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September 2, 2004

Tiger Woods


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center. You had a chance to play out there today in your Pro-Am and you had an opportunity to see some of the changes out there on the golf course. Why don't you just talk about the changes, the condition of the course and then we'll go into the questions.

TIGER WOODS: I think all of the changes they made were extremely positive. We got a lot of feedback from the players last year and we made the alterations based upon that. I think the playability of the golf course is much more fair, much more conducive to actually getting some good lies. Because last year we had a couple problems with laying up into some areas with a bunch divots because of the collection areas, as well as some of the greens were a little bit severe; but they rectified that. I think the golf course is in fantastic shape.

Q. Year two of the event; what do you make of it?

TIGER WOODS: I think last year was positive and I think this year is going to be even better. I think the players are very excited because of the changes, and the fans have always supported tournaments here in this area. I don't see any reason why it won't be as good, if not better than last year.

Q. Can you talk about the changes?

TIGER WOODS: I just did.

Q. Can you talk about the fact that you're here this week and you know that there's a storm coming on down there and how much is that a part of your mindset during this week?

TIGER WOODS: Well, this is the second time it's happened to me. The first one a couple of weeks ago, a few weeks ago, where was I playing, PGA. So went through, survived that one. House was okay. Only difference is this one's got 40-, 45-mile-an-hour more winds than last one. So hopefully it won't -- we won't have a convertible house.

Q. Are your concerns different do you think than anybody else's? Obviously if the place fell down, you could rebuild it, that's not a financial issue for you. But still, do you still think about possessions and people the same way everybody else does?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. That's my first home I ever bought. It has a lot of sentimental value and a lot of things you can't really replace that. What I've been able to receive as my time on TOUR that I've had, and those are things that are once-in-a-lifetime things that you'll never, ever take for granted. Hopefully everything will be okay.

I've got my office down there; hopefully they are safe, their families. I think they are going to drive down to Tampa I think and move out of the way. Hopefully it won't be too bad there.

Q. Talking about some of the medical issues -- inaudible -- how much has that been weighing on your mind?


Q. Is it enough that it's a distraction?

TIGER WOODS: It's been tough. Just like it was back in '96 and '97 when my dad had the heart attack and had complications with open heart surgery.

Q. I know you have a very busy week, but is there anything in particular that you find yourself doing with a little free time? Like that team up in Boston, the Red Sox, will you try to catch a game?

TIGER WOODS: Not this year. I'm not going to go this year.

Q. They are on a hot streak, too.

TIGER WOODS: I understand that. So are my boys, too. I'm from L.A., so my Dodgers are doing great. I've been following them very closely, but obviously everyone out here has got a Boston Red Sox hat on. Obviously, they have been playing great and hopefully they will get the wild-card.

Q. The criticisms of the course last year, do you think that was common in a first-time venue, and were you concerned heading here that it might not have been the type of alterations you hoped they would be?

TIGER WOODS: No, they went through all of the alterations with me. I gave them my opinion how they could get better. We got a lot of constructive criticism from the players, how it could be better and we put all of that together.

You try to make the golf course difficult as a test, but also very fair. And you know last year, with some of the mounding, it was repelling -- it was repelling good shots, and you don't ever want to see that. Repel a poor shot, but accept a good shot.

Some of the greens were a little bit severe, so they softened up those a right-to-left bit and flattened out some of the fairways to provide better areas for us to play it up into. So we don't have the problem like we did on 2 and 18 with all of the divots in the lay-up area.

Q. You've talked for some time, you've been close to where you want to be. I think in the last nine events you had seven Top-10s and five top 5s. Are you there right now?

TIGER WOODS: I haven't been winning, so it's just that one little finite thing to take me over the top and win.

I've put myself there in contention with a chance to win and just haven't won. Some of that is from missed putts or a poor shot here and there, not getting it up-and-down, little things. Just trying to be more consistent. And that's what I'm excited about this year, the changes I've made since the summer, I have seen a lot of positive signs.

Q. How can you be 175th in driving accuracy and still be 4th in scoring average? I can't figure that out. What component is allowing you to score as well as you are scoring?

TIGER WOODS: I compete. That's all I can say. I get out there and I compete as hard as I can all the time.

Q. When you talk about the one little finite thing, that doesn't sound like something you can push to achieve.

TIGER WOODS: You're right. You've just got to keep playing -- and you know, sometimes it's a little shot where you hit a marginal golf shot into a green; instead of kicking into the bunker, it hangs on the fringe and you make a putt. Or you get a good break. You hit a few good shots in a row and really get things going and make that crucial up-and-down and save a round that way. It's just, as I said, just little things.

Q. Does the course suit your game better this year or last year?

TIGER WOODS: I liked it last year before it rained when it was hard. The greens were hard just like they are this year, which is nice to see. It's nice to see a golf course -- we don't play too many golf courses now where the ball bounces anymore, and it's nice to see that again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I'm just getting old, man. No, we got up a little early this morning and just didn't go through my normal warm-up routine.

Q. Having played the course, are you hopeful that this tournament will stay in this area at this course?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. We would love to stay here and try and build a home, get an establishment where you get the same guys coming back and build a rapport with the community. That's what we try and do.

Q. Are you excited about the Ryder Cup, and do you know who are you playing with?

TIGER WOODS: As far as far as the Ryder Cup, am I excited? A little bit, but I've got to try and win this tournament first. And then after this tournament is over, then I'll start focusing on the Ryder Cup.

As far as whom I'm playing with, Hal and I haven't talked about that at all, so I have no idea. I asked him at the PGA, have you talked to any of the players about it and he said no.

So I'm sure the week of the Ryder Cup, we'll have a team meeting and we'll get everything organized. And he'll give us the lineup and we'll go out there and test it out in the practice rounds and see if it works; and make some minor adjustments and possible just tee it up and try to do our best.

Q. You've had enough experience in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cups, and obviously every year there's been a different captain, what do you expect from Hal and do you think that what Hal can bring to the team; and is it going to be enough to get the team motivated, because in the past we have all felt in some way, shape or form, sometimes a team didn't seem to be as motivated as Hal seems to be.

TIGER WOODS: If you ever have a chance to be in the team rooms or part of the whole behind-the-scenes, you would see that there's not a lack of motivation; it's not from that. It's just basically, if you watch The Matches, how close they are, I think that the reason why The Matches are so close, and I mean just we're tied or one point ahead, one point down, whatever it may be, it's just because there's eight guys playing out of 12, in four matches.

It's totally different than Presidents Cup. You've seen a bunch of blow-up-s in Presidents Cups because you have more matches and you can't hide guys. I think that when you -- we've had guys play absolutely poorly going into the Ryder Cup and have been playing and we sit them and they have done the same thing. I think that's why The Matches are so close. And so it's not from a lack of motivation. I think it's just because there are not as many matches, you see so many close matches.

I think if they opened it up and played like the Presidents Cup did and got six matches out there where everyone has to play it, would be a different store-.

Q. How excited is Chris Riley?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Riles and I were talking a little bit at NEC. Boy, he's thrilled. He's got more important things going on in his life right now than Ryder Cup. He's going to have the birth of his child next week.

He's going to be great. I just -- I just hope that everything goes well with the birth of his child and that won't be something that's taking his mind away from playing. I mean, it's his first one, so he's pretty excited about that.

Q. Are you more comfortable -- inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: It's the same thing I did last year. I'm just here playing a tournament.

Q. Would a win here mean anything more -- other than a major, would a win here, because of your foundation, would it mean more than any other tournament or any tournament?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it certainly does. All of the tournaments I play in that my foundation is involved in, I've been very diligent about always giving my prize money back to the foundation. So this is no different.

We've got all of our focus right now on our foundation. It's great to have a tournament like this so this we can fund our learning center, a $25 million facility out there in Southern California that's our pride and joy right now.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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