August 20, 2003
Q. What did you think of 16, the lengthening?
TIGER WOODS: I don?t like it. It's an exciting hole because if you hit your best drive you might have a chance. On top of that, generally on the weekend they moved it up so that you would have a go at it, and it made for an exciting hole because of it. You've got 2-iron, 1-iron, and a 3-wood off a downhill lie over water, it's a tough shot, and that's taken out of the equation now. That is a three-shot hole now. Actually, if you drive the ball poorly on that hole you're going to be laying up right where you were on your previous tee shot on the years past.
Q. A little strange to be here and not be defending champion?
TIGER WOODS: It is a little bit. I think on top of that, though, most importantly we're back to a great golf course again. Sahalee is a wonderful golf course, but this is very historic for our Tour. We've played here since the '60s. I think from that standpoint it's great to be back.
Q. Do you almost feel a comfort zone when you get back to Firestone?
TIGER WOODS: The courses you've played well in the past you always feel that way. This is one of those golf courses where there's no tricks, there's no hidden agendas. It's just straightforward. It's right in front of you. It's not mounded or elephant burial grounds out there. This is a very traditional golf course. It's right in front of you and it's very challenging.
Q. Is there a particular reason why it suits your eye?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just because of the fact that you have -- I've always been a big fan of the old style golf courses where you have tree-lined fairways. You may have high rough, but it's defined for you. It's like a runway down there, like a bowling alley. You've got to hit good shots, period.
Q. Did you hit some good shots today? Did you like your practice round?
TIGER WOODS: I did. I hit some good shots today. I worked on some things at home the last couple days and feel pretty happy about it.
Q. Do you want to go into what you worked on?
TIGER WOODS: More than anything it's just posture.
Q. Did you play 18 or 9?
TIGER WOODS: 9.
Q. Did you get nine in before the big meeting?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't get nine in before the big meeting.
Q. How do you feel --
TIGER WOODS: Excited.
Q. Are you going?
TIGER WOODS: I'm going. Are you happy now?
Q. Are you going to World Match Play, as well?
TIGER WOODS: I can't. I have my foundation clinic which is that Saturday. That's our biggest clinic we have all year. We fly in kids from all over the country for that one.
Q. We're waiting for another dominant player. Now that four guys have won majors, is it good to have top dog or parity or what?
TIGER WOODS: It goes to show how good the fields are. There are so many guys that have a chance to win each and every week, more so than in years past. We're seeing that. Last year how many first-time winners did we have, 17, 18? We've never had that before.
You've also seen guys that haven't been there handle the situation really well. I think it goes to show you that their techniques are sound, that the game has just changed from that aspect.
Q. Will this be a good barometer to see where you are, the state of your game, how you play here, just because of your past?
TIGER WOODS: I'm not looking at it like that. I'm just excited to be back and playing a golf course that I've had some success on.
This golf course is just a beautiful golf course. It's in perfect shape again this year. I mean, I think the greens are even better than they were last time we played here.
Q. Whose expectations are higher, yours or the public's?
TIGER WOODS: Mine are awfully high, but mine are a little bit more realistic.
Q. Do you feel captive to the expectations that are placed on you?
TIGER WOODS: Captive in what sense?
Q. Well, I guess just in trying to I guess measure up to what people think you should be doing.
TIGER WOODS: I've said all along I play to my own goals and my own expectations of myself, what I can and can't do. That's why -- that's what have always been my own personal feelings on playing golf. I don't play golf for anyone else, I play golf for me. When I have a family and stuff like that, it'll be different; I'll be playing for my kids.
Q. Are you ever truly satisfied, regardless of what you've done from year to year?
TIGER WOODS: God, yes. I've been satisfied many years.
IGER WOODS: I don't know.
Q. Will there be relief when you're done?
TIGER WOODS: That's been the case this year. My stroke average is the best it's been in a long time, and I've been somehow labeled into a slump for some reason.
Q. Do you think Player of the Year is still wide open?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. I mean, as I said to you guys last week, Weirsie had the ball in his court on Sunday. If he would have won, then it would have been over, but it's up for grabs. There's like five or six guys that have chance of winning it. We have two World Golf Championships left and some Tour Championships.
Q. You've got Disney, but it's really tight -- you've got five events left, Tiger, maybe?
TIGER WOODS: Maybe. I'm not playing any more. How many events am I playing? I'm not playing that many. That's just me.
Q. Beyond the majors and The Players Championship, are these right here? Are they ahead of The Players? Other than the majors is it the World Golf Championships?
TIGER WOODS: I think The Players stands alone, if it was going to be another major, that would be it. But the World Golf Championships are another collection of the best players in the world. We don't have a chance to play against all of them. We have the majors, The Players and the world golf championships where we all get together, and that makes it a lot of fun not only for us but for the fans. I wish it happened more often, but the World Golf Championships were designed specifically for that, for us to play against the world's best. I think they've shown that that was the right idea.
Q. A question you were asked earlier about whether golf needs a top dog, you've been informed that the ratings were down 41 percent on Sunday for the PGA. If the guys that the public doesn't know are fighting out these major championships, is that good for the game or bad for the game just because of the TV ratings?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's good for the game but obviously bad for the network. It's very similar to what happened at the NBA championships this year without Shaq and Kobe or Iverson in the finals. It's just different, different ratings.
Q. Did Nick talk you through the birth of his new daughter today?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't know he had one.
Q. That's why he was missing last week.
TIGER WOODS: I didn't know.
Q. Which of your three wins were the most enjoyable?
TIGER WOODS: I think going head to head with Furyk because neither one of us really made a mistake all day, and it came -- obviously went to a seven-hole playoff, but it was just shot for shot. That's as good as it gets. Neither one of us were making any mistakes. I was playing well and so was he. He was driving on a string every hole. It's just a lot of fun to play when you're both playing at a high level. Whether you win or lose, it's a lot of fun to be in that environment where you're both playing at a high level like that.
TIGER WOODS: That was fun, but it's different. When you've got a lead like that it's a lot of fun because it's easy, you know you're going to win. When you have a chance -- when two guys are going at it at a high level, like Bob May and I going head to head, 31 on the back nine on the Sunday of a major and you're both tied for the lead, it doesn't happen that often. That's why it's so much more special when it does happen, when you're both at a high level and you're going head to head and no one is batting an eye. That's why it's fun.
TIGER WOODS: There's been no update, no. We obviously can't do it the first original date. This coming Monday, I believe.
End of FastScripts....