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January 8, 2000

Tiger Woods


JAMES CRAMER: Tiger Woods in with us today. 2-under-par, 71, today. Tiger, why don't we go over your score card and have some questions.

TIGER WOODS: Birdied 1. Hit a 2-iron off the tee, an 8-iron in there to about, I don't know, about 18 feet; made that. 5, I hit driver off the tee, 3-iron in there to about 40 feet and 2-putted. Bogeyed 7. Hit a driver off the tee (laughter). Actually went 395 into the rough. Hit a sand wedge over the green, back, missed about a 20-footer there. Bogeyed 13. What did I hit there? 3-wood off the tee. I hit a 4-iron at the left bunker. Hit a good bunker shot up there about eight feet, just missed it. 15, I hit a driver off the tee, a 3-wood into the right rough, fatted that one, fatted the next one, then hit a good putt from about 12 feet and just missed on the top edge. 18, I hit a driver off the tee and a 3-iron to about 30 feet and made that.

Q. How far was the distance? What did you have in?

TIGER WOODS: Let me see.

Q. TV they said something like 293.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, pretty close, 290 to the hole.

Q. How far was the putt?

TIGER WOODS: 30 feet past.

Q. You just roll along, have a four- or five-shot lead, next thing you're a shot behind.

TIGER WOODS: That's the way it is sometimes. Also, I really wasn't playing all that great either. Even though I was 2-under-par, if you watched the round, it wasn't a solid 2-under-par. I was kind of scraping around, hitting shots over here and over there, getting up-and-down, light putting well. Ernie was just hitting a lot of good shots, but hitting close. There's a difference in the two rounds. I wasn't hitting the ball that well; didn't make the putts I needed to make. He was able to do that.

Q. As a competitor, obviously you'd like to win every tournament by 20 strokes. Guys like Ernie Els and David Duval right there. Do you feel good going into a final round with a chance to win in that group?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it, especially ending the day the way I did. I didn't really hit a lot of good shots today, then finally to end on three good solid shots just leaves a better taste in your mouth going into the next day. It's just a struggle today. I didn't have my timing. The shots, they were all right, they were getting on the green, but they weren't the right trajectory; they weren't the right shape. Once I got there, it was a struggle from there. It was just a long day, but at least I ended it the right way.

Q. Did you hit it good on the range?

TIGER WOODS: I hit it all right on the range. It wasn't great, but it was -- actually, I hit it better today on the range than I did yesterday. That's a curse: don't ever hit it great on the range.

Didn't hit it great on the range today, but I didn't hit it that bad.

Q. Did you make any adjustments during the round in your strategy on this course or in your swing at all to try to get yourself through to 18?

TIGER WOODS: I tried to get my swing a little more rounded in the right spot again, but I just felt very steep and very hangy on my left side. You play in this much wind, you have to hang on your left side and beat it down. It's just unfortunate. I think I was hanging too much; I wasn't getting back. Then when I did get back, I was faking it. I was sliding back. I could never really rotate and do it correctly. I did it right on 18. I said, "You know what? I'm going to get back on my right leg and let it go. Whatever happens happens. If I snap-hook it left, that's fine. If I hit it way right, at least I'll hit it correctly. We'll see what happens." Best shot I hit all day.

Q. Does it make it more fun going into the last round with David and Ernie as the guys you have to battle?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it makes it more competitive. That's what you have to enjoy: get out there and battle against the best players. Win or lose, it's going to be a lot of fun just to go out there and try and come out on top.

Q. When you play with Ernie, do you find your swing slowing down?

TIGER WOODS: No, no. I go at it pretty good (laughter). You know, Ernie actually stepped it up a couple times today and hit the ball a little harder than I've ever seen him hit it, because it was the right condition to do it. Downwind holes, he was able to let it go and get the ball airborne with a little draw, which was nice to see.

Q. You're not taking after him there?

TIGER WOODS: I play differently, though, than he does. If I take something off, I'd rather go to my 3-wood.

Q. David said there was some really big gusts out there today.

TIGER WOODS: Tell me about it.

Q. The same?

TIGER WOODS: Perfect example of that is 17. I mean, I hit 204, yeah, 234 yards out to the hole, 204 front. I'm thinking that's a smooth 6-iron, no big deal. Line it about 210, 215, it might get to the hole, maybe not. I flew it past the hole with a 6-iron. I didn't hit it full. You could see the ball get up there and all of a sudden it just jets in the air (indicating). That's just how it was out there today. I had some gusts that got me. One got me on 7, come out of the rough. You could see it just get up there and all of a sudden just jump (indicating). After that, just say good-bye.

Q. He said 13 was playing the hardest.

TIGER WOODS: 13 was playing very hard. It's the second shot that makes it very difficult because you have a hook lie. Once you get on the fairway, then you have a hook lie. The wind is coming off the left so you're trying to hold it -- you want to let it go and draw it up against that wind, but, you know, I hit mine -- I drew mine too much, put it in the left bunker, now you got no shot. You don't want to put it too much into the right because you have a downwind, down-grain putt. It's a tough hole (laughter). The best place actually to hit is where Ernie hit it, short. Then you're putting somewhat into the green, fighting it, you can control your speed a bit better.

Q. What is the difference for you tonight? Instead of going into a final round six shots clear, you have Ernie right there, playing with him again.


Q. You have David pretty close, too. What's the difference?

TIGER WOODS: The difference is I need to go out and work on my game right now, get that squared away for tomorrow, come out tomorrow and play a very solid round of golf and give myself a lot of chances at birdies. Today, I wasn't able to do that. Putts I did leave myself, I missed. But at least I was able to hit good putts. That's one thing I take away from it, I hit a lot of good putts. Didn't just go in, that's the way it is. I didn't give myself enough chances today. Yesterday I missed my share of putts, but at least I gave myself a chance, hole-in and hole-out. Eventually I made some putts. I just need to do that tomorrow.

Q. You have that streak of whatever it is now, 11 or so times when you've been in the lead or tied and gone on to win. Do you have any kind of bunker mentality? Do you change at all?

TIGER WOODS: No. I've just got to go out there and play hard tomorrow, see what happens. I guess it ended up being whatever the number is. Will that have any effect on it? No. It never does, because you have to go out there and execute the golf shots and play the correct way.

JAMES CRAMER: Anything else for Tiger?

TIGER WOODS: Thank you.

End of FastScripts…

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