June 12, 2003
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS
Q. How about the day overall? Ernie was just talking about it was a quiet morning out there?
TIGER WOODS: It was just -- it's been a USGA setup you know the golf course is going to be difficult and the pins are going to be tricky and they were. If you get too aggressive on some of the pin locations and short sighted yourself, you're making bogey. Consequently I fired away from just about every flag. Over 18 holes I had two realistic looks at birdying 16 and 17 back to back and I missed them both, but other than that I left myself with some pretty difficult putts because I was firing away from a lot of the flags. On top of that I didn't drive the ball in the fairway where I could actually take a run at a flag or two.
Q. The word is par is good on a U.S. Open course. Was par good this morning?
TIGER WOODS: Par is good anytime especially when you see the pins. We saw the dots for tomorrow and they're the same, so you've got to be smart.
Q. Do you think you're going to have to hit it better off the tee?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. When I trusted my swing I hit it perfect, and when I tried to steer it just a touch or bow it down and just try and get it in play, I didn't hit the ball straight at all. If I get up there and trust my swing because I'm hitting it well with my irons, hitting it well at the range, I'm hitting it well when I step up and trust it, I've just got to do that more often. It's tough sometimes because some holes don't fit your eye and it's tough to do that.
Q. David Fay said the other day that they've done their job well. Have they accomplished that with this setup?
TIGER WOODS: I've been in a couple altercations and I sure feel a lot better right now.
Q. The bunker shot on your second to last hole?
TIGER WOODS: That was buried.
TIGER WOODS: I hit a 3-iron in there and I made about a 2-footer.
Q. What were you lying?
TIGER WOODS: I had 237 to the front. That's all I was concerned about. I don't know what it was to the flag. I was just trying to carry the ball to the front edge. I wasn't firing at the flag, trust me. I was trying to put the ball in the middle of the green and I lost it away and got away with it.
Q. How did you find the crowd? Last year at Bethpage there was some rowdiness. How did you find it out here?
TIGER WOODS: Very fair. They were extremely supportive for all of us and very fair. That's all you can ask.
Q. Describe the two bogeys, please.
TIGER WOODS: On 18 I drove the ball left and I was in the bunker up against the lip of the bunker on a side hill lie. I hit the lip coming out, put it in the rough. I hit a hell of a pitch to about 10 feet and just missed it on the top side. On the last hole I hit a 3-wood off the tee and lost it a little bit right and I hit a nice 7-iron in there and missed it by a yard. A yard further right it could be stiff, but I ended up in the bunker, hit a terrible bunker shot and hit a good putt, just misread it a little bit.
Q. How long was the putt?
TIGER WOODS: About 18 feet.
Q. Seems like you're having a -- (inaudible).
TIGER WOODS: On a major championship you have to be that way. You have to keep plugging along. Ernie played the way you have to play, 17 pars and a birdie. I made 15 pars today, and unfortunately I had a couple bogeys, but that's the way you have to play. Unfortunately I didn't hit a couple of tee shots the way I wanted to. You have to be as patient as possible because the golf course is only going to get harder as the week goes on, as the rough gets higher and the greens firm out it's going to be a difficult week.
Q. How many holes did you fire at the flag? You said a lot you didn't. How many holes do you think you fired at the flag?
TIGER WOODS: One, 16.
Q. Are you looking forward to this course playing more difficult as the week progresses?
TIGER WOODS: It's going to be a fun challenge. It's going to be interesting to see how the USGA sets it up as the greens get firmer. We know kind of in general where they're going to put it but today because the greens were a little bit softer they tucked them more than they normally would. A couple of the pins were on some knobs. One of the holes if Ernie would have lipped it out he would have been off the green. That's just kind of how it's playing.
Q. You said par is good any time. Is there any disappointment because of the conditions that you didn't shoot lower?
TIGER WOODS: Not at all. I wished I could have finished better obviously, but this golf course is so difficult. You guys may think it's easy because guys are shooting under par, but it's not, trust me. All it takes is just a couple errant shots with your irons in the greens and you miss it by a yard and you're making bogey and double. It's very penal if you hit it on the wrong side and you have to be smart about what you're doing.
Q. Talk about the fans today. How were they?
TIGER WOODS: They were great. They were gracious and extremely fair.
Q. Barnes played a nice game considering with you and Ernie that's got to be a little daunting for a kid.
TIGER WOODS: He played that way at Augusta. He went up there and hit some good shots. I think he managed his game well, and that's what you have to do.
Q. Were you surprised by the number of players who got 4 and 3-under today?
TIGER WOODS: No because the greens are soft. They are receptive. Granted, if you miss in the wrong spot you're in trouble, but because they are soft if you hit a good shot in there it's going to hold, even to some of the tucked pins. They're not repelling like they normally are at a U.S. Open site. If you can get it by the weekend I don't think you'll see too many scores like that.
I feel very good about how I managed my game today. I didn't hit the ball off the tee as well as I needed to, but I got it around and kept myself in the tournament.
Q. Are you happy with your new driver?
TIGER WOODS: I only hit it probably about two or three times today. Hell, I don't know.
Q. On the par 5s?
TIGER WOODS: Only one of them.
Q. You put the new ball in play today?
TIGER WOODS: I put it in play a month ago, so I'm very pleased at it and the way it's responded.
End of FastScripts....