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June 18, 2005

Tiger Woods


Q. You said you were having fun yesterday; would you agree with that today?

TIGER WOODS: It's a grind out there. You have to hit quality golf shots. I had 36 putts today. And most of my putts I'm defensive, because they're uphill and then going straight away from me. Especially you don't feel like if you hit it three feet past the hole, it's off the green. That's the nature of the putts. I heard Phil say he had to lag putts six feet short. That's what I did, and then try to make those. If you get a hair aggressive, it's off the green.

Q. Peter Jacobsen is the only guy under par. What does that say for this course?

TIGER WOODS: It's tough. I mean, you're rewarded by hitting good golf shots. You're going to have to make some putts. And if you putt well, yeah, you can shoot a good score, but boy, you have to really try to position your golf ball somehow. You have to drive it in the fairway and position it where you get an uphill putt. So I probably had two looks at birdies that I thought were realistic chances, and then I got a putt at it, and I made one of the two. And other than that, I'm just lagging most of the putts.

Q. Do you find yourself tinkering, Tiger, with the stroke or anything like that?

TIGER WOODS: I found it on the back nine after I missed that short one on, what was it, 13. I just blocked at crap out of that one. And I figured out why I did it, which was nice. I hit good putts all the way in. So that was huge.

Q. You're a couple years younger than Jason Gore (inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Lots of golf against each other. Jason is a great guy. We go back to junior golf back in our little peewee leagues in Southern Cal. I've known Jason a long time, and he went to Arizona and then transferred to Pepperdine. Jason is a great guy. His whole family is just really nice people.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: He's got all the talent in the world. He's always been a very long hitter, it's just a matter of him fine tuning his swing, and he did that and he's done that. And it's holding up.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: No, there always are up there. The U.S. Open kind of does that and hopefully we can all play well come tomorrow.

Q. You were laughing with Rocco there at the end. What were you saying?

TIGER WOODS: Get the hell out of here (laughter).

Q. Is the order of the day for tomorrow to just survive?

TIGER WOODS: Just try to position your golf ball as best as you possibly can. I hit the ball really well today and I had, as I said, only two good looks at birdies. I thought, finally I'm going to make this one. The rest of the time it's lagging away.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: The pins are even tougher tomorrow. So these are the best players in the world and we have had no wind the entire week, and the greens have been receptive. Goose just made birdie to go under par.

Q. Tiger, your dad is so often in your mind when you play. Your thought for Father's Day tomorrow, how is your dad doing?

TIGER WOODS: He's doing a lot better. His strength is coming back, which is nice. He has good days and bad days, but at least he's on the good side now, more good days than bad days, so it's kind of cool. Hopefully tomorrow I can put it together and give him a nice present.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, I mean, as I said, most of my shots were 20 and 30, 40 feet away, and that's because you can't take a run at these flags. You have a wedge in your hand and you're firing 15 feet right or left of the hole. And most Tour events if you have 8 iron in your hand you're going at the flag, you could care less where everything else is at. The golf course is so demanding that you just can't afford to miss on that short side. You have to somehow put the ball in the center of the green and hopefully make a 20 , 30 footer.

Q. The 13th hole has swallowed up a bunch of guys. How difficult is it with the flag cut

TIGER WOODS: I think that's borderline right there. I mean, I got the the pin sheet from last time we played here is one step deeper than that; they put it more towards the front. So you bring it in, putting it off the green. And, yeah, Roc was standing there thinking, he used putter off the green, and it ran down quick. Of all the pins we've had, that's the closest one being borderline.

Q. You said tomorrow is going to be tougher from what you saw with the pin placements. Any borderline out there?

TIGER WOODS: They're tough, just really tough. Some were a little bit deeper than they normally are normally are we only played here one time. They're like one step deeper or half a step closer to the edge, that kind of stuff. But still, they're only three, four feet from the edge. I mean, you have a 15 footer and you're lagging it, because if you hit it three feet by, it's off the green in the bunker.

Q. Same for tomorrow?


Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: You just go out there and grind away and try and make a bunch of pars and hopefully you can sprinkle in a couple of birdies here and there. And as we all know, even par is probably are even maybe over par will win this championship. If you can post even par, you're looking pretty good.

Q. You said yesterday that the tournaments that 66, 67 is almost par, you relish the opportunity where a number in the 60s is really phenomenal. Can you imagine a better stage set for that type of play?

TIGER WOODS: I mean, it's a great stage to be able to shoot one of those, but it's going to be hard to do that. You're going to have to make some longer putts, because it's going to be very rare where you see some guy stiff it in there close, because they're so close to the edges. I don't think a lot of guys will take the chance. Good quality shots are 15 feet; that's a good shot with a wedge, whereas most tournaments you're pretty mad at yourself for doing something like that.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: It can happen in a heartbeat, one hole. That's what happened to DT yesterday. And it can happen very fast out here, with not bad shots. That's the thing. And the wind's blowing just hard enough where it's coming and going and swirling all over the place.

It's just really, really different out there, because you have your tee shot can be right to left and your second shot can be left to right. Your tee shot can be downwind, second shot into the wind. And that's the nature of how the wind has been blowing out there. You have to make a decision and stay committed to it.

Q. There's a pretty good chance of rain. How would that change it if you got thunderstorms tonight?

TIGER WOODS: It will make it more open. The greens are me receptive and you don't have that fear factor of putting the ball off the green, because they are going to be a little bit slower.

Q. Does Peter Jacobsen have the game to win this?

TIGER WOODS: How many over par is he? 4? He's got a chance. Anybody who's at 5 , 6 , 7 over par, you shoot a good quality round tomorrow, you don't know what can happen. We've seen it at Carnoustie where Paul Lawrie came from 10 back.

Q. Do you have a number in mind going into tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: Something in the red would be good.

Q. What do you think about Mark Hensby? He's one out of the lead.

TIGER WOODS: That's typical Mark. He's a grinder, man. He's a wonderful player, great guy, too, I love to give him a bunch of grief. It's good to see him up there, he deserves it. He's been playing a lot better this year, a lot higher finishes. The ball striking is coming back. He's always been a good putter.

Q. He said yesterday, "You guys make a bigger deal out of the majors than we do, I approach this like any other tournament."

TIGER WOODS: That's good. That's very good. Today when I got off to a bad start, and that's kind of how you've got to think. I said I've been in this situation before. I've won majors before, and I know how to handle this, it's not like I haven't been here before, so I'll just stay patient and turn it around, just like you do any other round of golf.

Q. Considering your resume, does that give you going into tomorrow, do you think, hey, maybe I've got a bit of an edge here, because some of these guys haven't seen this Sunday and this final group?

TIGER WOODS: You know, it does, it does have you can always lay that on yourself when you're out there playing. I've won major championships, I've done this in this event twice. And that's huge, to be able to say that to yourself coming down the stretch. I've done it many times in major championships, I've been here before, I've done this. And it does give you a sense of calmness.

Q. Talk about that annoying little 3rd hole, which right now is the difference between you being three or four back or right on top of these guys. Have you figured out how to play that thing?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit a bad iron shot, hit a good sand wedge in there and hit two poor putts back to back. I deserved making bogey after two putts like that. But tomorrow is over there where, back left, over on the corner. So just put the ball in the fairway, put the ball on the green and hopefully make the putt.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I'm sure they're faster today than they were yesterday. And they're certainly drier. But they're still receptive, and we're still able to back golf balls up. It's taking big first bounces, but at least it's grabbing. Last year that wasn't the case.

Q. You won the Tiger Slam, and obviously (inaudible) you really are one good round away from being halfway home.

TIGER WOODS: I'm one good round away from winning this championship, that's the way you have to approach it. Tomorrow I'm going to give it my best and see what happens.

End of FastScripts.

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