Tiger blames himself for U.S. losses, targets Rory


Tiger Woods met with the assembled media for the first time at Medinah Country Club on Tuesday morning in advance of the Ryder Cup. Here are some of the highlights of his interview session:

On whether he’s responsible for the U.S. not winning more Ryder Cups: “Certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for. I believe I was out there, what, in five sessions each time, and I didn't go 5-0 on our side. So I certainly am a part of that, and that's part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team, and I didn't do that. Hopefully I can do that this week, and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling.”

On Rory McIlroy being a marked man this week: “It's part of being consistent. It's part of being ranked No. 1. It's part of winning major championships. You're always going to want to try and take out their best player, and that's just part of the deal. That's a fun challenge. I certainly have relished it over the years and I'm sure he's going to relish it this week.”

On advice for McIlroy: “Well, I'm not going to say anything; obviously he's playing for the other team. We can talk about it afterwards.”

Video: Watch Tiger Woods' full Ryder Cup news conference

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On potential pairings: “Obviously we have an idea of what we want to do, but also then again, that can certainly change. I think we are going to go out there and see how today is, and the most important thing about these next two days is just getting to know this new golf course for us. … I'm going to need to do my homework so that whoever I go out with, that I will be ready and able to contribute and understand this golf course and how to play it.”

On Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and himself each having losing Ryder Cup records: “In order to win Cups, you have to earn points and we certainly have not earned points. And on top of that, I think that Phil, Jim and myself have been put out there a lot during those years. So if we are not earning points, it's tough to win Ryder Cups that way.”

On playing for a team instead of for himself: “For us to represent the United States of America and our teammates, it's something else. When it gets to a certain point, either Friday afternoon, late in the evening, or Saturday late in the evening, and all the teams are gathered and there's like one group out there, and if you happen to be in that group, it's interesting. It's so much heat on you, which is very different. It's different than playing by yourself. But playing for teammates, it just adds an element that – it means so much more because it is our country, and it is our teammates. We want to, in all these practice sessions, get to know each other and get our games right and be ready for the Ryder Cup week. It comes down to one moment.”

On the atmosphere in Chicago: “It will certainly be partisan, there's no doubt about it. It will be loud. It will be raucous, and it will be fun. It's the same as when we go to Europe. They get into it for their team, and our fans are going to get into it for our team. … This is a great sporting town, to begin with, and they obviously have supported the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, you name it. They just love sport, period. And for us to come in here and be part of a U.S. team I think is just going to add to that. We are going to have a great atmosphere here, and it's going to be a lot of fun. I think it's going to be fun for both sides.”

On winning the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah: “To have won my second major was so important; it validated my first and gave me the confidence that I could go ahead and do this with this swing. And lo and behold, 2000 came around and got things rolling after that.”

On his lone Ryder Cup win in 1999: “I think the way we did it on that Sunday was – no one's ever seen it. … That was certainly an experience that – I've never been a part of anything like that. Never seen a comeback like that in golf, in a team atmosphere. It was something that I will never, ever forget.”

On having Michael Jordan in the team room: “Well, the first time I had ever been around him, he had fed me some beverages and the next day was a little bit more difficult than I would like it to be. But I still shot some really good numbers that day, and made an eagle on the last hole to win. … But you know, Michael being who he has been in the sport and what he's done, for him to be a part of – and want to be part of – this is special for us. This is one of the greatest athletes to ever live, and you know, he wants to be a part of golf and be a part of and share with us what he's been through. For us, that's incredible. … It's priceless for a lot of these guys. I guess for me, because I consider him like my big brother, gotten to know him so well over the years, I may take that for granted. But some of the other guys who don't really know Michael, I think it's a real treat for them.”