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June 4, 1999

Tiger Woods


LEE PATTERSON: All right, sir. Very good day. Maybe just a couple comments about your round and heading into the weekend.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I shot 66, but it wasn't, I guess, a pretty 66. I hit a few bad shots today, but I got up-and-down, managed my game really well today, and overall, I made a lot of putts for par to just hang in there.

LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?

Q. What did you have for the eagle?

TIGER WOODS: About 2 feet.

Q. How far did you hit that?

TIGER WOODS: 2-iron. I don't carry a 1-iron. I think it was a 2-iron. Right down the middle, I had 248 to the hole and 26 back, so 274 to the hole. Had a 273 and a foot. (Laughter.)

Q. Lee was saying that someone asked him if he saw a difference with you. He said he sees you being maybe just more relaxed than he has seen you maybe previously. Would you agree with that? He said you were relaxed and maybe enjoying things a little bit more.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think as time has gone on, I've become accustomed to playing the TOUR, the travelling, and going all around the world and the demands on my time. And, you know, when you first come out of college, you don't expect to do all this right away, especially the things I had to deal with right away. So, yeah, it was a little tough at the get-go. But after that, I basically matured and learned how to handle these situations. When I first came out, I was only 20. It wasn't exactly easy. But as I've gone along, I've learned from my mistakes and learned from others as well.

Q. Are you personally doing anything differently? You think you're just accustomed to all the attention?

TIGER WOODS: I think I'm definitely more accustomed to the demands on my time as well as the scheduling and having to play twelve months of the year. These are new things that when you first come out, it's great and all, but then again, you get worn out pretty quick because you're not used to doing it day-in and day-out. It's a little different.

Q. Tiger, you talked the other day about the first two years here, about playing as well coming in. Today you talked about managing yourself around this place. Would you not have managed yourself as well the first two years?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's tough to manage when you're hitting it both ways. (Laughing) That's kind of tough. Because I remember '97, I really didn't have one shot I could rely on. It was going both ways. In '98, I played all right the first round but the second round, again, I didn't know which way it was going to go. Today I knew that my -- the way my swing was going today, if I did miss it, it was going to be a little pull. And I could go ahead and play for that. And I did that all the way around the golf course.

Q. What is better this year with your game than it was; is it just accuracy?

TIGER WOODS: No. I don't know if you have access to videotapes, but if you look at a year ago to now, you see a tremendous difference in my swing plain. It's more rounded at the top. It's about the same length, but my left arm position as well as my right arm are completely different; hence on the way down, the club gets in front of me a little bit better, I can go ahead and use the true loft of the golf club. Before the club used to get inside a little bit, come through and bullet a little bit and deloft the club maybe a degree or two.

Q. I could look at those videotapes and I still wouldn't see that. (Laughter.)

Q. You had 5 birdies in a row on the front nine. Did the conditions get more difficult as the day went on, how did you get on that roll, I guess?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't. Let me describe all those birdies because you're going to see some weird things happen. No. 3, it was a perfect iron shot down the middle fairway. I hit a 60-degree sand wedge about 15 feet right of the hole. Made that. Next hole, I hit a great shot in there, 6-iron to about 10 feet right below the hole. Made that. Next hole, hit 3-wood off the tee, hit a 2-iron that smoked it, hit the hill, rolled back up against the collar, chipped that up to about a foot, made that for birdie. Then the venture begins. Adventure. Six, I hit it dead left off the tee with a 3-wood, hit it marginally where I had 150 to the right front that was just a little bunker. And 163 over the top of the bunker. I pull out 8-iron, hoping that if I catch it flush enough, hard enough, that the knuckling effect should keep the ball in the air and hopefully hit a hot one and get to the green, hopefully over the green, where I can go and chip back. It came out hot, perfect, then it just dove like a knuckler. Just like Wakefield throws. Went out, dove, landed in the lip of the bunker, in the sand, bounced out about 6 feet, made that for birdie. 7, I hit a duck hook off the tee, through the trees, left in the gallery, hit a terrible layup, landed in the rough, kicked out. Hit a pitching wedge to about 10 feet below the hole, made that for birdie. So there's my adventure. (Laughing).

Q. Lee was saying he felt like the greens were getting harder as the day went on. Did you sense that at all?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you know, going in to the round that's what's going to happen. But the thing that really shocked me was the difference between the old greens and the new greens, how much faster the new greens are. Except for 18, 18's the most exposed green, so obviously it's going to be the quickest. But overall the new greens are so much faster than the ones that got poa. Obviously you know that the poa is going to be a little higher than the bent, so it's going to slow it down a little bit. It putts probably a foot slower than it does on the pure bentgrass greens.

Q. Tiger, you played awfully well at Deutsche Bank, nice one there. Tough golf course. You're playing well here in a tough golf course. Are you peaking? I mean, I know there's a lot of work this week, but Pinehurst is down the road; are you peaking now?

TIGER WOODS: Right. I think what you're starting to see is all the work I've done over the past year. Changing my swing. It's finally starting to, as I said, reap the benefits of it. Even though I didn't win at Dallas, I showed signs of it coming back. Better than it has been ever. Because I know when I played Friday at the Byron Nelson, I played terrible that round. I didn't hit it very well at all. I was able to keep the ball in play, shoot 3-under par not playing that great. And then today, as I said, my birdies, that's kind of how it was all day. I hit some horrible shots on the back nine, but they're not as bad as they used to be. And that's a big difference.


Q. Frank Nobilo said yesterday that if the weather stayed good and the crowds were big that you'd be able to feed off that and it would help you. Did you find that to be the case today?

TIGER WOODS: Not really. I was basically focused on what I had to do because I wasn't playing as good. The last time I really fed off the gallery was probably at the Byron Nelson, the first round, because we had a 61, 2 and 3 in a group. Birdies flying everywhere. So the gallery's fired up, we're fired up. Everyone's feeding off of one another. But today was not the case, I was just kind of plodding along, head down, just try to keep the ball within the frame work of the golf course.

Q. Tiger, what are the galleries like compared to when you started? Can you notice a difference?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, tremendous difference. They're not as aggressive. Granted, the kids are aggressive. Obviously they're trying to get an autograph to go and sell it off. They're being paid off anyways. (Laughter.)

LEE PATTERSON: Some of them.

TIGER WOODS: Some of them, yeah. I think it's most of them. But, you know, the ones that are going -- going to make off of it are going to be aggressive. But the nice ones are still great, and extremely supportive. But overall, the buzz of the gallery is not as it used to be, and that's great. Because it used to get pretty ruckus out on the golf course.

Q. It looks like, I mean there's still a huge number of people following you around. That size is considerably different, too?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I don't think the size really matters in this case because they're not as vocal as they used to be. They used to -- then again, late afternoon tee times, I remember in '97, they used to tip back a few, so they're going to be a little more vocal. (Laughing) But today they weren't as vocal. The weekend might be a little different when they start consuming the beverage of their choice. (Laughter.)

Q. Tiger, yesterday you mentioned that it wasn't a birdie fest out there, but you did get out on a birdie run today. How does that take you into Saturday and Sunday where you're right at the top of the leaderboard?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it feels great to be there and I was just -- I was there a couple weeks ago in Germany, right there on the top of the leaderboard. It's just a great position to be in. It's one that you're going to be nervous, you're going to have the butterflies, you're going to be excited. It's a great position. I love it. I love being in the lead, and I love, hopefully, taking it all the way, as I did in Germany.

Q. Mark O'Meara commented earlier, someone was asking him about you. He said there's not a lot of players who have the kind of talent you have. He said, "When he gets going, look out." Is this a look out weekend for you?

TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't be against it. Whether it happens or not is a different story, but I can tell you this, I will try as hard as I possibly can. Just like I do every round. That's a given. It's a constant. Whether it's going to be my weekend or not, that remains to be seen. There's a lot of great players right there at the top of the leaderboard. Anybody who is 3, 4-under par is definitely within striking distance on this golf course especially if the wind kicks up. I need to go out there tomorrow and play the same way I have been playing: Smart, conservative, take my chances when I have them. The few times today I had some good numbers, I fired the pin. Other times I put it 20, 30 feet and hopefully make the putt and I made some of those putts.

Q. There was a lot of feeling going into this tournament that these tighter fairways might reign in some of the scores. Janzen said he's surprised the scores are where they are after two rounds. Where do you see them going after the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think the scores are going to be as low as they are just because of, obviously, the conditions, how fast the golf course is. But today when we played, the wind wasn't a tremendous factor as it was yesterday. Yesterday it was blowing a little bit harder. Today it was more swirly than anything. It wasn't blowing so hard. You didn't know which way it was coming from, and if you hit a marginal shot and the wind hits it, you're dead. Today, you hit a marginal shot and you can still end up okay. That's a big difference. And as fast as the golf course is playing and as tough as these pins are, I'm very surprised that the scores are as low as they are. There are a lot of good guys out here. As I said, these guys are good. That slogan is definitely true.

Q. Tiger, Lee was saying he sees you being much more relaxed this week, just kind of the way you're walking the golf course as you're playing. Is that a result of breaking through in Germany and feeling a new wave of confidence? Or do you feel different this week than you did prior to that win?

TIGER WOODS: No, the same. It hasn't changed. I think it's the overall life, your lifestyle, it has gotten to the point where I've become more accustomed to it. As I've grown with you guys in the media here and as well as the public and learning how to play 12 months of the year. I think getting a balance on the whole thing has definitely made me more relaxed because I don't feel like I'm, I guess, out of place in a sense, or I'm doing too much here and not enough there. I feel like it's in a good balance, right where I want it.

Q. That 17th hole at Dallas seemed so out of character for you; have you replayed it? Have you gained anything from it, turned that into a positive in any way?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, no doubt about it. First off, I hit a good shot. That's the funny thing of the whole thing. I ended right at the flag, trying to hit a draw and I hit the draw. Unfortunately it was a high draw. It was a peaking draw, you could see it peak and start turning, wind hits it and kicks it all the way in the water. From there, I was trying to play a shot and make sure I didn't catch the hot one, I was trying to hit it high and soft. I hit it too soft, muffed it a little bit. Hit it a little fat, caught the rocks, went back in the fairway. I tried to play it a spin shot, try to pick it clean and pull out a spin on it. At that angle, I had to go over the bunker, downhill, then back uphill. That's not an easy shot. I tried to pick it and again, hit it too thin. Unfortunately, just take your medicine, get it on the green and hopefully make the putt and I didn't make it. But my thought process over every shot was good; my execution was not. So that's the positive part. Did I execute the way I wanted to, no. But at least my thought was good. I didn't make any mental errors. Unfortunately, that adds up to seven. But that's the only positive thing I could see out of it. It doesn't feel good, but knowing that I thought every shot through and tried to execute the correct shot, that's probably the only positive thing that ever came out of it.

Q. Tiger, I know you feel relief at the -- sort of the ebbing of the excitement around you having a little less of a crazy fever pitch around you. But really at the height of that, '97, it seemed like when you were playing your best. You faced that in Germany a couple weeks ago and you won. Part of me is thinking that maybe for whatever reason you concentrate better in that type of environment or do something different than actually -- I don't know -- it kicks you into play better. Do you have some analysis on that? Have you given that some thought?

TIGER WOODS: Not really. No. I never looked at it that way.

Q. But that's the way it seems.

TIGER WOODS: It seems that way. But then again, I think anything in '97, if I was ever near the leaderboard, it was going to be fever-pitched. I think that's kind of how it worked out. It wasn't like that on LaCosta Playoff or even back to '96 in Vegas and as well as Disney. Any time I was up there at the leaderboard, it was kind of that way. And fortunately enough, I was able to win some tournaments but I also lost a couple; namely Quad Cities and B.C. Open as well as San Antonio down the stretch.

Q. You hadn't won a Masters yet, you went to Dallas after the Masters and they were lined up --

TIGER WOODS: As I said, I think that was the crescendo of the whole thing. I don't think I ever will get to that point ever again. Because I was new to the scene. I was there for the first time, won a major championship, set some records, then took a month off. So people wanted to see me play. And just kind of all ended up, as well as the Fuzzy Zoeller incident as well at the same time.

Q. Then you went out and won that as well?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I played good.

Q. How many times have you played with Sergio Garcia and what do you think -- I don't know if you've seen him --

TIGER WOODS: I've played with him.

Q. What do I think of his --

TIGER WOODS: Three rounds at the Masters, practice round as well as the first two rounds. One practice round at Dallas.

Q. What do you think from what you've seen of him?

TIGER WOODS: Well, he's a very talented individual, no doubt about that. He hits a lot of good shots, controls his structure very well. I think more than anything, I think his mental outlook is what separates him from anyone else who's young on this Tour. He's obviously not intimidated. He's coming out here with the right attitude, very confident, believes in his own abilities, and plays to his strengths. And, you know, those are signs of a very mature individual. And if you look at the way he carries himself, he's more mature than his age says.

Q. Back to your answer before about these guys are good, no matter how tough this course plays this weekend, would wind be the only thing that bothers you guys?

TIGER WOODS: I think so. When the golf course is this fast, it's actually easier off the tee. Because I know I can hit 2-irons and 3-irons and occasionally I -- like I did on 14, I hit a 4-iron off the tee. You know the ball's gonna run out there. Your chances of hitting the fairway are definitely increased because you can pull down in clubs. But I think the real difficulty is coming in to the greens. When the wind is swirling and you don't know where it's coming from, coming in to these Nicklaus designed greens is very difficult. He penalizes you for missing the green. And if you notice, mostly greens are angles, so you have to hit the ball a precise distance. With swirling winds, that's very tough to do.

Q. How many times did you hit your driver?

TIGER WOODS: How many times did I hit it today? Once, a duck hook on 7.

Q. Could you finish your card with birdies and bogeys?

TIGER WOODS: Sure. Bogeyed 8, hit an 8-iron in the right bunker, didn't get up-and-down there, blasted it about 20 feet. Eagle on 11.

Q. How long was the putt?

TIGER WOODS: 2 feet. But I think the one thing that I don't overlook is the par putt I putt on 10 set me up for the eagle. Because I hit two good shots on the hole and got above the hole and had basically a brain lapse, ran the putt by about 10, 12 feet, made that for par. Then went ahead and figured, you know, what, hey, you just knocked this one, put a perfect stroke on it, go ahead and continue the same feeling and hit hopefully two good shots, put them on the green and boom, I hit it 2 feet for eagle.

Q. What did you hit?

TIGER WOODS: 2-iron. I had 248 and 270 to the hole. Fairways were really running. At the time it was downwind right-to-left.

Q. That's the way I play.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you play the same way. (Laughter.)

Q. How fast are the greens right now, do you expect them to get quicker?

TIGER WOODS: They're going to get quicker if they don't water them. But I think some of the holes that are exposed, obviously 18's going to be fast, sun baked, you can see it turning brown by the hole already. Left part of the hole as well as on the right hill is already turning brown and it's only half way in the day. But I think the greens that are new greens, the ones that don't have the poa in them, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, those holes are playing very quick. The greens are extremely fast and to be expected; it's pure bent. Those are the holes you really have to watch for. You come off the greens with poa on them and you know you hit it one speed. As soon as you get on these greens you know you have to back off, even though you're playing nine holes saying go ahead, take a wrap at it, now you know you have to back off and trust it.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate it.

TIGER WOODS: Okay. Perfect.

End of FastScripts…

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