Monday, April 20, 2009

His
sixth-place finish at this year's Masters was "just one of those
weeks," a disappointed Tiger Woods said Monday, but he added his
surgically repaired knee feels good and that he expects to notch another win
on Tour soon.Woods, who thrilled sports fans with his birdie-filled but ultimately irrelevant duel with Phil Mickelson at the Masters two weeks ago, spoke at media day for the AT&T
National Championship tournament he hosts in Washington D.C., in July.
It was the first time he's spoken publicly about the Masters since CBS
Sports got a few words with an obviously frustrated Woods following his
bogey-bogey finish on Sunday."I'm obviously disappointed I
didn't win," Woods said. "I was on the periphery of being in contention
and being right there in the mix. I was just a fraction off. I didn't
putt well till Sunday, and being a
fraction off in that, and I do mean a fraction. Stevie and I were
talking about it: 'Like how many times would you hit a shot that was
one yard off?' And one yard is 30 or 40 feet at Augusta. Just takes the
wrong side of the slope. And it just seemed to be happening all week."If you thought Woods was really close to putting it all together, well, so did he."It was just one of those weeks I was just that much away from posting
some really good numbers," Woods said. "Unfortunately it didn't happen, and
consequently, I didn't win. Hopefully the next tournament I play in,
I'll be a little bit sharper than that, and we'll get a W."The course, which Sergio Garcia criticized as unfair, was not the problem. Despite Augusta National's added length -- the notorious "Tiger-proofing" undertaken by former Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson -- Woods said he still has an advantage there because he knows the course so well."As far as my comfort level, I know how to play it," Woods said. "That's one of the
reasons why you see a lot of the same guys near the top of the board;
we understand how to play it. Only difference is a lot of our angles
have been changed going into greens. ... So some of the things have changed over the years, but I still feel
very comfortable over there. I really enjoy playing there and have an
understanding of how to play it; even though I haven't won in recent
years, but I've been there, and close, and that's because I understand
how to play it."The course Woods said he needs to know better is Bethpage Black on Long Island, N.Y., host of this year's U.S. Open and the site of his
2002 U.S. Open win. Woods has not played Bethpage since he won there and he said he'll try to play the course again before the tournament in June.
What he remembers most about the 2002 event is the emotional, post-Sept. 11
atmosphere in New York."We were not too far removed from 9/11, and I think the whole city was
just looking for something to wrap their arms around, anything, any
sporting event, anything to take themselves out of that moment in time," Woods said.
"The U.S. Open was that event. I played well, and ended up winning
the golf tournament. "But I think the overwhelming memory of the whole
event was just the week in general; the support we got, and I can't
believe how many thank-yous we got as players: Thank you for coming out
and supporting New York and thank you for everything you've done. We
didn't do anything. We just came out and just played. But to them, they
wanted something else. They wanted a distraction from what they just
witnessed and what they were dealing with, and all of the people they
have lost in their lives."Other highlights of from Woods's entertaining media conference:His left knee feels good:I finally have a leg I can hit against, which I haven't had in so long.
It feels fun to hit shots that I have not been able to hit. It's just
very exciting.Woods remains a Lakers fan, despite attending Orlando Magic games:Q: Are you a Lakers fan? TIGER WOODS: Yes, I am no doubt. No doubt. Woods knows the same words in Swedish from his wife that he learned in Thai from his mother:I speak a little [Swedish]. It's not very good. I'm better at reading it than
anything else, or, "Take out the trash" or "clean up the house" or
"wash the dishes." I understand those. Actually I understand that in
Thai, too.What
he thought he needed to win the Masters (Angel Cabrera, Chad Campbell
and Kenny Perry all finished at 12-under; Woods was 8-under):
I needed to post an 11 just to have an outside chance to get into a
playoff; and 12, I thought certainly would have been in the playoff;
and 13, I thought would have won the tournament out right. But I didn't
handle my part.Michael Jordan hustled him the first time they played golf:When I first played in MJ at Chicago, in one of those playoffs and his
first round wasn't very good. Shot 88. His next round, 73. So obviously
I got suckered in. (Laughter) Learned my lesson. Learned my lesson.He feels for Kenny Perry:You know, Kenny Perry's situation is very similar to what Raymond Floyd
dealt with at the Masters; 50 or 51 at the time and lost in a playoff
to [Nick] Faldo, and didn't know how many more chances he's going to get to
get back there again; and played against Freddie [Couples] and loses again. Your
time is running out, and I think that's one of the reasons why Raymond
took it hard and one of the reason why is Kenny takes it hard.
Realistically, you are not taking as many chances at 48 as you are at
28, and that's one of the reasons why it hit home so hard to him. And
he had a chance to win.

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