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March 1, 2003

Tiger Woods


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tiger, congratulations. Tough day today. Adam gave you a great run, and you must feel fortunate that you came out ahead.

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. Adam played beautifully today. He hit lots of good shots, made some good putts. Starting out the day I didn't really hit the ball as crisp as I did this morning. I got a couple of mud balls, and then on top of that made a couple of bad swings, and Adam didn't really miss a shot. So it was tough and unfortunate the way it ended for Adam. I didn't want to see him do that.

Q. Was fatigue ever a factor in those last holes against Adam at all?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was tired. Not to the point where it affected any of my shots, but you certainly knew that you'd been walking on some soft ground all day. So, yeah, you expect it and it wasn't a factor in any of the shots I played. I was still able to play every shot the same.

Q. Tiger, considering your road to today's match, were you fired up to have a guy compete like no one had until today?

TIGER WOODS: I'd rather not, but Adam's been playing beautifully. You could see the confidence he had when he was driving the ball. He'd pull out driver just about on every hole and he was piping it. He was swinging free. He wasn't trying to hit any soft cuts. He was just bombing it. And you could see he had a good feel for his swing today. He made some big putts. He missed two short putts, but he also made some really big putts today, to win holes or to halve holes. It was a great match.

Q. Just general thoughts on your putting, which was off the charts this morning, and then your overall state of the game right now.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't hit the ball as good this afternoon as I did this morning. I also got a couple of bad breaks with some mud balls and just kind of compounded it. But I felt good over every shot today. That's the positive thing. I felt good. I felt like I was going to hit a good, positive shot. A couple of shots that I thought were good shots ended up in the rough and had some nasty lies. So all in all, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

Q. How about the putting?

TIGER WOODS: I made some good putts today. I really had a good feel for the greens. I hit one really bad putt over on 4 -- sorry, the old 4 -- 13. I hit one really bad putt there, but I also came right back and buried the par putt.

Q. Did you play the 18th on Monday?

TIGER WOODS: I did. I played the back nine and I played 16, 17 and 18.

Q. Could you talk about the lie you had after the 3-wood --

TIGER WOODS: Not good. It was typical the way this afternoon was going. It was like the lie I had over there on 14, it was as far as I could possibly hit it right there. I took a pretty good hack at it just to get it on the green. I said if anything, just miss it long, so you don't go in that bunker. I wanted to make sure I had a nice, easy chip coming back, or if I stayed on the green, with any luck I'd have a putt.

Q. After he missed that short one on six and you came back on eight and nine and won those, how big was that?

TIGER WOODS: I think that was huge, because he really could have kept the momentum going, and really got it in his court, and it didn't happen for him there. But he came right back and birdied the next hole. But I think that one, if he would have gotten that one, he would probably feel better than getting one on the next hole.

Q. On 14 did you block out -- you hit a 3-wood, I think --

TIGER WOODS: I hit a good 3-wood, actually, and for some reason, I thought the wind was off to the right, and it was off to the left, and it just knocked it into the rough, and I had absolutely no shot.

Q. But you came back with two good holes.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit a good little 8-iron, had 122 yards there on 15, hit a little 8-iron there. Then I hit an 8-iron on the next hole to kick in. But Adam just made a beautiful putt on 16, that was huge, just buried it. He goes over to 17 and runs it past me, and then buries that one.

Q. The real tough fought four and five-footers that you had to make, you made today. You could have lost the match if those didn't go in, even on 18, right?

TIGER WOODS: There's no doubt about that. It was a tough day on the greens, because I had to make some putts. I really did, I had to step up and bury some putts, either for birdie or par. I was able to do it.

Q. Was it any more difficult being in that type of a tough match when you hadn't really played one all week? You've had control pretty much every single round, and all of a sudden you're in a pretty good fight.

TIGER WOODS: I just knew that if I kept hitting fairways and greens that it was going to be tough for him to beat me, especially the way I was putting, but I just didn't hit the ball close enough, enough times. When I did, I was able to make the putts for birdie.

Q. Do you feel you've had a part to play in how well Adam Scott has come in the game, and his progress through the game?

TIGER WOODS: I think a lot of this is him. I've played with him enough times that he's picked my brain on a few things here and there, but he works very hard. He's up at Butch's school all the time and he's working. He's not lazy, by no means. And a lot of his success should be a credit to him.

Q. He's modeled his game almost totally --

TIGER WOODS: You know, the funny thing is before he even saw my golf swing, when he was a little kid and they had videos of him when he was little, his swing looked almost like mine, as it was. He just naturally had that flow and that rhythm in his swing, and those positions. And ironically enough, we have a very similar build. So a lot of the faults that he had, I had already changed and gone through it. So when he asked for a couple of things throughout the last couple of years, I was able to give him tidbits here and there, how I was able to get out of it.

Q. Does he still ask you about his game as he's going along?

TIGER WOODS: No. He is getting to the point where he understands his game. He understands when he's swinging the best, he knows what it takes to get there.

Q. A thought or two on David Toms, and what you expect tomorrow.

TIGER WOODS: Another good match. David Toms is playing real solid, as always. You know he's going to go out there and hit fairway after fairway, and green after green. And you know if he gets a few good putts going, he can run the table.

Q. Did you guys get close at all during the Ryder Cup? Is there kinship there?

TIGER WOODS: David is a great guy. I thoroughly enjoyed being with him at the Ryder Cup, and I wish I could have played with him. But David is a great guy. He really is a super nice guy.

Q. How would you assess your play for the week? It's looked awfully good at times, as good as we've seen. We've seen a lot of good golf, but how would you assess your play for the week on the whole?

TIGER WOODS: Very consistent. Very consistent. I've hit a number of really flush shots this week and I've really kept myself out of trouble. And I think that's the key in match play, is not to give your opponent a hole. If he's going to win it, he's got to earn it. I've only given my opponent one hole so far in this tournament.

Q. When is the last time you worked with Butch?

TIGER WOODS: Probably right before I came back. I stopped in for a day just -- saw my trainer there in Vegas, as well as hit a few balls, and Butch took a look at my swing. And there really wasn't a whole lot to say. I was actually hitting it pretty good and just needed to get into the playing rhythm. My positions looked good, but I just needed to play.

Q. Would you believe that you could get around this course five rounds with one bogey, although when he makes that birdie on 14 -- but technically you had one bogey?

TIGER WOODS: It's not bad, is it? It's not too bad. It hasn't been easy, because you've seen the par putts I've had to make, 10 -, 12-footers, here and there. I've had to make those, and my share of 5- and 6-footers, too. I've been able to make the big par putts. And I've always said that making those big par putts is better than making a birdie.

Q. In 2000, when you had the two great Opens, you did that a lot. You were making putts that kept you from making bogeys. And then of course made birdies, too.

TIGER WOODS: You know, when the rough is this high, you know you're going to put yourself in trouble, here and there. And you know that no matter what you do, no matter how good you're going to hit it, you're going to have one or two or three or four, some big putts that you've got to make, and you've got to go ahead and bury those, because those are the putts that keep the momentum going, and keep you in the match and not give your opponent a hole.

Q. Is this the first time two top-10 guys have made it to the final match, two major championship winners? Does this event need that, something with a higher profile?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know if it needs it. I've always thought that this tournament would have more top players playing well or doing better in the tournament if you toughen the golf course up, if you got the rough high, and you got the greens fast and you narrowed the fairways up, then it becomes very similar to what you face in a major championship. And if you look in the major championships, you see the same guys, just about every single one. And I think that's one of the reasons why you've seen higher seeds do well this year, is because the rough is unbelievably high. It's 10, 12 inches in some spots. The greens are rolling probably over 12, I'd say, with no problem.

Q. It's the daily Dubai question. Is the decision taken?

TIGER WOODS: I'll let you know tomorrow. All right?

Q. 16, I don't know if you already answered. Your tee shot on 16, what you did, what your game plan was on that and your thought process when he pours it in on top of you.

TIGER WOODS: It was just a perfect 8-iron for me, just sit up there and just rip it and hit my natural draw there and let it ride the win. I didn't want to dink around and hit a cut 7 there from an elevated tee. I just didn't feel it at that time. So I went ahead and ripped a 8. And I knew that could carry it to the hole. And that was fine. I put it on the green, put pressure on him, and it ended up closer than I thought it would. And then Adam hit -- sounded like he missed it a little bit. Sounded like he hit it a little bit thin, but it was enough to get there. And on top of that he stepped up there and poured it right in there. When he made that -- you kind of knew he was going to make that putt, the way he's been putting. He made that big putt over on 11, similar circumstance. So you figured he'd probably make this one, too, and he went ahead and just right in the middle.

Q. You were impressed with that?

TIGER WOODS: He knew he was going to -- the way the match was, the way it's been going, it's not going to be won with a bogey. You're going to have to make birdie and probably have to make birdie to halve holes. And we did it a few times today.

Q. Before your big match with David Toms tomorrow, where would you recommend David going to have a nice meal?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know if Sonya is here to cook. I don't know. Microwave it, nuke it.

Q. You said that he's picked your brain. Can you share with us some advice that you've given him?

TIGER WOODS: It's just little things, whether it's a swing change and the path of the swing or it's game plan on certain holes. We played a lot of practice rounds in majors together. And it's usually strategy, how to play a hole: Why would you play it this way. I share sometimes -- we've played practice rounds at Augusta, some of the pins -- he's never been there before, and he played there with me in the practice round -- where the pins will be, tendencies on these greens. Like this green has more grain than that one. This putt looks like it does this, but it actually doesn't, that kind of stuff. And a lot of it is just strategy. And he's mature enough to handle the Tour life. He's grown-up quite quickly.

Q. What's the best advice you gave him?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. You've got to ask him.

Q. The second shot on 15, big turning point for you when you set up that birdie, looked like you had side spin.

TIGER WOODS: It's called luck. It was just a little 8-iron, 120 yards, and just bumping a little 8-iron up there, trying to take the spin off. If that ball lands on the green, it will probably come back off or back down the hill, just like I did -- I think I did that against Carl the first round. But luckily it hit on the fringe, kicked on the green, and it took the spin off by hitting on the fringe. It was a lot of luck.


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