May 28, 2003
TIGER WOODS: That's a great downwind. I can hit drivers down there and squeeze it past those bunkers. But other than that, I just want to carry that first bunker and keep it in play.
TIGER WOODS: Some of it, some of the slopes he modified a little bit, some of run-offs erased a couple of sides of the green a few inches here and there, you can see some of the chipping areas can be a little more difficult, which is good to see. I think so. We are used to seeing it one way, a certain way. The thing is, it's just like Augusta. It looks like nothing has changed. You come here and it's a different golf course. Like 17 is a completely different hole and it's like as it has been here since they started the golf course.
TIGER WOODS: It's probably the closest to it other than probably The Players Championship that we get this many foreign players here for a tournament, and I think that is what makes it such a huge attraction. You get Jack here and you make it such a great golf course. You get an international field. Everyone is trying to get ready for The Open.
TIGER WOODS: Less distractions. It's little bit easier on me and my playing partners and my friends. Here we can actually get some work done. Sometimes in the afternoons it gets difficult to try to get some work done. Granted we understand we are trying to entertain the fans. I'm trying to get ready to win this tournament and sometimes they lose sight of that.
TIGER WOODS: I get that way every day. It doesn't matter. There is no alarm for me.
TIGER WOODS: Jack gives us a chance to drive the ball here. You have to be pretty precise on your iron shots coming to the greens, but he gives you a you chance to go up there and hit your driver and use it. I think that's one of the reasons why you see so many long hitters, especially recently doing well. This gives you an you opportunity to go ahead and use your advantage.
Q. Do you feel pretty good in your game coming into this week? The first 3-time winner?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I feel pretty good because I hit the ball really well in Germany. The greens over there definitely weren't like this. So I'm pretty excited to be able to putt smooth greens again.
TIGER WOODS: Pretty simple. You pack your rain gear and that's all you need.
TIGER WOODS: I enjoy it. It certainly makes you appreciate what you have here in the States. Sometimes we forget how good it really is and granted, they go out of their way to try to make you feel at home there, but there is still nothing like home. You drive to a Convenient store and you can actually read the labels. It's little things like that makes you appreciate home that much more.
TIGER WOODS: New Zealand definitely was not that bad. We had a good time down there.
Q. Your relationship with Steve the last few years, would you say it's matured?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's gotten better every year. We got a better friendship now than we have had. We have a better understanding of each other. That's just from spending time together, we give each other a whole bunch of grief.
Q. Can you still tell him off?
TIGER WOODS: Any time. And he does the same thing to me.
Q. What do you generally do the rest of the day? Do you do anything different?
TIGER WOODS: I'm going to go practice right now and work on my game and try to get ready for tomorrow.
TIGER WOODS: It depends on the tournament, how long the rain delay is. If it's long one you will see guys chowing down or playing cards or BSing, one of the 3.
Q. Are you a card player?
TIGER WOODS: I enjoy.
Q. What game do you play?
TIGER WOODS: Pretty much anything.
TIGER WOODS: I don't think it really matters that much. To be honest with you, my practice sessions have been well, pretty good. Now if my practice sections haven't been really good, then there is a little bit more concern but the way I struck the ball in Germany and the way I'm hitting it right now, I'm very pleased. I just need to get on some good greens. I wanted to play Wachovia but it just didn't work out. I wasn't rested. I was shooting commercials and doing all different things, and my time commitment for my foundation didn't allow me to practice and get away. I wasn't able to unwind from Augusta as much as I needed to and get focused for the next major. I took another week off to prepare. Actually, I'm glad I did. I was ready for Germany.
Q. Tiger, do you have a chance during a tournament you like to work out even on days that you play? You talk a lot about your regimen outside of golf but diet-wise and work out-wise, is it something you do during tournament week?
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. An hour a day or something you work out on a day that you play?
TIGER WOODS: It all depends on my tee time. I will get it in.
TIGER WOODS: Well, the Mike Douglas Show, two and a half, I think it was.
TIGER WOODS: I met him I think on 2 occasions, one was then, I don't remember that one, and the other one was, I was probably 14 or 15. I met him down in Palm Springs real briefly. He was out playing and I happened to be in the same area and said hello to him real quick, and off he went playing. I didn't say anything, Mr. Hope, it's good seeing you, and blah blah blah.
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. Can you talk about your thoughts on that?
TIGER WOODS: It's going to be a heck of a test. The opening holes you'll see somebody go low early because the opening holes are short, but the closing holes are something else. I mean, you've got to really play. Probably from '91 in you got some pretty good holes coming in. You got to really drive your ball well.
Q. Did you find short par-4's were more difficult?
TIGER WOODS: No, because the USGA, you know they are going to pinch in the fairways, which they did. But the greens obviously are not up to speed yet, And I know the rough will probably grow another inch by the time we get there. Granted it is a short hole. You are hitting a 2-iron or 3-wood or a 3-iron off of the tees. But you still have to get the ball in play and that's where the USGA puts their premium. The shorter the hole, the tighter the fairway is going to be.
TIGER WOODS: Yes, Olympia has a good mixture of holes. Some short holes starting out and some reachable par-5s. After that then it becomes a big golf course again. I think No. 9 was playing 49 on or whatever it was. You got some pretty good holes, 9 and 10, back-to-back.
TIGER WOODS: Right. Yes, without a doubt. Because some of holes, the way it is shaped, you can run the balls and get really good yardage out there. When we played it was soft, and if you land on the right part of the slope, which is 260, 270, some of elevated tees can carry that. You can land and run the ball off another 20 or 30 yards. So anybody can win that open. I think that's what's going to be a neat challenge, a good mixture of guys on top of the board.
TIGER WOODS: I played with 2 guys, friends of MJ and MG.
Q. During tournament time (Inaudible)
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm just out here playing. I'm trying to get my ball in the right position. That's what I focus on. Sometimes I'm able to do it better than others with my focus, but I try to block it out the best I can and try to keep to the task at hand.
Q. What's it like, anywhere you go, I can't imagine?
TIGER WOODS: You probably can.
Q. What's it like?
TIGER WOODS: It's nice because you get to do what you like to do for a living. I mean that's what I dream about when I was a kid. Some of the extra stuff that comes with the responsibility of being in the position that I'm in. It's just part of the responsibilities that I have. I don't fight it anymore. I did at first. There is no class that will ever prepare for you it. I just got to go out there and learn through your own experiences.
TIGER WOODS: Because it's tough because there is so many good players and you got 72 holes and 18 holes. It's not a sprint, it's just a marathon out there trying to win tournaments and it helps to get off to a good start. But whether you are leading the tournament or not leading the tournament after the first day, as long as you are in position to keep moving forward and keep being in position -- where you want to be is contention on the back nine on Sunday. That's where you ultimately want to be.
TIGER WOODS: I thought she played beautifully. I thought she drove the ball well and hit the ball well. I think she managed her game well. She just didn't make the putts. We have all been there. It's just that it just happened to happen in that one tournament. But the way she struck the golf ball was just beautifully. I think she is proud of the way she handled everything. I think everyone else is, too. She competed and she did very well. As far as the business side of it, I think Colonial is very happy about their choice in exemptions, and I think that's what they try to do with all exemptions is try to make the field better. Ultimately it is a business out here. Every tournament, every sponsor, is trying to make money. I think they made a wise choice there because I think their return is going to be pretty good.
Q. When they redid the greens here I think they said they chose the contours (Inaudible)
TIGER WOODS: They changed contours a little bit, not a lot. It's the same slopes, but either smaller or bigger. The breaks are still there. It's just a matter of really how much is there now. It's still the same shape or slope.
Q. How is the new ball working out? Why did you make the change? Was it use hard to get used to the distance?
TIGER WOODS: It's been great. It's taken two years to get to this point. It's been a while, a lot of testing. I finally found a ball that I could hit a little bit further. But more than anything it's so much better in the wind than my previous ball. That's the difference. Some shots I would hit into the wind, normally I would have to choke down, hit a little 7. Now I can hit a full 8. It could go through the wind and get to the hole. It will go right through. The aerodynamics of the ball is so much better. Even though it's a higher launching ball, it can still get through wind better.
Q. Did that take some time?
TIGER WOODS: It did. I have been playing a lot because of that. Just trying to get a feel for how things are in certain conditions. More of a quarter club. Today I hit a 3-wood and 7-iron there. I'm very content in doing that. As long as I am in the fairway I like my chances being in the fairway.
Q. Do you have a favorite hole out here? Do you have one that you don't like?
TIGER WOODS: I think they are all good. They are all challenging. He has a wonderful mixture of holes. Holes that have a lot of risk reward and some pretty conservative that you can take on and make birdies. I have done all right here so I like all of the holes here.
Q. What about No. 3, do you get a sense of the guys playing around here that have been playing here?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, they are playing well. Davis and Weir have had great years. I look at the fact that I have only played in 6 tournaments and I am up there. That's the positive side. Now, the summer I can play more and see how I am after the end of the summer.
TIGER WOODS: It's a long way. It's a long way. I mean it will be good. I think it will be a good challenge for us to see what happens.
Q. You said you might alter your schedule?
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. What would that mean?
TIGER WOODS: Probably play fewer tournaments this year as an overall. I mean it's just maybe two or three. It's not a lot. It's not like I'm playing 30 tournaments every year anyways. So I'm just taking a couple out. It's more than anything getting enough rest where I can go ahead and rehab a bit, keep rehabbing and get stronger so when I do play I don't damage it like I was before.
TIGER WOODS: Not a hundred yet.
TIGER WOODS: It feels good enough to play.
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