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August 21, 2003

Tiger Woods


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger Woods, thank you for joining us, first round 65 puts you certainly in the hunt after one round. If we could start with some opening comments.

TIGER WOODS: Well, today I went out there and I hit the ball really well. I got some good breaks today. I hit a bad shot in there on 3, got a great hop and made a nice little three-footer for par. Overall I just kind of plotted my way around and made a couple birdies here and there. There was nothing spectacular about the day. I just kept myself out of trouble most of the day.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Your scoring average here has been 67.5 in the five previous years you've played. What is it about this golf course you like or that suits your eye?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's right there in front of you. I've always liked golf courses that are the old school style, tree-lined fairways and the fairways are well-defined. There's no surprises about this golf course. That's one of the great things about coming here, is we don't get the chance to play golf courses of this type very often.

I mean, it's certainly a thrill for me to come back and play a golf course that I really love, but more importantly, to sit up there and just see shots. Every hole is just well defined for you, just get up there and hit the shot.

Q. Tiger, are you impressed with Ben Curtis who's about to get married in the same week as he plays in a championship?

TIGER WOODS: Let's just say if he's in contention, I want to see how tired he is on Sunday morning.

Q. Just tell us about that second shot you had on 16. Did you think at all about keeping it low and straight?

TIGER WOODS: No, that wasn't the shot. I can get 9-iron up over those trees with no problem. It was a much safer shot because I could get it up above. If I had to go low, it brings the rough into play underneath the trees, and anytime you can advance it up in the air as far as you can it makes the hole a lot easier.

Q. Would you compare the firmness of the course the previous times you've played it here?

TIGER WOODS: We've played it maybe once like this. It generally isn't like this. Usually we get some kind of thunder storms coming through here and it makes it real soft, but this golf course is -- it narrows up quite a bit once this golf course gets firm. You hit different clubs off the tees here than you normally would to try and keep the ball in play because the fairways are so tilted. You've got to make sure you either draw the ball or fade the ball and hold it against some of those slopes.

Q. Can you think of an example?

TIGER WOODS: Look at No. 8. I don't know, I usually hit driver there, and today I just hit a little 2-iron there. I made sure I had to turn it to keep it in the fairway, and from there I hit a little flipped sandwedge in there.

Q. So nothing spectacular about the day. Would it be fair to say that throughout the year you've had a lot of similar days and maybe they just didn't turn out the same way? You've got the lowest scoring average so obviously you've had a lot of pretty good days. I guess I'm trying to ask you, is there very little difference between a good day and a bad day for you?

TIGER WOODS: Some days you go out there and slap it around and hit it all over the place and you shoot 69 or 68, and other days you go out there and stripe it and shoot even par. Those days happen. It's hard to say. This year has been -- overall I've been very consistent, and that's what you have to do, try to keep yourself out of trouble as much as possible and take advantage of the opportunities when they come.

Today is a perfect example of that. I stayed out of trouble most of the day. When I did put the ball in there tight for birdie, I made them.

Q. Ben was in here a little bit ago and he said if he was going to score he knew he had to take the driver and let it fly. You said on 8 you put the driver back in the bag and hit 2-iron. Has the Titleist driver changed your strategy on this course? Are you hitting fewer drivers, more?

TIGER WOODS: No, about the same.

Q. How many times do you pull out the driver on average here?

TIGER WOODS: Throughout the year?

Q. No, over the course of the four days here.

TIGER WOODS: I don't know about four days, but one day I'll hit it maybe four or five times.

Q. And you don't -- like on 8 you're not tempted to just -- well, with that pin, why?

TIGER WOODS: That's the thing. If you miss it on the right side and hit your driver down there, now you're blocked out; I have no shot. 2-iron gets me back there where I have a full wedge in there and I can spin it. Now, if the pin gets in the back then it's a different story, then I can hit 3-wood or driver off the tee and get it down there.

Q. You mentioned briefly how you liked the course. You talked about that the other day, too. Do positive memories play into that at all? Quite beyond your liking for the course, the fact that you've had so much success here, does that help you no matter what the conditions are?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it does. It sort of makes you feel comfortable when you come to a golf course like this. I've had some success on certain venues. Augusta I've played well, and Bay Hill I've played well. Each place I've won three or four times.

There are certain golf courses that you just feel comfortable on and it fits your eye and you can shape shots, hit draws, fades, doesn't matter. You know you can get the ball in play, you know where you need to put the ball on the greens. You know, excluding this year I played 26 holes in practice rounds the last three years I've played here. It's not a golf course where you need to go out there and play a bunch of rounds, a bunch of holes.

Q. How did you play 16?

TIGER WOODS: 16, I hit a driver right, 9-iron short, wedge to about three feet and made it. Someone will probably knock it on the green in two today.

Q. Because it's going downwind?

TIGER WOODS: It's so fast down there. So if somebody hits it up the left side you can run it down to the bottom but you can barely keep a wedge on the green there today.

Q. Have your feelings changed on that hole today?


Q. Tiger, I know in past years you've said that you gauge part of every year in terms of trying to improve, and if you can improve that you have some satisfaction. Have you improved this year and in what areas do you feel like you've gotten better?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think this year I really putted well. My scrambling stat, I don't know what it is, but my short game feels pretty good. I've gotten a lot of use out of it. I can tell you one thing, because there are times when I haven't been as sharp as I have been in the past obviously, even though I've won, you have to be very patient on those days. You understand how to score.

I think this year has been a perfect example of that, where I haven't -- even on days where I haven't really hit the ball -- on days when I really have hit the ball well to be able to have the discipline to hit the ball away from the flags and put the ball in there 15 feet below the hole or give yourself something where you can give yourself a run at a putt and be disciplined to do that, that's where I've been better.

Q. Would the PGA be a good example? Obviously you were not in the fairways a lot of times and you made some scores.

TIGER WOODS: I putted great that week. I putted great on Thursday. Friday I really didn't have to. I hit the ball so well and I just got nothing out of that day, and then I had to putt well all weekend just to shoot the scores I shot.

Q. When you walked in the door you looked happy to be in the air-conditioning. I'm wondering if the heat and humidity out there today was worse than any other stop this summer?

TIGER WOODS: It's hot out, but it's cooler than back home. That's for sure. That's the positive thing about it, you come out here and it's cooler. Granted, you're sweating all day, but it's better than going home and practicing all day.

Q. Outside of Augusta, what other courses like Firestone really fit your eye? Are there some that you haven't won as much at?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, one golf course I absolutely love is Riviera. I absolutely love that golf course, absolutely love it. I've played there since I was a little boy. Every hole it just -- right down those eucalyptus trees, you can see it. I just haven't won there. Torrey Pines, the same thing, I had a lot of success there. Even with the redesign it's a heck of a golf course.

Q. Do you like Bay Hill or only on Sunday?

TIGER WOODS: Bay Hill is very unique.

Q. Can you elaborate on that?


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we can go over the six birdies and one bogey quickly starting with 2.

TIGER WOODS: 2, drove it up the right side just in the rough and hit a 5-iron to about 40 feet, two-putted.

6, I hit a driver and a 7-iron to about 15 feet, made that.

10, I hit a driver and a little pitching wedge to about eight feet above the hole, made that.

14, I hit a driver and a 6-iron to about 15 feet, made that.

15, I hit a 6-iron to about three feet.

16, I hit driver, 9-iron, wedge to about four feet right behind the hole.

Q. What did you do on 3?

TIGER WOODS: 3, I drove it down the right side and blocked it right and laid up. I hit a wedge that kicked off the hill and it rolled on there about three feet.

17, I hit a 3-iron off the tee and an 8-iron and I chipped up about four feet short of the hole and missed it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger Woods, thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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