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June 15, 1997

Tiger Woods


Q. Did you finally get the back?

TIGER WOODS: I'm glad the suffering is over. That course wore me out. I hit some good shots, and I hit some bad shots. And it took its toll on me, and it's taken a lot out of other players, as well.

Q. Putting, would you like to have putted better?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, man, I putted horrible this week. My speed was off, and when your speed is off on greens this fast with this much slope, your line's going to be off and fluctuating. And, I had a tough time hitting my line because my speed was bad. And I just need to work on my mechanics and hopefully a better feel.

Q. Was it tough to get into the mind-set that they weren't holes like Augusta where you knew you could get to a par 5 in two and 2-putt for a birdie?

TIGER WOODS: No, no. It's a typical U.S. Open. You know that you're going to go out there and face holes where you're going to have a good tee shot and a good second shot. You have to hit two good shots in a row. Not like a par 5, where I can kind of cheat with a driver and an iron. But, on a par 4 out here, it is good.

Q. After the second day, did you feel like you were back in this, and when did you feel it slipped away, if there's a hole or a shot you can put your finger on?

TIGER WOODS: It was yesterday when I 3-putted three times. That hurt, because at the time, I was even par after 11. And I bogeyed 12, but that can happen. I just hit a bad shot. But, 3-putting three times, that's kind of uncalled for. And if I could have taken those away, I would have finished at 1-over, and I would have been right there in it.

Q. They say golf is a humbling game. Has this course humbled you?

TIGER WOODS: It humbled me. It humbled me big time, and that's just the way it is. In a U.S. Open, it's going to humble you whether you want it to or not because the demands of a U.S. Open are so tough and are so strenuous that you're going to get worn out.

Q. Coupled with the pressure of a potential grand slam, was that a factor?

TIGER WOODS: No. I didn't care about the grand slam, because I'd have to win not only this week but two more times. And, you've got to take it one step at a time and one round at a time. And I tried to do that this week, and I just couldn't put it together at the right time.

Q. Tiger, were you trying too hard to make something happen out there this week?

TIGER WOODS: No. I didn't press at all, actually, because I knew my game wasn't quite there. I wasn't hitting the ball as well as I would liked to have. So, I couldn't attack. I had to play more conservative and hopefully make some putts.

Q. Would you say that you enjoyed yourself out here overall?

TIGER WOODS: Overall, I had a good time. Unfortunately, I didn't hit it good, I didn't putt well. But, overall, it was a good week. I learned a lot, and I did have some fun.

Q. You couldn't attack like Augusta?

TIGER WOODS: No. Because par around the U.S. Open is good. I'd love to have made 72 straight pars and see what my chances were. That's just the way a U.S. Open is set up, and I knew that going in. And I've known that going into the last two U.S. Opens, and that's just the history of the U.S. Open.

Q. Was there a point early on today where you realized that it wasn't going to be going the way you wanted?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, after I made a couple of 3-putts early, that hurt, and I made three bogeys in a row. And, once I got to 7-over, I was pretty much out of it.

Q. Did you learn any lessons that you'll take away from here this week?

TIGER WOODS: I learned a lot. The details of it, I'm not going to explain to you because I think that's private. I will tell you this: I did make some mental mistakes out there that I will rectify so I'll never make them again.

Q. What did Fuzzy joke with you about earlier when he came and put his arm around you?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know.

Q. You don't remember?


Q. People talk about how the U.S. Open is a mental challenge. You have to grind through it to win it. People say your strongest attribute in your game is your mind. Was your great golf mind put to its ultimate test?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was. Because I wasn't quite fair physically with my game, my mind was tested, and my patience, my grit, every kind of emotion you can conjure up was tested this week. And, I think I held up pretty good. Could have held up better, and I will make some adjustments and see what I learn and learn from them.

Q. What's next for you, Tiger?

TIGER WOODS: Next week.

Q. Was your group assessed a warning for slow play this morning?

TIGER WOODS: Yes. We were on the clock for six holes, 8 through 13.

Q. Does that affect you?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, it affects you a lot because you don't have that much time to work on a shot. And you have some tough shots out here, and if the wind ever gets swirly, you're going to be backing off clubs, and you're going to get caught.

Q. Did you know if it was you on the clock or your partner?

TIGER WOODS: Both of us are on the clock. It doesn't matter. The group is put on the clock.

Q. No. 14, you're in the rough. What did you hit to get it within 2 feet?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a 6-iron. I drew a pretty good lie. The rough was sparse, and I hit far enough left where I wasn't in the thick stuff. And, hit a 6-iron, tried to cut it up there 196 to the hole, only had 168 to the front. So I just tried to fly it the front and let it roll back there.

Q. 14 was frustrating to you the last two days.

TIGER WOODS: 14 wasn't that bad. It was 13. 13 is what killed me. I made four straight bogeys there.

Q. Your impression of the fans in Washington, how they compare with the other Tiger fanatics.

TIGER WOODS: They're about the same. They love to cheer and love to scream.

Q. What about your thoughts about your father on Father's Day? Was there anything special you wish you could have given him?

TIGER WOODS: It would have been nice if I could have won. But, no matter what, I did say this morning: I do love you, Pop, and whether I won or not, that will never change.

Q. Tiger, what is your preparation for the British Open? When are you coming over? Are you going to Valderrama first?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, I'm going to Valderrama first.

Q. Will you go to Troon?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know.

Q. How long will you give yourself to prepare?

TIGER WOODS: For the British Open?

Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: Just that week.

Q. How long will you be at Valderrama?

TIGER WOODS: That's to be determined. Tom and I haven't talked on the details of it yet. And once we do, I could -- I could obviously tell you an answer.

Q. Were you aware of the President watching you on the 16th green?


Q. Chelsea was cheering for you.

TIGER WOODS: Was she? That's great. It's the only putt I made all week. (Audience laughter.)

Q. Did you see him out there?


Q. Is that called focus?

TIGER WOODS: As anyone knows, when you have a job at hand, that's the main focus. And, at the time, that was my putt. And, it wasn't an easy putt because I had to play it about 3 feet outside to the right and let it filter down there, so that took a lot of focus.

Q. Was that the hole where you kissed your putter?

TIGER WOODS: No. That was on 12. I made a putt there, which was very lucky.

Q. How aggressively did you play this week?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't play that aggressive, because physically, I didn't have the skills to do it this week. My game wasn't on this week, so I couldn't play as aggressive. So, I had to play more toward the backside and just trust my putting. And, unfortunately, my putting kind of bailed out on me this week. If I would have putted well, I would have hung in there with my putting, I probably would have shot anywhere near even par.

Q. Was any part of your game as sharp as it was at Augusta?

TIGER WOODS: I definitely can't say my bump-and-run, no, not really. The only thing that would be comparable would be my mid-iron play, because I have a lot of them this week. But, no, physically I wasn't the same as I was at Augusta. Swing wasn't that good, and definitely the putting wasn't that good.

Q. Were you happy with the game plan, keeping the driver in the bag?

TIGER WOODS: I had to. You can't drive it out here, because the further that you hit it, obviously the less margin you have for error. And the fat part of the fairways are usually about 240 and 250, and that's usually about a 2-iron or 3-iron with me, so that's what I was doing all week.

Q. If you had to give it a scale, was this your B-game, C-game?

TIGER WOODS: I'm doing -- I'm not doing that anymore. I told you guys that at Colonial.

Q. How about the course? Can you rate that?

TIGER WOODS: The course is awfully tough. It's definitely the toughest U.S. Open course I've ever played. But, then, I've only played in three. That's not saying much. But this is a golf course that you're going to see the guys striking the ball the best. The guys who are hitting their short irons the best, and you're happy if you can go out and make par. I played with Lehman the first two days, and that's exactly what he was doing. He missed a couple of key shots, hit some wedges up there to about 4 or 5 feet, and made those for pars, and that's what wins the U.S. Open.

Q. Jack played in his 41st this year, possibly his last. Did you guys get a chance to talk?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we talked.

Q. Can you share what you said?

TIGER WOODS: We didn't talk about anything much: school, what you doing, and how's life, some mechanics, how's your swing doing, stuff like that.

Q. Can you envision playing 41 straight?

TIGER WOODS: Let's see. 38 more, huh? I possibly could. Who knows.

Q. Are people's expectations of you too high? Should they scale them back?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. Honestly, I really don't know, because I don't pay attention to them.

Q. Are you somewhat relieved to have this tournament over with?

TIGER WOODS: The suffering is over. This golf course beat me up. Of course I'm glad it's over because this golf course was awfully tough this week, and it's nice to get through it.

End of FastScripts.....

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