Interview with Tiger at Deutsche Bank Open

Face to face with Woods after playoff victory over Colin Montgomerie

Golfmagic correspondent
Tue, 21 May 2002

Sum up how you feel about the final day.

It was a tough day with Monty obviously playing well. He was obviously not exactly feeling his best, but he's a true champion. He hung in there. He fought the entire way round and it was a great battle. We were going head to head against each other. It was a lot of fun. I said it was going to be a joy to play with Colin and it was.

How did you feel you played?

I feel like I played really well. I think I only missed five greens for the week, five in regulation. That's pretty good ball striking.

Did you expect Monty to do that on the last play-off hole?

Actually he hit a good tee shot, flushed it. With the wins dying down on our last time around the ball went further than it should have. The previous two times I ripped 2-iron and I was probably ten yards further this time than I was the previous two times. Colin didn't hit a bad shot. The wind wasn't blowing as hard and ended up in the bunker. It was a tough shot against the lip and was trying to get it up as high as he could and probably released just a little too early.

How aware were you of his back injury?

He said he wasn't feeling too well. I was in the fitness van yesterday and I saw him in there getting worked on. If it's good enough to make a swing then you are as well to give it a try. I could see the first tee shot was a little bit tight. He hit a heel fade but from then on he loosened up and I think birdieing the first three holes tends to do that too.

Would you rank this duel with the ones with Sergio and Bob May?

Well, I think Bob was probably a better one because for both of us to shoot 31on the back nine of a major championship isn't too bad. This was certainly up there. We went head to head all day and I found myself three back after two holes but I was able to make it up.

This was your third win here, - how does it compare to the first two?

We played a different course this year apart from the first and 18th holes, but the fans have been absolutely fantastic all three times here and to win again here at this facility is a great feeling, I can tell you that, even though it's on a new golf course.

What's your attitude on the last day? Aggressive?

I was a little bit behind, two back going into Sunday and with conditions as they were you know you had to shoot something in the mid-sixties in order to keep pace and that's what I did. I shot 64 and still found myself behind. But with the conditions being as calm and benign as they were I had to be a little more aggressive.

Have you a theory why Colin has not won a major championship?

Well, I think he's gotten some bad breaks as well as made his own mistakes. That happens. You put yourself there enough times and you are going to make mistakes and it happens. Sometimes players just outplay you down the stretch. That happens was well, but he's a great champion, whether it's a major or not.

Last 52 holes without a bogey. How satisfying is that?

It was fun. I hit the ball well all week and with the greens being as soft as they are you know the ball's not going to get away from you. That's what happened this week. I knew the mid irons weren't going to skip and run away from me

Was it adrenaline which made you go through the back in the playoff?

Well the first time I pulled it in regulation just a touch and it went too far. The last time I absolutely flushed a 7-iron. I was playing about 15 feet left of the hole and I hit it really flush. You don't mean to hit it that solid and it goes right through whatever wind there is.

What about the putt on the 72nd hole?

It was about half a ball outside the right edge and the grain was into me coming right to left. I just told myself: 'I've hit good putts all day, just step up and be committed like you always are and get a good putt whether it goes in or not. Just make a good stroke.'

Was it match play all day?

I think it was a stroke match. I saw that Justin (Rose) birdied the 17th to get within one and there was no roar on the 18th so I knew it was just Monty and me. All day I knew Monty was the guy I probably had to beat because no-one was making a run for nine holes. No-one was five, six or seven under for the day.

How serious are you about coming back next year?

I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I can come back. There is a potential conflict wit the Byron Nelson but we'll see what happens but I would love to come back. I don't know what the European Tour schedule is or whether it's set. We'll see. Hopefully there won't be a conflict.

You are sniffing. Do you have a problem?

Yes, just a nice little allergy attacking me!! I've always had allergies and something I've had to deal with.

Are you playing elsewhere in Europe?

No, apart from The Open at Muirfield in July.



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