Tiger Woods British Open Press Conference Transcript
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think overall I'm very pleased by the way I played today. It was very crisp, very clean, and hit a lot of beautiful putts that just grazed the edge and lipped out. I had six or seven lip-outs for birdie today. If those go in, it would have been a pretty good round.
Q. You seemed a little ticked off at points. Was this round frustrating just in terms of opportunities missed?
TIGER WOODS: It was frustrating in the sense that I was hitting beautiful putts and they were lipping out. But it is one thing that you are hitting a couple putts and have them not going in, but I was hitting the putts well and they were just lipping out. When you have good speed on the high side generally they fall in. Today they were lipping out on the high side with good pace, which is obviously frustrating when you roll the ball at that speed and it lips out on the high speed.
Q. (Question about pace)
TIGER WOODS: I think pace of the greens are a problem for everybody, because these are slower than we normally play week after week. But then again, they have to do that because if the wind ever blows here, they can lose control of the greens, even 18, even the greens are slow, but downgrain, downwind from where I was chipping from, vice versa if you go uphill into the green, you have to rip it.
Q. Were you in discomfort with your back at times?
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. You seemed to be bending over gingerly at times.
TIGER WOODS: You don't know what I said out there.
Q. Not exactly.
TIGER WOODS: I just told them a lot of times that a lot of back injuries occur when bending down picking the ball up out of the hole. If you bend down too quickly and a lot of trainers told me to bend down slowly and over the long haul, 20, 30, 40 years of playing golf, you never really put yourself in danger of doing damage. Even David's back is feeling good, but he still does it.
Q. Do you have any concern about maybe not taking full advantage of a calm day and also can you talk about the distraction on the 1st hole?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was frustrating, as I said, hitting good putts and not going in the hole. What are you going to do, I was committed to my lines; I felt comfortable over the putts and I hit good putts and they just didn't go in today. And that's okay. The 1st hole, a camerman was out of line. He took the picture at an inappropriate time and I backed off the shot and it really wasn't as committed to my line the second time around as I should have been, and consequently, I hit a poor tee shot and somehow hacked it out of the fairway. I don't know how I did that. Hit a good iron shot, a good sandwedge and about an eight foot for par.
Q. Were you distracted on the second shot?
TIGER WOODS: They were still trying to get their shot and they were taking them at inappropriate times, it's fine taking a picture, it's their job. But these guys are professionals; they know when to do it. And they -- that one might have had a heavy finger.
Q. They say, red numbers in a major are also good; is that the positive?
TIGER WOODS: Yes. Today anything under par is going to be a good score today. Actually if you shoot four solid rounds under par, more likely you're going to have a chance to win the tournament. And you can only shoot yourself out of the tournament the first day, and I certainly didn't do that. Got myself where I needed to be, especially if the weather is the way it's supposed to be the next two days.
Q. Why do you think no one has shot lower (inaudible)?
TIGER WOODS: A lot of pins are tucked on knobs, they're not only hard to get to, they're hard to read. A lot of the guys are going to have to play consecutive off the tees and leave themselves quite a ways back, and it's hard to fire at a lot of these pins with these credits, if you fly too far, it's out of here.
TIGER WOODS: If you hit it like that all day you're going to be doing all right.
Q. Tiger, getting back to 1 with distractions, how important was it to par that and not go into a plus number early on?
TIGER WOODS: I knew I had some easy holes ahead of myself but I kept telling myself, the way I was walking up and I saw my lie, if I could not make double, I was doing well. It was like stealing a couple of there by making four. Even if I made 5, it was okay, because the way -- the lie I had on the second shot, as I said, a double was probably going to be the score I was going to make, but somehow it came out all right and made four.
Q. Later on, after the first two birdies, you followed those immediately with bogeys. Is that a disappointment, you got it going and, boom, it turns around?
TIGER WOODS: Especially over on 8 -- or over on 6 when I blipped it. It was an easy putt up the hill and I tried to hit it uphill into the grain and I did tried to make sure I got it there; I did. The second putt, again, I hit it too hard, I hit it on the line but wrong pace, and it lipped out again. It's frustrating when you follow-up birdies with bogeys; that's not what you want to have happen. It's always good the other way around.
Q. What do you think about your grouping; did you enjoy it?
TIGER WOODS: I did. I've enjoyed playing with Justin and Maruyama, and he is a great kid. I thoroughly enjoyed it. They both played really well, so it was nice to go out there and all of us play well at the same time.
Q. Your ideal playing partner shot better than you. Are you surprised at all by Mark?
TIGER WOODS: Steve and I were talking about this, Mark was hitting the ball best I've seen it in practice rounds leading up to a tournament than I've seen in a couple of years, just shot after shot after shot, he had his shape again. You can see he was starting to get his length back, he is now in the right position to hit it. You can see the confidence building day after day, it was a matter of him getting off to a good start today and I think he did it and played all the way around.
Q. When he talked about going on TV you persuaded him that he still had time left on tour?
TIGER WOODS: He has too much talent to go in the booth. There's no way he should go in the booth, no way. He hasn't really played all that well the last couple of years to his standards, but you can see the talent is there, and it's just a matter of him trusting his game and which he's doing that now and he is hitting the ball -- he's in the right position.
Q. How many drivers did you hit today?
TIGER WOODS: I hit 3.
Q. Tiger, going back to Justin, are you surprised how well he handled the pressure of playing the sort of crowds you play with every day?
TIGER WOODS: I don't think the crowds were that big today compared to the last major we played in. Well, the fans were certainly out there cheering for Justin. Obviously they want him to play well, and he did that today, and I think he conducted himself beautifully today.
Q. Go into detail on the second shot, what was the lie like, what club did you hit, what was your thought?
TIGER WOODS: I was just trying to advance it forward. I thought I couldn't get to the fairway. I was hoping to get a good lie on the second shot.
Q. What club did you use?
TIGER WOODS: 60, hard as I could. I could have hit it a foot or I could have gone as far as it went, but it came out great. I don't know how it did it, but it did.
Q. The way Justin played today, do you think he has a chance at winning?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, he certainly has the talent. If he executes golf shots the way he has been doing he'll be fine.
Q. (Questions about playing conditions in a major)?
TIGER WOODS: I've always enjoyed playing in tougher conditions, because if you play well and shoot a good solid round you're going to move up, and a lot of times on tour now, if you go out there and shoot 67 (inaudible) it's nice to go out there and shoot under par round, you get rewarded by moving up the board.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.
Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta
Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.
The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.
It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.
"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."
Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.
Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.
"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."