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June 15, 2003

Tiger Woods


TIGER WOODS: I hit a good shot in there. It's not too often you rip back a pitching wedge downwind at a U.S. Open, but that's what happened. I thought I made the first putt, but then I hit a second terrible putt and third putt, but luckily I hit the fourth putt right in the middle.

Q. Yesterday you were saying that you couldn't read the greens, you were coming up a little short. Today you had the right distance but you were going wide. Were you misreading or misstroking?

TIGER WOODS: I had a tough time getting the speed right this week. People don't realize there are a lot of greens on the green. The putts uphill are so slow, the putts downhill are extremely quick. It's tough to try and gauge when you're putting across slopes and stuff like that. I never hit it close where I had a lot of makable putts. That's one of the reasons why I couldn't get going because I never hit it close enough.

Q. Kind of saw the U.S. Open course today, huh?

TIGER WOODS: It's the first time. The greens are starting to firm up. They're not extremely firm yet, but they're definitely a lot faster because they are dried out.

Q. Are you still playing next week?


Q. How difficult is it after a draining week to come back and play a regular Tour event after playing in a U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: It is tough. I've done that before. I played I think at Congressional, then I played Westchester, I think I might have done it one other time, but it's awfully tough because you are a little tired and more emotionally spent. Physically you're fine but emotionally a little tired.

Q. Do you think you'd give this place another shot down the road?

TIGER WOODS: If it was dried out the way it was today I think you would have seen the USGA happy with the way things were. With the rain it never looked like a USGA event because of how soft the conditions were until today. Today if you look at the board Jim is the only one under par on the first first page of the board.

Q. You seemed to have a certain sense of levity out there. Today it looked like you were beating yourself up a little bit. Was it a frustrating day out there today?

TIGER WOODS: It was frustrating in general this week because I never got anything going. I was so close to putting it together. You hit a good shot in there, you miss the slope by just a yard. For instance, No. 12 today, hit a great high draw with a driver up against the wind, hit a pitching wedge in there, and I carried it one yard too far so now I'm above the slope. Instead of using the backboard to kick it in, I hit a tough putt and it lips out. I was so close to putting it together this week that from that standpoint it is frustrating. All I needed was a little bit of momentum to get things going.

Q. You're playing well but not being able to convert.

TIGER WOODS: That is tough. It's not like I'm playing and can't hit a shot. I'm hitting good shots and it's a matter of making some putts.

Q. Do you think the USGA was premature in cutting the rough on Tuesday and leaving the course at the mercy of good or bad weather?

TIGER WOODS: That's what they've been doing over the last few years. I think after Congressional I think the USGA got a pretty good knowledge of how that golf course was set up. The fairways were wide but the roughs were seven or eight inches. If you drove it in there you had a hard time advancing it 50 yards. A few guys pulled out because they had strained ligaments in their wrists. I think the USGA took that into account and haven't really set up the golf course as difficult, but it's been more fair, too.

Q. Can't they cut it down, though?

TIGER WOODS: If it would have been dry like this with an entire week with the rough the way it was, you would have seen some scores that weren't this low. They wouldn't be this low.

Q. Did you like this venue?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was very fair. It was a very fair golf course. It wasn't a big ballpark like last week. This is a golf course we had to shape shots, and the golf course was very fair this week. The USGA did a good job setting up the golf course for what they had. They had some soft conditions. They tried to make it as difficult as they possibly could.

Q. When you think of Jim Furyk what pops into your mind? What are the first characteristics that you think about?

TIGER WOODS: Consistent, without a doubt. The guy is day in and day out always pretty consistent.

Q. Are you one of the guys that thought he was due if it holds up? Is he the guy that's due to win one of these?

TIGER WOODS: If you'd pick a major championship for him to win you'd figure it would be this one. The way he plays his game and the way this is set up, this is a perfect venue for him.

Q. Maybe you're showing people how difficult the game of golf is and is not as simple and they may think it is?

TIGER WOODS: I've never thought it to be simple. Anyone who plays the game of golf knows it's not easy and it's very fickle.

Q. How aggressive were you today? When you walked to the first tee was the goal still I can win this thing?

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. If I would have posted a good solid number like a 62 or a 61 when the conditions were firming up, you never know. I got off to a pretty good start, birdied the first, hit driver off the second, piped it, hit a sand wedge in there and hit it just past the hole. It didn't go up but that's indicative of how the week went.

Q. How many drivers did you hit today?

TIGER WOODS: Probably about six.

Q. What do you know about Royal St. George's?

TIGER WOODS: A lot of blind shots. That's about it.

Q. You always talk about the majors meaning so much to you, and with the last four not having the wins, do you become more focused now? You've always been a golfer who can be determined, be focused and set your eye on something. Are you now more focused than even before on the next couple of majors?

TIGER WOODS: I don't see how that's possible. That's my ultimate goal is to win championships. These are the biggest championships. All you can do is give it your best. I gave it my best this week, I was just close to putting it together but didn't put it together.

Q. Ever try to swing like Jim Furyk?

TIGER WOODS: Swing like Jim? No.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Actually I have. Butch has got some videotape of him swinging. What's more amazing, it's not the reroute of his swing, it's the width he has on the bottom at impact, where his right elbow is. You can never really teach somebody to put their right elbow behind their body at impact, but that's the way it is and he hits the ball straight that way.

Q. Are you coming back for the Western?

TIGER WOODS: We'll see.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: No, didn't matter at all. I felt good. I played well the last two tournaments I played in. I just didn't putt well this week. I was close to putting it -- as I say, I was really close, and unfortunately it just didn't happen.

Q. Was yesterday more disappointing to you than the last time at Augusta? Which of those two rounds was more disappointing personally?

TIGER WOODS: I think the last round at Augusta was probably more disappointing because I made a mental error. I don't make mental mistakes. Physical mistakes, yes, that's part of being human. We have all the time in the world to make a decision. It's not like you're playing -- we're playing four corners out here. We've got all the time in the world. It's frustrating when you make a mental error, especially in a major championship. That's not acceptable.

Q. Is there a sport more difficult than golf in terms of being consistent? Is this probably the toughest sport to be consistent in?

TIGER WOODS: I think the hardest thing about this sport is you're out there by yourself. If you get it going sideways, bad, the only one to bail you out is yourself. When you're playing great it's a great game. When you're playing bad it's a lonely world out there.

Q. Random testing of drivers?

TIGER WOODS: No, I don't. Everyone should be tested, period, first tee.

Q. Just on Thursday?

TIGER WOODS: No, every day. I talked to the Commissioner about that. I'm a big proponent of that.

Q. Do you think that's because there are people out there using drivers that may be outside the limit?

TIGER WOODS: (Nodding).

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: No, I hit the ball well. I just didn't make any putts this week, Jerry. When you're not hitting the ball the right speed, it's hard to gauge the breaks. That's basically what it ended up being.

Q. Did you gain some confidence in your driver today, Tiger?

TIGER WOODS: I did. I hit the ball pretty well with it. It's the same thing always, you know, with me. I get stuck. It's not like I have a severe over-the-top slice move on it. If anything, my body outraces my arms and consequently the club drops behind me. It's a matter of me matching up. When I match up, the ball goes pretty straight.

Q. Is your knee completely --

TIGER WOODS: No, not quite there yet, but it's getting there. I'm seeing progress in it.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 1,000?

TIGER WOODS: It's getting better, how about that?

Q. You said if you put 62, 61 up, was that number out there today in these conditions?

TIGER WOODS: If I would have had absolutely everything going my way, then maybe. You have to get lucky. You have to put -- play one of the best rounds you've ever played in your life and have absolutely everything go your way at the same time. The moons and the stars have to line up perfectly.

Q. Your second shot on 10 I think it was, you kind of walked up to it -- can you kind of quantify your rage at that point?

TIGER WOODS: I couldn't hit it as far as I could hit it. There was nothing I could do with that lie. If I could carry it 80 yards it would have been a great shot. I was perturbed.

Q. Have you ever thought the hell with this?

TIGER WOODS: We've all been there. We've all been there.

Q. Do you think the galleries were really trying to get you juiced up again?

TIGER WOODS: The galleries were extremely supportive today. They were great. It was nice to have that type of positive feeling from them. They wanted me to play well, and so did I. It was nice, especially after what happened yesterday, I didn't get it going, and I played poorly obviously. It was nice for them to give that kind of support.

Q. Do people expect too much from you? Do they sometimes not understand certain things, why you can't win every major, that type of thing? Are there too high expectations put on you sometimes?

TIGER WOODS: I think so. I think, as I said last -- this week in the press conference, some of the good shots I've hit weren't really that great, but you guys made them out to be, and the shots that I've hit poorly really aren't that poor. So it's somewhere in between. I think that's where the expectations go. When I win obviously everything seems -- he can never lose, and all of a sudden I don't win a couple tournaments, all of a sudden, just like you said yesterday.

Q. I remember in '97 a certain ESPN commentator made a comment one time when you were tearing things up, and he said this young man just might win every tournament he ever enters. I remember thinking at the time this is golf.

TIGER WOODS: You would like to. That's your goal is to go out there and win every time you compete. Is that going to happen, no, that's not going to happen. That's one thing you can control, and that's your effort level. If you can give it everything you've got all the way around, you can't be too disappointed with yourself. Obviously I'm a little bummed out the fact I wasn't able to stay in contention this week, but that's all I had this week.

Q. What did you give your dad for Father's Day?

TIGER WOODS: A painting.

Q. Of what?

TIGER WOODS: Kind of a landscape, mountains, trees, meadows.

Q. Who was it painted by?

TIGER WOODS: A local artist.

Q. In terms of a true test, would you rather have the course set up like Olympia Fields or more like Bethpage? Which do you prefer?

TIGER WOODS: Like this today, not the first three days. They didn't have a choice. They tried to dry out the greens the best they could, but when Mother Nature intervenes that's the best they can do. Not even the USGA can control Mother Nature.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I was disappointed in some of the mental mistakes I would make. My intent was there, but it was headed in the wrong direction.

Q. There's no lessening of desire then? We see Pete Sampras saying he doesn't have the desire anymore.

TIGER WOODS: Well, his body has got to that point where that's the end of the road for tennis players. You see the same thing happen out here for a lot of players around 45, 46. At the time your family, your kids are in school and you want to spend more time with them, like for instance, my buddy Marco and his kids, Sean started playing more golf now, he wants to spend more time playing golf. Physically you're not able to do the things when you were 25 and 30 but you're too young for the Senior Tour.

Q. Do you think family and kids would change your --

TIGER WOODS: There's no doubt about it. More than anything it would be hard to prepare for events because your focus is somewhere else, with your family. You want to see them succeed, and when it comes right down to it, your success is minuscule compared to the success of your kids.

Q. You have to be selfish in a way to be a champion.

TIGER WOODS: You have to be to a certain extent, and everyone including who you're with, your wife and your kids and all your friends, have to understand what it takes for you to achieve, and it's not easy. It takes a special group and a special person to be with you through all that.

Q. Do you see yourself being out here when you're 45, 46?

TIGER WOODS: Hopefully if I'm physically able to do it, then I would love to be able to do it.

Q. Is your hunger staying the same, increasing, decreasing would you say?

TIGER WOODS: I hate to say, but I think it's increasing because as I'm going through and playing more golf, I'm finding more enjoyment out of hitting better golf shots and learning more things. There's no substitute for -- you've known me, Jamie, since I was a little kid. What I like to do is go out in the evenings and play six, nine holes, whatever it is, by myself. That's when it's the coolest because you're able to hit some of the interesting shots and pull them off and that to me is so much fun. To be able to try it in a tournament situation, there's a certain rush to it.

Q. Ever see yourself with a wife and kids?

TIGER WOODS: Definitely. Looking forward to that.

Q. Any idea when?

TIGER WOODS: I'm let you know, all right?

End of FastScripts....

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