June 10, 1997
LES UNGER: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. The gentleman to
my right has been at probably 15 to 20 USGA press conferences
during his junior and amateur days, but it's the first time as
a professional. We welcome you to the U.S. Open, Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you.
LES UNGER: If we could start off, I would like to ask you
if you might compare for us your preparation for the U.S. Open
versus how you prepared for the Masters.
TIGER WOODS: Well, ball-striking, I prepared similarly, but
not exactly. I hit a lot more 3-woods than I normally would.
A lot more 2-woods in practice trying to get ready because I
knew that the golf course was the way it was going to be set up,
driving is at a premium; whereas, at Augusta, it was like a driving
range, bombs away on the driving. My putting. I worked on my
putting the same. Chipping, I didn't work on as much because
there's no other place in the world that has rough like this,
so, I couldn't really get ready for it that way. Everything else
has been pretty much the same.
LES UNGER: So far we've talked to three or four players and
it seems like some are saying this is a course you have to use
your driver and others are saying that's not so. What's your
position so far?
TIGER WOODS: My position is the most I'll ever hit is probably
three drivers the entire way around just because a lot of the
holes are either doglegged or I don't really need it because they
start to bottom back on me a little bit. I'd rather put the ball
LES UNGER: We're going to answer questions, but to repeat,
there's a lot of people who are here. There's one in the middle
you can line up there and there are two hand-helds and we have
a sport reporter here, so, please don't ask a question here until
we can record your comments. There will be a printout. I'll
entertain questions. There's one right in the middle. Please,
wait for a mic.
Q. Tiger Woods, you know the influence you've had on golf
all around the world. In New Zealand, for example, there is a
young lad calling himself Leopard Lee who's just 13. He's winning
tournaments all over the place. He says he wants to meet you
and beat you. It's a typical ambition. What would you say to
somebody like him and what would you say to his parents?
TIGER WOODS: I think, more importantly, that his parents not
push him to play. I hope that he is the type of person that's
very self-driven, self-motivated because this is the kind of game
you can't really rely on a coach or anyone to do it for you.
You have to go out there and push yourself to be the best. And,
I'm sure he'll get out here and he'll be kicking my butt.
Q. Tiger, wondering, is it too premature for you to start
thinking about winning the Grand Slam and if you do win on Sunday,
can the conversation start up and will you start giving it even
more serious thought about winning the Grand Slam?
TIGER WOODS: I think the only time I would -- winning the Gland
Slam would be if I won all three, the first three legs and then
I had a one- or two-shot lead going into the last hole on 18 on
Sunday at the PGA, then I would entertain it. But, you have to
understand, it's so hard just to win a Tour event, let alone a
major. I've only won one major, so it's kind of hard for me to
Q. Tiger, Buck sort of helped in preparation the week before
The Masters with the fast greens at Isleworth where you couldn't
get him to grow a little chipping rough or something for you.
Did he do anything to help you prepare?
TIGER WOODS: No, no, no, because the members would have complained.
No, but there was really no place to practice a rough like this.
I mean, you just had to actually come here and practice on the
Q. It would be different kind of grass?
TIGER WOODS: Besides, in Isleworth, we play on Bermuda grass.
This is not Bermuda. It's a rye and it really wouldn't matter.
Q. Tiger, The Memorial you were saying you had some trouble
with your swing. I remember before The Masters you said you shot
a 59 at home. You went into that tournament feeling ready to
play. How is your game right now? Have you been able to iron
out whatever was wrong with your swing?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I spent last week -- yeah, I spent last week,
the early part of last week, I spent three days down there in
Houston working with Butch, working on my game and then the last
day we were there, we went out and played and I shot 63 with a
bogey and I missed a three-footer for birdie. So I'm playing
pretty good right now. I'm driving it well, and I know my iron
game will come around if I drive it well because that's just what
you have to do out here. Put it this way: You can go around
this place and not hit your irons well and shoot a good score
if you're in the fairway all day.
Q. There was a report at ESPN last night, you used to practice
putting on the basketball green at Stanford, and are they as fast.....
TIGER WOODS: No, these greens are not as fast as they were in
the past like at Shinnecock or Oakland Hills like I played. I've
only played two of them. These greens are a little slower a,
lot of poa in them. It's hard to get really quick. They haven't
started double-cutting them, lowering them a little bit. They've
been rolling them, but there's still a little moisture in the
greens because we're hitting mid-irons and they're holing pretty
Q. Tiger, 21 years old, here you are in front of about a
thousand members of the media. Do you ever sort of step back
and say most guys my age are either in college or just graduating?
Do you ever step back and look around and say "Wow?"
TIGER WOODS: At times because this week is finals week at Stanford,
and that's what I had to go through the last two years, but it
-- it's different. There's no doubt about it. My life is different
for a 21 year old. There's no doubt about that. But, then again,
there are some perks to being who I am. I get to travel all around
the world. I get to play golf every day, and doing the things
I like to do. And, I wouldn't trade that for the world.
Q. Tiger, your practice rounds that you've played right
here, what have you learned about the rough around the greens
and how much control do you think you'll have chipping out of
TIGER WOODS: The rough is obviously long. In someplaces, there's
one patch that I was playing a practice round today with Clarence
Rose. I got into a patch that was about 8 or 10 inches long and
it's right off the green, and he barely got the ball on the green.
So there are patches that are really deep. But, overall, they're
right around 4, 6 inches so we have some control, but not total
control. Actually, you're better off if the ball sits down, because
you don't have that worry about whiffing if the ball sits up on
to have -- you have to hit big power flop-shots and hope for
the best. Sometimes you can go right over it.
Q. First of all, what do you miss most about what your new
life has brought for you from what you used to do just hanging
out as a student at Stanford? The second question is: Will you
ever go back to Stanford to finish out?
TIGER WOODS: Okay. What do I miss most? I guess playing a
practice round in peace, things like that, going out to dinner
and people are bugging you. People want an autograph when you
have food in your mouth. Where I was raised, that was very rude
to bug someone while they eat. In our society now, it is different.
Next year I'm going to try -- I'm not going to go back to Stanford,
physically, but I'm going to do correspondence classes.
TIGER WOODS: Next year.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, '98 see if I can actually do some classes.
If I can't, I can't because of the time the demands of my time.
Q. Tiger, can you talk a little bit about what it's like
to be a role model for so many young people, especially African-Americans?
TIGER WOODS: What it's like to be a role model.... It's an honor.
I mean, it really is. I'm in a position where I can help out
people in a positive way, and what more do you want? I mean,
that's perfect. And, I can influence kids in a good way. And,
I try. I try and do my best. My foundation that I've set up
trying to help kids in the inner city and then teach them there's
another sport out here besides your core sports in America. I
think that's so important that you give kids hope. And, I think
by being a positive role model, I think you can do that. Because
when I was a little boy, I had my father, as well as a couple
of other people. And, they were my role models. And, I think
if people have positive role models, they'll be positive people.
Q. To what degree have Open courses, the two you've seen
before, suit your game or not suit it and how does Congressional
fit into that pattern?
TIGER WOODS: Let's see. First one, Shinnecock. I love Shinnecock,
because you had to deal with conditions weatherwise, and (2):
They had chipping areas which is different at a U.S. Open at
Shinnecock where you can play bump-and-run shots, brought chipping
back into the equation. At Oakland Hills with that rain we received
on Wednesday night - I believe it was last year - my driving became
a huge advantage because I hit the ball -- at the time I hit
it pretty high, and I could carry the ball so much further when
the balls are backing up in the fairways then, and I played pretty
well for like 13 holes, 14 holes. And, in the second round, so
that was an advantage. And, this year, again, I think my length
is a big advantage. Actually any person that's long, because
necessarily -- we don't necessarily have to hit driver off of
every tee. As I said, I'm only going to hit probably no more
than three drivers per round. And my percentage and chances go
up when I'm hitting a 3-wood or a 2-iron off the tee.
LES UNGER: Before we take the next question is the governor
here? No? Yes. I thought he was going to give us a greeting.
Q. Tiger, about this course you're playing today or will
be playing, the 18th hole is a par 3. What are your feelings
about finishing a tournament with a par 3 that's surrounded by
TIGER WOODS: It's not the traps you're worried about. It's
that H2O stuff. No, today was the first time I've
played the hole, and it was in my face. I hit a little 4-iron
right over the green. But, overall, I think it's a perfect hole.
If you have a lead, let's say, a one-shot lead - because it's
not that hard to put an iron on the green - but, let's say if
17 was the finishing hole, which it usually is, I think that would
be more difficult. And, then you bring a double in the equation
with a bad drive or something like that, you have two shots to
mess up. You have a par 3. You have an iron, you can play a
safety shot to the right if you want and you have a big green
to hit to. I think if you're behind, it's a tough, tough hole
to make shots up on.
Q. Tiger, can you describe what this last year of your life
has been like for you?
TIGER WOODS: Last year, as in this year or end of last year?
Q. Turning pro and the whirlwind and winning the tournament,
winning The Masters, and everything that's changed for you --
TIGER WOODS: The funny thing is I've only been pro for, what,
nine months. People think I've been at this for 10, 20 years.
It's changed. I felt last year -- the end of last year I didn't
think it could get any worse, but you never should think that
way. But once I won The Masters, yeah, my life did change. My
recognition facewise, people are starting to recognize me when
I go into a mall or go out to dinner or hang out in public. You
know, that's changed. That's been the biggest adjustment. It
was kind of funny, I was at home the other day and I went into
Subway just to pick up a sandwich and go home, and my best friend,
Jerry, who is my assistant went there in the afternoon after I
did, and the whole talk of the shopping center was "Tiger
Woods was in Subway." I mean, I've never had to deal with
that. I mean, that's different. And, then another thing that's
changed dramatically in my life is I guess that the nitpicking
of what I do, all the actions that I have that I take is just
people look at them and they critique them. And, sometimes that's
good. Sometimes that's bad. I do the same, but not to the degree
that these people do.
Q. Tiger, if I may, you've got a great USGA record and in
any USGA competition, the courses are set up tougher than normal
type competitions. With the junior titles with your amateur titles,
can you draw on any of that competition in this event and on
TIGER WOODS: No, I can't. My junior victories, my amateur victories
are great. But, competitionwise, no, I can't draw upon that experience
just because the fact that they were matchplay events. The 72-hole
stroke-play event, they're matchplay and you're outlook on the
matchplay is totally different. If I was playing a matchplay
event here, I would play a lot more drivers because I'm trying
to make birdies, trying to get some birdies and get a lead that
way. But, that's not the case in a U.S. Open. You have to play
every shot out.
Q. Tiger, is the Grand Slam a goal of yours and do you think
you can win it in one year?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I think it's -- I'm not going to rule
out the possibility of anyone winning the Grand Slam. I think
if you look at the record that Mickelson won like four times last
year, he won the right four and got the Grand Slam. That's kind
of a simple way of looking at it. But, the practicality of someone
winning the Grand Slam is very unlikely. There are so many different
factors that go into winning even just one of the legs of the
Grand Slam, it's so difficult.
Q. Tiger, would you share a little bit about what Michael
Jordan and Kevin Costner have said to you a little more specifically
about being famous and dealing with it?
TIGER WOODS: You know, those two guys are great guys, and they've
helped me out a lot. And, I think Kevin's been there for me and
said a lot of nice things. But, I think I can -- I relate better
to Mike because he's comparable agewise. He accomplished the
same things in a sense. He became MVP when he was like 26 or
27. I mean, that's similar. Plus I think people look at athletes
and movie stars in a different way, too. But, nevertheless, they're
still famous and they've shared a lot of things. But one of the
things that they've both said, they both say, no matter what advice
we give you, whether the things we've done wrong, things we've
done right and things we say could help you is that you will find
your own path that works best for you. And as I go through life,
I'm starting to find my own path and I'm starting to see how things
are working more smoothly within myself.
Q. Tiger, you've never been in the military yourself. But,
clearly that was a very powerful experience in your father's
life. What types of lessons did he teach you and how have they
helped you as you've had these experiences in your first year?
TIGER WOODS: I think his biggest lesson that he's taught me
that's helped me out here is probably the psychological warfare
that he had to endure being a Green Beret that he's passed on
to me dealing with a lot of adversity and how to go through that.
There was a certain way to do that that he was taught and you
just kind of get through it. It's this method he's taught me
and it's worked pretty good. And, I've had to deal with a lot
of things as I've turned pro. And, I've noticed that once I start
playing in a tournament, I'm fine. All the things my dad has
taught me, it definitely is working.
Q. Tiger, did you play with Joel Kribel today and if you
did, was it your first round?
TIGER WOODS: No, I didn't --
Q. Are you going to play with him at all this week?
TIGER WOODS: Probably not.
Q. The other question, how far do you hit your 3-wood off
the tee and your 2-iron?
TIGER WOODS: Good question. On average, probably my 3-wood
will probably go anywhere between 260 and 280. Depending on
the ball flight, and then the roll. And my 2-iron, I can normally
hit my 2-iron about 240. That's usually the stable number I usually
Q. I wonder whether you're concerned about the galleries
that are increasingly following you around and their behavior
and whether you feel that it's time to say something to them before
they become detrimental to the game of golf?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I wish I could. But, if I would say
something like that, I might be looked at as a bad guy. And,
what we want to do is bring a lot of people into the game. You
have to understand, these people are coming into the game, then
they don't know. It would be like for me going in watching I
guess cricket. I don't know a whole lot about cricket. I might
sit there and cheer at the wrong time. I don't really understand
the sport, so, I can relate to that. As people go to tournaments
and experience them and learn and then also talk to people who
do play golf, their behaviors is obviously going to improve and
they're going to understand. It's going to take some time though.
Q. I think we'll teach you cricket yet. Tiger, with the
number of people that follow you around everywhere you play, do
you think that it's a distraction from the crowd and how do you
handle that? Again, where are you staying? We would like to
know where you're staying?
TIGER WOODS: Where am I staying?
TIGER WOODS: I'm staying in a room. (audience laughter). As
far as distractions go, yes, I've learned how to handle. Sometimes
it's not easy. I think -- where was it, No. 5 today was kind
of funny. You're back in the shade and as I took the club back,
there were a whole bunch of people obviously on the right side
of the tee box taking pictures. And, all of a sudden, I took
the club back. It was like strobe lights, all the flashes going
back, it looked like the club was moving in stages. And, that's
kind of interesting when you play practice rounds that way. But,
when a tournament comes along and it's time to tee it up and the
Greg Norman goes off, I'm fine. I'm in a zone, so, distractions
really don't bother me.
LES UNGER: Stanford, stand up and take a bow. Just wave
Q. Tiger, with the frenzy that sort of follows you around
and crowds rushing to you, when you get out of your car and so
on, and also some of the letters you got from racist America,
do you ever fear for your safety at all like in you're in a restaurant
and people coming to you or arriving at a crowd, do you sort of
worry about your welfare?
TIGER WOODS: At times I've gotten some pretty threatening letters
as well as other things too. But, you know, that's just, you
know, part of being a minority in a sport. It happens. There's
nothing more I can say about that. It's just something that I've
kind of dealt with and I've gone on, and had to do it.
Q. A little off the subject, but you were mentioning obviously
you've only been a pro as we know for a few months. The Ryder
Cup is coming. You were nowhere in September. Now, you're leading.
TIGER WOODS: I know.
Q. Have you thought much about it or the other tournaments
getting in the way?
TIGER WOODS: This is kind of what I've looked at it. The Ryder
Cup will be a by-product of my good play. I can take care of
business in the present before that can happen, and that's the
way I approached it last year. I was kind of jokingly just kidding
around with my dad and my mom and I think Butch was there as well.
I said, "Wouldn't it be kind of neat if I led the points
going into the Ryder Cup?" And I'm here now, and if I can
still continue to make points and still have the lead, it would
be kind of ironic.
Q. Tiger, as you sit here today, do you expect to win this
tournament and if so, why do you expect to win the U.S. Open?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I expect to win every tournament that I play
because that's what I go there to do. I figure there's no point
in going to a tournament if you don't think you can win.
Q. Tiger, along that same lines, with so many people expecting
you to win this tournament, are you starting to feel the pressure
and also other than yourself, who are the guys that you feel are
here to beat this weekend?
TIGER WOODS: Well, one of the things that my parents have taught
me is never listen to other people's expectations. You should
live your own -- live -- and live up to your own expectations,
and those are the only things I really care about it. So what
people right or -- what people say has no bearing on what I have
to do. I don't live for them. I live for me. And, as far as
players that can win, I think you have to look at anyone who is
playing hot right now. Obviously, Justin Leonard coming off a
win last week, he's driving further. He's a very straight hitter.
Guys who hit the ball like that, like Faldo. Greg is playing
very well right now. Tom Lehman, Elkington, Colin Montgomerie
is a great driver of the ball. You have to look at the guys who
can drive the ball, guys who are going to drive the ball in play,
those will be the players who will be in contention on Sunday.
Q. Tiger, can you tell us how important Fluff is to you
and how important he has been since The Masters and keeping you
under control, if he does, on the course?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Fluff has been very instrumental in my wins
as well as just playing on the Tour. He's got a lot of knowledge,
and it's nice when he shares his pearls of wisdom with me. You
know, Fluff is not only a caddie for me, he's also one of my best
friends. So, we have a very unique relationship, and I respect
what he says. Fluff has the guts to speak up down the stretch
in a tournament and not be just a "yes" man. Because
a lot of caddies will be just -- whatever you say, pull the club
and you hit it. And Fluff will say his piece if I ask him. And,
I value that opinion.
Q. Tiger, I had the good fortune last year of playing with
your father for two days. How is he doing these days? We know
about that surgery earlier.
TIGER WOODS: Right.
Q. How is he doing these days?
TIGER WOODS: You know my pop is doing good. Pop's just went
-- I think it was a week of -- it was the week before Dallas,
a week before Dallas -- actually two weeks before Dallas, my dad
went on his book tour. He did like 10 cities in 14 days which
is tough for a guy coming off bypass surgery. But my pop is pretty
tough. He's pretty stubborn too. That's where I get it from.
Q. He has a great sense of humor, too?
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
Q. Where was the 63 that --
TIGER WOODS: Lochinvar.
Q. And, also, what can you share with us about the style
and size or whatever about the house that you intend to build
on the lots you just purchased and, in particular, the hole that
I'm told that you're going to build on the back, is it like a
TIGER WOODS: I'm not going to -- I'm just going to build. I
don't know what kind of home I'm going to build yet. I'm just
21. I'm trying to feel out what I want and what I don't want.
I really don't have anything to say on it because I really don't
know. You can ask me in another two years down the road or so,
when I can see more.
Q. And the hole, what do you envision there?
TIGER WOODS: It won't be a hole, no. I just want a practice
Q. Chipping and --
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, something like that.
Q. A practice green, putting green?
TIGER WOODS: Something like that.
Q. Tiger, if you fail to win another major this year - which
is highly unlikely - would '97 be a disappointing year for you?
TIGER WOODS: I think '97 would be a great year, whether I win
or lose. I have accomplished a lot of my goals already, and,
you know, winning a major, I mean, that was something I've always
wanted to do my entire life. I was finally able to do it. Now,
I have three more chances which is kind of nice. But, just to
win one, that's just a dream come true, because that's what you
kind of -- I remember being on the golf course, being out there
by myself and just hitting balls and saying I've got to hit this
shot in there because whoever, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, down
the stretch dueling it out, that's what all kids do and it was
nice to accomplish that dream.
Q. Tiger, with the Tigermania that has been going on the
last nine months, since you've hit the Tour, a lot of your peers
have said, you know, there are other golfers on this Tour. Do
you feel for them what they're going through because of this Tiger
against the rest of the golfing world?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, I do, because I feel for the guys who play
in front of me and with me. The group that plays just in front
of me, the galleries run from my group and sometimes distract
them because they're moving all the time. It gets very difficult.
And, then after I putt out sometimes, then the galleries start
to move again. And, it's tough for the guys who have to make
a crucial par putt or a birdie putt, it gets tough. And, their
concentration sometimes is interrupted. But, yes, there are other
players out here, a lot of great players. I mean, I just happen
to be in a class of a lot of great players. And people understand
that. People know that. And, if you look at other galleries,
they're also pretty big as well.
Q. Tiger, given your foundation and all the -- and your
idea that you need -- that you should be a role model, what you
do on the golf course, have you come to a point yet where it struck
you that no matter how good you do or what you do or how much
you win, that your role, that what you really are is just a billboard
to sell things and that there's a lot of kids in that inner city
who are not looking to play like Tiger or work like Tiger, but
to wear the clothes like Tiger and will do anything to get the
money to buy that shoe or that ad -- or that, you know, or whatever?
TIGER WOODS: Right, that does happen. That is a fact of reality.
I mean, all kids do that. And, I used to do that as a kid, too.
I used to think if I wore -- be like Mike, wear his shoes. I'm
not going to jump like Mike. Unfortunately, in reality, you just
can't do that, or it won't happen. But, what I'm trying to say
to these kids is when I talk to them and the clinics I do is I'm
not trying to preach to you that this is a sport for you. I'm
saying this is an opportunity for you, and it's an opportunity
for you to grow as a person. I think that's what really matters.
What I like to harp on is their self-esteem. If their self-esteem
is high and if they love themselves, they'll be great people.
They'll be role models for other kids as well once they get older.
If society could have that, could have kids growing up with high
self-esteem, motivated and live their life correctly and if they
can care and share, I mean, society would be wonderful and that's
why I try to preach within my foundation.
Q. Can you tell me, Tiger, what holes do you hit driver
on, and what's the longest approach you have had to any hole and
are either of the par 5s on for you?
TIGER WOODS: I can't hit 9. That's just something I can't do.
But, let me see. I hit driver on 6, 10 and what's the other
par 5 on the back 9, 15? Is that right?
TIGER WOODS: Okay, that's it. I've hit 3-iron to one of the
holes. I don't remember. I hit it yesterday.
Q. You said that people critique all your actions and nitpick
everything. Does that make you nitpick some of your own actions?
Is there anything you've regretted so far?
TIGER WOODS: Is there anything I've regretted so far?
Q. As far as the actions that have been nitpicked?
TIGER WOODS: That have been nitpicked.... Yeah, obviously some
are. I'm not going to mention which ones. But, there have been
a few occasions where that has happened and I feel that is wrong.
If I look back, actually, things I did that were wrong, that's
fine. If I look back on last year what I did at the Southern,
pulling out of the dinner, that was wrong on my part. But, I
feel that I shouldn't have been slaughtered by the media as badly
as I did for as long as I did. I made a mistake. I rectified
the mistake and I learned and I grew from it. People fail to
realize that when you're 21 or when you're young, period, you're
going to make mistakes. If you'll look at their lives, when they
were that young, they made a lot of mistakes. Unfortunately, I'm
going to make some too. I'm not trying to create excuses for
myself. But I'm learning. I'm growing. I'm going to make my
mistakes. I'm not going to try to make mistakes. Unfortunately,
it's going to happen. I'm going to learn from them and grow from
Q. I've talked to a number of the top pros that have marveled
at your play. Do you ever watch the Greg Normans of the world
and Seve and wonder how they do it?
TIGER WOODS: The shots that these guys can hit are absolutely
amazing. If you look at Seve can pull out of the trees or around
the greens. Greg has got a phenomenal touch, as well as some
of the players how well they can hit their irons, how well they
can putt. It's a great joy to be out here and learn from them
just by watching. If you get lucky enough to talk to them and
they share with you, that's even better.
Q. Is there anybody here who could get in touch with to
know more about Tiger Foundation, activities and so on?
TIGER WOODS: Here, this week?
Q. This week.
TIGER WOODS: They'll be out here Sunday because we're doing
a clinic on Monday.
Q. Okay. And my question for you: There's been a lot of
talk about destiny in your road, in your upbringing, in your achievements.
Do you feel the chosen one?
TIGER WOODS: What's the question?
Q. Chosen marked by destiny, do you feel that deep down
inside, as it were, that here are special problems working for
me getting special gifts sending special --
TIGER WOODS: I guess there are two things with that. One is
I feel that everything that happens happens for a reason. I've
always felt that way, and I still do. And two, I feel that the
person up stairs puts each person on this planet and gives them
certain -- a limit of things they can handle. And, that person
upstairs obviously knows more than we do, and that person up there
feels that I can handle a lot so then he gives me a lot. But,
it's just some of the things I believe in.
Q. Tiger, obviously black people want you to be black, Asians
want you to be Asian, et cetera, et cetera. Were you prepared
for these type of pressures and how do you handle them and how
do you address these people that want Tiger Woods to be them?
TIGER WOODS: You know, that's just going to happen. Because,
unfortunately, that's the way our society is right now. We can't
look at a person and say, you know, what we're part of the same
race, we're part of the human race. Our society is so closed
minded that way, we can't look at that. We have to justify each
person by their skin color, their genetic code, we can't just
say we're all human. And, until that day happens, everyone is
going to classify it or want to try and classify another person
within a category.
Q. Tiger, this year at Augusta, you had the look of a man
that was sort of stepping into the ring and it worked out quite
nicely. How much do people underrate your ability to think your
way around the golf course. How much does the mental role play
in your success?
TIGER WOODS: Everything. It really does. My mind is -- I feel
it's the strongest part about me. It's the biggest asset I have
is to be able to think myself around the golf course. At Augusta,
if you look up -- for example, my first round, shooting 40 and
coming back with 30, that's a perfect instance where my game wasn't
there, but I rectified it with my mind. People don't see that.
They look at the long drives. They look at the birdies, ball
spinning back or making long putts. They look at that. But,
they don't look at the things that lead up to that. Put it this
way: My dad has always preached to me: "Play golf with
your mind. Play golf intelligently. Don't beat yourself."
Q. Tiger, not that you need any more incentives, but the
fact that this tournament ends on Father's Day, will that make
it any more special to you?
TIGER WOODS: If I am lucky enough to win on Father's Day it
would be great. It would be a great present for my pop. And,
hopefully, I'll be able to do it.
Q. Tiger, how much mail a day are you getting now and how
much of it do you personally respond to?
TIGER WOODS: Personally respond to? I sign everything. So,
we probably get -- we're kind of backlogged right now. But, I
get anywhere between 2 to 4,000 letters per week that I have to
sign, and I virtually get to. There are boxes waiting for me
LES UNGER: When you say "Sign," do you have a chance
to at least skim through what the questions are or the comments
TIGER WOODS: Actually what's nice, either my assistant Jerry
goes through it or IMG goes through it and highlights stuff for
me. And, I can go ahead and answer a question, too.
Q. Tiger, along the lines about everybody being part of
the human race and also being a role model, how do you reconcile
playing a place like Lochinvar which excludes people based on
TIGER WOODS: Well, unfortunately, my pro has been employed there.
He has no choice. He has to live and abide by the rules that
the board makes up. It's just the way it goes. As I said, when
that first popped up, it first popped up at Colonial, when it
first happened, and they wanted to know how I felt and why I still
did it. And I said, (1): That Butch is my pro, I have to work
with Butch and sometimes he can't get out of there and I have
to go see him. And (2): I can't be a champion of all causes.
And, as much as people would like me to be or sometimes they
don't, but a lot of times they do. And the only thing I ask is
for me to just be a golfer. All I want to do is play golf.
Q. But symbols are important. Why play there? I mean, I
can see going there to have sessions with Butch, but do you have
to play there?
TIGER WOODS: I have to play there to test out what we just worked
on, so that's why we do it. There's no sense in getting a lesson
and not going and testing it.
Q. Tiger, you took some heat awhile back because you said
you won a tournament without your A-Game. Is this a course to
determine you can win without your 8-iron?
TIGER WOODS: You can win without your 8-iron game. You have
to drive the ball very well here this week. You have to be on
with your driver or whatever your driving club might be, put the
ball in the fairway. But, the greens are so big here you can
dump the ball on the green and 2-putt all day. If you feel comfortable
enough to hit a good iron in there, then you can. There's plenty
of room out there because the greens are large. But, what we
will see out there this week is, one, obviously the driving is
at a premium. But, two, our lag putting is going to be tested
this week. We're going to come over some mounds and some slopes
and we've got to judge our speeds very well here. We're going
to have a lot of 20-, 40-footers just because of the fact we're
hitting long irons to most of these 4s. We can't stuff them all
like we can with wedges.
Q. Tiger, you talked about how with the Foundation and everything,
you wanted to incorporate and bring young kids into the game,
introduce them to the game. Is there a window of opportunity
because of who you are and what's happened in this short period
of time that is going to close fairly fast and a lot of people
will be left behind. Golf is not a game where there's a lot of
places to play and there is a short time period, maybe, that all
this can happen. Do you worry about that?
TIGER WOODS: You know, there's a lot of public courses around
here, around the United States, and there are more facilities
being built as we speak. And people fail to realize that all you
need is even a Country Club just opening up their doors for some
lessons or an afternoon when these kids can be taught and they
look forward to that. Like, I remember I used to look forward
to basketball practice or basketball camp, you know, stuff like
that. They look forward to these days. Unfortunately, as we
all know, golf is not cheap, and I know that a lot of these clubs
have a lot of extra clubs lying around and they just need to give
these kids a chance to try them out and participate.
LES UNGER: Tiger, thanks. Good luck.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks. Perfect.
End of FastScripts.....