Tiger Woods made it two victories in two starts in 2006, as he came from two shots behind with two holes to play. Woods drove the green on the 359-yard 17th hole to set up a birdie-birdie finish that earned him a playoff spot, where he held off the comebacking Ernie Els on the first extra hole on Sunday to win the Dubai Desert Classic.
The victory is Woods' 57th worldwide, and marks the 10th different country he's won a professional tournament on. Here's what Woods and Els had to say in the post-tournament press conference:
Q: Well, Tiger, two continents, two starts, two wins, I suppose that constitutes a reasonable start to 2006.
TIGER WOODS: It's a good start, yes. Yeah, I couldn't ask for anything more than that. Two playoffs, too; very stressful, but still, I was somehow able to come out on top, don't know how, but was very fortunate today.
Q: Did you feel it hard to get the job done today?
TIGER WOODS: Starting out it was not good because I had a two-way miss going. I could hit it left or right at any given time, and that's not a whole lot of fun. Somehow I just hung in with my short game and then I fixed it on the back nine and I hit some really good shots on the back nine.
Q: Hitting the green on 17, was that the moment.
TIGER WOODS: I had to, because I saw Greeny and Ernie were both at 18 (under) after 17 (holes), and I figured 19 (under) would either win the tournament out right are be in a playoff. So I had to birdie the last two holes somehow so I had to take the chance of hitting driver up there and put the ball anywhere up there where I could make birdie and it ended up as good as you could like on the greens.
I two-putted there and hit two good shots on 18 and got up and down.
Q. What did you do to fix it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I got the club up a little bit more, right on my left arm, got the club in front of me, left hand with more loft coming through, (laughter), that's what I did.
Q. Do you feel that your record in playoffs is something that other players are aware of and perhaps you go into them with a slight edge anyway?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just experience; I've been there enough times. I've had success in them. You're trying to make birdie and whatever happens, happens. Trying to play aggressive because you know it's just one shot is all you have. You try to make birdie before your opponent does.
Q. What gives you more satisfaction, winning when you're playing like a dream or winning when you're digging?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, like this, for sure. To be honest with you, anybody can win when they are playing well. It's when you have an opportunity to have to fix it, which I did, turn it around, and somehow end up on top. Very similar to how I ended up at Augusta last year. I played 16, 17 and 18 terribly and hit my two best shots all week in the playoff.
So it's always satisfying when you can turn it around like that.
Q. Is part of that satisfaction winning like you did today knowing the effect it will have on the other guys the next time you play?
TIGER WOODS: You don't look at it that way. I just look at it like I got the W and somehow I found a way to turn it around today.
The guys didn't run away with it. Like last week, they had an opportunity to run away with it and they didn't. I kind of snuck in there at the end, and today was very similar. I birdied the last two to just kind of sneak in there and got into a playoff.
Q. Ernie went for a tough time on the back end of last year, now that you've beaten him, how glad are you to see him back?
TIGER WOODS: It's great to have Ernie back, period, because obviously he's one of best players in the world and he had a significant injury. For him to come back and play and win early after his comeback is great. He's been playing great ever since. I knew that going into today and I was just hoping to try to keep up and I was able to do that somehow.
Q. You got yourself into the playoff; you felt all week you could do it if you had a good last round. You said 65; that would have won it.
ERNIE ELS: Exactly. I just missed the putt on 13, I missed a 5 footer there for birdie and missed a few other ones. That was the biggest one.
But it was a big putt I made to get in the playoff ... that was good.
Q. How far?
ERNIE ELS: 50 feet, then six coming back.
Q. Did you just turn it over too much on the last in the playoff?
ERNIE ELS: The drive. Yeah, I didn't do what I was supposed to do. That was my favourite tee shot of the whole tournament, 5 under on that hole for the week, an eagle and three birdies. But there you go.
I cannot complain. After all the hassle I had with the leg, to come back, this was strongest field in the world this year, biggest week and to almost win it, is fine.
Q. Healing process is complete now, is it?
ERNIE ELS: Getting there. Getting there. It's really good.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
February 6, 2006
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