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August 10, 2002

Tiger Woods


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us for a few minutes. You really battled out there today; especially with your start, and came up with a one under par, 71. Make a couple of comments the we'll go into questions.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't get off to the greatest starts today, but I hit the second shot out-of-bounds on 1, but I got it back on the next hole with a birdie. But I didn't really have the stuff I had the last couple of days. Didn't quite feel as comfortable over the shots but got it back to under par for the day, something I am proud of.


Q. Regarding the Buick Open, some are saying that if you had won that, the Grand Slam, where would you go from there possibly the possibility of it affecting your discipline as far as future accomplishments because it is like winning the Indianapolis 500 three times in a row, so the question is, had you done that, do you think that you pretty much would have -- there would be no other place to go?

TIGER WOODS: No, it's one of those things that if I would have won the Indianapolis 500 three times - got to love 4. You just -- you can always do it again and that's the great thing about our major championships, there's four a year and even if I didn't win the British Open, I still got another one here to have. I have won two this year; it's not like I have had a bad year. If I would somehow sneak another one out next week, I think that would be, you know, considered one of the top years.

Q. What happened on the second shot, at the first hole? Was it a bad swing?

TIGER WOODS: No, I just had to hit a big high slice, had to start the ball pretty far left. I had 260 to the front and I didn't slice it. I cut it. I absolutely killed it. So I carried about 257 in the air into the wind. If I would have miss-hit it, I would have been fine.

Q. Then you hit two pretty good shots at No. 2. Made birdie there. What happened after that, you kind of -- lose your swing --

TIGER WOODS: I didn't quite feel as comfortable over the shots today. Couple of shots I felt all right, but for the most part, I didn't feel comfortable. I felt -- I hit a lot of shots left, then I'd protect against left ball; then I'd skank one over short right, so I didn't really have it. But just had to grind it out, get the ball in play somehow, get the ball in the fairway; from there make a decision whether I would be aggressive or conservative.

Q. Short game was pretty good at 4, 5, you made a lot of good up-and-downs ---

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, made some good saves. The flop-shot I hit over there on 5 was pretty sweet. I didn't have a whole lot of room, and had a decent lie; not a great lie, but somehow it came out absolute perfect; which is pretty nice.

Q. What does it mean to you to have two men of color in the final pairing in a pro golf tournament and what does it mean to pro golf?

TIGER WOODS: I think, as you know, golf is becoming more global. It is becoming a global sport and we're seeing people from all over the world playing now. And I think that's -- final group is a perfect indication of that. Our game is growing, it's expanding; which is perfect.

Q. During your career you have been able to save grounds, turned 74s into even par, 1-under - just like today, you didn't have your stuff but you got it around. What is your mindset when you are having those kind of days?

TIGER WOODS: Just try not to make a big number, really. Like the first hole (laughs), you don't want to make those big numbers. You don't want to make any silly mistakes. Such as shortsiding yourself, which did I on 18, you know, cost me a shot there. When you are not feeling comfortable, just try and get the ball in play off the tee somewhere in play, doesn't have to be long, just get it in play and dump it on the green somewhere. I felt like I was really putting well but I never really hit it close enough to give myself legitimate chances consistently. But it was good enough to shoot under par.

Q. You talked about yesterday you didn't think somebody could shoot in the '70s and keep the lead. Are you glad you are wrong, I mean, you are 71 and you still have the lead?

TIGER WOODS: I said win the tournament. But obviously it is a lot windier today and the greens are getting very quick - very crusty, very quick. They are holding, but the downhill putts, I mean, they are very tough to hit, very tough to read.

Q. You think you will have to be in the 60s then to win?

TIGER WOODS: If the forecast is like this for tomorrow, yeah. I am going to have to shoot a good one tomorrow.

Q. Did you know that OB was there on No. 1 because you took about 20 steps and had no clue?

TIGER WOODS: I thought I had a lot more room than that between the gallery and the OB Steaks, it was only out by about a foot. It flew right over the top of the gallery.

Q. Do you ever think or have an explanation for the game of golf where you could play so -- just you and other players could play so well for one round, two rounds, maybe three, but putting it together for four rounds, seems to be quite impossible, can you give us your thoughts on that?

TIGER WOODS: I think, we're all human. (Laughs) I think that is the simplest way to explain it. We're all human. This game is so fickle that no matter how good you are playing, one of those days you are not going to play quite as well as the other three. I have gone low and shot some really low numbers for four straight days, but I promise you one of those days I didn't really hit it that well, but I made every putt I looked at. It is one of those kind of things. This game is just, it's just tough. It's not a whole lot of room for error.

Q. How different do the conditions have to be for you not to get home in 16 with driver and driver in one round and then get home with a 6-iron there?

TIGER WOODS: Fairways are a lot faster for one. 2, we had the same exact wind but opposite direction. Just enough to turn it around.

Q. What do you think about tomorrow, how low do you need to shoot?

TIGER WOODS: I am going to have to play a good one. Whatever it is, I am going to have to play a lot better than I did today.

Q. What was it like when you had the 15-20-minute wait? You get a chance to go into the back nine, got a couple of birdies; all of a sudden you and Stevie are sitting around for 15 minutes on a hole where yesterday you made eagle?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we had to wait there for a while. I think that's one of the good times where it helps to be young. I am not going to tighten up too bad. Plus it was hot, and just tried to stay relaxed more than anything, just don't burn more energy than you have to. Stay relaxed. When it's time to play get up, refocus, get yourself loosened up and get really committed on that tee shot. That tee shot is so important because if you get the ball in play, you are probably going to make birdie and if you get the ball out of play, out of position, you are going to really get hot at yourself. I really got committed on that tee shot and just absolutely striped it.

Q. Yesterday you went to the range when you were done; didn't spend a long time there, but it seemed like -- you seemed really confident after you left. So you really never expected this today, did you?

TIGER WOODS: No, yesterday I played well and you don't want to burn yourself out by hitting a lot of golf balls. I am not one of those guys like Vijay who has got to hit a whole bunch balls everyday. I just wanted to go out there and get my rhythm, make sure I got ball position -- worked on my basics really and make sure I can shape shots up in the air again. Yesterday I hit so many low shots that I felt like I was trying to ball it a little bit too much so tried go on the range and hit shots up in the air again. Felt really good when I leave left. I felt good warming up today. I just didn't quite hit it the way I was warming up .

Q. I know you have played with Esteban before. What do you think of his game and playing with him in the final group tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: Well we all know he is a competitor, he's a fighter (laughs) and he's really a great guy to play with. He's as nice as they come. So tomorrow is going to be -- it's going to be a competitive environment, but one that I think myself, and Esteban are going to thoroughly enjoy.

Q. Did you notice that he was three strokes ahead of you at one point?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I saw the board on 10 green over the left. He got to 16, I dropped back down to 13.

Q. Any reaction?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I had a lot of those birdie holes to play, and I figured just keep plugging along and just try and get yourself under par for the day. I was able to do that, and dropped one but still under par for the day.

Q. (Inaudible) where do you see golf heading?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously here everybody is going to be longer. I think we're going to start seeing probably next ten years or so, true athletes playing our sport. We're not going to get, you know, guys who are out of shape playing. We're going to get -- all these young kids are working out at a younger age. They are bigger, stronger, more athletic and that's just, you know, every sport is becoming that way, and golf is -- golf is going to see a bigger jump because obviously of where it has been. The guys are-- you look at every young kid now in college, they are all hitting the weight room five times a week. They are all working out. All doing their cardio. All trying to hit the ball longer, better, stronger. 20 years from now, I will be looking for a ride in the cart. (Laughter).

Q. You were answering a question earlier about your practice. Do you have a set time like a number of hours or one hour before your round that you like to arrive or do you have a pattern for -- that you follow from one day to the next when you are in competition?

TIGER WOODS: I generally start my routine about an hour before I play. A lot of that's dependent on how far you have to -- how far is the range, how far is the putting green. If there is a chipping green you have got to allow more time. You adjust it, but it's generally an hour just about every time I tee it up.

Q. You start with the range hitting balls first and then putting and then is that --

TIGER WOODS: I like to putt first, but all of that's dependent on where the putting green is. Sometimes it's not convenient to go putt and go to the range so I just go to the range and hit balls then go to the putting green and tee off. A lot of it depends on the course setup and where everything is at.

Q. Are you glad you are going toe-to-toe with Esteban on the golf course and not in the ring, do you think?

TIGER WOODS: I can take him in the ring if you gave me a 2-iron. (Laughter).

JOAN v. T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tiger, for joining us.

End of FastScripts....

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