goes forward, I just keep moving forward.

QUESTION: Can that relationship ever be rebuilt between you two?

TIGER WOODS: I don’t know. It’s just one of those things where we’ll see what time does and as we all know, time does heal wounds and we’ll see how it goes.

QUESTION: Do you think he is a racist or just stupid?

TIGER WOODS: No Stevie’s certainly not a racist, there’s no doubt about that. I think it was a comment that shouldn’t have been made and was certainly one that he wished he didn’t make.

QUESTION: Tiger, does that comment vindicate your decision to part ways with Steve?

TIGER WOODS: No, it’s just something that I felt it was time for me to go in a different direction professionally and that’s something I wanted to do. He obviously went with Adam. He’s in a good spot right now. Adam’s playing very well, he’s just one a golf championship and professionally we’ve moved in different directions.

QUESTION: How did your conversation this morning end?

TIGER WOODS: We shook hands.

QUESTION: How did the relationship get to that point?

TIGER WOODS: Be more specific about it.

QUESTION: In the time that you’ve been apart, what caused this animosity from him do you think?

TIGER WOODS: I think that would be speculation on my part. I know that, as I said this summer I wanted to go in a different direction. I wasn’t playing, I was injured and I was trying to come back but I missed most of the major championships and he didn’t want to miss them, which is understandable. I wish I could have played in them too.

But he’s got a great bag and Adam’s playing well. He’s got just a load of talent. I think he’s risen to either five or six in the world now, so he’s in a good spot.

QUESTION: Tiger, a lot’s happened in 15 years. For a man so used to winning, dominating the field, getting that adrenalin rush, what’s not winning doing to you now for nearly now two years? Is it making you grumpy?

TIGER WOODS: I’ve gone through a tough period there, because I was hurt for so long. I had an Achilles injury, a knee injury and obviously I parted ways with my coach and now I’m with Sean, so a lot of different things happened in that time span. Trying to get the practice time, I couldn’t practice, so I’m trying to make changes in my game for Sean, you need time and we haven’t had time. I was looking at it the other day, getting ready for the Bridgestone; we only worked 18 days for the whole year together. That’s not much, because I’ve been hurt for so long. So it’s nice getting ready for the Fries, getting ready for here, that I’ve had time to really dedicate myself to practising.

We’ve been practising and playing 36 holes just about every day, so it’s been good.

QUESTION: But still, you’re a winner who hasn’t won, is it eking at the psyche a bit?

TIGER WOODS: I’ve been here before, I changed my game in ’97. I just won the Masters by 12 and decided to change my game and it took me two years. Then I didn’t get it until ’99 and I think I had a pretty good run after that. So hopefully this will be very similar.

QUESTION: John Cook said last week that when he sees you you still play the best golf he’s ever seen and he says that he always says to you why don’t you go out there and do it, relax a little bit. How much has the fact that two years have passed since a victory, has that taken away some of your confidence that you can still play well at home with your buddies and it hasn’t been able to translate.

TIGER WOODS: I think I need tournament time. I haven’t played a lot of tournaments this year, I really haven’t. I’ve missed pretty much the entire summer. I didn’t play a lot in the fall. As soon as I started my game together away from the tournament site, which I have, now I need to bring it to the tournament site and that’s just more tournaments, keep playing more tournaments.

I’ve got three here coming up, I play here, the President’s Cup and Chevron, then we have a little bit of a lull before the start of next season. So these three events I’m really excited about and really looking forward to. It’s nice to play the Frys (.com) and get my feet wet again competitively and now here we are.

QUESTION: You said earlier Tiger that time heals all wounds, how about your personal wounds, are they healing now?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, everything’s fantastic. Everything is in a wonderful balance, at home with the kids, they’re doing great, so everything is in a very nice balance.

QUESTION: Tiger, as a former long running number one, you’re now ranked in the mid 50s, if you want to talk about the world ranking, does that change your mindset at all or are they numbers for other people to worry about?

TIGER WOODS: Well it’s understandable. I hadn’t played. I had a really good year two years ago in ’09 where I think I won six or seven tournaments around the world, so those points all came off this year and I didn’t make any points back. So next year’s going to be a fun year because basically I have nothing and I’m not really losing any points. So I’ll have nothing but positive gains next year. By playing well, by winning golf tournaments I’ll climb the world rankings.

QUESTION: At your peak you seemed to have an ability to almost will the ball into the hole. That hasn’t been as evident and I wouldn’t have thought a swing change would necessarily impact on that. What is it about your putting that you don’t seem to be making as many as you did at your peak?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I’ve been streaky, I get in these hot streaks where I’ll make everything and then I’ll get in these cold spells where I don’t make anything. My putting career as a whole has been like that but I’ve been more consistent than what I have been. I just need to get my speed better consistently, because obviously speed determines line and just keep working on that.

QUESTION: It has been said: Why doesn’t he just go back to doing things the way he did in 2000. Is it fair to say you need reinvention to help your game periodically, the challenge of unlocking that new kind of stuff?

TIGER WOODS: Yes well physically I can’t go back to that swing. That swing put a lot of stress on my lower body and I really don’t want to go back to that, so I want to find ways in which I can get into similar positions when I was younger or during that period without causing any harm to the body and we’re doing that.

QUESTION: Is it merely a physical thing though or is there an amount of satisfaction in playing and your golfing IQ coming around in these tournaments?

TIGER WOODS: You’re always trying to do better, I know I am. I don’t know about the rest of you guys but as a player I’m always trying to do better and that’s the fun part about the game, that we have an opportunity each and every day to find something a little better, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

QUESTION: Tiger, have you had a chance to look at The Lakes course already and is this the perfect place to come to prepare for the President’s Cup or would you rather be in it?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I saw it from the highway driving in and I saw it walking into the media centre, that’s it. I’ve seen the tournament on TV when it used to be played here and I don’t remember much except for water; but that’s about it. I’m curious to see, going out there to take a look at it today and tomorrow. I think it’s a wonderful way to prepare for next week because we are in the same time zone, same climate – granted Melbourne can change pretty quickly. So it is nice to be here and get adjusted to the time and not have to worry about that.

QUESTION: On the few occasions we have seen you out there playing this year, you seem to be controlling your fury, your anger far better than previously. Is that a conscious thing you’re doing?

TIGER WOODS: Not a conscious effort no, but maybe it’s just I’m so used to hitting so many bad shots.

QUESTION: You seem to be saying: What the hell.

TIGER WOODS: I’m just kidding. I think I’d be a hell of an 18 handicapper. Do you want to take me on? I can get a shot at a hole.

QUESTION: Tiger, what do you say to the knockers who in the President’s Cup suggest you shouldn’t have been one of Fred Couple’s captains of the teams?

TIGER WOODS: I’m grateful that Fred is the captain and not them.

QUESTION: Tiger, you are equal favourite with Adam Scott for this event. Is that a fair indication of where your game’s at at the moment?

TIGER WOODS: You know I’ve never paid any attention to those types of odds. Everyone who is in the field has the same opportunity as I do to win the golf tournament.

QUESTION: Have you been practising with the other President’s Cup players who are playing with yourself?

TIGER WOODS: No, I’ve been practising down at home in Jupiter over at Medallist, that’s about it. Most of the players were playing Fed Ex Cup and others were going overseas and playing. I know most of the guys are here and some guys are up in Singapore playing this week. But no, I haven’t seen a lot of those players because obviously I didn’t qualify for the Fed Ex Cup and they were in, they were playing and I wasn’t, so it’s been a while since I’ve seen those guys.

QUESTION: Tiger, can you give us a sense of how you’re feeling physically? Do you think you’re back to 100 per cent after that series of injuries that you had? Just give us a sense going into this tournament; do you think you’re 100 per cent?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, I feel great. It’s nice to not have to do rehab assignments every day. It’s nice to be able to train properly and then have unlimited ball count on the golf course, because I was limited for so long at how many golf balls I could hit on the golf course because of the injury but now that’s all been taken away. I can practice all day if I want.

TIGER WOODS: ’81 grand final was on. They’re not the same size now as they were then that’s for sure, or the outfits.

QUESTION: Tiger, a succession of your former peers and players have questioned your ability to dominate again and they have made comments about the aura has gone missing. Does that hurt you or motivate you and if you can dominate again, why can you dominate?

TIGER WOODS: That’s not a concern of mine. My concern is winning golf tournaments and being prepared to win, which is something I haven’t been able to do for a while. I haven’t been able to practice.

Now that I’m able to do that, now physically I feel ready to go and that takes time; winning golf tournaments and being consistent and I’ve been doing that for – I’ve been lucky enough to have done it for a decade, so there’s nothing wrong with doing it again. I know that Vijay was like that well into his 40s. I think he’s won more tournaments than anybody in the history of our sport in their 40s. I’m not there yet, by the way.

QUESTION: So you can dominate again, you fully believe that?

TIGER WOODS: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Tiger, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself over the last few years?

TIGER WOODS: Well I think it’s the people that I trust and care about have been huge in my life and I think what’s been really neat is to have closer bonds than I ever thought I could have.

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