While preparing for the Presidents Cup, Tiger Woods took some time to talk about the tournament he hosts in December, the Target World Championship.
Woods, who recently won the FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship, had a lot to say on other issues, as well, including the new drug policy the PGA Tour has helped create. Here's what Woods had to say to the gathering of media, via telephone from Montreal, where he's preparing with the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup.
Q. Tiger, we'd like you maybe to comment a little bit on your year, FedExCup champion, PGA champion, as well as comment a little bit about this year's event at Sherwood Country Club.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you. This year has been just a basically dream come true. I know I've had some nice success on the golf course, won some tournaments, including a major championship this year. But this year, having the birth of our first child, has been just truly amazing. It's been just so much fun. My life right now is a complete full opposite of what it was a year ago. Couldn't be happier. I think it's fantastic.
Q. With obviously the Presidents Cup going on, the unity of the U.S. team, obviously we know how the international players feel and approach when it comes to team golf, but this year with the great field especially from the U.S., I mean, has the team got together, got the unity going?
TIGER WOODS: Actually it's kind of interesting because most of the guys are coming in right now. We were supposed to be here by 5 p.m. eastern time. Our captain, Jack, just landed about a half hour ago. He's on his way here to the hotel. Let me see. Steve Stricker just went out to the golf course. Charles and Lucas and I think Verplank are already out there practicing. Majority of the guys from both sides are coming in today.
But basically we start tomorrow. Have a team function here tonight, team meeting, make sure everyone is on the same page. Usually today, from all the teams I've been on, the first day you get here, you usually try to make sure your clothes fit, make sure everything's organized so you don't have to worry about anything for the rest of the week. That's basically what we're doing, chilling out, maybe have a few beers later tonight, make sure we catch up on anything, get fired up for the tournament.
Q. A decision to initiate the performance-enhancing drug policy next year. I'm wondering in your mind, since there's still protocol in the penalty phase for the testing to come, do you have any feelings on what you think would be appropriate penalties for anybody who does test positive for any of the banned drugs.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think, you know, given our reputation in our sport, how honorable our sport is and always has been and will continue to be, I think that the penalty's got to be somewhat significant. I know tennis, it's pretty significant. Obviously they go along with the Olympic testing. So I don't know how extensive.
Tim is supposed to meet with us this week and explain the policy to us a little bit, some more of the details. We know as much as you do right now. So it will be nice to actually get some information and the details on it.
But I believe that it has to be somewhat significant because the sport has been traditionally about honor, and I think that someone who breaks that code of ethic in our sport should be penalized.
Q. You mentioned the honor in the game. Golf is the only mainstream sport there is that is essentially on the honor code where you police yourself, call your own penalties on yourself. What do you think the reaction would be among the rank-and-file toward anyone found to have broken this code?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it would be very disappointing if it did happen. I think that person's reputation would be obviously damaged pretty significantly. You know, this is the only sport in which you call your own penalties. You can imagine if an offensive lineman said, Oh, I'm sorry, I held the guy, we have to take a 10-yard penalty. I just can't see it in any other sport. Or Michael Jordan says, You know what, sorry, ref, I actually traveled on that one, it should be their ball. We think that's pretty funny to say that stuff, but that's actually how our sport works.
I've called penalties on myself. I know numerous other guys have done the same thing. I think the person who does -- if it does happen, tests positive, then I think his reputation is going to be damaged pretty severely.
Q. Obviously the FedExCup just completed. It was good for you, having won the first one. There was a lot of talk throughout the four weeks about possible changes?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the first event of the FedExCup, I think the field is actually too big. Technically what we're trying to do is trying to create a system in which, just like every other sport, you play all year to get into a playoff system. Well, 'playoff' means that it's shrunken down, a lot of guys have been eliminated. Well, in our sport 125 players are exempt to play next year. And the first tournament is 144 guys. That's about 10% over. Also don't forget some of the invitationals, such as my tournament, Bay Hill, Jack's tournament, Memorial, all have smaller fields. If you're trying to create an elite status in playoff events, I think you've got to have smaller fields, try and make the events more prestigious that way as well as also more difficult to get into. When you have 144 guys, that's basically like another Tour event.
Q. Under what circumstances should a player be banned for testing for certain performance-enhancing drugs? Also, have you ever suspected that a fellow player was using performance-enhancing drugs?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you have to make the determination of what is performance-enhancing. If you go by what the Olympic Committee does, I know I have some friends who played on the ATP, and they can't take a cold remedy such as Nyquil or anything. It tests positive. So, you know, how severe are we going to go on this is the question?
I know some of the guys have taken a steroid pack. What I mean by that is you have an anti-inflammatory. It's like 11 pills, then 10, 9, 7, all the way down. It's like a five-day pack. Some guys have had to do that to get out there and play. I believe one of the golfers tested positive for that this year in the French Open. He already told the guys what exactly it was. It's what it was. It was that kind of steroid pack some of the guys have taken in the past.
I don't know how far we're going to go on that. That's the thing that we're looking forward to talking to Tim this week, getting more detail on how far and how extensive is the list going to be.
Q. And what about ever suspecting someone using them?
TIGER WOODS: We all think that it has probably happened in the past. We know that guys have tried beta blockers. You know, Nick Price is the first one to admit it, that he did use it, because he had a heart problem. He needed to do it so he didn't have any more heart complications. He said it actually hurt his game. But, you know, as far as that, we really don't know.
Q. At the Presidents Cup, the U.S. team has to play international competition every year. The guys you're playing don't. They get a year off. Is that a problem, and if it is, do you ever see anything that would maybe change the scheduling somewhat?
TIGER WOODS: The scheduling won't change. It is what it is. It's interesting because the Europeans say, How do you guys do it every year? It's what we do. The Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup were here before I ever turned pro.
You know, it's an honor to make the team because you know played well. We've got some great guys on the teams. It's fun to get to know some of the new guys you don't get to see. All these years we basically had some core guys that have played. It's been myself, Mickelson and Jim. We've been on the team together since '97. We've made every team together. Phil was on there in '95 in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup in '96, so he's been on here longer.
It's great to get to know a lot of the guys, their wives and their families. It builds from one team to the next because of what we've done in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups in the past. Certain years, like the last Presidents Cup we played on, everyone on that team had played on some team event, either Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, so there were no rookies. May have been a rookie for that one particular event, but not for team competition. So it was a lot easier.
Transcript provided by ASAP Sports.
September 26, 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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