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June 20, 2004

Tiger Woods


MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods.

Q. Pretty good finish.

TIGER WOODS: That's not bad.

Q. Talk about how good this day was.

TIGER WOODS: That's obvious, with them having to water the greens. You can see some of the putts, I mean, they're just not staying on the greens. And I think Tim and I were talking about this when we were playing, it's terrible, our national championship, they lost control of the golf course. There's nothing wrong with a guy being under par, there's nothing wrong with that. If they play well, they deserve to be under par, but not like this; this is not the way it's supposed to be played.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I think everyone does, except the winner. I think he might be frustrated, too. The way the golf course was set up, it was great the first two days, and yesterday was tough, but todaythey just lost it with the dry air coming in, the wind blew all night, and it just got away from them.

Q. Overall Shinnecock has been a great place for the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: It's a great place for the U.S. Open. It's absolutely fantastic, the holes, the shots you have to play, the different undulating lies, the elevation changes. You have to play all different types of golf shots, and that's what makes this golf course appealing for golfers.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: The first two days, no question about that. The first two days they were tough, yes, but they were fair. And there's nothing wrong with a golf course being tough, as long as it's fair. We had a few guys under par, and that's the way it should be.

Q. How did you feel the way you played all four days?

TIGER WOODS: I feel all right, not really great. Actually I would like to do a little better than I am. I hit a lot of good shots, I also hit some bad ones. And I put myself in some really tough spots to make birdies.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I think that's just growing up, maturing, no doubt about that. You have a long career, you can't live and die on each and every single golf shot; that's how I wore myself out back in '97. I didn't play well the rest of the year, I was too darn tired. You can play maybe five tournaments in the summertime. Here we're playing -- I played 25 tournaments usually around the world. You can't do that and expect to be at your best every time, each and every day.

Q. Does it bring some of the fun back to playing?

TIGER WOODS: It's fun playing, competing and playing, mixing it up with these boys; that's the fun of it, the challenge of it. I think that you just can't live and die on each and every single golf shot. That's how you wear yourself out.

Q. I know you try to learn something after every round of golf. Did you learn something after today?

TIGER WOODS: Not today. I hung in there, grinded my tail off today, but I really did. If you were out there watching me, I really grinded. I did the best I could, that's what I could end up with today. That golf course got out of control.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course is tough, but I never cause any of the golf course stuff. It's tough enough playing out here, man. Hey, when I'm out there, I just played. Unfortunately I had to deal with some other stuff here with you guys that I shouldn't have had to deal with.

Q. You still feel you're on the brink?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I am, just the quality of shots I hit. So many times I'm just one yard off here, and you cannot do that around this golf course, obviously, because the greens are so fast and so undulating that one yard just makes a big difference. Like for instance, No. 8, I hit I perfect shot in there right at the flag, and it's one yard from bouncing forward, and it hits the hill and bounces back. It's rare you see a ball bounce back out here.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: As I said earlier this week, you know, it would be awfully tough to try to deal with the fact I haven't won any majors the last couple of years if I wasn't in contention. I had a great chance at Hazeltine, great chance at Royal St. Georges, and that's the one I felt like I should have won. I've had my chance to go to the weekend, but as long as I'm still in contention then it's bearable. If I wasn't in contention at all, that stretch, that's a different story.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, if you look at -- you guys aren't allowed on the greens, but if you get on the greens, you'll see a lot of the old cups from the entire week. They're so dry they've shrunk, and because of that they're raised now. And you can't -- it's hard to fix them, the grass is just so matted down and so dry, that water is just kind of running off of it. It's just not staying.

And they had to change three pins today that I know of before play started just because they knew it was going to get out of control.

Even some of the holes like on No. 11, I hit -- I thought I hit a pretty good putt and I got a gust of wind that blew it another eight feet past the hole, and it didn't take much. I saw Fred Funk, he just had a putt and his lipped out and went by about eight feet. That's just the way it is. They lost it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: They try to make it playable, they moved the flags, trying to address the problem, but if you know you've got a cold front coming through and there's going to be dry air behind it, you know you've got to soak the greens a little bit. I know you try to identify the best players, there's nothing wrong with it being hard and difficult, but don't make it so it's out of control and unfair.

A couple of guys have had putts from four or five feet on the first hole, and the next putt it's a lob wedge hiking out of the rough, and that's not the way it's supposed to be played.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think they probably overadjusted with the rain coming in. Rain came in on Thursday. They probably said, "I'm not going to put anymore water in it, it's enough." And they just kind of lost it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: 7, I -- 8-iron right at the flag, and it landed about two yards short, kicked straight left of the bunker, and hit a decent bunker shot to about eight feet left of the hole, and actually I tried to leave the putt short and it actually went in the hole.

Q. What about 9?

TIGER WOODS: 9 I hit a great drive, right down the middle of the fairway, rolled up the hill almost to the top and back down again and ended up in the rough. Didn't hit it hard enough, came up a little short. And then had a gnarly lie, and didn't quite get it out. Next shot out, and had a nice putt, six, seven-footer, right-to-left and just missed it, blocked it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: Well, I've got to defend here in a couple of weeks, Chicago, and so get ready for that tournament.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: I don't know yet, I haven't decided. I haven't decided. I know Mark-O is going over early. So I might join him.

Q. Do you like your chances at Troon?

TIGER WOODS: I do, I do. I haven't -- I played well there last time. I had a chance going into Sunday. I shot 64, I believe it was, on Saturday, put myself right back in the ballgame. And I didn't put it together on the front nine there. It was a great golf course, it's probably the easiest nine holes you'll ever play in a major championship, and this is the hardest nine holes you'll ever play in a major championship. Just about everybody, 3- to 5-under par going out, and rarely anyone shot even par coming in, so it's a real golf course.

End of FastScripts.

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