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NIKE GOLF MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 27, 2005
THE MODERATOR: Anyone who is in golf, whether through recreation or business, knows the importance of the Golf Channel on our game. 24/7 the Golf Channel is reporting to us the business of golf, the personalities of golf and the performance of golf. So anything that's happening in golf is happening on the Golf Channel. So with that, it's my privilege to introduce one of the most recognizable faces and personalities among the golf media, Kelly Tilghman with the Golf Channel. (APPLAUSE). Kelly has been with the Golf Channel since 1996, which happens to be the same year that Tiger joined Nike. So they have a lot in common. Kelly also is the host of "Your Game Night" as well as "Grey Goose's 19th Hole." She also co-anchors Golf Central as well as the Sprint pre and post game. So she's a busy girl covering golf. We felt that Kelly was a perfect fit to chat with Tiger about golf equipment and technology, and for Tiger to share with us his thoughts on Nike Golf and its equipment and technology. So without further adieu I want to introduce you to Kelly Tilghman and of course Tiger Woods. (APPLAUSE).
KELLY TILGHMAN: It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. Obviously to spend time with Nike, with you, members of the media, my brethren, and of course with Tiger. The Nike equipment has come so far so fast. It's a beautiful line, from apparel to golf clubs to any kind of gear you can possibly think of in the world of sports. It's great to see them growing fast and furious and, of course, in a very professional manner. From what we have been hearing Nike Golf's new Sasquatch driver and Slingshot OSS have been getting great reviews from this five-city tour that Nike is on. This, of course, is the fifth of the five cities. Las Vegas, a very fun town, and I am happy to be here today with some of my Golf Channel colleagues to talk about this exciting new equipment - take another look - with you today. It's great to be sitting with the game's No. 1 - Tiger Woods. I know he's worked closely with Tom Sites (ph) over the years selling various equipment designs. He has a very hand on what you see on the market. He's also worked with Nike Golf other product designers and engineers on the ball, footwear and apparel categories. Not only has he had input on Nike golf products, he's also showcases it in magnificent style on tours around the world, as evidence by this video you are about to see. (Video played).
KELLY TILGHMAN: You don't look a day older by the way.
TIGER WOODS: Really? (Laughter).
KELLY TILGHMAN: Moving on. That's a brilliant commercial. Every time you look at that, does it take you back?
TIGER WOODS: It does. Really does. Just a look at that spot and that's actual filmed on Catalina Island during "That's Incredible," so that was pretty sweet.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Incredible ever since then, that's for sure. I am going to ask Tiger several questions regarding the new equipment gear and apparel that's out on the market, and a little later I will open the microphone up to you in the audience so that you can ask him some questions. Before we get started I'd just like to say we're going to try to keep the topic as focused as we can on the equipment that we'll be talking about. Of course there will be a little free range but we'll try to keep it focused on what we're doing today. Tiger, I'll begin with your two Major championship wins, three other wins this year including the dramatic theater at Doral against Phil Mickelson. That was something to watch right there. Your No. 1 world ranking is fully intact. Once again early in the spring you regained that. Incredible season. Share some of your thoughts on 2005 what it means to you.
TIGER WOODS: The season has been absolutely incredible. I won two tournaments prior to Augusta, so I had a bunch of confidence going in and I have played not so well starting out. Put a ball in the water there on 13 and hit the back of the bunker on 1, turned it around, ended up winning the championship. Some kind of lucky chip there on 16. Crash in the hole somewhere and Nike ripped me for not having the logo centered, but that's all right (laughter). It was just an absolutely incredible week and so far it has been incredible year to have played the career Grand Slam twice. I still think the greatest golf course in the world is St. Andrews. To have won there again there this year is absolutely incredible. What a fantastic week that was for myself and my entire family.
KELLY TILGHMAN: There's more to come. Stay tuned. By the way, it's the old course you averaged 341-point-something yards off the tee. It's just ridiculous.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I am hitting it further. Absolutely no doubt about that.
KELLY TILGHMAN: What do you attribute the increase in the distance to?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I finally stepped up and used technology. I was kind of stuck there in the stone ages. I kind of didn't -- I didn't want to adhere to the advances of the technology and what Nike was offering. I stayed with a 43 and a half inch driver, steel. At least they convinced me to go to a lighter shaft, so it's only 117 grams or whatever it was. So I stayed with that for a while and didn't really get the distance I wanted. I still wanted to spin the ball and stuck with that thing, and everybody passed me by. So then I decided last year at the Tour Championship to go ahead and make the switch. I went to graphite, went to 45 inches, I went to the 460, the head, the 460 head. They showed me number-wise, where I miss the golf ball, I always miss it low and on the heels. I grip a Persimmon. With the Persimmon, you always miss low or on the heels or off left, it always cut back in the fairway every time. Well, according to the numbers, on the 460 I'd pick up 10 yards hitting low on the heel. Well, that's significant, a miss-hit going further. I tried it, I thought it was BS. I went on the golf course, I kept hitting the ball in the bunker that I couldn't hit it over. I said, "Hey, this is pretty sweet." I put it in play in the Tour Championship. Played well there, played really well in Japan and it all started rolling after that. Put a new ball in at Mercedes. Went to, again, a ball -- had a little faster course. Still spun more than most of the guys on Tour use, but I need the spin because my launch conditions and my long irons and my driver, I don't spin the ball a whole lot. So I kind of need the help to get the ball in the air. So I stuck with a little spinnier ball. I tell you what, I am hitting it further than I have ever had. I am carry balls over bunkers that I couldn't carry over a year ago. I don't feel I am any stronger but technology certainly helped my game a lot.
KELLY TILGHMAN: It would be understandable if you didn't want or feel compelled to deviate from your current equipment considering how well you are playing with it. Are you testing it, and if you are, what are your thoughts on it?
TIGER WOODS: I just went through a session with Rick Nichols not too long ago and we tested it at Newport Beach, right before The Presidents Cup and I tested it. I hit the ball a little bit higher. I was able to turn the ball over, which is exciting. I haven't put one in play yet because I haven't quite got the numbers exactly where I'd like to have them so far. But as everyone knows, I am kind of the last one to switch. I am a little slow on the draw, so until something I see is better than what I am using right now, I won't make the switch. It's really close, just a matter of time before they hit it right on the number and off I go and probably pick up a little bit more distance as well, and also shapeability.
KELLY TILGHMAN: In your opinion, how will the Sasquatch fare with the consumers out there?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I tell you what, I think they hit the ball higher. Geometry certainly helps them. I was testing with John Cooke. Cookie was hitting the Sasquatch and he actually hit mine with the wrong shaft in it. But he was hitting it with a little heavier shaft than he's accustomed to and he was hitting it further. It helped him because he has a tendency to cut the ball a little bit. It cured that. He hit the ball off straighter, turned the ball over, hit the ball flatter, higher but flatter and he was pretty excited about it. So it certainly can help Tour players and it certainly can help amateurs. Amateur slice the ball more than we do, unfortunately. I think it certainly help them a lot.
KELLY TILGHMAN: What about the Sasquatch Fairway woods, are you testing those as well?
TIGER WOODS: I have tested it. It's pretty cool. I can actually hit 3-wood up in the air. My 3-wood right now, the P 60, I am hitting it further and flatter but I would like to hit the ball a little bit higher because I have found that I am driving the ball so much better that I don't really hit 3-wood off the tee as much. My 3-wood was basically put in play to hit the ball further than my previous 3-wood, Titleist 3-wood, so I can hit the ball off the tee, not into the par 5s. Well now, I am not afraid to pull out driver on every hole and I know I can put it in the fairway. So 3-wood I hit a little bit flat I need to get a little bit more hangtime into the par 5s. I think the Sasquatch is going to help me get the ball in the air. Testing I have done so far has shown that. I just need to get one that I can shape the way I want to.
KELLY TILGHMAN: You made the switch earlier in year to the Nike One Platinum ball, why did you do that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit the ball further than the one gold. Certainly it goes probably, I don't know, six to eight yards further in the air with my driver and that's significant. I have found that it was just as -- I can be just as aggressive around the greens, and to me that's the ultimate. I feel like the shot I hit at Augusta on 16, I'd fired that thing in the hills with spin. That's how I play the game. I always played my short game pretty aggressively with a lot of spin. To me having the ball that goes a little bit further and still spins around the greens is pretty exciting.
KELLY TILGHMAN: And it does what you tell it to do?
TIGER WOODS: It does.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Did you have anything to do with the development of that golf ball?
TIGER WOODS: Every ball that I have played so far on Tour I have had a direct hand in it.
KELLY TILGHMAN: How much of a role did you play in development of the Platinum?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't make it. Everything. (Laughter). Testing-wise, as the guys can attest, I am very picky about my equipment and we would go through testings again and again. "Okay, you need to do this with the ball. I am hitting it like this." "Yeah, you are going to hit it further." I said, "Rock, I know I can hit it further but I need to get the spin around the greens. We need to do this. Rock, that is your business. You come back give me a couple of golf balls, let me try it." So he comes back and says "OK, we are heading in the right direction now. We got something going here, some shape, spin." The aerodynamics now are so much better in the wind. The ball doesn't drift like it used to. You can get the ball through the wind so much better. I think that's one of the reasons why you are seeing guys shooting lower scores in the wind. I never thought that we would ever get to a point where we can do that, but we're able to do that now and I think that is one of the reasons why a lot of the players are shooting much lower scores.
KELLY TILGHMAN: You touched on testing the Nike Sasquatch Fairway woods. You had the Nike P60 fairway wood right now. We saw what it did for you at Doral. Put into perspective what that club does for you.
TIGER WOODS: I feel comfortable carrying it off the tee 260. On good days when I am jacked up, down the stretch on Sunday, I can carry it close to 280, 275. Off the fairway comfortably 255 to 260, and again come game day, I am back on Sunday close to 270 in the air, a little more adrenaline in the system. So the shots I hit at Doral were going further than I have ever hit it, and a couple of shots in there, 290 to the hole, able to carry the ball on the green with a slight miss-hit, which I thought was pretty scary.
KELLY TILGHMAN: You made the big leap to the driver a while back. How do you feel about the possibility one day of putting a hybrid in your bag?
TIGER WOODS: You know what, it is funny you say that because Rick and I were playing and all these guys had these hybrids, "How about me? Can I try one?" I said, "All right." At NEC, he brings me a couple of hybrids, a couple of 5-woods, a couple of 7-woods -- I mean, a 7-wood. The 7-wood went about as far as my 4-iron, so that's not going to work. 5-wood was pretty cool. A couple of hybrids that I hit were really nice. But one of the things that -- I can hit my 2-iron in the air but a lot. One of the things I felt with the hybrid I hit the ball higher yes, but I love hitting that little 2-iron head high and quail high and run it out there when I am a little nervous under the gun to get that ball into play. This thing has not seen the top of the trees. With a hybrid it's supposed to get the ball up in the air, which is great from the par 5s. I'd like to have that opportunity. I am in a Catch-22 right now because I love hitting that 2-iron low and with hybrid I am having a hard time hitting it low. I'm also finding the advantages of going in some of the par 5s. Because the par 5s have been lengthened across the board, I am finding I am hitting more 2-irons and 3-woods in the par 5s rather than 4 -, 5- and 6-irons. I think that's one of the things I am going to be testing over this winter, is trying to find one where I can put in play for certain golf courses. It would have been nice to have it at NEC this year, a couple of times I needed it, but I think it was something down the road I will definitely have in the bag.
KELLY TILGHMAN: You have had a chance to get a close look at the Nike Slingshot OSS iron, what do you think they are going to do for the average consumer's game?
TIGER WOODS: Hit the ball straight because I can't shape it. It just goes straight, which I think will help you guys.
I like shaping the golf ball, and the OSS hits the ball high and straight. If it can help my buddies, trust me, they hit some bad shots, if it can help them, it can help anyone.
KELLY TILGHMAN: What is the most important thing that amateurs need to know about equipment these days?
TIGER WOODS: Proper fitting, I think the ultimate key is to have the golf clubs fit you, you not fit the club. I try and stress that to all the juniors and even amateurs that if I give clinics to, they ask me in Pro-Ams, you got to get a club that fits. You don't want a club that's (inaudible) you like to play two degrees upright. It's not going to work. You are not going to get the maximum advantages of that club. The club was not designed to be hit that way. I think that's one of the advantages that I think club fitting has certainly made leaps and bounds is that they are able to fit people properly. In basically 20 minutes you can get a club fitting done, over and done with, get a club right there on the spot. I think that's where amateurs need to take advantage of that opportunity. I think that will help their game tremendously.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Let's make the jump to footwear. Nike Golf shoes, good looking and everybody is always curious to see what you have on when you come out to play, what color, what style. Talk about the line and what you are wearing specifically.
TIGER WOODS: Well, as you know, most of my career I didn't really go for (inaudible). I was black and brown delight. Well, I decided to make a little more of an aggressive changes. I think that might be influenced by, I am married to a Swede now. So Swedes definitely dress a little differently, a little aggressive and my taste has certainly evolved and changed. I am not stubborn and hard-headed as I used to be. I have put in some saddle shoes and now we're trying some with black on the heel and just pretty interesting things. I think that's pretty exciting to see, for me anyways, to see my taste evolve and change over the years and have Nike involved as well. I have gone through an evolution this with flat front pants. To me, I never thought I would wear flat front pants because my quads don't fit my waist size. That's the hardest part. My waist, at the time, it's kind of expanded now. I am a little fatter and older. At the time it was 29; now it's about 30, 31. My quads are a little bit bigger, so it kind of looked awkward. So they had to get my pants, so they would fit properly and fabric right. And Rebecca did that. Now my shirts are not the big baggy ones that they used to be, where they would be draping all over me. The reason why I had that draped look is because, hey, when I was a little boy, my parents didn't really buy me golf shirts. I'd always steal dad's. And dad would buy a couple of new ones. He'd wear those, I'd take his old ones and mom would shrink them with hot water, hot dry and then they would still be about three sizes too big, but at least they were free. So that's what I kind of grew up with. Now I have got shirts that fit properly and it's pretty exciting.
KELLY TILGHMAN: A tight look going right now.
TIGER WOODS: It's little tighter, yes. Definitely. I just have to stay in shape.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Your chest is ramped up nicely as well, like an NFL wide receiver. What do you think the evolution of technology is doing for amateurs today? Do you like where it's going?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. I was at home a few weeks ago and I brought out my old Persimmon driver that I used to hit. Advances of technology are just amazing. It's certainly going to help the average golfer. They don't have a chance to practice like we do, spending hours and hours trying to ingrain a golf swing. It helps to have forgiveness, and it helps to have opportunity to have the equipment to help you out, to get the ball in the air. You don't have to help the ball get in the air, the equipment does it for you. It's just amazing to see the amateurs that I play with in Pro-Ams, the swings that they have, hit the ball as far as they do, trust me, they are not going that far with that swing.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Your thoughts on where Nike Golf is going in golf and how far do you see it going? It's made tremendous strides.
TIGER WOODS: It's just three years. We have been in the equipment side of it and to make the strides that we have made and to be as impactful as we have been in three years is unprecedented. I foresee us becoming more in the golfing industry. We're No. 1 in every other sports category at Nike, no reason why we can't do it in golf. That's basically from the top in Phil Knight and trickles right on down to everyone who is involved with Nick golf.
KELLY TILGHMAN: 2005 not yet in the books, more tournaments to win but 2006 right around the corner. Talk about Nike golf equipment what it will mean to you in 2006. It is a Ryder Cup year, you know.
TIGER WOODS: It is.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Just finished The Presidents Cup already talking about the Ryder Cup.
TIGER WOODS: I know. We're in the process right now of creating some new golf balls, trying some new balls. So working on that, working on Sasquatch, some hybrids. So for me more likely we will have some a couple little tweaks of equipment changes there and try to take my game to another level. That's the whole idea because if you are standing still, you are getting worse. So the whole idea is to keep pushing to get better. So Nike Golf and all the guys on the equipment side of it certainly have helped me accomplish a lot of my goals this year because I am hitting the golf ball further and doing things with it that I have never done before, so it's very exciting.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Well, good luck in 2006.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks.
KELLY TILGHMAN: I am going to open the floor now for your questions and just two things: Try to keep this as focused on equipment conversation and apparel and Nike gear as we can. And also when you ask your question I am going to play a little bit of a mockingbird role, I am going to repeat it the question. Does anyone have a question?
Q. What is harder, to make a swing change or equipment change? What is tougher to do?
TIGER WOODS: Equipment change. By far. Swing changes for me, I can make them a little bit faster. We can do them in a day. It doesn't happen like that with equipment. I need time to test it. Different conditions, different shots, get trust in it and then bring it into a competitive atmosphere, then bring it to major championship atmosphere. Then you got to do it down the stretch in a tournament and then you got to do it down the stretch in a major. It's a lot longer.
Q. Shaft technology and where it is today when you get together with Tom, how much of your conversation resolves around that?
TIGER WOODS: It's interesting because -- pretty funny you mentioned that because I talk to Gary Player last week about shafts, and he's one of the first ones to ever use graphite shaft and the torque that he used to have, he had to roll his hands so much going back and roll them through coming down because the shaft was tweaking so much, but he wanted to hit the ball because they were lighter. He would take maybe one out of every 25 shafts where you'd find one that matched identical to the one he just tried, and now they have reproduced them, they just are the same. You don't have different personalities. They are basically like steel shafts now. So the consistency has improved. Where Tom and the rest of the guys have helped me is they helped me understand that different kick points in the shaft, enable me to hit different shots and lighter shafts, obviously more club head speed because I have played steel all my life and graphite to me is very foreign. To me understanding steel and X. 100s and (inaudible) all the different where you can cut them, I can understand all that stuff with steel but graphite is totally different to me. I am learning by listening to these guys telling me about the shafts. We sat down before I made the switch to graphite, all these different shaft companies and what they make. They had a list and say, "Okay, here is what is going to be probably best for your swing and why." We went through it. "I have seen so many guys on Tour with the different shafts with similar swing speeds as mine." "Well, it doesn't work that way because of your angle." "Well, let me try it anyway." Wrong. They were right. We went through that entire process and it took months to find a shaft that I felt comfortable with, I could put in play and I put one in play in the Tour Championship last year and I have been sticking with that at the Mitsubishi since then.
Q. Testing your new equipment is it feel versus actual technology?
TIGER WOODS: To me I can only speak from a steel standpoint. They may have a launch monitor there. Even if they don't, I can feel what is going on and if the club is turned over too early or I feel the backhand is dropping too early, or it's not releasing in time or the release points are too far in front of the ball, these are all things that I feel because I don't make changes very often and because I hit so many golf balls with the same clubs, I don't make switches, I feel that I have basically a road map. And anything you give me that's off center basically I will tell you. I can tell you when the grip size is different because I do not change the size of my grip. I played the same size since I was 13 years old. So to me I think it is having a baseline from a feel standpoint, helps me enable to tell them what is going on in the club. If the club is too heavy, you can feel it in the golf swing. If it's not right at impact, why is it not right because it's not launching properly and they will back it up with numbers. They will say, "Okay, this is what the technology is not enabling you to do. Or okay we didn't do this right this one is out." That is how we kind of go through it. I can tell or feel in my hands and my swing if a club is just different than mine, a little bit different. Even if it's a little bit faster or slower I can tell because I hit so many golf balls that I can tell the difference.
TIGER WOODS: Here's the deal, I have talked to Hootie and talked to the heads of USGA, also to Peter Dawson, they want to roll the ball back, no doubt about that. They want to put a speed limit and there is one now but they are making golf courses so long that you can't play some of the old championship venues. That's what they are afraid of. They are trying to protect the integrity of some of these major championship venues and the great golf courses, where they can still provide a great championship but not have us shoot 20-under par. But also to have it so that the average golfer can enjoy a round of golf. Well, that's the dilemma. New technology has helped the average golfer hitting balls slightly further and slightly more accurate. But for professionals, we have made leaps and bounds because our proficiency and to be able to make contact and launch the ball correctly each and every time. If you take the average consumer and they hit a driver, they have probably got old equipment five years ago to now maybe 10 yards, 12 yards carry, and we're carrying it to 25, 30 yards further than some of the guys. The further you hit, the more technology is going to help you. That's what they are looking at. They have got all these lists of numbers especially at Augusta, where we're landing the golf ball versus three years ago, and three years ago guys are hitting it 12 to 15 further in the air easily, everybody. That's what they are afraid of. That's one of the reasons why Augusta made some changes each and every year and are probably a leader in that. I am sure there will come a point in time where they will have to slow it down because we can't play Merion anymore. You can play U.S. Amateur but a professional I think would probably shoot a little lower scores than they did. St. Andrews, if they have to change the course there to accommodate us, then you know things are changing. Hey, I am one of the guys that if they did roll the ball back, it would help me out a little bit. I would have an advantage. Any long guy who hits the ball long and high would more of an advantage because now we're having to hit longer irons in the greens, other guys are having to hit hybrids and woods, so you have an advantage. From a personal standpoint and competitive standpoint, I won't mind them rolling the ball back because I would have an advantage.
KELLY TILGHMAN: What do you think the chances are of getting Hootie going to the Nike Platinum ball as the one?
TIGER WOODS: (Laughs).
Q. You mentioned earlier that you were playing some Pro-Ams and you were seeing guys hit it 300 plus or so, and had no business hitting it that far because of new technology. Do you ever see the new technology going too far to where it leaves out the importance of proper swing mechanics?
TIGER WOODS: Well, having proper swing mechanics means you can repeat that same shot again, again, again, again, again. Trust me, the technology has helped the average golfer become more proficient and if you look at the guys on Tour, some of the guys, or most of the guys, don't work the golf ball anymore, they hit it one way. And that's just because the ball doesn't move quite as much as it used to. It doesn't spin as much. By hitting it further off the tee, you are sacrificing spinning with the iron. Yeah, I see if we continue on this trend for ten years, yeah. The problem is the durability of the faces. Can you keep them so they are not going to crack? Guys on Tour now are busting their faces all the time now, so you don't have the longevity like you used to where a guy can use the driver five, six years. Well, there is a new driver out every six months. On top of that, as many balls as we hit with a harder golf ball you are cracking faces. Kenny Perry cracked his face at The Presidents Cup and he was sitting here at dinner like this. It was a driver he's used for a couple of years. I cracked mine at the British Open this year. That's just because the faces have been getting thinner and balls are getting harder. You have more club head speed after that, something has got give. But I do see it if it continues down that trend, yes, it's going to have more club records being broken.
Q. You talked about technology and the design of the clubs. You talked about the design of your shoes. Do you ever see a day with technology moving in shoes that you can go to non-metal cleats? Do you see the Tour at some point going to non-metal?
TIGER WOODS: I don't see the Tour going to non-metal. I would see myself going there first. I think some of the guys still use the long nails. Mickelson and Elk are two guys who use the long nails. I use a little bit shorter. I have found that I am still from the old school. Certainly my swing has slowed down then I can go to the soft spikes. But I can't afford to have a slippage out there. It's just too important. I have played in soft spikes all the time at home. Any time it gets a little dewy out, with my speed I will slip occasionally and I just can't afford to have that happen in a tournament and if it happens in a major championship, then I won't be a happy camper because it was my fault for changing to soft spikes to and not continuing with my metal spikes.
Q. It used to be all golf, now there's a whole lot of business involved. What percentage of your week is spent now with these kind of outings or just working with the product and everything that you work with?
TIGER WOODS: I don't do quite mediums like this as much as people might think. I work with the guys a lot on drivers and irons and balls and putters, wedges. We do stuff like that quite a bit or I will talk to Rick and Kel about new changes, some things we might want to do for the future. They will run a bunch of things by me as well. It is a little bit of a give and take. We have phone call conversations every now and then. It's very open, I can call them, they can call me anytime. That's one of the cool things about it. Because of that openness we have made some pretty good advances real quick.
Q. You just mentioned putters. Anything in the works with Nike on that side?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I tested a bunch of putters. It's just so hard to get my gamer out of there. I won nine majors with it now and it seems to be working. I have tried other putters and some of the putters do feel better than mine. But coming down the stretch on Sunday and I know I need to make a putt, 12 feet, I know the putter has done it. I am just afraid to get it out of the bag. I talked to Bob Charles about it this year at the British Open. I said "How long did you use that bull's eye?" He said "about 52 years." "What?" "Yeah. 52 years." He said, "I tried other putters. They felt better I have putted better with them, but if I knew I had to make a putt, this one has done it." I kind of understand.
Q. How important is it for you as a touring professional and for amateurs to match the new club technology with the proper golf ball? You mentioned the evolution of the golf ball and there seemed to be hidden in your voice maybe the Platinum One wasn't just right for you yet. How important is it to match golf ball to a club?
TIGER WOODS: It's everything. If you want to increase and maximize your distance off the tees, you have got to have both, the combination of both ball and club. That's where (inaudible). We have had data to back up what we feel and sometimes we can't always -- we think a ball did this and it wasn't. It was actually the driver that did that instead. We can't tell the difference sometimes. Yeah, the Sasquatch for me personally right now I'm launching it higher and I have no problems hitting a ball up with my driver. I need to keep the ball down a little hit and maximize it that way. So we're working on lofts for me right now, trying to get it down. With my driver I got seven and three-quarters degrees on it effective loft and it's working right now but when I go to the Sasquatch I hit the ball little bit higher, obviously the CG is further back.
Q. What was the best piece of equipment advice you've ever gotten and from whom?
TIGER WOODS: My dad. My dad from the very get-go. I talked about it earlier about club fitting. My dad was huge on clubs, always fitting me as I grew up. We could always afford to have new shafts put on my irons, but we would have plugs put on the back and I would change the swing weight around to counter balance it. I didn't know at the time. He didn't know it. I never had to fit the club, never had to alter my golf swing basically because the club was too long for me or too short or too heavy. I always had clubs that fit me properly. I think that to me is everything. Because I didn't have to -- like Nancy Lopez, you know when she takes the club up like this, she had mentioned that when she had men's clubs when she was first starting out and they were too heavy. She had to pick them up and do this. That's why her swing evolved and became her natural golf swing. I never had that problem with my golf swing because my clubs always fit me.
Q. Talk generally about the industry and whether there's a lot of confusion out there amongst consumers about all the new equipment flooding into the market each year?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, ya think? Guys like Callaway and TaylorMade, they flood it all the time. It's very interesting to see when I play with prime guys and they tell me what is out there, what is hot, what is next, what is coming up. I say, "Well, the driver you had a couple of months ago and right now is now ancient. There have been advances since then." (Inaudible). I don't think enough information is being passed on to the consumer and then in order to get everything out, they just flood it and try and get the numbers up, but that's the business side of it obviously. But from a consumer side from the guys who play golf, I don't think enough information is being passed on to them about the advances of technology and how it can help them. A lot of these companies are just trying, obviously, to sell clubs and that's it, and get their numbers. Yeah, that's great and everything but I don't see them actually helping players out the way they are supposed to be. I think if they can get the word out better and more efficiently to the consumer, what is going on? How can this club actually help you? Instead of saying, this is the new technology. Okay, go hit it. That is my opinion.
Q. What are your plans for golf course design work?
TIGER WOODS: Probably going to start here shortly actually.
Q. I know Retief has got one going and Ernie has got one.
TIGER WOODS: Ernie has got a few actually. Yeah, I am going to start probably within next three, four years easily.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Are you going to Tiger-proof it?
TIGER WOODS: (Laughs) One of the things that I have learned over the years I have been out here playing, talking to the guys who design golf courses, you can't always design a championship golf course because basically who is putting up the bill? And here are the guys supposed to provide and create something, that's what they want. If they want a resort course, they make it easy; if they want a championship course they make it tough. If you want something that's pretty pen for a public golf course (inaudible), I mean obviously can't make it like a championship golf course. So you are bound to what the client wants and that's one of the things that I have certainly learned. I picked brains from Pete Dye and Jack and Arnold and obviously Robert Trent Jones and all those guys, the client comes first. Hopefully one day I will be able to design a championship golf courses. I will make it tough.
Q. Golf is so unique in terms of the advancements and technology and so forth. Unlike maybe football where they have the football, basketball they have the basketball and the rim and the ten feet so forth, do you ever see a day when perhaps they will come back, where there are a few tournament, whether it's a couple of majors, where it's more standardized for all you guys?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it could happen. I think that's what they are talking about putting a speed limit or governor on the golf ball. We have got a (inaudible). Yeah, I could see that happening in the future, but either way guys are going to hit it further. What until you get guys who are built like Michael Jordan or built like Carl Lewis who got speed, natural speed. Barry Bonds is a bad example, (laughter) Let's use a different guy. You know what I mean, what until you get guys who are bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic, didn't decide to play baseball, didn't want to play basketball, they want to play golf. "You know, in football I was getting beat up too much. Let me play golf." Who can have game, who can hit the ball far, who can control it, who can know how to manage their game, the mental aptitude for it. I think that's what is coming, and one day I am going to be short. I am 6 foot. Back 30 years ago the average golfer was probably 5 foot 9. Now look at every top golfer in the world right now, I am the shortest one up there: Goosen is six foot, Phil is 6'2", Vijay is 6'3", Ernie 6'3", Davis 6'3" and a half. Every golfer is getting a lot taller now. To be the best, I think you are going to have to get guys that are bigger and stronger and they are going to hit the ball further naturally, even if we put a governor on it. It's coming.
Q. You talked about technology, a little bit about spikes, footwear. I couldn't help but notice you have some different looking golf shoes on, rather unorthodox looking golf shoes. Is that your practice pair? When do you use those? What is new about them?
TIGER WOODS: I just got them today. Pretty sweet. I practiced in soft spikes. I practiced in normal -- Amy has been trying to get me to wear newer, modern shoes and I've still got some old classics I still wear at home that she's had to try and clean out of my closet. So I am working on it. When I am at home, whatever I throw on a lot of times, I just practice with tennis shoes try to get my footwork and calm down and not have to wear spikes (inaudible).
KELLY TILGHMAN: On the back of the notebook you are wearing all white top to bottom. Is that a fashion statement we're going to see on the golf course anytime soon.
TIGER WOODS: No (laughter).
KELLY TILGHMAN: You want to take some time to think about that.
TIGER WOODS: Sure (laughter).
KELLY TILGHMAN: Trying to pull off the angel thing.
TIGER WOODS: No. I am glad we talked about it.
KELLY TILGHMAN: Good talk, Tiger. Thank you very much. For coming out and participating today. Hopefully we got all your questions in. Nike Golf is looking healthy and we appreciate you taking the time to give it the attention that it deserves.
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