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June 2, 2005

Tiger Woods


Q. Happy with the start?

TIGER WOODS: Very happy. With the wind blowing like this, extremely happy. Made no bogeys, three birdies and that's it.

Q. If guys are going to post good numbers, what has to happen out there today?

TIGER WOODS: You've got to make putts. Some of the pin locations are accessible, most of them aren't. You just kind of plod along, wait your turn. The par 5s are playing pretty short today so you've got to take advantage of those when you can.

Q. How would you characterize your round in general?

TIGER WOODS: Very solid, I guess. I didn't really do anything all that wrong, did a lot of things correct today and placed the ball where I needed to place it, and there was only one hole I was really in danger of making bogey, which was 17. I made about a ten footer for par there. But other than that, I really wasn't in danger of making a bogey on any hole.

Q. You're pretty much used to conditions like this here. You look at tomorrow's forecast and know it's a mixed bag every day?

TIGER WOODS: It is. You don't know. None of us know. Anything can happen. They can get windy, rainy. Right now the wind is picking up for the guys in the afternoon, so we could have the same conditions tomorrow, you just don't know.

Q. Earlier in the week, it may have been you, somebody said that the greens were softer.


Q. Even without rain?


Q. Is it easier to go after a putt when the greens are like this?

TIGER WOODS: No, it's softer, not slower. There's a difference. They're plenty fast.

Q. Seems like there's plenty of birdies out there today.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, because they're soft, they're receptive. You can fire the balls at the flags and know that they're going to hold, but they're still fast. They're probably still running over 12, but they're soft, which means you hit 5 irons on the greens and you don't have to worry about the ball running over the back.

Q. There was a question of what marriage would do to your game, and obviously it hasn't had that effect on it. Can you talk about the effect you think it's had?

TIGER WOODS: People think it's going to totally change my life, and it's been great, but I've lived with Elin for two years prior to when we got married, so it didn't really change anything. We're still doing the same things. We just made it more legal, that's it. I mean, that's the only thing that's really changed. Our relationship is exactly the same, and that's the beauty of it. I love her to death and I'm very excited about my life now and the prospects of the future.

Q. When you were younger did you ever wonder or worry about marriage and whether or not that would have any sort of effect?

TIGER WOODS: Well, when you find a person who's going to be there all the time, you're better off making her your best friend. I was very lucky because in my position it's not exactly easy to meet people for the right reasons.

Q. Talk about 75 today under these conditions. Jack wasn't all that pleased but

TIGER WOODS: Shocking, huh? It's Jack, you know. If he shoots over par, it's going to be mad. I'm sure he's going to probably go out on the range and work a little bit so he's ready tomorrow. Hey, that's what's made him the greatest player that's ever played this game. He's never satisfied. The thirst is always to try to get better, and that's the way it should be.

Q. Was there a common denominator to all your wins here, where coming in here you know you have to do something?

TIGER WOODS: I did it all different ways. I did it hitting it great, not hitting it well and chipping like a fiend. I think in '99 I got up and down from everywhere and was making putts for par, 15 footers and stuff like that, just garbage can up and downs. The other year was kind of somewhere in between. I guess the common denominator is you've got to get the ball in the hole somehow.

If you look at the years that I've won, I missed the ball in the correct spots. Yeah, I had to get up and down but I missed in the correct spots where I had easier chips.

Q. Is there something you can look at in a given round and say based on what I do here I can tell the way I'm going? Are there telltale signs for you on this golf course?

TIGER WOODS: No, you just place the ball, and if you're placing the ball in the correct spots, that's all you really care about. Granted, sometimes you feel good and you can get aggressive, but the consequences are if you miss it in the wrong spot. So you have to be smart around this golf course. Especially when the wind is blowing around like this and swirling in these trees, you have to be smart and put the ball in the correct spots.

Q. You have not been to Pinehurst?

TIGER WOODS: Have not.

Q. Do you plan to go before Monday?


Q. Have you ever not gone to a major venue before?

TIGER WOODS: That I haven't played?

Q. Yeah.

TIGER WOODS: I didn't go to Augusta this year. That doesn't count? No.

Q. What are you expecting?

TIGER WOODS: From what they say, no rough and sod lines around the greens. It'll be interesting to see if we can actually fly the ball into those areas and not have it kick up with sand and stuff.

Q. What comes to mind when you hear the word Tom Meeks, first thing you think of?

TIGER WOODS: He's actually my I remember Tom from my junior golf days, U.S. Juniors. He was actually in my quarterfinal match there.

Q. As a junior?

TIGER WOODS: Junior, yeah, so way back then, I was 14 years old.

They've had good years and bad years honestly. The only time I ever saw it get out of control was last year, and that was only on one green really. Other than that, the golf courses over the years, they've softened them up really, gave us some chipping areas over the years. It's not the massacre at Winged Foot anymore where it's knee high rough everywhere you go.

They're trying to make it so they get us more aggressive, get us to go for the greens and get us in trouble. Pinehurst will be different obviously, but that's a different animal.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: No, because there's always somebody that's going to find a golf course unfair. That's just the way it is. We're all out there competing and you may get a couple bad bounces here and there, and you say, "Oh, it's just typical USGA stuff."

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Probably all the complaining, it had to be Olympic because that was just I mean, 7 at Shinnecock as well as 10 at Shinnecock, at least if the ball went on the green it would stay on the green. At Olympic guys were putting up and rolling it back, and Kirk Triplett stopping it and rolling on, I think that was probably one that was completely unfair.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Jonathan? He's a little different. He's a guy that I kind of grew up with in Southern Cal, kind of a surfer bum and says "dude," stuff like that. But he's the sort of a person that is free spirited but also a heck of a competitor, too.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: No, not necessarily, just because if you make a mistake, you're going to make bogey, you know, if you try and push it. You give yourself a putt at it and you never know. With the greens being this good, you feel you should make every putt you're on the green with. There's no excuse for missing putts out there.

Q. The second shots you face at Pinehurst, you seem to like that type of golf. Have you started to prepare for those types of shots? Talk about that a little bit.

TIGER WOODS: The second shots I think are more normal than you think because you have to fly the ball in the air. If you're in the fairway you've got to fly the ball in the air and land it on a specific spot and make it stay there. A lot of the greens are so different. We don't face anything like that, even at British Opens. St. Andrews, maybe on a couple holes where it's elevated you might face shots like that, but it's on every hole at Pinehurst you face that, and that's something you try and prepare for at home but you really can't until you get there because the speed of the fairways are so much faster at a U.S. Open than they are at home. You know, you find a lot of guys putting, where at home the fairway length won't allow you to putt. You've got to do a lot of work when you get there.

Q. So you don't hit those sawed off shots at Pinehurst that you seem to hit a British Opens?

TIGER WOODS: No, because it's open in the front but the difference is if you can carry the ball on the green and make it stop, do it.

At a British Open, the fairway and the green are usually the same height in the front. There at Pinehurst everything is raised so it's a totally different look.

End of FastScripts.

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