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June 13, 1997
LES UNGER: Looks to me like you turned it around quite a
bit today, Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I played well, and, hence, a 67.
LES UNGER: Question as to whether the delay after you were
going to 17 --
TIGER WOODS: We were on the tee box. Lehman was already addressing
the ball, yeah.
LES UNGER: Did that have some effect on --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it had an effect on all of us because we
all had momentum. We were all loose. We were all ready to go.
And, we were playing the round, and they call it when, you know,
obviously there's no rain coming down. And, Tom was pretty upset
by it, by his reaction, at least what I could see. And, I think
it hurt all of us because we didn't have any kind of momentum
having to hit one of the toughest tee shots on the golf course.
LES UNGER: Following yesterday's round and before taking
the tee today, what was it that you tried to work on that perhaps
TIGER WOODS: I did exactly the same thing. Stuck with my guns,
played the golf course actually virtually identical. I didn't
change any clubs off of the par 4s and the par 5s, exactly the
same clubs. The only difference is I hit more fairways and hit
better iron shots.
LES UNGER: Questions.
Q. Was there any thought process from the time you hit the
ball in the water on 18, instead of getting off this morning,
was there any frustration -- did you have to work your way through
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was pretty upset, obviously. Having made
double on your last hole, I think I was 6 over on my last 8 holes.
So, it was tough. And, last night was, you know, business as
usual, just had me a burger and fries and watched some TV and
that's about it. But, I knew going out today, I had to shoot
a good number and try to get myself back to even par for the tournament
and I did one better than that. Unfortunately, I had three holes
to go and just couldn't quite hole it.
Q. Tiger, two birdies in the first three holes. Obviously
got you going right out of the gate. How much did that mean to
TIGER WOODS: It meant a lot to birdie the first hole. When
you know you have to shoot a good number, it's always nice to
get off to a good start, especially since you've got that short
par 4 2nd hole to face. And, it was nice, and then I hit a great
iron shot into 2 and just didn't make the putt. But, 3, I hit
another good iron shot, so, I hit three good iron shots right
in a row. That's how you build positive momentum. And, I kept
it the entire front 9.
Q. Tiger, can you talk about the chip on 15 and you thought
the momentum would carry you, the one up the hill for the birdie?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, you mean the one straight down the hill?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, let's see, I think the bigger putt, the bigger
up-and-down -- not really the up-and-down, but the putt was for
birdie because that's a putt in which I get just a fraction too
aggressive with it, even lip it out, this putt, straight downhill
is running by at least 4 feet, and hit it dead center. Then you
go into 15, I felt pretty pumped up in the fact I'd just made
birdie, just got back to even par after bogeying 13. And, now
I put a driver in the fairway, put a driver anywhere in the fairway.
And, I had a little cut out there and it went right down the
middle. And, I believe it was 265 or something like that to the
hole. Just tried to hit a little soft cut 3-wood and I pulled
it and hit it long because I didn't cut it. And from there, hit
it pretty easy -- actually pretty easy shot anywhere on the green,
the ball is just going to funnel all the way down there because
it's straight downhill. And landed about 10 feet on the green
and rolled down there to about 2 feet.
LES UNGER: Tiger, I wanted to ask you to go over your birds
and others, please.
TIGER WOODS: Want to do that at the end?
LES UNGER: We can do that at the end, sure.
TIGER WOODS: That's fine.
Q. Tiger, you had said you thought you would only hit three
drivers each day. How many have you actually hit each round?
TIGER WOODS: Same, I've hit three, yeah.
Q. Tiger, could you talk about the up-and-down at 10 and
you pulled a 3-wood out. What makes you, in that situation, pull
it out to pitch with it?
TIGER WOODS: 3 was a very easy shot, with short cut grass like
that, because the grass is wet, and if you hit any kind of putt,
it usually sticks running up these hills. The 3-wood does --
it's got more loft and it's got more mass at the bottom, so, as
you hit the shot, the ball tends to get up in the air and float
on top of the grass early. And, that's the key to any kind of
bump-and-run shot or any putt from off the green. So, with that
in mind, the 3-wood, what it does, I can hit the shot easier than
a putt and accomplish the same thing. So, it's actually a lot
easier shot if you do it that way.
Q. Tiger, if I may, what's the mind-set right now, 36 holes
to go and you have a history of being able to come from behind?
Have you kind of divided this up and thought what you need to
do? Is there a special mind-set you put yourself in?
TIGER WOODS: I think the key is to keep getting better each
day. It may not happen scorewise, but if you strike the ball
better every day, you're going to be right there at the end.
And, right now, at 1-over, if I keep hitting the ball better and
better, I'll be right there hopefully on the back 9 on Sunday.
Q. Tiger, you made a couple over par on the last three holes
both days. I wonder, despite the great round with a couple bogeys
down the stretch, is it the holes themselves or is it the concentration
at the end of the round that's getting to you?
TIGER WOODS: No, it's hard to explain. I hit a good shot on
16 that carried too far, and it was -- it's kind of unusual when
you have like 195 and hit a 6-iron over the back. That usually
doesn't happen. And, it's frustrating when that happens. But,
then 17, I can understand, too, with the delay. And, it's one
of those things that just happens today and yesterday. It's part
of playing the U.S. Open.
Q. Tiger, you said you hit the same clubs on the same holes
as yesterday. 7 stroke difference. Is there a physical difference?
Was it timing? Was your timing -- more relaxed or what was the
TIGER WOODS: Today I hit the ball much more solid. I controlled
the trajectory as well as spin and my direction of shot, so when
that happens, your distance control is going to do well and look
at my front 9, I stuffed it a lot of times with perfectly pin-high,
and out here, that's what you need to do. You need to hit a number.
And, I was doing it on the front 9. I did some on the back,
but not as well.
Q. Was there any temptation to do anything radical after
TIGER WOODS: No, no. You can't do that at a U.S. Open, because
the conditions are so severe. You're going to pay the price if
you, as you said, get radical.
Q. Would you discuss the drop you got on 15? Was it a TV
cable or what?
TIGER WOODS: No, what happened is (laughing) a media person
kicked my ball, kicked it onto the cable. A person there saw
that one of the media people kicked my golf ball; hence, I had
to mark my ball and drop it as close to the spot as I possibly
could to where it originally was lying, and I did that, and drew
a reasonable lie.
Q. Tiger, how does the rain change this course and is that
better or worse for you?
TIGER WOODS: I think the rain actually makes it a little bit
easier if you drive it straight, because what happens is now your
mediocre tee shots, which would have hit on the sides of the fairways
and gone into the rough, are now sticking, so, that makes it a
little bit easier on your drives. But, then again, if you hit
them on the rough, it's even more penalizing because you can't
get to the green now because it's wet. And also makes the golf
course a little bit longer, so you have to carry the ball a little
Q. Tiger, given what happened to you early Wednesday morning,
did you begin the tournament yesterday feeling as fully prepared
to attack the golf course as you would have liked to have been?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I felt fine. I got in my rounds I needed
to get in, and I felt comfortable with my game. And, I was really
looking forward to playing Thursday. I don't like to play a whole
lot the day before. I just want to put my feet up and just relax.
I do all my work the week prior to a major, and then do a little
tune-up at the tournament, that's all I wanted to do.
Q. Tiger, do you feel like you fought your way around the
course better today? You looked kind of frustrated yesterday.
Was your thought process a little better today?
TIGER WOODS: You know, it's kind of funny because I felt the
same. I felt the same. It's just that yesterday was one of those
days when you're not hitting the ball the way you would like to,
so you get a little frustrated. And, at a U.S. Open setup, you're
going to pay the price for bad swings. And, I knew what I was
doing wrong. I just couldn't stop it. And, you know, hence,
I got angry at myself and I lost my patience at that times.
Q. Tiger, can you explain why you chose not to talk to the
media whether it was just your frustration from the double or
what it was yesterday?
TIGER WOODS: No. What it is: Why would you want to talk to
a guy who is 9 shots back? The thing is, I think that may be
a double standard. Do you require, I guess, Greg Norman or Steve
Elkington or Phil Mickelson who ended up at 5-over to come in?
They don't require that. And, for me, I have to come in. And,
I just want to be considered one of the 156 players playing the
tournament. And, if I'm not near the lead, then I shouldn't be
required to answer questions. And if I am, then great, I will
because I'm near the lead. You're supposed to be asked questions.
But, when I'm that far back, I see no need.
Q. What about the early tee time, you know, what time do
you have to get up in the morning? Does it have any impact?
TIGER WOODS: I got up at five. That's pretty early.
Q. If I could just follow up on a previous question. We
talked to all sorts of people who are four or five shots or nine
shots behind if they're big names. For example, Greg Norman shot
a 75 yesterday. He was quite gracious. People are interested
in you, and even when you don't play well, they would like to
know why. Can you explain why you don't want to even stop and
talk to us when we're all assembled out here?
TIGER WOODS: What happens is I have to do that every week.
And, you know, there's going to be times when I'm not going to
play well, and there are times when any guy who's big, whether
it's Norman or Ernie Els, or whomever, whoever the big names are,
they don't play well, they don't have to talk to the media because
they're not playing well and they're not anywhere near the lead,
they're not anywhere near being in contention. So, hence, I feel
that it is a right for me to decline if I'm that far out of it.
I was nine shots back. I was way out of it. And, today, I shot
myself back into it. So, I feel that I'm obligated to come in
here because I am back in the tournament.
Q. You mentioned being nine shots back. Does it ever enter
your mind about the cut?
TIGER WOODS: You know, it did last night just a little bit,
but I knew that I had to get back to even par. That would take
care of itself.
Q. Tiger, there's an unbelievable amount of interest in
New York if you're going to play in Westchester next week. Are
you? And, if you are, why would you play the week after the Open?
TIGER WOODS: Well, yes, I am playing because (1), I'm doing
a clinic in the area, my Tiger Woods Foundation. I'm doing a
clinic on Monday. And, I feel there's a right for me to play
in the tournament which is right next to the site at which I'm
doing the clinic.
Q. Just going back to yesterday. What was it that unhinged
you most? Was it that 11th hole and what was the distance and
the club in your hand?
TIGER WOODS: I have no idea how far it was. I just know I hit
a wedge. You know, 11 was not one of my better holes, but that's
not what really got to me. It was kind of a cumulative thing.
I hit a bad shot there. I hooked another one on 13. Hooked
another one on 18. I just hit some bad shots. And, then the
shots that I did hit good, I -- on 15 where I played out of the
rough, and what does it do, it rolls up against the primary rough,
and just one of those things. Or, even on 16, where I absolutely
flagged an 8-iron. I was all over it. And, it happens to go
in the one spot you can't beat it, which is long. It's kind of
a cumulative thing of hitting good shots that turn out bad or
bad shots that turn out really bad.
Q. If Sunday turns out to be a 27-hole day, do you feel
your youth and conditioning could pay dividends?
TIGER WOODS: Definitely, it does help, being young. I work
out a lot, so, I'm in pretty good shape to play golf. And, this
golf course, what it is going to do is not really test your physical
being. It's going to test your mind because if you had to play
27 on Sunday, hypothetically, we're going to be awfully tired
mentally because we have to put up with so much playing a U.S.
Open setup because you get worn out after 18 holes. It's tough
even after 27.
Q. What do you think about all those kids who are coming
especially to see you and who are discovering golf?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's great that they're coming out. They
get introduced to a game that I truly love, and I think that it
is a sport in which they can learn and grow as a person. And,
it's also another opportunity for them to expand themselves because
you meet so many different people, whether it's in a business
environment or it's -- they're doctors, a whole bunch of different
people that play golf. And, I think it's great.
Q. Tiger, two things: Are you saying on 15, somebody, a
media person literally kicked it like on purpose?
TIGER WOODS: No, not kicked it. They weren't watching my ball.
Q. Secondly, this would be the 7th straight year that you
would win a USGA event. Are you thinking this in terms of just
a major or is that in the back of your mind that this would be
a seventh straight year of a USGA --
TIGER WOODS: That has no bearing on the tournament. I can't
think that way. Because those tournaments are in the past, and
plus, they're a matchplay, and this is a totally different format,
I guess a totally different field. And, for me right now, the
only thing I'm concerned with is getting myself under par for
the tournament and in contention to make a run at it on Sunday
Q. Do you still feel like you're right in it?
TIGER WOODS: Actually, anybody that's even 3-over par is right
in the ballgame.
Q. Explain what happened on 18 today, what your emotions
were given what happened yesterday as the ball was in the air,
how this affects your thought process the next two days?
TIGER WOODS: Well, when Tom hit, it was downwind left-to-right,
so I knew that was -- an 8-iron was a perfect club for me. I
could go ahead and just hit it, and I absolutely striped it.
It was right on the flagstick. You could see the wind change
on me, you could see the ball just stand up, and I said, oh, no,
it could end up short because you could see the ball all of a
sudden peak. Because the wind switched, it came back into me.
When I saw the ball land, once it landed, I figured it would
roll back because the banks are shaved, but thank God for the
Q. How about the next two days?
TIGER WOODS: The next two days, I'll be fine because it will
be totally different situations, and I have a totally different
moment in time.
LES UNGER: One or two more. Then we're going to ask him
to please go through the card.
Q. Tiger, you mentioned that yesterday you knew what you
were doing wrong, but you couldn't do anything about it. Was
it something with your swing?
TIGER WOODS: It was mechanical, yeah. It was my position at
the top, as well as my downswing. I wasn't getting in the correct
position to go ahead and hit the shot, and when that happens,
you know, you're going to spray a little bit, especially with
my speed that I generate at the bottom. You've got to be in the
Q. How long did that take you to cool down or cool off after
yesterday's round, and who did you talk to about it?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't really talk to anybody about it because
no one really wanted to talk to me because I was pretty angry.
So, I was left alone. I just watched TV by myself and just kind
of cooled off on my own. All right. Birdies and bogeys. No.
1, hit 2-iron off the tee, an 8-iron to about 6 feet, I made that.
No. 3, I hit a 6-iron to about 8 feet, and I made that. No.
5, I hit an 8-iron again to about 3 feet, made that one. No.
7, I hit a 7-iron to about 4 feet, I made that. What did I bogey?
TIGER WOODS: 13, let's see 13, I hit 2-iron off the tee into
the right rough, hit a 5-iron into the bunker left and short,
blasted up there to about 15 feet below the hole, and I lipped
that out. I birdied 14. I hit a 7-iron to about 12 feet above
the hole and to the left, and I made that. I birdied 15 with
a driver and a 3-wood to the left side of the green and got up-and-down,
made about a 23-footer. 16, I hit a 6-iron to the back edge,
the first cut of rough, chipped it past about 12 feet, and I missed
that. 17, I hit 3-wood off the tee to the right, hit a 7-iron
to about the front third of the green, and I 3-putted from about
35 feet, and I missed about a 5-footer for my second putt. That's
Q. Tiger, how about No. 9 -- the third shot at 9, what happened
TIGER WOODS: Well, 9, I just didn't hit it hard enough. It's
just one of those things where it just came up short at the wrong
Q. How close was it to being --
TIGER WOODS: Where it landed, it had to have no spin at all.
If it has any kind of backspin, it's coming back, and I happened
to spin it a lot on that shot, so it came back even faster. But,
in either case, it would have come back anyway.
LES UNGER: Tiger, thank you very much. We wish you good
TIGER WOODS: Thanks.
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