August 26, 2000
LEE PATTERSON: All right, sir. Appreciate you joining us. Maybe just a couple thoughts about today's round and as you head into tomorrow.
TIGER WOODS: Well, today I got off to a good start (smiling). I hit the ball well most of the day, made a couple good saves out there. Rolled the ball well, just nothing really went in. Overall, I played solid today, and I had the lead; and I shot 67 with the lead, which was a good score to shoot today. And I was able to increase my lead.
Q. Can you tell us what happened to you on 15?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I got stung by a little hornet or wasp or whatever it is. It was just laying on the ground kind of wounded, and I had my glove on. Tried to pick it up and not kill it. When I tried to throw it, I lightened up my grip pressure; it came around and got me.
Q. On the finger?
TIGER WOODS: Finger, yeah. Right on my finger tip.
Q. Index finger?
TIGER WOODS: Ring finger.
Q. You're not allergic or anything that you know of?
TIGER WOODS: If I was, you'd know by now. (Laughter.)
Q. Have you had it treated yet?
TIGER WOODS: Treated? I don't need to have it treated. Stinger is still there. That's fine.
Q. Are you going to leave it in?
TIGER WOODS: I'll dig it out when I go home.
Q. Was it on your mind?
TIGER WOODS: He was hopping across, and he was getting into my line, so I decided to get him out of the way.
Q. Once again, as you said, you made some great saves out there, but the putting just didn't seem to fit with you today as well as you were hitting the ball. I wonder your thoughts there, please.
TIGER WOODS: I feel like I rolled the ball well, and I felt steady over the putts; felt like I was releasing the blade nicely. The putts just didn't go in. A couple times I misread a couple putts out there; and consequently, I didn't make a whole lot of birdies. But I made the good start. That's when I made my putts, so that's nice.
Q. A little bit of anxiety -- you played steady par golf after that bogey at 4. A little anxiety to make something happen, or were you happy with that?
TIGER WOODS: I'm very happy. I had an 11-shot lead at the time, which meant that if they were going to come get me, they had to make up 11 shots if I made pars all the way here through the end of the day tomorrow. And 11 shots is a lot to make up on this golf course. I just felt like if I hung around, hit solid shots, put the ball on the green on the fat side, and I might be able to make one or two. Never made one. But I did the right thing by trying to fire away from a lot of the pin, leave myself uphill putts. A couple times I hit bad shots and got away from them, put them on the first cut. But overall, not bad.
Q. Strategy tomorrow? Just fairways and greens, or pins?
TIGER WOODS: If I can hit a lot of fairways and greens, I like my chances -- I feel like I'm rolling the golf ball. On this golf course, greens are not very big. So if you dump the ball on the middle of the green here, you're doing all right.
Q. Can you describe the contortion on the follow-through on 18? We've seen it a couple times. How does that happen?
TIGER WOODS: I got a terrible lie in the rough, and I have to be able to -- if you've got a lie like that, you've got to be able to get the ball up over the tree and then hook it against the left-to-right wind, enough where I hit my ball straight up dead over the tree. It's up against the right rough, up against the right tree, which means I had to have an open face at address and close it up at impact and produce the hook and loft it enough to get it over there. And when I do that, I put my whole right side over the ball to get the ball to hook; and consequently, I put a weird follow-through on it.
Q. Have you seen pictures of it?
TIGER WOODS: Probably the one at the British Open is the only one I've seen, and the one at PGA in '99, underneath the tree over on -- what was it? 15, the low-cut 2-iron up there. That was kind of funny looking.
Q. What's it like looking at it?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's funny looking, but the shot ended up pretty good.
Q. Are you interested in scoring records and such?
TIGER WOODS: Not really. I just found out today that 18-under par was the record here. I didn't know that, but I just like to get the "W" and go home -- I'm sorry -- go to Palm Springs.
Q. At one point, Phil was -- it looked like he probably could have finished within five or six strokes of you. Would you rather have that type of competitiveness going into tomorrow, or would you rather have a big lead?
TIGER WOODS: Big lead any time. I've said it again and again, and I will continue to say it. Granted, it's more drama for all of you and the people watching when you have a finish like we did last week. But I would much rather have it where it's a lot like the U.S. Open.
Q. Sort of along that vein, are you surprised at all of some of the margin of lead you've been able to build after three rounds, not only here, but several times this year?
TIGER WOODS: I've played well, and I guess I've played well on tough courses, where it has been difficult to score. And to be honest with you, I've just played well, I've managed my game well. And on top of that, I've made a lot of putts. And if you can do all of the above, you're going to be in pretty good shape. And it just so happened that it came along at some of the bigger events.
Q. What club did you hit out of the rough at 18?
TIGER WOODS: Wedge.
Q. How far did you have?
TIGER WOODS: I had 62 front, and I had 20 more -- 82.
Q. Did you hood it or anything?
TIGER WOODS: Open face. More loft.
Q. You need a 64 tomorrow to break the all-time 72-hole scoring record -- just letting you know.
TIGER WOODS: Okay.
Q. You talk about winning; that's all that's important. But if you get to the back nine and you're up 12 or 15, and the tournament is essentially over, is that something where you might keep that in mind and go for it? Why not? Be nice to have your name in the book.
TIGER WOODS: If it got to that point -- but it has to -- I really don't like to play that way. I'd much rather just play my own game and kind of put the ball on the green where I have a lot of putts at it. Like I told Stevie at that Buick, I was playing on -- I believe it was Saturday or Sunday, the greens were really soft. And I said, "You know what? It feels weird to fire at every pin." I don't really enjoy that. I enjoy putting the ball 10 feet right, 10 feet short, having certain putts. I like doing that a little bit more than having to fire at every flag.
Q. Curious, you shoot 61 yesterday; you start birdie, eagle, birdie. What were you thinking about?
TIGER WOODS: What was I thinking about? Hitting fairways and greens.
Q. Did you feel like you were playing as well?
TIGER WOODS: Not really. If you look at the shots I hit, a tee shot on 1 was kind of borderline. It was kind of skanked off the heel. The wedge shot was good. The drive on 2 was good. Second shot, I pulled it about 15 feet, tried to hit it right of the hole, and it ends up left of the hole. Made the good putt. The 2-iron going down 3, I kind of heel-skanked that one. But it rolled down the fairway, and I had a good angle at the flag. I hit a wedge shot in there. I hit a couple marginal shots.
Q. Do you recall the last time you eagled the same hole three days in a row?
TIGER WOODS: No. I don't think I have. Junior golf, I had one pretty good record there for a while. But I don't think I've ever eagled three days in a row.
Q. How about 14 straight pars?
TIGER WOODS: 14 straight pars -- I think I did it in a major one time; didn't I?
Q. Club and distance on 2 for the eagle today.
TIGER WOODS: 1, I hit 2-iron and a wedge. I had 123 to the flag on 1. Then I hit about 10 feet behind the hole, and made that. 2, I had 178 to the flag, and I hit a soft 6-iron, and it landed pin-high and kind of skidded left, right off the green. And I made about a 15-footer there for eagle, from the fringe. 3, 2-iron off the tee, a pitching wedge from 127 to the hole. I hit it about a foot. No. 4, I hit a driver off the tee, landed in the fairway, rolled into the left rough. It landed on a drain, so I took a drop and ended up playing out of there. I had 65 front, another 28. I hit wedge, that went over the green, and hit a poor chip to about eight feet short and missed it.
Q. What was the gallery like today? Did you hear much heckling or anything?
TIGER WOODS: There was a little bit of heckling out there, but nothing that I have not been through before.
Q. You shot 61 yesterday, went to the range. Were you working on anything specifically or not? And two, do you ever have a day where you just finish and not go to the range because you just feel like --?
TIGER WOODS: Today. Obviously, I can't today. But I enjoy going out and just hitting balls to just kind of relax and basically wind down a little bit. Yesterday, when I was on the range, I was still trying to get my swing plane a little bit better, round it off at the top so I could come down in front of me. I felt that most of the day I hit good shots -- there were about two or three shots that were kind of marginal. So I wanted to go ahead and hit those clubs again, make sure that I get some good feedback going into tomorrow -- going into today.
Q. Given last weekend and all you went through to win that tournament, are you tired right now physically or mentally?
TIGER WOODS: I feel great. It's one of the reasons why I try and stay in decent shape.
Q. I don't know if there's a difference -- and that's what I want to learn -- an attitude about how you win and how you play the game? Is there a difference? And how would you assess or grade yourself in that regard?
TIGER WOODS: I think I've gotten better at learning how to play the game, managing my swing and my emotions and the shots around a golf course, what needs to get me around the golf course in as few of shots as possible. I've gotten better at doing that. It's something that has taken time to learn. And I will continue to learn on it and improve on it, because I've always felt that course management, you could never get good enough at it. You can always learn something new. You get new shots, new lies and new things that happen on the golf course that you have not seen before -- ooh, you can put this in the file. Those things end up getting to the point where you do win. You've got to learn how to play the game before you can win. And once you -- if you can do both, then you're going to win a lot.
Q. Could you talk about your save on 15?
TIGER WOODS: I hit a wonderful 5-iron in there, right on my target. It just flew a long ways. I had -- what was it? 228 to the hole. And I had a 5-iron that flew pin-high it. Was downwind, but I didn't think I hit it that solid. It rolled up against the deep stuff, and it was just a weird shot. I didn't know if I wanted to 3-wood it, blade it with a sand wedge, or bump-and-run it, because I was into the grain. The reason why I chose a 60-degree sand wedge was because the grass was going into me. If it was going downgrain, I probably would have bladed it or putted a 3-wood, so I wanted to make sure I could fly all that. And the lie, it was sitting up perfect where I felt like I could spin it. So I tried to play a spinner, but I spun it -- I carried it too far. I carried it about two feet too far; came out hot, and got lucky by hitting the hole, because it would have been about 12 feet past.
Q. Have you had a chance to look at the tapes of last week yet?
TIGER WOODS: I have not. I have them, though. I just got them.
Q. There was a deal with your tee ball in the playoff at 18. Palmer had balls thrown back on greens. Do you have any take on that at all?
TIGER WOODS: I've seen that. I've seen the slowdown -- what's it called when they enhance the light on it? I've seen that. And I've seen replay after replay. If you look at it, as the ball lands -- and there's a guy running down. He disappears. But there's another guy right to the left on the other side of the cart path that is parallel to him. I would think that if he would have done something, this guy could have seen it, because he was looking right at him. But if you were out there, you know how steep that slope was. And as soon as that ball starts getting any kind of momentum, I mean it is flying back, and it spent most of it's time on the cart path, too.
Q. If it was kicked or -- does that change anything?
TIGER WOODS: If it was kicked, then it's unfortunate, because that's not how the game is meant to be played. We play by truth and honor out here. There's the difference between every other sport; that's what separates golf from all the other sports is that we try and monitor ourselves, and we call penalties on ourselves. It happens all the time. That part of it, if it did happen, would be very unfortunate, because that's not the way the game of golf is meant to be played.
Q. At St. Andrews, Jack said he played moderately conservative with a lead. Is that a fair description of you also? And as a guy that knows the history of the game -- go to school on what happened to Arnold that year in the U.S. Open with the seven -shot lead?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, he did. I've seen the tapes of that. He tried to hit long irons out of rough, trying to hit the ball up near the greens, which I -- and Billy played a wonderful back nine. When I played at St. Andrews and I had a good lead and David made a run at me early on, I just wanted to keep hitting solid shots and keep giving myself chances at birdies. And I felt I was putting good enough where I could convert, but more importantly, I needed to keep the onus on David by hitting good, solid shots and always letting him know I'm right there, and have a birdie opportunity at each and every hole, and again and again and again. And granted, I'm going to make my share and I felt David was going to do the same, but if I could just keep hanging around -- if he hits first, put the ball inside of him, make him look at my ball; make it on top of him and move to the next. Those are things that you need to try and do.
Q. When you go out and play a round of golf, who is the competition: Is it the other players, is it the golf course, or is it yourself in some sort of just secret goal that you have for yourself that day?
TIGER WOODS: One thing that my father has always taught me is that the main competitor in the game of golf is always going to be the golf course. You can't play other people. You need to play the golf course. That's what you're playing. You need to go out there and execute shot after shot, play what you want to on that golf course; and at the end of the day, if you beat the golf course, you're going to take care of yourself in the tournament.
Q. You said you'll come tomorrow with a fairly relaxed attitude, play conservatively, make some pars. If someone makes a run at you tomorrow, gets within a stroke or two, at what point do you change that game plan, and how hard is that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, if I make a lot of pars, then that person has really got to go low. (Laughter.) If they can play that type of round, well, hats off. If I can just go out there and take care of my business, hit a lot of fairways and greens, and not really put a whole lot of stress on myself, I'll be all right.
Q. Phil didn't take care of his business on the last two holes. Did you have a reaction when he was making bogey and double? Did you see the double?
TIGER WOODS: He hit -- going back to 17, he hit a wonderful second shot out of the bunker; that lip was pretty high, and it surprised me he was actually able to get it to the hole. I thought for sure he was going to be short of the green and pitching up the green. At the best, he'd be on the front edge, but he flushed it and got it all the way out there. And that shot, I've had that shot before. I've played that shot in a Pro-Am one time, I think back in -- what's that, '97 I think I played it back there -- not a Pro-Am, but one of my practice rounds. I hit just a terrible shot playing for a little cash, with whom I was playing with -- I think it was Marko, and he made me play it, and I whiffed it and chipped it long and lost the hole. But I remember how tough that shot was. It's not an easy shot. And he tried to play the best shot he could, which is: Try to land it in the first cut and try and roll it through. Because if he lands it anywhere near the green, it's going down to the bottom, right where I was, and just didn't come out. The next shot I thought for sure he'd hole. He's been chipping wonderfully all day and just came up short and made the bogey put. On 18, kind of surprised me, because he's been putting so well all day, he's had wonderful pace on his putts. I guess the only -- I think he only hit three bad putts all day. The other one was on 10, similar distance and the two on 18. But the rest of the day, he putted beautifully.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate it. Thank you.
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