Tiger Woods has his say prior to PGA Championship

Heading into the 2006 PGA Championship as the favorite following wins his last two times out at the British Open and Buick Open, Tiger Woods sat down with the press to answer some questions about his hunt for major No. 12.

Tiger Woods

Question: Welcome back to Medinah. Your thoughts on returning to the site of your first PGA Championship triumph.

Tiger Woods: Yeah, the golf course is absolutely fantastic. Obviously they've lengthened some of the holes and the greens have been redone, but the golf course is such a wonderful layout, wonderful shape to it. It's one of the neat golf courses we get to play. It's old and traditional and it's just very straightforward. I mean, you've got to hit the ball well and obviously control your irons into these greens in order to have a chance.

Q. How do your fans differ from Phil Mickelson's fans? I don't know if you saw that Rick Reilly piece that ran a while ago. It was pretty hilarious, sort of comparing your camp to his camp, because there's going to be a confluence of like I guess for the last year, the first couple of days. I'm wondering if you can tell one from the other.

Tiger Woods: Well, I think it'll be loud either way (smiling). There will be obviously a bunch of people following our group.

Obviously you have the three major championship winners this year in the same group, so that's always one of the premier pairings of the PGA. And then obviously the fans that Phil has and that obviously the fans I have, it'll make for a very loud atmosphere.
But in either case, you've still got to place the golf ball correctly and you've got to make putts. Granted, it will be loud, but you've got to go out there and place the golf ball where you need to place it.

Q. To follow up on the driver thing, given normal stock conditions, can you tell us what holes you would expect to be hitting driver on?

Tiger Woods: Just the par 5s and maybe one or two more. Depends on the conditions, honestly. Obviously the par 5s for sure, and then maybe two other than that, maybe three.

Q. It's difficult to bring up Medinah without thinking about the duel that you and Sergio had back in '99. Can you give me your recollections of that, and probably more specifically the shot he hit at 16?

Tiger Woods: Yeah, I was on the tee actually. I had just walked onto the tee and I saw him hit the shot, and I didn't really pay much attention to it until I saw him sprinting (laughter). Obviously that's when I took notice because obviously he's looking either it's going to be really good or really bad.

You hear the crowd just erupted up there on the green, so obviously I knew it had to be pretty darn good. I thought by the way the crowd erupted it was going to be close, and I thought I was going to have to bear down the last few holes and play well. I ended up making bogey there and ended up having to par 17 and 18.

Q. What do you think is your impact on golf in the last decade?

Tiger Woods: My impact? 50 wins on our Tour. I don't know, hopefully I've made the game better. But I've got my name on trophies 50 times here in the States. I think that's all right. That's a good impact, I think (smiling).

Truthfully, I think hopefully that I've spurred on more younger kids to play the game of golf that probably they wouldn't have looked at golf as something they really wanted to do. I know when I was growing up, golf was not a cool sport to play. You were considered a wuss for playing.

Now I think it's more of an accepted sport and a viable sport, as well. I think you're seeing a lot more juniors out there hitting the golf ball around more than I did when I first came out here on Tour.

August 16, 2006

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