June 6, 1999
Q. How do you feel at this moment? Do you feel good because all of your game changes and everything, everything seems to have come together this week?
TIGER WOODS: It's just, as I told everybody last year, that I'm making these changes and it's just a matter of being patient with them. People were saying oh, geez, you're not winning, you're being consistent, but the press was all over me last year about it, especially with David playing well. I knew the changes I was making in my game were going to be beneficial down the long haul. Knowing that I just had to be patient with it. Over the last couple, weeks it's really starting to come together. Winning in Germany, then winning here, in the last two starts, definitely makes you feel pretty good.
Q. You said you had more shots now than you used to have.
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah.
Q. Did you use most or all of them today and would you have preferred not to have used some of them?
TIGER WOODS: The short game shots, I've always loved hitting those shots. I love the challenge of chipping and putting or scrambling. That's the way I grew up; I was so wild off the tee that I had to do that. If you watched my first U.S. Amateur that I won at Sawgrass, I never hit a fairway in a back nine. These are things you have to do. I've always loved the challenge. Growing up as a kid, I used to go throw golf balls in the trees and try to make pars and birdies from them. These are things -- I just love the challenge of them. Unfortunately, I did it too many times today. But that's the way it goes sometimes.
Q. Fortunately, you got yourself out of it.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. Every time.
TIGER WOODS: Well, except for the last hole. But, yeah, I hit a -- you see, the thing is, though, I hit a lot of good shots from on the greens, but sometimes people don't realize you still have to make the putt. Even on the first hole, I put myself in a pretty precarious position, long and right, hit a good flop shot down the hill there and made about a 12-footer. Next hole, hit it in the right bunker, short right bunker, pin back center. I was able to somehow blast it out to about 8, 10 feet and bury that one. These are things that you got to make, those putts. That's what it boils down to.
Q. Tiger, which of the three flop shots at 1, 5 and 6, were the most difficult? And also talk about 14.
TIGER WOODS: Hmm, anything else? (Laughter.) Okay. I think the best -- well, if you want to -- just considering those holes, I think the toughest shot I had was probably on 6. Because underneath that ground, underneath the grass was hard pin, and my ball was not sitting up that much. I mean I had -- I didn't have that much grass to go underneath there. So I gave it the old full swing. The problem was there was a tree above me that was pretty high out there, but I was thinking, well, I don't know, I might hit that tree if it comes off right. Or if it doesn't, I'm in the water. So I kind of aimed a little left. There was a bunker, front bunker there, made sure that if it did come out hot, it would roll through and into the bunker. No big deal, I could get that up-and-down. As I hit the shot, I said, "Oh, no." It went straight up off the club; I'm thinking, Oh, God, it's gonna hit the tree. It just missed the tree by about a foot, a foot below the tree. Came down, rolled down to about 3 feet.
Q. How would you guess that flop?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, I don't know, 20 feet in the air or something, no big deal.
Q. Tiger, are you now going to the U.S. Open seeking a hat trick, three successive victories? What does this do for you to go into a major championship?
TIGER WOODS: I'm definitely feeling a little better than if I hadn't. No doubt about that. But the great thing is my game is starting to come around. I'm starting to understand how to play the game of golf a little bit better than I had before. And, you know, that's definitely the thing you have to do. I think I will continue to learn how to play this game until the day I die. It always changes. You always will learn. That's one of the great things about it. The course management, you will always learn how to better manage yourself around a golf course. And I've learned, I will continue to learn, being such a young -- being young, that it is nice that you can learn at an early age and soak up the knowledge.
Q. Can you talk about your frame of mind after the first trip at 14 and then talk us through the second one?
TIGER WOODS: After I flubbed the first one, the second one was sitting perfect. It was sitting up, downgrade, it was a shot that I knew I could spin it and it would stop. So I could be very aggressive on the shot to put the spin on it. The only problem was it was so fast right-to-left and down the slope, that all I wanted to do was have the ball just trickle down there. I wanted to leave myself, if anything, short of the hole. I knew how fast that chip was. I hit bunker shots and chip shots in the practice round in that whole location and couldn't keep it on the green. I knew, just try to keep it short of the hole. That's all I tried to do. It came up perfect. I hit it pretty aggressive, put the spin on it, checked, rolled left. As it was rolling down there, I thought, oh, it should end up a little below the hole, no big deal. It flattened out; I said, hmm, that has potential. It went in. I think it went left and did something, I don't really remember. (Laughter.)
Q. Tiger, was there a moment of uncertainty after that first sort of, you know, the flub, so to speak, where you had a moment of indecision and said, hey, heck, I can lose the tournament?
TIGER WOODS: I did think I could lose the tournament. It looked like Vijay was going to make bogey. He had a crazy chip uphill, but I saw the ball was sitting down. It wasn't an easy shot. I knew if I could get that up-and-down again and make bogey, that's fine, I'll have the hole, I'll still be one up with some birdie holes coming up. With that in mind, I said just get it close, see what happens. And it fell in and I was able to take a 2-shot lead.
Q. Tiger, as you're starting off not as solidly as you would like in this tournament today and Vijay keeps giving himself birdie putt after birdie putt after birdie putt, were you getting anxious that at some point his putts were going to start going in?
TIGER WOODS: I played with him yesterday. He didn't make as many putts as he could have; he had chances. He was on the putting green last night and ended up changing putters. I don't know if that's the putter he's putted with before. But when you change putters before the final round, obviously you're not feeling as comfortable as you'd like. He hit the ball pretty good but he just couldn't hole the putts.
Q. Tiger, are you as well prepared for an Open this year as you've ever been?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, no doubt about it. I think I'll get better as time goes on. You know, understanding how to, as I said, understanding how to play the game, shaping shots correctly, managing your emotions, your shots around the golf course, positioning. These are things that take time to learn. And I've been able to soak up all the mishaps that I've had in my life and applied it each and every time and made it better.
Q. This specific Open, are you as prepared for --
TIGER WOODS: I answered that, yes.
Q. So you're better prepared for Pinehurst than you've been for anything else?
TIGER WOODS: Yes. (Laughter.) Before my previous Opens, yes.
Q. We once asked who are you more like, Arnold or Jack. I know you've watched film of both of them. At that time it was more Arnold-like. Are you becoming more Jack-like, at least in your approach to playing?
TIGER WOODS: I think I'm managing my game better. I don't manage it as good as he does, even to this day. He was the best at it. And hopefully I can get to, if not that level, at least close to it.
Q. That's the direction you're moving towards?
TIGER WOODS: You learn what your body can and can't do. I think that's the big thing. And also the mental discipline on the golf course to put a shot where you need to put it. And these are things that you have to learn through trial and error, and I've done that.
Q. Did you notice what he switched putters from and to?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know what this type of putter was. I haven't seen this type. I hit a putt with it last night, it was definitely a different feel than what he's been using. He was using a Scottie Cameron face putter. He went to a more hosel-shafted putter, different feel and different swing.
Q. Tiger, talk about your shot out of the bunker on 16, after you set it in there after the tee, Vijay was on the green, looked down, a pretty putt. Knocked it within three feet. Talk about what you were thinking when you were getting ready to take that shot.
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was a shot that, because the sand is so good here at the golf course, it's just nice and compact, you can be aggressive and go ahead and put a little spin on it, and go ahead and, as I said, be aggressive and try to put the spin on it. I was able to do that. And it checked down there, slightly breaking left. I tried to play it about maybe two cups outside right, it landed about there, but my spin actually kicked it left. I said, "Oh, well, this should be okay." And actually I had a chance, if I had a little more steam on it, it would have gone in. It wasn't a putt that I didn't think -- you know, realistically, Vijay would probably make. He was about 30 feet away. And if I could somehow force him, if I could somehow get it into a gimme range, that would force him to have to make a putt, completely different mindset. That's what I was able to do.
Q. After that shot, you walked away from that hole, two holes left, still a 2-stroke lead. Did that whole series on that hole after the first shot just give you a whole new confidence going into the last two?
TIGER WOODS: No. Because 17 is a very dangerous hole and I had to put the ball on the fairway and I didn't do that, put it in the first cut of the rough on the right side, not the side I want to come in. I want to be on the left side. I didn't hit a very good tee shot. That hole is very dangerous. The green is so firm, you can land the ball on the green, skip it back and make bogey pretty quickly. Vice versa, if you hit the ball on the fairway, you can put the spin on it, have it skip back to the hole and make a birdie, very accessible pin location. And I felt that I didn't want to give him a hole. I didn't want to make a bogey. And when I had the ball in the first cut of the rough, tried to get the ball in the front edge of the green, if not a couple yards in front of the green, it landed just barely on the green by a yard and landed pin-high. 17, when he missed that putt, was definitely a putt that really hurt him. Because it would have put him one back with one to go. 18, you can make bogey pretty easily, as we both did.
Q. Byron Nelson and Bobby Jones, could you address that, does that mean more than other tournaments -- (inaudible)
TIGER WOODS: It does. As I said, it's a little different winning Byron Nelson's tournament versus Jack's tournament. Because I wasn't able to see Mr. Nelson play. I wasn't able to see how great he really was. It was before my time. But I grew up watching Jack. And to watch him and, you know, try and beat his accomplishments growing up as a kid, to this day you're still trying. He set the bar very high. These are things you try and do. But to win his tournament, I think, is a feeling that I can -- how can I put it? I can understand -- I don't know how to put it. I dropped out of college. (Laughter.) It's a feeling that really makes you understand -- I can understand this golf tournament and what it means because of Jack's association, because of obviously watching him growing up as a kid and also being able to hit balls next to him the other day on the left side of the range was pretty cool, watching him out there hitting balls and balls still perfect traj, never hit a bad shot. I'm thinking, wow, if I'm as old as he is, I'd like to be able just to walk. (Laughter.)
Q. Jack, I want to ask you, you've seen every round of every Memorial Tournament. Was that the most fascinating 69 you've ever seen played here? Would Norman's win, remember in the last win a couple years ago --
JACK NICKLAUS: I think everybody has a different way of playing. I've never seen this way of playing before. And I don't mean that -- I don't mean that from a funny standpoint. What I'm saying is that Tiger has approached the game a lot because of equipment, a lot because of his ability to hit the ball a long way, differently than I ever was able to approach it or a lot of people were able to approach it. I would never have dreamed of standing on the 11th tee with a 2-iron in my hand and hoping I had a nice 2-iron down there so I could knock a 3-wood or another 2-iron on the green. Wouldn't even think about it. And, you know, to stand there at some of the other holes, watching him play, where it takes so many things out of play with the way he plays. When you take things out of play, you know, you also put other things in play. And his -- I think he'd be the first to admit that he probably didn't play -- his long game was probably not the most pristine that he's ever seen. But I think his short game was unbelievable. And, you know, he's great with his putter; he's great when he needed to be with his putter; he's particularly great with all his little shots around the green. The imagination, most players -- you're 23 now?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
JACK NICKLAUS: Most players at 23 don't have that kind of an imagination and never had to have it. As far as he hits it, there's no reason for him to ever bother to practice his short game. But he has. And that's why -- that's why he's winning. That's why he's there all the time. Because he's a full package. You know, not only can he hit it long if he wants to, but he can hit it short if he wants to. If he misses the shot, he has the ability to recover. Not many players at 23 have that. I didn't have the ability to hit the ball the distance that he hits it. I hit it long, but I did not have the ability to hit it the distance he hits it. Golf courses play differently today than they were when I was playing most of my golf. We never saw greens at this speed 30 years ago. Just didn't see it. A fast green then was probably -- we thought it was lightning fast at probably 9 and a half. If it ever hit that.
Q. In this day and age, Jack, with his body, would you basically -- basically you had a different body but the same kind of physical ability. Would you play the way he plays?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know if anybody can play the way he plays. That's the point I'm saying. He plays -- he has the ability to do things that nobody else can do. And yet he's got a short game that where if he makes mistakes, he can correct it. That's what's so phenomenal. When he's on with his long game, he doesn't need the short game. He doesn't want to have to use it but it's there when he needs it. That's what's so neat about it.
Q. Tiger, he said that you have that ability to recover. Did you feel like you were doing that most of the time today, even yesterday, that you were just recovering a good part of the time?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I did it all week, to be honest with you. I think I didn't hit the ball -- I drove it pretty good the entire week. But my iron game into the greens, I didn't feel as comfortable as I'd like. I was able to control my distances pretty good for the most part, but my direction control wasn't very good. For example, yesterday, I was coming off of the left on No. 8, I hit it perfectly pin-high. Unfortunately it was in the right gallery. And I was able to hit that shot, a little flop shot up there to about 6 feet and make that for par. Pin on the back right. So that was --
JACK NICKLAUS: That was a truly amazing shot.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you.
JACK NICKLAUS: I saw that and I said he has got no chance from there. The green goes away from you.
TIGER WOODS: It does.
JACK NICKLAUS: And to get up-and-down from where he was is just -- you don't do that. (Laughter.)
Q. Tiger, I'm not going to ask you to go 72 holes, hole by hole, but off the top of your head percentage-wise, how many of your pars this week were saves?
TIGER WOODS: Percentage-wise? Probably about maybe 30, 30 percent.
Q. Tiger, the fact that you had to, you know, recover a lot and scramble some. I know your swing's improved, are you thinking maybe the glue's not quite hard yet? You know what I mean?
TIGER WOODS: The difference is I hit it so much better in Germany. I stripped it in Germany. I didn't need my short game. This week I didn't hit the ball as good as I'd like and my short game bailed me out.
Q. But you're also saying that without having your A long game, the off game you have is better than the off game you used to have because the misses are still playable?
TIGER WOODS: Definitely the misses are playable. You have seen me as a kid, when I first turned pro, I hit it everywhere. I just wasn't able to control my ball flight like I'd like to. And it's coming around. It's coming -- it won't be as long as I think before it all comes together. The changes I'm making are definitely feeling like they're gelling. And to be able to step up and go ahead and pipe a couple shots like today on 15 was huge. There was a two-group delay. We were the third group on the tee. There was a long delay to go ahead. To trust that move, you're cold -- not cold, you're still sweating -- but the fact that you haven't hit a shot in a while, to go ahead and have to put a ball in play, I was able to pipe it right down the middle. That gives you confidence that the work you've done off the course has paid off.
Q. Was there a point today, a hole, a time during the round where you got a little uncomfortable; Vijay was too close or you thought that the momentum was shifting or the tide was turning and all, or did you feel in control the whole time?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think, I guess you could say that the main corner down here, 11, I had a perfect opportunity to make birdie after hitting a 3-wood in the right fringe. First cut off and not making birdie there, I think that's the first hole that Vijay and I didn't tie. We tied the first 10 holes. Birdied the same holes. And then he makes birdie there, and he hits a ball on 12, a little long, comes off the slope into a perfect opportunity to make birdie. Looks like it's pretty much a lock. And to step up there and just bury a 9-iron right back there and just bury the putt, that, I think, that sent a message that I'm not going to back off. Like what Ollie did to Norman on 13 this year at the Masters --
Q. You looked seriously miffed at what his ball did and your reaction then was to make that putt. I mean you looked pretty hot about, you know, maybe that he got such a good break.
TIGER WOODS: No, I was not hot about the good break. That happens. I've got a lot of great breaks. I mean, this week on 6 was a perfect example of that. Great break, I hit it in the bunker, coming out and making birdie. So that all evens out in the end. But to step up there and just bury that putt right on top, make him make his. That's the whole key. I mean if I missed that putt, it's a tie ball game, it's up for grabs. But to go ahead and bury that putt and force him, put the onus back on him, say my putt's in the hole, now it's your turn.
Q. Were you pretty much in matchplay mode most of the day?
TIGER WOODS: Most of the day. I think it ended up being more of a matchplay situation on the back nine than it was on the front nine. David was making a run early. He got to 10. If he could have made a couple more, it would have been a three-way ball game. He wasn't able to mount a charge early on the back nine, so it was basically just Vijay and I.
Q. Tiger, Jack will be the Memorial honoree next year. What will you remember Jack for?
TIGER WOODS: The greatest ever. Yeah, pretty simple. (Laughter.) There's nobody else who has the records that he has. I was reading the program this week in the hotel room. I saw that he had -- how's this, he had 70 top tens in the majors. I'm thinking well, that's a major, only 4 a year. (Laughter.) He was able to do that for a long period of time. I think that's what we all admire about his game, he was able to play at such a high level for decades. And you don't see that very often. You see guys play well for maybe 5, 6 years and that's it. But he was able to maintain a high level of excellence over a long period of time. That's what separates himself from everyone else.
Q. Tiger, how do you think you've changed both as a player and a person since, say, this time in 1997?
TIGER WOODS: Hmm... I'm more comfortable about playing the TOUR. I'm understanding that it's a 12-month season now. When I first came out, I was still struggling with that. I was only used to playing 3, 4 months, that's about it. Playing tournaments once a month. It's a little different schedule playing all year long. And I got a little worn out in '97, I didn't schedule it properly. I wasn't -- unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for it because I had never done it before. In '96 I played only eight tournaments on the PGA Tour. And then I had to play a full schedule in '97, and wasn't prepared to play the entire schedule. Last year was a lot better scheduling. Then this year, it's been great. I understand how to play and my life's become more comfortable. I know most of the people in the press on a first-name basis now rather than coming in here and not knowing a soul. That makes things a lot easier.
LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you go over your saves and birdies in detail for us so we have that.
TIGER WOODS: No. 1, I hit a fabulous tee shot into the grass on a slope on the right bunker. I proceeded then to hit an 8-iron, a flat line over the green, landed in the gallery. Then hit a flop shot down there to about 12 feet and made that. No. 2, I hit a tee shot right down the middle of the fairway with a 2-iron, had a 9-iron in my hand, got stuck and hit a terrible golf shot. Probably one of the worst shots I hit all week. Put it in front in the right bunker, blast it out to 10 feet, made that for par. Par 5, No. 5, I hit a 2-iron off the tee, then hit a 2-iron to the green that didn't quite get there. It was in between the first bunker and the second bunker. Had a marginal lie at best, but I had enough grass out there where it would come out a little soft so I could be aggressive, put the old swing flop on there, hit it about a foot and made that for birdie. No. 6, I told you about that one. On the green.
Q. 20 yards maybe?
TIGER WOODS: 20 would be nice. (Laughter.) It was pretty close to 30, yeah. Right there on the first cut, then just skipped right over top of the gallery. I wish it would have been like Major League Baseball, fan interference. But I got that up-and-down, hit it down there to about 3 feet. No. 7, hit a perfect drive down the right side, a little draw. Had a 3-iron, 228 to the front, I don't know what it was to the hole. But 228 to the front. Pull a 3-iron, hit -- trying to hit a ball up the right gap and pulled it badly. Hit it pin-high left, gallery left, lying on the green, gone. Chipped that one up there to about 2 and a half feet.
Q. How far was that?
TIGER WOODS: That pitch? It was about a good 35 yards.
Q. Tiger, in alluding to Pinehurst, great short game today but it's a different short game -- Wait a minute. Let him finish the round.
Q. I thought he was done. I'm sorry.
LEE PATTERSON: 12. That's all right.
Q. He's got 11 more. I'm sorry, I apologize. It's about three more flops there. Sorry. (Laughter.)
LEE PATTERSON: That's all right.
Q. I just heard a pause, I'm sorry.
LEE PATTERSON: 12, you birdied.
TIGER WOODS: 12, I birdied, 9-iron past pin, made that for about 15 feet. 14, I think you all heard about that one. Let's see what else I did.
LEE PATTERSON: 15.
TIGER WOODS: 15, I hit a 3-wood off the tee, had a perfect distance at 220 to the hole, only 198 to the front, hit a 4-iron in there and fed it off the slope to about 30 feet, pin-high. Had to go up over that spine in the green, and I didn't quite break as much as I thought. I saw Vijay's chip coming down there and it snapped on him. I thought mine would do the same, but I missed it about by 3 feet left and made that for birdie. I got up-and-down on 16. It was a weird hole. I hit a 7-iron there and it went in the back bunker, about 225 yards. I still can't figure out how it went that far. (Laughter.) Proceeded to hit a sand shot down there to about a foot and made that for par. Then 18, I made bogey, first bogey of the day. I hit a 3-iron off the tee, right on the left fairway on the left side, tried to put the ball somewhere in one of the bunkers up there short of the green. Didn't want to be in the back bunker, just one of the bunkers short. Because I figured if I could get that up-and-down, the tournament would be over. In the right bunker, hit a good bunker shot, put a little too much spin on it and it came up a little bit short. After Vijay missed his putt, I tried to make it, I have to be honest. I didn't want to end with bogey. Never feels very good. But missed it a little bit left.
Q. Did you give a distance on the chip-in on 14?
TIGER WOODS: It was about 25 feet.
Q. Thank you.
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
Q. And what did you hit in for 14?
TIGER WOODS: Hit a sand wedge. We were trying to -- Stevie and I were arguing over that one. He says yeah, the wind's in your face right-to-left. I said no, it feels down. No, in your face right-to-left. I'm telling you, it feels down. Here's the wind chart, break out the wind chart, it's in your face right-to-left. Okay. I still think it's down. We were bickering back and forth. It was kind of funny. Actually we were laughing about it when I was walking to the green. I guess it was down. I should have gone with my instinct on that one instead of the wind chart.
Q. How far was the first putt at 18?
TIGER WOODS: About 10 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
Q. Sorry about that. (Laughter.) Try this again. Pinehurst -- the shots you hit today were fabulous. You probably won't get to hit that shot at Pinehurst. Are you comfortable with the other types? Maybe I'm wrong.
JACK NICKLAUS: You can hit that shot a lot at Pinehurst.
Q. Full flop. From the rough, though?
JACK NICKLAUS: What's going to happen at Pinehurst, the balls, all the greens are shaved -- have you played there?
TIGER WOODS: I played there Monday.
JACK NICKLAUS: They got the rough beyond that. You have to try to figure out how to play a run shot out of the rough or play a flop.
TIGER WOODS: Correct. I played it when it was slow. I was backing balls up in fairways. Drop the ball into the green, rolls right through it to the deep stuff. No first cut.
Q. If you're in the chipping area, you won't be able to flop?
TIGER WOODS: You can putt out of them, no big deal. But what I'm saying, some of the holes you can drop a ball on the green and it winds up not in the first cut, they don't even have one.
Q. This was a confidence booster for a short game also for Pinehurst?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. I spent a lot of time on those greens chipping around, having a lot of fun, playing different clubs. I felt pretty good. I tried almost every club in my bag around the greens. We had a lot of fun.
Q. Is there one that made most sense most often so to speak?
TIGER WOODS: It varied from shot to shot. Sometimes the slope was so steep you felt better about pitching it high up in a slope and rolling it on. Other times you felt better about putting it or 3-wooding it because you're so far away. Other times it's a high spinner. All depends on how you feel. And the hardest part about playing there is I played when it was soft, when the bump-and-run was actually making ball marks. It won't be like that in the tournament probably. But if it is like that, it will be brutal because you're going to try to play a bump-and-run on fast U.S. Open greens and make a ball mark and come back down.
Q. Tiger, on the telecast today, Jack took a look at the scores and said some further alterations to the course might be necessary.
TIGER WOODS: I thought it was perfect. (Laughter.)
JACK NICKLAUS: Did I say that?
Q. I think you did, didn't you?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think I said that in gest. (Laughter.) Don't ever take me literally when I'm on television. (Laughter.)
TIGER WOODS: I think the best change made on the whole golf course had to have been 17. Because you could just frame the hole, put more of an onus on that tee shot. You really have to grind and focus, can't sit up there and wail away. No matter what you're going to do you're going to be okay.
Q. You talked about how much more patient you are as it relates to playing tournament golf. Is it hard to maintain that patience as you chase this man's record?
TIGER WOODS: No. It isn't. He has his record. He's done the things that Jack Nicklaus has done. Granted, the bar is set very high. Whether I will ever accomplish it or not, who knows? But it's not the driving force in my life. The driving force of my life is to get my game at a level where I'll be able to compete in each and every tournament I tee up in. To have a chance on a back nine on Sunday, every tournament I play in for the rest of my life. I think that's where you want to be.
Q. Do you think your short game gets overlooked?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
TIGER WOODS: Anybody who hits the ball a long ways, if you ask most people, you think John Daly has a good short game, people would say no. But he's got a great short game. People don't realize it because he hits it so far. They look at only the fact that he hits it 330 yards. Don't realize how good a touch he really has around the greens.
Q. Is it just sort of that it's sexy to hit 300 yards sort of?
TIGER WOODS: Chicks dig a long ball. There you go. (Laughter.) I can't even tell you how many times I've heard that today.
JACK NICKLAUS: Heard what?
TIGER WOODS: Chicks dig the long ball. Chicks dig the long ball.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
Q. Before we let Jack go, Jack, a thought on you're being honoree next year?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, obviously it's a very nice honor. It had to happen sooner or later. I was trying to ask the Captains Club to wait 10 or 15 years, but they felt like the 25th anniversary and year 2000 was the perfect opportunity. And I said well, you know, we've always tried to not do it while all the players were active. And they said they wanted to make an exception in my case. I said okay, I'm not going to fight you. I said it's too great an honor to argue with you. I said I'll just accept it and say thank you, and Barbara and I are both delighted. What we've tried to work for here is to develop something that's very special for the game of golf, and to be honored is really quite nice.
Q. Jack, could you expand upon what Bob was, I think, in the direction he was going in as it relates to the golf course. And, for Tiger, if you were designing a golf course where you want this man to hit 14 drivers, how long would it have to be?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, that's such a hard question, Jim. Somewhere along the line, somebody has to design a golf ball that you can keep on a golf course. You can't design a golf course today for as far as these guys hit the golf ball. You really can't. Because if you do, then nobody else can play it. And that's -- that's the biggest problem. I sat with the American Society of Golf Course Architects trying to design a golf course that will fit it, but I don't know how you could do it. You could build a golf course for Tiger and for David and Vijay and nobody else would break 100. But it would have to be so long, but then who knows? Two years from now it will be obsolete. You have to design a longer one. And that's what's happened. I mean we're not a short golf course here. We're, what, 71, 76 or something?
LEE PATTERSON: 76.
JACK NICKLAUS: 76, that's a pretty long golf course. I don't think an Open's ever been played that long.
TIGER WOODS: Congressional. Par 70.
JACK NICKLAUS: It's that long? It's long, I didn't know it was that long. (Laughter.) Anyway, whatever it was, yeah, there's one, par 70, you can play that long. Obviously, that was close to that situation. But somewhere along the line, you just are going to run out of real estate. You have to go back and change the little silly golf ball to try to bring the game back. It won't make a difference to him. He's still going to knock the ball 40 yards past everybody else. It's all going to be relative. You can't really design a golf course around that. If you're going to put a driver in his hand, you can't do it. I think that -- I've worked hard here to try to -- as hard as I could -- to try to keep the situation to where the second shot of this golf course became the premium of the golf course. And so that you put the ball in a certain area, and areas beyond that, and that's why you play a lot of irons. That's why he had the discipline to do what he did; that's why he won. Because I forced him to come back with 2-irons and 3-irons and other clubs so he at least had to hit -- at least he wasn't putting for a second shot. (Laughter.) Seriously. That's what's happening. And, you know, you just -- if you look at No. 1, you have to put it in a certain area; 2, you have to put it in a certain area; 3, 5, you have to put it in a certain area; 6 narrows way down; 7, you can go ahead and hit it. 7, he hit driver. 9, he has to play to an area. 10, he played, I think he played 2-iron at 10?
TIGER WOODS: 2-iron, 3 times.
JACK NICKLAUS: Only because he's playing smart enough that he didn't want to, but he can't hit driver. He just hit over the tree, bounced it up on the front finish someplace. (Laughter.) But 11, he can't really hit driver unless the wind's coming from the right. If the wind's coming from the right I suppose he could hit driver. But why? I mean it's a 2-iron, 290 yards. Why do you need more than that? 13, you could run out of real estate on the right side. I put those two bunkers in 13 with 285 yards. I don't mind him grabbing over 285 yards. If you miss-hit it, you're going to put it in those bunkers. Or if you bail out to the right, you'll put it through the fairway, far into the trees. You have to think about that tee shot. You're going to be put in a position at 14; you're put in a position at 15, 17 and 18. So this golf course, I'd love to put the driver in all the guys' hands. But if I didn't do what we've done as related to the tee shot here, the rest of the golf course would just get to be nothing. It would be like the old 17th hole at Augusta. To these guys, Tiger, at 17, every time he's flying over the hill, he's playing a half a sand wedge chip every day. They finally had to do something to try to control. But no matter what they do to control the long hitter, the long hitter still has an advantage. He still has more of an advantage at Augusta than anybody else. Correct?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
JACK NICKLAUS: Now all of a sudden the short hitters can't get it on top.
TIGER WOODS: Sunday I had 55 yards to the front edge.
JACK NICKLAUS: That's a short tee shot. Of course you're going to get a southerly wind there, southwesterly. But, you know, the only -- it's hard to design a golf course to put the driver in their hands. So what you do is you design a golf course where the second shots become part of the game.
Q. Tiger, you talked a lot about how you've been working on your swing. While you were doing that, did you know that it would take a little time to get it where it would be, did you work extra hard on your short game knowing that you might have to make up? Or have you worked --
TIGER WOODS: I didn't have to work extra hard. I was working on it in competition.
JACK NICKLAUS: You got a lot of practice.
TIGER WOODS: I was getting a lot of practice. I didn't have to worry about it. But it was kind of funny. I've always worked very hard, diligently, on my short game. I would rather do that then pound balls at a driving range any day. It's more fun. It's more creative. I've tried to make practicing on the range more creative by playing situational golf. That definitely improved. But it's part of my game that I've always thrived on, I've loved. Because it's a factor that will demoralize most opponents. You look at Seve's record. Seve never really hit it as good as some of the players he was playing against, but he was able to hit great recovery shots and frustrate them.
Q. Can you sense that, when you're playing with somebody and they see you get up-and-down a bunch of times in a row. What do you sense?
TIGER WOODS: I could sense it in Vijay. He started to get a little more quiet. He wasn't as vocal about saying great shot. The volume was being turned down a little bit.
JACK NICKLAUS: It's hard for him to answer that, but I promise you, yes. When somebody else is doing that to you and you're not getting close to the hole and not making any putts, it absolutely tears you up inside. Darn right it does. It's tough.
Q. How many drivers did you hit this week? Four?
TIGER WOODS: I hit one the first day, two the second, two the third, and one today. No, two today. I'm sorry.
JACK NICKLAUS: Where did you hit that, on 7?
TIGER WOODS: 6. 6 and 7.
JACK NICKLAUS: You just cut --
TIGER WOODS: Exactly. Just bleed it right off the traj. (Laughter.)
JACK NICKLAUS: That's what I thought. (Laughter.) You would drive it in the lake. If the lake wasn't there, you played in the wintertime, you'd just bounce it -- (Laughter.)
TIGER WOODS: The best one I hit yesterday -- (Laughter.)
JACK NICKLAUS: It's kind of unusual, but probably the two best players in the game today, Tiger and David, both love to practice their short game. David practices his short game a lot, too. He probably would rather do that and does that more than anything else. As does Tiger. And it's paid off for both of them.
Q. When did you sense that today? You said Vijay started getting quieter. When was that during the round?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Vijay and I are good friends. And yesterday he kept saying great shot, bro. Way to go. Things like that. Davie was giving me some grief yesterday, his caddie. You could sense the volume just turning down a little bit. It was being turned down. It wasn't as vocal, it wasn't as soon. Might be as we're walking off the green or something like that, where we had plenty of time to talk on the green. That's when you know you're starting to possibly frustrate him a little bit.
Q. Did he say anything after you made it on 14?
TIGER WOODS: Nothing. He was pretty upset, the fact that he made bogey as well. Because I was -- it was a simple tee shot, hit a low 3-iron, over cut it a little bit. You can't afford to miss fairways like that with that iron in your hand. Then we had a two-group wait. That's even worse. You want to go ahead and tee off right away, you're hot. And he had to go over -- if you notice, he didn't sit with us. He went up on top of the hill and sat alone.
Q. Tiger, I think your caddie might have jumped higher than you did when you made that shot on 14. Given your discussion with the wind in the fairway, what did he say to you after you made it?
TIGER WOODS: Hell of a shot. That's about it. You're just -- also, you know, just the way to hang in there, to fight and scrounge and scrape, just kind of get it around. He knows how hard we both worked this week, just trying to pick out which way this wind's going. It's not his fault, it's not my fault. Just the fact that it was swirling. And you got to be committing. But sometimes you can commit to the wrong wind. That can happen very easily. Because the wind was blowing hard enough where it was swirling. If it blows harder, you can tell where it's coming from. It was blowing just hard enough where you really didn't kind of know. It was going all over the place.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, guys. We appreciate it.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you. (Applause.)
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