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August 24, 2000

Tiger Woods


GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, Tiger, a new venue, a new week, but same old story. Do you never grow tired of this?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I broke 80, which is good. No, today I just wanted to get off to a good, solid start. Eagle on the 2nd hole. I hit a 6-iron in there to about a foot, and I was able to make that putt. Somehow snuck it in. But overall, I felt pretty pleased at the way I was playing. I didn't drive the ball very well. I drove it terrible on the back nine. I was able to keep it on the property, which is good, and that's about it. That's the extent of it. I didn't hit the ball very well coming in; and consequently, I didn't shoot the scores I wanted to shoot.

GORDON SIMPSON: How do you feel psychologically after the draining events on Sunday?

TIGER WOODS: Pretty good, actually. I got some rest Monday and Tuesday, which was nice. Came here and played about six holes yesterday, which was nice. And I got a feel of the golf course. Went out today ready to go, and I was able to play well, for the most part.

GORDON SIMPSON: Well, you're back on the top of the leader board.

Q. What do you think you could shoot on this course on a day like this, if you could drive it decent?

TIGER WOODS: I was 7-under through 12. If I could at least give myself more chances to hit some iron shots and make some putts -- I was putting well., I just wasn't able to give myself some chances to make putts. And when I did, I did make them. I made a good putt on 16 for bogey. Made a good one on 17 for birdie, and another good save on 18 for bogey. If I would have hit those in there tight for birdies, might have been different.

Q. Firestone is a lot tougher than the scores reflect. Even though we got all the great players here, obviously, today was the day to take advantage of the course. What are your thoughts there?

TIGER WOODS: The greens are in perfect condition. And on top of that, the fairways are not fast, but they are running a little bit, which means you can get the ball down there. If you keep the ball on the correct side of the fairways, you can run quite a bit. The greens are really soft, so you can take dead aim on it on any flight. You know the ball is going to stick, even the long par 3s. On 15, I had a 4-iron in my hand, and I knew if I landed the ball flag-high it was going to stay right there. This golf course was not designed to be played like that. Just that we got some rain over the past few days that has softened it up pretty good.

Q. Is it fair to say this was kind of a subdued day in terms of the gallery and Tiger Mania and things like that? How would you characterize the crowds here?

TIGER WOODS: I was telling Stevie going out on the 1st hole how quiet it was. It was nice, it really was, without anyone screaming and yelling, someone stretching out their vocal cords. It was nice.

Q. When was the last time you had a crowd like that? Has it been a long time?

TIGER WOODS: The British Open, I played about 5:30 in the morning on the practice round and there was no one out there, and that was really nice. About 5:32, I think it was, that was really nice and quiet.

Q. What about at tournament rounds?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think I ever have.

Q. Is this the quietest?

TIGER WOODS: No. I don't think I ever have had it too quiet.

Q. Speaking of quiet, the season is winding down, you are playing two or three more events. How do you feel about that this year? Are you ready for that, or would you like to keep going?

TIGER WOODS: I'm ready for it. I've geared up for the major championships, and I've played well. And now I have a few more World Golf Championships, plus our TOUR Championship, and I've got to defend at the end of the year, the last three tournaments of the year in our season. And after that, I go overseas for a little bit. I'm ready to wind it down and then gear it back up for my little stretch run there.

Q. When you are a defending champ of a tournament, does that give you a little bit of something else to shoot for? Does that matter for you?

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. I've always figured that you're defending champion for 51 weeks, and once that week starts of the tournament, you're no longer defending champion. It's up for grabs. That's kind of how I've always approached it.

Q. You just said you gear up for the majors. They are done, and you did pretty well. It's clear there's a little bit of a letdown all over the place this week, and yet you're out there, unhappy over some shots like that. I mean, why bother? Do you ever get that feeling?


Q. You've set out to accomplish a lot of what you've accomplished already. If you win, it's just another win?

TIGER WOODS: The goal of the week is to win.

Q. Do you find yourself just wanting to give yourself a mental break and not be so hard on yourself?

TIGER WOODS: When I'm not playing is the time to rest. When I'm playing this week, it's time to work, and I'm trying to get myself in position to win coming down Sunday afternoon.

Q. Your game is endlessly dissected.

TIGER WOODS: You think?

Q. On 9 today, one part of your game that's gotten markedly better since you've turned pro, you've turned a hole, like what happened at 9, into something -- do you think you are a lot better at that than you were four years ago?

TIGER WOODS: No. I was probably better then, because I hit some terrible tee shots when I was a kid. I was a terrible driver of the golf ball when I was a kid, so I had a lot of practice. That shot, I told Stevie, "I sniped it in here; I can definitely snipe is it out." No big deal. You have to just hit the same tee shot and right up there next to the green, and I was able to do that. But growing up, I never hit fairways. I was always in the trees, and I was somehow able to win tournaments and shoot a good score. Now that I think people notice it more because I'm in the fairway more often. When I do miss a fairway, people do take more of a notice to it. "Wow, you made a great par there." That's how I used to play: Aim down the middle, hit it, go find it, and try to play from there; and hopefully, I can make par or birdie.

Q. You mentioned your crowd today. Do you think it is the fact that the people who come to the game because of you, you know, the new fans out there are starting to get a little more savvy about the dos and don'ts on the course?

TIGER WOODS: No. That's not the case at all, no. If you were in Kentucky last week, it was not the case. Jack was saying on the 1st hole, going down the 1st hole, he says, "I've never seen it like this." I said, "Oh, welcome to the PGA TOUR." (Laughter.)

Q. Once again, I refer to the toughness of Firestone. And you know it can jump up and get you even as good as you were rolling along. Are we still in that patient mode, that real mode of game management, course management?

TIGER WOODS: I think you are always playing that way. It's just -- I think that is the way you need to play the game of golf is you need to manage your way around the golf course. And the harder the golf course, the more it puts a premium on doing that. And this golf course, obviously, it is not an easy golf course. And you've got to drive the ball well to position your irons so you have a chance at making some putts. You know, I've always felt that if you can manage your game well, you should be able to have a chance to win, even if you're not really striking the ball that well. A lot of times, you don't really play your misses correctly, and that's part of course management. Today I tried to play for my misses, it's just I had a two-way miss; that's not good.

Q. About the letdown, have you ever had a big letdown after a win, and how do you manage to avoid it as so many of the other players cannot seem to do?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I have always felt that I have -- my weeks when I am playing, you've got to give it all you've got and you can't turn the switch on and off. Jack was probably the best at that. I always remember reading that quote, he says: "I've never turned the switch on and off. I've always had it on." And that's the way you need to play the game of golf. And there's no sense in coming to a tournament if you're not going to try. There's no reason being here. And that's the way I feel, and when I'm here at a tournament site, I'm going to give it everything I have, and if I play bad, I play bad; if I play great, I play great. And I'm going to try my darnedest to shoot my best round that day.

Q. In view of what happened last Sunday, would you like the idea of going into a wire-to-wire scrap this Sunday or would you prefer a big lead?

TIGER WOODS: Give me a big lead any day. The bigger, the better.

Q. On that sort of theme, not to beat it to death, and not to suggest that you did not look interested today, but have you ever anywhere been bored on a golf course?

TIGER WOODS: Been bored? I don't think I've ever been bored. I've been to the point where I've been frustrated where, yeah, you don't really want to be out there because you're not playing well. I'm sure all of you can relate to that. (Laughter.) I don't believe -- I have never gotten bored playing the game. I love playing it, but there are times when I get frustrated to the point where it is not fun playing it but when you are hitting shots that you just don't know where it is going to go.

Q. How concerned are you with the driver right now or have you already worked it out?

TIGER WOODS: I walked straight to the range. That's why I did not come here right away. I hit a few drivers -- a lot of drivers, actually, and got it straightened out.

Q. One thing we cannot relate to is standing on the 13th tee 7-under. When you are, are you actually working out what it takes to break 60?

TIGER WOODS: No. Just trying to put the ball in the fairway on that hole. I didn't do a good job of that, and I put my ball right behind a root. Not a good spot to be in. Somehow made 4. But just when you're there at 7-under and you're playing halfway decent -- I was putting beautifully, just try to post the best number you possibly can, and whatever it is, it is. Every time I have gotten off to great starts, I have never once considered shooting that number. Even the day I shot 59, I had nine consecutive holes under par, I was 10-under through nine holes in one stretch, and even then, it did not enter my mind shooting 59. I just want to continue playing well, and "Can I get Mark's money."

Q. You're 7-under after 12; was there a point on the back side where you didn't maybe run out of gas, but you were either physically or mentally tired?

TIGER WOODS: No. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. I just -- even though on the front nine, it looked like I was driving it well, because the ball was in the fairway, it didn't feel good. I was just kind of timing it and trying to get my hand through the ball. I lucked a couple of them out there. It wasn't pretty, but it was in the fairway; I got the job done somehow. And eventually it just caught up with me where my timing -- I got into a position where I couldn't time it anymore; that club was in such a bad position. And that's the way the game is sometimes. It comes and goes and you just need to try and make the best of it. 2nd hole, I hit a 6-iron in there to about a foot, made three. I had 206. No. 4, I hit an 8-iron from 160 to about 10 feet and made that. No. 5, I hit a 6-iron to about six feet; made that. No. 8, I hit a pitching wedge to about 10 feet and made that. 11, I hit a sand wedge to about 12 feet and made that. No. 12, I hit an 8-iron to about eight feet and made that. 16, I hit a sand wedge over on the back bunker, one hop and buried. Blasted out, didn't get on the green, chipped up about six feet by and made that for bogey. 17, I hit a 60-degree sand wedge from the right rough to about six feet; made that. And 18, hit a driver off the tee in the right rough, hit the tree, came back behind me. Hit 8-iron on the green to about 20 feet and 2-putted.

Q. What was the club going in to 1, and how far was that putt?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a pitching wedge from 116. The putt was about 20 feet by the hole.

Q. On No. 9, what did you use to recover through the trees?

TIGER WOODS: 5-iron.

End of FastScripts...

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