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September 21, 2002

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: We have Tiger Woods, the leader. Another bogey-free day, that's 54 holes this week, 64 dating back to the final round at Sahalee. Tell us a little about today.

TIGER WOODS: I actually drove the ball better today. The conditions were a little bit more difficult today. The wind was blowing a little bit harder. The pins were tucked in some pretty good corners. It was hard to get the ball in play. I was possibly a little more conservative off the tees to get the ball in play, I had to control my spin going into some of these flags.

Q. Did you see the buggy going into the crowd?

TIGER WOODS: No, you could just hear it.

Q. With a 5-shot lead, will you be conservative off the tee tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: It depends what the conditions are. I mean, today, because there weren't clouds last night, the fairways were faster, the greens were faster, so you can run the ball down the fairways. That's what I did today; hit some flat shots and chased them down. The first couple of days, the fairways were a lot softer than they were today, so you had to carry the ball out there. I was hitting more of my drivers.

Q. Did you hit the ball today as well as you did yesterday from the fairway or rough or wherever?

TIGER WOODS: Not quite as good, no.

Q. It looked like early on you were scrambling or grinding a little bit more; do you almost enjoy that as much when you're not making bogey as something that's a 7-birdie round of 65?

TIGER WOODS: As I've always said, you feel better after making a big par save than you do making birdie. Something about not dropping a shot makes you feel pretty good because you work so hard making a birdie, you don't want to drop a shot and lose it.

Q. Have you ever played a tournament that offers $1,000,000 without making a bogey?

TIGER WOODS: What if I make one? Do I still get it?

Q. When was the last time you played a tournament without a bogey?

TIGER WOODS: I never have. Not a four-round tournament.

Q. Would it mean anything to you if you went 72 without a bogey?

TIGER WOODS: It meant that I not only played well, I really grinded well the entire week, I sucked up and made those big par putts. And I have done that the first three days, I've had six-, eight-footers for par and I had to bury those putts and I made them.

Q. Can you give us a rough guess, how many, six- to eight-footers, maybe half dozen?

TIGER WOODS: Probably a little more.

Q. Eight to ten?


Q. In this sort of relentless form and not making any mistakes, is there anybody behind you that can catch you at this stage?

TIGER WOODS: This golf course, you can shoot some low numbers on it, and because the greens are so pure -- I mean, the greens are so good -- anyone can come out tomorrow and shoot a low one. I have to keep making birdies and keep playing well.

Q. You know how competitive all these other men are. There are a lot of guys that are on the bubble for the Ryder Cup who didn't make it and they are all on the board now behind you, DiMarco, Lowery, Estes; do you think there is extra motivation for some guys this week?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think they're going to look at it like that. I think they're going to look at the fact that they came close, but we'll see what happens. They're going to try to play well because one thing, the purse is pretty big, and also the competition promotes that, too, having the best players in the world.

Q. Why were you so upset on 9, after your tee shot that landed in the middle of the fairway?


Q. 8, sorry.

TIGER WOODS: I saw something kick right and I thought I caught the bunker so I thought my ball was in the bunker. I hit on the same line I did on the practice round. I saw something. It might have been -- I don't know, a piece of cotton, I guess floating through the air.

Q. You thought it was in the bunker?


Q. Pleasant surprise?

TIGER WOODS: I'll take it.

Q. What did you hit in there?

TIGER WOODS: 3-iron.

Q. Yardage, do you remember?

TIGER WOODS: 255 to the hole.

Q. Is this the best you've played for three rounds this year or have you played better somewhere else?

TIGER WOODS: I think ball-striking-wise, I think I've hit the ball better at the U.S. Open this year, but putting-wise, controlling my pace on each and every putt ranks up there with Augusta this year.

Q. You play with Scott McCarron tomorrow. Obviously you have played a lot of golf together in Ireland?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, we have. It's going to be a lot of fun. Scotty is a great guy, and fun to hang out with as well. It will be fun tomorrow.

Q. Was he as hungover as he suggested when you guys played together here this summer?

TIGER WOODS: You have no idea. It was a tough round of golf for him.

Q. In the three years since you last played a Ryder Cup, the development of the golf ball seems like it's accelerated. You, specifically, going to Nike, and David and Pro V1, Star and Diamond and Hogan and Strata, et cetera; do you think it will be different with alternate shots in pairings? Do you think it will be a different factor than it might have been in previous years?

TIGER WOODS: Yes. I think -- I don't know if it's a bigger factor, but it certainly is one of the factors. In the past two Ryder Cups I've played in, we tried to get guys who were comparable in personality and game, but also in ball. You don't want a guy with -- back in '97 when I first played there, it was Strata, Mark played Strata and I played Titleist. One is a low spin -- low-launch high spin, and mine was exact opposite, so we had kind of a conflict, so we had to alternate and we had to figure out -- this is what ends up happening, you have to figure out who is going to hit the approach shot when you hit off the tees and play that way. So the guy has a chance to play his own ball into the greens when it's most important.

Q. With the launch and everything, does it matter on the tee shot as much?

TIGER WOODS: It doesn't matter much on the tee shots, but it matters a lot on the greens. That's kind of the tough part, is trying to get guys that -- even the guys who played Titleist who were playing a normal Pro V versus a Star or Diamond, those are three distinctly different golf balls. The guys playing Nikes, Double D and myself, those are complete opposite golf balls, so it's pretty tough to try to figure it out. But once you get the pairing, you have to hopefully match up golf balls that play well.

Q. What about David's ball?

TIGER WOODS: David's is a high-launch, low-spin ball. He spins the ball a lot more than I do. If I hit his ball, I hit it further off the tees, but shorter with my irons. I don't have spin. Without spin, the ball doesn't stay in the air.

Q. You've won these WGC events, at least once every year since it started. This being your last change, were you aware of that coming in, or does it matter to you?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't know that.

Q. Does that mean anything to you?

TIGER WOODS: It means I've played well against the best players of the world. That's what it means.

Q. Is that a streak you care about, is what I'm saying?

TIGER WOODS: I think so. Definitely you take pride in competing against the best players in the world and hopefully beating them.

Q. You've always seemed to enjoy Ireland; what is it about this country you enjoy most?

TIGER WOODS: I love coming here to fish, but I think the people here are just so nice. They're so gracious. It's just a very relaxed atmosphere, and playing golf, when we play golf here before the British Open, they understand their golf. They understand etiquette of the game. You heard a couple of yahoos out there today, and the fans got on them. Somebody had a cell phone, and they got on them. That's what's different, is they understand the game of golf. It's always a lot more enjoyable to play in front of people who understand the game.

Q. Is there any other place, and even Scotland, where you get applause and your partner, Jerry, in this case, gets applause just from walking on to the green or walking on to a tee box. It's like a tennis match.

TIGER WOODS: It's a gracious applause. They're not yelling and screaming just to yell and scream. It's almost as if they're saying "thank you" for coming and playing, "thank you for being here and competing." That's cool when it's like that.

Q. Do you think you'll get that next week?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know how many fans we've got coming over.

Q. How many takes did it take you to do the latest AmEx commercial? Was there a cute story behind that?

TIGER WOODS: It was all different. We tried to figure out -- first I was just casting regular overhand with a spinning rod. It's kind of tough to cast it with a golfing motion. You have to time it pretty good, and so I started trying it and I started getting it down pretty good where I was releasing it back here pretty early, and I was just hoping, just hoping I wouldn't hold on to it. I didn't want to take this old guy out (laughter), because it actually had a hook in it, and he's sitting right here. If I held on to it, I would take the old guy out. I didn't want to do that. If anything I lose a couple right here and there, but I finally got it right.

Q. Was his line scripted when he said "you hooked it"?

TIGER WOODS: He had a scripted line. It was a "you hooked it," but he said some pretty interesting things too. I had a nice -- about three or four perfect casts and he would come up and he would say something -- he was a little crusty. Let me put it that way. He was a little crusty. He deviated from the line because he thought it was better for it, but it wasn't. We had to make it PG, not R.

Q. What exactly did he say?

TIGER WOODS: As I said, we had to make it PG, not R.

Q. Did you keep the cap you're wearing?

TIGER WOODS: It's my hat, yeah.

Q. Tiger, I gather on Thursday night you met D.J. Carey, who is Kilkenny's hurling star, and I wondered how much he told you about hurling. I gather he gave you a hurl?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, he gave us a ball, too, so we were mucking around, hitting back at the room. We came close to taking out a window. It was pretty neat to have him explain how he actually does it. His wrist movement is unbelievable, how fast he's able to move it, even with a hurl in his hand. He's a great, great guy, real nice guy. J.P., one our buddies, J.P. McManus, knows him well and he introduced us. He actually gave us a tape of the championship game, which we have and we're going to watch it as soon as we get a VCR.

Q. Can I ask a goofy equipment question. You're talking about the balls, and obviously at the level you play at, it means so much equipment. If you're out playing with your buddies and you can't find your clubs and you have got to use your buddy's clubs out of the trunk of his car, how much difference will it make?

TIGER WOODS: Well, most of my buddy's shafts aren't going to be quite as stiff as mine. The weaker the shaft, the further right I hit it. It's lagging too far behind. When I'm out playing with my buddies -- I didn't bring my clubs to California, we were just going to hang out, and we wanted to go play, and I play with their set, I aim further left and hit shots, because I will lose it right.

Q. Does it make a difference?

TIGER WOODS: Big difference, especially ball flight, you'll hit it high right. If you hit a weaker shaft, it will go low left.

Q. When did you put your current putter in play once you started using it? Have you ever switched.

TIGER WOODS: I've never switched.

Q. What did you start with it?

TIGER WOODS: I played my first round competitively with it at the Byron Nelson '99.

Q. What exactly is it, what model?

TIGER WOODS: My model. I guess to best explain it, it's an Anser lookalike. It's what I grew up putting with since I was just a little boy.

TODD BUDNICK: How about your birdies?

TIGER WOODS: I birdied 5. I hit a driver and a 3-iron left of the green, chipped it up there to about a foot.

8, a driver 3-iron to about 18 feet, 2-putted.

No. 10, a driver and a 3-iron to the right bunker, blasted out to about six feet, made it.

17, I hit 3-wood and a 5-iron in the left bunker, blasted it out to about eight feet and made it.

18, I hit a 2-iron and a 5-iron to about four feet.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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