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July 6, 2003

Tiger Woods


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us, and congratulations on your third victory here at the 100th Western Open. Great playing out there all week, and especially on the front nine, you were 18-under par on the front nine and only 3-under on the back nine. Can you just make a couple comments on your victory today and then we'll go into questions?

TIGER WOODS: Today I just tried to shoot about 3 or 4-under par on the front nine and just basically put it out of reach. I did that for the good part of it, then Rich got it going on the back nine and made it interesting. I knew that if he birdied out then I would have to make some pars coming in in order to win the tournament. I was able to do that.

Q. Can you describe just the rain delays, how you dealt with it and how difficult, if it was difficult for you?

TIGER WOODS: It was very difficult because I had to try and figure out a way to understand how Thomas LeVet was pulling his card tricks. That was the hardest thing. He was fooling all of us. We always play cards and talk a lot of trash.

Q. How did it affect your rhythm out on the course?

TIGER WOODS: It was fine. Mentally I was fine. Physically I felt good because I was swinging well. If I was struggling with my game it would have been a different story.

Q. Were you ever really worried with the lead you had going in?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if I go out there and I don't play well and I shoot 1 or 2 over par on the front nine and one of the guys in my group -- it's easy to shoot 32 on that front side, and all of a sudden it's a ballgame. So I just tried to make sure I got off to a positive start and I was able to do that today. You couldn't ask for a better start.

Q. If you look at the week in totality, what part of your game do you attribute the win to?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I made a couple putts early in the round. You know, that's always nice to get that positive start like that. You make a couple putts, all of a sudden it frees you up to make a couple more aggressive passes at some balls and get maybe a shade, maybe a yard or two closer to the flag than you normally would. If you miss the green you know you can make an up-and-down if you're putting well.

Q. For the four days, though, the putting saved you over four days?

TIGER WOODS: I hit it pretty good, too. It's not like I slapped it around out there.

Q. When you started today did you feel you had to get started quick just to let anybody that had dreams of trying to catch you let you know that you're not going to lay down?

TIGER WOODS: As I said, my goal was to shoot 3 or 4-under par on the front nine and hopefully put it out of reach. I shot 3, so I got it right where I needed to. I couldn't ask for a better start. After I birdied the first two I kept telling myself just make two more. I did make two more but made bother bogey.

Q. The driver business this week, do you feel like there's more pressure when you bring attention to yourself, all that notoriety, to perform in a week like this, like there's more attention on you?

TIGER WOODS: No, not at all. I'm not the only one that feels this way. We're trying to protect the integrity of the game. We're trying to protect the sport and make sure -- this is the greatest sport in the world. We call penalties on ourselves. That would be interesting if it happened in football and basketball and baseball. "I'm sorry, that was a strike" (laughter).

Q. Like people have a lottery card, do you ever dream about what your perfect game of golf would be?

TIGER WOODS: No, I really don't, sorry.

Q. Is this the best you've felt going into a major this year?

TIGER WOODS: This and Augusta. I was playing well going into Augusta. I felt my game was right there where it needed to be and it didn't really show up until Saturday.

Q. Were you aware of what the tournament record -- SCOTT HOCH was 21-under for 72 holes and you ended up tying today.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was aware of it because Brad kept telling me every day this week. You know, you're halfway there, tournament record. Well, great. I was aware of it on the last putt, but also I wanted to make sure that I didn't run it by, either, and look like an idiot three-putting.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go through your birdies and bogeys, please?

TIGER WOODS: Birdied 1, hit a 3-wood and a 9-iron to about four feet, made that.

No. 2, I hit a wedge to about ten feet.

4, I hit a 6-iron over the green, hit a bad pitch and just missed about a 10-footer there.

5, I hit a driver and a 6-iron pin high, two-putted from about 15 feet.

7, I hit a driver there, pulled it left, hit a sand wedge pin high to about 15 feet, made that.

I birdied 8. I hit 2-iron off of 8, hit a 9-iron just left on the fringe about a yard past pin high, and I made about an 18-footer there.

And on 10, hit a 4-iron off the tee, then hit a sand wedge to about three feet, made that.

I bogeyed 14, hit a 6-iron right at the flag and it buried it under the lip, blasted out to about eight feet, missed it.

And then 18 I lost my drive out to the right, hit a sand wedge to layup, another sand wedge long about 12 feet, missed it.

Q. How satisfying is this winning this week with all the work you've put in, especially on the greens? And also, is there not just a little bit of satisfaction to having this performance with all the slump talk?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's satisfying, the fact that I went out there and did the things I've been doing at practice. Just like I kept telling you guys, I was close to putting things together. At the U.S. Open, Westchester, now here, things were starting -- it was getting better each and every week, and the things I was starting to work on were starting to come together, and that's what's fun, when you can put things together, take things from the range to the course. Not only with my swing but with my putting stroke, as well, and then with all the slump talk, you know, I'm sure that's going to be how it is my entire career. If I don't win for a few weeks then all of a sudden I'm back in it again.

One of the things I've learned about being out here is not to get trapped in this up-and-down roller coaster of the press, sensationalism. That's what sells.

Q. With the victory it's the fifth straight year you've had four or more wins, and you're the first person to ever do that. Does that mean anything or do you not look at that yet?

TIGER WOODS: I was just told that on the green today. I didn't know that. That is pretty nice to have that happen. That means I've been consistent. I've been able to not only be consistent but also to close the deal, too. That's where you ultimately want to be. It's also one of the reasons why I changed my game back in 97-98, the beginning of 99, is to be more consistent, put myself there more often and give myself a chance to win, and it's paid off.

Q. I guess that goes to what my question is. How much is your game different now from when you won here in 97?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, God, a lot. If you go back and look at the swing sequence that I did back in 97, I actually did it here over on the other golf course. Man, my swing is completely different. It's not as across the line, it's not as shut. My foot work is better, my arm playing is better, my club face is better, the speed at which I go at it is more consistent. I can hit different shots. So much is not reliant on just pure power to play a golf course. I can shape shots and control the golf ball and put the ball on the correct side of the fairways to give myself the best look at flags, and I think that's where the game has really improved.

Q. Would it be fair to say in this day of power you're an old-fashioned golfer?

TIGER WOODS: I always have been. Even back then I played a power game but I was always shaping shots. If the shot called for right-to-left I'd hit it, if it called for left-to-right I'd hit it. I was never afraid to try and pull off a shot. Sometimes it was to my downfall, but I've always liked to shape shots. The hardest shot to hit is a dead straight shot, so why try? Try and maneuver that thing.

Q. You talked about the history of this tournament. Does it mean anything more winning the 100th one?

TIGER WOODS: Not really, not winning the 100th one. I think just winning here in general. As I said out there, I grew up in the WGA and I played the Western Junior over at Chicago Golf Club, played the Western Am just about every year. Then I played here in the Western Open, played here as an amateur.

This place has been very special to me and the WGA has been very special. I've met a lot of friends, and it's kind to neat to have Evans Scholars to caddie for you on Wednesday. I think that's one of the highlights for everybody.

Q. What does this do for your mindset going into the British Open?

TIGER WOODS: You're on this mindset thing this week.

Q. Let me rephrase the question. What does this do for you mentally going into the British Open?

TIGER WOODS: It's certainly a shot of confidence, there's no doubt about it. You can't say it's not. Any time you win you've got to feel pretty good about it. As I said, the things I've been working on are starting to come together, and they came together this week more so than they did at Westchester and hopefully they'll come together more so at the British Open than they did this week, I hope.

Q. Talk about how this is a special place. What about the fans, to see these guys stick it through three hours of rain delays and stay past 8:00 on a Saturday night? What does that mean to you?

TIGER WOODS: It's awfully nice of them to do that. They don't have to do that. They either love golf or they have nothing else to do (laughter).

Q. Earlier this week Jerry Kelly said that he had taken note how you were watching other golfers to pick up things to maybe add to your game. Do you agree with that? What kind of value do you see in that?

TIGER WOODS: I've always done that. I always want to figure out why someone else does something well. There's nothing wrong with looking at it and trying to imitate it and working on it, and either you keep it or you junk it, but there's nothing wrong with watching other players because every player out here is good. It's nice to try and figure out why they're good.

Q. Any player in particular or players in particular?

TIGER WOODS: I've always watched everybody. I've always been watching and just analyzing, watched videotape of guys playing.

Q. Obviously you've always been tinkering with your swing. Will there ever be a day where you're going to see --


Q. So this is like eternal?

TIGER WOODS: I'm just like you. I'm a golfer.

Q. You're not like me at all.

TIGER WOODS: As a golfer you're always trying to figure something out.

Q. Is it in reaction to your aging, maybe trying to take better care of yourself? One of the reasons we heard you had shortened your swing is to protect your back ten years down the line. Is that part of it, too?

TIGER WOODS: At the time that was not the idea. The idea was to become more consistent. To protect the back, that's why you work out. That's why you keep your abs strong and keep your glutes and your hams strong and lower back strong, keep everything balanced. That's part of it, too.

The golf part of it was not to try and protect my back, it was to try and hit the ball in the fairway and hit shots. I was very one-dimensional, everything was pretty high. I couldn't hit a half-nothing 8-iron from 120 yards. It wasn't part of my game. My swing plane and the things that I was doing in my game didn't allow me to hit that shot, so I had to fix it. It's the eternal thing. You're always going to try and get better.

Q. At Pebble Beach you blew away everybody by 15 shots. Did you go home that night and say that wasn't too bad, I really had it together, or were you looking at things you did wrong?

TIGER WOODS: You always look at both. Even the wins that I've won -- the U.S. Open I won by 15, The Masters I won by 12. I've won by big margins, but you always have to look at both because there's nothing wrong with that. You have to look at the positives and say this is what I did right that week but you also have to take a hard look at the negatives, too, some of the things you did wrong. That's some of the toughest things to do. You've had a positive week but also to look at some of the negatives and try and analyze that but don't necessarily dwell on them because you've got to have a balance. You can't let either one run your life.

Q. You were No. 2 this week in driving distance, significantly higher than you had been through the year. Is there a reason for that, and did you use the same driver you've been using?

TIGER WOODS: Same driver, just hot this week. When it's hot like this, the ball is going to fly, no doubt about it. I don't know what the driving holes were, but I'm sure one of them was downwind.

Q. 5 and 9.

TIGER WOODS: There you go. I hit some bombs down 5.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, and congratulations.

End of FastScripts....

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