March 29, 2003
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
TIGER WOODS: I am putting well. I give myself looks at putts. Some of the putts I had out there weren't from the right level either, so the times I put the ball in the right area to make putts, I made them.
Q. Do you like your position right now without knowing where they are going to finish, but in general?
TIGER WOODS: In general I am looking pretty good right now. I am looking to where I can legitimately get to those guys tomorrow. Two birdies on the last two holes were huge, if they go ahead and Bird goes ahead and runs away wait little bit on the back nine, being at 4-under par that puts a big distance between myself and the leaders. Hopefully I can still get there.
Q. These spots today three or four putts, was it more than that --
TIGER WOODS: I hit some pretty sporadic shots out there. I made a good save on 6. That was a pretty little sweet little wedge through the trees, nice little bunker shot there.
Q. You got up and what was the window like? What was the thinking on that shot?
TIGER WOODS: Probably had about a two-foot area to hit the ball through which is no problem, but the way I have been hitting it (laughs) it was more of a challenge today than normally is. I just kind of focused a little bit more than I normally would on that shot, and I beared down and I hit the ball absolutely perfect.
Q. Encouraged by the final nine yesterday that you got things in sync again; then you bogeyed the first hole today. Was that a little downer saying, oh, my God, here we go again?
TIGER WOODS: Frustrated because I can do it on the range, with the swing I am working on, things that I am working on, I can do it on the range perfect. I get to the golf course and there it goes. Yeah, I do it intermittently, that's the problem. I need to do it a little bit more consistently.
Q. Weather tomorrow, going to make it easier to come from behind?
TIGER WOODS: I think so. If I play a good solid round tomorrow, it makes it a little bit easier to try and catch the guys.
Q. How does this course change when the weather changes?
TIGER WOODS: Any time it becomes windy this golf course becomes -- it's a mystery to try and figure out what club to pick. On the par 3, No. 13, trying to figure out where it is coming from, how strong, what club to hit, you got to hit it up in the air and you have got to ^ especially who. I have seen guys hit shots end up 20 yards short of the green. That's what you are going to see tomorrow. You are going to see good shots end up in weird places. Hopefully I can judge it and time it right.
Q. Wide smile on the last hole and fist pump, was that emotion there, was it all about the statement for the beginning of tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: I wanted to get back into it and not put myself too far behind the leaders. As I said earlier, if Bird goes ahead and runs away with it on the back nine a little bit being at 4-, 5-under, it's kind of hard to catch him. But 6 right now; I am only 4 back, that's certainly viable.
Q. What becomes not viable for you, any number?
TIGER WOODS: If bird goes ahead and shoots 4, 5 on the back nine and I am 4-under par, all of a sudden that's ten shots.
Q. Who is Bird?
TIGER WOODS: You didn't know that's his nickname. Jay Bird? He has been called that for 20 some odd years.
Q. What was the line like in the grass bunker at 9?
TIGER WOODS: I never really saw the ball. (Laughs) I saw it come out; that's about it.
Q. How did you hit that?
TIGER WOODS: Just played it like an explosion shot and hope for the best, just try and get the ball if I can get it anywhere on that green, it was going to be a heck of a shot, and walk out of there with no worse than 5, I am looking pretty good.
Q. Where were you on that?
TIGER WOODS: Bunker shot?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. From here to there. (Laughs).
Q. What was it to the green?
TIGER WOODS: 26 front and 10 more to the hole.
Q. Was your backswing affected?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I had to choke down, put the ball down in my stance, really get the club up so I didn't hit the tree.
Q. Big problems of bad weather here, then there's even a bunker or water hazard waiting....
TIGER WOODS: The problem is that if you are hitting the ball well and judging it right, all the balls tend to feed into the hole. All of a sudden you are not hitting it that solid and the wind takes the ball away from the hole; then you end up 40 feet away and you got windmills and stuff you have got putt through. It makes it tough with the wind blowing.
Q. You got Jay Haas, Corey Pavin, guys that are not long hitters contending here. What does that say about how the course is playing?
TIGER WOODS: It's playing very fair right now. Fairways are ample wide. They are plenty soft so that a good drive will stay in the fairway with no problem and the greens are receptive. So you add that in, anybody can play well.
Q. Really disappointed with the tee ball and it's 20 feet left to the pin. What didn't you like?
TIGER WOODS: The fact I hit it fat and high on the face it was fine. (Laughs) I got away with it.
Q. Will your position change your strategy?
TIGER WOODS: What do you mean position?
Q. Where you are in the field being behind or will the weather change it at all?
TIGER WOODS: Hey, this golf course got to play it into the little sections that you need to put the ball into. Put the ball on the fairway, of course, and then try and put the ball in the little areas that you need to put the ball into and hopefully make a few putts. Technically it really doesn't change.
Q. As a guy who obviously enjoys challenges, is the chase tomorrow, could you talk about the dynamic of that and how much you enjoy that, maybe going out and putting a good number down and seeing how it all falls?
TIGER WOODS: I'd much rather have the lead as you all know. But you know with the conditions tomorrow, if you go out and play a good solid round of golf, you are going to move up and you are going to challenge for the tournament. We all know anything can happen on the last three holes and especially if it's howling out there, anything can happen. Just need to put myself into position with nine holes to go.
Q. Is that part of the game fun for you too?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's fun competing, period.
Q. This week you are battling and it could go left, right, and you are still right in the hunt....
TIGER WOODS: I am surprised I am this close to the lead, there's no doubt about it. As I said today, I turned a 71 into a 68. Could have been certainly been a bit worse and the first day obviously turned a 77 or something like that into a 72. So I have definitely fought my way around this golf course. I have grinded my way and I have made my share of big putts.
Q. What was the joke at nine?
TIGER WOODS: It was between he and I.
Q. Do you think this is a great golf course?
TIGER WOODS: It's a good one. It's a challenging one.
Q. Fighting the course or yourself?
TIGER WOODS: Myself, certainly. The golf course, this is as easy as you've seen the golf course play, virtually no wind. I could down right get into a rhythm consistently. I'd hit shots intermittently really good and then all of a sudden I will lose it for a few shots.
Q. Good karma from your performance on the front yesterday; when you made the turn today you played well on the front yesterday. Did you feel good about that when you went to it today?
TIGER WOODS: If you would have asked me after my first two shots on No. 2 I would have said no. (Laughs). But after hitting good shot on my third one there and hit another good one on 4 I said, all right, just get back into the rhythm now, next hole hit a quack hook left off the tee with a 2-iron, just one of those things where I could never be consistent with it.
Q. Can we have a definition on saute?
TIGER WOODS: You rake across it. You rake across it real, real quick, try and get the club underneath the ball as fast as you can, and put spin.
Q. Sauteing a bunker shot or piece of fish at home?
TIGER WOODS: (Laughs) no comment.
Q. A lot of low rounds today but nothing too low. Is there a 64 or 65 out there on this course?
TIGER WOODS: Certainly the way this golf course is playing right now yeah, if you get it going you can feed the ball into a few of those holes and get it close and get going because there's really no wind out there.
Q. Bogeyed 5 and 7. Does 6 loom in your mind as a how many hole in today's round?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, actually I think 4 -- sorry 5 -- 4 and 6 are huge saves there because I just went birdie birdie on 2 and 3, and looks like I might give another way at 4, make that, good save there, and on 6, I could have made anything. Hits that tree and kicks in the trees, I could still be in there. To make 4 there and get out of there, it was -- definitely saved myself probably one or two there.
Q. Tournaments that come to mind where you didn't have your best stuff, you fought your swing kind of from start to finish but you ended up winning anyway. Any come to mind?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, San Diego. You guys saw how bad I was hitting it the first two days and somehow hung around and I was able to make everything.
End of FastScripts....