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July 19, 2003

Tiger Woods


STEWART McDOUGALL: Tiger Woods, 69, 214, 1 over par. You had a really good score going. How did it come apart on the back 9?

TIGER WOODS: I got two really bad breaks on the back 9. 11, I hit a 6-iron to about 15 feet, ended up left of the bunker, stymied. And 17, I hit a nice tee shot right in the right middle of the fairway and kicked straight right. Two breaks caused two bogeys. The others were a 3-putt and a terrible swing with the driver.

Q. Is there an element of frustration that you've maybe passed up a good chance to take command of this tournament, if you hadn't dropped those shots?

TIGER WOODS: It would be either tied or have a 1-shot lead. So it's not really taking command of the tournament.

Q. Getting back to the front nine, can you just describe the feeling that was going through your mind and your body. It was obviously a very eventful front. You hit some great shots. And just go a little specific on the sand shot that you holed out?

TIGER WOODS: I did get off to a solid shot. I made a nice putt over on 4 for eagle, from 15 feet. And when I got over to 7, I probably played too conservative on my second shot and played it left and ended up in the bunker. It was a tough bunker shot because it was close to the back lip. And for me actually to -- I was trying to get as steep as I could without -- also shallow as I possibly could on the way down without hitting the lip. And it came out great. It wasn't a shot that I was trying to get close, I was just trying to get the ball up on top somehow. And it went in the hole, this was a bonus. It's not a shot you try to hole. I was trying to get the ball up on top, let it run to the hole and try to make a putt.

Q. And you had to land it on the green there, if it bumped into the side hill it would not have gotten up there?

TIGER WOODS: Correct or it could come right back in the bunker.

Q. What energy generates through your body when that happens?

TIGER WOODS: It feels pretty good, because you feel like you got away with one. I hit a good bunker shot, but also for it to go in is also a bonus.

Q. Does it feel like two different courses, the front nine and the back nine, and how difficult it is?

TIGER WOODS: The front nine is probably your scoring nine. You look at everybody's card the same way. It's very difficult to make birdies on that back nine. Most of the holes are into the wind, kind of cross. On the front nine most of the holes are downwind. Plus you have two par-5s that you can reach and a par-4, No. 5, that you can drive right now with this wind. So those are three pretty good birdie holes right there. The back nine there really isn't a whole lot of holes that you can make birdies on. And even when you have a chance at maybe getting a little aggressive -- like on 14, the out-of-bounds is a little right, with a left-to-right wind, you hit a marginal second shot or tee shot, you're out-of-bounds.

Q. What was your club on 14 tee?

TIGER WOODS: It was just a low 3-wood out there. If I hit driver, I can drive it in the creek today with the wind not being up. The wind wasn't as strong, so for me I had to hit like a three quarter driver. So I just hit my normal 3-wood down there and I might have a shot at getting it to the green, and 255 to the front with hard, fast -- just roll the ball up and it worked out.

Q. On 17, your second shot you looked like you were surprised at how it came up, you were shaking your head.


Q. What were you expecting and what happened?

TIGER WOODS: I wasn't expecting to hit a 6-iron 200 yards in the air into the wind. That was the club I was hoping I could get to the front. It was a 5-iron shot, but try to hit 6 maybe gets me to the front up on top, maybe. And I just caught a flier. I hit a good tee shot, it's in the middle of the fairway and kicked straight right into the rough, and that's the difference. If you're in the fairway, I can play a nice controlled 5-iron up on the green. Here I'm in the rough just enough where it's either a flier -- you don't really know what's going to come about. And it just came out high.

Q. Can you guys feel the wind on the second shot on 4?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, definitely.

Q. You've never won a major coming from behind in the final round, is that a meaningless stat, motivational stat? What does it feel like?

TIGER WOODS: Not one of those things I'm really thinking about. I've won eight a different way, so maybe I can win one this way. It's still not a bad percentage, though.

Q. The last time I looked there were six guys within two shots of the lead, and ten within three. Have you ever been in that kind of situation in a major?

TIGER WOODS: No, not this many. Maybe the Masters in '01 there were quite a few guys there. There was Phil, Duval, myself, Cabrera, Calc, there were a few guys within four or five shots of the lead, but not this close, not this many guys, no.

Q. How do you react to that? Do you keep watching the score board?

TIGER WOODS: You figure most of the guys are going to get off to pretty good starts. And it's probably going to weed itself out on the back nine. At least put yourself in position so you have a chance.

Q. I know you guys don't like to dwell on things that could have happened. But you had a situation where you lost a ball on Thursday. Bjorn had a two-stroke penalty. Can you talk about resisting the temptation to not think -- or to think about those events and how things could have changed and where you'd be if those didn't happen?

TIGER WOODS: We do that every single round we play, every week. That's not how you approach the game. What's done is done, that's it, move on. We're always -- in our sport we're always focusing on the next shot and you can't live in the past. You have to live in the present. And once it's done, it's done, you move on.

Q. Could you go ahead and finish off 14, talk about that third near eagle and talk about the putt, how tough it was, and maybe explain how it stayed out?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know how it stayed out, but it was a double breaker. The putt, I had to play probably about foot and a half outside to the right, try to let it possibly get left to the hole and get back in the end. And it just decided to break just a little bit later than I thought it would. And I had a good speed on it.

Q. All the Majors you've played, where does this one rank as far as stress and concentration you need on every shot, every hole?

TIGER WOODS: It's tough, man. When you play most tournaments, you hit a tee shot, you can go ahead, and if you hit it down the middle, you pick up the tee and don't worry about it. Here you worry about it. Please bounce straight. Today, Mathias hit some nice tee shots today and got terrible bounces. And I got two bad bounces today, and also got a couple of good breaks, too. But I think from that standpoint it's a little bit more stressful than most tournaments we play in, because good shots aren't always rewarded by being in the fairway.

Q. You hit an iron on 1?


Q. Why?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if I hit 2-iron down there I'd probably have 150 to the front, it's a 170 hole. 7-iron, 8-iron. It makes the fairway that much wider. And I was watching the guys in the morning. Most of the guys were hitting 2-iron, 6-iron, 2-iron, 7-iron. And if you hit low enough you can run it up on top and have a short iron in there.

Q. On the front nine, I can't remember, I think it was the third or fourth, you pulled out of your swing, there was a distraction. On the tee shot. I think it was the third or fourth. It was the third?

TIGER WOODS: Third hole? What did I do there? Oh, yeah, a photographer snapped a photo on my downswing, so I stopped.

Q. Speaking so much about the fairways, I think the crucial part are the weeds, and by your standard (inaudible.) Do you find it difficult to read or was it just --

TIGER WOODS: If you're in a good position, you can make putts, but if you're on the wrong part of the slopes, you've got some putts that you have to come up the ridge and down, and double and triple breakers. If you're in the right spot, get the ball in the right section of the green, they're not really hard putts. And the greens are at a speed that you can make the putts, be aggressive. But every green is a different speed. Whether it's exposed by the wind or hidden by the grandstands, you have to figure out what the speeds are going to be. And that's the trickiest part, trying to figure that out.

Q. Did you feel that the pin positions are any more forgiving than the last couple of days?

TIGER WOODS: I think they're more forgiving just because the wind wasn't blowing as hard, but they're still tough pins. If the wind would have blown just as hard as yesterday and the first day, I think you would have seen the same type of scoring.

End of FastScripts....

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