Tiger Woods spent part of the week plugging the new EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2013 game and part of that media tour involved a couple of interviews with the only two people he talks to at ESPN: Tom Rinaldi and Scott Van Pelt. Though he had some repetitive answers from one interview to the next, there were a couple good bits in there, including a dig at his hair. Let's take a look.
TV interview w/ Tom Rinaldi
On his expectations for the next few weeks: "Play Tavistock, Bay Hill, Masters"
Good to know. Tavistock is just one of those throw in tournaments, but Bay Hill will be worth watching and obviously the Masters is the Masters. Here's hoping he can do a little better than T4 again this year.
On his expectations for the Masters: "I intend to be there and give it everything I possibly can to win the golf tournament."
Robot Tiger Mode: Activate!
On trusting his body: "Feels good. I Feel strong, feel fit. I play more than I have in a long time."
You mean you play more now than you did the past two years when you had a life crisis and injury set backs. That wasn't that long ago, but touche.
On his confidence: "Feels good. Feels very good. I feel very excited. Why? I'm playing well. You know all my stats are very good. Compared to last year and years past, I haven't had stats like this in a long time. It's just a matter of making a key up and down here and there, of making one putt here and there. I've had a chance to win a couple times this year."
He sounded a little creepy in the interview when he said "feels good," but I can get past that. I don't think I've ever heard Woods talk about his stats, so that was interesting. He's right about making that key up-and-down and putt in crucial moments, it's what he's lacked most since returning.
After the Rinaldi segment aired, ESPN broke down Woods' list of injuries. Ouch.
Overview of injuries
2008 - Arthoscopic knee surgery, left ACE repair
2008-09- Torn right Achilles tendon
2010 - Neck injury
2011 - Left MCL Sprain, strained left Achilles tendon, tightness in knee and Achilles tendon
2012 - Mild strain of left Achilles tendon.
Radio interview with Scott Van Pelt
On the status of his leg and when he knew he needed to withdraw: "On the range (Sunday) my achilles started getting tight and it started working it's way up my calf. The leg is good now. I took a couple days off, got some treatment on it."
Let's all just be happy he had to will power to call it a day.
On his confidence: Gave the same answer, nearly word-for-word he gave Rinaldi.
On his Dad helping his putting game: "I do go back to all his teachings especially putting. I have all those lessons written down. It's amazing how right he was."
Cool insight here. It's always interesting to hear Tiger talk about how his dad influenced his game.
On his expectations going forward: "If you don't expect to win, don't enter."
I would do the Robot Tiger Mode: Activate! here, but you could tell in his voice he means that statement, probably moreso than most others on Tour.
Van Pelt: "I'm just curious whether or not you doubt you're own body.. whether or not you're ever going to feel right ever again"
TW: "If that's the case I haven't felt right in 20 some odd years. I had my first knee surgery in 94. It's been a very long time... I felt that over the years that I could play through just about everything and that's one reason I kept getting hurt over the years... Last year I wasn't prudent in pulling out when I should have and I missed two major championshps last year."
Nice exchange between SVP and TW there. I think SVP is able to conduct the best interview with Woods because he knows how to ask him questions that will get good answers. Most media stick to the cut-and-dry stuff and leave it at that.
On being #1 in the world: "It's not a goal. The goal was never to be #1 in the world, it was to win golf tournaments. All that takes care of itself whether it's player of the year, stroke average, money list, titles, world rankings. All that's taken care of by being consistent and winning golf tournaments. All of that is accessory. But, the great thing is is putting myself there and winning tournaments over the years."
Normally, I wouldn't buy that kind of answer from an athlete, but I think it's the truth here. Woods is so one-track-minded that I don't think it's in his competitive thinking capacity to cloud his brain with more than just winning. It's why he gets so mad on the course. He knows it's a domino effect and he's got to win to knock the rest of them down.
On Rory McIlroy: "He's long. He's not the tallest guy in the world but he can still move it out there. To see him want to get better is neat to see becuase some guys get complacement or just happpy tobe out there on Tour or not be willing to the necessity things you have to do to be the best. To see him change his body, he's gotten stronger, working out more. You can se his club head speed's increased. To see all these different things as he's trying to get better is exciting to see."
I wonder if Woods will ever take a dig at McIlroy when he starts playing at the top again. He owes him a few.
On things changing on Tour: "It's part of it. We do go through different coaches, trainers, caddies. That's just part of life. Life evolves."
So, true. He went on to talk about the high turn over in other sports and it really set up his point well. There's much higher turnover in other sports than in golf.
On Tiger '13: "I think people are gonna be excited about the whol Kinect system. We've had the availability of 62 million different shots in the game."
Can't wait to play this game. It gets so much better every year.
On if you stink in real life if you'll stink in the game because it's getting so real: "It's gonna be more of a challenge. One of the neat things is tha we've got guys at the club who are late 60s, mid 50s, and to have them excited about the game because they get to spend quality time with their grand kids is... a demographic we need to think about."
Hopefully there will be an option to make the game easier because it's going to turn a lot of people off if they worse scores in the game than in real life. I need to hit my low 30's per 9 to be happy!
SVP - "If I do my Fehrety can I be back in the game?"
TW - "That was an awful accent. You've gotta have hair or you're out."
SVP - "Hey, enjoy yours while you have it because it's going rapidly my friend. Keep that hat on."
TW - "It's a one way retractable roof, I know."
Who else in the golf media is going to get that kind of exchange with Tiger? Nobody, which is what made it so awesome. The funny thing about that exchange is SVP and Woods met back when both of them had a full head of hair. SVP won the race to baldness, but Woods is sure to get there.
*Notice nobody brought up Hank Haney's book? No surprise there.