November 27, 2002
JULIUS MASON: Tiger Woods, first place, 17-under. Justin Leonard, Davis Love tied for second at 3-under and Rich Beem is at fourth, plus one. Let's go ahead and begin with Tiger Woods. Tiger, we've got some numbers for you that you can ponder before we ask you for your thoughts: Five PGA Grand Slam of golf titles, a record; six PGA Grand Slam of Golf appearances, a record; 14 shots, widest margin of victory in the Grand Slam, a record; 30 on the front nine at Poipu Bay, a record; 127, the lowest 36-hole score, a record; and 61, the lowest 18-hole score, 11-under, in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a record. I think you have some thoughts about your round.
TIGER WOODS: I enjoyed it. I really played well today. I hit just a lot of good shots. And starting out, I did exactly what you need to do when you have a three-shot lead; I needed to go out there and play a good, solid front nine and I just got on a roll. It just kept going. Making shots, aiming at my spots, and I was knocking down my putts. It's a lot of fun when everything works like that.
JULIUS MASON: If you would not mind, because of the record, going through your card.
TIGER WOODS: No. 1, I hit a driver and a pitching wedge up there to about 18 feet and made that. 2, I hit driver and a 9-iron in the bunker. Blasted out to about a foot. 5, I hit driver just short of the green and pitched it up there with a 9-iron to about six feet and made that. 6, I hit driver, driver on the right of the green and 2-putted from about 50 feet. 7, I hit an 8-iron up there to, oh, about ten feet behind the hole. Made that. 8, I hit a driver just short of the green and pitched up there with a sand wedge to about a foot. 12, I hit a driver and a 60-degree sand wedge long to about 20 feet and made that. 13, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and a 9-iron to about a foot.
RICH BEEM: That shot was ridiculously so good, you can't even believe it. I just sat there, "There's no way." That was ridiculously good there, so -- sorry. (Laughter.)
TIGER WOODS: 15, I hit a 2-iron off the tee and a 6-iron up there to about six feet behind the hole. 16, I hit a driver and a 5-iron up there to about 18 feet and made that. On 18, I hit a driver and a 2-iron and 2-putted from about 40 feet.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Tiger. Justin, you finished second in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. How are you feeling today?
JUSTIN LEONARD: I hit the ball pretty good, not as well as I did yesterday. I think I read maybe two putts correctly all day and on those two putts, I hit probably the worst two putts I hit. So I'm glad -- I love Kauai, don't get me wrong, but I'm glad I'm not playing the golf course again tomorrow. That doesn't mean I don't want to come back and I hope to next year. A little frustrating the last couple of days, but still, great to be here. It's great to play. It's great to be part of playing with these three guys. It's a real honor and privilege. I had a great time and hopefully get to come back soon.
JULIUS MASON: Beautiful. Mr. Beam?
RICH BEEM: Another Top-5. (Laughter.) I'm just glad I was part of it today so I could watch Tiger shoot 61. That was the highlight of my day. (Laughing). No, I didn't play, obviously, good at all. I started off good, though, birdied 1 and 2 and really thought I was going to do something from there. Then after I hit the tee shot in the water on 7, that was my slow demise from there on in. Just don't have anything bad to say about my game; I just didn't play very good this week, and that happens. But it was a lot of fun being out there this week, and I am looking forward to getting some rest and relaxation before Tiger's event next week. It's going to be a lot of fun, as well.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Rich. And Davis, perfect timing. Thoughts on your round today, please.
DAVIS LOVE III: Well, didn't play very well again today. Enjoyed watching Tiger's round. It was one of the better rounds I've seen in a long time. Hopefully get another shot at playing with him next time.
Q. Tiger, heading to 8, after a bunch of birdies, it looked like you said to yourself, "I think I can really do some damage here." Was that about the time you said it or was it before or after that?
TIGER WOODS: I was really playing one shot at a time. The reason I was pondering was just whether to lay back or not on front pin, that was it. It wasn't that I was thinking, okay, it's time to put down the hammer. I wasn't thinking about that at all. I was just playing one shot at a time, trying to give myself the best chance at making birdies. I felt like the driver was the best play there. That's why it just took me a while to decide.
Q. Rich, all you had to do to get in a playoff today was shoot a 55. What was the problem?
RICH BEEM: They made me play all 18. I would have been more than happy to pick my ball after 14 and just walked right in. (Laughing). Yeah, what a phenomenal round Tiger played, and it was a lot of fun watching him. It's amazing how when somebody gets on a roll like he got on today, how fun it is to watch somebody, because everything that they do just clicks. The golf ball was just going right at the target all day. It was a lot of fun to watch. Me, on the other hand, it was, boy, I feel sorry for these guys. I can't believe Tiger shot 61 watching how I hit it, holy cow. That's how it goes some days: Some days you're the windshield and some days you're the bug.
Q. You've shot 61 twice, in the World Series and the World Cup. How does this 61 compare to the others?
TIGER WOODS: I played better this one. I really can't mis-hit a shot today. Every shot I hit right in the middle of the face. On top of that, you're playing under some windy conditions and the greens were pretty grainy, not easy to putt. But those other two 61s, I think the one at Firestone, obviously that's a much for difficult golf course, but still, I was 9-under par.
Q. Two years ago you won in a playoff and last year you won comfortably. Is there a way you prefer winning or does it matter?
TIGER WOODS: Comfortably. (Laughter.) The one in 2000 was really cool because obviously it took a pretty special finish just to get into a playoff, and then to duplicate it again in the playoff, it was just two carbon copy shots right in the same spot and made the same putt.
Q. On the front nine, 6-under and the three pars you made, I have to say, it looked like the combined putts were about four inches -- your thoughts?
TIGER WOODS: The putt I missed at 3, I really hit a good putt. It just didn't decide to go in. The putt that I hit at 9 was just short. I didn't hit it hard enough; I hit it right on-line. The other par on 4, it wasn't close.
Q. Is it true that PGA of America is going to require you to play this event left-handed in future years? (Laughter.) My question is at 14, if you had not made that, two more rolls and the ball would have gone in --
TIGER WOODS: Maybe a little bit more than that.
Q. But were you looking at a 59?
TIGER WOODS: I never thought about it. I just thought about playing it one shot at a time. When you start going low like that, you don't really think of numbers like that. You just get into the rhythm of the round and get into a rhythm of trying to place your ball in a certain spot and give yourself the best chance at making birdies. Even the time I shot 59 at home at Isleworth, it never really entered my mind until the last hole when I had about a 3-footer for par, "Oh, I have a chance." Otherwise you get so involved with the process of trying to place the ball where you need to place it.
Q. Davis, could you talk about what happened with your wedges on the range last night?
DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, the old wedge is back in, which I have a bunch of copies of them at home. So I just need to work those in. I didn't find much. I'm hitting the ball great on the range. I'm just not playing well on the golf course. Maybe a little bit rusty and maybe a little bit, you know, when you get a couple of strokes behind start pushing too hard in a two-round event. I think, no excuse, but I think that's what happened to me yesterday. Getting two, three, four behind -- when you get ten behind, you can give up. It was not the way I wanted to play, and I'm looking forward to -- again, looking forward to playing next week and hopefully getting it going a little better.
Q. It's pretty safe to say that everybody in here is in awe of what you did out there today. Do you ever surprise yourself with what you do?
TIGER WOODS: I was surprised at a couple of shots I hit out there today, yeah. The one that Beemer was saying over there on 13, I was just trying to hit a little 9-iron, trying to hold it back against the wind. And usually when you do that, you either upshoot it or the safe side, going to pull it, but I hit it absolutely perfect, the way I wanted to; I held it back with a little cut 9-iron. That's when you know things are going right. Your timing is right, the club is coming down in front of me and it was just a of fun.
Q. How about your approach on 15 was similar, can you talk about that?
TIGER WOODS: I had 180 to the hole and I hit just a little soft 6-iron. Kind of cut it back against the wind. The wind actually switched and came back. I just hit a nice little soft cut.
Q. Could you just give us your feelings, you played well tee-to-green, does that fire up your enthusiasm or disappoint you -- do you feel like you'd like to play more golf or because of the putting, "I'm glad I'm going skiing"?
JUSTIN LEONARD: You know what, it probably would not matter either way. It doesn't pump me up or anything, now that my year is officially over. I have a couple of fun rounds next week and I am going to take about three weeks off. You know, I think the only way it may affect me is really in the weight room. I will work on my game by working out. But, you know, I'm looking forward to the next, whatever it is, six weeks, and I'm certainly not tired by any means, but it just means I'm going to be that much fresher and ready to get after it in January.
Q. What is the lowest round you guys have ever had on a regulation course, whether a practice round or official tournament round? And I asked this a few years ago, how many hole-in-ones you guys had. Tiger I think had 15 at the time; how many holes-in-one do you have now?
TIGER WOODS: 69 and 15.
RICH BEEM: 61 and 8.
DAVIS LOVE III: 60 and three. I made one a couple of weeks ago. I'm on a roll.
JUSTIN LEONARD: 62 and one. I made it at Disney this year.
Q. I read about five years ago after you won Masters the first time, you had actually rebuilt your swing. I think you said it was related to timing, not relying so much on timing, mechanics. Can you imagine yourself doing something like that again, as well as you're playing? People thought you were playing well back then, but people thought you could do more. Do you picture yourself doing something like that again?
TIGER WOODS: I've got most of the hard work out of the way of rebuilding. Now it's just tweaking here and there. I'm very happy with the work I've done over the last few years of getting my club on plane and being more consistent that way. You know, I've spent a lot of hours hitting balls, trying to get the club on plane and then the hard part is going out there and trusting it in competition. But I've put in some good work, and it's paid off. Now it's just changing things here and there, just little tinkering, because things get off, as we all know. We all play golf, and things get off here and there, and just got to put it back. But the overall package is what it was in '97.
RICH BEEM: Come on, take a few months off. Go work on it some more. We won't mind.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much.
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