Tiger Woods Interview - Deutsche Bank Championship
BY iseekgolf.com | US PGA Tour | 2006 Deutsche Bank Championship | Final Round | 05 Sep 2006
Joan vT Alexander: The 2006 Deutsche Bank champion, Tiger Woods. Five in a row. You went out there and took charge pretty quickly. Why don’t you just talk about the day.
Tiger Woods: Well, I hit it good today. I got off to a quick start. I eagled missed a short one on No. 1, eagled 2, and birdied 3. And I didn’t think I would get all of them back within the first three holes, but the par 5 No. 2 playing downwind, with the length that Vijay and I both have, put the ball in the fairway and you can have an iron to the green.
And he missed the fairway there and I made eagle there and just got all the momentum. I got back two shots instead of basically feeling all square.
Made a nice putt at the third and then all of a sudden I had all the momentum on my side and just tried to continue doing what I was doing. Hitting the ball well and making some putts.
Joan vT Alexander: Questions, please.
Q: You go to the 7th hole and just take us through that shot. I got to believe that was a pretty good shot?
Tiger Woods: Yeah, I hit that good. But it was basically possibly a full 5 wood there, but I just, I wanted to hit 3 wood and make sure that the pin was up front so I figure if I missed it long over the green it’s fine. I had the angle coming back.
And I hit it, I hit it really low and hot, so I figured it would roll over the back. But it landed right into the bank. And the bank just killed it. And it took all the momentum off of it and it just rolled up on the green. So that was a huge bonus, because that shot should have been over the green.
Q: At that point it looks like you’re in decent shape in terms of building your lead then he his a tremendous shot out of bunker to nothing. Would you talk about the importance of making that putt?
Tiger Woods: Yeah, I thought I was in control of the hole. And was going to basically I had the lead there. And all of a sudden he hits it just a great golf shot. And it’s a shot that he practices quite a bit, actually. He goes in a lot of the fairway bunkers and hits those wedges and mid irons and practices that shot a lot. And it wasn’t a real big surprise that he hit it close, but the kick in was pretty sweet. It was a pretty sweet shot. So if I make my putt, again, I have all, I take all of his momentum away from him; and I knocked it right in there.
Q: On Friday and Saturday on hole No. 2 you both pushed your shot way left. Coming in today, what was your thought process and exactly how close were you trying to get on that shot.
Tiger Woods: No, I actually missed my tee shot that I hit terrible there the first couple days. And today the wind was down off the left and I just peeled it down there and hit it right in the middle of the fairway. And the second shot was 206 yards blowing down off the left and I hit a full 6 iron. Just aimed right at it and if I miss it, miss it right. Because obviously it’s shorter on the right hand side. And even if it falls down the hill, that’s fine. I can 2 putt from down there. And it just started to bleed a little bit to the right and hit soft and stayed up, which was a big bonus. Because then I had actually a makeable putt for eagle.
Q: You talked about the change of momentum and it happened so quickly starting with that second hole, but how can you feel the momentum changing? Is it by body language of Vijay or do you feel it yourself or the crowd’s reaction?
Tiger Woods: Generally I just feel it myself. Vijay’s a player who he’s so he’s a veteran player, he’s been there so many times, he’s not going to show you through body language. He knows what to do. So it wasn’t that. I just felt by making eagle and basically stealing two there, two strokes from him on his lead, I had all the momentum on my side. And then I stuffed it on the third hole and made that putt. And all of a sudden it was, now we’re all squared, now we can basically play our tournament from here.
I just had to run him down as fast as possible, try to at least get him by the front nine was over. But I was able to do it within three holes.
Q: When do you go for six in a row, and could you talk about 15. Vijay hit it in real close there and you were able to get a birdie.
Tiger Woods: When do I go for six? In two weeks. I play the Match Play and then play the Ryder Cup and then I play the American Express championship. So three weeks in Europe right in a row.
15? Yeah, that was a big momentum, again, keeping it on my side. Because anything can still have, could still happen. I make my putt, at the time I had a two shot lead, if I miss, he makes, one shot lead with 17, which is a pretty easy well if you drive the ball in the fairway you feel like you can make birdie there. And then 18 you can make three pretty easily there as well. So I needed to keep that lead at two. And I was able to make that putt and basically took all the momentum away from Vijay, when he could have easily cut my lead in half it stayed the same.
Q: We heard you say in the past if you’re not getting better you’re getting worse. But the way you’re playing right now, what could you possibly be working on now?
Tiger Woods: Everything. Everything can always be better. This game is fluid. It’s always changing, it’s always evolving and you can always get better. That’s the great thing about it. You can get better tomorrow than you are today.
Q: Completely satisfied with anything right now?
Tiger Woods: I could always hit the ball better, chip better, putt better, think better, yeah. Other than that, yeah.
Q: Along those lines, when you look at how you had to patch together a 72 a couple days ago, not hitting it very well and going through a stretch like you did in Akron where it wasn’t that sharp for a period, in some ways is it more satisfying when you battle your way through and win on a week like this when everything doesn’t click for 72 holes?
Tiger Woods: Well, it’s a hell of a lot harder to do. I just wish that the big leads and the big ones are a lot easier on the system. But weeks like this you really find out a lot about yourself and how to manage yourself around the golf course. And you have to dig down deep to find something. A lot of times you just don’t have it and you just got to find a way to keep your self in the tournament.
And that second round I kept myself in the tournament. Could have easily shot myself right out of the tournament. But I hung in there and gutted it out and all of a sudden I was only two back when it could have easily been five, six, seven, eight back and would have been really asking for a lot to get back in the tournament, the way I was hitting it.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your mindset when you left the 14th green after you had I guess short sided it, you were in the rough, you had to get it up and down and he’s on the green and that was definitely a two shot possibility and you came away with the two shot lead.
Tiger Woods: Correct. I pulled my 5 iron over to the left. Vijay hit a nice iron shot there, right where he needed to put it, just a little short right of the hole. And he missed his putt. I just felt that I make my putt it was a nice little bonus to come out of there not losing any shots. When I could have easily from where I, from the fairway where I was, it looked like that ball hit on the down slope and was kind of way down the hill. When I got town there it really wasn’t that bad. It was pin high on the upslope. So I had a pretty easy shot. Didn’t hit a very good chip, but it was, it wasn’t that hard. So the walk away with a push was awfully nice.
Q: I heard you mentioned you talked to Hank last night a little bit, was there anything in particular for your swing and second of all, this is five times in a row, two Majors, you felt tired you said. Could you put in your own words what you think about being able to do something like that as opposed to us trying to say it?
Tiger Woods: As far as Hank and I, we just talked about my posture was just terrible yesterday. It was just pitiful.
Down swing was even worse and the follow through was probably even worse than that. So I had to tighten things up again. It just happens when you get a little tired and a little sloppy and a little lazy with the swing. And I wasn’t, I didn’t have the easiest thing to do is set up and I didn’t even have that right.
So to make sure I got my posture over the ball and then from there things would start to evolve itself into a better golf swing, which it did. I was able to find my positions again on my down swing to start controlling my trajectory and my distance. Because my distance control wasn’t very good. And that’s when you know that I mean if you can’t control your trajectory, you can’t hit the ball the proper distance. I wasn’t doing that.
So today was nice. I had a nice warm up session today, I really hit it good. The first two shots on the first hole, that was nice. Because I had 133 yards into the wind and it just hit just a little baby 8 iron and that’s nice when you can hit a shot like that right out of the gate.
Q: You talked a lot about having been there before and I can rely on past experience, etcetera. What is your confidence like when you’ve been there before so frequently? In other words, when you’ve won four in a row. How is that different from having just won 52 over ten years or whatever it is.
Tiger Woods: Well, I think it’s just, like I say, I just did it last week, so it wasn’t like I have to draw way back on my memory banks and find something positive. I have just had gone through it last week, I battled the back nine there with Cink and I when we went into a playoff. So battling with Vijay here I said, hey, I just got it done last week, the same circumstances, no reason why I can’t get it done now. And went out there and just played that way.
Q: Being a local publication, CVN, is there any suggestions you would make to the Deutsche Bank competition to make it more competitive in the pro am league?
Tiger Woods: The what?
Q: In this golf league. Is there anything that you would suggest to them?
Tiger Woods: Well, next year we’re going to the playoff series, so we’re going to have the best players in our, on our TOUR, it’s the third leg of our playoff series, so I think it will be, it’s huge for us to be a part of that. And on top of that, basically the last qualifier to get into the TOUR championship. So I expect to have probably the best field of whoever assembled here next year.
Q: It’s almost ten years exactly since your debut, could you even imagine ten years of what you’ve done in these ten years?
Tiger Woods: Nope. No. Hey, over that ten year span you’re just hoping to keep your card for that long and stay out here and win tournaments and hopefully if everything goes right to win Major championships. I just got off to such a quick start in my career by winning twice in the fall of ’96 and then to win the Masters in my first go round, in my first Major, just gave my whole career as a professional just a great shot of momentum and confidence. That I could do it. And from there I could always rely on that experience to carry me forth in the future.
Q: This is on a short list of tournaments that you hadn’t won, even though you played it a couple times, did that weigh on you at all, you had the affiliation with the tournament and you had done well, but you hadn’t won here?
Tiger Woods: I didn’t really look at it that way, no. I really wanted to play well and win this tournament, obviously, for the foundation, and the things that we’re trying to do and the money we’re trying to raise to better chances of our youth. So for me to win this golf tournament I think it’s just, it adds more I guess the word was exposure to what we’re trying to do and trying to accomplish with our foundation.
So for me I think that’s probably the most important thing is that people are now becoming aware of what we’re trying to do. And the tournament and the fans and Deutsche Bank and that really help us to do that, because now we’re able to touch more lives.
Q: Do you ever think about 11 in a row?
Tiger Woods: Yeah.
(Laughter.) It wasn’t just 11, it was 11 in a row, 12 out of 13, 18 for the year. That will work.
Q: You don’t even play 18, do you?
Tiger Woods: Good point.
Q: Kind of along those lines, where do you see Byron’s record, the 11 in a row, as it relates to UCLA or some of the other or some of the other great streaks in sports?
Tiger Woods: Well, I think it’s part of the streak that it’s probably the streak that I’ve, he had to have so many things go right first of all. In this day and age and the competition, to win 11 in a row would almost be unheard of. What Byron accomplished, that right there goes down to probably one of the greatest years in the history of our sport. Consistency I mean you got to have one bad week somewhere. He never did. His bad week was a win, I guess. So it’s I mean it’s truly amazing. I know that there were a lot of different circumstances. It was one of those, the field’s weren’t as strong, it was one of the war years, but still, I just think that what Byron accomplished there goes down as one of the greatest streaks in all of sport. I don’t know what DiMaggio’s record, I see that being broken more so than winning 11 golf tournaments.
Q: I know it’s early in your career to be thinking about golf course design at this point, but did you see anything out on the course today that you particularly liked, disliked, that if that day ever comes when you start designing courses regularly that you would like to incorporate into what you do?
Tiger Woods: Yeah, I have my ideas, yes. And we’re going to, obviously, I don’t know if anyone knows, we’re going to make some changes again this year for the next event, for next year’s event. So yeah, I’m going to try and help out with that, give my opinion and they can utilise it or not. But I am getting into golf course design business here probably pretty soon. So it’s something that I’m very excited about to be creative and design a piece of property that people will want to go play. It’s going to be challenging, but also be fun.
So that part is really enjoyable to me, because I play golf courses now, I played all around the world, I’ve seen so many different type of golf courses and the types of styles that I have my own opinion on how the game should be played. And hopefully you get pieces of property which you can make that happen.
Q: With all the success you’ve had, including financially, how do you maintain your competitive drive and avoid a sense of complacency?
Tiger Woods: Work hard.
Q: It would be easy to sit back and say, “I got everything I want, I got 12 Majors.” You’ve seen athletes, you’ve been around long enough, it’s such attribute to you that you are still really wanting to win.
Tiger Woods: Well, you know, yeah, I’m a competitor, all right. And I love to compete. I love to mix it up. I like to go toe to toe, eyeball to eyeball, that to me is fun. And I love to feel that rush of getting out there and trying to beat everybody. That to me is fun. And there’s no better place than the back nine on Sunday at a Major championship to go get in that arena. And that’s what we as players, that’s what we practice all those hours, all of those hours in the gym, run all those miles on the road, is to be in that position, to feel that rush, to win.
Q: Along those lines of motivation, was there any revenge today from what happened two years ago and did that help drive you today?
Tiger Woods: No, not at all. Vijay just flat out outplayed me last time. I had an opportunity and I bogeyed what? 14 there and made a mistake and then he birdied 15 and it was basically over.
This year I just felt that I was playing well enough to catch Vijay on that front nine and I was able to do it earlier than I thought I would, but I was still able to get the lead on the front nine, which was a huge bonus and basically play a little bit more conservative on the back nine and it forced Vijay to try to make birdies.
Q: Curious as we look ahead, you got a week off and then Wentworth, Ryder Cup, Am Ex and then I’m sure you’ve got a fairly full fall schedule, post whatever it’s called.
Tiger Woods: Right.
Q: We’ll leave it at that. What do you think you’ll do the rest of the year TOUR wise? Is there a chance you’ll miss Disney?
Tiger Woods: I don’t know.
Q: The TOUR championship? Have you thought that far ahead?
Tiger Woods: I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. No, how many tournaments have I played in? 12?
Tiger Woods: 14 on our TOUR?
Tiger Woods: 14 total.
Q: 14 on our TOUR, 15 total?
Tiger Woods: 15 total? 14 tournaments over here. So one more I get, I can still maintain my voting rights.
(Laughter.) First of all, I need to, as Joan just said, I need to play better so I can get in the TOUR championship, so.
No, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do in the fall. I know I’m playing these three weeks and then I got basically three tournaments well two tournaments overseas and one in Hawaii, so that will be a nice close there and I’ll take some time off and hopefully there’ll be some snow in the mountains and I’ll go skiing.
Q: A Ryder Cup question. We know how knowledgeable you are about Jack’s record in the Major championships, as a kid or even now, do you think much about what Jack did as a Ryder Cup player?
Tiger Woods: No, I don’t know how many, I don’t know how many he played in or what was his record. Do you?
Q: And neither does he. I asked him that yesterday. He doesn’t know himself. And one of his points is that it’s been made, it’s been turned into more than it was meant to be. And I was wondering what your feelings were along those lines?
Tiger Woods: I agree with that. It evolved and it’s certainly grown into a, just an enormous event. It wasn’t designed to be that. It was more of a goodwill event when it first was started. I don’t know when they first played it, but it wasn’t designed to be on the scale that it is now. But that’s also commercialism and the things that happen and all the money that that tournament can generate and it never was you never would have thought that a match like that would ever have a corporate sponsor, but in ’97 they did, the Johnny Walker Ryder Cup.
So it has certainly evolved into an enormous money maker for the PGA of European the PGA of America. The fans get into it, we as players get into it. It’s a lot of fun to play and compete and also go and try to win for your teammates and your country. But it certainly has grown into a lot bigger event than it ever was conceived to be.
Q: Did Jack do something when he captained the Presidents Cup teams that you were on that made it more fun for you to play on?
Tiger Woods: Yeah, he basically said, “Who do you want to play with?” Okay. “Where do you want to go out?” Because it’s different in the Presidents Cup. Because when you do the parings Gary and Jack are right there next to each other and the guy puts up a team and says, “Well, I put these guys out” and then the other captain gets a pick.
So basically we were able to set the parings and who we wanted to play. And so that’s totally different. It’s not done in random, it’s actually done with an idea to take on some of, take out some of their best players, something like that.
Q: Where would you put your performance today? I think we’re going to need Joan’s help. Someone mentioned that 63 is your lowest Sunday round to win a tournament. Where would you rank it?
Tiger Woods: Is it?
Q: Today I guess we’ll ask for help.
Tiger Woods: To win a tournament?
Q: To win the tournament. And in your own mind, what are your top three performances ever?
Tiger Woods: Ever?
(Laughter.) Can I just put tournaments instead?
Tiger Woods: Okay. Not in any particular order, so. Probably ’97 Masters, 2000 U.S. Open, probably 2000 British.
Q: Back to the Ryder Cup for a second. You’re obviously playing well. I had a question about Mickelson. You being his team mate. He’s in the last couple years has really pured a lot into Majors and it’s paid off for him but he admitted that he runs out of gas through August and he’s got to find a way to get it back for the Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup, whatever the year may be. Any thoughts on that and what you might be expecting from him, given the state of his game now and what you need from him.
Tiger Woods: Well, I think it’s
Q: Not that you’re playing with him, but
Tiger Woods: I think it’s great for him to take the time off and recharge. I mean he puts a lot into the major championships over the summertime. And, yeah, he is, you know, a bit tired, a bit worn out. Just like we all are this time of year. So it’s, it takes its toll on you playing the Major championship season, especially if you’re in contention it sort of wears on you.
But I think his, he’ll be prepared, I think as I said it’s great for him to take that time off to get ready, to be energized, but we need Phil to play well. We really do. He’s one of the leaders of our team. And you’re always looking for the leaders of your team to win points. And hopefully Phil can get some points and get us going.
Q: For years now there have been so many comparisons to 2000. Can you ever get back to it.
Tiger Woods: Right.
Q: Is it doable again. What are your thoughts on that now and do you see any difference in the way you’re playing that you could compare with that stretch?
Tiger Woods: Well, people are always asking me that, just like you just did. And I just think that if you’re looking for blow out wins to compare the two, there’s only a couple tournaments that you can possibly blow out anybody in. One would be the U.S. Open, because if you play great rounds of golf, it’s hard for the other guys to do the same. You’re going to have you have to have difficult golf courses and play great in order to have blow outs.
I think that’s what people are always looking to compare 2000 to now. Said, yeah, he’s winning but he’s not winning by as big of margins. But I’m still getting W’s.
Q: No disrespect here, I wasn’t looking at the blow outs at all, I think 2000 to me is winning at almost a 50 percent clip, which you are at right now. Not so much the margin of victory. And winning a lot and a streak going, I think looking that way. I guess my question too was related to a swing that’s different, but how you feel you’re playing compared to the 2000 season?
Tiger Woods: Well, I hit it great and I putted well and I got some really lucky breaks during that stretch and basically I’m doing the same thing now. I have more shots now, just because of so many more years of experience and know how to get my ball around the golf course better. But then again, the competition’s gotten better as well. The guys have worked out, and that wasn’t a big thing back then to work out, now you look at all the guys with their own trainers out here. Everybody’s been hitting the ball further, longer, everyone’s stronger. It’s become that much more difficult to win a golf tournament. So I’ve kept up the pace, I’ve pushed myself to do the same.
Tiger Woods: Well, it was don’t forget, at the time we were in the transition of going from wound ball to solid construction ball. And I felt that I had an advantage playing a solid construction ball. Especially with the wind, if it ever blew at the time. Now, everyone has a solid construction ball, so there wasn’t any kind of difference between a ball in a sleeve. Every ball is virtually the same, identical.
So you got a wound ball, you would have a ball here and there in the dozen that wasn’t right. It was flying differently. And that’s the difference I think with solid construction versus wound. And all the guys now are using it and I think everyone’s hitting the ball a lot further and we’re shooting better scores. Look at the cuts now. Four, 5 under par, even six last year at Disney, making cuts. So you have that many more guys with bunched together than ever before.
Q: Could you make an argument then that this is almost more impressive, the fact that you’re at 50 percent right now on TOUR, in wins, and that’s about what it was in 2000, almost a more impressive performance in your eyes?
Tiger Woods: In a sense. Just because I think everyone’s improved. Everyone’s gotten better. You can’t compare the two because in a sense everyone’s gotten better. I’ve gotten better, the rest of the guys have gotten better. Technology’s gotten better. It’s just evolved. And that’s one of the more difficult things is to try and compare generations and obviously even in my little section of my career to compare the two. Because it keeps evolving. It’s not like in baseball where they all got wooden bats and it stays wooden bats. It’s hard to compare the two sometimes.
Joan vT Alexander: Thank’s, Tiger, and congratulations.
Tiger Woods: Thank you.
Photo – Anthony Powter