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July 15, 2005

Tiger Woods


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods, 67 today for a total of 133, 11 under par.

Tiger, that was a very nice start for The Open Championship.

TIGER WOODS: You might say that (laughter). When I went out there I was tied for the lead at the time and so the whole idea was to shoot something in the '60s today, which I did. Even though I missed a couple of opportunities today, I also made some good saves, as well. I made some good 2 putts from 70 feet, 50 yards and another 60 footer. So good two putts there.

Q. When you underwent your swing changes obviously it was to get better, how much of it was to get longer, as well?

TIGER WOODS: Not longer. A lot of it is just because of equipment. Don't forget, when I started making the changes with Hank I was still using a 43 and a half inch steel shafted driver and using a ball that spins a lot. I'm still using probably one of the spinniest balls out here on Tour, but it still goes a little bit further. I've gone to a 45 inch graphite with a bigger head. There's 15, 20 yards, right there, maybe a little more, just in those two combinations.

Q. Apologies for not asking you about you right now, but can you just say what impact Jack has made on your career and this week for you?

TIGER WOODS: First of all, he's the greatest champion that's ever lived. There's nobody that's been as consistent for as long a period of time as Jack. From the time when he won his first major to his last, no one's ever been that consistent. Just look at this championship alone, 15 years and the top 6 right in a row. It's hard to imagine being that consistent, because you can always get the bad end of the draw one time, you figure. But he played right through it and was always in contention.

But he's been the benchmark for every player that's ever played the game, at least in my generation. When I started playing, his prime was probably already over. He was certainly the benchmark, just like before him was probably Bobby Jones.

Q. For you this week, what does it mean? How much more special is it to be here with him this week?

TIGER WOODS: Just to see him around it's always special. Knowing the fact that in the last few years it was getting towards the end and you didn't know how many more years he would be competing out here with us, anytime you see him like Augusta is always special, to hang in our champions locker room and shoot the bull up there. I've gotten more information about fly fishing in Russia, Iceland and Canada. Mark doesn't even have this info. He gives some pretty good spots.

No, seriously, just to have him around and be able to talk to him about anything, we kind of understand what it takes to prepare and be ready for tournaments, and from that standpoint it's been pretty cool.

Q. Back to you for a moment, with all due respect to Jack, does this have I know it's a different year and it's a different swing, but does this have any reminiscent feeling to you to 2000, the way things are going?


Q. Why not?

TIGER WOODS: I could care less. Thinking of 2000 is not going to help me hit a golf shot out here, hit a draw, high fade and keep the ball on the ground. I have to be in the present here and now. I won in 2000, but we had totally different conditions. The wind was blowing how it was this morning until it switched twice.

We played all the holes coming home into the wind, which was very different last time than it is this time. But the guys this morning got those conditions.

Q. In essence, your answer to me is that it's really your motive, staying in the present?

TIGER WOODS: I'm trying to put the ball and place the ball where I need to place it and that's it. It doesn't get anymore complicated than that.

Q. You drove, I think, three par 4s and real close on some of the others. With the way you're hitting it, how much different is it than last time on your approaches?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, about the same. We played I drove the ball on the green on 9 most of the times.

10, I drove it on there Sunday in 2000.

I drove it on 12 every day. Actually one day right of the green and got up and down to the right pin. Those three holes are playing about the same, even though 12 has been moved back. But we're all longer now since 2000, the ball flying, as much as it is now, compared to 2000. A lot of this depended on wind.

For instance, when I was on the 9 green today my whole intention was intent was lay it up on 10. All of a sudden the wind switched and went kind of down and across instead of in and across. I had to take advantage of it, try to drive it. I hit a low one out and used the wind, hit a hot peeler and it rolled up on the green. If it was into the wind I couldn't do it.

Q. Just carrying on really from where you were there, specifically can you talk about the effect of the new tees on your game and your strategy, perhaps compared to 2000, how you play those holes now, having two competitive rounds in different wind conditions?

TIGER WOODS: 4, you just hit high and hard.

Q. Starting on 2?

TIGER WOODS: 2 is the same not really. I've hit 3 wood these two days, then I was hitting 2 iron to 3 iron, and even one day, I think on Sunday, 4 iron off the tee, trying to keep it short of that bunker.

But 4 has been just trying to hit it high and carry that hill somehow. Where else was a change? 12. On 12, I've just taken out driver and just tried to fit the ball either left or right of the bunker up there. I know I can carry the first two, but the last one is 309 and I can't carry it. I can't carry it that far. Just try to fit it left or right and try to make a decision and try be committed of that line.

Today I tried to go left to give myself a better angle at the shot, my next one, and it came out perfect. It kind of snuck on the front edge of the green, which was nice, but 3 ripped that putt.

Q. Your chip shot on 2 you went from putter to sand wedge. Walk us through how your thought process went there.

TIGER WOODS: I had a good lie, and more importantly, the wind was blowing into me. If the wind was blowing straight across I couldn't hit the sand wedge, so I went with the sand wedge instead because the wind was blowing straight in my face at the time, which would deaden the shot a little bit, play a lot slower.

Q. Would a fairway wood have been a choice for you there?

TIGER WOODS: I haven't really practiced that shot around here. The lie was perfect for either shot, either a sand wedge or a putter. And I chose sand wedge because the wind was blowing straight in my face. It kind of changed. It was supposed to be in and off to the right, but all of a sudden it went straight into me. So it's going to be really slow, so I used the wind to my advantage.

Q. When you're in the position that you're likely to be tonight, up several strokes in a major, will you at all take a peak to see the names directly below you?

TIGER WOODS: I know who they are.

Q. Does it make a difference?

TIGER WOODS: I still have to go out and put up a quality round tomorrow, and the same on Sunday. Yeah, there are some good names up on that board, but still I have to take care of my own business, and that's a lot out here on this golf course. There are a lot of things that can happen. You have to be committed to what you're doing out there and not really worry about what everybody else is doing. You have enough issues out there to worry about.

Q. Is this shaping up to be kind of one of those Tiger runaways, this tournament?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. If you can predict the future, tell me, let me know. Otherwise, I just have to continue doing what I'm doing.

Q. This tournament more than any other, people are bound to draw comparisons between yourself now and Jack Nicklaus as he was. How comfortable are you with that comparison?

TIGER WOODS: That's fine. To be compared to the greatest player and the greatest champion that's ever lived in our game, it's nice to be in that kind of company and that kind of breath. It's certainly an honor that I'm even mentioned in that conversation.

Q. How do you think you're compared?

TIGER WOODS: I would have loved to have gone head to head against him in his prime. I think we would have had a lot of fun.

Q. How locked in is the new swing, and could you ever envision making another change because of equipment changes or whatever?

TIGER WOODS: The second part of your question, I hope not. The first part of your question, you have to understand that golf is fluid. You're always making changes. And you're also making adaptations. And even when you have your best day, you still have to go out on the range and hit a couple of shots that weren't just right and continue to work on that. Every day the field is a little different, you have to change things here and there, shot to shot, day to day. Are the changes more sound? Certainly.

But every day there's always that how your body feels, how the wind is blowing, what's going on. And you have to be able to read that, understand that and adjust to it. And I think that's that's what Jack always said. Every day is a little different and he's right. The same guy can shoot 63 and the next day shoot 73. He feels the same, but the score is totally different.

Q. How much noise was there and how much of the noise that you heard were you able to attribute to Jack?

TIGER WOODS: I'll be honest with you guys, it was quiet because we were a half hour behind them, at least, which is, here, two to three holes. And as you know, all the way out, all the way back in, two to three holes is a lot of distance. From that aspect I always saw and heard noise we were doing a loop. I was playing 8 and he was teeing off on 11. Other than that it was really quiet where we were, because we were three holes behind, them, and that's a lot considering every holes runs away from you, keeps going away, keeps going away, keeps going away. The only time we had a chance to see what he was doing was on 11 when he teed off and that's it.

Q. Nothing when you were coming in, when was the wind blowing away from you?

TIGER WOODS: The wind was down and to the right. We heard very little. I wish I could have heard what was going on, but I didn't hear much, to be honest with you.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Tiger, thank you very much

End of FastScripts.

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