How do you feel going into 2009?
I'm looking forward to getting started. Before last year I had a pretty crazy off-season and then had my second baby in January. The clubs were in the closet and I didn't really do much. I had a real traditional off-season that everyone used to have 30 years ago, but now everyone practices harder in the off-season.
Did the time off hurt you?
It affected me at the start. I had a horrible West Coast and really had to bear down — I played a lot and practiced a lot. I got to Florida and played great, had a top-10 at Tampa, played pretty decent at Bay Hill and then won Doral and came in second at Houston.
I played great at Colonial and Memorial, played well at the U.S. Open, and then the game just got away from me a little bit in the summer.
Unfortunately, summer is when three of the majors are played.
Exactly. I was pretty happy with the U.S. Open, but I [got the worst of the weather] at Birkdale, which is kind of a credible excuse until you realize that [Padraig] Harrington was in the group behind me the first two rounds. I was in it at the U.S. Open — on the 9th tee I was one back or tied for the lead or something. I bogeyed the 9th, a downwind par 5. I plugged it in the bunker. And then I bogeyed the 10th, plugged it in the bunker there, too. But at least I got to play with Rocco [Mediate], so it was a great day. It was great fun.
What did you think of Tiger's win?
It showed that there's so much more to it than pretty ballstriking. It shows how much heart has to do with winning big tournaments. A lot of us haven't quite worked that out yet.
What tournament are you most looking forward to this year?
Well, I've never really been in contention at the Masters. On Saturday in '07, that really horrendous, cold, windy day, I was two back, and I spun two wedges into the water on 15. The Masters is always pandemonium, and there are all sorts of rumors about what's going on with the golf course. I look forward to the next Masters from the moment I leave the course on Sunday. It's such a cool place.