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July 3, 2004

Tiger Woods


Q. Nine birdies, three bogeys. That was quite a charge out there. Your overall thoughts?

TIGER WOODS: I got off to an ideal start. When you birdie the first three, you're looking pretty good. I really hit the ball well today and made some putts, which is nice.

I hit it well. Especially with the wind blowing like this, it wasn't easy, but I also made some putts from about 15 feet, too.

Q. You're right back in it. You're three off the lead. You've got to feel good about that.

TIGER WOODS: I have a chance. That's what I wanted to do is go out there and play well enough where at least I have a chance going into Sunday, and now if I play a very similar round, like I did today, tomorrow, you never know.

Q. You missed an opportunity at 15. That's your birdie hole. You found it in the bushes, Norman did that about 12 years ago, but gee, you could have tied the course record, probably even broken it but for a few mis-hits, right?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit just a poor drive there, trying to hit a low one out there, and I got ahead of it and it kind of squirted off to the right, but I hung in there and made a nice little birdie on 18, which is nice, and then got it going into the back nine.

Q. Your irons yesterday weren't so great. Was it just a new day or did you work on some things?

TIGER WOODS: I worked on a few things yesterday and felt a lot more comfortable with them, and today just went out there and trusted the swing I worked on at the range.

Q. 3 and 4 yesterday, the double bogey and the bogey, was that as down as you've been that you can remember when you went to the following tee box, as far as being in a mental state for you?

TIGER WOODS: I've been down a few times. It's just part of the sport. You've got to keep fighting and keep grinding, and I have plenty of holes left to try and make it up.

Q. Nice to get it in with the wind picking up with guys still out there?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, especially with weather coming in here, too, so hopefully the wind is going to come in so the weather comes in even more. They're expecting gusts up to 25 miles an hour, so that's going to present some challenges on that back nine.

The worst thing you can have, like we played the last couple holes into the wind, left to right. 18 is playing awfully long, and with it left to right, it just makes it brutal.

Q. A lot of players were surprised the scores weren't better, and now today all of a sudden the wind picks up a little and the scores are better.

TIGER WOODS: The greens are much softer. Either we got rain or they doused them with some pretty good water. We had a lot of shots with -- for instance, today on 12, Scottie and I both hit good iron shots in there. My lands just over the bunker, I'm thinking it might go in the back bunker and it only rolled about a foot, and Scott hit a 5-iron, which was -- he hit it flat and he knew it was in the bunker if not in the hazard, and his ball hits past the flag and rolls about a foot. So that's not how it's been playing. Certainly the greens have changed, and any time you get the guys out here with soft greens, they're going to take it low.

Q. Rough-wise, is this more like the U.S. Open like Olympia Fields was last year?

TIGER WOODS: It's spotty. Some lies you just really try and get it out and other lies you can hit 3-wood out of it. It all depends on the luck of the draw.

Q. Starting and stopping today, is that more a case of you or the course that won't let you kind of sustain the momentum?

TIGER WOODS: It's hard with the wind blowing like this. You're going to hit bad shots, it's just the way it is. Hopefully the wind won't snag it and put it unplayable. It's tough, but you've got to hit the ball flat and solid and give yourself some looks at some putts. The greens are rolling perfectly out here, you just need to give yourself enough looks. With the wind blowing like this and the pins in the corners, it's tough to give yourself a lot of looks.

Q. You said yesterday if Loren didn't run away and hide that a lot of guys would have a chance to go after him. He didn't do that. Do you think --

TIGER WOODS: If you look at the scores, anyone who made the cut really could win the tournament. The way the scores were, you figure that after the first round, the leading score would actually go forward, not come backwards.

If guys like 1-over par like myself or even 2-over par go out there and play a great round of golf, you're right back in the tournament.

Q. Did you play more aggressive today knowing the greens were softer?

TIGER WOODS: You had to fly the ball to the hole if not past the hole in a lot of cases, and that's not how it's been playing. 17 I hit a wedge past the hole and let it come back. There the first couple days you're landing it short and hopefully it doesn't bounce too far forward.

Q. 4 shots back going into tomorrow, what kind of approach do you take?

TIGER WOODS: The same. Just put the ball out there. The key is to give myself enough looks. I'm putting well, and if I give myself 18 looks at it, I like my chances of making some putts.

Q. Are you pleased with your position now?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's a lot better than where I was starting out today.

Q. From 50th it's a big jump.

TIGER WOODS: It certainly is a big jump, and I'm right back in the tournament and it's nice.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I actually undercut it too much. I knew it wasn't going to roll. The greens are softer, and I had to fly that ball down there towards the flag, get it down there close, and I didn't do that. I left myself a tough putt and I misread it.

Q. Is this the sustained run you've been looking for with the nine birdies as far as your season?

TIGER WOODS: This is how I know I can play, and I went out there today and trusted the things I worked on at the range yesterday and it worked out pretty good.

Q. Is it just a difference in your iron play primarily? Yesterday you didn't like your irons, today you did?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. If you can hit your irons -- I drove it about the same. If you hit your irons closer, it's amazing how much easier golf is.

Q. Going into Sunday, do you worry more about how many strokes you are off the lead or how many people are between you?

TIGER WOODS: Certainly both. If the guys are at 8 and they end up at 11, it's going to be hard to catch them because they're in control of the destiny. If they go out and shoot 3, 4, 5-under par tomorrow, it's their tournament. If they don't go anywhere, then guys who are 4- or 5-under par like myself definitely have a chance to win the tournament.

Q. You said you might want to return to Milwaukee where you began your career. Is there any chance this might be the year with Whistling Straits right down the road?

TIGER WOODS: No, it's not going to be this year, sorry.

End of FastScripts.

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