March 7, 1998
LEE PATTERSON: We're going to open it up for any questions you have for Mr. Woods this afternoon.
Q. Tell us about the sand shot, to start off?
TIGER WOODS: Which one? I was at a whole bunch of them today.
Q. The last one.
TIGER WOODS: I had 148 to the hole, and the hard thing about that bunker shot is the fact that's not one of the bunkers that they water down, they didn't take a whole lot of sand out, it was fluffy. I had a perfect lie, it was exact, but my feet were dug in too easily, it was like being in powder. And with the tendency of the ball -- the ball being above my feet the tendency is to hit the ball fat, so I choked all the way down the shaft and tried to pick it. I picked it clean, and held it up with the wind and held it up about 67 inches.
Q. What club was it?
TIGER WOODS: 7-iron.
Q. Was it clear early that this would be sort of a day just to sort of survive?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, boy, it was a tough day. Not only for me, but for everybody who played because the greens are getting really crusty out there. They're getting quick. The fairways are really running now, so borderline shots are now running into the rough or even into the bunkers. And most of the holes the wind really isn't into your face, it's more crosswinds. And that becomes real difficult, because now you've got to really work your golf ball all day long. I can't really remember a shot where I had it dead downwind or dead into my face, it was always some kind of crosswind.
Q. Tiger, tell us about the putting today. It seemed like you had some makable putts?
TIGER WOODS: I did, I had a lot of makable putts, I just didn't make them. I'm going to go right out to the putting green and try to figure it out. I hit good, solid putts, just a matter of starting the ball on-line. I'm not starting the ball right on my line, I'm starting about a fraction left. And I guess out here a fraction left isn't going to do it.
Q. Jim missed a putt to the left on one of your finishing holes and you had almost that identical putt and you just missed it to the left?
TIGER WOODS: As the day goes on, I noticed the grain became more predominant than some of the putts, especially that the ball started dying around the hole, the grass grew a lot from the time we started until the time we finished, you can definitely see the grain lie down a little bit. I try to play grain on some of the putts, sometimes it affected it, sometimes it didn't. It's just a catch 22.
Q. Are you ready for tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: Not yet, but I will be, though.
Q. How was the rest of your sand play today?
TIGER WOODS: It looked pretty good, I hit a good bunker shot, on 2, I hit up there to about 2 feet. Had a great bunker shot on 4 to a couple of inches. So my bunker game was pretty good. I got up-and-down on 5. It's just one of those days, I just didn't make the right putts at the right time or didn't hit the ball close enough a lot of times.
Q. Tiger, considering all the revisions they made to this golf course this year to make it easier, it didn't play that way for most of you; is it still tough when the wind blows?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, it's very hard. With this wind, as strong as it is, it's blowing -- you can see putts being afted. Jim hit a good putt on 1 and it came up 8 feet short, because a gust of wind hit the ball, and it came to a shot. More of the holes are in the Open, like 4 and 3, you have. To -- the wind will blow your ball a little bit, and you can see it oscillating a little bit. It's pretty tough out there.
Q. Tiger, you're right in the middle of the hunt, do you feel pretty due that it's going to follow you away pretty soon?
TIGER WOODS: It's one of those things you've got to keep giving yourself chances, and one of those times hopefully I'll come out on top. But that's one thing I'm really proud of this year, is I've been in the hunt every week, except for Pebble, that's been the only week. It's been pretty good overall. I've been in the hunt, I've been right there, always had a chance to win, and that's all you can ask for.
Q. Your last shot on 18, was that a shot you thought you could put -- in the best of all situations put as close as you could?
TIGER WOODS: I was aiming right at the hole, yeah, but I was trying to cut it back into the wind because this was blowing pretty hard off the right. I was trying to get the ball off that rise, so I'm back down in the valley where the pin is, so I have a reasonable flat putt to make a birdie on. I had a real flat one (laughter.)
Q. You have a great record from coming from behind. And I've heard you say that you said the score that you want to hit before, and then do you forget it while you're playing, then?
TIGER WOODS: No. I keep thinking about it, but it's also based upon the conditions, too. Hypothetically let's say if we had totally benign conditions tomorrow and the lead is at 8, probably want to get to about 14-under par to win. If it blows, 8-under par could win. It all depends on the conditions in the day. That's the number I set in my head and try to achieve it.
Q. What did you have in on 1 today?
TIGER WOODS: 1, I had 152 to the front and 171 to the hole, wedged.
LEE PATTERSON: The other birdie, 10, 8 and 10.
TIGER WOODS: 10, I hit an 8-iron off the tee, a 4-iron in the right bunker, blasted out there to about 3 feet and made that for birdie. 8 was a great hole, hit driver in the right bunker, hit a fat 9-iron out there, hit a thin 4-iron to about 12 feet and made it.
Q. What club -- what iron do you feel the most confidence with?
TIGER WOODS: All of them.
Q. Any adjustments you -- you feel you might be a better wind player than last year?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. I can control my ball flight better this year. A lot has to do with the iron changes, I'm going through the Titleist irons, the CG has been moved up. I hit the ball lower, and Butch and I have worked on swing changes, which brought the ball flight down more. I hit some low shots, which I never could before, and control my distances that way. And like last week, a lot of the pins were over shelves and I had to hit little soft shots, things I could never do last year, and I'm doing it day in and day out, and thinking nothing of it, and it's become the norm.
Q. Tiger, how important is having Butch here with you this year?
TIGER WOODS: It's helped a lot. I had a few flaws in my swing I didn't know about, and he saw them and we worked on them. On Tuesday and Wednesday I was sore coming back to the room after hitting balls. And we need to work these things out and get ready and hopefully peak sometimes in August.
Q. Did you get mad at 10?
TIGER WOODS: They're calling for a driver. They said, "Drive over the trees, don't worry about it." I said, "You don't have to worry about it, you don't have to go play." Also I made kind of a smart remark, that's why -- I said, "That's why I'm here and you're over there."
Q. What's your schedule look like leading up to the Masters, do you know yet?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
Q. You're keeping it quiet?
TIGER WOODS: You've got it.
End of FastScripts....