Tiger In The Cross Hairs: An iG "Must Read" - Page 3

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TIGER WOODS: I'm trying to become a better player and a better person, yes.

Q. Your public image has been transformed in the last year or two. Does it bother you what the public at large thinks of you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, most of the people have been fantastic. The places that I've played and the people that have come up to me have been great. As I said, most of the people have been so respectful over the years here, and I wouldn't see anything different.

Q. Would it bother you if there was a perception of you as a different sort of person now?

TIGER WOODS: Hey, it's their opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Q. Kind of a two-part thing: Generally you've won -- you started late, but you've won by now in this year. Does it feel a little bit like unfamiliar territory not having won yet, and then so much obviously has been made of how well you've played here and your success here. Is this week to some degree, because you embrace this course, so much a bit of a measuring stick for where your game is at and how far you've gotten it back?

TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, you're right, I haven't gone this long into the season without winning a championship. I think '98 was the longest time, and it was like nine events or something. But again, I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing, and I understand how to play this golf course. It's a matter of going out there and putting it together and putting it together at the right time.

Q. Just as a follow there, because you've done so well here, there's almost a perception that if you don't do well here, it's -- where is your game at? People are thinking if you don't win here and get on track, when are you going to -- when is it coming?

TIGER WOODS: Right, well, I've done well two out of three times I've played here, so that's kind of how I look at it.

Q. On the putter thing, 13 majors, goes back to, what is it, Byron Nelson of --


Q. That's been your gamer for a long time. It must be like kicking a member of the family out or something. That seems like a pretty big decision, a pretty drastic move. I know you're not happy with the way you've been putting, but if you'll sort of elaborate.

TIGER WOODS: It's one of those things where I've always struggled on slower greens. I've always putted well on faster greens. This putter does come off faster with the new groove technology. It rolls the ball better and rolls it faster. It gets it rolling faster. So these greens, I've had to make very little adjustment in how hard I'm hitting it compared to if I had my older putter. That's something Stevie and I have been talking about over the years together, is what can I do on slower greens? I always seem to struggle on them and can't wait to get to the fastest greens that we play on Tour. But this week has been a little bit different.

Q. Does have the similar type look to it?

TIGER WOODS: It looks very similar.

Q. How much more work do you have to do to rebuild your public image do you think?

TIGER WOODS: Well, just the same thing I'm doing each and every day, just trying to become a better person.

Q. Do you think you'll ever fully be able to do it?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I don't know.

Q. Is that part of the challenge then?

TIGER WOODS: No. As I said, just trying to become a better person, and that's all that really matters is that I have two beautiful kids, and I'm trying to be the best dad I can possibly be, and that's the most important thing of all.

Q. How many people do you feel that are real opponents for you now as opposed to 2000, especially with the strength of the European contingent?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think just the fields in general have become deeper. You know, when I first came out on Tour, I don't ever remember cuts being at 4-under par. But now a few times -- well, probably about two times a year, you see a cut at 4-under par. Guys are just going lower.

The difference between someone making the cut and someone that's leading is not that big a difference sometimes; it's only 10, 12 shots, and yet 70-plus guys between 10 and 12 shots. So the fields have become deeper. Guys are just better, they're more athletic. Look how much longer the guys are hitting it now than they did in 2000. Some of the new, younger kids are better, stronger, faster, they're more athletic, they work out, which when I first came out on Tour, not too many guys were training, and now everyone is training. Big difference.

Q. You obviously had to break your normal routine to go home and see the kids last week. Are you able yet to discuss whether you have resolution with Elin because it obviously is affecting your professional life?

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