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June 1, 2003

Tiger Woods


Q. You had it cooking there for a while. What did you hit into 15 by the way?

TIGER WOODS: 4. I hit a good one, pulled it a touch and got a good bounce.

Q. Did you think it was going in?

TIGER WOODS: We can't see that far, 235. My eyes are pretty good, but not that good.

Q. When you got up there and saw where it landed, you saw where it ended up?

TIGER WOODS: It was a good bounce. I was between 4 and a 3, I was pushing a 4. I didn't want to go long that's why I hit a 4. If I ended up in the front bunker, so be it. I would use a bunker shot from there. I hit it flush and pulled it a touch. So I wasn't -- if I was going to miss the putt, I would miss it short right. I pulled it a touch with the wind.

Q. What changed for you after 7 holes?

TIGER WOODS: I got a couple of pars. That's all I did. Hit a 3-wood over a 7. And from then on got I started making putts.

Q. Was it easy to play well today or was it based on the fact that aside from nine holes you should win this golf tournament and be right there?

TIGER WOODS: I have been playing like this. I have been playing well. I had one bad stretch of holes that put me out of contention to win. My goal today was to play the same way I had been playing. I did that. I played the same way in Germany. I played the same I would here. Unfortunately I had nine holes that put me out of the tournament.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: You play smart. If you play that way here, you can shoot 80 in a heartbeat. I just played the same way I have been playing. I just tried to played smart. Tried to keep the ball underneath the hole the best you can, and more than anything, play more towards the fat side of the greens to at least have some putts.

Q. Did you think you had an outside chance?

TIGER WOODS: No, Kenny is playing too well for that. When he got to 17-under par, I had no chance. I am 8 back with three holes to go.

Q. Have you talked to Kenny at all?

TIGER WOODS: No. I saw him real quick to congratulate him early in the week on his play last week.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: I don't know what it is. I seem to get it going here. I have done it different ways too, that's what's funny. I played and scored well in different ways. This week I actually played well. I posted a good number. I still played well.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: This year, no, not this year, I definitely putted on faster greens than this. I think they are fast, but they are not to the point where you are afraid to hit a putt. You don't have that blue look to them. They still did not have the speed I'm sure that Jack wanted to have them, but they're still pretty good.

Q. This is your last round before The Open, is it important to play well today?

TIGER WOODS: In all honesty, no, not really, because I have been playing well. You guys may not believe me. Even if I shot 71, as long as I played well, I would be pleased. I went out there and hit the ball just as flush as I have been hitting it. I hit a few putts and got on a roll.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. The way I have been practicing, hitting the ball on the range, I have been playing on the golf course. It still has some very positive signs. Even if I would have posted a 70, 71, I would have been pleased. I got a good number because I made some putts.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: A couple more practice sessions, getting in the swing where I need to have it.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: No, I'm sure the USGA will have it a lot firmer than this with the rain that we had. You can still stop 5-irons in there, 6-irons with no problem. As you all know the USGA has their way. That won't be the case.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: He is playing well. Beautifully. He has been playing well. And if my memory serves me correct, the tournaments he has won, he has set tournament records in. So when he is going low, he certainly is going to win. And last week was a joke to shoot that at Colonial. You never see scores like that at Colonial, and to do it here back-to-back weeks with the wind blowing as hard as it has, he has put up some pretty good numbers.

Q. Do you consider him a favorite to win The Open?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, certainly. If you are playing well, anyone who is hitting the ball well, has a chance to win The Open. You can't flap it around there and expect to win the U.S. Open. You got to hit the ball well.

Q. Tiger, when you are not in contention, is there temptation to tinker or experiment with the game or are you focused on playing super well?

TIGER WOODS: No, I'm focused on working on things that I'm working on. Things are starting to show some real positive signs and I am pleased about that.

Q. Are they particular shots or just hitting it solid?

TIGER WOODS: Hitting it flush, controlling my flight and getting adjusted to this new ball.

Q. Speaking of golf balls, Jack went off on the golf ball this week; it's too hot, goes too far, any particular comment on that?

TIGER WOODS: It's not only the ball that goes a long way, you see a lot on the drivers. The guys can pick up a driver, pick up 20 yards just by burying the COR. You can hit the same golf ball. I think that's our biggest concern out here on TOUR to make sure the COR's are correct.

Q. Did you notice how they've changed over the last 10 years, is it a ball you would hit 10 years ago?

TIGER WOODS: Certainly. It's not only the golf ball is better but the faces on the driver are hotter, the materials we are using is lighter. We never had lightweight steel. And now you can tinker around and get a lightweight steel now with a torque the way you haven't had to have it instead of graphite. So technology is something else.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: It's up to our committee, our PGA TOUR, USGA, we need to get together and, the first and foremost are the COR's are not over the limit.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: Well, it helps to hit the ball long but the golf course is becoming longer. The longer you hit it, the less room you have to miss hit it. I have gotten long were with this new ball and this new driver and you got to hit it more accurately. You can't just slap it around there and expect that ball to be in play. Before when you had a shorter driver, you can miss hit it and still keep the ball going 10 or 20 yards further. It's in the rough.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: Almost. I drove it pretty good for about three days, yesterday was kind of sporadic, but today I really hit good drives.

Q. You said you felt you are hitting the ball well, if you hit it badly it accentuates a bad shot?


Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: Yes. The way I played the last nine holes yesterday. I felt today just go out and do the same thing, hit the ball the same way, make solid contact and keep the ball in play. I didn't quite do that yesterday on the front 9. I didn't quite do that. It cost me a chance of winning the tournament. Today I went out and did that.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: I don't know, four or five.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: Different golf course, there are a lot of angles on this golf course. You have to shape the ball and you have to make a decision on your carries, what line you are going to take. Bethpage, it was straight ahead and go ahead, go ahead, and speed it.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: Yes, more 3-woods than anything else.

Q. Are there corners you go to like Colonial?

TIGER WOODS: Yes. I don't know if Reese redesigned this golf course. There are some high faces on these bunkers so you've got to make a decision. A lot of the bunker carries are such that you've got to hit it good. If the conditions are hot and humid, you can carry those bunkers. If you don't, you might it in the rough.

Q. (Inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: If I get a big lead I'm playing pretty conservatively.

End of FastScripts....

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