Tiger Woods Interview - Dubai Desert Classic
BY iseekgolf.com | European PGA Tour | 2006 Dubai Desert Classic | Round Four | 05 Feb 2006
Q: Well, Tiger, two continents, two starts, two wins, I suppose that constitutes a reasonable start to 2006.
Tiger Woods: It’s a good start, yes. Yeah, I couldn’t ask for anything more than that. Two playoffs, too; very stressful, but still, I was somehow able to come out on top, don’t know how, but was very fortunate today.
Q: Did you feel it hard to get the job done today?
Tiger Woods: Starting out it was not good because I had a two way miss going. I could hit it left or right at any given time, and that’s not a whole lot of fun. Somehow I just hung in with my short game and then I fixed it on the back nine and I hit some really good shots on the back nine.
Q: Hitting the green on 17, was that the moment
Tiger Woods: I had to, because I saw Greeny and Ernie were both at 18 (under) after 17 (holes), and I figured 19 (under) would either win the tournament out right are be in a playoff. So I had to birdie the last two holes somehow so I had to take the chance of hitting driver up there and put the ball anywhere up there where I could make birdie and it ended up as good as you could like on the greens.
I 2 putted there and hit two good shots on 18 and got up and down.
Q: What did you do to fix it?
Tiger Woods: Well, I got the club up a little bit more, right on my left arm, got the club in front of me, left hand with more loft coming through, (laughter), that’s what I did.
Q: That easy? You’ve got a fantastic record in playoffs, and obviously the adrenaline started pumping as well when you needed to birdie the last two holes, is that when you dig deeper?
Tiger Woods: Well, actually I was probably digging a little deeper than that earlier because, as I said, I didn’t have it. I had a two way miss going.
For instance, the shot that I hit on 10, I was supposed to hit a nice high drawing 3 iron, and I hit the thing straight right. Not good. The only place you can’t put it is right. After that I kind of fixed it, hit some good shots.
From then on, got myself just somehow was able to make par there on 14 and keep the momentum going.
Q: Do you feel that your record in playoffs is something that other players are aware of and perhaps you go into them with a slight edge anyway?
Tiger Woods: I think it’s just experience; I’ve been there enough times. I’ve had success in them. You’re trying to make birdie and whatever happens, happens. Trying to play aggressive because you know it’s just one shot is all you have. You try to make birdie before your opponent does.
Q: The 14th hole, your second shot on the 14th hole, not a very good lie. Take us through that and what did you hit?
Tiger Woods: Well, it was hit and hope, really. I was in the rocks, but the problem was that I had a rock that was sticking up right in front of the ball. I went with a sand wedge to make sure I tried to get the ball up over that little piece of rock because if it hit it could ricochet easily right back in the water.
I tried to make sure I got up over it, and I somehow did. Ended up in the rough, but it ended up in a lie that was going downgrain, so it wasn’t that hard of a shot. Hit the ball on the green, and from there, it was just a putt that I had to make and somehow it fell in.
Q: What gives you more satisfaction, winning when you’re playing like a dream or winning when you’re digging
Tiger Woods: Oh, like this, for sure. To be honest with you, anybody can win when they are playing well. It’s when you have an opportunity to have to fix it, which I did, turn it around, and somehow end up on top. Very similar to how I ended up at Augusta last year. I played 16, 17 and 18 terribly and hit my two best shots all week in the playoff.
So it’s always satisfying when you can turn it around like that.
Q: Is part of that satisfaction winning like you did today knowing the effect it will have on the other guys the next time you play?
Tiger Woods: You don’t look at it that way. I just look at it like I got the W and somehow I found a way to turn it around today.
The guys didn’t run away with it. Like last week, they had an opportunity to run away with it and they didn’t. I kind of snuck in there at the end, and today was very similar. I birdied the last two to just kind of sneak in there and got into a playoff.
Q: You pulled off great saves on at least a handful of holes, which one of them do you reckon was perhaps the most significant?
Tiger Woods: 14, by far. Ernie at that time, I think he was at 17 or something like that and I was still one back. If I fell two back with 17, 18, pretty easy birdie holes, I would have to add somewhere one in there, either on 15 or 16 and that’s not going to be an easy task. So it was important to make that par, so that allowed me to only stay one back where anything could happen on 17, 18 and I could still get into a playoff and I could still win it outright.
Q: Two wins, having to dig deep, does that say more about your ability to do just that, dig deep and win, or about the rest of the world’s top players not being able to step up when they know that maybe you’re not on your A Game?
Tiger Woods: Well, I can only control what I can do. Today was a day that I’m very proud of, and I hung in there just like I did last week. Stayed around and made some key putts and some key saves and hit some crucial shots that allowed me to get into a playoff both times. It’s a pretty good feeling when you’re able to do that and turn things around like that.
Q: Ernie went for a tough time on the back end of last year, now that you’ve beaten him, how glad are you to see him back?
Tiger Woods: It’s great to have Ernie back, period, because obviously he’s one of best players in the world and he had a significant injury. For him to come back and play and win early after his comeback is great. He’s been playing great ever since. I knew that going into today and I was just hoping to try to keep up and I was able to do that somehow.
Q: Having seen perhaps a bit more of this course than you would prefer, how would you characterize this course, given that it’s carved out of the desert?
Tiger Woods: It’s a good course. It just happens to have a couple weird doglegs and par 5s on the back nine. Other than that, I think it’s a pretty good course.
Q: You said on the TV that you had to get rid of dirty laundry and heading into the WGC and Augusta, can you expand on that?
Tiger Woods: I just have to my list of things I needed to work on is a lot shorter than it was last year at the same time. And I just felt like I didn’t have this ability at this time last year to turn things around, because I had so many things to try and work onto get things to where I could do that, and my understanding of my new swing.
But after another year of experience with it, I had that ability now to turn things around because I have an understanding of ball flight and my swing and the mechanics that Hank has been trying to teach me.
Q: With Chris DiMarco winning in Abu Dhabi, the U.S. is now 2 to 1 in Europe this year. Is that a good message, a psychological boost for Tom Lehman in terms of Ryder Cup?
Tiger Woods: You had to find some way to put a Ryder Cup question in there, didn’t you? (Laughter). To be honest with you, I don’t think either Chris or I care about that as long as we get the win. That’s what’s important for us and come Ryder Cup time, come Ryder Cup time; but we have four majors and players and a few World Golf Championships in front of us.
Q: You pointed out that your golf in the, situation to overcome, seems easier than the others, what is the secret?
Tiger Woods: Well, I’ve been there enough times. I’ve had success coming from behind and even going back to my U.S. Junior days and U.S. Amateur days.
I’ve had a lot of positive experience, so that helps, that helps a lot. You just rely on those memories sometimes to pull yourself out of it that you’ve done this before even in the worst circumstances and you’ve turned it around. There’s no reason why you can’t hang in there and turn this around as well.
Q: To take you back to 17, your driving was clearly fixed by then, can you pick out a time when it was, was it 17, was that when you facility your swing was fixed?
Tiger Woods: I thought I hit a good shot off of 12 tee. I was just trying to hit just a low peel right off the left side and just peel it over the right side and I was able to hit that shot. I was like, hey, you know, that’s pretty good, with the left to right wind and hit it just the way I wanted to. Then I hit a terrible iron shot but at least I hit one good shot. I mean, one in a row is better than zero in a row. Then I hit a good shot off the next par 5 and just happened to hit it too far. But at least it was another good shot. So that’s something to build on.
Q: Did it ever cross your mind as you were going back on the 18th tee that you don’t like that hole and Ernie Els has a fantastic record on that hole?
Tiger Woods: No. I thought the hole was playing pretty easy for me today because it was into the wind. If I hit the ball on the line like I did earlier in the week, I can’t get to the hazard. So it eliminates an obstacle for me. So even if I hit a straight ball, I’m still fine. I’m still going to be in the fairway. And so I don’t have to turn it that much and the wind is coming off the right a little bit, just hit a straight ball at the indicate, kind of bring it over, and I can’t run into the hazard. So for me, I thought it was playing easier being into the wind than it was downwind.
Q: Going back to memories, what is your fondest memory at Stanford?
Tiger Woods: At Stanford? There’s so many, there really are. I was only there for two years, but just I mean, I’ve had numerous conversations with the great football coach, Bill Walsh, my freshman year. I’ll never forget, I guess probably one of my funniest memories is walking into my first CIV, which is Cultures, Ideas and Values that every freshman has to take and I happened to take the history version of it. And I walk in and Tim Young, our basketball player, he’s 7’1, and we have a linebacker he’s huge, a 250 pound guy. I figure, you know, I’m in the right class, you know, a bunch of athletes. And all of a sudden they started talking about I’m looking at this book and I’m like, who is this Des Cartes guy laughter – (NB, he then pronounced it properly in the French, Descartes) – oh, okay. It was a pretty funny moment until they start articulating and I’m thinking, you know what, I might be in the wrong school. But it was a pretty cool time and it’s a time of my life that I’ll always treasure.
Q: What are your next three or four tournaments before Augusta and when do you leave here and when do you expect to be back home, assuming you’re going home?
Tiger Woods: I leave here as soon as I can get out of here and take a shower and then head to the airport, then fly home. And unfortunately I’m going to miss the Super Bowl, so probably will be making some calls on the airplane and see who is winning. But I’ll get in early morning Monday and I’ll head out to L.A. for my Learning Centre opening this week.
Q: Your next tournament before Augusta?
Tiger Woods: I’m playing three in a row. I’ve got L.A., Match Play and Doral.
Q: Well, Tiger, that trophy was in Ernie’s possession for a while, but you have got it at last.
Tiger Woods: He’s got three of them. (Laughter).
Q: Thank you.
Source – Dubai Desert Classic