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July 3, 2003

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Tiger Woods after his course-tying nine under 63 today, his lowest round of the year and his lowest since the final round of the 2002 Disney Golf Classic. What do you think, Tiger, does that put rumors of the slump to rest?

TIGER WOODS: I never was in one.

TODD BUDNICK: I agree. Go ahead and talk about the round today. Obviously fantastic. You got off to a start with the eagle on your second hole today and kind of went from there.

TIGER WOODS: I hit a good shot into the first hole and missed that and then hit two good shots into 11 and made about a 30-footer there for eagle and gave it right back with a three-putt on the next hole, but then made a sweet birdie there on 13. I hit a little driver and 6-iron, flat one above the hole and made about a 12-footer there.

TODD BUDNICK: Go into a little bit more detail on your round. Let's not go through it at the moment, but talk about how well you played today.

TIGER WOODS: I hit a lot of good shots today. It's a lot of fun when you hit shots that flush and that solid and it's awfully nice to get rewarded by making some putts. I hit some good putts with some nice speed that went right in the hole. It was a good combination.

Q. The delay didn't bother you at all it looks like?

TIGER WOODS: It kind of did actually because I came right back out on 18, and I didn't stay committed at all to that second shot, which was my fault. I wasn't committed to the shot I wound up playing. I flared it way right and hit another poor chip, chipped it over the green and then chipped in for par.

Q. I was just going to ask about that chip-in. How big was that to save par, and also what club did you use on that second shot?

TIGER WOODS: 8-iron.

Q. How big was that?

TIGER WOODS: When you're right in the middle of the fairway, to hit that poor a golf shot, especially when I know I wasn't committed to playing the golf shot, that to me is so frustrating. I was in-between clubs and I didn't really set my mind to hitting that club. It was kind of in the back of my mind should I hit the other club instead of saying pick a spot out there and rip it, put it right on that spot. I didn't do it and it was nice to get away with that.

Q. You pretty much didn't miss a shot on the front side.

TIGER WOODS: No, I hit a lot of good shots today. Most of them were right there flag high and that's the key to golf.

Q. Have you played better this year or was this about as well as you've played all year?

TIGER WOODS: Different circumstances, but I really played probably the same way at the Match Play, but obviously it's match play, so you have two totally different mindsets. Out here I'm semi-protecting, and there you're firing every single flag you possibly can, especially as soft as it was there.

Q. How many drivers did you hit today?

TIGER WOODS: I have no idea. Do you want me to go through the round then? I don't keep stats like that unless you want me to go through it.

Q. I'm wondering how many times you took out the big club compared to -- other courses, do you feel like this is a driver course more so than other courses you play, or where does it rank?

TIGER WOODS: About the norm. It's not where you hit just a boatload of drivers, but it's also a golf course where you're not handicapped by some of the areas pitching in where you have to hit irons off the tees. You're able to on a couple holes make a -- you can putt a little bit more aggressively at times with certain wind conditions.

Q. What was the difference with the putter today and how big was that putt at 13 after you made that three-putt at 12?

TIGER WOODS: It was nice to -- I've been working on it and it's finally nice to get some results out of it. That putt on 13 was not an easy putt. I've had that putt before, and I always -- I missed right last time and I underread it, so I said play just about another ball out this time, and I did that and it fell in.

Q. How did the course play after the rain delay?

TIGER WOODS: It played really soft. The greens became spongy and the poa -- greens that have a lot of poa in them, it was nice to make some putts on those greens coming in. You could see a lot of heel prints around the hole. Everyone behind us has got even worse conditions than we had.

Q. Just to follow that up, so does it play easier because you can shoot it at the stick more or is it more difficult? Is that what you're saying, after the rain?

TIGER WOODS: Well, they weren't very hard to begin with. I mean, look on that board. When we started out playing today, to be in the top ten you had to shoot 5-under par and I think that's kind of where I stayed at, so you can see it wasn't very firm to begin with, and then with the rain it became even softer. A couple times I took one more club out of there and just tried to take some of the spin off of it so I didn't rip it back.

Q. You looked maybe even more zeroed in than usual out there. Did you come in this week with any sort of intent on shutting people up about all this slump stuff?

TIGER WOODS: No. See, if you've been following what I've been saying the last few tournaments I've played in, I'm very close, it's just a matter of the things I'm working on for them to come around. You have to be patient. Golf is very fickle as we all know, and the things I've been working on are starting to come together. I was showing signs at Westchester. I played four, five, six great holes and lose it for a couple holes, then it comes back. It's nice to be able to get that consistency of finding my swing, my path, starting to make consistent, solid shots.

Q. (Inaudible).

TIGER WOODS: We said at the beginning of the week, if the wind doesn't blow like this, you're going to have to go 20-plus in order to win. The greens are soft and receptive. If we get some more wind, then obviously that changes, but if we don't and the greens say soft, then yeah. I mean, look at today, shooting 4-under par and you're not even on the second page of the board.

Q. Do you think it's taken longer to get your swing path right because you can't grind on the practice tee as much with the knee? Are they related?

TIGER WOODS: A little bit. I won't say all of it, no, but a lot of it is just getting up there and trusting it.

Q. Your practice time, would you say it's diminished a percentage? Are you down 25 percent? How much less have you practiced this year?

TIGER WOODS: It's hard to say because some days I'll get out there and hit a lot of golf balls, but I'll hit a lot of wedges. I won't get out there and pound drivers or pound 2-irons. So it's semi-misleading.

Q. 16, the first shot went through the bunker and it hit the rake and you were kind of tiptoeing on top of the bunker? It didn't look like you saw the ball and it almost went in the hole.

TIGER WOODS: When I hit the shot, it was between 8 and 9 and I just chose a half-nothing 8-iron up there. When I hit it I actually thought it was going to land short of the green and bounce on, and by the time I saw the ball it had already kind of almost stopped. It looked like it had a chance.

Q. Is that when you feel like maybe everything is going right, those things you just can't control, but it's just, like, this is your day?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I did hit a good quality shot, but it's also nice for it to end up as close as it did, kind of both. The one that I got away with was 18.

Q. Second shot?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit a perfect drive, hit a terrible second shot, a terrible third shot and a wonderful fourth shot. So if there's any hole I got away with one, it was on 18.

Q. Well, I was thinking of 9 then when you had the second shot onto the green.

TIGER WOODS: My last hole?

Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: It wasn't inside right, I'll tell you that. The putt broke quite a bit. When we were walking up there I was hoping I wouldn't have to chip it, and it was close. I was very close to having to chip it but I had enough room to squeeze the ball up there.

Q. Even though you came in not worrying about this ridiculous slump talk, is there some satisfaction when people see 63 that maybe those people will be off your back? Is there a little smile in you because of that?

TIGER WOODS: Not because of that. It's certainly not because of that. It's because of the fact that the things that I've been working on came together today. That's what you have to keep in mind. You know, one of the things I realize by playing out here, just like I've told you guys, some of the shots I've hit haven't been that great, but you guys describe them as hell of a golf shots. Shots I've hit bad haven't really been that poor, so it's somewhere in the middle. If you get caught up in the roller-coaster ride of the media, how good you are, how terrible you are, how good you are, how terrible you are, you're not going to have a very happy career. That's what the media's job is. The media reports it, the public says it. It's your guys' responsibilities to do that, and some of the things that have been caused isn't because of the fans. You know, the gentleman who asked me that at Chicago, here in Chicago during the U.S. Open, that started the whole thing, and it wasn't the fans who started it, it was the person in the media.

Q. You were 3 for 7 at that point.


Q. What is it about this course, this area? The fans voted your victory in '97 as the greatest moment in the 100 years of this tournament. What is it about this course?

TIGER WOODS: You know, there aren't too many golf courses that you come to that you just absolutely love the layout, and I want to play here every year. I thoroughly enjoy it. I grew up playing in the WGA. I played in the Western Junior, the Western Am and finally here at the Western Open. I've gotten to know a lot of these guys, they've been friends of mine, and it's always nice to come back to a familiar environment, especially one that you grew up with. I love this golf course. The holes look and fit my eye, and that's awfully nice when that can happen because you don't find too many golf courses that you feel that comfortable on, but this certainly is one for me.

Q. Why is that? You hear that all the time, Elkington and Doral all the time.

TIGER WOODS: Just the way it is. Some golf courses fit other players, some don't.

TODD BUDNICK: All right, Tiger, let's go through the round. What did you hit in on that one on 11?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a 6-iron in there.

15, I hit a 3-iron to about 40 feet and two-putted.

16, I hit an 8-iron to -- even Jeff could have made that putt.

No. 1, I hit a nice little wedge to about 15 feet past the hole and made it.

5, I hit a 6-iron to about 30 feet right of the hole and two-putted.

6, I hit a 6-iron to about 12 feet, made that.

7, I hit a 60-degree sand wedge to about three feet.

The last hole, I hit a 3-wood up there to about 30 feet and two-putted.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you very much, Tiger.

End of FastScripts....

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