Tiger Woods On His Comeback: “It’s been quite a year”

Tiger Woods has had quite a year as he takes his place back at the top of the golf world. After a top-ten finish at the British Open in July, he finished second at the PGA Championship, making it feel like his first victory since 2013 is inevitable.

Woods shot a 65 Monday to work his way into contention at the BMW Championship, but ultimately fell short. He finished with a score of -17, three shots back of Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose. Bradley won the tournament in a playoff.

Woods spoke to the media afterwards. Here is what he had to say:

Off to a nice quick start. How frustrating is it to be close but not quite get across the finish line?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it’s — I played a few tournaments where I was close at the end. At the end of the season here to say that I made it back to the Tour Championship after what I’ve been through is a pretty good accomplishment.

Q. We were talking about this last week at TPC Boston. You sent a tweet to the world saying the doctors had cleared you to clip and pitch a couple years ago.
Here you not only competing against the best players in the world, but what happened over that time?

TIGER WOODS: Lots of hard work. Lots of hard work and patience. Just constant feel and understanding of what it is because the game has changed, the body has changed and the body has changed dramatically since I first started. Trying to get used to the equipment and changing equipment because my swing is changing because my body is changing. It’s been quite a year.

Q. Tiger, obviously the day of rest yesterday and a pretty sloppy golf course out there, was it a little bit easier after the day of rest?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was rested but also it’s ball in hand, the scores are going to be low and I thought I needed to shoot something around 62 today to have a chance and I don’t think that would have been good enough. Might have needed 61 to have a chance today.

Q. You set a bunch of goals. Obviously playing was one of them, to win and obviously Majors and all that but to get to the Tour Championship would be one of the goals for the season.
TIGER WOODS: It was. To make the Ryder Cup team and get back to East Lake, that was a pretty big goal at the beginning of the year and to be able to accomplish that is something I’m very proud of. I’ll represent the United States over there and also compete I guess as the top players on the Tour.

Q. How did you send spend the day off yesterday, Tiger, killing time?
TIGER WOODS: I lifted twice and I got some treatment and watched a ton of football.

Q. Were you here at all yesterday?
TIGER WOODS: No. No.

Q. The condition of the golf course?
TIGER WOODS: I was surprised we were able to play it — as dry — well, not dry, as playable as it was. The ball in hand obviously was a given, we were going to be able to do it through the green or just closely mowed areas. It was closely mowed areas.

The scores are unGodly low because it’s soft. The greens weren’t really that slow. I was — we were talking about that in our group, we were surprised that they were as fast as they were.

Q. You look back at the Friday round, is the difference — obviously it’s hard to say you’re going to go out and shoot 62 or 61.
TIGER WOODS: Well, in order to win out here you got to be consistent and on a golf course like this, even par is not going to do a whole lot. This is one of our tougher tests but it just wasn’t playing that way this year, it was just soft and it was hot early in the week, the ball was flying, guys were hitting driver, wedge every hole. Wasn’t much of a challenge. You look at the scores, 20-under par and possibly a little more that would win the tournament.

Q. Would you guys rather have it tougher, more like a home run in baseball kind of fun to see it?
TIGER WOODS: I’ve always been better at the events where it’s very hard to shoot something in the 60s. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed but also, then again, I’ve won tournaments shooting 25-under.

It’s just — it is what it is and you have to get — you have to adapt to it. We’re talking about the game plan today and literally fire at every flag. It won’t go anywhere. To drive it in the fairway and go after every single flag. Short-sided doesn’t really matter. It’s soft. Go ahead and do it.

Q. (Inaudible)?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. Again, to have a chance to win again, this year, it’s a very positive feeling and I was — made a few more putts this week could have been a different deal coming down the stretch but even though, you know, I finished at 17 and I had three good looks on the last three holes — or two of the last three holes. That’s a positive.

Q. Adapting to everything on the fly like this entire year, do you feel like you finally found some consistency at least with the swing this past couple —
TIGER WOODS: You know, the swing has been good. It’s just trying to figure out equipment along the way too, as well because my body has changed so much since the beginning of the year, finally I’ve got it dialed in where, you know, equipment is day-in and day-out is good. My last piece was the driver. As you’ve seen throughout the summer, that was the only piece that was missing.

Lo and behold I find one at Ridgewood, went back to an old shaft, same thing I put in my 3-wood and 5-wood, the shaft I know. Next thing you know today my 13 fairways.

Q. Kind of what you wanted to look like next season or changes you want to make once you finally have some time to take a look at it?
TIGER WOODS: I’m going to take a long break after the Ryder Cup and we’re going to evaluate things but, more importantly, I need to start really lifting and getting after it and getting stronger in certain areas because playing every single week seems like every single day is maintenance at this point, war of attrition.

What you do in the off-season is what allows you to maintain it through the year especially on the backside of the year and I really didn’t train for all this. Because I didn’t know how much I was going to be playing. I was just trying to play.

So, next year I have a better understanding of what I need to do and this off-season will be very different than it was last year.

Q. When are you going to France in a few weeks time, any worries about it?
TIGER WOODS: I’ve been there a number of times, usually the South of France. The last time I played in Paris I think it was ’94, ’94? It’s been awhile since I’ve played in Paris but I’ve been there a number of times, not to play golf but just enjoy Paris and this is going to be a work week but also, then again, it’s going to be a very fun work week.

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