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June 17, 2005

Tiger Woods


Q. How would you characterize the day today?

TIGER WOODS: A U.S. Open. Days like today typify a U.S. Open. You've just got to go out there and be as patient as possible and grind away. You know you've got to get some good breaks, some bad breaks on these greens, they're so domed, and they're starting to get firmer and firmer that sometimes good shots just aren't rewarded. Unfortunately Chris today who hit some beautiful golf shots, he ended up in the worst spots. That's kind of the nature of the greens right now.

Q. The birdie putt, seemed like you really obviously wanted that.

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah. To finish at even par, just to grind away like I did the whole day today and to have those two screw ups on the green, blowing one 15 feet by and another one ten feet by, to have those two and still have a chance to get to even par, finish at even par, God, I really wanted that one.

Q. You were just bombing it time after time. Is it just confidence? What were you thinking about?

TIGER WOODS: I started feeling it, but I started off driving it great, and then in the middle of the round I kind of lost a few to the right, and kind of midway through the back nine I got it back again. It wasn't like I was trying to do anything different, just happened to find a little groove there and hit the ball really well off the tees.

Q. How tough is 16 playing right now?

TIGER WOODS: 16 I got lucky. It was playing downwind today. That's one of the reasons I drove it so far. 17 is not that hard a hole, but 15 is a joke, trying to hit the ball on that green. I mean, Luke hit such a beautiful golf shot right at it. It never even thought about stopping. That's one of the hardest greens to hit on this whole golf course. I think I saw the percentage yesterday, probably like 27 percent, probably worse by now. It's just unbelievable trying to hit the green. I luckily stayed on and two putted for par.

Q. Why did Stevie have to cut the shirt?

TIGER WOODS: Because it was catching me. I'm sweating and I guess I'm getting a little fatter and it's kind of

Q. What happened on 9 where you dragged your putter across the green?

TIGER WOODS: I was pissed (laughter). I run the first one by on 6, ran it about 20 feet by, and then that one ran about 10 feet by. I wasn't exactly very happy at myself.

Q. Do you look at leader boards right now or is it too hard just going hole to hole?

TIGER WOODS: If you finish the week under par, you're going to be looking really good, and the guys are coming back. That's just the way it's going to be. You go out there and keep plugging along, keep plugging along. No one is going to run off with it, not with these conditions and these pin locations. I mean, they're unbelievably difficult to get close to. The birdie putts you're going to have are going to be about 20 feet and hopefully you can make those.

Q. The way it's set up right now, the way this course is playing, do you play for par, don't play for birdie?

TIGER WOODS: That's just the nature of U.S. Opens. If you can get away with that and shoot 3, 4 under par you can move up a lot of spots.

To me I enjoy that type of golf. I enjoy going out there and having to shoot 66 just as par. Some tournaments that we play in 20 some under par is winning at the end of the week. I don't enjoy tournaments like that; I enjoy tournaments like this, where a good solid round of 68 is rewarded.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I cut it. As I said earlier, I was getting caught, and I needed a little bit of room.

Q. Yesterday you took a whack at hitting No. 3. Did you plan to try to take a shot at it again this week.

TIGER WOODS: That pin location, I didn't have any room. If you put the ball in the bunkers it still has a hard shot. I could get closer by laying up and I laid it up right in the middle. So much for that idea.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: It depends. It depends on the feel. I didn't quite feel as comfortable there with that pin location. You know, Sunday is going to be over on that ledge on the left where it looks like it's not even on the green. I think tomorrow it's on top somewhere, so we'll see.

Q. Positive memories from '99, finishing 3rd and being there until the 71st hole roughly. Any positive carry over from that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, exactly. I feel like I can play this golf course. I had a great chance, I had tied for the lead after 70 holes last time, and hopefully I can do a little bit better this time.

Q. I have a question about Retief. What do you think makes him so good?

TIGER WOODS: Just his attitude. I mean, he's very calm, very cool, very patient, and that's the way you have to be. I mean, you can't have highs and lows at a U.S. Open because it'll bite you. This golf course is set up very similar to how Shinnecock played, hard and fast. The fairways are unbelievably fast. It's tough to keep the ball in the fairway. Some of the shots you have to try to carve them back into the hills and then try and keep them in the fairway because the balls are running 50 and 60 yards out there.

Q. Do you think the public doesn't appreciate it? There were small galleries today. Do you think there's any reason?

TIGER WOODS: I have no idea because the guy is so good and so solid. Look at his record. Granted, he had a tough stretch this year, but come major championship time he's always there.

Q. Was there any damage to the putter?

TIGER WOODS: No, I just roughed up the green and went back and mowed it back down again.

Q. How impressive was a 66 this morning?


Q. Hedblom?

TIGER WOODS: That's a good round. If you're going to shoot one, it's probably going to be in the morning. If you look at most of the good scores, they were probably in the morning. It certainly wasn't as low.

Q. Is there a fine line between an even par round and a 77?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it is so small out there. Like, for instance, my shot on the last hole, it was a good shot, and all it needs to do is roll another foot and it's off the green and you can very easily make bogey. That's kind of the nature of how it was out there today. The golf course is getting so fast and so firm, the greens are still for some reason a little bit on the slow side, but they're unbelievably firm.

Q. Go through your birdies and bogeys, please.

TIGER WOODS: I birdied 2, hit a driver and a 9 iron up there and made about a 15 footer.

I bogeyed 3, hit a 5 iron off the tee and a 60 degree sand wedge and spun it off the green in the bunker, blasted out to about 12 feet, missed it.

Hit a driver and 3 iron on the green on 4, two putted from 40 feet.

Three putted 6, hit a 5 iron to the front edge and hit that one by 15, 20 feet past the hole and missed that.

Bogeyed 9, hit a 7 iron up there about 30 feet short of the hole and hit that one past about 10, 12 feet, missed that.

Then birdied 16, hit a driver and a 9 iron to about eight feet, made it.

Q. You said you like this kind of tournament. How much does it take out of you?

TIGER WOODS: It takes a lot because you have to stay so much in the present. That's the way all majors are. That's the fun of it. We don't get a chance to play under conditions like this until we come to an Open or until we go to Augusta or the British Open. You're always dealing with different conditions, unbelievably tough setup and you have to keep your patience. That's the whole idea. You can't have highs and lows out there. That's why it takes so much out of you.

Q. How are you doing at keeping your patience?

TIGER WOODS: I'm doing very good. You have to be. You can't have highs and lows. Yeah, I get frustrated out there and excited out there, but you try to keep everything down, keep it as level as you possibly can.

Q. You talk about Retief's sort of coolness under pressure. Going into tomorrow, is it really just about you talked about yesterday being conservative, keeping patient and not trying for too much?

TIGER WOODS: You've got it. You've got the game plan. You've been playing out there, haven't you?

Q. Are four 70s good enough to win?

TIGER WOODS: Probably. Might even be over par, you never know. Got to see what happens.

If you think about it, we've had the perfect conditions, very little wind, best players in the world, and there's only about four or five guys under par.

Q. Is there a temptation sometimes when you get to the weekend to go out there and really try for that low number?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I mean, if you just made the cut and you're trying to get back into the tournament, yeah, but if you're near the lead, no. Unless it just happens.

Q. Are you hitting it good enough to win this thing right now?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I mean, if you take away any two three putts I'm under par for the tournament, and they weren't very hard putts. I feel very happy.

End of FastScripts.

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