A rare glimpse into Tiger’s psyche

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Tiger Woods is in action again this weekend, hosting and playing in the Quicken Loans National in Virginia. The former world No1 – now 266 in the world – sat down with the media to discuss the event, and gave some insight into the current state of his game, playing with today’s youngsters and the changes he’s made to his swing… 

He didn’t think his latest swing changes would take this long to kick in…

I didn’t think it would take this long because I thought I would have my short game earlier, which I didn’t at the very beginning of the year and so you can cover up a lot of different things when you’re chipping and putting well. A lot of missteps throughout the years when I’ve changed coaches and techniques, my short game was all pretty good. I didn’t have it at the beginning of the year and hence I had to spend more time hitting golf balls than chipping and putting and so that process of scoring has taken a lot longer because of that. But things are starting to come together. Again, I’m sticking with it, sticking with the process and just trying to make progress each and everyday. 

He won’t play next week’s tour stop in Reno to qualify for the Bridgestone Invitational WGC event (which he’s won eight times)… 

Unfortunately, I can’t get an invite there unless I win. I might as well earn one this week and go out and get it done this week. If not, then will I play Reno? No, I won’t. I’ll just go home and get ready for the PGA Championship. 

It hasn’t been fun going through these swing changes…

The neat thing is I’ve done it before. I’ve gone through this and unfortunately sometimes I have to get a little bit worse before I can make a giant stride to get forward and go getter. Has it been fun going through this? No, it hasn’t because I’m not scoring obviously. So, that’s the unfortunate thing about scoring. You need to have those opportunities and I’ve had chances to make those runs and I just haven’t done it. 

It’s been harder than previous swing changes because…

Don’t forget I came off back surgery, changed my golf swing and done a polar 180 and recovering from back surgery. You add those two together it’s a perfect storm and I’ve had to fight through both of those at the same time. 

Not recognising any of the kids on tour…

This is the next generation. I’m kind of caught right in between, you know. This is the generation that they grew up watching me play and win tournaments and the guys that I used to play practice rounds are all gone. They’re all on the Senior Tour, you know. Our careers are so long. You get like Arnold and Gary played 51 Masters. I’m not even that old yet. It’s just one of those things the longer you stay out here the more that’s going to happen and now with no Q-School, more the guys coming up from the Web.com, you see all these new fresh faces and you look down the range, you don’t recognize a lot of the guys, but I go watch a Champions Tour event, I know every guy. I played with every one of them.

I had to beat a lot of them to win golf tournaments. It’s just part of being out here for a long period of time. This is my 20th year out here and so I think it’s neat to see these guys who are younger and who can obviously move the golf ball but can play. I think they’re a little bit more seasoned than my generation that came through because I think the Junior Golf is little bit stronger than it used to be. Collegiate golf is even stronger. They’re getting a lot more chances to play out here on the regular Tour with sponsor invites. They’ve got plenty of experience. When they come out here it’s not really a big learning curve. They can go out and play right away.

There’s a fine line between success and failure…

People don’t really realize how close it has been between a person who is winning and a person missing the cut. It’s not as big a gap as people might think. And, as I said earlier, I mean the biggest difference when I first came on Tour, the cut was probably 13, 14 shots from the leader. Now we’re seeing some tournaments 8. So, there’s more guys with a chance to win a golf tournament going into the weekend. It’s even become more of a razor’s edge between somebody finishing 70th and somebody finishing 1st. Obviously I got to cleanup my rounds, convert the opportunities that I have and I just haven’t done it and hopefully I can do it this week.

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