The various thoughts of Woods at the PGA
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 US PGA Championship | General | 08 Aug 2012
The Tuesday press conference of Tiger Woods ahead of the PGA Championship revealed a genuine respect by Tiger Woods of Pete Dye’s design work.
Dye’s work has often proved polarising but for arguably the game’s greatest player he leaves little doubt which side he is on.
“I do like Pete’s courses,” said Woods. " He makes you think, which I like, instead of just going out there and hitting a golf ball. He makes you make a decision off the tees, he makes you make a decision into the greens and makes you leave the ball in the correct spot.
“The thing about Pete is if you miss your spots, you’re going to get penalized severely, and I think that’s more so than any other course designer. But he gives you a lot of room.
“Probably the only place that isn’t like that is probably Sawgrass. But it originally wasn’t like how it is now. It was tight but there was no rough, so everyone ran into the palmetto bushes; that was your rough.
“But as an overall, the golf courses that I have played that are Pete’s, I do like them, just because of the fact that you have to think. You can’t just go up there and just swing away and hit it and go find it. You’ve got to really think about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it.
Q Is there any other major championship venue that can be compared to this one?
“Well, I think it’s you know, of anything that’s close would be Whistling Straits; same architect being Pete.
“But again, played totally differently. A lot of mounding and a lot of movement in its designs. One of the things you learn about Pete’s golf courses, a lot of it is visual. There’s a lot more room out there, whether it’s on the fairways or on the greens, than you think. He just makes you look the other way.
“And he’s a masterful designer in that way.
“And he always likes to present a lot of the targets at angles and make you if you’re aggressive, it can play very short, and if you’re hitting it well off the tees the golf courses that he designs are not very long if you’re able to be aggressive off the tees.
“But if you play conservative, he gives you a lot more room, but also you’re far away from the green all the time.
“He’s a wonderful designer. And this week is it’ll be interesting how they set up the golf course because it could play really long or they could move it up and have us have a go at it.
Q – What makes this layout unique form other ocean-side courses?
“Well, I think this (Kiawah Island) being so close to the ocean, the dunes and the marshes that they have here, it just drains unbelievably well.
“I think that playing through the dunes like we do here; one, it’s pretty, you’re right along the ocean; and two, no matter how much rain we get (thunder claps overheard) we are getting dumped on right now; it’s going to drain pretty quickly. And it being paspalum, we’re not going to get a lot of mud balls. You may get a few here and there, but this grass just doesn’t stick that way.
I like what this golf course has, and it’s just a wonderful piece of property."
Q – You seemed resigned to the fact the this course is going to play soft this week. Is that disappointing to you?
“I just like the test that a firm golf course brings. It just brings more shot making into the equation. You have to throw the ball up, but you throw the ball up with the right spin.
“You’ve got to land the ball in the correct spots. With it a little bit softer like this, the greens will be holding. But then again, with it being like this, there’s no bump and run. It’s just too soft.
So now you’re going to have to throw the ball up or play some kind of one hop and stop spinner in there.
“There will be very few hybrids or I’m sure long iron, mid iron bump and run shots. You just won’t see it that often just because now it’s going to be too soft for that play to work. This paspalum is very sticky, and obviously if it runs off, you’re going to have pitching into the grain, and it’s just not going to skip.
Q- How important is this week in terms of your evaluation of the year?
“Well, I think I’ve progressed this year over my last couple years, and I’m very pleased with what I’ve done, being healthy and being able to play and practice properly and implement the things that Sean wants me to do. This is the way I can hit the golf ball. This is the way I can play. It’s nice to be able to do the things that I know I can do.”
Q – Have you been more encouraged by your play in the last two majors or discouraged by the results?
“I think it’s both. I’m pleased at the way I was able to play at certain parts of it and at certain times, and obviously disappointed that I did not win. I’ve played in three major championships this year, and I didn’t win any of them.
“So that’s the goal. I was there at the U.S. Open after two days and I was right there with a chance at the British Open. Things have progressed, but still, not winning a major championship doesn’t feel very good.”
Q – Guys have struggled to hold on to leads in majors this year. I wondered if you had a view on why that’s happened so much this year and how you coped when you were always in that position mentally with the different pressure of a major championship?
“Well, I don’t know why it’s happened particularly this year. It’s not just in majors, but it’s happened in our regular Tour stops for some reason. Guys have lost leads for some reason this year more so than in the past, in past years.
“For me in major championships, I loved it. I just loved being there. To me it was a chance to be able to make history, to go out the next day and win a tournament. You’re part of history. So that to me is exciting.
“So pressure, absolutely, and that’s the fun of it. It’s fun feeling those nerves, it’s fun feeling that adrenaline. That to me is a joy and one of the reasons why I bust my tail and practice, to put myself there, because I just love it.”
Q – What specifically did you learn about your game at Olympic Club and the U.S. Open and maybe learn about the course? What did you take away from that week?
“Well, Olympic, it doesn’t take much. You can land the ball in the fairway there and end up in the rough, and then you have you can’t control it going into those greens. And that’s what happened on that Saturday.
“And then Sunday having to go out there and force the issue and get off to a slow start, I went the other way.
“At the British Open, everything was going how I had planned it. I was playing my game plan, executing my game plan; I was right there. And I just thought if I could I was 6 under par for the tournament, turned at 1 under par, maybe 2 at the turn, head home and shoot 1 under par, something like that, on the back nine, I would post 9, and I thought that would be the winning score.
“So I was just right there. Just one shot that was a yard away, turned that whole tournament around for me.
Q – How much would it mean to you to become an Olympian in 2016?
“Well, since we haven’t done it in a very long time, it’ll be something else to be able to represent our country like that in the Olympic Games. I hopefully will be able to have qualified at that point in time, and I’ll be 40 years old at the time.
“It’ll be exciting to be able to represent our country like that and go down to Brazil and do something that is basically I won’t say it’s inaugural, but in essence it hasn’t been there in a long time.
So I think we’d probably look at it as that, having golf be represented in the Olympic Games, and I think we would want to represent our countries, whatever country we’re from, represent it well."
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