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February 19, 2002

Tiger Woods


Q. Some players say they play the course in match-play, others say they play the opponent, what's the Tiger way?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's a combination of both. Depends on, obviously who is teeing off first, who is hitting the greens first, what your opponent has been doing.

Every moment is different, and you have to -- I think you have to play it accordingly, to that.

Q. You like winning every event you play, this is the only World Golf Championship event you have not won; extra motive?

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. I think it's a great motivating factor, the fact that you are playing head-to-head starting out. We don't get a chance to do that, as you know. It usually takes three, 3 1/2 rounds to find out whether or not you are going to play against somebody head-to-head, and usually it's not in the same group. So, it's pretty neat going to the first tee knowing who you've got and you can look at them eye ball to eye ball.

Q. What have you always loved about match-play?

TIGER WOODS: That's it right there, what I just said. Just going head-to-head and looking them right in the eye for however many holes it takes. Win or lose, it's a pretty neat feeling.

Q. Will you see some putts early that you might not late?

TIGER WOODS: The way these greens are running, they are not exactly smooth right now. So I think you're going to see a lot of guys making them putt.

Q. What do you know about your first-round opponent?

TIGER WOODS: I played with Peter in New Zealand, actually. We were paired together the first two days. He's been playing great down there in Australia and all over the world. He's a great player, and hopefully, tomorrow I can go out there and put a little pressure on him.

Q. Do you watch your opponent's every move or --?

TIGER WOODS: Well, as I said, a lot of it is based on what he does and how I'm feeling. You've got to play each -- each moment. That's the cool thing about match-play; you don't just worry about your game. You've got to worry about what your opponent is doing, the golf course, the conditions. A lot of things are going into each and every shot. It's a neat little feeling, because we don't get a chance to do that as often as we would like.

Q. How is your game in general?

TIGER WOODS: I'm feeling a lot better. Last week, it was nice to go home and get some rest. I feel a lot stronger now, which is good. My game is coming around and starting to show some signs that I'm starting to hit the ball a little more crisp and clean.

Q. Talk about the golf course.

TIGER WOODS: The golf course is very wet. The ball is picking up mud. The greens are very soft. Extremely soft, actually, and you're backing up 5-irons and stuff like that, 6-irons. So, it's going to be one of those West Coast events where the ball is just going to spin back quite a bit.

Q. What's that going to mean for the matches, Tiger? Are longer hitters going to be at an advantage?

TIGER WOODS: Depends how much water they put on it. If they don't put any water on the greens or the fairways, then I think the golf course is going to pick up a little speed and it's going to dry out and it will be a little more fair for all of the players. Right now, it is a little soft. You've got to be very careful going into the greens that you don't put too much spin on the ball.

Q. Are they going to be tough to putt?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's going to be -- it's just one of those --.

Q. Like Pebble?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, especially when you get certain putts where you've got to make for a half of a hole or something like that, or means a little bit more, then it's going to be interesting.

Q. You talked about not gearing up too much for this, or thinking that it's the biggest one you haven't one won, but is it important to you to get this win, since you have so many others?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think I need to put that kind of pressure on myself.

I just enjoy being able to play match-play because we don't get to do it as often as we did when we were juniors and amateurs. Basically, one time a year -- or actually twice now with this event and the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup. Even then, it's a different type of format than what you're used to.

As a kid, this is what we used to play, and that's what makes it neat. It's like going back to our old days -- which wasn't too long ago for me.

Q. Is it different playing match-play as a pro than when you were playing as an amateur?

TIGER WOODS: The bigger match-play events were the marquis events, the U.S. Amateur, the Western Amateur, those were the two big events, and those involved stroke-play and match-play, qualifying and then match-play. That's what the whole year was based upon, those two events. Now we have this event, we have other major championships, THE PLAYERS Championship, the World Golf Championships, there's a lot of events that even if you don't win this one or play well here, there's always others.

Back in amateur golf, there was no tournament bigger than the U.S. Amateur or the U.S. Junior.

Q. Are you surprised this event has not caught on more for the fans?

TIGER WOODS: That's a great question. I think it's neat for the fans to get to see this event, in this format. Maybe it's a little tough because a lot of the matches are so spread out. It's a little different, like I said from the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. There's only like four matches going off here. There's 32 matches the first day.

But the great thing about that is you can get up close to the players that you want to see.

Q. If you were a fan, would you follow a match or would you --?

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. You've got to follow one match, because there's so many things that can happen and you can observe in one match. The ebb and the flow of the match that you cannot get an appreciation for what is actually going on in the match, unless you follow the hole from the First Tee shot to whoever wins on whatever hole.

Q. Have you looked ahead to see who you might be playing if you advance after the first round ?

TIGER WOODS: I'll be honest with you, I've been on the computer and I've tried to find brackets, I have not found anything yet. So, I don't know who is playing who.

Q. You haven't gotten any photocopies of your bracket?

TIGER WOODS: I've been asking the guys in the locker room, "Can I get a bracket," and no one can a bracket yesterday. I went on a couple of days ago and no one had a bracket then. Maybe I can get one today and look at who is actually playing.


TIGER WOODS: Is that where it's at? Okay.

Q. What's your schedule?

TIGER WOODS: Playing tomorrow here at La Costa. But before then, I'm actually going to go eat and do a little practicing today. (Laughing.)

Q. How much did you play last week, rounds versus practice?

TIGER WOODS: I played every day. Doesn't mean I played every day, 18 holes. I usually play 3 hole, 9 holes, 15 holes, whatever it was, came on in and practiced, went back out and played a few more, that kind of stuff. You just go in and out of playing. But I did play every day.

Q. You speak back to the U.S. Amateur, where you won three in a row , can you think of one or two cases that kind of illustrate how match-play can be, any examples of those classic matches that you played?

TIGER WOODS: There were so many different things that have happened. But it's the tide turning on one putt or hitting one shot when an opponent goes in the tank, or I get fired up and start making some birdies and real off --.

Q. Any classic moments from with Scott --?

TIGER WOODS: I just got off to good starts in the afternoon. I played so poorly in the morning and they played well. They had all of the momentum in the world, and I had to try and get the momentum back, and I was able to do that going out early on the first few holes and making some birdies and making some putts, putting a little heat on them. When you have a big lead like that, you feel a little awkward when the guy starts making a run, it goes from 6-up to almost like 2-up. It gets a little more interesting.

Q. Talk about how Darren Clarke when he beat you.

TIGER WOODS: When we played? He played brilliantly. He played solid. He drove the ball wonderfully, hit a lot of good, solid iron shots. He didn't make a whole lot of putts, but he didn't have to. He hit them so close, I was conceding a lot of them.

Q. Is there any advantage to being the No. 1 seed?

TIGER WOODS: I think being any seed in this event means absolutely nothing, because any player can beat anybody. And that's what golf is all about now, is the fields are so deep that anybody can beat anybody at any given time. This format, as you've seen in the past, is a perfect illustration of that. Guys getting knocked out who are the higher seeds early in the tournament, just because these guys are all good.

Q. How much is gamesmanship a factor in match-play?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's part of the game. It's part of playing match-play. I'm not going to say it doesn't happen; it does happen out there. Some of the players don't play. Some of the players do play.

Q. Any examples of gamesmanship?

TIGER WOODS: I'm not going to tell you the secrets. (Laughter.) You get out here and you play and you'll see.

Q. Do you play that, too? Is it expected in match-play?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I think it's common in stroke-play, as well, but but I think less common in stroke-play than it is in match-play.

End of FastScripts....

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