June 17, 2000
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA
LES UNGER: Tiger, I wonder if you're surprised that an even par round enabled you to
expand your lead to the point it is now.
TIGER WOODS: Well, to expand it to the point where it's at right now, no, I didn't
think it would. But I knew if I shot even par or somewhere close to that, I'd probably
pick up a shot or two, just because the conditions were so severe out there , that
anything -- just grind it out, shoot your level par, and post it. And I just figured that
with that much wind and that much rough out there, that the guys might have a little
LES UNGER: With a 10-shot lead, will you tend to be on the conservative side tomorrow,
or what will your strategy be?
TIGER WOODS: It will be exactly the same as it's been every day: Hit a lot of fairways.
And if I have the situations, fire at it; and if I don't, dump it on the green somewhere
and move on.
Q. Tiger, two-part question: Physically and mentally, what have been the components of
your ability to close out people, when you have third-round leads? Secondly, what will it
take for someone to catch you tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think, I guess starting from when I was a little boy, I've always
enjoyed competing. And I think that's one of the reasons why I've been able to win
tournaments, because I thoroughly enjoy competing, win or lose. I love to have the chance.
If I -- with another sport, for instance, basketball, I want to take the game-winning
shot, make it or miss it -- just the fact that I have that opportunity to take it. And
golf is the same way. If you have the lead or you're in the lead, or it's neck and neck
coming down the stretch, that's where I want to be. And I guess tomorrow, when I go out
there, if I play solid golf and play the way I know I can, then somebody is going to have
to shoot a really good number.
Q. Tiger, how does this dominating performance feel compared to The Masters performance
three years ago? Will you appreciate this one a little bit more?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think I've played better this year than I did in '97, just because
of the fact that it's so much more difficult off the tee. Back when I played at the
Masters in '97, there was no rough. You can hit the driver as hard as you want, anywhere
you wanted to, and you know it's going to be in the fairway. This week it's not that way.
You need to go out there and just grind it away and hit the golf ball in the fairway at
all costs, somehow. I've hit some weird clubs off the tees, but I've kept the ball in
play. And I guess the results are similar, but it's really hard to compare the two.
They're similar in the fact that I've played the same way, just the golf courses are so
Q. Tiger, could you tell us what happened on No. 10 on the second shot? It looked like
you were in severe pain for a couple of seconds. Any lingering aftereffects? Excuse me,
TIGER WOODS: I hit a rock. There was a rock right in front of my ball. I knew, in order
to hit the shot, I had to take the rock out, and I took it out. It put a nick in my club.
Q. How about your hand?
TIGER WOODS: My hand was fine. It's just that -- any player that plays golf has
calluses. I hit the shot, and my hand just turned. And I have cord grips. And on the
nongloved hand, it gripped my callus. Other than that, it's just fine. It was so cold out
Q. Was that a hazard?
TIGER WOODS: It was a hazard, so I didn't ground my club.
Q. When Ernie was in earlier, he said he thought you had gotten a break with the wind
the first couple of rounds. I wonder what was the wind like for you today, and did it
abate at all as your round went on?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it died down quite a bit coming in. But we played the hardest holes
in the wind. We played, I guess, the toughest stretch, 8, 9 and 10, in a pretty good wind.
Starting out the day, we played No. 5 in a pretty good wind. The wind cost me a shot at
No. 3 -- actually a few shots at No. 3. But that's just the way the luck of the draw goes.
It's very similar to a British Open. The morning could be terrible; the afternoon could be
great, or vice-versa. I just figured, if I could just keep plugging along, that generally
what happens is the wind does die down in the evening, and it did.
Q. Tiger, you're something of a golf historian. Have you had time, or has it sunk in at
all what you've been able to achieve so far in this tournament? Jack has never been here.
Is that something you've even -- that's crossed your mind at all?
TIGER WOODS: To be perfectly honest, no, it hasn't, just because the tournament is not
over yet. Until it's finished, yeah, then I'll think about it, and I'll reflect on it, and
hopefully have some pretty good memories. But until that moment comes, I need to keep
working and get the job done, and then I'll enjoy it pretty good.
Q. Tiger, what did you hit in to No. 3, and did the wind balloon it?
TIGER WOODS: A 7.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. And describe your third shot at No. 6. You were not in the bunker, but it looked
like you had an awkward stance.
TIGER WOODS: I had one foot in, one foot out. I was in some hay. Had a half-decent lie,
and only had 64 yards to the front. I figured if I carried it 64, it might roll all the
way there; but if not, leave it short of the green, 2-putt, and move on. When it first
came out, it looked pretty good. Then, all of a sudden, it dropped. I said, "That's
short." But it landed on the green and released up there to the hole. And Stevie
said, "This is an important putt. You have to bury this putt." And I went ahead
and concentrated and made that thing right in the middle of the hole.
Q. Tiger, are you surprised there isn't anybody closer? Have you looked up at the
leaderboard at any point and thought: "Where is everybody?"
TIGER WOODS: I was looking at the leaderboard all day. And, of course, it's not playing
easy out there. If you're out there, it's blowing. And it's hard to shoot a good number
when it's blowing out there. The greens aren't that smooth, and they're rock hard. It's
unusual for us playing Pebble Beach with all the experience that a lot of the guys have
had in playing here in the AT&T or Crosby, and watching golf balls with wedges skip 20
feet before they think about stopping. Usually, they're plugging them with drivers. Stevie
and I were laughing at the front. We ripped a 3-wood on the first hole at the AT&T,
and today a chip 5-iron down there.
Q. Tiger, away from golf. When is the last time you set out to accomplish something and
then had to admit to yourself afterwards you weren't good enough to accomplish it?
TIGER WOODS: Probably right before the Byron Nelson. I went out fly fishing with Marco,
and there was a lot of wind. It's hard to shoot the line in the wind, and I just don't
have quite the experience yet.
Q. Tiger, after you took the triple on 3, you walked over to your caddy and smiled, and
that's quite in contrast to your reaction on 18 in the morning. Did you have a talk with
yourself in between, or why the difference in the reaction?
TIGER WOODS: Well, on 18, it was just absolute double-cross. It it's just frustrating
to end a round of golf like that. I did not hit that bad a shot on 3, and to get -- I
don't know how my ball ended up where it did. If you look at that lie, you can barely see
the golf ball. I was playing sideways, and I couldn't even play sideways. And I thought
about taking it out and taking the lie, it was that bad. But I figured: Go ahead and play
it, you might be able to get it to the fairway or get in the rough where you can pitch on
and get a putt. I couldn't get it out. But I smiled just because of the fact I didn't hit
that bad a shot, and I ended up with walking away with 7. On 18, I did hit a pretty bad
Q. Tiger, this is by no means an attempt to diminish what you've accomplished so far,
but on 18 the microphones did catch you using some pretty salty language. Do you have a
reaction to it?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was the heat of the moment. I'm one of the those guys who plays
pretty intense; and unfortunately, I let it slip out. And I regret doing it. But
unfortunately it happened. And I can apologize until I'm blue in the face; but when you're
a competitor and you're fighting all day, and it was early in the morning, and I just went
ahead and hit probably the worst shot I hit all week on a hole I can get there in two. And
I proved that. It was just very frustrating, and I let it go a little bit.
Q. Tiger, there's 17 holes to play until you reach this point. But if you get to 18
tomorrow and have somewhat of a similar lead, might you allow yourself to soak up the
moment and perhaps have a 500-yard coronation?
TIGER WOODS: Ask me that tomorrow.
Q. Tiger, as a kid growing up, I'm sure you pretended you were in the U.S. Open a
million times. Were you ever this far ahead of the pack?
TIGER WOODS: No. I'm usually playing against Jack and Arnold and Hogan and those guys,
and usually it's neck and neck. But I've never had anything like this, even in fantasy
golf, playing late in the evenings.
Q. The record in relation to par is 8-under. How important is it to you to break it?
TIGER WOODS: It's not important at all. I need to go out and get the job done tomorrow.
I think the record in itself will be able to take that trophy home with you.
Q. Tiger, how would you rate the galleries here at the U.S. Open as compared to the
TIGER WOODS: A lot more knowledgeable.
Q. A lot calmer, a lot more civilized?
TIGER WOODS: And far fewer cameras, a lot. We play AT&T, you look this way, and
it's strobe lights.
Q. Tiger, with regards to the severity of the golf course, you mentioned earlier, this
question is majors only that you've played in. Can you compare the severity today to any
of the bad days at Birkdale or Carnoustie or I think it was Saturday at Augusta when it
got cold. Was this the most severe weather conditions at a major that you've faced?
TIGER WOODS: I think probably the most severe had to have been Birkdale on the third
round. I think that's probably the most severe I've ever played in a major championship.
The wind was blowing pretty good. I hit a 4-iron from 150 yards, stuff like that. Just a
little awkward. And it was cold.
Q. Tiger, I heard you say earlier in an interview that you were determining what it was
that was keeping the others away from you, what was making you this much better than
anybody else. And you were saying you were making the putts. Is that the thing that you've
TIGER WOODS: I think -- it's not necessarily making putts. It's making the right putt
at the right time. There comes a point in time in the round when you need to make that big
par-putt to keep the momentum going or build on something you've already had. You don't
want to lose anything. And I've been able to make those par-putts this week. It's hard to
explain why. Simple fact that I've concentrated just like I normally do. But the putts are
just going in. Those putts generally keep the momentum going or build on what you have.
For some reason, you make a big par-putt on a major championship by 8 or 10 feet, you feel
even better than you do making a birdie. It's the weirdest feeling, but you really do. And
I've had that feeling, fortunately and unfortunately, a lot this week.
Q. I just want to talk about Ernie's round today. He shot 68 in these conditions. How
good is that? And if he shoots somewhere similar tomorrow, does that really do anything to
put any kind of pressure on you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it all depends on how I play. Ernie played a beautiful round of golf
today. He holed out on 4, and almost chipped in on 6. He started out beautifully, and hit
the ball well, and maintained that all the way throughout the round. And that was not easy
to do. So he just proved to you why he's won two of these titles. He's able to play solid
golf under tough conditions on an extremely difficult golf course, and that's why he's
been as successful as he has in U.S. opens. Going into tomorrow, if I can just go out
there and hit a lot of good solid shots, especially off the tees, I feel like if I drive
the ball in a lot of fairways tomorrow, I have a pretty good chance, no matter what he
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