The first round of the BMW Championship saw scores go low, as Jonathan Byrd heads to round two with sole possession of the lead at 7 under. Justin Rose and Camilo Villegas are both one shot back after shooting 65s, while Tiger Woods kept up with the leaders with a 4-under 67 at Cog Hill.
With berths for the Tour Championship and spots on the FedEx Cup points list in the balance, players were in attack mode at the Lemont, Ill., course, and the PGA Tour is looking for another exciting finish. Here's what Byrd and Woods had to say after a first round where scores in the 60s were the norm.
Q. No. 30 on the FedEx Cup points list, so obviously some pressure on you to play well this week and maintain your position for next week.
JONATHAN BYRD: Some pressure. You know, I try not to put any extra pressure on myself this week. I've played well all year, and it's been a successful year, won a tournament and have a lot of good finishes, feel good about my game. It would be nice to play well this week, and that's what I'm here for.
You know, if I get in next week, I get in next week. I went out just trying to play the golf course today and felt good about my game and made a few extra putts today, and here I am.
Q. Lift, clean and place rules in effect for round one, 12 of 14 fairways, so that had to help?
JONATHAN BYRD: Yeah, I mean, every week -- I have not been driving the ball -- about three months ago I was really struggling driving the golf ball, and I've been driving the ball better and better every week. It's just been putting the ball in the fairway and hitting it really good off the tee, and I just gave myself a lot of chances today.
Q. The win at the John Deere kind of really got you going. Has that kind of been the key to your season?
JONATHAN BYRD: It's amazing what winning does for you confidence-wise. I missed the previous four cuts before John Deere, and then I go win a tournament, and I'm just bubbling with confidence. It just does a lot for you. You get in position to win and you do it, and then you just feel like you go to the next tournament and try to win that one. So it's very addictive, winning.
You know, I'm playing a lot better than I was probably that week at John Deere. My game is sharper. John Deere is not quite as difficult a golf course as this one is or some of the other golf courses we've played, and my game has just kind of continued to get better and better.
Q. It seemed like on odd atmosphere out there today, not many people. I wonder what it was like playing in that situation.
JONATHAN BYRD: Well, Stewart Cink made the comment when we got out there this morning, we were only two groups ahead of Tiger, and usually when you're two groups ahead of Tiger there's people swarming all day, especially if you're one group ahead of Tiger. It just didn't seem like there was that many people out there today. Following him, he usually brings everybody out.
Q. Can you talk about your round today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt like I hit the ball decent today but putted a lot better. Just had that one bad hole at 7, but other than that it was a pretty good day.
Q. What did you have left after the pitching wedge over the green? Was the pin back and running away from you?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was running away from me. I was just trying to dump the ball on the green, just trying to make about a 15-, 20-footer. I wasn't trying to get cute on it at all, and it just went right underneath it.
Q. In general having played well there but not getting a W, does that change your mindset about it one way or another?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I've come close, and hopefully this year I can get it done. Overall I've always liked that golf course. I always thought it was a difficult golf course but it was very fair. It's right in front of you, and there's no tricks to it. You've just got to go out there and really hit the golf ball well. All the guys you've seen who have won there in the past, you can't short game it around that place. You have to hit the ball well.
Q. The par 5 on the back, left of the green, having ball in hand and being able to place it with the hole close to the edge, how much did that help?
TIGER WOODS: It did. It wouldn't necessarily take the slope away, but it took some of the fringe away. I only had to putt through maybe two inches of fringe instead of a foot and a half. Obviously that's a big difference.
Q. Did this course play much different today than in past years?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, big difference, yeah. The fairways slowed up, but much more the greens. You know, today when you have ball in hand, you're firing at just about every flag. You know, it's one of those things where you felt like you had to shoot something in the mid-60s or else you're just going to get left behind. I don't know why we went ball in hand today, but as soon as we did, you just knew the guys were going to tear it apart.
Q. Talk about playing with Steve, just talk a little bit about his comeback. I think the average fan kind of appreciates it. Do you guys appreciate it even more knowing how hard that can be?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I was telling Doug here, maybe he should get Comeback Player of the Year for back-to-back years because the way he came back last year and then obviously he's continually improved from last year, it's been amazing to watch. He's now one of the top tier players out here; week in and week out he's always there. He drives the ball on a string, and one of the best putters out here. It's great to see him make that comeback, make the commitment to getting back, and he did it.
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September 7, 2007
Coming off his thrilling British Open victory over Sergio Garcia in 2007, Padraig Harrington sat down to discuss his game and his chances at the 2008 U.S. Open. "I have spent my last 10 years trying to adapt my swing to play U.S. Open golf," Harrington said. "I'd say the last two years, that and the Masters have attracted my attention more than anything else."
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