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August 19, 2005

Tiger Woods


JOHN BUSH: Okay. We'd like to thank Tiger Woods for coming into the interview room, even par 70 and a 4 under par 136 for the tournament.

Tiger, thanks for coming by and spending a few minutes with us. Difficult finish there on the last hole. It's getting firm out there and it's getting pretty windy today, just get your comments on the round if we can.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, actually I thought the golf course was softer today. The greens were really soft for some reason. It looked like they put some more water on them today and slowed them down. We were backing balls off the greens today, which didn't happen yesterday. That's for sure.

The golf course played a lot different today. The wind blew harder, but I thought the greens were a little softer and you could be a little more aggressive and go after some of these flags. I thought I played well all day, just until the last hole. I felt like I played well enough to shoot a round in the mid 60s easily, and I wound up with 70, so hopefully tomorrow I can get it done.

Q. Just talk about 18 and the trouble you had there.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit a drive, lost it to the right on the wind. Just an easy second shot, and I had all the room in the world to put it up there and had the face open and snagged it and hit it straight left, hit the tree, kicked back to the right. Had to take a drop because of line of sight interference, then I hit a 7 iron over the green, chip shot, came up short, two putted for 6.

Q. Have you ever played here with the wind like this?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah. Normally the greens are more firm than this, but they were so soft today. We all were backing balls up. We were talking about that today when we were playing, it's not just the same golf course.

Like the shot I hit on 15 today for instance, blowing dead downwind with a 5 iron and I hit it low and it lands in the middle of the green and only rolls about six feet, and I'm thinking for sure that ball is over the back, and all of a sudden it pulls up short. I'm like, "hmm, that's just how the whole day was."

It was very different because you had it in where your mind from yesterday how firm the greens were but they just weren't like that today. They were putting a lot slower, too.

Q. Is that what happened on 7 and 9, you just missed by inches there?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, just short. Most of my putts I left short. I didn't run them past the hole at all. I had a hard time getting it to even look fast, they're not putting fast.

Q. On that point at 11 where the pin is up on that shelf, did you expect it to stay up there? Is that another example of it backing up?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, my shot was flat and it should have probably just stopped, but it spun. Mark's shot landed further than mine and his should have been up easily, and his ball came rapping back. A couple shots I spun off the greens. I shot on 8 came up short, checked off, hit on 9, spun off the green going straight downwind.

Yesterday we would have hit the same shot you were kind of hoping it might stay on the green. Instead of going over the back, this one came off the front.

Q. You went I think 31 holes without a bogey. You get a bogey and then you're able to come back with a birdie. How frustrating is it to end with a double bogey and sleep on that? You don't get a chance to get back until tomorrow.

TIGER WOODS: The good thing is I still have the lead. We've got a long way to go, but I didn't shoot myself out of the tournament by making double, and that's a good thing. I'm still right there. We've got a long way to go, and I'm playing well, so I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. It's just one bad hole kind of compounds the problem within the hole.

Q. Tee times have been moved up for tomorrow. Could you talk about the Tour has been very good about being flexible and adjusting for weather. You contrast that with last week when the inconvenience of Monday wasn't as important as how it might have actually altered the outcome of the tournament?

TIGER WOODS: Well, as you know out here, TV basically rules it out here. The producer didn't like having anything taped, especially the drama of a major championship, you don't want to have that thing taped. I can understand their point.

But then again, if you have inclement weather, a good chance of it coming in, then I think you have to allow for a cush. We have the same type of circumstance in South Africa for The Presidents Cup in the darkness because they wanted to move the tee times back so it would be in prime time, and lo and behold, look what happened, we ended up with a tie. It has happened, and I'm sure it'll continue to happen every now and then. But at least tomorrow we're going to play early and try and get this thing in, and hopefully we can. Hopefully we can get it in fast enough because it doesn't look very good tomorrow.

Q. Did you think your chances might have been slightly better at Baltusrol if they could have finished on Sunday night?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, without a doubt because the wind had changed. We played 16, 17 and 18 straight downwind and I hit 2 iron over the green on a 650 yard hole. Then all of a sudden the wind comes up 15 or 20 straight in their face. It becomes a very different hole. No. 16, some of the guys were hitting utility woods in there, so it's a completely different hole.

I had 6 iron and they're hitting utility woods just because the wind had switched. Certainly if they would have played, I would have had a better chance of maybe getting into a playoff.

Q. You've played with Luke a few times now. Talk about his improvement?

TIGER WOODS: Luke has been playing well. He's always very consistent, not a real long hitter for sure, but hits it very straight, very solid, and more than anything he really manages his game well, and that's indicative of how he's gotten better as a he plays the tougher golf courses well, I think, because of that.

Q. How far did you have on the second shot on 18 and then how far on the third?

TIGER WOODS: I had 23 to the front and 23 to the front again, same number.

Q. 16 caused some problems for a lot of people today and almost got you, as well. I wonder well, your problems were obvious, but what was it? Was the wind difficult there? The pin is not in a good spot.

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's a tough spot because it's one step from going over running away from you, and if you land the ball short going downwind short of the hole, the next hop if it touches the ground past the hole it's over the green. And then that brings water into play if you want to get a little cute with it. You just play it like I did, play up to a full 8 iron out of the bunker.

Q. What was your yardage there?

TIGER WOODS: I had 163 hole.

JOHN BUSH: Can you take us through real quick the birdie on 5?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a 7 iron to about 18 feet right of the hole, made that.

10, I hit a driver and a little pitching wedge from I had 89 yards to the hole and just a little pitching wedge in there and made about a ten footer there.

Bogey on 14, I hit a drive that ran through, tried to hit a 7 iron out but caught the rough coming out, didn't go very far in the air and luckily it rolled to the fairway. I had 63 yards to the hole, hit it past the hole probably 20 feet and missed it.

Birdie on 15, I had a 5 iron up there to about 12 feet short of the hole.

JOHN BUSH: Then you took us through 18 already.

Q. Is it reasonable to expect yourself to drive the ball well all 14 holes? From 3 through 13 it looked pretty good. Is it inevitable for you or any power hitter to lose it at some point during the round?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if you look at today, for instance, if a shorter hitter hits it off line, Fred Funk hits it off line and it just rolls in the first cut, well, if you add 30 yards to that tee shot, which is where we would be hitting, it's in the trees, and that's the difference. Our margin of error is not very big. It's certainly a lot smaller than if you ever get going where you have a bad day swinging, it's really tough.

Q. Do you see that as an offense then? Is that part of the defense of the course?

TIGER WOODS: It's just the game of golf. That's the way it is. The further you hit it, the less your margin of error to put the ball in the fairway.

For a guy to drive the ball as far as some of the longer hitters do and then drive it straight is much more of a challenge to do that because you don't have a whole lot of room to mess with. That's one of the cool things, I think, about the way I'm swinging now is that I'm hitting driver just about every hole because I feel like I can put the ball in play, so I think I'm swinging better than I have in years because I remember back in the old days I used to hit 2 iron a lot off the tees to try to keep the ball in play. I don't need that anymore.

Q. How much longer do you think you are with the driver? Yesterday you had I think nine holes over 300 yards off the tee. How much longer are you with the driver of the ball than you are say three years ago?

TIGER WOODS: Easily 20, 25 in the air. What it does on the ground doesn't matter, soft, hard, I don't know, but comfortably 20 yards in the air, no problem.

Q. On 17 you did hit iron there. What was that shot? Is that that stinger that you use?

TIGER WOODS: I was just lined up short of the hill. Yesterday I hit 2 iron but the tee was all the way in the back. If I hit 2 iron there it would have hit the upslope, and that's not the place to be with that flight. Today I hit 3 iron, laid back and made sure I put the ball on the flat and made sure I could control it. It didn't cut and it hit it absolutely dead straight. That was a pretty fun hole.

Q. Just curious what happened on the bunker shot on 2, which was in the right bunker.

TIGER WOODS: Fatted it coming out, fatted it and took off left.

Q. How do you approach tomorrow given the inconsistency of the course? How will you approach tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: You've just got to go out there and play it by ear, really. See how it starts out. The first green and the first couple of greens are usually when the second green should be the firmest of the greens early in the round and just try to get a good feel for it so you can play the later holes a little bit better.

Q. The third shot on 18, did that ball release more than you thought it would? Obviously it hit in front and skipped all the way to the back.

TIGER WOODS: I had to keep it low. It was always going to be hot. I was just trying to get it in there where I could have a chance of getting up and down for bogey. That was about it. It certainly rolled a lot more than I thought it would, but then again, hitting a 7 iron that low, it's just going to roll off.

Q. This may seem a minor point, but the way you started on 10 one day and 1 the next, with threesomes tomorrow, do you prefer to start at either 1 or 10 on this course? Does it make a difference to you?

TIGER WOODS: It really doesn't because this golf course doesn't have brutal holes to start out on either side. 10 and 11 are pretty straightforward simple par 4s, and 1 and 2, I feel like 2 is basically a long par 4. Either way you're looking at a comfortable start. When we played last week it was two totally different golf courses, teeing off on 10 versus 1. 1, geez, you almost hit it out of the clubhouse.

JOHN BUSH: Thanks for coming by, Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

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