Tiger Woods spoke to the media Thursday after his first round at the Open Championship in Gullane, Scotland. Woods is tied for 10th place after shooting a 69.
Q. How were the conditions out there?
TIGER WOODS: It was tough. The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played. And I’m very pleased to shoot anything even par or better.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I mean, it was amazing, when I got over that tee shot, I was, if I hammer it, this 3-wood is in that bunker. So maybe I should take something off it. Maybe I should hit 5-wood. Hence I hit a flip hook left and there she goes. I took an unplayable, hit the shot where I wanted to, hit it right of the hole and I got up and down.
Q. Describe the mental process of the grind.
TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course just kept drying out. And it was so hard to get the ball close, even lag putt and try to get the ball the right speed. It was very difficult. And I tried to keep the ball in front of me as best I could. And hole a putt if I could, if I could keep it below the hole. But, again, it was so difficult to get the ball even below the hole and in the right spot.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I could see how guys were complaining about it. If there’s more moisture on the greens, then that’s fine. But as the golf course dried out it got quick. Some of these putts today, I mean, I putted the ball off the green today. And it really wasn’t that bad a putt. Anything that goes four feet by, it’s gone. It was tough.
Q. Is it borderline unfair?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course progressed. You could see how guys could feel that way. It got so fast and so dry that, as I said, it was hard to get the ball close and even lag-putt the ball at the right speed.
Q. You talked about many times having fun while you’re playing helps. Were you capable of having fun today?
TIGER WOODS: It was more of a grind than one of those Pro Am, happy-go-lucky, you know, talking to your playing partner all day. There wasn’t a lot of talking out there today because we’re trying to grind it out on that golf course, and it’s one of those courses where it just got so difficult. And Louis got hurt, Graeme was struggling a little bit, and we were all playing our own games.
Q. What do you see as the benefits of tomorrow morning?
TIGER WOODS: That all depends on what they do. I don’t know what they’re going to do with the golf course, if they’re going to keep it dry and fast and let it get to where it is this afternoon. Are they going to put some water on it? They put some water on the practice rounds. When we came out this morning, there was moisture on them, but they dried out in the afternoon. And also we’re supposed to get a different wind tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what the course setup is tomorrow.
TIGER WOODS: No, I’ve taken long breaks off before, before Major championships. I’ve played this tournament when Firestone was on the backside of the PGA, I didn’t play, and I won the PGA doing it that way, too. I’ve taken three and four weeks off and come back and played well.
Q. Given the afternoon conditions, what do you make of Mark’s round? Tom Lehman’s round?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think they understand how to play links golf. It takes a certain understanding and certain knowledge to play this type of golf. And on top of that, I think that the fast conditions certainly help. The guys who don’t carry the ball as far. And those guys are in their 50s, they don’t hit the ball as far as they used to. The fast conditions certainly help that. But you have to understand how to play it, too, and how to shape the shots, where to land it, what kind of spin you’re going to have on it. And those guys have won The Open Championship before.
Q. What are your thoughts when you saw Mark out there near the top?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, I was very happy. I got on the range and saw him, and he was at 3-under par and I left the range he was at 4. And then I walked to the putting green and he was just getting to the 10th tee. I had to run across the fairway. And he just birdied 9 to go to 5. So I gave him a little thumbs up and he piped it right down 10, a little high draw up against the wind. It was nice to see. I’m happy for him and proud of him.
TIGER WOODS: Elbow held up great. That’s one of the reasons I took the break to make sure that was good. I knew the ground was going to be hard over here. There’s potential for having some long rough. And that little time off helped.
Q. (Inaudible.) Does this bring you back a little bit to Hoylake?
TIGER WOODS: They’re so different, so different. I mean, this is almost — it’s about as fast as Hoylake was. But there’s knee-high rough here. And plus this golf course changes directions a lot. A lot of different directions, a lot of different shaped shots you have to hit. Hoylake was pretty simple in that regard. It didn’t blow as much there. Our scores reflected it. We were all pretty low; we were all in the teens, under par. This is a totally different set up.
Q. When you come here the expectations for the weather, obviously, this is so much the opposite, it isn’t even funny. How does this affect you? It’s like you’re in Spain right now or Florida some?
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn’t quite say Florida, but I’m sure there’s a lot of red people out there (laughter).
Q. Your emotions, as far as like you expect one thing and get another. Are you planning for one thing or does that not really matter?
TIGER WOODS: You know, you pack for the other weather, but we got this. And we have a westerly wind today, it was hot, it was warm, the ball was flying. And wind is supposed to come out of the east tomorrow. And it could be cooler, it could be not. It could be warm. You just never know. And that’s the thing about links golf, you just don’t know. The wind actually changes with the tide. And the tide goes in and out. You’ve just got to be prepared for all of it and be fluid in your course adjustments.
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