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November 7, 1999

Tiger Woods


GORDON SIMPSON: We have the first American Express winner with us, Tiger, four in a row, eight in the season, 6.6 million dollars; how does the season get any better than this.

TIGER WOODS: I've had a great season, and it's nice to end it this way and to get a victory and to beat a great champion like this on a tough, tough day. Miguel played a great round today. I got off to a good start with birdieing 1. And I had a great early part of the back 9. An unfortunate 17, but that's the way it is sometimes. It was a great way to end the year. And hopefully next year I'll play the same type of golf and we'll see about the number of victories, but see if I can continue to improve.

Q. If you wouldn't mind taking us through 17th in terms of the strategy on the hole, what you thought?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit a perfect drive right down the middle of the fairway. And laid up with a little 6-iron. I had a hundred yards to the hole, right on the number. And I hit a 9-iron. And you don't spin back a 9-iron from a hundred yards, at least I don't. I hit my 9-iron about 140. So I can understand if I hit a full sand wedge in there, but I hit a chip 9-iron, and it landed in the bank. I saw it on replay. It didn't spin back, it just kind of rolled back. And the weird thing is that when I saw it on replay, it actually picked up speed by the hole, as if maybe a gust had hit it. And Tom Lehman -- his first chip went in the water. But the second chip the ball was dying real slow, and that's about the pace mine was, but mine was picking up speed by the hole. You can't -- you can't get down on yourself, because you hit a good shot. You played the shot you needed to play. I played it off the bank, possibly an uphill 8-footer for birdie, that's what I needed to do, and that's the way I executed the shot. Unfortunately, it went in the water.

Q. What about seeing the crowd --

TIGER WOODS: When they started cheering when my ball went in the water?

Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: That's unfortunate. And it's unfortunate that they got on us for the Ryder Cup and the way we reacted. Unfortunately they did the same thing.

Q. You think this was -- (inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I think it's not -- had nothing to do with the Ryder Cup. I think it had to do with a person from their own country, who is obviously playing well, and in a big event. He had a tremendous year in Spain; two wins and a second, I think. And I think that obviously they wanted him to win. But I also had a lot of fans pulling for me, as well. So when the ball went in the water, it was disappointing to hear the sounds, but understandable.

Q. The last thing, that looked like that may be one of the greatest rounds of your professional career under the conditions. You walk off 18, could you talk about what you were feeling?

TIGER WOODS: Well, today, to go out there and play as well as I did, I hit so many good shots today, and made some great putts. And I just played so well. I made the great up-and-downs when I needed to. My first bogey on 16, it went on the right side of the fairway and I'm stuck behind a tree, I hit a low 4-iron from 150 yards, trying to put the ball somewhere around the green so I can get up-and-down. I hit a great little flop shot and it took off downwind, downhill. And you can't get mad at yourself and get down on yourself for hitting the good shots like I did on 16 and 17, and obviously you're disappointed in the score, but the shots, the execution of the golf shots were all good. And it's unfortunate. But luckily I got a chance in the playoff and was able to capitalize on it.

Q. Do you think you can revolutionize the world of golf with your victories on the Tour as a professional, as (inaudible) did in the past, do you think you can begin a new era in the Golf World?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know about that, but I think with my emergence in golf, with my ethnic background, has obviously been good for the game. It's done -- gotten more minorities involved in the game. I think that's only going to be good for the game. We'll see what happens. I can only do my part by playing golf and hopefully playing well, doing a number of clinics and exhibition for kids to provide an opportunity for them to partake in this great game. From there we'll see what happens.

Q. Tiger, Ed is not here, so I have a two-parter. The first one is two years ago on 17 you putted the ball in the water and this time you hit a perfect shot and it ends up in the water. Were you sitting there reliving those nightmares from back then? What does it mean to be the first player since Hogan in '53 to win four in a row.

TIGER WOODS: The first part, was I thinking about 17 in '97? No, until I was over the green and Lehman chipped it in the water in front of me. I saw how quick it was. His shot wasn't that bad. It should have been about 8 to 10 feet past the hole, and it went in the water without a problem. Even the second chip from above the hole, even it had potential of going in the water. I was saying if I hit a good putt and crawl it over the hill, if I get any gust of wind it's in the water. And that's unfortunately -- if you notice, I hit it pretty quick, because at the time there was really no wind on the green. And because there was a lull in the wind, I had to go immediately just in case a gust would come up, which would send it in the water. Having four victories in a row, obviously it's a nice fate, but it's the way I did it, I guess, is kind of interesting. The win at NEC and take three off, play the Ryder Cup, take three more off and then win the last three, has obviously been pretty good. But the time span between all the victories is kind of interesting.

Q. Tiger, now that you've gotten used to being on the professional Tour, earlier on you had a problem with your schedule and everything else. Talk about how you won these four. Do you feel like you've really got a hold on it now, you know how to schedule yourself?

TIGER WOODS: I do. I learned obviously from '97, because that was my first full year. And by the middle of the year I was already worn out. You could see it in my play, it diminished, in '97, because I was tired. I was pretty worn out. In '98 I made some adjustments. I wasn't really quite happy at the end of the year with my schedule. And then in '99, I really disbursed it around. I played one on, one off, one on, one off, one on, kind of alternated and took a lot of breaks. At the end of August I won the World Series, took three more, won the Ryder Cup, and then three more off and played the last three weeks. That's probably a better way for me to handle it, to take more breaks, and take more time off, because I'm able to get more energized, probably more invigorated and feel like I'm able to play at 110 percent with each and every shot for a round of golf. I've been able to do it. And I like my schedule right now.

Q. Tiger going back to 17. How questionable, considering the wind, was that pin placement in your opinion? And also, it looked like when you hit, when it landed on the green, you thought it was the perfect shot?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I learned today, when I got into the clubhouse, Sergio said they had triple cut the green, not just double cut, but triple cut. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what he had found out. If that's the case, with that pin as close as it is -- you guys weren't on the green, but on the green, itself, it was just dried out. There was no moisture on the green. Earlier in the week when we played on Thursday, I hit a 7-iron in there that I had hit on a low pulling draw, that hit and backed up. There's no way you could have done that today. It would have hit and been all over the back, easily. And to have -- that was downwind, the 7-iron that backed up. This was into the wind. I don't know, I think that they could have -- they could have either made it softer by putting more water on it, maybe syringing it throughout the day, because the wind was obviously a dry wind from off the land, and because of that, it dried out every single green. With that slope as severe as it is, there's really no room to hit it. And we figured three-and-a-half paces over the edge, and there's the pin. That's not a whole lot of room to work with. And it's unfortunate that it happened and maybe they could have gone more conservative and changed the pin and put it up on top to be more fair.

Q. Does that make this win more satisfying?

TIGER WOODS: It does make it more satisfying, because to be honest with you, I really played a great round of golf today. And I felt like I really hit a lot of good shots. I hit a couple of bad shots, but I recovered from them and I made a great recovery at 8 and another one at 13. I got some great up-and-downs, and just was able to continue the momentum and continue playing well. And to play 17 -- actually 16 and 17, hit good shots and ended up with four lost shots, it's hard to explain, because I hit -- as I said, a good drive down 16, I was blocked out. I hit three great shots, just the way you want them down 17 and end up with 8 and there's nothing you can do about it. I was talking to Nick Price, and Nick Price told me after what had happened, the 92 yards, I didn't know what to do, I said, do I fire to the green, to the left. He said he didn't have any idea what he was going to do, just hit it and see what happens.

Q. Tiger, as you hit that shot you seemed to -- it looked like you liked the look of it, did you expect that it was going to roll back into the water and also at that stage did you think as it hit the water that's the end of it?

TIGER WOODS: Well, when I hit the shot it was a shot in which if you hit a 9-iron from a hundred yards, as far as I can hit a 9-iron, 140, 145, you figure it's not going to have a whole lot of spin, I watched it hit, jump straight up and come back down, which meant it had no spin, and it sat there and rolled back. I had a nice little -- it was just uphill a little bit. Did I ever think I was out of it? No. At the time if I could somehow have salvaged a double out of there, I would only have been one back at the time. And possibly go down 18 and make birdie, made triple and going down 18 if I made 3 on 18 I figured I could possibly get into a playoff. Because he still had to play 17, as well as 18. And those two are two pretty tough holes. And Miguel did a wonderful job of 2-putting 17 and made the unfortunate bogey on 18.

Q. In retrospect, what did David Duval's run do to you earlier in the year; what do you think was the affect on you?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think it really had that much of an effect, because just like I was yesterday, David was playing great golf, but I still had to be patient and work at my own game so that when it came around, yeah, I could start winning tournaments and let's see what happens. But I had to get my game coming around and work on things and be patient, that I worked on the last two years. When it came together I felt I could start winning. And that's what ended up happening.

Q. So there was never a moment of sort of, man, it's getting away from me?

TIGER WOODS: No, because I felt that I wasn't very far away from playing some pretty good golf. It was just a matter of time. And I was able to put it together, and as I said the week before at the Byron Nelson I hit some great shots. I shot 61 in the first round. I thought, yes, this is what it's all about. This is about the moves and the changes that we've been working on, they're starting to come together. I won the next week, and then I just kept playing well.

Q. Tiger, before 16, when you had some momentum going, you birdied 10, and then Jimenez birdies 10. A second later you chip in on 11 for an eagle.

TIGER WOODS: I heard whatever he did at 10. He made 3. Obviously you could tell it was Jimenez, as loud as it was. When that happened, yeah, I tried to make 4 at worst, but hopefully I could make 3. And I made 3 and walked off the green, Tom said, great answer. I said, yeah, that's what it's all about.

Q. Tiger, another two part question. You might not be aware, but Colin Montgomerie won the Order of Merit in Europe, what are your thoughts? What sort of contest do you think you might have if Monte was playing more in the States?

TIGER WOODS: For him to have won seven in a row is just incredible. You guys cover it, and it's truly amazing how consistently he's played. In order to be at the top of the money list, you have to play well, and you have to be consistent. You can't have great weeks and then have terrible weeks and miss a whole bunch of cuts and finish at the bottom if you do make the cut. You can't do that, your nonvictory weeks are going to have to be, at the worst in the top-10. And he's been able to do that year in and year out. And this year with six victories and a couple of times late in the year he had a chance to win on the back 9 Sunday, and finishing second, I think, twice. If he came over to the States and started playing in the States full-time, obviously he would add to our Tour, and as far as the competition between us, I don't think it would ever be Colin Montgomerie and Tiger Woods, because that's not the way we play. This is a stroke-play event. I'm not looking to beat Colin, he's not looking to beat me. We're just trying to get ourselves in position to win. I think it would only enhance our Tour, and make it even more tough to win.

Q. Does it ever get emotionally draining winning week after week after week; can you talk about the emotional toll it takes on you?

TIGER WOODS: To play week after week, and then to win on top of that, yeah, it is draining, no doubt about it. That's why you take a little time off and a little rest and play nine holes here and nine holes there. You start scheduling your time around so that you can get some more rest. And I've been able to do that, even -- I think the best part is I stayed home the first week. So it was nice to go home and practice at home and be away from everybody.

Q. During that three-week stretch, didn't you feel the expectations or more eyes were on you as the weeks went on?

TIGER WOODS: I have a few eyes on me already. This week was great, there was nobody out there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: There was definitely some people running around, true. But this week with the gallery number being smaller, it was definitely -- it was nice in the fact that you didn't have as many noise distractions out in the golf course, as far as cameras and Port-A-Johns, and concession stands, you name it. Things that are inherent to a golf course.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you. You might like to take us through the other fantastic 14 holes, we've been apprised of the 17th.

TIGER WOODS: I started on 1, I hit a driver on 1, and a little 9-iron from 120. And in there about 15 feet right below the hole and made that. I birdied 9, I hit a 2-iron off the tee, a 9-iron from 165 to the hole. I made about a 10-footer there. I birdied 10. I hit a 3-wood off the tee. I hit a 7-iron from 143, right past the hole and made about -- a great putt down the hill 20 feet and made that. 11, I hit it over in the right bunker -- the second bunker. I hit a 5-iron from 229 to the hole. I hit that over the green. And chipped in from about, I guess, 25 feet. 12, I hit an 8-iron downwind from 188 -- I'm sorry, 196 and made about an 8-footer there. On 14, I hit a 3-iron off the tee, a 6-iron from 156 to about two-and-a-half feet.

GORDON SIMPSON: The first playoff hole, because you played that beautifully.

TIGER WOODS: The first playoff hole I hit a 3-wood off the tee, down in the first cut of rough. I had 104 yards to the hole and I hit a little soft 60-degree sand wedge downwind, landed it right where I needed to land it and rolled up there to about 12 feet and made that.

Q. How much are you concentrating on the other field, the other players, or are you only playing your game. When you're 10-under and see -- how much are you recognizing the rest of the field?

TIGER WOODS: When I was 10-under par, I was just trying to -- Steve and I did a wonderful job today of trying to stay patient and take it one shot at a time, and only concentrate on what we can do. And granted, since I was two groups ahead and if I could somehow post a number early, I figured he would be on 17 probably the tee box or the second shot when I was finished. And if I could post a number early, whether it was -- wound up being one back at the time, and if I could post maybe one or two ahead, he would have a difficult time to catch me. But am I aware of what he's doing? Yes. Especially when he made birdie on 10.

Q. Tiger, these last three victories have got to have been draining, physically and mentally. Now you've got a lot of globetrotting ahead. Is there any concern that you'll wear yourself out before the Mercedes Championship and be worn out for the next season?

TIGER WOODS: If you think about it, I played the Ryder Cup, if you take that out, I didn't really play for six weeks, seven weeks. Six weeks and then that tournament, so I really didn't play. I was well-rested coming into this stretch, which I knew I had to be. And then I played three in a row here already. I've still got two more, plus Hawaii and Japan for a couple of days. The reason why I scheduled that way is because I knew I had this stretch ahead of me. And then after that I have five weeks off. And then I start-up with a whole new year, with my tournament down at Grayhawk. So I've spread it out. I've taken time off, and then I'll go hard for a while and I'll take some more time off. I've done a pretty good job of spreading it out and making sure I was well-rested so that -- with those stretches.

Q. Can you think of a tournament that had a more bizarre finish than today, with the flood lights and everything?

TIGER WOODS: That I've won? You know what? I did win a tournament at Loch Lomond, Tucson. It played that day, I was playing Jay Gore, we played through rain, sleet, snow, and when we finished -- it was 20 degrees when we finished. We had five cars lined up on the back of the green at 18 to line up the green, but it was kind of funny, because we still couldn't see. They put the cars too far away. And I was able to chip in on the last hole, not knowing which way the chip broke. I just hit it down there and it went in. I beat him 1-up. I couldn't see. We couldn't see. We played in some of the worst whether you can imagine, and I was able to squeak out a victory. But they didn't pay me back then.

End of FastScripts...

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