home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 2, 2003

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: Thanks for joining us, Tiger, 3-under, 67, today, just the one bogey on 17. Talk about the course. It looks like it's playing tough like we expected.

TIGER WOODS: The golf course is playing very difficult out there. The fairways are obviously a little bit on the narrow side and the rough is up. Starting out this morning, the rough was wet, so you can't really play good shots out of there, and the key is to get the ball in play because the greens are only going to get faster and firmer.

We started off this morning with the greens a little bit softer than they were yesterday afternoon when I played, also a little bit slower, too, but they definitely sped up by the time we were finishing and they've got some pretty good pace now.

Q. It looks like two of your birdies were bombs.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the one on 15, I hit that putt in a practice round and I under-read a couple of them so decided to just trust it, play a little bit more break and try and work on your speed, and it went in. The one on 18 was -- I'm glad I had a train wreck at the hole because that thing was gone. It snapped in there pretty hard. I would have had an eight-footer or so coming back, but it went in.

Q. Your tee shot on 18 seemed to have the kind of shot you needed to hit. Was that the perfect shot for you there?

TIGER WOODS: That's it right there. That's the shot I want to see. When I'm swinging well, just a step up there and hit that ball to the right and hit a nice high draw, high sweep out there. That's what the hole calls for. I stepped up there and hit that shot.

Q. Since the PGA has your whole attitude been I'm not going to win a major this year, let's just try to win everything else in sight, tournaments I play in, money title, scoring title, all that kind of stuff? Has that been your mind set?

TIGER WOODS: It's the mind set every tournament I play in.

Q. Even more so -- you didn't fail to win a major, then decide, well, that's it for the year?

TIGER WOODS: No, no. If you're entered in an event, you're there to win, period. There's no other way of thinking.

Q. And the other stuff, Player of the Year, scoring average, money title, is that in the back of your mind at all?

TIGER WOODS: Certainly it is. It always is. It all takes care of itself if you just play well. It's in the back of your mind obviously when I talk to you guys about it, but when you're out there playing, you just play. It's kind of nice to get out there and just play.

Q. For those of us that have had putting problems or even the pros, it's almost like the more you start thinking about it, the worse of a problem it can become because you can break down a fairly simple athletic thing. Has that been sort of the driver thing, there's so much analysis going on? It doesn't seem to be clubs 13 -- the other 13 clubs you seem to be having the same problem. There's the trust and the doubt?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, obviously. When you're not -- a lot of it is when you're not swinging well, your mechanics get off and obviously the longer the club the harder it becomes. My mechanics were just a touch off, and then your confidence goes a little bit, hence you start steering the ball. That's one of the reasons why I went to hitting a lot of 3-woods and 2-irons.

Obviously when you're swinging well, you can pretty much hit anything, but this year it's been just a little bit off at times. Yeah, that certainly goes back to the driver, though, even when I'm -- when you're a little bit off, it's nice to be able to have that type of forgiveness in that club, and I think that's what I find with this club.

Q. How did you hit the new driver today?

TIGER WOODS: I hit it great. It was nice to hit some of those nice high draws out there again. First hole, hit a high one out there, second one, same thing, third hole, fourth -- fifth hole, I drove it well over the green. It's nice to be able to hit that type of shot again and still have the ability to be obviously carve one left to right.

Q. How long did you struggle with the high draw, most of the year?

TIGER WOODS: Most of the year. I had it early in the year, but when I had it early in the year, I also had the way right ball going, too, so either I was drawing the ball or I was hitting it just straight right. I got rid of the straight right and started hitting it a little bit better, but then started bringing the left shots into play again. You kind of keep fighting it. I've had some good practice sessions this past month. It's been nice.

Q. At this period is this your best time in terms of feeling physically healthy and having equipment that you trust?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's similar to how I felt back in '99 and 2000 as far as physically. Equipment-wise I feel very solid with my equipment.

Q. I don't think anybody has ever won five straight tour money titles. Is that any motivation for you at all? Is it something that will motivate you here at the end of the year to try to get the fifth in a row?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it would be nice to be able to do that. What it all boils down to is just playing well, and if you're able to win tournaments, then the money title kind of takes care of itself. I've just got to take it one step at a time.

Q. You aren't leading the Money List after this week, will it cause you to look at your schedule ahead?

TIGER WOODS: No, I'm playing the same events.

Q. Which ones?

TIGER WOODS: Playing just two more after this, and then I'm done.

Q. Are you worse off if you're struggling with your driving or struggling with your putting?

TIGER WOODS: Probably putting. You can slap it all over the place and hit almost no fairways and still shoot a decent number. Other days you go out there and strike it and if you can't shake it in from two, three feet -- there's a lot of sleepless nights over days like that.

Q. Any putting stretches that you consider poor?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, god, yeah. I've gone through my stretches where you feel switchy over the putts, you feel like there's no way -- can you have a substitute come in there and kind of pinch-putt for you.

Q. Who would that be?

TIGER WOODS: Fax. I think Fax does all right. He's an example of that right there. He doesn't drive the ball as well as some of the other guys out there, but he makes a lot of putts. It's amazing, when you putt well how good an attitude you have. If you putt poorly -- you may hit it all over the lot, and if you putt well that day, for some reason a lot of us just kind of -- you just forget about it.

Q. You mentioned that you enjoyed your time away from the game these past few weeks. When you eventually turn your attention to next year, is there going to be any extra motivation for you to put all the talk of slump to rest and no major, anything like that? Is there anything extra out there for you or just go out and win tournaments?

TIGER WOODS: Just go out there and play. All I can do is just continue to just try, try and get better. If I put more pressure on myself, I've done that in the past and I've played worse, so that makes no sense to do that.

Q. When you go back and try to figure out where you start going wrong with the driver and something starts getting weird on you, you might not be able to pinpoint when it wasn't working, but can you remember when you didn't have the confidence, when you started thinking I don't know if I'm going to hit this ball in the fairway?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, it happens all the time.

Q. Can you pinpoint the last time it started?

TIGER WOODS: No, it happens every round you play in. There's always one hole where you just don't feel comfortable and you try and get the ball in play, so it happens every day. It may not happen to Fred Funk, but it certainly happens to me. There are days when I may be striking every single shot, but I get to a certain hole, and it's like, oh, my God, you just have a hard time pulling the trigger. It may not set up well to your eye.

Q. Has there been one round where there was never a hole where you thought you were going to hit a fairway?

TIGER WOODS: Probably this year at Firestone I felt pretty bad. I think it was the first round I shot under par and I hit four fairways or something like that, three, four fairways.

The shots I tried to hit high draws on, like No. 2 I hit and I was over on 3. No. 3 I was closer to 4. No. 4 I was closer to 3. Those are days when that happens. That's just the way it is, and you shake it off and try and bring it back the next day.

Q. You mentioned the R & R that you did over the last few weeks while you were going through your depression after the Deutsche Bank. Have you taken the boat out?


Q. Where do you go and what do you like to do?

TIGER WOODS: Just get away. Just nice to not hear a cell phone, not hear a phone ring, nothing to do but just nothing. Sometimes that can be difficult to do. The hardest part was when I played -- after the summer I played just about every single day. I was always working on my game. Then after Deutsche Bank I tried to shut it off and that was the hardest thing to do sometimes. For the first three or four days you have nothing to do, no schedule. But I soon adjusted.

Q. To the slacking off you mean?

TIGER WOODS: I soon adjusted and I got pretty accustomed to it.

Q. What in your opinion has been your best tournament this year and why?

TIGER WOODS: Mercedes -- I'm sorry. What am I doing? La Costa. Mercedes used to be played there. La Costa was the best I've hit it all year. What did I play, like four, five rounds, I made one bogey there starting out, and I was like 20 something under par. I really hit it well and I made everything. That was by far the best week I've had so far this year.

Q. At that time there was a lot of feeling and talk that this could be a year for you comparable to 2000. Did you feel that way at that time?

TIGER WOODS: No, because I still had a lot of hesitation about myself physically, whether or not I could actually continue to play throughout the year. At the time when I came back, yeah, I got off to just an unbelievable start, but I was sore.

Plus, playing through what I played through at the end of the year last year creeps in a lot of doubt. Shots that I used to be able to go after and hit, you start debating can I really do that or should I really do that? You don't want to sacrifice and start all over again. Getting over that hump and that hurdle and mentally just freeing up to play again didn't happen until probably the middle of the year.

Q. Talk a little bit about why you decided to bring your driver out now. Is there anything about this course in particular that made you want to get it out this week and try it?

TIGER WOODS: No, it's not the golf course, it's the driver itself. I can shape shots again. I can hit that high draw, that high sweeper shot that I love to hit, and I also can bleed it out there, too, hit that little low left- to-right shot when I need to. To be able to shape shots is what you're looking for, and I can do that with this club.

Q. How many holes did you pull out the driver today when you probably wouldn't have before?

TIGER WOODS: I hit quite a bit today. I probably hit it at least ten times today.

Q. Certain holes where you probably wouldn't have risked it?

TIGER WOODS: No. I mean, still the same.

Q. For those of us who aren't Tiger Woods, what's it like in 25 words or less, being Tiger Woods?


Q. Do you know how much longer you are with that driver?

TIGER WOODS: I'm a touch longer, probably maybe five, seven yards longer. Five yards for sure in the air.

Q. I was curious, too, for a while at this event for the money that's here and the field that's here, when you're on that first tee today and there's only a small crowd out there and it's your first week back, does this event feel that big then or is this kind of a building thing at this event?

TIGER WOODS: Because I haven't played in a month, I was nervous on that first tee, just trying to -- it's just like playing at home. That's what you keep telling yourself. Whether there's a gallery or not, the fact that I've taken time off and I haven't played competitively, haven't had the juices like this where a shot really mattered that much, it's just not the same playing at home versus playing out here. No matter what the gallery size was, I'm still trying to get that ball in play somehow, and I did, and the galleries grew as the day went on.

Overall, as you know, the Tour Championship, the galleries aren't really that big here in Atlanta. They were pretty good at the Athletic Club, but at the Tour Championship they really haven't been that big, either. Too many things going on.

Q. Even though the importance you assign to putting, do you stress a little bit less if you're not putting well because you're pretty confident that something will always come back? Do you stress a little less over that than the driver?

TIGER WOODS: Say that again.

Q. Do you stress a little bit less at periods of time when you're not putting well? Do you figure maybe that's something that's always going to come back? Did you maybe stress a little bit more over your game off the tee, the struggles you've gone through this year?

TIGER WOODS: No, I think everyone is more stressful on the greens. If you can hit a 2-iron, you can hit a driver. If you can hit a 3-wood, you can hit a driver and if you can hit a sand wedge you can hit a driver. But if you're shakey on a putt, it's the simplest shot you're going to hit all day, and if you can't shake that in, it's not a good feeling.

Q. But is putting streaky enough for everybody that you're always confident that it'll come back?

TIGER WOODS: No, you see some guys go to different grips, so obviously they weren't too confident about that. They had to change and mix it up.

Q. You said your approach is you have to play and play well. Whenever you put pressure on yourself it just makes you play worse. When was the last time you felt you didn't play well because of the pressure you were putting on yourself as opposed to any other reason?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. That's a good question. I don't know if I ever played an entire tournament that way, but I certainly have played shots that way. It just doesn't work out for me that way.

For any golfer, we hit our best shots when we're relaxed anyway out here with our buddies, so might as well have the same approach when you're out here in a tournament, you try to. A lot of times your nerves don't allow you that luxury, but that's what you try and get into.

Q. But for you it's that fleeting, it's really more of a shot-to-shot thing as opposed to a tournament?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think I ever played an entire tournament that way, at least I don't remember it. But I have played shots that way, and you play poorly for a little bit and you get into a stretch where you play four, five, six, nine holes like that poorly and then you just put it out of your system and move on.


TIGER WOODS: I birdied 3, hit a 5-iron to about 12 feet, made it.

12, I hit driver and a 5-iron to the left bunker, blasted out to about ten feet past the hole, made it.

15, I hit a 4-iron to about 40 feet and made it.

17, hit 3-wood off the tee, pulled it left, hit a 9-iron out of the rough, short right of the green, flubbed my chip and missed about a 40-footer there.

18, I hit a driver and an 8-iron and made about a 35- footer there.

Q. Best save?

TIGER WOODS: Best save? I had a few of them today.

Q. 25 words or less?

TIGER WOODS: I made a good save on 7, I was in the front left bunker there and hit a great bunker shot to about a foot. 8, I made about a seven-footer there for par. 9, I was short right of the green, pitched up to about three feet and made it.

10, I was in the front right bunker, blasted it about eight feet past the hole, made that.

Q. Were you trying to hit it in the bunker on 7?

TIGER WOODS: My tee shot, yeah.

Q. What about the second shot?

TIGER WOODS: No, not the second shot. I was trying to play it past the flag. I was trying to make sure I carried it to the front of the green, if not to the hole, and let it go to the back, and I just hit a terrible shot.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297