November 4, 2003
Q. What do you think of the course?
TIGER WOODS: It's playing a lot different than it has in the past. Greens are much slower, much softer. The fairways are that way too. So it's playing much longer. Couple new tees, but overall the golf course is still a wonderful golf course. You have
o drive the ball here. I know Jackie's made a concerted effort to make it a little narrower too. So it places a real premium on driving.
Q. Does your game fit this layout?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I played well of late. Hopefully I
an keep it going.
Q. You're here to win this tournament, but winning it will also mean winning the player of the year, the money title, a lot of things are up for grabs this week?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it is, certainly. A lot of different things are up for grabs. It makes for a nice challenging week. We all have our own goals and all we can do is control our own destiny. Go out there and play and see what happens.
Q. Who would be your player of the year right now? Who would you vote for?
TIGER WOODS: As of right now, I think I ought to have an advantage over that. Because I've got more wins than anybody else. I have half a shot lead on the Vardon. As I said, right that's the way I would vote. But come Sunday you don't know. Because if Mike Weir wins, he automatically gets player of the year. If Vijay wins, he probably should get player of the year. And Davis, if he wins, that puts him at five wins, with the Players Championship in there. So there are a lot of different things that can happen, come Sunday.
Q. You always say it's ideally you against the golf course, but you're going to have Vijay in your twosome the first day. Does that at all get your juices going a little bit more since it's stretch-run time, and like you predicted, it all kind of comes down to this event for all the trophies and such?
TIGER WOODS: I don't think it gets the juices more flowing, you just go out there and play. You suit yourself up and just play. I think that's the trap you can fall into, trying to play against a person in a group. But we are all experienced enough not to do that. You've just got to plug your way along. And especially the way the golf course is playing, that it's going to be very hard to make a lot of birdies.
Q. Did that happen in 2000 when it was you two guys in the last group and Phil snuck past you at the Tour Championship?
TIGER WOODS: No, at the time I think I only hit like three or four fairways that day. I had enough little problems trying to keep the ball in play and I was struggling that day. I had a hard time with my own game. Obviously Phil played beautifully and got right in there and won the tournament.
Q. What do you like most about how you're playing right now?
TIGER WOODS: I think I'm just very consistent. I played well at AmEx. I played very solidly at Disney, except for Saturday, when I didn't play particularly well. Overall my game has been pretty good most of the year.
Q. Do you think the season's too long? Would you like to see an adjustment in the schedule at all to reduce the number of tournaments so you could have more top players at more events?
TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. I've always been a proponent of that. I've never been in favor of having conflicting events, two events in the same week. I don't see how that's a positive thing, especially when we have to subsidize a lot of those events. Now with the economy the way it is, we're taking money out of our own fund to go ahead and create a purse. I don't see how that's healthy for the Tour in the long run.
Q. Can you talk for a second about this consecutive cut streak. How much does it mean to you?
TIGER WOODS: It means quite a bit. Because I've had to play consistent golf at a high level for a long period of time. Certainly there are times when I probably should have missed and I got lucky to have made the cut. But also it goes to show you that if you keep trying all the way around that good things usually do happen. You know that's the way I play. I'm always fighting, trying to shoot the best score I possibly can. A lot of times that's not a good number. You try and get the ball in as low as you can that particular day and then go fix it and hopefully you'll be all right the next day. A lot of times I've done that.
Q. Has Mr. Nelson been in touch with you at all this week to congratulate you?
TIGER WOODS: No, he has not. But he sent a nice message to the guys who represent the Byron Nelson and wished me all the best this week.
Q. You have a lot of goals, Vijay has a series of goals. He seems to put the money title very high on his list. Is it as high on your list as it is on his?
TIGER WOODS: No. If it was a big priority I would have played 25, 30 events each and every year, but it's not. For me it's the biggest events that we play, which are the Majors. That's what I focus my whole year around and trying to win those. I'm very happy winning five or six events every year out of 18 or 20 events. That's not a bad percentage.
Q. We talked to so many kids that were just so happy to be that close to you. How does that make you feel when you know it means so much to them?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. It feels -- I don't know. I've never been one who's been comfortable with it. But it is very flattering to have that happen. I was in the same position when I was a little kid. I used to come out to the L.A. open, and as well as the San Diego, the Andy Williams at the time, and I used to watch those guys play. And it was neat to be able to get up close and see those guys hit shots and maybe one of the guys might toss me a ball here and there. So I had those type of souvenirs at home.
Q. The guys you were playing with in the pro-am said they felt like kids today.
TIGER WOODS: I tell you what, those guys played so well. I think this was the first time where I didn't help out the team the entire day. And I never made a bogey. Either those guys don't work very hard or they got some really good jobs.
Q. Did you see Retief?
TIGER WOODS: I saw him on the range.
Q. Say anything?
TIGER WOODS: I said congratulations. Good playing.
Q. Thank you or anything like that?
TIGER WOODS: No. No.
Q. Because you and Vijay are the one, two players in the world. Some people don't seem to recognize that. Can you talk about the significance of that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, unfortunately, we're the only two on our Tour. And we're one and two in the world, but we're the only two out there. And you would think that there would be more players of color on Tour by now. But it's going to take time from the junior golf programs that we are now instituting across the country until they kick in and have full affect. Because it takes a long time to generate good players. It takes a big base is what I'm trying to say.
Q. Because you two men, Vijay and yourself, both people of color, have succeeded at this level, do you think it might entice people of color to compete?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it has. With Vijay playing well and the success that I've had, a lot more juniors who are minorities are playing the game of golf. But as I said, it takes a bigger base because the weeding out process as you go along high school programs, college programs, then the mini tours and then eventually out here, that weeding out process, it's going to be hard for anybody to get out here. You are just going to have a bigger base to work from.
Q. What have you done specifically to prepare for this week if anything specifically?
TIGER WOODS: Nothing specific. Just been at home practicing, working on my game. I feel that I'm making progress on some of the things that I've been working on. I've had some good success in the last two events I played. It's just a matter of building on that.
Q. Can you comment about Chad Campbell and other young guys who are out here on the Tour? What do you think about them?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Chad, I've known him since college. He's a great guy. He hits it a long way. On top of that, he's just now learning how to play out here on the Tour. He's shown that he's got a lot of heart, the way he played at the PGA down the stretch and the big putts and big shots that he made. And it's just a matter of time until he starts winning consistently out here.
Q. Does this tournament have any different feeling for you than, say, past Tour championships because of the situation this year with the player of the year and Vijay?
TIGER WOODS: No, because I've been in this situation before. In '98 it came down to Nick Price and I for the Vardon trophy and he edged me out by making one birdie, which cost me the Vardon trophy that year.
TIGER WOODS: 10 years or something like.
Q. Do you think it is okay to have the tournament at one place or do you want it to be moved around?
TIGER WOODS: Well, this has been such a great venue that it's a shame that we don't rotate it back and forth, because Houston's a great golfing community. This is one of the best golf courses we play all year. It's just straightforward. It's long and there's no surprises. It's just every hole is 450, little doglegs and big greens. It's totally different than East Lake, but it's still a heck of a golf course. It's hosted a U.S. Open here and Ryder Cup. So it has history behind it.
Q. That said, talk about East Lake.
TIGER WOODS: True. East Lake is a great golf course. No denying that. But also I thoroughly enjoy this place too, as well. Because there's not too many golf courses where we play on Tour now where we can use our driver hole after hole. This golf course, if you really wanted to, you could hit driver off every single hole if you wanted to, except for the par-3s of course. But you can go ahead and be aggressive off the tees. Most of the golf courses we play now that's not the case.
Q. Anybody mentioned to you the possibility of you coming back to play in the Shell Houston Open, now that it's more of a driver's ballpark, so to speak, the new course?
TIGER WOODS: No. You're the first one.
End of FastScripts.