Tiger Woods talks about the Masters and his time with Rory McIlroy
Woods also talks about his plan for Jack Nicklaus' course this weekend, how he feels about the proposed anchor ban, and his performance at the Match Play Championship.
Tiger Woods talked to the media Wednesday after playing in the Honda Classic Pro-Am. He will tee it up in just his second stroke-play tournament in the United States this season.
He talked a little bit about the PGA National course:
The golf course has certainly got a lot of grass on it this year. Rough is up, fairways are a bit watery. We had probably five or six mud balls today. Greens are running perfectly smooth.
Then, just as Rory McIlroy was yesterday, Woods was asked about their rounds over the weekend:
He's a friend of mine. He just happens to be the No. 1 player in the world. That's about it. We figured 'let's get a game sometime.' We were kind of hoping it wouldn't be that Sunday but we were both free and we went out and played. We played a quick 36 and he headed off to do whatever he needed to do and I went back home and did some more training.
And about what kind of relationship they have:
I don't think it's quite at the same level as I was with Mark [O'Meara] and Cook-y (John Cook). Back in those days those guys really took me under their wing. We went out to dinner all the time and basically traveled together on Tour. Went fishing all the time, whether that's here in Florida, whether it's in Alaska. We did a bunch of vacations and trips together. They were like my big brothers at the time and they basically still are. So it's a different type of relationship for sure.
On the proposed anchored putter ban:
My position hasn't changed. I still think it should be swung, it shouldn't be anchored. That hasn't changed at all. Hopefully we don't have to bifurcate or adapt a local rule like we do sometimes out here on Tour with the stones and bunkers and things of that nature. I feel like all 14 clubs should be swung.
About the Honda Classic in general:
When Jack made this golf course and made it better for a championship venue I think a lot of guys took notice of that.
On his thoughts about how he played at the Match Play Championship:
Generally if you're missing a cut you're probably not playing that well. I actually played well and only played one day. I missed a few putts out there but other than that I really played well and unfortunately I ran into a guy who played better than I did. He made a couple more birdies and that's just the nature of the business in that format. I've seen guys shoot 7-under par and go home. I remember a guy at La Costa a guy shot 79 and moved on.
On his 62 in the final round of the Honda Classic last year:
It was not exactly the best position to start out the round, that far back. I made a run and I thought it might get me into a situation where I might have a chance at a playoff. But Rory made a couple birdies down the stretch and basically iced it.
On how McIlroy is handling his rise to No. 1 in the world:
I think Rory's doing a fantastic job. In my career it happened very quickly. I turned pro in August and I think by Augusta, somewhere in there, not too much longer after that, I became No. 1. It was a bit quick. Just came out of college and next thing you know I'm the number one player in the world. It was a bit faster than what Rory's had and he's had time to adapt and to grow into it and I think he's done a fantastic job of it.
On Rory's equipment change:
I went through equipment changes over the years but as I said it's over the years. There have been a lot of players who have done wholesale changes with sponsorships. I think Ernie has played for every company there is out there. There are a few guys who have done that and had a lot of success and there are a lot of stories where they've not done well and been off the Tour soon. It is a process. The good news is about today's equipment we have so many ways of testing it and tracking it and getting numbers.
The Els comment was pretty funny.
And, finally, on how he will prepare between now and the Masters:
I definitely will go to Augusta and play. I don't know how many holes I'll play, sometimes it's 18 and sometimes it's 36 but I'd like to get out there and take a look at it. They made a couple little changes here and there. I'm going to chart those and get that all situated so I don't have to do any charting during the tournament week.
I always take that little time to get ready and more than anything get refreshed and focused because I've played usually a bunch of tournaments in Florida and would like to shut down for a little bit then gear back up.
I always love hearing Woods talk about the Masters and the process he goes through leading up to it.
His relationship with McIlroy also continues to fascinate me.
I think we're in for a great weekend in Florida.
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