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August 18, 2005

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: All right, we thank Tiger Woods for joining us after a 4 under 66. Tiger, your 16th round in the 60s in 21 rounds here at Firestone. You just keep coming in here it seems like.

TIGER WOODS: Par 70 helps. I played decent today. I hit some good shots and I also hit some bad ones, but my bad ones weren't really that bad. They were kind of just off the green or easy chips where I could look at chipping them in, or a couple bad tee shots that weren't that far off line. All in all, I'm very pleased.

TODD BUDNICK: No bogeys today must have been an important part of your day.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you always like to go around a golf course with no bogeys, especially this fast and this firm. It's getting harder and faster and a lot more difficult than I remember this golf course playing.

TODD BUDNICK: Scoring average wise it looks like it's playing about two strokes over.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that's about right. The pins are a little bit difficult to get to today. Tomorrow's dots are even more difficult, so with the wind blowing and drying these things out, tomorrow will be even more of a challenge.

Q. The weather last year obviously affected the course setup. How much different is it really playing? It's been a couple years since it's been like this.

TIGER WOODS: We don't normally play it for four days like this. Maybe you get it early in the week and then it usually rains and softens it up. We haven't seen it like this in a while where the fairways become so narrow because they're all kind of tilted a little bit. So you have to watch it. The wind is swirling like this, like it is today. We found it a little difficult going to the greens. A couple times Niclas got fooled pretty bad. You just have to be committed to a certain wind and hopefully you didn't have that gust change.

Q. How much did Saturday and Sunday last week carry into your round today?

TIGER WOODS: More so the last 63 holes actually because I played I had just a terrible start on Thursday and then played pretty well after that. At one point I was 7 over par for the tournament and finished at 2 under, so I had a good comeback. But I felt like I was hitting it well all last week but just didn't putt well. I had five three putts last week, which inevitably ended up costing me probably a chance at winning.

Q. You were able to recover pretty well today, I think shots on No. 6 and 9. Just kind of take us back to those two shots.

TIGER WOODS: Well, 6 I got lucky. I had a gap and just tried to put the ball up there somewhere on the green. I had a shot to the green, just hopefully I didn't catch a limb coming out, and it came out clean.

The one on 9 was kind of interesting. It was sitting on top of a root, and Stevie was saying, "It looks like a sand wedge," like 133 front, 144 hole. He was saying, "Sand wedge." Sand wedge is fine because it's downwind but I'll hit it down I'll just take a little wedge and don't really try and do anything special with it, just try and put it up there on the green so I don't hurt myself, and it came out clean, which I didn't expect it to come out clean. I expected to be where Bob was over the green and chip it back, but it came out clean and worked out perfect.

Q. You've got a pretty decent record here, to say the least.


Q. Why is that?

TIGER WOODS: I just like this golf course. I mean, we don't get a chance to play courses like this very often where it's an old school course, where it's right in front of you, no tricks, no hidden agendas, no elephant burial grounds out there. It's just a golf course that's right in front of you, and it's difficult. It's fun when you get to play a golf course like this because we don't get to play them very often anymore.

Q. Is there a part of your game today that you just didn't feel like was all the way there?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't feel like I probably drove it the way I wanted to today. I kept hitting spinners off the tees. Occasionally I'd hit one solid and it would get down there, but occasionally I'd hit it off the bottom and just kind of spin it out there in play. I need to get a little better at that and drive it like I did last week, and if I do that I'll be fine.

Q. You mentioned how the conditions today were a little unusual compared to recent years. I saw on 4 you came off the ball because that wind, once you got up there ready to go, wind came up. Did it change a lot of shots for you out there, at least mentally?

TIGER WOODS: It changed in the sense that not only the intensity changed but also the direction a little bit. A good shot, if you chose to play this certain wind, then it could change and go downwind or into. It was coming off the same direction, but it would change how far the ball would go. It would either drift right or drift left, but distances would vary so much. Like on the par 3 over there on 5, I wanted to hit a 5 and Stevie just talked me into hitting 6 but the wind kept changing down. It wasn't supposed to be changing down. Niclas hit 6 and it gusted and it went up in the bunker. I pulled out 5 and it got there. That's how it is; it's about timing.

Q. Mentally do you get up more for a tournament like this where it's kind of an elite field and it's a big payday at the end? Do you get mentally more geared up for something like this?

TIGER WOODS: I think you always get into it a little bit more when you get out of playing a major championship or a World Golf Championship or a TOUR Championship or a Players Championship because you know you're playing against the best. Look how deep this field is. We're playing against the best players. Any time you get a chance to play head to head like this, it's always fun.

Q. How big did that root turn out to be? Was it potentially

TIGER WOODS: It was flat. It's just like laying on this (indicating the tabletop). I wasn't afraid of catching anything, but I was afraid of if I hit sand wedge and go after it and really try to put a good release on it I took an injury out, put it that way, which you know is normally not like me.

Q. You've had a couple of really low scores here. Can we hope for something like that this week or is it tougher than usual?

TIGER WOODS: We can always hope (laughter). Whether we can do it or not is two different things. The golf course is getting so fast out there. If they don't get any more rain or water these things, these greens are going to get some kind of hard, some kind of fast.

It's interesting, when you're hitting sand wedges and they're bouncing 20 feet, you don't see that very often. But today on 16 that's what it's doing, going downwind. You've got to allow for about 20 feet. If it stays like that, scores won't be really low.

Q. Marc Cayeux, considering his hand, I don't know if you saw it, how good a round was that?

TIGER WOODS: Incredible, absolutely incredible. The fact that he even went out there and played and grinded it out like he did was absolutely fantastic. It was fun to watch. Though he's not feeling his best, he had a hard time hanging onto the club and obviously the pain, but he gutted it out, and that's cool to watch. It's fun to watch somebody kind of gut it out and hang in there. Granted, he made eight one putts in a row, that usually helps. Was it eight or nine? It was eight.

It was phenomenal how well he putted there for a while. He should be very proud of himself for that, and hopefully he can make it all four days this week.

Q. Did you get the details on how he did it?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah.

Q. Not pleasant.


Q. Did you know him before today?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I had breakfast well, I had lunch with him the other day.

Q. Before this week, though?

TIGER WOODS: No. To be honest with you, I've never heard of him before.

Q. Can we get details on the birdies, please?

TIGER WOODS: Par 3, No. 12, I hit a 7 iron, hit the flag on the fly, and it bounces back to about 12 feet and I made that.

1, I hit a 2 iron and a 9 iron to about 20 feet right of the hole and made it.

2, I hit a driver and a 3 iron pin high to just right of the green, chipped up to about two feet, made that.

Then on 9, I hit a driver and a pitching wedge to about 15 feet right of the hole.

Q. How long was 16 playing today?


Q. I mean, was it all the way back to that

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah. You step off you'd probably hit the fence.

Q. What did you hit there?

TIGER WOODS: I hit driver, 8 iron, 60 degree sand wedge. I drove it on the downslope in the first cut and I looked like I was standing on my head hitting the shot. I'm sure there's guys that can get there no problem today if you keep it up that right side and just turn it just a little with the wind. You can get there.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

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