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December 10, 2004

Tiger Woods


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us. You're right there where you want to be going into the weekend.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I played better than I did yesterday, no doubt about that. Putted better. Just didn't play the par 5s particularly well today. Left a few shots out there, but overall, very pleased with the way I hit the golf ball and especially the way I putted. Pace was good yesterday, just nothing went in. Today the pace was good and the putts went in.

Q. What did he do at the Ryder Cup (Monty)?

TIGER WOODS: Outplayed everybody else. Outplayed everybody on our team. I think he's done that in the last three Ryder Cups. What he's done is pretty impressive. Plus, also, don't forget his resume with seven Order of Merits. No one has ever come close to that.

Q. How he did react when you told him you were planning to invite him?

TIGER WOODS: He was pretty happy about it. He was very pleased. I mean, it's cool.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Well, there's a lot of different things going on. I think it takes time to get used to all the responsibilities. I have just an awesome staff, and we just have meetings and they inform me of what's going on and we make a few decisions here and there. Most of the stuff happens before tournament play. It's one of the things I try to accomplish each and every year before the tournament starts, so I make sure I can just focus to trying to get the ball in the hole .

Q. I know you talk about getting closer, but is this another indication?

TIGER WOODS: Well, this is the way I played in Japan, it's the same way. Just hit the ball just as well and putted good and as I said, just the par 5s obviously could have been a really low number.

Q. What did you say, I know you sort of work your way in -- heading into Mercedes you have a month to go and you seem to play very well, why did you say Mercedes, it doesn't matter, is it because of the fairways -- inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, when you say -- we were talking about driving accuracy. Even I might compete against Fred that week. It's just one of those things where driving accuracy is not a real big issue there. It's just how many birdies can you make.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: That first hole was not very good, was it.

Q. How long?

TIGER WOODS: I think it was probably at least 200.

Q. Looking back over your year, was there a time not so much when you decided to change your swing, but when you knew that this year was going to be sort of a struggle?

TIGER WOODS: It's pretty interesting, Fergie, for you to ask that question. It's a great question. I was struggling on the golf course, but I wasn't struggling on the range. And I would be at home and I would be striping it. It just carried to the golf course and all of the sudden, trouble left and right; I'd put the ball on the exact number with all of the things I was working on. So it was hard for me to answer that because I felt so good in my practice sessions and I just couldn't quite take it to the golf course. So it was just a matter of time before it would happen.

Q. Did you get a sense people were making fun of you this year?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, I got ribbed a lot by the players to my face, good friends of mine, or seeing articles and stuff. But, see, they were not privy to being at home and watching me practice. Like O'Meara was at home all the time and watching me practice and so was Cookie (John Cook). You say, geez, why haven't you won multiple times. That's the way I was hitting it at home, but I just couldn't quite take it to competition.

Q. Back the first time you changed your swing, is there a time when you knew that you had it finally?

TIGER WOODS: It was more towards -- all of '98 was kind of a struggle, but early '99, I felt really good but I just didn't win until I went to Deutsche Bank and in, what, May? So, yeah, I felt like the game was really good to win '99 early in the year but I just had not put anything together yet?

Q. Do you think the next time you have a 54-hole lead in a major, will be even more difficult, even though you've got eight victories of experience, but you've now also got some baggage that you didn't have in '97 or 2000 --

TIGER WOODS: If you're in position to lead 54 holes in a major, you're not slopping around; you're playing well. If I'm in that position, like my chances.

Q. Do you think that explains your relatively bad record without the 54-hole lead?

TIGER WOODS: I understand.

Q. Great record with it, but also like 9 and 117 without it.

TIGER WOODS: That's true. I guess I'm more of a front runner, I guess, which I don't mind either.

Q. Do you see that as an indication that through Saturday you have it figured out, but if you're not --

TIGER WOODS: Generally, I usually play pretty consistent golf, day-in and day-out. When I'm -- put it this way. I don't play the game like Norman did. You know, when Norman would be six, five shots off the lead, just kind of not really playing well; 62 the next day. That's how he used to play. For some reason, I like to just kind of build. Faldo was very similar to that, Jack was similar to that. Some guys just kind of plod along and keep building each and every day. Generally your best round is going to being on Sunday.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know, some guys are streaky players, I guess. Calc does that all the time. I think guys who are very aggressive tend to be that way.

Q. What's your feeling about having Harrington play more on TOUR next year?

TIGER WOODS: I think it will be huge. Great for our tour. To see a world-class player like that, look in Europe, he's always in the Top 5 in each and every event. So it will be a great addition to our Tour.

Q. Do you think it will help his game?

TIGER WOODS: I think it will make him more prepared for the bigger tournaments because day in -- week-in, week-out, our golf courses are more difficult than the European Tour, and certainly I know from playing in Europe, the flags are a lot more difficult here in the States. You don't ever see a pin in Europe three from the side.

Q. Could I ask you a question good Monty, as a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, did you sense the crowd more liking Monty, and if so, how do you think that will translate for him playing here?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's just how -- Monty is obviously a wonderful player, but as you know, all of us know, that sometimes he hears a little too much. We all hear these things, trust me. I get it all the time, but you can't react to it. I think that's what you have to do. You just have to ignore it. Bethpage was probably the best case. I mean, all of us were getting ripped, but that's just the way it was. So just got to putt your head down and go about your business. I think if you are gracious, you know, people will tend to open up to you.

Q. Should he be more gracious?

TIGER WOODS: No, I'm not saying that. You know, when he goes off and tends to get -- you know, you've seen it. As I say, especially when you're playing, you just can't do that. You've just got to keep your head down and just keep going. We get it all the time. You know, I get it a lot, especially in Phoenix.

Q. American athletes, baseball player handle that a little better -- inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: You don't mind getting chided. The problem is, it's just that it's so quiet. And if everyone -- if you got it all the time, people yelling when you're putting, yelling when you're swinging, it really would not be a big deal and you could just block it out and that's just noise. I mean, it's so quiet and everyone -- you know, all of a sudden you hear some guy yell out something.

Q. The L.A. Open a few years --

TIGER WOODS: Not just the L.A. Open. I just can't stand that stuff. It's one of those things that you may not like it, that's the way it is. The game has changed. We're bringing in new fans to the game of golf and people who are not knowledgeable about the game, and, you know it's going to be a little bit different.

Q. Have you changed the way you approach the game because of that?

TIGER WOODS: There's no doubt about that. I think that's just from all of the mistakes I've made, learning when to back off and when to just dump the ball 30 feet away and just 2-putt and get out of here and fight another day. I think that's growing up and just having more patience. Trust me, I used to be -- I feel like I can pull off any shot, but the problem is, your percentages and that's what you have to weigh when you're out there.

I feel like in any situation, I can be able to fire at that flag all day, but, you know, I don't pull it off, what happens, it could cost me a tournament.

Q. What do you recall about your first time playing with Monty, which I presume was '97?

TIGER WOODS: Masters, yeah.

Q. What he had said going into that round --

TIGER WOODS: He basically said that I didn't really have much of a chance because of my experience level. But I felt like I was really playing well. There's always something to be said for a guy who is playing well, so I could always -- I mean, look at guys who have won major championships for the first time. I mean, if you're playing well, you're playing well. Just like what I said to Fluff at the time, when we were going out that day, I said, yeah, he may have said all of these different things -- and Monty and I became friends afterwards, but at the time, I said, you know what, he had not won a major, either, so we are on the same ground. But that's then. Monty is a good friend of mine now.

Q. Now, he's also famous, amongst other things for some of the comments he said about you, at Bay Hill a couple years ago where you shot 67 or 68 the first day and Monty said everyone else in the locker room was already figuring out who was going to finish second that week and he got pounded for it. What do you think of that? Do you think guys like him, and Davis has been very frank about how you've played, and some people are saying, well, they are giving up too early. What do you think about the honesty?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think they are not giving up too early. Once we get inside the ropes we are all fighting. But some guys just say whatever comes to their brain. Scott Hoch is one, as you guys know. Monty is one. That's what makes them so entertaining. That's what makes them great media is that you just sit them down here like this and you just ask one question and you can get a full article an just one question.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: No, that's just the way it is. That's just competition. That's him saying it's just a fact. I had been there. Have I ever been in contention in any major championship? No. He's been there and he's lost in a playoff, what '94 at Oakmont, PGA. He's been there before and I had not ever been in contention in a major championship. My biggest win was, what Mercedes at that time at the professional level in the rain against Lehman, but I thought that was just a huge win for me. So that was my first time out on TOUR where he's won all over the world and I haven't.

End of FastScripts.

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