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.
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.