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July 28, 2004

Tiger Woods


LARRY PECK: My name is Larry Peck and I'm the Buick Open marketing manager. We are pleased to have Tiger with us today, and before we turn it over to Joe, I'd like to make a little bit of an announcement here about a clinic, a Buick Tiger woods clinic that we are going to do the week of Ryder Cup, the Monday of Ryder Cup week, September 13th.

Tiger will be back in town and he's going to do a clinic for us, and we'll make a special offer available where if you buy two tickets for next year's Buick Open, the 2005 Buick Open, you can get two tickets to attend this clinic, as well. We've got press releases on the outside, on the other side of this wall, that I'd like you to pick up when you leave and encourage everybody to go, it's going to be a great show. Tiger does lots of great trick shots and we'll have lots of fun. With that, I'll turn it over to Joe.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Tiger, maybe just a couple comments about the golf course and the state of your game right now.

TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course is a little bit wet. It's certainly very playable. The fairways are obviously a little soft. The ball is backing up. Didn't pick up much mud at all on the golf course, which is kind of surprising, with as much rain as the course received yesterday.

You know, we had a great time today, hit the ball pretty good, and just overall, just had a great time.

JOE CHEMYCZ: What's the state of your game coming into this week?

TIGER WOODS: I think I'm starting to play a little bit better and hopefully I can do the same this week.

Q. A victory, a couple very close calls, how does this golf course what do you like about it, what don't you like about it?

TIGER WOODS: It's an older golf course where it's right in front of you. There's no tricks. There's no hidden bunkers, there's nothing hidden. Everything is right in front of you. I think you just have to go out there and know that you have to drive the ball well and get it out there. And on top of that, the greens being as soft as they are, you need to be pretty aggressive going into the flags. I think the challenge this week is to try to keep the spin off the golf ball and the greens are always perfect here, every year.

Q. Have you been to Whistling Straits?

TIGER WOODS: I have not.

Q. You have not?

TIGER WOODS: I have not.

Q. I know it's still more than a month away but to be here in Michigan up the road in Oakland Hills, is it in the forefront of your mind or the back of your mind at this point?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, I'm not really thinking about it. I have this tournament, the PGA and the World Golf Championships; I have three pretty good tournaments right in a row, and trying to get my game ready for that.

And then once the majors are done, we can start looking forward to the Ryder Cup, because we don't know who is on the team. Once the team selection has been made, I guess it will be Sunday night, Monday, I don't know when it is Monday. Once the team has been selected then we can start thinking about that.

Q. With two weeks away, do you at all mentally or otherwise prepare for that while you're here, or are you just here trying to win this tournament?

TIGER WOODS: I'm just trying to win the golf tournament. Because I have not been up there yet, so I don't know what I'm going to need for that week. I don't know what I can't really practice out there on the range and hit shots that I'm going to need for Whistling Straits. I haven't been out there yet, but I will certainly go out there next week and play.

Q. This week, with the extra rain we have gotten already, maybe a little bit more in the forecast, you have always have to shoot a low number here, but is there more of a premium on getting low numbers early?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the way the golf course is set up right now, it's going to be a challenge to try not to spin the golf ball too much. I know I hit longer clubs into most of the holes even with driver off the tee, because usually this golf course is fast and hard. Today, you're spinning 4 irons and 5 irons back on the green, and that's never been the case here. They are usually kind of springing off.

So I think that's going to be quite a challenge to try to hit little softer shots and try to take the spin off of it into these pins or be tucked in the corners like they normally are.

Q. Now, over the years as a pro, event after event, the pressure for you to be up there at the top has got to be something that most, if not all of us can't even imagine. For you, what is your approach now as you come into tournaments, and how do you focus and try to keep those obstacles outside and allow you to focus on the duty at hand?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's been easier for me because I've played the same way all my life; that is to go each and every tournament to win and that's it. That's my focus, and you don't worry about all of the periphery and all of the things that go on around you. You just try to put your name on top of that board by week's end and that's how I approach each and every week that I've played. I learned that as a little boy because I used to start thinking about all the other things, what this win might win and all that kind of stuff. I learned at an early age, that's not the way you play golf and be successful at it.

Q. After the final round at Royal Troon, you said that you just didn't make enough birdies; you didn't score well enough. In the time since then have you had a chance to consider why you didn't score better?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't make birdies on the back nine. 36 holes total on the back nine, I only made one birdie. You can't win a major championship making one birdie on the back nine.

Q. Did you stop to think about why that was?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit some poor shots, as well as I've hit some good shots. I made no putts. I missed the ball on the wrong side. A couple times there on 16, I had long irons in the green and I missed it on the short side, which on a links golf course, short side is dead. You can't flop it, can't get it close and that's exactly what happened to me twice there.

So, there were opportunities when I should have made birdie, hit it close enough inside ten feet and didn't make them. There are other times when I hit poor shots and not making bogeys.

Q. Do these greens help get you back on track as good as they have been over the years?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think coming to a golf course and a venue you have played well at always brings a little bit of confidence to you, especially one that I've won on before, too.

Q. There's kind of this feeling that because you're sponsored by Buick you have to play Buick sponsored events. Can you talk about the relationship and how is it different from some of your other sponsorship agreements?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the great thing is I don't have to play. I choose to play whatever tournaments I want to play in, I've played here before I was even representing Buick, and I fell in love with this tournament and this golf course and the people here. So that's why I kept coming back each and every year. I think the relationship that I've had with Buick has been fantastic, not only hopefully I've contributed to them a little bit. But I think it's been great for me as a person to get people people who know me really well know that I can't take anything seriously. And when you see the commercial spots and the ads that I've done, I think that's a reflection of that. What you see on the golf course and how I play is different than off the golf course.

I think Buick has on done a fantastic job of capturing that other side of being able to portray a better picture of who I am. And hopefully I've been able to sell more cars.

Q. I've heard you mention recently that it seems like it's always the media that keeps bringing up this so called slump. I'm guessing there's 150 guys in the field that wishes they were in this kind of slump. Do you seen use that word when you go into a spell where maybe you haven't won a tournament in a while, is it something you even think about, the word "slump"?

TIGER WOODS: No, I don't. Only reason why I might think about it is someone just might say it, like now. But otherwise, no, I'm always trying to improve and get better for the next tournament and learn from the lessons that I did in the prior tournaments good and bad, something that I've always done, and I'm not going to change that. So I've had a lot of success that way, so hopefully it will be that way for the rest of my career.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: I remember back in 2000 when I was winning a lot, and I remember I was getting criticism for it, I was bad for the Tour because I was winning too much.

Now, I'm not winning quite as much this year. I've had, what, four or five years where I've won five or more tournaments and last year I was criticized for having a poor year with five tournament wins, and this year I'm getting criticized for the same thing.

So, there's always something. That's just part of, I think, being ranked No. 1. I remember Duval had to go through it. Norman had to go through it. When you're up on top, people are always going to criticize you and praise you. It's going to be both, you're going to get both sides. I don't have a problem with it, as long as it's fair, and that's fine.

Q. You've been saying your swing is close, how is it now; and have you spoken with Butch anymore since you guys have sort of patched up in the last month?

TIGER WOODS: No, I have not. I saw Butch a few times at the British Open and we both said hi in passing. We're both very busy, he had a lot of students he had to try to get a hold of and work with and I was trying to prepare for a tournament. We're always saying hi and bye real quick.

As far as the state of my game, I think since the weekend at the Western is when I really started playing some better golf. The things I've been working on were starting to gel that weekend, and I played really well on the weekend. And I went to the British Open and I played well, I just didn't make enough birdies on the back nine or else I would have really been in contention there. So I was very close to winning both tournaments.

Q. You talk about falling in love with this course, the tournament here, the people here especially. Can you describe what it's like when you're on one of your rolls, that shot, that drive, that approach, that birdie; and that energy starts to roll through the crowd, what effect, what kind of feeling does that draw from you and how much does that help?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it certainly helps, there's no doubt about that. I think more so on the flipside of it, actually when you're not playing well, is the times when I think it's great to have that type of support to get you turned around. Any time when you're playing well, the crowd gets excited. But when you're playing poorly, to have the fans out here be so supportive and really want to you play well, they really mean it from the bottom of their heart. The people I've seen out here for the last six or seven years are the same people. You start recognizing them and saying thank you and you start getting it going. I think that's when it's more important to have that type of atmosphere is when things aren't going your way and to have that type of support which this tournament really brings.

Q. Will you try to get to Whistling Straits before you play there?

TIGER WOODS: Next week.

Q. Will you likely try to get to Oakland Hills sometime before you play there?

TIGER WOODS: No. We've got three practice rounds so, that's plenty. Plus I think Hal said I might play all five matches. (Laughter.) There's a chance, so I think that would be eight rounds that week.

Q. Just wondering, this is such a birdie giving course, after what I consider the joke of Shinnecock Hills, don't you think golf fans like to see golfers shoot birdies inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think golfers, the fans like when guys make a lot of birdies. They also like when guys get rewarded for making a birdie, not where it's you've got to hit four great shots just to make a par. I don't think the fans thoroughly enjoyed that, that aspect.

But if you make a birdie, as long as you earn it, I think they enjoy that. I think that's why they enjoy watching the British Open or the Masters, tournaments where and the U.S. Open, generally, when things don't get out of hand. I think that's when they thoroughly enjoy seeing that type of golf.

As long as someone is playing well, I think the fans are always interested in it, whether you are shooting 30 under par or you're 8 , 9 , 10 under par. As long as it's quality golf, I think the fans always get excited about it.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: I think Brian asked me whether or not I was going to get to Oakland Hills and play a practice round prior to the week of the Ryder Cup, and I'm not. I'm scheduled to be there Monday and I'll play Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. I said to Brian, according to Hal, I think I might be scheduled to play a few matches that week. I think that will be enough practice for the week.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Tiger, we appreciate your time.

TIGER WOODS: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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