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October 4, 2005

Tiger Woods


Q. What are your thoughts on the course?

TIGER WOODS: It's a lot different golf course than when I played it. It's not certainly not the golf course when I was up here when I was pretty young playing it. It's unbelievable how much they've changed the golf course. It used to be kind of a basically clover field out here. The greens are unbelievable, perfectly smooth, and it's just hard to believe what they've done here.

Q. How do you think it's going to hold up to the level of talent they've got out here?

TIGER WOODS: If the wind doesn't blow, then the guys are probably going to shoot some pretty good scores out here. The greens being this good, they're going to make some putts. The golf course has some good holes on it, but it also has some short holes on it where you can take a run at getting the ball up on the green. Some good holes, challenging holes, but the par 5s are reachable. Overall the guys will do pretty well.

Q. How often did you play here and how young were you and at what stage in your career?

TIGER WOODS: Maybe when I was like 12. I used to come up here every now and then, just come up here and play. We played down in Monterrey, then we'd drive up here and ply.

Q. Bay Area has some great golf fans as you know. Are you looking forward to the crowds this week?

TIGER WOODS: It's going to be incredible. We haven't played here since the U.S. Open, and that was an absolute zoo here. So I'm sure look at Tuesday morning and people are out here already. It's going to be I think it'll be pretty loud around here.

Q. You kind of trained golf crowds over the years with you're quiet, you don't want pictures. Has that become a hassle for you to fight that every tournament you play in?

TIGER WOODS: It's not so bad once you're playing. Once the tournament rounds come around, people obviously don't have the cameras. They do yell, that's one thing, especially when they've had a couple to drink throughout the day, it gets a little loud in the evenings. But overall the fans are very respectful, they bring an enthusiasm to the game that we haven't seen in a while, so overall golf has certainly had a wonderful boom that way.

Q. What kind of shape are you in right now?

TIGER WOODS: I feel pretty good. I did some good work. I was in Vegas seeing my trainer out there, Keith, and we were grinding pretty hard for about four days. He got me feeling really good.

Q. Physically, too? What's been going on with you physically?

TIGER WOODS: I just had those ribs issues there at the Presidents Cup. I had to get those things calmed down, get the muscles relaxed and strengthen them. We did some pretty good work.

Q. Is it ribs or back?

TIGER WOODS: It was ribs. Well, it's where they attach into the back, the spine.

Q. Is that just kind of wear and tear at the end of a long season?

TIGER WOODS: It's just one shot, that's all it took, just one shot. Usually if I have any kind of back problems or any kind of issues over the years, it's a little higher than that. It's one shot I hit in a practice round trying to hit a low bullet off a weird lie. I probably shouldn't have done that during a practice round.

Q. Was that at the Presidents Cup?


Q. What are the issues now?

TIGER WOODS: If you would have asked me at the beginning of the week it would have been a different story, but last week and this weekend I feel great again.

Q. You've done extremely well in World Golf Championships, even by your standards. Does competing here motivate you more?

TIGER WOODS: It's very similar to a major championship. We don't get a chance to play against the best very often anymore. Everyone plays their own tours. When we do play, it's in the majors, the World Golf Championships and The Players. When we do get together, it's not as often, but when you do it's pretty exciting.

Q. Kind of like a home game for you?

TIGER WOODS: It is. I saw a bunch of guys I know here; Conrad is out here, the coach now, and a couple other guys I played on the team with, and one then one of our assistant captains, she's out here, assistant coaches, I'm sorry. A couple of my roommates were out here, so it's pretty cool.

Q. Probably seems like another lifetime ago?

TIGER WOODS: It's one of those things where I have so many fond memories that I can't say anything negative about my time at Stanford except I didn't get much sleep (laughter).

Q. You guys play such long courses now, 7,400 yards. Is there any challenge that this presents as such a short track and such an old style course? Is there any kind of different challenge?

TIGER WOODS: Well, angles. A lot of the holes are angled and you've got to shape balls off the tee. They also bounce off the fairways pretty good. The angles you have to be firing into them, and some of the fairways are a little bit angled. It's going to be hard to keep the ball in the fairway, especially if they won't water them. If they get any firmer, it's going to be tough to keep the ball in the fairway.

Q. What did you end up hitting off the tee at 18?

TIGER WOODS: I just hit driver and pitching wedge.

Q. Do you see Vijay's money record as attainable? Is that something you might go for?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know what it is. Where am I at? I don't know where I'm at.

Q. Getting close to nine.

TIGER WOODS: Am I? I'd better win some tournaments then.

Q. Is that a record you'd like?

TIGER WOODS: Just like when I had the record and the money title, it's very misleading. It changes because obviously the purses go up. When I led the money title back in '97, that was big, and in '99 and 2000 it seemed well, it's very misleading because obviously the purses keep going up. I'd much rather keep having the highest total for wins every year. If I keep doing that, things will be all right.

Q. How different a challenge is a course like this for your game? You obviously feast on par 5s and there's only two here.

TIGER WOODS: There's only two. They're both reachable. There's a couple par 4s that you might want to if you get the right wind conditions, maybe the tees are moved up a little bit, you can take a run at and try to drive them. Overall it's more the position of the golf course, get the ball in the fairway and make sure you get some angles at some of the pins because they've got some little nooks and you have to try to shape the ball in there so you have to have the ball in the fairway.

Q. Do you like the position of the golf course? It would seem like it caters to your strengths.

TIGER WOODS: It's different and it's fun because we don't get a chance to play these courses very often. Usually, like you said it's 7,400 and you've got to go get it. It's nice to play a golf course we can shape balls again.

Q. Between Olympic and Lake Merced and San Francisco and this, is there a style to San Francisco you like or anything that's different about this area than anywhere else in the country?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, do not hit the ball in these trees. You may not be seeing it again. The times that we played we played SF Club about every Monday, that was our qualifier course, but basically all the courses on the peninsula here the weather dictates so much. It can be, as you know, from 80 to 60 in a heartbeat here, and all of a sudden the ball is going nowhere. We played out here in some very interesting weather conditions in qualifiers.

Overall I think it's always heavy air and the ball doesn't quite fly as far. I was just down in southern California this past weekend for my foundation, and I was hitting it a lot further down there than I am here, the air is just so much heavier and cooler.

Q. Does it favor someone who draws the ball?

TIGER WOODS: If you're a righty, yeah, or if you're a lefty who fades it. It certainly helps because a lot of the holes are kind of banked that way, shaped that way.

Q. Any thoughts on Michelle Wie turning pro, which I guess she's going to do Wednesday?

TIGER WOODS: I heard about that. Tomorrow, right? It's pretty exciting. Michelle obviously has some talent. I don't know what you guys probably can explain better than me, but I don't know what her status is on the Tour. I don't know if she's got to go to Q school.

Q. I don't think she intends to, I think she'll just play the same schedule.

TIGER WOODS: If she does what she did this year, she'll be just fine.

Q. Do you think she can handle it at 16?

TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't see any reason why she can't. I know there's certain things when I look back at my time, I can only compare to me, so when I was 16, I wasn't even thinking about turning pro, I was just hoping to get into college somewhere. Two totally different outlooks on your career. She has a talent and has been good enough to make a giant step like that. At 16, I was just excited to get my driver's license (laughter), to get a car my dad gave me. I was really stoked about that.

Q. She always said she wanted to follow you at Stanford. What is she missing by not going there?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's just your developmental years, obviously your education and being pushed cerebrally. The things that I learned at Stanford are just phenomenal, people I met, got a chance to talk to, Condoleeza Rice, obviously two football coaches, Bill Walsh and Tyrone and all the people I've met, guys from the business department and all these different people I met influenced my life so dramatically in those two years.

Q. Are you going to go back and get a degree?

TIGER WOODS: Well, in order for me to do that, I would have to figure on spending four quarters at Stanford, and obviously have another four where I can do it outside of that. The hard part is finding four quarters or three or four months with my schedule where I can go back. Maybe once my schedule slows down, I can do something like that.

Q. Do you have any friends at UC Davis?

TIGER WOODS: No (laughter).

Q. Can you speak to what this tournament means to this area, a place where they used to have a regular stop on the PGA TOUR, what this means and how you would like to be part of that?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's great that they're coming back here. This is an underserved market, and I think that by coming here to the peninsula and all these people are so excited about sports, especially now that the Giants aren't in the postseason. It's exciting for us as golfers to come back to an area with such history. All the players have grown up here and played here and I went to college around here, so a lot of history and it's great to be part of that.

Q. Is there something about this series you said with the quality of the field, you hit something ridiculous, something like .500. How have you been able to do so well in these World Golf Championships?

TIGER WOODS: No, I think it's just I've enjoyed competing, and I feel it's very comparable to the major championships and The Players. The fields are not quite as big, but they're still just as deep and just as strong. When you get the best players in the world, you feel pretty psyched up about it.

Q. You said the par 5s are reachable. What did you hit on 4 and 10?

TIGER WOODS: 4 I hit driver, 3 wood pin high; and 10, unfortunately I drove it in the right bunker, but I would have had about 250 out from where I was.

Q. On 16 it looked like you pulled an iron without hesitation. You said if the wind was right you'd have considered driving it?

TIGER WOODS: If it might have been down I might have taken a run at it, but obviously it was slightly in.

Q. What iron did you hit?

TIGER WOODS: 2 iron and a wedge.

Q. You had a good reaction on 8 when you walked up to the tee box. Is that about as long as you think a par 3 should be?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I can't really say that because Oakmont is 280 now. 230 is a good par 3. It's a very good par 3, especially when the greens are getting this firm.

Q. What did you hit there?

TIGER WOODS: The guys are going to have a hard time keeping the ball on the green.

3 iron.

Q. 14 is considered one of the more robust par 4s out here. Is that driver, wedge for you guys?

TIGER WOODS: Driver, 7 iron today.

Q. This is pandering to the home crowd, but is there anything you would say about the physical beauty of a golf like this in a major city?

TIGER WOODS: It doesn't happen. It absolutely does not happen to have a golf course this close to the city. Look at the golf courses they have in this area this close to the city. The only thing comparable to this would be like Rancho Park in LA, LA and Wilshire and all those places right next to downtown. It's very similar, but I think this area is absolutely gorgeous.

Q. Their goal here is to be on a Bethpage, Torrey Pines level. Did they achieve it?

TIGER WOODS: They don't have the real estate to be on par with those two golf courses, but as far as the shape of the golf courses, I think they could make it certainly a lot more difficult if they wanted to by adding bunkers, reshaping a couple of holes, but for now I think they've done a fantastic job. This is a public golf course. You don't want them getting it too hard. Those two golf courses, the reason they made those changes was to get a U.S. Open. This golf course was not intended to get a U.S. Open. That was not their main intent when they redesigned the golf course.

Q. Will 30 under par win this thing?

TIGER WOODS: If I shoot 30, I like my chances (laughter).

Q. What do you think is a reasonable range, assuming the greens stay firm?

TIGER WOODS: Depends on the wind. If the wind doesn't blow, I would think these guys could be close to 20.

Q. If the wind doesn't blow how many times do you think you'll hit driver?

TIGER WOODS: Depends. Today I probably hit it maybe like eight or nine times.

End of FastScripts.

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