October 22, 1996
Q. Tiger your first impressions of the 9 holes you played today at Southern Hills.
TIGER WOODS: Very wet and very cold. No, the golf course is not like what I expected, because I haven't really seen it. From what I have seen on TV it's played a lot faster. So some of the shots these guys hit off the tees would run. It's a little different now that the rain has softened everything up.
Q. What do you think about all the attention you're getting?
TIGER WOODS: What do I think about it? It has its up-and-downs. It has its positive things which I can influence kids with and use that to help kids in a positive way, but also it has its down sides, too, with the scrutiny, sometimes, that I receive.
Q. It's a little overwhelming at times?
TIGER WOODS: Not really. The only time it was really difficult was Milwaukie. And after that I've kind of gotten used to it.
Q. What happened in Milwaukie?
TIGER WOODS: That's when I turned pro.
Q. Were you surprised when you take a look at the whole scheme of things that you're playing in this tournament, on this whirlwind Tour that you've been on so to speak?
TIGER WOODS: It wasn't a goal of mine at the outset. I never really thought about THE TOUR Championship until after my good finish at San Antonio. That's when I knew I kind of had a chance. But I was just hoping to just get my card. And that was the whole goal of this year, so I'd have some place to play next year. And when I achieved that and then went beyond that.
Q. How would you evaluate your game looking at it? Looking from the outside how would you evaluate the four phases of your game, that is putting, driving and what have you?
TIGER WOODS: The four phases? They are infinite. No, I'd have to evaluate my game as getting better. Slowly but surely it's improving. It's basically now I've done a lot of the hard work with Butch, and we've got a lot of the big flaws out of my swing. Now it's just basically refinement. And I can always get better at my course management and the way I approach thinking about the game. And that's just an infinite process which I can always improve on.
Q. Your driver gives you the advantage. Talk a little about your iron game?
TIGER WOODS: My iron game has improved a lot. It used to be when I was very little, it used to be a strength of mine, but then as I got older I got a little longer on my swing, got a little too loose. It hurt me a little bit. But now it's becoming my strength again. It's basically taking advantage of good situations where I hit a good drive down there or I'm just in the fairway or something. Now I feel like I can attack because I have the distance control and the accuracy now with irons.
Q. With the putt, you seem to have great touch.
TIGER WOODS: At times. At times. My putter -- I changed my stroke a little bit and that took some time getting used to because I had a flaw on my stroke that Butch and I had to work out. But as I've become more comfortable with it, my putting has really improved. And I'm starting to make longer putts than I have ever in the past. And that's how you really shoot those low numbers, because you can hit some shots in there close, but you can't do it hole after hole after hole. And then you make a couple of snakes, that's how you really go low. That's one of the reasons why I've shot the scores I've shot.
Q. What's your goal this week?
TIGER WOODS: To win.
Q. After looking at the course today, how does it compare to the other seven you've played since turn pro?
TIGER WOODS: It's by far the hardest one just because of the fact that the greens are smaller and it's a long course, especially with this rain. So it's different than any other courses we've played because this course is a little bit older, it's more traditional, it uses the natural terrain, not like Canada or other places I've played, LaCantera. It's an old-fashioned course. And you've basically got to go out there and you've got to really golf your ball.
Q. This course is defined as a finesse course, one that you supposedly can't overpower. Have you found that out already?
TIGER WOODS: I can or can't, what was the question?
Q. You can't overpower.
TIGER WOODS: This course is designed so you have to be very strategic with your tee shots and your iron play. You've got to leave yourself below the hole on every hole or else you're going to have a tough time out there. And it does have certain holes where length does have its advantages. What was it, like 15 or something like that? 14, 15?
TIGER WOODS: The par 4, like 468 or something like that. 14? Yeah, that's -- 15, 16, whatever. Well, whatever it is. 16. Yeah, that's the hole where length does have its advantage. There are certain holes out there in the par 5s, too that I've played. There are certain holes where length does have its advantage, but then you've got to drive the ball very accurately.
Q. On 10 you used your driver, thought you might able to cut the corner. Have you looked at that very much?
TIGER WOODS: This is the first time I've ever seen it. They told me there was water on the left, that's why I laid up. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to go for that green with the trouble that it has, so there's certain holes that you can, if you have to take a chance, if you do have the certain kind of conditions that are indicative of that, but if not, you've got to play very conservative.
TIGER WOODS: I've only seen two holes that you could do that on.
Q. How is your health?
TIGER WOODS: It's getting better.
TIGER WOODS: I wish I could have, because playing in cold weather and having a cold is not the greatest thing in the world. But you've got to do what you've got to do.
Q. Have you played much in weather like this?
TIGER WOODS: Have I?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, I have.
Q. Coming along, any idols?
TIGER WOODS: None.
Q. What did you do Sunday night, Tiger?
TIGER WOODS: Sunday night? I went back home, took a lot of Nyquil and went right to bed. I was not feeling well. You saw that, I was kind of hacking up a storm.
Q. You were better than you were Sunday?
TIGER WOODS: I am a lot better. I think I did the best thing by resting Monday and staying down there and flying in today. I think that was the best thing for me, because I got to just rest and chill out and try to get my body and health back to a hundred percent.
Q. If you didn't have a tournament would you be playing golf this week?
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. (Inaudible.) Have you had your putter evaluated by the USGA or are you going to?
TIGER WOODS: I have not -- they haven't looked at my putter. They've looked at other putters.
Q. Other putters of yours?
TIGER WOODS: No, other putters of the same model. I don't know what the ruling has been.
Q. Tiger, do you look at this week as a different type tournament because of the type of field that is here?
TIGER WOODS: I believe it's just another tournament because granted the field is a lot stronger. You have the 30 best money winners on TOUR, and basically if you break it down, the lowest score still wins. And that's my approach, and that's what my approach to every tournament is. And I'm not going to change that.
TIGER WOODS: Yes, I have, yes.
TIGER WOODS: I told you will I'd written a letter to all the people that were going to attend the banquet and just apologized for what I did. I knew what I did was wrong, but I had to get out of there, too, because the scrutiny I received either from the media or just the people in general and playing a lot took its toll on me. I should have withdrawn from the tournament, but have gone to the banquet. And I think they've understood that and we're working out out the Haskins Award right now.
Q. Talking about the scrutiny, when does it reach a point when you get tired of cameras in your face when you get off the plane?
TIGER WOODS: Exactly. You hit it right there.
Q. Just tiring after a while?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that the media sometimes over steps its boundaries of when private time is allowed and where you can ask questions and film. I think certain situations aren't good for that. And I think that's the direction the media is headed now, i.e. the National Enquirer, Hard Copy and stuff like that, where that's just the norm and the media has definitely changed in that regard.
Q. Tiger, how do you feel about the reception you've got from the other players on TOUR?
TIGER WOODS: It's been real good, real good. A lot of players have really accepted me. But they were like that before, when I was an amateur, as well. A lot of the players that I knew before I was a pro are still the same, they haven't changed at all.
Q. Do you think they look at you differently now, after what you've accomplished?
TIGER WOODS: I really don't know. You'll have to ask them that.
TIGER WOODS: I've become better all around, whether it's driving the ball, hitting my irons, chipping and putting, it's been an all-around improvement, and that's why the scores are at where they are right now.
Q. Tiger, forgive me, I came in late to the press conference (inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think -- that was an awfully nice compliment that he thinks that highly of my game. The only thing I can see how it's brought to a different level, I won't say a new level, but I different level, is the influence I've had on the galleries. It if you look at my galleries, it's a lot of kids. And now it's a lot of minorities. And that wasn't the norm in the past, and now I think that's changing. And I think that's the different level of taking the game now.
Q. What Tom was saying is that these guys are (inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think that we all have to improve. I'm always trying to improve every day I play and I'm sure they're doing the same thing. And I think that when a player comes out and he plays really well, they may take a harder look at their weaknesses. I think that's what he's trying to say.
Q. Tiger, at places like Disney and Las Vegas the premium focus is on making birdies. Have you recognized that (inaudible)?
TIGER WOODS: I kind of like that, because I hate to go out there and make a boat load of birdies and if I'm shooting 66 I get passed. I've never liked that, but that's what I had to do. But I enjoy golf courses like this where they're tough, where they reward pars. I always thought par was a good score. In the desert par is not a good score. So I really enjoy this type of golf course. That's why I love the U.S. Open so much, even though I didn't do too well this year. But I really enjoy having the golf course very difficult. I think it's a lot of fun and that's the way it should be.
Q. Do you see yourself as a favorite?
TIGER WOODS: Do I? I really don't know.
Q. Winning is winning, but the two PGA TOUR victories, did they compare as far as emotionally with Pumpkin Ridge at all or is it a different thing all together?
TIGER WOODS: They're all different, you can't relate those two. You can't relate any of those wins. I can't think of -- I can't relate any of any six USGA victories to one another because they're all different in their own way, in the way I achieved them, and the way they happened and the timing of them.
Q. Tiger, you spoke of the galleries and the large number. (Inaudible.) How did you react to that?
TIGER WOODS: I think it was great, because it brings in more people to the golf course and it boosts golf. That's what Arnold did, when around Arnold came out on the scene, he boosted golf and a lot more people came out. That's positive for the game. It's not like they're coming out here screaming and yelling and rooting against you. They're coming out and supporting you and supporting other players. And I think that's good for the game.
Q. Did you ever think you would be a guy that would do that? Did you ever think you would be a guy that would be doing that?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
Q. In your practice sessions, Tiger, right now what do you concentrate on the most? How do you break up your practice times to work?
TIGER WOODS: Whatever I need to work on at that moment in time, whether it's swing mechanics or pitching or putting, whatever my weakness is at that moment, that's what I'll go work on the hardest, and right now the swing is pretty good, but I need to work on my pitch shots a little bit more. So I'll work on my pitching a little bit more.
Q. If you had just squeaked through the top 125, and gotten your card and hadn't won this last stretch, how satisfied do you think you would have been, given what you've accomplished so far?
TIGER WOODS: As I said, everything that I've accomplished it's a bonus because of my initial goal. My initial goal was just to get out here and have a place to play next year. And I accomplished that. And then kind of went beyond that to where now I'm exempt for two years.
Q. As far as playing this week, not as to when that became a goal, but what was important about that? You were obviously already in The Masters, already in the U.S. Open?
TIGER WOODS: I was not in the U.S. Open. Because once you turn pro you renege.
TIGER WOODS: I believe it was top 20 to get in the British Open. So I need to move up three more spots to get in the British Open.
Q. Are you going to do a little concentrating on the majors?
TIGER WOODS: Always. You always do that. Like I always focused on them even when I was an amateur or even my majors at the time, whatever level I was at, whether it was the U.S. Junior or the U.S. Amateur. That's what I always shot for.
Q. Tiger, the golf I would imagine you don't really seek advice from other people, other than (inaudible.) But all the other stuff, the crowds, the media, the endorsements, is there anybody like a Greg Norman or a Jack Nicklaus that you call and say, what do I do?
TIGER WOODS: No, the one who's been the most help in that regard is when I got penalized in the -- when I got penalized in college, Arnold Palmer. The dinner I had with him and the conversations following that he helped out a lot because we were in comparable positions. I was kind of going toward where he used to be. And when he first burst on the scene, when he had all the hoopla and all the fame and the rush that he brought to the game, that's kind of the direction I was headed. And I wanted to ask him and learn from him what he did, so I didn't make those mistakes. And he's been a lot of help and is a great guy.
Q. Is there anything specifically?
TIGER WOODS: I can't tell you, because I think that's very private. That's between he and I.
TIGER WOODS: No, I haven't. He's been playing and so have I.
Q. Have you spoken with any of your teammates at Stanford recently?
TIGER WOODS: Have I? Not recently. Some of my exteammates, the guys who graduated.
TIGER WOODS: After this? I'm playing Australian Open and the Skins.
TIGER WOODS: You know, I thought I could win, given seven chances and if I play my best golf I thought I could do it. And to win twice and have the consistency that I've had, I think that shows you where my game has gone to.
Q. Are you superstitious in any way, any little superstitions?
TIGER WOODS: No, not really.
Q. Tiger, in Detroit (inaudible.) At what age did you start thinking about that and why did you feel that you (inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: I thought if I kept progressing in golf and my golf game and I came on the TOUR and I did really well, I thought I could help golf, bring more minorities into the game. And make it more diverse. And I thought that would be my biggest impact. But it has been and it will continue to be, but also the impact on the kids is something that I actually love to do. I love doing clinics, I love helping them out. And I think that's the biggest impact I've made so far. I'm telling you, just look at my galleries and you'll see it. You'll see the difference.
Q. Do you have a bodyguard here?
TIGER WOODS: No, not a personal one, no. I mean, like week to week, same guy, no.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I have one every week.
Q. You hit it obviously a lot farther than almost anyone else, in terms of swing mechanics, can you point to two or three or four things that you would attribute that to?
TIGER WOODS: Well, to be honest with you, it's always been there. I've always been long, naturally, even when I was very little. I was always long for my age. I've had enormous hip speed and shoulder rotation, just being natural. It's like telling Ken Griffey, Jr., how does he hit these five hundred foot home runs. He doesn't know, he just does it. I'm the same way. You can't tell Roger Clemens not to throw a 90 mile an hour fast ball. He just does it, it just happens. And I think I've just been blessed with natural speed, and I've worked on my mechanics to help control that, and then harness that speed into more consistent play.
TIGER WOODS: Not really, no. I've had enormous growth spurts when I would grow say -- I remember a time I grew a half inch in Florida in two weeks. And I gained about 20 yards, just because my swing arc changed just a little bit. And when I got stronger, just stuff like that, that changed my game a lot. And ever since I went to college and I got stronger and I got a little bit longer.
Q. Are you working out now?
TIGER WOODS: Always, yeah.
Q. Even this week?
TIGER WOODS: Always, yeah. I always stay in good shape.
Q. With weights?
TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh.
Q. That doesn't tighten you up?
TIGER WOODS: No, not if you stretch.
Q. How long do you work out?
TIGER WOODS: Depends. It depends. If it's off season or I have a tournament to get ready for.
Q. When did you start?
TIGER WOODS: When did I start? Lightly I started about 15, 16, because that's when they said you can start doing it very lightly, and that's what I would do.
Q. Do you plan on using this to kind of get to know the course, when you get back here in five years, if you get back here at that point for the U.S. Open?
TIGER WOODS: Is the U.S. Open here?
Q. In 2002.
TIGER WOODS: I haven't thought about five years ahead. I don't know my schedule for next year.
Q. Is that a point we'd see you back here?
TIGER WOODS: I hope so. I'd like to be here. I'd like to be there at that time, yeah.
Q. You mentioned you had something planned this week?
TIGER WOODS: This week, no. We have nothing organized this week.
TIGER WOODS: Have no idea. I haven't even looked at my schedule yet. I don't know what the 97 schedule even looks like. I figure I'll probably sit down after this week and maybe take a look at it and see what I want to do.
Q. Is it going to be tough just because obviously every tournament on TOUR is -- would like to have you there and they're going to talk to you -- try to talk you into playing. Is it going to be hard to say no?
TIGER WOODS: But then you've got to do what's best for you, too. I'm sure they realize you have to have rest, too. I'll try and play in a good amount of tournaments. But then I know what my body limit is and I will never exceed that.
Q. Any idea of how you -- what kind of a schedule you'd like. Would you like to play two weeks in a row and have two weeks off?
TIGER WOODS: I honestly don't know. It depends on the courses and the tournaments. They dictate what I'm going to do, as well. So as I said, I really don't know. I'm not going to play as many as I have now, I'll never do that again.
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