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February 24, 2000

Tiger Woods


LEE PATTERSON: Interesting second day for you in the World Golf Championships - Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship. A couple of thoughts about that, and then we'll open it up for questions.

TIGER WOODS: Today was definitely a tough match. Retief played very patient golf, very solid; and I was kind of erratic at times. And I hit some good shots and hit some squirrely ones, but hung in there, and got a nice little gift on the 18th hole.

Q. Tiger, is it a little bit scary when you play match play that you come out on the first day and you play so well, and you come out the next day and a few things are missing, it's not quite -- you're not as sharp as you were. Is that scary in this format?

TIGER WOODS: The great thing about the format is that you can hit some erratic shots; and if you make a par, you're usually going to halve the hole. That's the good thing. In stroke-play you play a little differently. A couple of times out there I may have hit it erratic. On 2, for instance, out-of-bounds left. On stroke-play, I'm kicking myself because that's an easy birdie hole, and I'm losing shots in the field. Today, it's one hole; pick it up and I'm even. No big deal. It's just because of -- I really didn't hit the ball as good as I'd like, as you could see out there early on in the match. But I got it together on the back 9, hit a lot of good solid shots. Retief played solid all day.

Q. By the same token, when you've lost your swing a bit in stroke-play tournament, you hit 77. You slip a little from the lead. If you lose it today, you're gone. Was there any concern you're not going to find enough of what you're doing wrong to fix it?

TIGER WOODS: The hard thing with these greens, as soft as they are, with all the rain yesterday, is that even though I didn't quite have it, I'm hitting it far enough down there where -- my chances of hitting the green are pretty good. And on top of that, it's hard to make a lot of putts. So even if Retief was hitting his irons pretty solid, hitting inside 15 feet, he's not going to make the majority of them, because they're pretty bouncy.

Q. Does it matter if you're going to play Justin or Shigeki, as opposed to somebody who you don't know?

TIGER WOODS: I knew Goose pretty good. But I guess it might be a little different. We'll talk a little bit more. But I guess out there, when you're competing head-to-head, you generally don't talk a whole lot any ways.

Q. You went out-of-bounds on the second hole. When you miss a shot, if I'm right, you usually go to the right. Was that a little different today pulling it?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a few pulls today, just because I was over-turning my shoulders a little bit. I was -- for me, I have a tendency of being too flexible and turning too much. And one of the problems, I try not to turn a lot of times. When I try not to turn and make no shoulder turn, for me it seems like no shoulder turn, I should hit the ball further, because my timing is better. If you look at my last three drives, I really piped those drives. With the nice little two-yard draw out there, that's the way I want to hit it.

Q. You talk about your approach shot on 17. Obviously you hit it close. What was going through your mind? Just describe that shot.

TIGER WOODS: I was 116 out, with the wind blowing into me and off to the left just a little. And I tried to hit just a nice soft 9-iron in there. And I knew that the way I've been hitting the golf ball all day, my soft shots were drawing. So I said, "Let me aim it 12 feet or so right of the hole." I know that I'll draw the ball, the wind should hold it; if I overdraw it, in either case, I should be all right. And it looks like his ball didn't go in the hole. They didn't go crazy. But from the sound of the crowd, I knew the ball was tight. It was probably a gimmee. I needed to hit it in there where I could have a viable chance of making 4. Four was going to halve the hole. And I stuffed it right in there. The next shot was the hardest shot, because I had to put my ball in a spike print, and I put it in there and thought it could hop out there either way: Left, right. I hit it in. It kind of hopped up and kicked straight right, but it snuck in.

Q. That save on 7, where is that up-and-down right on the degree of difficulty?

TIGER WOODS: With the greens soft like this, probably seven, six or seven. But if the greens would have been firm, it would probably be a ten.

Q. How are your emotions after a match like that?

TIGER WOODS: Relieved, really. The fact that I really didn't play my best, but hung around and was good enough, just to advance. It's just like any -- just like playing an NCAA tournament. You want to keep going, keep advancing, and I'm onto the third round now.

Q. You don't put yourself in the situation, "I'm No. 1 seed." You just play the match, right? Is that -- because that would make it worse in effect, saying "I should win"?

TIGER WOODS: I feel like I should win. But that's just the way I think. But that's what they probably think, as well. When you're out there at this level, this seeding is thrown out the window, 1 through 65th week is good enough. Anybody can beat anybody. And you're seeing that out here today. What you would think are the top names out here in golf are losing. And that's just because it's match play and it's only 18 holes. Now, over an entire career, you will see these guys win more times than the players who aren't seeded as high.

Q. Sort of like the NCAA?


Q. Aside from 18, were there other crucial points in the match for you, swings?

TIGER WOODS: I think to be honest with you, I think the three drives on the last three holes really put a nice little stamp on the way I was swinging. It let him know that he was going to be hitting first, and I was going to be in the fairway looking back at him. And that's -- with my length, that's a big advantage, as soft as these conditions are, to be able to step up there and not only hit it out in the fairway, but hit it long, to give myself a viable chance of being aggressive if I wanted to.

Q. Are you aware of the other matches?

TIGER WOODS: A little bit. For the most part in the middle of the round I saw a couple of guys. But after that, I got in my own little world.

Q. You kind of partially answered it. Do these wet, soft conditions play into your hands and into the long hitters' hands?

TIGER WOODS: Anybody who can hit the ball up in the air is going to have an advantage. I think the biggest advantage out there as far as discrepancies in players is probably right behind me. Marko hits the ball high, and Justin likes to hit it on the ground. Calc was telling me yesterday that Nicky was hanging back on his right side trying to get it back in the air, but that's not his game. It's to keep it on the ground and hit it out there. That's why he won the British Open. The conditions like this are definitely -- definitely favor the guys who hit the ball up in the air.

Q. Tiger, is it a little bit -- do you not like it when somebody doesn't talk to you at all through a round of golf. Do you refer having --?

TIGER WOODS: I can play either way.

Q. What's your preference?

TIGER WOODS: It doesn't matter. I've got to take care of business, and so do they, when it's time. I've had enjoyable matches. Like for example at the World Match Play with Marko, we played 36 holes, and we chatted all the way around on every hole. We were talking. And I've played matches where I don't talk to anybody. That's just the way it is. But in that case, we always go off to our shots, and that's it.

Q. Do you like for them to say something, or do they wait for you to say something?

TIGER WOODS: You just play it by feel. If you want to talk about something, you talk about it; if not, you just keep walking.

Q. Tiger, on 18, when he hit it by as far as he did, did that change your mindset at all?

TIGER WOODS: Before that even happened, I saw David Toms right by the hole, right ahead of me. I thought: "That putt is a little quicker than it looks." And I said, "He might run this ball by it." But either case, I kept telling myself again and again and again that no matter what he does, if he makes it, misses it, runs it by, leaves it short -- whatever he does -- I have to make my putt. If I make my putt, good chances -- I halve the hole or worse. But either way, I have to halve my putt.

Q. Tiger, you worked a lot on hitting the ball low. You used that a lot at the beginning of the season, how much of a change is it for your game?

TIGER WOODS: Well, my natural ball flight of my driver is kind of up a little bit. And obviously this week actually you're better off hitting your irons in there lower, to try to take the spin off it. If you bring it in high, they're going to rip across the green. A lot of shots I'm hitting out there are little punches. On No. 17, a little 9-iron. I hit a lot of 8-irons from 135. Another good one, I hit a little pitching wedge from -- what hole was it? No, I'm sorry. The fourth hole I hit over the green. I absolutely flushed it. But I hit a little 7-iron from 145 yards. These are little things that you have to do to try to take the spin off the ball. So that works into what we're doing.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you go over some of your key holes; give us some detail.

TIGER WOODS: I got off to a good start today. I flamed my drive off to the right (laughter), a shot up there to about 15 feet, right above the hole and made that. I hit a snipe on left, on 2. I lost that one, conceded his birdie to my 6. We made two up-and-downs on 3. He was in the front bunker, he blasted up there to about two feet. I was in the left rough, and I chipped it up there to about a foot. 4, I bogeyed to his par. I hit it in the back bunker. I birdied 5; had a nice little 5-iron from 185 yards to about 8 feet beyond the hole. He bogeyed 7. I birdied 9, hit a driver, driver in the right gallery. I hit a flop shot up there to about 15 feet and made it. Bogeyed -- we both birdied 12. He parred 13 for a win. I was in the right bunker. He got up-and-down from short right of the green. 16, I hit a driver and a 7-iron way left, lined it up there to concession range, and he made about a 15-footer for birdie there. Then we both birdied 17. Then he bogeyed 18.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, we appreciate it.

End of FastScripts...

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