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June 1, 1999

Tiger Woods


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.


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 time.

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 speed.

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 rough.

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.


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 doesn't happen.

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 have had?

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 come around?

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 to win.

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?


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 spelling) here?


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 curve?

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 dramatic shots?

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 for you?

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 win.

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. (Laughter.)

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 hasn't changed?


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 same things.

Q. Marriage proposals still coming in? Have they been?

TIGER WOODS: Received a couple here and there. But, no. Nothing -- I'm not doing anything official.

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 things?

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 anywhere.

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…

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