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September 20, 2002

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: Tiger Woods, back-to-back rounds of 65. He was the second round leader. Tiger, no bogeys again today, two days in a row. Talk about that.

TIGER WOODS: Today I definitely drove the ball a little bit better. I felt a little more confident with my tee shots today. I hit my irons like I did yesterday and I putted like I did yesterday. All in all, very pleased with the way I'm playing.

TODD BUDNICK: Questions?

Q. What message does this send out to the Europeans for next week, that you're in this type of form?


Q. The Ryder Cup. Well, you're awesome at the moment and they're looking at you and thinking "Should we turn up?"

TIGER WOODS: You have to think about when you play the Ryder Cup, no matter what match I'm playing, it's only one match and there's four matches going on at the time, in teams. The most I can make is 5 points. I've forgotten, 14 and a half we need to win, what is it to win the Ryder Cup? 14-and-a-half? The most I can contribute is 5 points. I can make a little dent in that, hopefully.

Q. Can you play better?

TIGER WOODS: Can I play better?

Q. Than you have done in the last couple of days?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, I could.

Q. You can?


Q. Are you playing that well or is the course set up that easy?

TIGER WOODS: I think the reason why the scores are low, the greens are so perfect out here. They're absolutely perfect. You can have 20, 30-footers and feel confident you can make that putt. Any putt inside 10 feet, you know if you get the ball on line, it's in the hole. We don't play on greens like this that often. It's often nice when you can.

Q. Do you think of all the WGC events we've had Valderrama or Firestone or Sahalee, the scores have been in that ten-under range except for one year; do you think it would it should be more of a test at this type of event or is it just strictly weather-related?

TIGER WOODS: Even if we had some windier conditions, the guys are still going to shoot good numbers, just because the greens are that good. And on top of that, the fairways are ample, ample wide, and on top of that, the rough is spotty, you can get a good lie and a mediocre lie, but it's not where you can't advance it to the green. It's not set up that hard, but the greens are key. They're so perfect.

Q. Do you think it should be harder for this magnitude of an event?

TIGER WOODS: I've always suggested in any tournament, but the bigger the tournament the harder they should make the golf course. I think it's a lot more fun when you can play tournaments like that. The U.S. Open, I think that's a lot of fun to play. You go out there and you shoot a round in the 60s, you're going to be rewarded by being in the lead if not leading.

Q. I was asking Ernie when you have perfect greens it doesn't put a certain amount of pressure in itself, and because the greens are perfect you're expected to hole things.

TIGER WOODS: I look at the fact if I roll the ball on line, with the right speed, the putt is in the hole. You don't play greens like that very often. I walked in a couple of them today because it's not going to bounce off line, there's no spike marks, nothing out there. Every putt tracks nice and true. It certainly doesn't look like it's putting more pressure on myself just because the greens are good. I think it's great the greens are good, because you don't have to worry about hitting a good putt and having it miss the hole.

Q. If you have to give these two rounds (inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I'm not going to say that. I will say I played better today. I felt better over all my shots today than I did yesterday. It's a crazy game. Sometimes you feel terrible and you shoot low numbers; other times you feel great and shoot a high number. That's the way the game is. I certainly did feel better today.

Q. Can I gather what you said you consider this course to be perhaps a little too easy for an event of this magnitude?

TIGER WOODS: You can make this golf course a lot more difficult, if they narrow the fairways up -- they tried to when I played here in July, they were starting to do that, but they're still pretty wide. And the rough is not all that penalizing. You can still get the ball to the green. They're trying all they can to hide the pins, but it's really hard to hide them when the guys are able to be aggressive off the tees because you really can.

Q. You prefer if they grew the fairways and grew the rough?

TIGER WOODS: One of my favorite was the U.S. Open, because you get rewarded for shooting in the 60s. Here you shoot a couple of high 60s and you get passed.

Q. You were talking in Germany how many perfect shots you hit. Have there been any this week, and if not, when was the last one?

TIGER WOODS: The PGA, on 18th out of that bunker was the greatest shot I ever hit. You love that perfect thing; don't you (laughter).

TODD BUDNICK: Go through the birdies then.

TIGER WOODS: 5, hit a driver left, 5-iron short of the green, hit a great flop shot up there to two feet.

7, I hit a 2-iron off the tee. I hit a pitching wedge to about 15 feet, made that.

I hit driver 3-wood to 40 feet and 2-putted.

Drove the ball in the bunker again on 10, laid up, had a sand wedge to about 12 feet and made it.

12, hit a 3-wood off the tee just in the rough, hit an 8-iron up there to about three feet.

Hit a 5-iron on 14 to about 20 feet, made that.

And on 17, I hit a driver and 2-iron short, pitched up to about 12 feet and made it.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you.

Q. I'm curious, following some of your comments yesterday as it relates to the Ryder Cup. Would you feel it's more important for you to win the Ryder Cup next week or the Disney Classic, which is probably your next tournament?

TIGER WOODS: That's a good question. I guess from a selfish point of view, as an individual, I'd like to win Disney, but from a team aspect, it's a completely different. You want to contribute to your team; you don't want to let your teammates down. I think that's the difference, is that whether I win or lose this week, it's not going to affect any guys out here. They're not going to go home and say "too bad." If you go out there next week and play poorly and the team loses, you let all the guys down. It's a totally different feeling.

Q. So your point is it's not so much the greatest of this tournament; is it the individuality?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, it's completely different. You go out there and you're -- when you're put out there to play, you're trying to get a point for your team. It was a bonding. There is a bonding that occurs that week. We try to beat each other's brains in each week and all of a sudden we're teammates, and that's a lot of fun. Because of that bonding you don't want to let your teammates down, and it is a little demoralizing and a little frustrating at times when you lose your match because you know you let all of them down. That's kind of tough. If I lose this tournament, the only person I'm letting down is myself.

Q. The internal feeling, emotions you had, more bitter about losing to Rocca or finishing second to Clarke at match-play or Rich at the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: Certainly it's got to be the match I lost against Rocca, because you let 11 other guys down on the team, plus your captain.

Q. Do you enjoy the Ryder Cup? Do you enjoy playing?

TIGER WOODS: I enjoy playing. I don't enjoy, as I said, the preparation leading up to it. I don't think anyone enjoys that, but once Friday morning comes, that's when it's fun. Rest of it, is not a whole lot of fun because you're thrown out of routine. You're doing things you're not accustomed to doing, nor do you want to do them. As I said I don't have time to practice as much, or work out as much as I like to, and you're on someone else's schedule. It's an individual sport, so because of that you're always on your own schedule, not anyone else's schedule.

Q. What happened to your 3-wood yesterday?

TIGER WOODS: It broke again. The head came lose.

Q. Did you hit fewer drivers today because you had that with you?


Q. How many more, would you say?

TIGER WOODS: There's no way I could have gone for the green on 8 yesterday because the head was loose; if I was hitting today, nor would I have hit that shot, nor would I have tried to, because the head was moving.

Q. Just before you teed off today, a man collapsed in the crowd behind you. Were you aware of that?

TIGER WOODS: We all saw it. The cameraman told me going down two that he was upright and he was acting halfway cognitive, I guess. He was feeling all right. But, yes, it was kind of scary because he came down twice. He got up after the first time and all of a sudden he collapsed again. We don't know if it was a heart attack or stroke or dehydration or whatever it was.

Q. Given your feelings about the Ryder Cup, could you ever see the day when you would decline the opportunity to play in it?

TIGER WOODS: I enjoy playing, as I said. I don't enjoy the other stuff leading up to it.

Q. Would that ever put you off from actually competing and say "I don't want to play this year"?

TIGER WOODS: If I could just show up and play one practice round that would be great.

Q. Given that you can't and you have to be there --

TIGER WOODS: See, exactly. Exactly how you put it, you can't. That's what makes it not as much fun preparing for it, because just like you said, you can't. I think that's -- that's why it is a little frustrating, you're thrown out of your routine. First it's NEC at Firestone, the last three years we've played there, I played a total of 26 holes in practice rounds, I've done all right. So sometimes I think practice rounds are overrated.

Q. Looking ahead in the future, the long term, is there one day you might just say because of all that "I don't want to play in the Ryder Cup this year"?

TIGER WOODS: Let me ask you a question, would you rip me?

Q. Yes.


Q. Same with the President's Cup? Do you feel the same way about the President's Cup?

TIGER WOODS: No, because we have one function, one gala. I'm only there for a couple of hours, in, out, gone. Tim has listened to the players, and they've changed the President's Cup, because when they first played the President's Cup it was a lot like the Ryder Cup but they've made changes. They listened to the players and modified it so it's the least amount of time doing the extracurricular stuff.

Q. Except for going to South Africa?

TIGER WOODS: Not exactly a short flight.

Q. What are you going to do when you're Ryder Cup captain?

TIGER WOODS: Will I make it that far?

Q. Surely you'll probably be chosen, late 40s and early 50s, like everybody else, what is that captaincy going to look like?

TIGER WOODS: Riding in a cart, having a few pints here and there. If I'm ever chosen as captain, I'll try to make it as fun as possible and certainly will be trying to go head-to-head with the PGA of America and try to eliminate a lot of this stuff so the guys can have fun and prepare normally. Whatever you do to prepare, I want you to play your best. You know what you need to do to get ready. We all do, we all know our routine.

End of FastScripts....

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