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May 27, 2000

Tiger Woods


LEE PATTERSON: Wonderful position heading into the final round tomorrow. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about getting there and what you have to do tomorrow, and then we'll open it up to questions.

TIGER WOODS: Today was a good round, and I hit the ball better than I did yesterday. Didn't make quite as many putts, but definitely a better ball-striking day, especially with the wind up as it was today. And when you have the lead, it's always a little more difficult to go out and post a low round, and I was able to do that today.

Q. When you eagled and then birdied at 8, a lot of people were whispering around the golf course, I don't know if you hear them, the word "59" is coming to people's lips. Do you start thinking about that at all?


Q. What enters your mind?

TIGER WOODS: "Birdie the next hole." That was it. Just put myself in position to make birdie. That's all you want to do. You're not going to always make birdie, but just put yourself in position, and I was able to do that most of the day.

Q. Would there ever come a point when that would start entering? I mean, was that just too early?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if you're -- if you're 11- or 12-under, somewhere around there or 9-under through 14 or 15 holes, then obviously it's more possible -- feasible, but you need to have some holes that are going to be a little more lenient. These finishing holes are playing straight into the wind, and some tough pin locations. It's a little difficult to make some birdies coming in.

Q. When you had that 9-stroke lead at the Masters, you always said there was a little bit of pressure because of what happened with Greg the year before. Can you talk about the fact that you're obviously in good position with six-stroke lead and balancing that with how you approach the final round? Is it more protective or what goes through your head for tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: No. It's the same as I've been trying to do every day, which is to hit a lot of fairway. And if I drive the ball in the fairway, with my length, I can go ahead and attack if I get a good number in a good situation. If not, just dump the ball on the green and make a putt or just 2-putt and walk off.

Q. Can you talk about that shot at No. 7?

TIGER WOODS: Which one?

Q. The second shot.

TIGER WOODS: The second shot, well, I had 233, I think it was to carry, and it was a little down off the left/ and hit a 3-iron and bounced like I hit a heel-pull and it worked out good. Try to hit the ball up the center of the green, not at the flag, that's for sure.

Q. So it didn't work out the way you wanted?

TIGER WOODS: I'll take it. I'm not complaining. But just one of those shots you know, as a golfer, you may have shots that result -- the results are good, but you know that you didn't swing the club the way you should have.

Q. What are your thoughts of guys coming off the course saying, "It's over"?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't think it's over. I've got 18 holes left. If it's over, I'd be talking with a trophy right here, right?

Q. Was that pretty much how you viewed your round yesterday, you got good results, but you didn't strike it the way you wanted it?

TIGER WOODS: If you look at my reactions on most of the shots, it's just one of those things, well, another one, but it turned out good. A lot of the divots were steep, kind of just one of those days where my timing was great. But the path that I was on wasn't that great. You can have days like that if you putt well, but if you do that continually, put yourself in the same swing position over a week, I guarantee you're not going to have a whole lot of days like I did yesterday.

Q. How long did it take to fix on the range last night?

TIGER WOODS: About 10 minutes.

Q. How long did you stay on the range?

TIGER WOODS: About 45 minutes.

Q. Given the conditions today, at least through the first 13 or 14 holes and the low numbers that were up there and the fact that the two guys playing with you didn't take advantage, is it positive that when someone really gets it going like that earlier in the round that they can get wrapped up in what you're doing?

TIGER WOODS: You can. It's happened before. I've been guilty of that. But there are also times when you have to block that out and go out there and play your own game. And guys out here on TOUR, we understand that. Ernie wasn't really swinging as good as he wanted and neither was Harrison. Unfortunately, you know, with this golf course, if you miss a few fairways out here, because of the long, wet rough, it's a tough day. 3, I hit a 2-iron off the tee and hit a 9-iron in there to about 12 feet; made that. 4, hit a 7-iron and made about a 10-footer down the hill. 5, hit a driver and a 4-iron to the front edge -- 3-wood and 4-iron and 2-putted from about 40 feet. 7, I hit a driver -- we played the up tee today. Hit driver and a 3-iron to about 20 feet; made that. And on 8, I hit a 7-iron and tapped it in for about a foot. 11, driver and 5-iron to about 18 feet and lipped it out; tapped in for birdie. 15, hit a 3-wood off the tee. Hit a 6-iron in the right binger and blasted out to about foot and a half. And 18, I hit a 3-wood off the tee into the right bunker. Hit a 7-iron over the lip short of the green pitched it up to about 10 feet and missed it.

Q. You talked the other day about one day where you played the Pac-10 Championships, those two rounds were maybe some of the best rounds you've ever played. How does that fit in with these two rounds you've put together these last two days?

TIGER WOODS: Those rounds in college were a lot better than these two rounds. Granted, I wasn't as good as I am now. On that golf course, if you've ever played Big Canyon out in Newport Beach, it's tight. And to not feel that comfortable and make every putt, shoot 18-under in the same day, that's -- with two bogeys, I thought that was pretty good. Granted, I was a sophomore in college.

Q. Now that you're a little older, on the professional side, the combination of these two rounds, have you played better, do you think, out here as a professional?

TIGER WOODS: Probably. Probably at Pebble. Shot 63-64 on a weekend there in '97, and when I won at San Diego in '98 I shot 62-65.

Q. Tiger, you have a chance tomorrow to win a tournament for two years in a row for the first time. Is this the golf course where you felt you might have done that or do you think there was another golf course that was as well-suited to your game as this one?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought I would have probably done it in '98 at this course in Georgia. (Laughter.) I like my chances there.

Q. Chance for a Daily Double tomorrow, as it were, too, because no one has ever repeated?

TIGER WOODS: Right. It would be nice to go out there and repeat as a champion. I've never done that before, as a professional. It would be nice to get that over with and then I don't have to hear anymore questions about it.

Q. Sorry, I brought it up.

TIGER WOODS: Hey, no big deal. (Smiles).

Q. Even before you won the Masters, people said that you were made for that course and you were made to play well on that course. Are you even better made to play well on this course, or is a lot of what you're doing the last two days, the conditions out there that you've played in?

TIGER WOODS: I think a lot of it is the fact that the conditions are soft. Especially the fairways. And this golf course plays a lot -- a lot harder when it's fast. And when the fairways are soft, golf course becomes long and then plays into -- into, well, any guy who hits the ball long and high. That's exactly what I do. I can get the ball up there and let it fly and know the fact that if it lands in the fairway, it's not going to roll out.

Q. You played a practice round with Aaron Baddeley in Bay Hill and you said you thought he was better now than you were at that age. He subsequently missed every cut since then, five in a row, does that surprise you at all in?

TIGER WOODS: No. It's just -- playing out here is not easy. He's finding that out. Obviously, Adam Scott is having a different run. He's playing beautiful golf. But then again, these guys are amateurs. When they turn pro, that's what really counts.

Q. Now your record as an amateur in pro events wasn't that great -- I think you might have talked about this before, but what is it that made you play so much better when you turned pro?

TIGER WOODS: I truly believed that I was never going to be a great amateur player in professional events, because I played one here, one three months later, and one four months later, another one two months later. It was all sporadic. And I felt as soon as I turned pro and I can play tournaments in succession, then I can get into a rhythm, be able to practice on the golf course; play, instead of take tests, come out, play, try and get your game ready real quick, go back home and make up tests and write papers. These are distractions and things that you have to go through as an amateur and when you're in school. And it made a tough experience, playing great golf out here, especially when these guys, their only focus is to play great golf. Back then, my main priority was school. Golf came secondary to that. And as soon as I left school, then obviously golf moved up.

Q. Last year you were talking about your match against Tim Herron in the '92 Amateur. Did you learn about some of the pitfalls of this course that you still apply when you play the course now?

TIGER WOODS: Probably not. I think I've learned more in '97 when I first came back as a professional and the golf course played a lot different. I mean when we played the Amateur here, we had what the remnants of some hurricanes that came up here and it took me, what was it, I think 40 hours to play 8 holes or something like that, whatever it was. It was a completely different setup than when I played the Amateur than when I came back and played as a professional. And it played a lot more difficult when I came back as a professional. They didn't have the rough as high or the greens quite as fast.

Q. What effect if any does last week in Germany have -- (inaudible) -- but any thought process about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt that I played well in Germany. Overall, I shot some good numbers. It's just unfortunate. I made one bad swing at the wrong time which cost me an opportunity, a wonderful opportunity to win a tournament. I was, at the time, tied for the lead. Westwood had just birdied 11 ahead of me to tie me, and, you know, with two par 5s left and a couple -- couple little short holes in there, you never know what could happen.

Q. As you said, a lot of what's happened the last two days are the conditions out there. How would you compare the way you're playing now to the way you played last year when you won the tournament?

TIGER WOODS: I'm hitting the ball a little more solid this year. Even though I didn't quite hit it -- well, as good as I did today -- today as I did -- I'm sorry. I didn't hit the ball as good yesterday as did I today. Overall, my game is better than it was coming in here last year. I'm driving the ball a lot better than I did coming in here last year.

Q. As well as you're playing this week, would that cause you to rethink at all your schedule the next two weeks, or will you still take the two weeks off before the Open?

TIGER WOODS: No. I'm just going to kick back, relax and watch you guys on TV.

Q. Can't convince you to come to the Kemper?

TIGER WOODS: (Smiles).

Q. If you wouldn't mind looking head to the Open just for a minute, you've played well at Pebble, you've played well in the Open going back to when you were an amateur and you had a great run at Oakland Hills one year. Now you've got them both together at the same place. What are your thoughts about the Open and the site this year?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's a wonderful site. The golf course -- from what I've been told, I know how the golf course is supposed to be set up, but I've got information the USGA is not exactly complying to that, what they have said, which makes for a golf course to be a lot more difficult than what they have said. And going back to that golf course in the summertime is completely different than it is in the fall and winter. I've played that course in college and -- as well as AT&T that time of year, it's always soft and the ball plugs. I played the State Amateur there one year, and man, the ball rolls forever. So I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing the golf course under different conditions than what we're used to. It will be a lot more challenging. It will be nice to play 17 from the back tee, though. Never played it from back there.

Q. Do you think that setup in the summer, how does it fit your game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I like it. I like that golf course to begin with. Just the setup of the golf course where you have to shape your shots both ways. You have to be a strategist around those greens where you place your golf ball so you have a chance to make a putt.

Q. With the size of the galleries you attract and how supportive they are of you, do you ever feel sympathy at all for the guys you're playing with in your group?

TIGER WOODS: Sometimes, yeah. When they get on the other guys, that's when it's just a little tough. That's when I really do feel sorry for them, because that's not what golf is all about. Today the fans were wonderful. They supported all of us. They were a little more boisterous for me probably because I was playing well. But they were rooting for Ernie to get it going and hopefully get back in the tournament, as well as Harrison, because they know he hadn't been there a whole lot of times. So, it was nice to see that.

End of FastScripts…

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