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February 15, 2003

Tiger Woods


MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us today, Tiger. You're 12 under par, tied for the lead heading into tomorrow. 26 out of 28 times when you had a lead you've gone on to win. Including the last seven times. So I guess we're in good shape for tomorrow.

TIGER WOODS: I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about even having a chance. After taking as much time as I took off. I'm excited about getting out there and competing and we have got a great final group. So it's going to be a lot of fun.

MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about today. Five birdies and one bogey.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, just I just come -- I got off to a great start. Birdied the first two and just kind of grinded my way along today. I didn't hit the ball particularly well, but I got up-and-down from a lot of places today.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Well I've always said making a par putt, a big par putt, feels better than making a birdie. Because you never want to lose a shot. And I knew I needed to make those putts in order to keep myself on top of the board.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I had 260 front. And I hit it solid.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Rank in what?

Q. Of your better shots.

TIGER WOODS: I mean it was a good shot, but it wasn't, I won't say a great shot. Because if I had hit it thin, I would still have plenty of lip, there's no lip in front of me. And I had an absolute perfect lie. And so all I have to do is make decent contact with it and if I mishit it, miss it thin. And I still have a chance to run the ball up. And I hit it flush and it came out great.

Q. By your own admission you maxed out with 68 today. Does that scare you tomorrow about not being able at the top of your game or are you still trying to find things to get you lower?

TIGER WOODS: Well I feel a lot better today. I have felt a lot more comfortable with my driving today. I don't know if the stats reflect that. But I definitely felt a lot better. Hit some better shots off tees. It feels good walking to the ball, you know. It's just one of those things where I just need to go out there and hit a few balls after I'm done with this and just kind of get back in that rhythm again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Right. Exactly. I have been there before.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: It felt a little fatigued last night. I wouldn't say sore. But it felt like I used it, that's for sure. But this morning it felt fine. So that's a good sign. That's a very, very positive sign.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I guess it is. But you know I've had a lot of success on this golf course. And if you were to pick two guys to play well on this course, I think you would probably pick us two.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I can't just worry about Phil. Brad's tied with me. There are a lot of guys right behind us. So if we don't go out there and play well, we will get passed. We have to take care of our own business. But it's going to be exciting to be in that final group again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: The second shot wasn't as hard as it looked. I was trying to hit it high and my right foot slipped just a touch. And when it did that I bowed it to save it. When I bowed it, I drove it straight in the hill. The third shot was just a terrible golf shot. I got it a little bit under, flipped it, it was out of here. And I was actually lucky it didn't scoot over and into the gunch. I got lucky on that part. Then I tried to get too cute on the next one. And then finally my fifth shot, I said, you know what, let's just get out of here with six. Whatever you do, just don't make it a 7. And it happened to go in. But I was not trying to chip that ball in. I was just trying to eliminate making another mistake and just happened to get rewarded.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: God, yes. I think the biggest example is number 15. Yesterday we played from, I guess almost like the ladies tees up there. I mean it was 90 yards up than what it was today. And that's where the tee used to be. You used to come right off the 14th green and go right to the tee. Now you got to walk halfway back the fairway. You turned a hole that was 3 or something, now it's 477. So, but this golf course coming in is a heck of a test. Especially when it's soft like this because you're getting no roll and they moved all the tees back. Today 12 was all the way in the back. I hit a really good drive there and I still had 212 to the hole. So it's just a real long golf course right now.

Q. Does it favor the long hitter?

TIGER WOODS: It kind of favors whoever can hit it high, I think. High and straight. Because the rough is up. You got to keep the ball in play. But it definitely favors someone who gets the ball up in the air off the tee. You can't hit that little low burner out there and expect it to run anywhere.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: No, I did that all last year. I took care of that. Coming back I guess the only, -- my practice sessions were going really well. But I hadn't been able to, obviously, hit driver enough and hit my 3-wood enough to where I felt comfortable coming out here this week. And then Tuesday I wasn't able to practice, played a practice round, but I wasn't able to practice afterwards. And Wednesday was completely washed out. So I was really looking forward to getting those two days of getting on site and working and getting the feel back again in those two days, and they were taken away from me. And from there I had to try and play my way back into it. And today I think this was the most comfortable I've felt.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: No, it's both. It's both. It's a test of also -- I'm going to test it by going out there and playing my own game. I'm not going to back off or try -- every shot I possibly can I'll try that's the proper shot to play. And that's the, that's what it is of the. Go out there and play. Forget about it and just play. And my intent was to come here and see how it is, but also to win the tournament.

Q. What score will it take tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I really don't. Because a lot of it will depend on this wind. If the wind kicks up like it did towards the end here, it won't take a low score to win here.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: It has. It has in the sense that yesterday playing 27 holes and not having the knee blow up with it swollen and unbelievably sore. And then woke up this morning and it felt fine. That is very, very positive news. And it's not like I'm actually going out there and backing off on any tee shots or any shot I'm playing, I'm going out there and giving it everything I got. And nothing has happened.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's, it is as positive a week as I could have ever expected.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Well, I wanted to go out there and put something in the 60s. I knew that would give my, honestly give me a chance to win tomorrow. I wouldn't have too far to go. The golf course is playing so long that no one's going to go out there and shoot 63 or 64 and run away with the tournament. So I just needed to shoot something in the 60s, I did what I had to do to be right where I needed to be. So that's what I was able to do today.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I think the emphasis is on ball striking. Because you got to keep it in play and on top of that now you got long irons into most of the par-4s. And I don't know if you guys have seen the pin sheets at all, but the pin sheets are on most of the greens are three from the side. And we never have a three from the side. It's always four, five or six. But they have moved it more towards the edges, I guess because of the soft conditions, put them on the high spots. But when they did that, they're virtually impossible to getting up and down if you miss it on the short side. And it's hard to be as precise as you want to be when you have 3- or 4- irons into most of the greens.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I guess it's because I have played here for such a long time. I've been down here as a junior and, gee, I played it when -- I played here when I was still in single digits in age. So I've been here awhile and played this golf course, I've seen it in so many different kind of conditions. And I've always liked coming down to San Diego.

MODERATOR: Go through the birdies and bogeys.

TIGER WOODS: Birdied one, hit a driver and an 8-iron up there. And made about a 15 footer.

No. 2, I hit a driver off the tee and a pitching wedge to about 25 feet and made it.

6, I hit a driver in the left bunker, had a great lie, and had no lip in front of me and hit a really good 3-wood out of there on to the green and just 3-putted from about 18 feet.

7, I already described that.

13, I hit a driver off the tee and a 5-iron right in the middle of the green and 3-putted from about 30 feet.

And on 17 I hit a good drive down the right side, hit a duck slash shank over to the right, bleachers, got a good drop. And I had a decent lie. A pretty good lie. I hit a good shot up there and buried about an eight footer.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was a full swing, as high as I could hit one.

MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, Tiger.

TIGER WOODS: You got it.

End of FastScripts....

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