Coming off a two-month layoff and the announcement that he had been named the PGA Tour's Player of the Year for the ninth time, Tiger Woods appeared before the press in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Woods spoke of his off-season, as well as the upcoming Target World Championship, which he is hosting.
The interview was an entertaining one, as a woman sneaked into the press room and started asking Woods provocative questions - which were intended to draw publicity to her adult Web site. Here are some other highlights of the interview.
Q. This is the ninth year for the Target World Challenge, the eighth year at Sherwood Country Club, and again, the proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation, and I know that makes you very proud.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we couldn't have had things happen as good as we've had it over the last 10 years. It's been absolutely incredible to have 10 million kids in our Start Something program, and obviously the inception of our learning center and then all the kids who have benefited from that.
We've been able to reach so many kids it's been absolutely incredible.
Q. Having been off competitively for so long, what's your biggest concern?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think being off for this long, any time you take time off, just getting back into the competitive flow, just the rhythm of playing a round of golf, it's totally different when you play at home. You can have all the money games you want, you can play with everything on the line, but it's just a little bit different when you get out here and play a tournament.
Hopefully I'll find it fairly soon. Hopefully it doesn't take five, six, seven, eight holes to find it. Hopefully I'll find it in the first two holes and get rolling from there.
Q. If you look at just your performance on the course, you have one fewer win this year, one less major, and yet it looked like it was a pretty good year if not better than the year before.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think it was a better year this year, even though I didn't quite - I had a chance probably - a great chance to win three of the four majors this year. I finished second in two of them. I was just a few shots away from basically doing what I did in 2000, the number of seconds I had, it wasn't that far away. What did I finish, second to Phil, and then the two major championships. If I get those done, get those squared away, people would probably be comparing it to 2000 if not better.
Q. Heading into the season, what are some of the tweaks and changes you've made swing-wise, approach-wise, getting ready to go to L.A.?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I haven't really done much. I worked a little bit on my short game on some of the things that I found a little bit lacking last year and just tried to basically -- as I started back practicing for this event, try and capture the things that I was feeling towards the end of last season and making sure those feelings were still there.
After this event as I start getting ready for next year, then I'll start to probably work on a couple more things that I need to work on.
Q. The list of players who chase you in the rankings is long. Do you feel like you've been able to increase that gap or do you think the gap is getting a little bit closer?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's a good question. I think that over the years that if you watch the World Rankings, it's basically who goes on such-and-such a run, and the way the World Rankings is set up right now, wins certainly accrue a lot of World Ranking points, especially when they are the right events. This year I won a couple World Golf Championships and a major championship, and that adds to World Ranking points. If no one is able to keep pace, I'm going to obviously increase the gap.
Winning takes care of everything, basically. The more wins you have, you don't have to really worry about the World Rankings.
Q. In the new Golf Digest you were quoted as saying if you ruled the game you guys would be playing persimmon and balata. Can you talk about that, and can you speak to whether you think there would be any interest in a tournament once a year where you guys actually use that kind of equipment?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that any time a player likes to shape a golf ball, understands how to shape a golf ball or bend - who can consistently hit the ball flush, you're going to want the ball to move more and the equipment to be less forgiving. It puts a premium on quality. There's a lot of guys that just go out there and just hit it, they mis-hit it, but the golf balls and the club heads, they're so forgiving that the ball goes the same distance.
Like my old persimmon driver that I grew up with, it's only maybe 15 yards behind my driver now. If I mis-hit it, it was like hitting a 3-iron out there. It goes nowhere. That's the biggest difference. You have to hit the ball flush, perfectly struck shots. It goes just about the same distance.
You know, if you - this is a good story. I actually played the ninth hole at St. Andrews in 2000 with a gutta-percha ball and with my old golf ball, which was the first Nike ball I put out there, and I drove the green with my ball. And then with the gutta-percha ball I hit a driver and a 5-iron and just barely rolled it to the middle of the green. Big difference in technology. But that's basically the difference in - it wouldn't be that big a difference, but there would be certainly a distinct difference. It would be fun to play a tournament that way, there's no doubt.
Transcript provided by ASAPSports.com.
December 12, 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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