Tiger In The Cross Hairs: An iG "Must Read" - Page 2

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TIGER WOODS: Well, it's a tough hole to begin with, no matter how you look at it. I know that they wanted us to hit more club into the greens, into that particular green. They did this whole study in '95, and the average player was hitting a 5-iron. Come 2000, 2005, I think it was like an 8-iron, so they wanted to get it back to a 5-iron in there.

It's the same angle, obviously a little bit longer. When we played it on Sunday, it was almost impossible to try to hit -- you actually had to hit the ball into the hotel because the wind was blowing off the right. Granted, it was blowing 40, but today it was in off the left, and it was a lot easier to hit that fairway. It caters to a left-to-right wind. Today was much easier.
But still, it's a hole where you've got to put the ball in the fairway and then your real work begins, just trying to figure out how should I play my second shot. Should I play it up on top, should I play it short, should I play it left, so many different options. But it's a hard hole no matter how you look at it, whether it's played short or long.

Q. So you don't like it or do you have an opinion one way or another?

TIGER WOODS: I'm pretty neutral on it because you're hitting -- all you're doing is basically hitting a little bit more club into the green, but it's the same tee shot. It's the same angle. You're taking the same line off the tee.

Q. Obviously your public image is somewhat different to the last time you were here. How is that likely to impact on your week at St. Andrews?

TIGER WOODS: It doesn't impact it at all. I'm here to play a championship, and this is the Open Championship at St. Andrews. I mean, this is as good as it gets. It's the home of golf. I'm just like every other player in this field, really looking forward to getting out there and playing the Open Championship.

Q. Do you feel that a win here offers you some kind of road to redemption?

TIGER WOODS: I would like to win no matter what. It would be nice. It really would be nice. A lot of work ahead of me, but to win here is certainly one of the bigger highlights I've ever had in my career, because it is the home of golf.
It's amazing how many great champions have won here, and to be a part of that history is a pretty neat feeling.

Q. What do you make of what stays in the bag or what goes in the bag in preparation for playing the course?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, this week I have the 2-iron back in the bag. I have a 2-iron I've used for years, and it's a little bit strong -- I carry two 2-irons and a 5-wood with me at most tournaments, and this is my stronger of the two 2-irons. I've used it for years.
I also have a new putter in the bag. I've switched to the Nike putter for this week. It comes off faster, which on these greens is something that I've always struggled on slower greens. I haven't had to make that much of an adjustment because the ball is coming off a little bit quicker.

Q. Tom Lehman has said that he expects the Scottish fans to give you a warm reception. Is that your own expectation? And also, what's your take on the Scottish golf fan?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the Scottish golf fans have always been fantastic with respect to golf and all the players. They've been great to me over the years. I wouldn't see anything different than what they've been over the years.

Q. Obviously you've won the last two Opens here. Do you feel like it was just a matter of you playing better than everyone else those weeks, or do you hold some kind of specific advantage on this course?

TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say a specific advantage because there's a lot of guys who can hit the ball as far as I do. But this golf course requires placement. I mean, you really have to place the ball correctly. Just because it's wide off the tee doesn't mean you can blow it all over the place. You have to hit the ball in the correct spots. And the two years that I've played well here, I've done that. I've managed my game really well, and more importantly, I've lag putted beautifully.

You're going to have some real long putts here no matter how you hit it, and you just have to get down in two. So many times you can three-putt, you can go around here and hit 18 greens and shoot a number, a high number, because you're just so far away from the hole. And if the wind blows, hitting a wedge 30, 40, 50 feet happens a lot.

The two years that I've played well here, I've lag putted beautifully and I've also hit the ball in the right spots.

Q. Tom Watson has said you need to clean up your act on the golf course. He's gone on record. Many of us over the years have heard you use the F word, we've seen you spit on the course, and we've seen you throw tantrums like chucking your clubs around. Are you willing to cut out all those tantrums this week and respect the home of golf?

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