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May 18, 2004

Tiger Woods

JOHN KACZKOWSKI: First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for joining us this morning on a rainy day. I'm sure the traffic is rather difficult out there this morning, but I'd like to introduce myself. My name is John Kaczkowski. I'm the tournament director for the Western Golf Association, and welcome to the media day for the 2004 Cialis Western Open. It's my pleasure to introduce our special guest for today. He's the 2004 defending champion of the Western Open. He's a four-time winner of WGA events, three-time winner of the Western Open, Mr. Tiger Woods, who joins us from his offices in Orlando, Florida. Tiger, welcome, thanks for joining us.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks, buddy.

JOHN KACZKOWSKI: We have a few people around the room with microphones, so if you would just identify yourself by raising your hand with a question we'll get a microphone to you, and if you would identify yourself and what newspaper you're from and what media outlet, that would be great. We're going to start.

Q. Tim Cronin from the Daily Southtown. You've had some WGA connections that go back to 92. Could you talk about some of the folks you've met along the way on the WGA trail? I'm thinking of guys like Joel Hirsch, and tell us what you think of those folks and how they may have helped you along the way.

TIGER WOODS: I've met a lot of guys. Actually one of your directors of the WGA, Greg McLaughlin, now runs my foundation. I kind of stole him away from you guys. It's been a fantastic experience from the time I played the Western Junior at Chicago Golf Club up through my Western Amateur days to the Western Open. The WGA events have really been special to me because just the way you're treated, the way that they support junior golf, it's just the whole atmosphere is what brings all of us back, and I think while a lot of amateurs who played in WGA events as amateurs and juniors are now playing the Western Open because they want to be affiliated and want to support what the WGA does.

Q. Phil Kosin from Chicagoland Golf. I think the most obvious question is at what point is your game right now? You've got a U.S. Open coming up in about a month, and some people in the media have been writing stories about your game and using that dreaded S word. How do you react to that all?

TIGER WOODS: It's part of the deal. You guys are -- need to write something (laughter). It's just part of the deal. I'm trying my best. I've done pretty good this year. It's just a matter of having a few things click in there and I'll be all right.

Q. Joel Boyd from the Chicago Sun Times. I wanted to ask just about the last two weeks coming out of that, what was your dominant emotion? Was it encouragement that you could miss so many fairways and still finish one shot out of the playoff both weeks or more frustration with more problems hitting the fairway?

TIGER WOODS: Actually I was extremely positive those two weeks, considering the fact that I missed some fairways, but more than anything, I really did some pretty good improvement in my golf swing from post-Augusta into Wachovia, so I'm pretty excited about that.

Q. Ed Sherman from the Chicago Tribune. Talking about that improvement, what has gone on with your swing as far as improving, and also, on Sunday you were missing the fairways but it didn't seem like you were missing -- it just like you were just a step or two off a few times. Talk about what happened on Sunday.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Ed, I wasn't that far off as you saw and as you said. The great thing about it is that the thing that I've been working on, basically for most of the spring, I haven't taken a step backwards. Everything has been positive. Everything is going the direction I like to see it, and the results are starting to come together. You know, you look at how I played from basically the Florida Swing all the way through till now, it's been a steady progress, and that is very encouraging. The things that I've been working on have eliminated some of my old flaws and it's just a matter of getting more fine tuning within the framework I've working in.

Q. Phil Kosin again. I remember walking with you at Pebble Beach in 2000, and I can't say I've ever seen a golfer with that level of focus before. Your eyes were straight ahead, you were totally serious the whole time. I don't see that same person out there anymore now. Is this something that you've done consciously as you've matured as a golfer and played more of these things? How are you approaching your mental focus on these things now?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's the same. I have the same intensity, the same focus, the same drive. I don't know what you're seeing (laughter), but from this side everything is the same.

Q. I notice now you're laughing a little bit with Steve, whereas I didn't see that before. It seems like you've adjusted maybe and you realize that it's impossible to stay at a serious level for four and a half or five hours and now you're turning it on when you take a shot and then between shots it's not there. Do you feel that way?

TIGER WOODS: I've been trying to do that since junior golf. You can't focus that intensely for five hours. Even at the U.S. Open I was smiling and laughing. It's just it wasn't on TV. All of you who know Stevie, you'll know the reasons why I'm laughing (laughter). The guys that don't know Stevie, then you wouldn't know why.

Q. Your swing, how is that and your health? You know, Johnny Miller, whatever importance you want to give to his comments, thinks that your swing has changed because of maybe a back problem or something. We get all kinds of opinions, and I guess the best way to get the answer is to just ask you.

TIGER WOODS: Ask me what?

Q. How's your health? Is the knee 100 percent now? Is your back causing you any problems?

TIGER WOODS: I've never had a back injury. The only time my back has ever been sore is when I was 16, I grew I think four inches that year (laughter). Otherwise my back is fine. My knee is good. That took a good bit of last year to rehab it and get it strong, but I don't have any problems, no.

Q. Phil Arvia from the Daily Southtown. Is it reasonable to expect you or anyone else to win at the rate that you did in 99 and 2000, and what in your mind were the factors that enabled you to do so then?

TIGER WOODS: Confidence and a hot streak. You look at what -- every player has their run. It's just what we do. We're good enough to have a little bit of a run. David Duval had his run, Greg Norman had his run. Every player basically has a window where they play great golf, and I just happened to win a few tournaments along the way. Look at what Monty did for about seven years in Europe, absolutely incredible, what Kenny Perry did last summer, what Vijay has been doing since basically the middle of last summer until now. Everybody has their window where they really play well, and it's a matter of just capturing titles along the way and then when you have those down cycles, it hopefully doesn't last too long and get back up and start playing great golf again.

Q. Rob Montgomery, Chicago Sun Times. You're not suggesting your run is over, are you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you have your run where, yeah, I had 99 and 2000, and how I played in 2001 wasn't quite the same as 2000, and it really hasn't been since. But it's not to say that I haven't played well. Other players have either outplayed me, I've made a couple mistakes, you get a couple bad bounces, other guys get a couple good bounces. There's a lot of different factors that go into it. I had everything going my way for a little bit, and it's a matter of riding that wave. You get the ultimate wave, you've got to ride it while you can. That's what Kenny Perry described last summer. He was on that wave where he was just going to keep riding it until it's over.

Q. Rory Spears, Sports Sticker National Wire Service. Could you talk a little bit about your equipment last year? There was a lot made about you switching drivers. Have you switched much of any equipment this year? Are you comfortable with what's in the bag or are you still tinkering?

TIGER WOODS: I have changed my driver once because I caved it in the first round of Match Play when I played with John Rollins, it caved in while I was playing there. Other than that, I've played with the same driver ever since.

Q. Ed Sherman again. Talk about how you've turned rounds lately that could have been 76, 75, you still keep them around 70. Can you talk about your approach as far as when you're not hitting the fairways as far as what goes through your mind trying to save par? Is it more mentally taxing on you playing that way than obviously if you're hitting the middle of fairways? Do you feel more exhausted after the round when you have to play like that?

TIGER WOODS: It's always more difficult. If you hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and make a lot of putts, golf is pretty easy. It's not that hard. Obviously when you're driving the ball poorly or let's say you're driving it great, hitting irons poorly or maybe ball striking may be great and you may be putting poorly. Every facet of the game is not quite there, it makes it difficult and you have to struggle through it and battle through it and post a number. The whole idea is to post a number. It's not how pretty it looks, it's a matter of getting the ball in that hole in as few times as possible. There are times this year where I've hit it absolutely fantastic and I've gone out there and putted atrociously and I've had the exact flipside. It's amazing how the game of golf is just that way. Anyone that plays it can understand it.

Q. Jim Warzowski from the Naperville Sun. I was wondering if you regret perhaps now early on making the statement of your major goals because it seems that even if you play well in other tournaments throughout the year, if you don't win a major, that's all the focus. You always bring up how well you've played in other tournaments, but that sort of seems to be pushed aside.

TIGER WOODS: It's always going to be pushed aside because I think the run that I had when I won, what, four majors in a row, no one has ever done that. No one has ever won the modern configuration of our majors now, not four in a row like that, and I think everyone looks at that. I think it's just part of the deal.

Q. Jeff Hawkins from the Northwest Herald. Just wondering, does this course fit your style?


Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: Yes, I think it does. I've won there, what, three times. I think I've done all right (laughter).

Q. Phil Arvia again. Do you think you can catch Jack in majors totals or is that a goal that you may have to readjust considering your hot streak, as you called it, may have cooled?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's always anyone's goal. Anyone's goal is to try and become the best, and my goal is still that, to become the best. It was never a goal that was going to be easy. I know that everyone thought it seemed like it was going to be an easy task, but it takes a long time. Jack, it took him over 20 years to accomplish that. It takes a long time, and it's one of those things where you have to be there for the long haul and you have to be consistent. You've got to keep improving, and that's something that Jack was able to do. Jack had his down years and didn't play well, but also then again, he contended and finished 2nd 19 times, so the key is to keep putting yourself there again and again and again, and if you're able to do that you'll get your major championships. That's one of the things that I've learned from either talking to past major championship winners or experiencing it myself. If you put yourself there enough times, you'll win your tournaments.

Q. Tim Cronin again. They've made a couple of changes to Dubsdread this year. The 5th hole is now a par 4, the 9th hole is a 600-yard par 5. I think you wanted the change to a par 4 last year. What do you think of the notion of a long 600-yard 9th and a par 4 5th?

TIGER WOODS: It certainly will be different. I thought 9 would make a great driving hole to try and drive it in that neck, but then again, the widest part of the fairway is back where we're not going to be hitting it into. It brings the cross bunkers back into play on your layup. After a good drive normally they're not really in play, so that brings them back in there. And on 5, I know the bunkers are not out of play off the tee, but then again, you have to drive the ball in the fairway because that's one of the hardest greens on the whole golf course, so it's going to put a premium on putting the ball in the fairway so you can hit that high iron shot so you can actually hold that green because it's usually brick hard.

Q. Ed Sherman again. Just a follow-up to that, do you think they're good changes, especially 5? Is that going to be now a difficult par 4 as opposed to an easy par 5?

TIGER WOODS: It all depends on the wind. If the wind is downwind then it makes it a pretty short par 4. It may be playing, what, 450 or 470 or whatever it is now. If it's playing downwind even as a par 5, most of the guys were hitting driver and a mid-iron in there, so now you move the tee up, it's still going to be a driver and mid-iron in there, if not a shorter iron if it's downwind, but if the wind switches and goes back in your face then it becomes a very difficult hole.

Q. And also, about the golf course, your success here, what kind of things go into a course feeling right, a course fitting your eye? What kind of things about Cog Hill fit into that mold for you?

TIGER WOODS: I've always enjoyed the driving aspect of Cog Hill. On top of that, I like now the greens are configured. You have these little fingers that offshoot and you've got to hit the ball to a specific number and a specific spot. It's a golf course you've got to be somewhat creative going into the greens because you have -- you've got to make a decision on where you're going to try and put the golf ball. You can't go ahead and fire at a flag. You've got to fire to sometimes at a little section away from a flag because that gives you the best spot to make a putt. I think if you look at most of the past champions, they have all been pretty good thinkers and they can figure out how to work their way around the golf course.

Q. Phil Kosin again. I'll follow up Ed and the questions about the changes to the golf course. The 5th will play to 480 up the hill. They're going back to the old 2nd hole. Could you address that as compared to the new 2nd hole that really was built because of you because they had trouble getting all the people that were following you a good spot to view and then move through the 3rd tee box to follow you?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't know that (laughter). I know that the 2nd hole, that hole didn't quite -- just didn't quite fit the golf course, but going back to the old 2nd hole I think is a good switch. That is one of the hardest greens on the golf course along with 5. For some reason, the front part of the green, I think, if I remember, it's eight or nine paces from the front that generally slope away from you, so any time they put the pin on the front left or the front right, anything that lands just short of the flag is still going to hop past the flag. You can't keep it close. It just presents a very difficult problem. The prevailing wind is usually downwind on that hole. Very rarely do we ever get it switched around where 2 and 5 are playing into the wind, but if that hole ever plays downwind, some of the guys I've played with over the years would actually for a front left pin concede the fact that they're going to put the ball in the left bunker and try and get up-and-down. Land it short of the green, put it in the back bunker and try and get up-and-down.

Q. It sounds like from listening to you over the years you have a pretty good idea of what makes a good golf course. I think you are maybe one of three guys on Tour that hasn't been either a design consultant or designed your own course. Have you ever been asked to do a golf course and have you ever considered that, and what would it look like other than maybe 8,000 yards?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I have been asked and I have thought about it, and I will in the future. As far as what it would look like, I don't think it would necessarily have to be long. I am not a big fan of TPC golf courses. I never have been. I've always been one that loves old tree-lined golf courses or links-style golf courses. I think those are much more appealing to the eye. Having these big old spectator mounds, I understand why they're there, but I just don't like that type of golf course. I'd much rather play a golf course that's like Pebble Beach or Brookline or Medinah, something that's just straightforward, or even a great links course like St. Andrews or Birkdale, Troon. There's some great golf courses that are links-style golf courses. I think if they can somehow design them here in the United States, I think they would be a big hit. We don't need to build mounds as tall as redwood trees. I think that's kind of where the golf has now drifted, but I think it would be nice to be able to design golf courses that are in the old traditional landscape.

Q. Joel Boyd from the Sun Times again. I had a question about unruly crowd incidents with the Open going back to Long Island this year, and we've certainly had more than our fair share of incidents in Chicago recently. I was just wondering what steps you think need to be taken, whether it's in terms of educating fans or even something more drastic like Commissioner Finchem hinted that if things got worse he might have to do something about moving the fans away from the action a little more. What do you think needs to be done?

TIGER WOODS: I think you're right, the continuing education process of the fan, but more than anything, it's the beverage of choice I guess is what really gets them going. In the morning -- when we played the Ryder Cup at Brookline in the morning, it was quiet. It was a great atmosphere. In the afternoon it changed. Same thing at Bethpage. It was nice and quiet in the morning and in the afternoon it was a little bit different. I think if you could change their beverage of choice and make it more of a different carbonation, I think it would be all right. Maybe fruit juice, and we'll leave it at that (laughter).

Q. Ed Sherman again. We see you in a lot of commercials. Can you talk about what goes into deciding what you're going to endorse and how you're going to present it? Also talk your acting career, how that's going as far as acting in those commercials.

TIGER WOODS: As far as picking what sponsor I want, I've been fortunate where I've had some companies come up to me who would like me to endorse their product, which has been fantastic, and I've had a great opportunity with a lot of different companies in different realms. I think it's a sequelae of company and on top of that their approach and where they're going to go with it. If I can be instrumental in helping them, that's a win-win for everybody, and that's the kind of direction I'd like to be. I'd like to be able to help. I'd like to be able to work with them and grow their product. That to me is a fun challenge. As far as the commercials and trying to pick out, yeah, I have veto power in the commercials and I have said no to some of them because they were kind of quirky. Others have been fantastic ideas and I couldn't wait to do them. Others were a challenge such as the Caddyshack spot was a tremendous challenge because I've never had to act. I've never had to try and be anyone besides myself, and I can do that, be myself. I'm like that every day. It's trying to be a character that has become legendary within the golfing arena, so that to me was the biggest challenge I've ever had as far as acting. I don't care to do it again, I really don't (laughter). Acting is really hard. I'd much rather try and figure out how to hit a high draw and high fade than to try and be someone else.

Q. When you do the commercials with the talking head cover, we're assuming that there's really not a talking head cover there. I think you have one commercial with your phone on the floor with this thing. How do those things come together?

TIGER WOODS: Well, let's just say the animatronics are real. There are guys saying lines. The head cover is moving, it is talking, but he's not quite saying the things that are on TV. I think that's the fun part. We have a good time on the set. He says some things that will really make me laugh and are not PG-13.

Q. Dan Roan from WGN. Back to Cog Hill, can you talk about a couple of specifics, maybe your favorite hole, least favorite hole, toughest green to putt and the toughest driving hole out there?

TIGER WOODS: Well, that's a lot. I think one of the biggest challenges of the whole week is trying to figure out 13. That's one of the most difficult holes, especially now that over the last few years we've started to use that back tee, so that hole plays extremely long and it's usually into prevailing wind, usually off the left with the fairway sloping left to right and it's a tough drive because you've got to get it out there in order to have any kind of reasonable iron shot. Sometimes the guys are hitting lumber in there, especially if it rains and it's soft and you're not getting any roll. 18 is probably the most difficult hole on the whole golf course because you know you have to put the ball in the fairway and you've got to get it out there far enough so that you can have a decent approach. That's one of the firmest greens on the golf course. It certainly presents a big challenge.

Q. Phil Kosin again. Let's go back to talking about golf courses. When you first came out, there was a certain setup for majors, and I think that's the most obvious place we can look, and then everybody talked about the media created the term Tiger-proofing golf courses. I'm thinking of the setup at Oak Hill with rough that's laying over on itself and tight fairways and at Royal St. George's where you hit a ball in the middle of the fairway and it kicks right like a pinball into the rough. Do you think they've gone over the edge with setting up some of the major championship courses where it's taken some of the skills out of the game and it's brought good luck and bad luck into play?

TIGER WOODS: There's only one that -- Royal St. George's is a different golf course. It is up-and-downey and it has some mounds in it and a lot of the fairways are mounded so it does repel golf shots, but it was like that in 93 when Greg won. It was a difficult golf course then. I think the only tournament I remember where the golf course got really out of control was in Carnoustie in 99. That just was not fair. I know the 6th hole, the par 5, where they -- every single day that we played from the Monday practice round all the way until Sunday, the fairway on the second shot from the first day we played on Monday was 12 yards wide. You're trying to hit a 2-iron or a 5-iron or a fairway wood in there to a 12-yard fairway that's mounded, that's the only hole I thought was -- the only golf course I thought got out of control as far as the setup, and scores reflected that, 7 over par winning. I shot 10 over par and was only three shots off a playoff. That's very similar to how it was at the massacre at Winged Foot. I think that setup was just a little over the edge.

Q. There's been a lot of critiquing of your game. I know that you see a lot of amateurs playing these Pro-Ams and we're going to try to play Cog Hill today and definitely will not shoot as well as you. When you see us play, what's the one flaw that stands out in most amateurs that you see when you play in these Pro-Ams on Wednesday?

TIGER WOODS: The grip. Most amateurs have never been taught a good foundation in a grip, and a lot of the flaws are attributed to the grip because you have to make a lot of different compensations along the way in the golf swing to try and square up the club face, and I think if most amateurs would focus on the simplest thing, which is the grip and your setup, that's something you can control. I mean, that's something that's very easy to do each and every time is get your posture right and get your grip right, and it's amazing how much better you can play golf from a correct and solid foundation.

Q. Jim Hawkins again. I was watching Tin Cup the other night and I was wondering how you would do with a bat, rake and a shovel playing a course.

TIGER WOODS: The rake one I've never tried, but the bat I certainly have. We grew up playing baseball so we used to do that all the time. I've done some pretty weird things on a golf course, but I've never tried the rake, so maybe I could try that in the future.

JOHN KACZKOWSKI: I just want to thank you for your time today and I look forward to seeing you in July.

TIGER WOODS: You got it, buddy. Take it easy, guys.

JOHN KACZKOWSKI: Well, once again, we certainly appreciate having Tiger here today and it certainly adds a lot to the media day for the 2004 Cialis Western Open, but right now I'd like to bring up a big supporter of the tournament, a gentleman from Eli Lilly. He's the U.S. brand team leader, Mr. Matt Beebe, and Matt is going to discuss some things that Cialis is doing with the tournament and just some exciting things they've got planned for this year.

MATT BEEBE: John told me I was going to be between Tiger Woods and kind of brunch and golf, so I realize I need to keep it very brief and very quick here. We do have some very exciting things. The Cialis team has been working very closely with John and the WGA team to really make this year's Cialis Western Open very memorable, and I'd like to review a few of the items that we have that will be different, and I think you'll really appreciate this. The first is the entrance tent. When the fans with the on-site experience that we've focused on walk into this year's event, they will walk through a tent that will -- here's a rendering of it. I know it's difficult to see. But it's a tent that will highlight the last 100 years of the Western Open. We felt it was very important to establish this year and really build on the wonderful tradition that exists here, so to be able to see past champions, be able to review some of the memorable moments that have occurred at the Western Open and really create a fan experience that's grounded in the tradition of the Western Open, very important for the WGA and very important for us. The second item that we have is also more of a local flavor, and the other example up here is an artists' tent where local artists will actually be on-site during the tournament doing renderings of some of the great and beautiful shots of the golf course, so they will be doing their paintings right there on-site. These paintings then will be auctioned off to support the Evans Scholarship Foundation. So it's a way for us to capture the tradition that's there. Also, interestingly enough, for those fans and family members that are not able to attend the Western Open, the on-site presence will allow you to email post cards to those individuals, letting them know that you're actually here at the tournament. So that becomes a very special event, as well. We've all experienced the heat of the July time frame here in Chicago, and so we've created these relaxation centers, one on the front nine and one on the back nine, that will help people get out of the heat and relax a little bit, once again focusing on the fan's experience and the relaxation around the golf course. At this particular time, many of you from this area realize that Taste of Chicago is happening, as well, so that same concept that we'd like to do from a food standpoint, trying to bring in some of the local food and some of the restaurants to the tournament so that the fans, again, can get an experience and a feel for the Chicago area. Often times individuals will come in from all over the country to attend a tournament, so we felt it was important to establish the local feel and a local cuisine. So again, something unique and very memorable for the on-site fan experience. Also, clearly from a Cialis standpoint, there will be some presence. There will be a Cialis fan tent that will highlight really virtual lessons from Dr. Rick Jensen, who is a sports psychologist that works with many of the PGA TOUR professionals, so this is a chance for from a sports psychologist to get some evaluation of your game. Once again, the real focus is on the mental aspects of playing golf, so when you think about Cialis and some of the product information, some of the attributes of the product itself, it clearly is around the relaxation and time to spend with your partner. So what we try to do is Dr. Rick Jensen is fantastic at diagnosing some of the mental problems with your game as you're out there on the course, so he'll be in attendance as well as a virtual lesson on your golf game. So again, something very focused on the on-site experience. Then, also, we are very fortunate, and I see some of the members from The Golf Channel that will be here, as well, so we believe it's a great and unique experience to have The Golf Channel on-site, and once again, really highlighting the special nature of what the WGA has created here with the Western Open and some of the wonderful aspects of this tournament that Tiger spoke about. So as you can see, as we go through and have the experience on the golf course, the fans that are in attendance, we really do want to highlight the memorable moments of the past and really take this turn into the new century for the Western Open in a very positive light. We at Lilly ICOS and Cialis are thrilled to be here and to be the title sponsor this year and we hope that you will also enjoy the experience on-site and clearly we need to enjoy ourselves today on the golf course. Thank you very much.

JOHN KACZKOWSKI: Thank you, Matt. I would also like to thank the CDGA today. The Chicago District Golf Association generously allowed us to use their auditorium today, and I think it's a great setting for our media day. I know Robert Merck was back there earlier. Thank you very much for allowing us to use the facility. Schedule of events today. Of course it's media day, it's raining, and it's a natural fit. I think we'll be able to play golf today. We're on a 10:00 o'clock shotgun, so right now it is 8:35. We've got full breakfast for you over at the 2/4 building. That's the smaller clubhouse over at Cog Hill on the right-hand side. There's breakfast upstairs. Please make your way over there, have breakfast. There's balls on the range. Drop your clubs right there in front of the 2/4 building. We'll put them on a golf cart for you. The shotgun starts at 10:00 o'clock. We have refreshments on the course, there's lunch available at the halfway house and at the clubhouse, and following play there will be a reception in the downstairs of the main clubhouse just adjacent to the locker room. It's called Dubs Pub. I don't know how many of you have been down there recently but Cog Hill just did a major renovation down there, and at last count there were at least six or seven flat screen television sets, and it's beautiful. Immediately after play we'll do some awards and gifts and things like that. Again, I thank each and every one of you for coming and hopefully we'll see you over at the 2/4 building and we'll be available if anyone has any questions afterwards. Thanks.

End of FastScripts...

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