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September 15, 2007

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our leader Tiger Woods into the interview room. Another interesting round today, 6-under 64, 19-under total, and a three-shot lead over Mark. Just talk about your day if you will, and then we'll let them ask some questions.
TIGER WOODS: Well, again, another day of -- if you made a bunch of pars you were going to get run over, so it was nice to make some birdies and get out there and still maintain the same sized lead I had starting out the day. You see the rounds today, 60, 62, and guys were taking it deep. I was hoping that I could make some birdies myself and basically shoot something in the mid-60s.

Q. This one was different than the first two days where you made a lot of long stuff. I think the longest one today was maybe ten feet. Can you talk about obviously your ball-striking?
TIGER WOODS: I hit three terrible wedges, but the rest of my iron play was pretty good. I hit a lot of good shots in there, left myself some makeable putts. All you can do is be aggressive and hopefully they'll fall in.

Q. Calc was just talking about how far back you guys go, and I didn't realize it was pre-professional, back to I guess Butch-in-Houston days. Can you talk about your impressions of him? There's a pretty big disconnect on the age. He wouldn't seem to be one of your closer friends, but I guess he is.
TIGER WOODS: It's interesting, a lot of the guys who are my closest friends out here are that age. I mean, you've got Calc, you've got Slu, O'Meara and Cookie, and three of them gone now. Basically those are the guys that took me under their wing when I first came out here, even when I was an amateur and playing out here on the TOUR. Those guys would play practice rounds with me and basically befriended me and made sure that I understood the TOUR. We played just a bunch of practice rounds together.

Q. He can't remember, Mark said he didn't remember playing with you in the final round ever. Do you ever remember playing with him?
TIGER WOODS: I don't remember, no.

Q. He's the oldest guy in the field. Talk about what it'll be like playing with him tomorrow.
TIGER WOODS: It's going to be fun. We're going to have a great time. I played the first two days with Stricks, had a great time, and hopefully we'll go out there tomorrow and make a bunch of birdies and shoot some good scores. But we'll have fun playing golf together. We've played just a bunch of practice rounds, just haven't really played competitive rounds together that often.

Q. They had a pretty tight camera shot on you I guess on the par 5 on the back nine when you rolled in that bomb for eagle and you were kind of smiling out there. Did that sort of seemingly light a fire under you? You birdied and kind of pulled away a little bit. You were actually tied at that moment briefly and then you pulled away.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I mean, I didn't really do anything special on that bomb. I hit 6-iron into the green and had a good setup. The birdie I made at the next hole is what was nice, because Calc had made a mistake there on that hole, and I felt if I made birdie there, it would be a nice swing of momentum towards me. That's one of the reasons I got as excited as I did after I made that putt.

Q. You've had almost a perfect storm of conditions here, pins in the middle of greens, greens the way they are. You look today at Calc, what did he shoot, 63, 64, and he picked up one shot on you. You shoot 64 and blow everyone away. Does it feel like a tournament? I know it does, but what's the feeling like as you're playing?
TIGER WOODS: I mean, when you get greens this soft and pins this easy and greens this slow, you're going to have to make a bunch of birdies because if you've got a tight pin, if you hit a bad shot or are too conservative, more than likely you're going to have a two-putt. This week you short side yourself you've still got 8, 9, 10, 12 paces from the side to think about making it. Or a bad shot in the center of the green normally would be try and two-putt, but now I can try to make it because you're not that far away. You fire at every flag. Even if you have a 5-iron you still fire at it because you know the ball is going to plug. You just go after it.

Q. Is this the easiest course you've played as a pro?
TIGER WOODS: I can't remember too many golf courses that have been easier than this one, yeah.

Q. The first green after you missed the putt on No. 1, how do you not get frustrated when putts aren't dropping on greens like this?
TIGER WOODS: It is what it is. You hit good putts and you know you're not going to make them all. They're totally different than Augusta. If you hit a good putt, you know it's in the hole. Here you can hit a good putt and it looks like you totally misread it and it bounces up the hill, or I hit a bad putt like I did yesterday at 7 and it goes in because it hits something. It is what it is. You've just got to make sure that you can give yourself plenty of looks. You figure you'll make a few here and there.

Q. Is there enough portion of the green to find tough pin placements for tomorrow?
TIGER WOODS: No. Hopefully there will be some (inaudible).

Q. Other than the fact that Calc was a guy that was there when you were young, why is it you get a kick out of him where you enjoy the back and forth with the text messaging or whatever?
TIGER WOODS: I think our personalities are very similar. We both like to jibe at one another, we both have fun, we don't take it personal, and we just have a great time doing it. Like I said, he's been a great friend to me ever since the times he and I used to work with Butch down in Houston. That's a long way back.

Q. I'd be remiss not to bring this up. We've all made a pretty big deal about your record with the 54-hole lead. Two of the misfires were here on this golf course. Is that just a quirk, an oddity, a function of anything special or just something else you can't explain?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't play well enough to win (smiling).

Q. Is there such a thing if you look at the strange-case circumstances this week or Torrey Pines North or the Palm Course at Disney, is there such a thing as a cheap 59, or is a 59 a 59? What are your thoughts on that?
TIGER WOODS: Even if you play your local muni at home, you shoot 59, you've had to play well. You can't go out there and fake a score that low. Let's say you play at a golf course where you can drive the green on two or three par 4s and all the par 5s are reachable, basically you can fake a 5- or 6-under par round. But 59 is 59. It's an impressive number.

Q. What's the length you've played at Isleworth, do you think?
TIGER WOODS: This is before the renovation, so the golf course wasn't as hard as it is now, but it played like just over 7,000, 7,050 yards or something.

Q. You mentioned you're making more birdies on this course. Do you prefer that kind of condition where you play a tournament where you have to make that kind of birdies or tougher conditions?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I prefer not to play it like this. I prefer golf courses where you shoot something in the 60s you've earned it and you are going to move up the board. That's why I love the U.S. Open so much, you shoot a round in the 60s, man, you've thoroughly earned it, and every time you're moving up the board.

Q. I think Phil has got to shoot 55 tomorrow to have any chance at the FedExCup. Does that mean anything at all to you? Have you thought about it? That part is probably wrapped up now.
TIGER WOODS: You don't look at it that way. You can't. You don't start off the year thinking, well, I'm going to try and get the Player of the Year Award, I'm going to try to get the money title. You know if you win golf tournaments, period, it takes care of everything else. I'm in a position to get another W. That's the way I've always looked at it and I think that's the way you have to look at it.

Q. Is that thing only going to be meaningful tomorrow if you happen to win the tournament, do you think?
TIGER WOODS: Well, if I lose the tournament and win the FedExCup, I don't think I'm going to be too happy really that I've lost the tournament.

Q. Have you enjoyed the Playoffs more, less, about the same as what you would have thought going in, now that you've got --
TIGER WOODS: I think it's been great. The competition has been unbelievable. The last three weeks that I've played, they've been pretty exciting coming down the stretch. We've had just some great theater for everyone, and for the players it's been a bunch of fun to have a chance to bump heads with these guys.

Q. I know the contracts are in place, but in an ideal world would the Playoffs be better if the last two events were on harder golf courses?
TIGER WOODS: I would think so, yeah. Probably it's going to take something in the 20s here to win this weekend. It took something in the 20s last weekend to win. But this week is an oddity. Normally it's not like this, and I think after the renovations at Cog Hill I don't think we'll sniff at 20 again.

Q. Woody putted it off the green on 15. I wonder if you were able to see what happened there?
TIGER WOODS: I watched it. He was fine. The putter just basically planted in the ground and he tapped it in. There was no rules violations from what I saw. I was right there watching it. I know Mark Russell came up to Woody when we were finished and explained to him the situation. I gave my two cents because I was right there and I saw it.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Let's go through your birdies real quick.
TIGER WOODS: No. 4, I hit a driver and a pitching wedge to about six feet and made that.
No. 3, I hit driver and a pitching wedge to about a foot.
Bogeyed 7, I hit a driver off the tee and a pitching wedge in the right bunker, blasted out to about 15 feet, missed it.
Birdied 9, hit a driver and a 5-iron just short of the green, chipped up to about three feet and made it.
11, I hit a 6-iron to about eight feet right of the hole and made that.
14, I hit a driver and a 9-iron to about six inches, made that.
And then 15, I hit driver and a 6-iron in the right bunker, blasted out to about a foot, made that.
And then on 16, I hit a driver and a 9-iron to -- sorry, driver and a 7-iron to about 12 feet, made that.

Q. This doesn't pertain to you necessarily, but I'd be curious your thoughts as a player. Dottie Pepper announced today at the Solheim Cup and referred to the team as "choking freakin' dogs" when she thought it was at commercial break and it was broadcast into homes and whatnot. Do you think that would affect her chances of becoming a captain or affect her future as a captain or something like that?
TIGER WOODS: I don't think she's going to get a lot of interviews from the players (laughter). I think everyone makes mistakes, and she's been great for women's golf. She's promoted the game, was a great champion, and I'm sure as time passes people will forget it.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Tiger, thank you.

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