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March 26, 2000

Tiger Woods


JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: NBC Sports will provide a live national coverage of the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship when play resumes tomorrow at 9 am. Let's begin with some questions for Tiger.

TIGER WOODS: Let's go.

JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Just general thoughts about how things are going into the round and your thoughts about the delay, please.

TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously things aren't going as exactly the way I wanted to (laughter). But I am right there, and I got a pretty good chance of winning right now. I am only 3 back with six holes to go. But there is a lot of golf to be played. Now, the conditions are going to be a little bit different, and tomorrow, fresh start. Hopefully I can hit the ball in there as tight as I did a few times today, and this time convert them. And we will see what happens. There is a lot of water to be played over.

Q. Do you like Monday finishes?

TIGER WOODS: Ask me tomorrow.

Q. You look at the delay as possibly a breakthrough? Coming off, Hal has a little momentum there from the last hole...

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, obviously Hal, after making a great putt there and hitting a good solid drive down the 12th hole, and I kind of flamed one over there to the right and hacked one on the green - but that is just the way it goes. And, obviously he is feeling pretty good of having a 3-shot lead right now. But if I can go out there and hit some solid shots and convert some putts, hopefully I can make this thing a little interesting.

Q. You got to start on the green tomorrow with all the rain tonight. Any uncertainty there? How do you prepare?

TIGER WOODS: Not really. The putt's pretty straightforward. I think I saw it was either a double or triple breaker. (laughter).

Q. How long is it?

TIGER WOODS: It is about 40 feet.

Q. On 14, 16, 18, do you think you have any advantage if the fairways are a little bit soaked, a little bit wet, with your length?

TIGER WOODS: Not really. 16, you can still get there in two even if you are not the longest of hitters. 18 is not a hole where I normally hit drivers anyways. I hit 3-wood or 2-iron down there. I think the advantage is probably not in my favor on those holes. But I think where - off the tee - it is an advantage, I can hit the ball higher coming into the greens and stop the ball a little faster.

Q. In the last nine at the Buick Invitational you were talking about fighting your swing a little bit. How are you swinging today?

TIGER WOODS: Pretty good. I am driving it beautifully out there. Hit some solid iron shots. I hit, I think, through 12 holes, I have only hit three bad shots. That is not too bad.

Q. Talk about Hal's sand save on the 8th hole.

TIGER WOODS: That was a great shot he played out of there. The important thing was there to really go ahead and release the club, which I was able to do. You can tell any good bunker player, there is a certain sound that is made and you can hear that little spank sound that he made, a little thump. And it came out beautifully with some spin, and he made a great putt there. Putt broke, probably -- looked like from my angle a good six to eight inches, and he poured it right in the middle.

Q. Disappointed with your miss there, too. I mean, you are looking where you could have picked up one, maybe two, going into a par 5?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I was disappointed the fact I completely misread the putt. I played out there about a foot; it broke two feet. I don't really -- I consider myself a pretty good green reader and be able to read it by double what I thought, that is not very good.

Q. A lot more than you thought?


Q. You looked irritated a couple of times looking towards the galleries out there. I think one time you said something about a camera. Was there a lot of movement going on?

TIGER WOODS: No. On 10 there was one of the photographers for the papers - I don't know who it was - just one of the professionals took it right on my downswing, just rapid fire, and they know they are not supposed to do that. Probably just had the finger on the trigger too tight and it went off. That is just -- that is probably not a good time to do it in my downswing. If he was a little bit closer, I probably would have said a few other things. (laughter).

Q. Did you feel fortunate that Hal missed some of those opportunities or are you mad that you weren't able to capitalize on your own on the front nine?

TIGER WOODS: A combination of. Definitely combination - looked like I was going to lose two shots over on 4 and only losing one, I thought was definitely a gift and even though I had wedge in my hand; made bogey, but looked like I was going to lose 2 and to only lose 1, I felt good about that. Next hole, that is probably one of the best putts I hit all week as far as staying still, releasing the blade properly and hit right on my line; just didn't go in.

Q. You forecast some weather problems yesterday when you came in here. Are you disappointed tee times weren't moved up or do you think tee times are too late on Sundays?

TIGER WOODS: I think they are late just because we haven't had daylight savings yet and because of that you are pushing twilight. Yesterday, we were pushing a little bit and today Stevie and I were saying that if we don't get a move on, we have a hard time finishing - forget the rain and the storms, we are going to have a hard time finishing this thing in daylight. It took us -- we looked on the clock. It took us 2:15 to play the front nine. That is a long time to be playing in twosomes.

Q. You guys waited every shot almost.


Q. What happened to your little wedge on 4, just get it caught in the grass?

TIGER WOODS: It was one of those shots where I had to hit it pretty hard to get it out of the lie and it is just, blind luck, sometimes it comes out perfect; sometimes it comes out hot; other times it comes out soft. I made sure I opened up the blade enough going back to make sure I had enough loft coming through. I guess I probably put too much loft on it and it just came out too soft.

Q. Did you have any particular thoughts after the birdie at 1 or just first hole of a long day?

TIGER WOODS: Long day ahead of us. I just needed to keep plugging along and keep giving myself chances to make putts. If I made that first one - which I thought was kind of pivotal to know that I can step up there and make a putt like that to start off the day where you don't really have a feel for the greens yet, I felt pretty good.

Q. Are you going to try come out, be real aggressive because the course is going to be softer and you can -- (inaudible) what is your mindset going out there tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: I know where the pins are and it is not something you can go ahead and fire at every one of those pins, that is for sure. They are in corners, on ledges, tucked away in the back, it -- just got to keep giving yourself chances. This golf course, I have said this all along, if you get careless by firing at a pin and you pull it a yard or two, that is not that much, next thing you know you are looking at being in the water or deep rough, short side, easy bogeys instead of just kind of firing the ball out there 15, 20 feet and hopefully making one of those.

Q. Does rain change that a little bit, though, because maybe it will hold more, maybe you can --

TIGER WOODS: I'd like to say yes, but as I said, you can get a little careless and if you are firing at a pin tucked in the corner and you go ahead let's say -- the pin over on the next hole for us, 13, is on the left-hand side. You take dead aim at it, pull it a yard, it is wet. That is not something you want to be doing when you can feed it in there off the slope on the right. So you just got to play smart and use the slopes correctly.

Q. Is a 3-stroke deficit harder or easier to overcome on a course like this where on the back nine so many things that can happen where --

TIGER WOODS: Much easier to come from 3 behind on this golf course. Just because there is so many things that can happen. You can make birdies and other person make bogeys, or eagle on 16, there are a lot of different things; then you still got to play 17 and 18 is not a given par either. It requires two good shots with a lot of pressure on the line. So if there is any kind of golf course you want to play when you are behind, it is one of these with a lot of water and a lot of trouble.

Q. Did you misjudge the wind on No. 3?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the wind - if you are on the tee - was coming off the left and all the flags on the driving range were coming off left. I hit the shot; all of a sudden you see the wind just change and knocked my ball straight left. That is just one of those things that has happened to us this week a couple of times. The wind is blowing just hard enough where it can do that. It is not at a consistent direction where it is howling out here. It comes and goes. And because of that, it tends to come all over the place.

Q. (inaudible)

TIGER WOODS: The whole ball was below sand level.

Q. How was your third shot on the par 5, ninth, the flop-shot that you made with the ball above your feet, what were your feelings going into that shot?

TIGER WOODS: Pretty easy shot, yeah, just trying to hit the ball towards right-field. Just one of those things that pitchers try and fight it off. I swear to good, that is what I am thinking. I grew up playing baseball; that is what you want to think on those shots, so you keep the blade open. You don't want to pull it down the left-field line and ground out, double-play.

Q. From the players' standpoint you guys all playing (inaudible) how difficult is it to readjust --

TIGER WOODS: Fine by me. I got to drive home. So it is not too bad. But I don't know if -- I don't know how the hotel is going to receive us. I don't know if the reservation has been cancelled or not. Hopefully we can get a room.

Q. Given the first putt you have got left tomorrow morning, was that a bad break (inaudible) --

TIGER WOODS: No, because my lie was not very good. It was all the way down and against the grain; those are two combinations going against you. It is always nice to be able to hit that shot when you are in a rhythm, you know how you are feeling, your body is reacting that day. I had a sense of feel going on playing that shot over that ball. Just unfortunate I didn't come out hot. It came out muffled and just kind of died in the air.

Q. Another red shirt with you for tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: I do, actually. Or a lot of cologne.... (laughter).

Q. The delay favor you or Hal?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know, good question. Ask me tomorrow.

Q. Being one of having dramatic come-from-behind victories, do you feel as though you are more challenged having three shots behind than one shot?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously, it is more challenging when you are more back, but as I said, three shots back on this golf course with the trouble that is out there, that is not that much or that can -- you can get that down to one or even, even in one hole. You know, we still got to go out there and, both Hal and I, and execute golf shots and hopefully I can put a little pressure on Hal and hit a good shot and make some putts.


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