home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 26, 2003

Tiger Woods

MODERATOR: It's great to be here on a beautiful Michigan summer day at this historic clubhouse. Buick was a very first sponsor, very first company to ever sponsor a PGA TOUR event and it happened right here where I'm standing way back in 1958. At Buick we are very proud to be in our fifth decade as the original corporate sponsor of the PGA TOUR, and this marks our 20th year as the Official Car of the Tour. In addition to the Buick Open, we are the title sponsor at two other events, Buick Invitational at Ojai and the Buick Classic in New York that we just concluded last week. Buick is the official car at over half of all TOUR events, and we sponsor the world's largest amateur golf tournament, the Buick Scramble, as the official car of the PGA of America. We have a marketing partnership with the defending champion of the Buick Open and sponsorship agreements with Dave Bergiano, Junior, and Matt Gogel and with world-reknowned golf instructor Butch Harmon. Buick and golf has been an ideal fit for many years, but not just because of the marketing benefits. It's because Buick feels very strongly about giving back to the community. In fact, thanks to a very successful tournament last year at the Buick Open we donated a record $554,000 to Buick Open charities. We have now raised more than $5.5 million for charities in southeastern Michigan since we began keeping track in 1982. At the time I'd like to introduce a very special person, a PGA TOUR player who has 37 career wins, including the 2002 Buick Open and the 2003 Buick Invitational. He already has three wins this year in just nine attempts. He's first on the all-time PGA TOUR Money List, with over $36 million in official earnings. He's first in scoring this year and has been named PGA TOUR Player of the Year for four consecutive years. And possibly the most amazing statistic of all, in a testimony to his consistency is the fact that he's made 105 consecutive cuts. Most importantly, however he's a great partner. I'd like to you welcome the No. 1 golfer in the world, Mr. Tiger Woods.

Q. Welcome back to the Buick Open this year. Describe your year so far, and also how you feel and thoughts that come into your mind as you think about coming back to this golf course, Warwick Hills and defending your title here?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I've won three times so far this year, in nine attempts, and so I'm batting .300, not so bad. It's kind of nice to be able to play .

Q. You mentioned your injuries from earlier heading into the season, how do you think that's really affected your play, especially considering you still managed to win three times this year?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you win three times, especially early in the year, I really don't know how I did that. I just got on a roll . In my practice sessions, I am on a limited ball count, so I'm just reinforcing on the range some of the things I've been working on. I think it's been a very successful year so far.

Q. Are you happy with the way you are playing now as far as tournament play?

TIGER WOODS: I hit the ball very well at the last three tournaments I've played in. It's just a matter of getting a few more putts to go in and get the positive momentum going. I seem to get to a point, and everyone understands this, you reach a point in the round where you need to make a putt or you need to hit a shot or get up-and-down to get the momentum going or sustain the momentum going. I just haven't been able to do that. As soon as I can get that rectified, I'll be all right.

Q. Is the Buick Open the only tournament you're planning on playing between the British and the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: Mm-hmm. (Laughter.)

Q. Kind of a little two-part are here. Somebody had asked something about the slump and you had a little comment about "what kind of slump I was in," do you think because you've done so well in the majors that the media sometimes for gets how difficult it is to win a major championship? And the second part of that question is, maybe seeing two good players, in fact, great players like Mike Weir and Jim Furyk finally breaking through to get their first major, does that reinforce how difficult it still is to win a major championship?

TIGER WOODS: I think the first part of your question, I think if you go back and look at the past four, five, basically six months, we've had two big stories. We've had Martha and Hootie going at it at Augusta. As soon as that was over, everyone focused on Annika. And as soon as Annika was done, there was nothing left to talk about in the golfing world. So I guess they needed something to talk about, so they are talking about me, I guess. As far as winning major championships, it's not easy. I've always said this: It's very difficult to win majors. You need to have everything go your way that week. You have to be mentally ready, physically ready, and you need to get some good bounces. I was talking to Jim about this the other day over at Westchester, and he was telling me about some of the good bounces he got on Sunday that allowed him to go on and win. He hit some marginal shots that could have easily gone in the bunker, but it kicked on the green, got up-and-down, made a couple good saves, got a couple good breaks in the rough. That's something you need to have happen, and that's something that doesn't show up on the box score, but it's something that you have to have happen in order to win. I've experienced it, and every person who has won major championships has experienced it. You have to have everything go your way that week or else you're not going to win.

Q. Something you said a few weeks about the need for equipment checks. Do you think there is a bending of the rules going on and how prevalent that is?

TIGER WOODS: I think it certainly is. If you go out about there and you watch pros hit golf shots, you'll see the difference in some of the balls, how they knock off the face and how the ball is just not flying quite right, because you can't increase your clubhead speed six to eight miles on hour going from 3-wood to driver. That's just not physically possible, if you make a normal golf swing, which the guys are doing, to increase their distance by 30 yards. That just doesn't happen. So you know something's going on.

Q. Here at Warwick Hills, what kind of game does this course favor? And with all of the birdies out here, it seems year after year, does that open it up to a lot players?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it does. Generally the greens are not firm. One year we played them firm, but generally they are pretty soft and they are always smooth. They are perfect every year. So if that's the case, you know you have to make birdies. The golf course is not overly long. There's some nice holes early in the back nine that you need to take advantage of in order to shoot a good round. The par fives are -- if it's dry, they are all reachable. But the golf course is set up so that there really isn't a lot of danger sought there. So therefore, the guys, if they hit the ball in there 15 feet or so on each and every hole, the greens are always perfect, so you're going to make putts. Basically, it comes down to a putting contest.

Q. Sometimes in the past years, you mentioned that you used Buick Open in order to prepare for the PGA Championship, and having an obligation to be here, is that something in your mind or would you rather approach that a different way?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I've played it both ways. I've played the Buick before I even had my Buick contract and I played it before I've even been defending champion. So I thoroughly enjoy the golf course, I enjoy the event, and the people have always been fantastic. I'm excited about coming back and defending. It's a nice problem to have, to plan out your year with all of the tournaments you have to defend. That's a nice problem to have when you start out the year, and I'm really excited about it.

Q. Do you have any different approach mentally coming back as a defending champion to a tournament than you do when you're trying to win for the first time?

TIGER WOODS: No. Because once you show up, you're defending champion for 51 weeks. And once that tournament week rolls around, then it's up for grabs for anyone in the field. That's the way I've always approached it, and you've just got to go out there and compete and give it your best. The only thing I can say is because I have won there, I have some positive vibes and when I am hopefully in position to win the tournament again, I can always recall on those positive experiences to help get me in.

Q. With the list of all the majors and everything that you've won, where does the consecutive cut streak rank and how proud are you of that?

TIGER WOODS: I'm very proud of that, because that goes to show you that I've been consistent. Even my off-weeks when I haven't played particularly well, I was still able to get it around. You can't have a cut streak that long and go out there and dog it. You have to compete and you have to play as hard as you can all the time. You all know, that's how I play, that's how I play golf; I give it everything I have. I lay everything on the table, you all know that, and I think the consecutive cut streak is a reflection of that. I go out there and I give it everything I have, and seem to have done all right.

Q. Coming into the season with a little bit of a different challenge coming out of surgery, what were your goals for the season relative to your physical health and being able to get back, and your tournament appearances, number of tournaments that you were going to play, and where are you at with those timetables that you set up?

TIGER WOODS: I'm right on the timetable as far as the number of tournaments. I'm not going to play as many as I did last year, and that's all by design. We're going to take it nice and slow this year and see how it goes. So far, it's been very successful. I've paced myself well. I've done my rehab. Boy, have I done my rehab, to the point where I'm sick and tired of riding that bike, I'll tell you that. It's up with of those things where I have to understand, you have to be very conservative. My surgeon and my therapist have been extremely conservative about our approach to my knee and just taking the long road and making sure that everything is good for the long how will haul and not just for the short term.

Q. Back to the equipment issue just for a second. Golf is unique in that the participants in this sport police themselves in many cases, calling penalties on themselves and taking care of those little points of honor. How much responsibility do the other top TOUR players bear in dealing with this issue of equipment and the hot drivers, and, perhaps even mandatory testing on the first tee every single days you have been a proponent of?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's not necessarily the players' fault. If you're a player and a manufacturer gives you a driver, then all of a sudden you hit it 20 yards further, I think you're probably going to play that driver because it gives you the best opportunity to win a tournament. I think that's what you're seeing. I think it's not necessarily the players who -- some may be completely oblivious to what's going on. Some may actually know what's going on. But for those who are oblivious, you have to say it's the manufacturers. You have to be accountable for what they produce and what they put out. In order to police that, it's unfortunate that it's come down to this point because as we all know, it's about winning the driver count on TOUR, being able to stay the No. 1 driver on TOUR because that sells product. Unfortunately, in order to attain that, some companies have possibly bent the rules. It's a shame that that has happened, and we need to go ahead and rectify that and make sure that everyone is playing by the same rules that the USGA has set up. And they have done a fantastic job over the course of policing the game throughout all of these years, and it's just a matter of, I think, the PGA TOUR taking the initiative and going ahead and doing that. This is our tour, the players run this tour and I think we ought to make sure that everyone is playing by the same rules.

Q. How does the skill level of the person you're paired with on a given round affect your play? And of all golfers of all time, who would you most like to play a round of golf with?

TIGER WOODS: I think so far, through my playing career, when you get into a hot group, I think it's an awful lot of fun to be able to play in a pairing where everyone is making birdies. I remember playing in the Byron Nelson a couple of years ago, it was myself, Nick Price and Paul Goydos. I shot 29 on the front nine, and I never had the tee. Paul shot 28 and Nick shot 30, and we inned up shooting -- I shot 61, Paul shot 62 and Nick shot 63. I think we made 27 birdies between the three of us. That's when it's fun. That's probably the most fun I've ever had in one pairing as far as everybody getting it going and keeping it going. Good thing is, I had the tee for at least one hole on the back nine and shot 61. As far as the second part of your question, I've played with Sam Snead, I've played with Jack, I've played with Arnold. The only person I never had a chance to play with was Mr. Hogan, and so I think that would have been pretty neat to be able to play with Mr. Hogan.

Q. You've been talking about possible putting trouble, and I've only ever seen you putt with two different putters. Is there a putter change possibly coming, and if so, with your putting, do you work with Scotty in the garage? Do you go out to see him?

TIGER WOODS: No. It's just a matter of getting my -- my pace has been good. So if my pace is good, that means my alignment must be a little bit off. It's just a matter of going out and doing my drills at home, which I've been doing over the past few days. And then starting to get some positive feedback and make sure I'm seeing the proper line. When I flip that blade and block down my target line making sure my blade is lined up properly because if your blade is not lined properly, you're going try to get the thing back on line, and then you start manipulating the blade, and your arc and your path changes. When I'm putting my best, my release point is the same and my arc, and my path through the ball is always the same. It's just a matter of getting lined up and going ahead and letting it go, which I have been. I just haven't lined it up properly.

Q. Early on people considered you to be a little standoffish, which was totally unfair, and you've proven that over the last few years, but I want to know, are you going to go back to Ziggy's Ice Cream Parlor and help out this year?

TIGER WOODS: (Laughing). I go there every year to get some ice cream. I don't know if I'll help out, but I'll venture for a taste. I didn't get my round figure from not eating your ice cream, right?

Q. Do you still feel like you're in rehab mode working with your professionals and you're still ramping up to the point where it's not going to be in the back of your mind?

TIGER WOODS: Certainly, it's going to take some time. We had a very conservative timetable on that. You know, you have to be conservative about this. If this was any other sport, I would have had to have been a lot more aggressive about my rehab because obviously that's what the sport demands. This sport is a little more lenient when it comes to that and I can take a longer time to get everything situated, which I have done. Right now, my legs are stronger than they have ever been. So I'm very excited about that, and when I walk 18 holes or 36 holes, I really don't feel anything. They are really not tired because I'm training for the Tour did he France the way I've been riding that bike.

Q. Your Tiger track commercial series is a big hit; what feedback have you been getting on it?

TIGER WOODS: Nothing but positive remarks. It's been great to hear all of the positive feedback that we've received. It just goes to show you that this was the right concept and the right idea. For me, I just had to try and stay out of the way and let the real stars, which were the people trying to get the car, let them go ahead and do the magic. My job was just to make sure I said all the right lines so that it was a legit spot and we could air it. And I didn't screw that up.

Q. The most recent Buick commercial, do you expect such a positive response from that?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't. I didn't expect it to be as positive as it has been received. I thought we did a pretty good job. The ladies were the absolute left best. When Beverly hit the ball on the green and won the car, it was magic when that happened, it was. To see the surprise on everyone's face, and I do mean everyone, when you had guys come out of camouflage gear from everywhere; it looked like we had snipers in the trees everywhere. We had cameras everywhere and to their surprise -- it was shocking for them to see what had transpired, but also disbelief, because I don't think anyone truly believed they had won a car until they went ahead and sat in the car.

Q. At last year's tournament, you had a 63 to vault into the lead, and then you had to grind it over the weekend. What were your memories of winning last year at Warwick Hills?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I didn't play particularly well on Saturday, but I kind of got it around and kept myself in there. And then playing with Esteban on Sunday, it was nip and tuck throughout the entire front nine. We were both making birdies and the game was on, but it really -- momentum really switched on 13 when he hit it left of the green and he had a really tough pitch. He pitched it obviously over the green, and I believe it went in the water. So that was the turning point of the whole tournament there on the back nine. So I was fortunate to have survived that, and basically just made my pars coming in to keep my lead.

Q. The Buick Open being the first sponsor of professional golf tournament back in 1958, Billy Casper winning, how much does that factor in when you were approached by Buick, if any, to be a spokesperson for Buick with their rich tradition and the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: Zero. There's nothing to do with Billy. I know Billy, and it had nothing to do with that. It had to do with the fact that this is a wonderful brand and wonderful fit for me and I was excited about the prospect of being with such a great brand that Buick is. You know, ever since then, it's been a lot of fun to be able to work with a lot of the guys and get to know them. I couldn't have asked for a better relationship.

Q. What's your favorite golf course to play on the Tour, and why?

TIGER WOODS: We don't get a chance to play it very often. I've only played it twice in a TOUR event, and that's St. Andrews. I think that's the home of golf. That's where it all started. And you can play it under so many different conditions. I've played there in the Dunhill Cup there in '98 with O'Meara and Daly, and I'll never forget hitting off the first tee, a 3-iron and a 60-degree sand wedge in there one day. And the very next day hitting driver, 4-iron. It's just a matter of the tide changing, the winds blowing. And it can be one of the easiest golf courses you've ever played, and also one of the hardest golf courses you've ever played. It all depends on the weather.

Q. What do you think about what 13-year-old Michelle Wie is doing on the women's tour, and do you think it's too much too soon for somebody that young and are we going to see more like her?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think she's been fantastic for women's golf. She's got a lot of talent, and that's obvious. But I think more than anything, what you're seeing is that she has the physical skills to go ahead and compete. She's taller than most women, not just women her age, but most women. She has a lot of leverage because of that have and she uses her swing properly. She gets a lot of distance, a lot of speed. She's obviously handled herself beautifully and it's just a matter of her growing up and going through a learning process. She's still very young, she's only 13. I certainly would never have been able to even fathom doing anything what she's been doing, playing Tour events at that age. I was still riding my BMX bike and playing in the dirt.

Q. Change sports on you real quick. NBA Draft tonight, you've got some company now at Nike, LeBron James, just wondering, I think his deal might be a little bigger than yours; are you going to have to renegotiate to get LeBron money out of Nike? And your thoughts on him getting that kind of money right out of high school and the pressure it puts on you, even though the finances are taken cake of, it's a lot to live up to?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm excited for him. I'm happy for him that he is able to have that opportunity where he was lucky enough to get that type of number. I was in the exact same position where I received a contract that no one has ever received in my sport, and for me, I can't speak for him, but for me, it freed me up to go ahead and just play golf and not worry about the financial aspects and the financial demand that I was going to have to incur when I turned pro. That was all taken care of. I had enough money to go ahead and support myself for the rest of my life. And that was unbelievable for Nike to be able to take that chance on me, but it really freed me up to go and just play golf. I didn't have to -- I had no status, I didn't have any status on any tour, and I was trying to get my status. I was always very lucky and I'm sure he feels the same way to be able to have that opportunity where a great brand such as Nike is taking care of him and his family.

MODERATOR: That will conclude the satellite broadcast. It was great to see you last week in Westchester. Appreciate you come you go out there, and more importantly, we just can't wait to see you back here at the Buick Open next month to defend your title. Good luck with that and we look forward to seeing you.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297