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Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Tiger grilled on personal life, Galea

By Bob Harig
ESPN.com

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- There were some uncomfortable moments Tuesday during Tiger Woods' first news conference in Great Britain following his well-publicized scandal.

But the answers were mostly the same ones he has given since returning to competitive golf in April at the Masters.

Woods, who will attempt to win for the third time at the Old Course when the 139th Open Championship begins Thursday, fielded 17 questions that were in some way related to events surrounding his personal life, including how he expected his image to impact his week at St. Andrews.

"It doesn't impact it at all," Woods said. "I'm here to play a championship, and this is the Open Championship at St. Andrews. I mean, this is as good as it gets. It's the home of golf. I'm just like every other player in this field, really looking forward to getting out there and playing the Open Championship."

The British media is known for its aggressiveness and sensationalism and most of the questions pertaining to Woods' personal life came from those factions.

And the only divorce Woods spoke about was the one from his putter.

Woods was asked about his reported impending divorce from his wife of six years, Elin, but only said, "I'm not going to go into that."

But he did disclose that he is putting a new putter in his bag for the first time in 11 years. Gone, at least for this week, is the Scotty Cameron Newport 2, a putter which has been in use for 13 of his 14 major championships going all the way back to May of 1999. Woods is going with a new Nike model called the Method.

"I've always been tempted to change my putter on slower greens and I've always struggled when greens are really slow," Woods said. "I've always felt more comfortable when the greens are quick. I've always experimented with other putters throughout the years but I've never put one in play until now."

Woods was not as expansive with other answers.

Woods I'm not going to go into that.

-- Tiger Woods on his reported impending divorce

He again confirmed reports that he had met with authorities to discuss his relationship with Canadian doctor Anthony Galea -- who treated Woods' surgically repaired knee -- but said "I can't go into any of that because of the fact that it's an open case so far."

And then there was this exchange:

"Tom Watson has said you need to clean up your act on the golf course. He's gone on record. Many of us over the years have heard you use the F word, we've seen you spit on the course, and we've seen you throw tantrums like chucking your clubs around. Are you willing to cut out all those tantrums this week and respect the home of golf?"

Woods: "I'm trying to become a better player and a better person, yes."

This will be Woods' seventh tournament this year and it is the longest he has gone into a season without a victory since 1998.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing, and I understand how to play this golf course," said Woods, who has played three practice rounds so far at St. Andrews. "It's a matter of going out there and putting it together and putting it together at the right time."

As for his personal life, Woods spoke mostly in generalities.

"All that really matters is I have two beautiful kids, and I'm trying to be the best dad I can possibly be, and that's the most important thing of all," Woods said.

Last week, Woods took a break from his Open preparations in Europe to return to the U.S. to spend time with his children, 3-year-old Sam and 1-year-old Charlie.

"That was an incredible experience, to hang out with my kids," he said. "Normally I don't come over here, play two days and then go back home. But the reason I did is obviously for my kids, and we had a great time."

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.