August 7, 2002
GRAND BLANC, MICHIGAN
Q. How was the course playing?
TIGER WOODS: Certainly not like in Florida this morning, with a sweater, but it was great.
Q. Do you mind playing in these Pro-Am events?
TIGER WOODS: When you get a good bunch of guys, it's fun. I've been paired up with some guys that they are trying to win the darned thing, instead of just going out there and having fun and relaxing and enjoying each other's company, and that's what we did today. We all didn't play like we normally would, but that's not -- the whole idea is to go out there and joy yourself.
I hit some good shots today.
Q. What is your goal here at Warwick, what do you want to accomplish?
TIGER WOODS: Win.
Q. For an event like this, day before the opening round, what type of things do you try to accomplish with your game?
TIGER WOODS: Right now, I'm just taking a look at the golf course, how is it playing, fast, soft, firm. Right now, the golf course is playing a little bit softer than I've seen it in the past. The greens are really soft. I'm not used to seeing 4-irons back up out here, 5-irons, stuff like that. But what I've been watching on TV, it looks like you guys had a lot of hot weather here and they have watered these greens to try and salvage them from the heat so they don't lose them before the tournament and they have just maintained a lot of moisture right now. If the wind blows right now it should dry them out, it's cooler weather.
Q. Any other part?
TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. I've felt pretty comfortable with every aspect.
Again, today more than anything, just try it take a look at it. I'm not trying to fix or repair anything because I feel pretty good about my game, so I just want to go out there and enjoy these guys' company and take a look at the course.
Q. What do you think about having 15 of the last 19 major winners here?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's always a good thing to have such a strong field to play in. It certainly brings out the best in just about every player who is playing the tournament and I think it provides a better atmosphere for all of the fans, as well.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I wasn't quite where it will be in the tournament. The fairways are really soft. They have got mud. But the golf course is 7,350 or whatever it's playing, it's playing a long 7,350. It should dry out between now and then -- if it does, it will play a lot shorter than what it was.
Q. Because you didn't practice here yesterday, does the Pro-Am almost become a distraction of what you're trying to do because it takes longer?
TIGER WOODS: I understand. When you're out there playing, you just want to enjoy these guys' company and have a good time.
The Pro-Ams are for us to take a look at the course, but more importantly to make these guys feel good about playing out here, make them feel comfortable and enjoy their time. The hard part sometimes is make them relax early on. They are a little nervous a little uptight, start spraying it but once they loosen up they start hitting good shots.
I've played a couple of these guys that you just tell jokes and have a good time, laugh, and I think more than anything, if you needle each other, that tends to break the ice.
Q. Fan support has really increased for this tournament, as it does this a day where you can more relaxed with the fans as well?
TIGER WOODS: Certainly. It's always nice to have them out here. It's a nice environment to play in. They are happy you're here, but more importantly the kids are out, they want to see some golf. Signed a few autographs here and there. Take a couple pictures with the volunteers and just enjoy everyone's company.
Q. Does it ever seem to amaze you how many fans want to get a piece of your time?
TIGER WOODS: I've experienced it in the past and you still never really quite adjust to it. You just accept it and understand that's just wait it is, but I don't really feel comfortable -- I never have really, with the whole idea of it. But it is neat for us as players to play in front of big crowds like this.
Q. What is it you like about this tournament and why did you decide to play this week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've only played here twice and the two times I've played fans have obviously been ecstatic about the game of golf. They love their golf here. Like I said, it's always fun to play in an environment like that because you hit a good shot and they are going nuts and having a great time, and you can kind of feed off that and it's that kind of crowd, if you're playing well.
If you're not playing well, that's a different story.
Q. Are you trying to get ready for the PGA or could you have gone in with the time off?
TIGER WOODS: I've won the PGA both ways. I've won by playing this event and I've won by not playing. I just wanted to get one more tournament in before that event because I think I've withdrawn from a couple tournaments this year, L.A. and the Western. So I'm trying to get my number up so I get my events in.
Q. This is one of the few tournaments you have not won. Is it because you have not played here a lot, or the course?
TIGER WOODS: I've done all right. I think I've finished like 15th or in the Top-10 so I haven't really played poorly here. But the guys just go so low. If you're not on your game and playing great, you're not going to win this tournament because you've got to shoot almost 20-under par.
TIGER WOODS: I know where you're coming from. It's something just become accustomed and to and you move on. It's one of those things where my father has always said, you don't have to like it, you just have to accept it and understand it, which I've done.
Sometimes you always wish you could have the privacy that you had when you were a kid or back in college or you were anonymous and no one knew who you were.
Then again, if you're not playing well, that's kind of how you end up being. So I'd much rather be this way because at least I'm playing well.
Q. What are the adjustments you make on your swing, going from the British Open, where you hit different shots to coming back here to America?
TIGER WOODS: A golf question? (Laughs).
Q. I like to talk about golf.
TIGER WOODS: Actually when I played at the Battle, it was interesting, for the first -- I played, what, 14 holes on Sunday, and then a few practice balls. And then I hit some practice balls on Monday before we went out, and I was telling Stevie how hard it is to actually make a follow-through, you're so used to holding everything off. 3-iron and you're thinking, "180, that's a perfect little 3-iron : -- that's what it was over there. So you've got to get your numbers back in your head, what do you hit certain clubs. Because when you go over there, numbers are thrown out the door. I hit 180, 3-iron and the next hole you hit it almost 300 yards. You have to play with the wind.
It took a few days to start feeling comfortable about letting go and making a follow-through again.
Q. Have you even the improvements to the clubhouse?
TIGER WOODS: I was a parking lot pro this morning, changing shoes right there and went to the tee.
Q. The third round at Muirfield, did you dwell on that at all?
TIGER WOODS: The next day I was ready to go. I think the score would indicate that, too.
You know, golf is one of those things, you've got to putt it out of your head and move on. It's a sport. It's not life or death. Sometimes we as athletes and anyone who plays any sport, I think we make too much of it sometimes.
Q. As well as you played Sunday, do you wonder if you had kept it --
TIGER WOODS: If you did that at every event you lost, you'd go nuts.
Even if you go out there and you say, well, you shot 65, "oh, man, I could have shot 60," you could do that with every single round you played in, from 81, I could have shot 75 in a day, or from a 62 I should have shot 57.
Q. Somebody told me they think you probably learned a lot is that Saturday at Muirfield. Did you learn a lot, dealing with yourself?
TIGER WOODS: No. (Laughter.) Because I've been there before. I've played poorly, and it's okay. As long as I keep trying each and every shot, and I grind it out. I grinded it all the way around that day. I didn't have it and the conditions added to it. It was just a tough day and it added up to 81. That's the best I could have shot that day. Unfortunately it was a lot.
Q. What would it mean to you, to win the PGA, three of the four majors this year?
TIGER WOODS: Three of the four, and right now, myself and Hogan are the only ones who have ever won three in the same year. So that would be nice to win three out of four again.
Q. How much did you play after Muirfield, and Muirfield and what kind of shots do you think you're going to have to work on for Hazeltine?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just like playing this golf course. It's just learning to get the ball up in the air again. All of us who played over there started hitting the ball a little lower, little lower, little lower, and sometimes it's a little difficult to let it go and get the path and release and get the ball up in the air again.
Q. Do you think you have to hit it high next week?
TIGER WOODS: It depends. The greens are soft when I played. It's just because they are trying to save the golf course with the heat they have been having. But if they get these kind of conditions, they are going to start getting brick hard and you have to throw that ball up in the air.
Q. What do you tell kids about the game of golf and getting into it, just the whole role model thing, just your relationship with kids?
TIGER WOODS: That's a pretty general question.
Q. How tough is it being a role model to kids and what would you say to who kids are becoming interested?
TIGER WOODS: It's an honor and a privilege to be a role model. It's neat for people to look up to you for what you do. It's been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of fun to try to make a difference in a lot of these kids lives and with my foundation it's just been really cool to be able to do that. We got some great ideas that we are starting to -- I think we are going to institute here in the next year or two which is going to be great for a lot of kids all around the inner cities.
Q. Did you see any pivotal holes yesterday?
TIGER WOODS: I think any time -- where the par 3s are playing, they are long, they are tough, and they can hide the pins and they are pretty good.
More than anything, Hazeltine is a driving golf course. You have to get the ball in play. With the rough being up and the greens probably firming up, you've got to get the ball in play in order to attack and make some birdies.
TIGER WOODS: Yes. I hit a lot of 3-woods over at Hazeltine, which is about like this golf course, a lot of 3-woods here. I really don't hit a many drivers when I play any golf course, really, and it's neat to be able to go out here and hit a lot of 3-woods which I'll use next week.
Q. We've talked a lot about your father's influence on your game, what about your mom?
TIGER WOODS: People don't give her justice for what she's done. She drove me to every junior tournament when I was a kid in southern California, playing. We would get up at 3:30 in the morning, drive two hours to go play nine holes. She was always there for me and always kept score of everybody in the group, which was really cool. How many shots did I hit, how many putts did I have, how many greens did I hit, fairways. She was always there, so I could take a look at it when I got home.
Her toughness. Her absolute toughness. People don't realize how tough she is. She handles pain, handles anything. She's just a very tough individual. People always -- I get a kick out of everyone writing and talking about my dad was the disciplinarian of the family. No, he was the softy. It was my mom that I was always afraid of. (Laughing). If I messed up, did anything in the house, it was my mom putting down the gauntlet. Dad was the one always if I had a reason, I could maybe negotiate something.
I think the Asian culture is just that way, and it's a lot more strict than it is here; and yes, sirs and yes ma'ams. And thank you, sirs, thank you, ma'ams, that was just the rule. You know, it's just -- put it this way, I'm very thankful that I've had that upbringing with my mom's influence, because without her influence, that certainly would not have had the success that I've had. There's no way.
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