June 1, 1999
LEE PATTERSON: All right. I think we're ready. We're going to open it up for any
questions you have for Mr. Woods this afternoon. First of all, thank you for spending some
time with us.
TIGER WOODS: You got it:
Q. How about an opening statement?
TIGER WOODS: About what?
LEE PATTERSON: What's the question?
TIGER WOODS: You have to tell me.
Q. Let me ask you this then --
TIGER WOODS: There you go.
Q. You talked about every facet of your life. Shooting 40 at age 3. That's still
amazing to me.
TIGER WOODS: 48.
Q. The bio says 40.
TIGER WOODS: I shot 48 when I was 3 from the latest tees at my home course. But the
only difference is I had every ball tee up. I had the club sweep it off the ground at the
Q. A memorable round for you?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know too many people who can remember when they're 3 years old.
Q. Did you always have it naturally, a great swing, or you worked on it?
TIGER WOODS: Both. I always had natural motion for the game as well as baseball because
of my dad, and it just was a part of me, I think from just watching my dad hit golf balls
in the garage. That's how I grew up playing. I guess I just watched and learned from his
golf swing and he had a pretty good swing.
Q. What would you say to juniors now to help them get better?
TIGER WOODS: Hard work. I practiced quite a bit as a kid. I always kept it fun. I
always liked to challenge myself or my dad. Just trying to improve that through
competition, not necessarily by just going out there and beating balls all day; that gets
boring. I like to play games, play situational games. Like in baseball, how many times
when you were a kid did you pretend to be somebody else and you had to get an out or
playing against -- for me, at my time, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird in basketball, things
like that. That's what every kid does. I did the same thing in golf.
Q. Can you talk about the relationship with your dad and golf and trying to get a feel
for it as we approach Father's Day; how important was that relationship?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it meant a lot to me and it still does. He's always been there not
only as a father figure, but as a mentor, a best friend, and as a counselor. If there is
anyone in this world I can turn to at any given time, it would be him. To know that is
very comforting. Any time I'm struggling with something or I want to find out some tidbits
of information or just talk, he's always there.
Q. Moving forward to the current times, some guys in my office see you on TV in Germany
and other places, they said to me, looks like Tiger's gaining weight. I said not
necessarily, I think he's lifting a lot of weights and getting stronger. Is that what
happened to you, have your body dimensions changed?
TIGER WOODS: They have changed quite a bit. I don't know what the bio says. When I
first turned pro in '96, I think I was 160, 162. 160, 162, somewhere in that range. But
now I'm weighing about 177. My body fat dropped quite a bit down. It's been good. I've
been doing a lot lifting, it's starting to pay off. Some of the conditions, I've been able
to hit shots I've never been able to hit because of strength.
Q. What other things do you do? Sorry. People always thought you had a lot of clubhead
TIGER WOODS: Clubhead speed. But if you look at the clubhead speed, how is it
generated? Is it generated by the motion of the arms, or is it generated by the motion of
the body? For me, all my life it's been generated by the motion of the body. I can unwind
my body faster than most players; hence, I can get a whip effect going where I can sling
it out there. That's how I got all my distance. Now I'm doing it with my arms. That's
quite a big difference. It's going to be a lot more consistent, you can bow it down, hit
shots that -- you know, guys like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, why do they do so well?
Because of their forearms and hands. They're enormously strong. Even Gary Player, that's
what you need to do in order to control golf shots, especially when you get into the
Q. Do you think you're in your best shape right now?
TIGER WOODS: As of right now. I'm going to continue getting in better shape. I think
technically most males reach their physical prime around 26 or 27.
Q. What kind of things do you do when you work out?
TIGER WOODS: Full body. I'm not going to give you my workout.
Q. Lot of flexibility exercises?
TIGER WOODS: Lot of flexibility. I've always been loose and limber naturally, I don't
need to do too much in that regard. I still do it just to make sure it's still there.
Q. When you look back over your two -- you played here twice, I guess.
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. What do you remember about it? Anything you've learned that you'll do differently?
TIGER WOODS: I've learned it's rained here every year. (Laughter.) I've had a great
time since I've played here as a professional. I played here as a U.S. Amateur, again it
rained. There were remnants of a hurricane that came that year. Overall, I had a fabulous
time. The golf course is always in great shape. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to put
the scores together here. I don't know why. It's just one of those weeks where it just
Q. The fairways, this is going to demand a lot more strategy from the beginning. Do you
think you can get past that? They've added bunkers, No. 14, they added another bunker. One
bunker back about 10 yards so you can't cut the dogleg. You think you can cut it?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. Normally I don't cut that corner unless it's downwind,
right-to-left. I can use the shape of the wind to shape it down the hole. Normally I hit a
3-wood or 2-iron off the tee and it goes into the corner, then hit a mid-iron into the
green and attack from there. But this golf course has always traditionally played soft,
the times I've been here. So the strategy has been taken out of our hands because if you
hit a high drive, the ball's going to stick in the fairway. I think the last time I've
ever seen it dry was in the Ryder Cup here. Borderline tee shots were riding into the
rough, that's how this golf course was designed. Even those fairways are enormous in size.
If they're fast and running, they can run pretty quick. If you have high rough, which you
always have here, the faster the conditions, the more difficult the golf course will play.
Then you have to shape shots. The years I've played here, you can hit drivers, hit high,
you know that if it's going to land in a fairway it will spin back about a foot, or it's
not going to get out of control.
Q. Did you see the Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS: I did. I watched it on TV.
Q. How do you see Tigermania, has it subsided? Are you comfortable with it now?
TIGER WOODS: It's not what it used to be; that's for sure. I'm definitely not against
that. It was quite a -- it was kind of shocking last time I played in Germany because it
was back to the days of '97, early '97. The press conference was packed. Every seat was
taken. You know, the fans were aggressive, there were a lot of them. That's the way it
used to be. But I think over time, especially here in the States, as the cities have seen
me for a couple of times, they're starting to get used to me. I was new to the TOUR, I was
new to golf in the professional ranks; hence, people wanted to get a glimpse. Now that
I've been around for a couple years now or they've seen me on TV on the weekend, I think
because of these things that eagerness factor has diminished.
Q. Where does this tournament rank among the events you play each year?
TIGER WOODS: It's a tournament I've always loved to come to. One reason is because of
the person who represents it, Mr. Nicklaus, as well as the golf course. I've always loved
playing here. The golf course has suited my game even though the scores don't reflect it.
I do like this golf course. It's just a matter of time before I get it going.
Q. I thought they said your length is a detriment here. Is that not the case?
TIGER WOODS: It hasn't been. The times I've been playing here, it's been soft and wet.
Unfortunately I haven't been swinging as good as I'd like coming in to this event in years
past. But this year's a little bit different. I've been playing well. The last two
tournaments I really shot some good numbers.
Q. This reduction in "Tigermania," do you think that's solely a factor of
familiarity people have with you, or is some of that related to the success other players
TIGER WOODS: I think it's a combination of both. Definitely a combination of. I think
you can look at it, I guess, in today's time with Martina Hingis, when she burst on the
scene the same time I did in '97, she won quite a few tournaments, all the fans wanted to
see her. Now she's been around a few years, she wins tournaments, four or five a year, but
just being familiar with seeing her on TV or seeing her in these cities or countries
around the world that, like I said, the eagerness factor to go out there and look and
watch has diminished.
Q. There's a picture of you and Sergio Garcia today. He's getting a lot of play it
seems like. What is his future? How bright is he?
TIGER WOODS: He's a very talented individual, no doubt about that. He's got a fabulous
short game, hits it a long ways. But I think more than anything, he's got the attitude
that it takes to play out here and be successful. And that is to win. His attitude is not
to finish or make the cuts or make the top ten, he goes there to win. That's the attitude
you need to come out here, especially when you're young.
Q. Do you have a connection with him? He's 19 years old, do you see similarities? He's
getting a good draw with fans.
TIGER WOODS: We're very similar. I know I wasn't as talented as him. I wasn't as good
as he was at 19, just because I played out of college. He's playing professional
tournaments. Not only in Europe, but around the world; he's playing Nike events over here,
regular Tour events. He's played every where around the world at a young age. I was not
able to do that. I think because of the things that he's done professionally -- I'm sorry,
playing in professional tournaments as an amateur, he's developed his game a lot quicker
than most people.
Q. Tiger, you mentioned a little bit about how your body is changing now, you put on
more weight and it's probably going to change more. You talked a little bit about the
evolution of your swing from more of a body movement to a swing. How do you see your game
evolving from here? Is it 100 yards and in, or is there other things that are going to
evolve all together?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's going to be the whole package. I've worked on every facet of
my game, every facet of my game has improved. I'm very pleased with that. Every year I'm
looking to make some kind of adjustment or change things I didn't like. I know that even
though I was playing very successful in the winning column at a very, I guess, young age
in the professional ranks, in '96 and '97, I didn't like the positions I was in. Because
when I was off, it was quite a bit off. I was shooting high numbers. I don't like shooting
high numbers. I decided to make a change and I have been working pretty hard on my swing
plan, getting it the way I like it. A little more rounded at the top. So because of these
changes, I think my ball flight's improved. I'm able to play in conditions I've never been
able to play in before. Example, last year's British Open, the wind was howling. I know
that the year prior to that there's no way I could have played that well. And then from
the British Open to St. Andrews, the Dunhill Cup, I improved a little more in my swing
plan and really played well. These are things I've been working on and trying to improve,
and I'm very pleased.
Q. Are you a little disappointed yet in how your putting has not come around? It seems
like you go in spurts. You've had some good putting rounds and so forth, but it seems like
it's still a little bit holding you back. Is there a point where you're saying it's got to
TIGER WOODS: Oh, it has come around. It has.
Q. You putt well in Germany.
TIGER WOODS: I putted well in Dallas, too. It was a pretty good putting round. I have
improved my putting. I went back to some of the fundamentals that I used to do as a kid.
My dad and I had a long talk about that. Just went back to the old fundamentals, just the
things I used to do. Looked at the picture, get the picture, putt to the picture, not
worry about mechanics that much. Just make sure you're comfortable and go ahead and be
committed. Bury it.
Q. Was that a little too mechanical maybe?
TIGER WOODS: I wasn't feeling comfortable. When you don't feel comfortable over a shot
or putt, you try to analyze it and figure out why you don't feel comfortable. Then you get
in your own way. Because you start tinkering around with certain positions. And then after
a while, you start worrying about your body instead of what the job at hand is, that's to
try to make a putt.
Q. Tiger, how does your development, mental and physical, relate to an Open setup and
the U.S. Open in Pinehurst?
TIGER WOODS: I've improved a lot mentally and physically. I think what people see are
the physical changes because that's more apparent. But if you look at my management skills
over the past, say, two years, you can see that I've really improved. That's just learning
more shots and learning how to position golf balls around a golf course and make the most
of it when you don't have it. I got more swings now I can turn to to get me around. That's
what it's all about, scoring. I've always had the ability to hang in there and fight and
scrape, but I didn't have the shots that I do now. And you combine all that together and
you start hanging in on more terms when you're not playing well. You give yourself chances
Q. Is the hardest thing about the Open for you the patience factor? Can you relate that
maybe to what Jack accomplished winning four Opens?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's not the patience factor in the U.S. Open, but I haven't been
able to drive the ball as well as I'd like. With my length, that's great. But be able to
hit the ball on the fairway, that's a different story. This year's been a -- I've been
very pleased at the progress I've made in driving. I'm hitting the balls on more fairways
than I ever have. Hence, you look at my scoring, it's come down. My high rounds are not as
high just because I'm driving the ball better. It's also a function of, as you said,
patience. I've learned more patience, and I will continue to learn more patience as I just
keep playing out here and understand how to play the game. Just by watching other players,
talking to other players, just picking their brains, I've learned through my own
experiences as well as others' how to score. That's improving every year.
Q. Have you had a chance to look at old clips of Opens and Nicklaus playing in Opens
and how he attacked or played the course conservatively?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
Q. What did you pick up from that?
TIGER WOODS: One thing I learned is that in his time, he was longer than everybody
else. So he could afford to hit a 3-wood off the tee. Hence, it's going to spin a little
more, land softer. It's going to keep the ball on the fairway. Other players are forced to
hit driver at lower trajectory, pull a push, it's going to land the ball in the rough.
That's a tremendous advantage he has. He was able to hit a 3-wood farther. At a higher
launch angle, balls are going to stay in the fairways. He's making pars, plodding along
and winning tournaments.
Q. How important is the No. 1 ranking to you?
TIGER WOODS: It's not as important as people might think. I think the most important
factor is just winning tournaments. The ranking will take care of itself if you just win.
There's no better feeling than winning tournaments. Granted, being No. 1 does feel pretty
good, but I think anybody would trade in victories for a No. 1 ranking.
Q. Is Joe Grant still running your Tiger Woods Foundation out of Renoldsburg (phonetic
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. What's going on with that?
TIGER WOODS: It's doing fabulous. We're preparing for Tigerjam II right now -- August
7th, that's come along fantastic. We're doing things we've never done before in a
foundation now. We're going to start going overseas. We're going to send one of our
foundation members to China and go there and investigate how we can better help the
educational facilities in China, and that's what we're doing.
Q. When I last talked to Joe, he was not that familiar with golf. How's his learning
TIGER WOODS: He's learned a lot. Quite a bit. Just talking to my dad has helped quite a
bit. They talk at least four, five times a week. Not only does he run the foundation, but
my dad and him are best friends. They've been best friends since the Army.
Q. Tiger, from what you know of or have heard about Pinehurst, how are you preparing
for that golf course?
TIGER WOODS: I played it yesterday, as a matter of fact, and found that the golf course
was a little bit different than I thought, more greens are elevated. You really can't see
the putting surface as well. That's just because of the times that Donald Ross grew up and
designed in, or the technological advances weren't that great. So you had to design a golf
course where the water's going to run off the greens, and that's why every green is
elevated. It was something else. But you hit borderline shots. USGA shaved all the banks,
made the fairway lengthened, maybe shortened them to fairway length, balls run off. When
they run off the greens, they're not running off into the first cut rough. There's no
first cut rough. It's automatic four or five-inch rough. So you hit a shot, lands on a
green, we drop a ball on a couple greens, just drop the ball on the green, let it roll off
and either ends up against rough that high or in rough that high. So I think it's going to
be very difficult.
Q. Did you keep score?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't, no. I hit about four or five balls.
Q. Getting back to Tim's question about patience in an Open, there's been this school
of thought on you that you don't handle disappointments well, you get frustrated in the
Opens. Do you think that's been a fair or unfair criticism? Can you reflect on that?
TIGER WOODS: I have gotten frustrated in tournaments. I don't know who doesn't when
they hit a bad shot. It's just unfortunately -- you look at some of the spots I've put
myself in, I've put myself in bushes and trees and water and I don't know too many people
that are going to be very happy with that. I don't know if you'd be happy with that, but I
know I wasn't. So I was frustrated. But I think with the evolution of my game, I think
just because I'm hitting it better, you're going to be more patient. I've learned, as I
said, through my own mistakes, of handling my emotions, of handling disappointments, as
well as handling the highs a lot better. It's great when you make a birdie, but then again
you have to go ahead and play the next hole and you can't afford to give that right back.
These are things that I've learned. I have applied them. That's one of the reasons why my
game has been very consistent, why I don't miss a whole lot of cuts, why I finish in the
top tens a lot, why I gave myself a lot of chances and why I'm starting to win again.
Q. Has it become easier for you to prepare for tournaments now that it's less of an
event that you're in town?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. I can practice now without having media come up to me
on the ranch and disrupt my practice or fans screaming and yelling. And I can actually go
out and practice now, instead of staying home in Florida and then practicing, getting
ready that way, then flying to the city and knowing it's going to be a hassle and just
trying to survive until Thursday and Thursday comes around and I can play.
Q. Yet you handled the German situation where it was that way --
TIGER WOODS: Because of my experiences in '96 and '97 and early '98 where I've had to
deal with that every week I teed up around the world. Because of these, I guess,
experiences, I learned how to handle it better. And Germany was difficult, don't get me
wrong, but I was able to handle it a lot better than I did when I first came out.
Q. Have you gotten any backlash from taking the million dollar appearance fee in
Germany, and would you consider that kind of thing again?
TIGER WOODS: First of all, I never received a million, no. So that's just kind of a
hypothetical number people like to throw out. A million's not bad though. (Laughter.)
Q. You talked about Pinehurst and being around the greens, machination and creativity
being so important at that course but generally speaking every where. Can you talk a
little bit more about those aspects of the game?
TIGER WOODS: At Pinehurst?
Q. Yeah, mostly Pinehurst.
TIGER WOODS: At Pinehurst I was chipping around the greens, putting and using my 3-wood
or occasionally I had an uphill lie, you can use a 60-degree sand wedge and spin the ball.
But generally what I found was some of the places are basically unplanable. Because you're
going to hit a ball, as I said, drop a ball on a green, it's going to roll off into 5-inch
rough, next thing you know you have an elevation change at 5 or 6 feet and on the opposite
side run straight away from you. So it's not necessarily a machination, but I think it's
discipline going into the green. Understanding the fact that certain pins, you're fine
40-feet short so it's best not to hit enough club. Or the pin's on the right side of the
green, leave yourself an easy chip or even a 2-putt and get out of there. In some places
where it's No. 5, it was actually best to miss the ball over the green. So you just have
to understand where to miss, and I think that's the discipline. You're going to have
numbers after a good drive where you feel, I can really attack here. I got a wedge, I got
a 9-iron in my hand, 8-iron, I can really feel I can attack that. It looks good. But I
think the discipline comes in at positioning your shots in the right position. So you
don't have these enormous challenges to get up-and-down for par.
Q. When you first came out on Tour as I recall you did a lot of dramatic things that
led to victories. I don't see you doing those dramatic things now. Is that an accurate
assessment of the situation? If so, what's happened?
TIGER WOODS: Dramatic?
Q. I see you being more consistent, as you're saying. The first couple years you were
out here, you used to do things that were just hard to imagine, and they would lead to
victories. Everybody said, man, this guy's going to beat everybody for ever and all these
other things. I was wondering, maybe you changed the way you approach - the changes you've
made, maybe they've made you more consistent. Maybe it's taken out the possibility of
TIGER WOODS: I had a dramatic shot -- depends when you catch me. Like even last -- two
weeks ago when I won in Germany, I hit some shots that I didn't think I could hit. I
pulled it off. But then again, they were Thursday on the front 9, when no one was
watching. There's no TV cameras then. Then I started playing a little bit better, I had
more consistent play, you would see me towards the later end of the round when I was
playing a little bit better. It all depends when you catch me. I know I usually hit more
dramatic shots as a kid because I was more aggressive. But then again, I also made some
pretty high numbers as well and also blew myself out of a lot of tournaments. So there's a
combination of. As I said, it's all in timing, when the cameras are on you. I think that
determines a lot.
Q. Who did you play with in Pinehurst? What was the occasion? Was it just practice?
TIGER WOODS: Just a practice round. I played with my agent.
Q. As you look back on the last couple Opens that you played, reflecting on these
changes, mental changes and stuff, would you say that back then you were not equipped to
win if you had an off day at an Open or if you didn't have everything zoned in, but that
now you might be able to better handle and manage a day when you don't have it and can you
discuss whether you think you can handle that? If everything is not perfect for you at
Pinehurst you can still win?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. I think -- I hate to say it -- but I'm only 23. And
that's still not old. So I still have a lot of learning to do. Being 21 and 20 and 22, I
mean that's still pretty young to win a major in those years; that's not bad. But,
granted, back then I had to be on or close to being on in order to win a major
championship, just because of the fact I didn't have that many golf shots. I had a few, I
was relying mostly on my hands to do the job for me. But that's all a lot in timing, too.
But as I've learned and grown, I've gotten stronger and have learned how to play the game,
that, yeah, my chances are better when I play poorly. I give myself better chances like
when I -- for example, when I played the second round of the Byron Nelson, I did not hit
the ball very well. Quite frankly, I hit it terrible. But I managed my game around where I
shot 67. And I put myself in places where I could play from. These are the things that I
could do when I was younger, but not as well or as frequent. Because I didn't have either
the discipline or I didn't have the shots to get me -- or the number of different swings
now, when I start swinging poorly, to keep the ball in play.
Q. How big was the win in Germany to you and what have you been doing since then?
TIGER WOODS: It was great. Because I played well. But I think more importantly, I only
had three bogeys for the week. To play a golf course with 5, 6-inch rough where you can't
get to the greens, if you drive the ball to the rough, to be able to play with three
bogeys was pretty good. I was very pleased with that, especially the different conditions
we played under. We played under some heavy winds the first two days, then it warmed up. I
still continued to play well, I was please with that. Since then, I've been hanging out in
Florida doing nothing, kind of practicing or lounging around and watching TV.
Q. Tiger, did you get a sense yesterday that the USGA's going to let you keep the
driver out this year?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know how much more narrow they're going to make the fairways in
the next year, but they were ample wide for the U.S. Open. When I played, too, it was very
soft. I think it will be firm by then, that mediocre drives won't stay in the fairway.
Couple drives down the borderlines of the fairways that I see backed up with a driver, I
don't see that happening in the U.S. Open.
Q. Tiger, USGA supposedly put chipping back in the Open, but you made it sound like you
have to catch a break to get the ball in that chipping area.
TIGER WOODS: There's certain chipping areas where you can't chip from or putt or
bump-and-run, whatever you want to do. But there's other areas where it will land on the
green, it will roll off and you're going to get a ball in 4, 5, 6-inch rough and you got
no shot. But if you place the ball in the correct spot, there are areas where it's an easy
chip and run or putt, all depending on where you miss it determines your fate.
Q. Are you excited about this made-for-TV thing with Duval coming out this summer?
TIGER WOODS: I'm very excited about that. It's the first time that golf's been on prime
time. We'll be able to do that and take golf to an audience where it traditionally hasn't
been. That's pretty neat. And also to play against a person with the quality game like
David Duval and to be able to play against him head-to-head, these are things you always
want to do. You want to challenge yourself. But then again you also want to have a good
time, too. So it's going to be a great match from that standpoint. He and I will obviously
be trying to beat each other, but we'll have a lot of fun as well.
Q. You keep mentioning your discipline, your aggressiveness. How hard was it to get a
handle on that? I know myself, I don't care how many times I tell myself I'm just going to
play it smart, I'm going for it, man. That's all that happens. How hard was it for you to
really discipline yourself to control your aggressiveness?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's the evolution of just growing up. I was --
Q. I'm not there. (Laughter.)
TIGER WOODS: Well, see the thing is you might not be there in the game of golf, but in
reporting, I'm sure you've improved quite a bit from when you first started. That's just
the evolution of learning. Because this is my job and I want to give myself chances to
win. I know that with the talent that I have, I know I can pull off these shots. But you
also have to look at the probability of pulling that shot off. Over the long haul,
sometimes taking that one risk might put you out of the tournament where if you just put
the ball here, put it there, you'll save yourself a shot or two, that shot or two might
mean the difference come Sunday afternoon with a couple holes to go.
Q. How is your game right now? And short of winning this week, is there something
you're looking to work on? Something that you'd like -- a progression in an area of your
game you'd like to take out of here?
TIGER WOODS: One thing I'd like to take out of here more than anything is shaping my
drives a little bit better. I know that I was shaping my drives pretty good in Germany but
not as good as I'd like. I wasn't able to shape it both ways at any time. And I was
sometimes a little frustrated. I could probably pull it off two out of three times, but
you need to pull it off a little more than that in order to be more successful. So I'd
like to be able to shape my drives a little better, position it on the correct sides of
fairways like I have been, continue to do that, hence back ride, put on the left side,
things like that, things that are basic, to continue getting better at that. Because I
think that's what's going to eventually lead to more victories because you can give
yourself better opportunities to make birdies.
Q. Tiger, Ben Hogan is the honoree this week. Certainly long, long before your time.
Just your thoughts and the impact he made on the game?
TIGER WOODS: Tremendous impact. I don't know if this stat is true or not, but I
remember either seeing the Golf Channel or reading it, I don't know how good my memory is,
I think he only missed one cut in his professional career. I don't know if that's true or
not, but if it is, that's not bad. It goes to show you what kind of player he was. Not
only was he very consistent, but, more importantly, he was consistent in the big
tournaments. He did it in the U.S. Opens, he did it in the British Opens, you name it. He
played the toughest golf courses in the world well. And that, to me, is the ultimate.
That's what you always want to do. He was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ball
striker in all of golf.
Q. You said you'd like to come out of here with perhaps some improvement on shaping
your ball more consistently off the tee. Are you having more trouble fading it than
perhaps drawing it, or is it just -- is it not --
TIGER WOODS: You just ask me what hole it is, and I'll tell you how I'm feeling. It
goes back and forth. It's not one way or the other. A lot of it is when you get to a
certain tee, it either fits your eye or it doesn't. To be able to fit it, if it doesn't
shape your eye, shape it the right way. I know my safety valve is always the cut. To be
able to sometimes hit the draw in the hole where you need to turn it but you don't really
have to. I have the confidence to step up and shape it down there and know I can do it,
that's a pretty good feeling.
Q. You were talking about drivers, I know there's a guy who fits drivers for Titleist
players. How significant is that, having someone to work with you to find what works best
TIGER WOODS: Well, I guess I'm different than most players. I don't change equipment
that much. I don't change drivers, I don't change 3-woods or wedges or irons. I'd like to
have the same stuff. And I don't know, it's really weird, because, granted, he's been out
here, Steve's been out here helping us and Larry has come out occasionally. It's been very
nice to have them out here. But I don't really use them as much. I have them check my loft
and lies and make sure that's fine. I like to do, if I'm going to change something, I'd
rather do it on an off week. Go to the testing plant in Carlsbad, go there for let's say a
couple days, and have them build me something that I can test there and see what the
conditions are. And I feel more confident doing that rather than put a new driver in or
new set of irons in today and go play tomorrow.
Q. Tiger, I wanted to ask you, can you kind of highlight your career at Stanford and
talk about how the golf team did in general?
TIGER WOODS: We had a pretty good run in college. I know my freshman year, I think they
were writing about -- telling us, we had on paper the best team that's ever played in
college golf. There was Notah Begay, Casey Martin, William Yanagasawa, Steve Burdick and
myself. The National Championship in '94, before I got there, we were ranked No. 1. We won
I think five tournaments that year; we did great. Just unfortunately we lost in the
playoffs at Ohio State here, that was kind of a bummer. But we had a great time. In my
sophomore year, in '95, '96, it was a little different story. We lost every single one of
those guys. They're all gone. They were all seniors. It was a one year, one-shot
proposition. But we did well in '96. We finished fourth in the NCAA Championships. I know
I had a fabulous time. Right now our team is not as good as we'd like to see it, Wally
Goodwin, our coach, is retiring at the end of this year. That's going to be a tough blow
to our team.
Q. You talked about the things that you learned about yourself in Germany and in your
game, what did you learn about your possible Ryder Cup opponents? Because there are a lot
of potential unknowns lurking on the European team.
TIGER WOODS: I know that probably the top four or five is probably luck on their side.
But there are a lot of unknowns at the bottom, people in the United States don't know
about. We as players out here do know them. I know that some of them are great ball
strikers, great putters, but they don't get the recognition because they play in Europe
and I guess the Americans are more focused on the U.S. Tour. But they have a pretty good
line-up. They had a good line-up the last few times that we've played. They've won. So
it's not necessarily whether it's gray or not, it's how good that team can gel and partner
up. They had great pairings, Westwood played with Faldo, Westwood's first appearance at
Valderrama. He played fantastic. These are little things that will probably determine
who's going to win the Ryder Cup. Not necessarily who's on the team but how well they
partner. That's the big thing we need to get over in the states, we probably don't partner
up as well as they do. I don't know why. It just seems to work out that way. We seem to do
better in the singles.
Q. Tiger, still on the Ryder Cup, what would be the feeling of, you know, how you feel
when other Americans play it? If Nick Faldo isn't on the European team, because of his
contribution, because of what he's achieved, is it a feeling of relief?
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say a feeling of relief. I wanted to play against the best. He
played his first Ryder Cup when he was 23, I believe? So to have a person with that kind
of record, not only around the world, but in the Ryder Cup, he's always been a stalwart
for their team. And, granted, Selly's (phonetic spelling) not a part of the team playing
last time, but he was a part of the team in other facets. To have two players of that
quality not be a part of that team, not only Selly, but Nick, but Nick's -- Nick's playing
better, so he got his game back and hopefully he can get on the team. Because I always
wanted to play against the best. To have that challenge, it feels pretty good when you do
Q. Was it Entertainment Tonight that named you one of the coolest bachelors in America?
Was that it?
TIGER WOODS: I have no idea. I don't watch that. I watch Jimmy on ESPN a lot.
Q. I read that in your player profile. If that's the case, what would make you so cool?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, man. I'm sorry. I really don't.
Q. Your shoes, how about your shoes?
TIGER WOODS: You think it's the shoes?
Q. Let's throw out then, are you still -- you're still a bachelor obviously, that
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
Q. Is the social life tough for you?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's not. What I've learned is the fact that when I go out in public
and I have a good time with my friends or whomever, that there are consequences for going
out. And that's what I've learned. I learned how to handle those consequences better,
whether it's a small autograph here or picture or just saying hello. These are things that
I wasn't accustomed to coming out of college; no one ever does that. Then you come on the
scene and all of a sudden you hit the intensity of the spotlight where a lot of people are
recognizing you. That was very difficult to handle at first. Then over time I've gotten
accustomed to it, gotten used to it, learned how to handle it better than when I first
came out. When I go in public, it's really no big deal. I go to the same places, do the
Q. Marriage proposals still coming in? Have they been?
TIGER WOODS: Received a couple here and there. But, no. Nothing -- I'm not doing
Q. They send pictures with those?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah.
Q. Let's get back to this. Most of the good players in the last 20 years, stars that
have won this golf tournament... (inaudible) Does winning here fit into your scheme of
TIGER WOODS: This golf course is a good test. It tests every facet of your game. Drive
the ball on the fairway, hit the ball in the correct spot on the green as Nicklaus likes
to challenge you. Better greens are always quick and fast. So you got to make sure you
have good touch for the week. So that's one of the reasons why you see a lot of the great
players winning here. And hopefully I can add my name to that list. But if I don't, that's
okay, too. Two weeks from now, it's not a bad one to add, too.
Q. Can you talk about British golf and the fact that the Open Championship is going to
be in Carnoustie, what your expectations are and the way you're approaching that
tournament? Maybe you're not thinking about it now, but what you will be thinking about.
TIGER WOODS: I played Carnoustie in two tournaments, both Scottish Opens in '95 and
'96. Was it '95 and '96? Yeah. '95 and '96. So I had the experience there, I've played
there. It's severe conditions. This is one of the things you have to get ready for for
that kind of golf course, No. 16's a long par 3, plays about 230. I remember hitting
6-iron on that hole in a practice round, and hit 3-wood in a tournament. I remember
playing No. 17, playing about 470 or 470, hitting a 5-iron and 5-iron over the back of the
green. Driver and driver, barely getting to the front of the green. These are things that
you just have to understand as part of the playing. The conditions are going to change and
you have to make sure you can maneuver the ball flight. That's what I'll work on after the
U.S. Open, controlling my ball flight with the correct spin and trajectory.
Q. Do you enjoy those challenges?
TIGER WOODS: I love it. I wish more golf courses in the States were as dry as the
courses over there, on the Links courses. That gives you more options. You can be more
creative. You have to hit more shots. Unfortunately, our U.S. courses are designed as
point A to point B to point C, it's target golf. You don't have the opportunity to play a
number of different shots. I remember hitting my first British Open at St. Andrews, I hit
a 2-iron from 150 yards, kind of ran it along the ground. There's no tournament here where
I can say that. You lie it in front of the green and it's going to stick and not go
Q. On the British Open, the Open's going back to Carnoustie for the first time in 25
years. How does Carnoustie -- you've played it 8 times; how does it rate?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's the hardest one. But by far, from what I heard -- I just had
lunch with Yesburn (phonetic), he told me from what he's heard about the golf courses,
they've narrowed their fairways down even more than they had for the Scottish Open. I
thought they were pretty narrow then. They're going to have a rough, pretty high, some of
the old things you've seen in the British Open, the roughs are knee high. If that's the
case, this golf course could play very difficult. Over par might not be a bad score if the
conditions are severe. Because I remember playing there in the two times I have played
there, the ball has always run. Where I've been able to hit, as I said, 5-iron 5-iron, 17,
you don't do that very often. You can run well on the ground, but if it is that fast and
you have a rough that high, you're going to see some pretty high numbers.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate it.
Q. Are you going to practice this afternoon?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I am.
Q. Thanks, Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: No problem.
End of FastScripts