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July 22, 2006

Tiger Woods


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods, 71, 13 under par and leading The Open Championship by one shot.

Tiger, the field is really bunched up at the top today. What's the reason for that?

TIGER WOODS: The golf course is pretty quick. These are some surprisingly the most difficult pins today that I've ever seen in The Open Championship to date, and it was a good challenge trying to get the ball close. I really had to hit some quality shots. And on the greens out there you really had to watch your pace because obviously every green is just a slightly different speed. You had to be aware of it.

Q. You've said all week about how you want to take what the golf course gives you. Will that still be your philosophy tomorrow and did that change at all today?

TIGER WOODS: It didn't really change. Well, I hit 3 wood on the 11, which I probably could have hit 2 iron, just trying to make sure I carried the mound. It was 250 into the wind, trying to carry it over the top. Other than that I played to about the same spots.

Q. You hit driver on 16?

TIGER WOODS: No, I hit 3 wood.

Q. Are you going to have the same philosophy tomorrow, what it gives you?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, to win the tournament.

Q. Could you say something about the match tomorrow with Sergio Garcia?

TIGER WOODS: Sergio paid beautifully today. What a wonderful round of golf. Obviously to take it that low with those pins and these conditions, it was a great run of golf. And tomorrow it will be fun for both of us to go out there and try to win The Open Championship. There are a bunch of guys up there at the top of the board and we've got to go out there and obviously play well ourselves and put ourselves in position.

Q. How risky is this approach with no drivers in terms of having to hit so many long irons? If somebody should start to push ahead in front of you, would you have to abandon that and start trying to whack it over those bunkers?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't see any reason why, unless I absolutely had to. The problem is if you hit the ball over the top and you put the ball in that wispy stuff, you can't stop the ball near the flag. You're better off you can control your spin with 7 irons and 8 irons better than you can a sand wedge out of that stuff, because you just can't control your spin. And with these pins you've got to be precise.

It's gotten me to the lead so far. Hopefully tomorrow I can putt better. If I putted normally and took away my three putts, I shot 4 under par today.

Q. You obviously have a very good history of protecting the lead going into the final day, especially in majors. Sergio, as well as he's played in the years, has struggled in the final round. How much of a psychological advantage is that?

TIGER WOODS: You have to go out and play. It's not just Sergio and myself; there are a bunch of guys up there. I'm sure there are 15 or so guys within five shots. So we've got our work cut out for us tomorrow.

Q. After the way you played yesterday, did you expect to have a three or four shot cushion by tonight?

TIGER WOODS: If I would have just putted normally, I would have. I thought I hit the ball great today, just take away my three putts today, three of them in eight holes, I would have a four shot lead.

Q. Just expanding a little bit on the way you obviously are a very good front runner, you've closed the deals in majors. I know that can't help you get a shot tomorrow, but is there something there that helps your confidence when you go into a round, because you've been so proficient that way?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I've done it before. And that's the thing. If you won before doing it that way, it always gives you confidence to know you can do that again, and I've done that in the past.

Q. There's a terrific leaderboard, a lot of different styles, and I'm just wondering why? Why here? Why now? Your thoughts on the golf course and on your competitors.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's a very fair golf course. It's extremely fast. You can play it so many different ways and it lends itself to a bunch of different styles, but ultimately it's fair. It's not tricked up at all. Quality golf shots hit around this golf course, you're going to give yourself plenty of opportunities. And when you've got four par 5s where you can hit normal drives in play you're going to have irons to, I think generally when that happens you're going to see the leaderboard bunch up.

Q. I presume at the 18th tee you know you need a birdie to get into the last group for tomorrow. With the field bunched so tight, is it more of an advantage being in the last group or less with it this close?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I know I'm in the last group and I've got a one shot lead, and hopefully tomorrow I can just putt like the way I did today and just putt a little bit better.

Q. Can you just tell us your impressions of Sergio at Medinah in 1999 and your memories and whether you expected at the time him to go on and win major championships in the next few years and whether you're surprised that he hasn't done so so far?

TIGER WOODS: Well, when he was playing in the group in front of me so I had a chance to watch and see what he was doing in front of me. He was playing beautifully on that back nine. He got himself right there in contention, I made a couple of mistakes, and all of a sudden I had a one shot lead. But he played really well. I think he was only 19 at the time, I believe. So that's 19 or 20, I believe 19. But that's awfully impressive to be that young and have a chance to win a major championship. That just doesn't happen very often in our sport.

But we could all see that he had the talent to win major championships and it's just a matter of putting it all together at the right time.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

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