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August 14, 2001

Tiger Woods


JULIUS MASON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the 83rd PGA Championship news conference with defending champion, Tiger Woods. Tiger is playing in his fifth PGA Championship. Tiger, welcome to the Atlanta Athletic Club.

TIGER WOODS: Thank you.

JULIUS MASON: What do you think of the course? Let us know, and we'll go to Q&A, please.

TIGER WOODS: I played 9 holes yesterday and 18 today. The golf course is a little wet right now, a little soft. Most of our tee shots are picking up mud. Most of the drives, actually, are backing up in the fairway. So it's going to be a long golf course if this course doesn't dry out. If we get a little more rain, it's going to be a pretty tough test.

Q. Can you tell me the story about the bear and the fishing thing that you had on your diary page, give us the play-by-play of it chasing you off the river in Alaska?

TIGER WOODS: Well, Mark landed a king almost half a mile down the river. He drug it up along the bank. Actually a guy drug it up on the bank and along the trail and I landed my king after him. He came down, we went back together. Cookie is out on the river and Mark went out on the river with Cookie and Cookie yells out, "There's a bear." So they try and hurry back across the river, pretty good current, so it is going to take a bit and the bear is coming after us because he is smelling the trail that Mark had drug along the ground with the fish and it was coming right at us. We were all right. We're still here.

Q. Could you just tell us about the last couple of weeks, not playing the Buick, what you've done and are you happy you didn't play and what that did for you, resting?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm happy I didn't play, because you had to shoot 40-under to win. (Laughs). The guys went awfully low that week. Kenny played well. The rest of the guys played well. It was nice just to get away from things for a little bit. Didn't touch a club for a while, and it was nice just kind of not doing much.

Q. Can you just talk about the importance of the PGA Championship? I mean, you've won a couple of times now but where does this rate with your other majors and thoughts of possibly winning it again?

TIGER WOODS: Well, obviously any time you get a chance to win any of the major championships, it's special. The PGA, being the last major, everyone knows that; I think it puts a little more importance on the fact that it is our last chance to win a major championship of the year. After this, there are some big tournaments, but this is the last of the big ones. I've been very fortunate the last couple of years to play as well as I have, but the last two times I've won, yeah, there is a sense of accomplishment, a sense of specialness because it is the last major of the year.

Q. Tiger, as long as we were thinking about last year, I know that during the course of time, you know, you've gone out there and shadowboxed with Nicklaus and some of the other great golfers. Did you ever think you would find yourself in that kind of a head-to-head match with a guy that is a few years older, that you know so well, like Bob May, and your thoughts as you remember back on that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, last year was great fun for me, win or lose, because we both played well. The only bogeys that were made in the final round were by me; I made two bogeys. Bob didn't make any. He shot a 66 in the final round, and that's pretty impressive. Both of us shooting 31 on the back nine on Sunday afternoon in a major championship, that doesn't happen very often. We were going toe-to-toe. I know from my perspective that when I was playing that back nine, I knew that I had to make birdies in order to win the championship; it was not going to be handed to me. I was fortunate enough to make a big putt on 15 for par, and Bob missed a reasonably short putt for birdie, which was big for me. Then I made birdie on 17 to tie it up. We both made some good putts on 18 to force it into a playoff. But both of us had a lot of fun. We've talked about it since then and reminisced. It was just a lot of fun competing at that level, because we both knew that even if somebody made a mistake, we were going to recover. We had that kind of feeling, and we both kind of sensed it; that it was going to take something -- something special and a bunch of birdies in order to win, and I was fortunate enough to make one more than he did.

Q. In addition to it being wet, is there anything that stands out about this golf course that you look at and say this either is a good thing or a bad thing? And could you specifically talk about No. 18 and how long it is?

TIGER WOODS: I think this golf course is a great course because it is just straightforward. There's no tricks to it. The greens are smooth. They are a little bit on the slow side because of all the moisture. When they dry out, they will get a little bit quicker. But I think they are very simple. There's no dead elephants in them. They are pretty simple, which is nice to see. These are the old-style greens, and it's nice to play that kind of golf course. It's very similar to playing the Champions off the tee. You can use a driver, you can drive it down there, you can get aggressive if you want to. Obviously, it is a reward for driving the ball in play and a long ways, if you but stray off, there's a penalty and there should be; it's a major championship. 18 today, I hit a good drive. Didn't hit it great, but I hit it good enough and it's up the right side and I hit a 3-iron. Put two 3-irons in the water on the right, but both of them landed about pin-high. If I would have hit it online, it would have been all right.

Q. Can you tell us about the incident with the autograph hounder yesterday? How unnerving was that? Are you going to stride to get security tightened up?

TIGER WOODS: It's hard, because you guys kind of say that I have too much security, and are kind of on me for that, and then I have -- you know, just an excited fan. A little kid with one of those unauthorized books, and just threw a book and hit me right in the mouth, but I'm still here.

Q. You made a point that you play to be the best and to win. This season is shaping up in that it's a real race. Is there any sense of urgency for you to do something now, if you're going to be Player of the Year again?

TIGER WOODS: No. To be honest with you, if you start thinking like that, I mean we have a lot of big tournaments coming up. We have two more World Golf Championships. We have a TOUR Championship. There's some big events coming up besides -- but this is obviously the last major championship. So even if you don't play well and don't win here, you still have some big events that you need to play well in, in the future, in order to have a chance at winning Player of the Year honors.

Q. If you were to compare this year to last year, not so much in results, but just in the state of the game, has your best golf to date this year been as good as your best golf you played last year?

TIGER WOODS: Not for an entire tournament. I haven't quite played as well for an entire tournament. I've played better this year in spurts. I've hit the ball better in the middle part of the year than I did last year at the same time, but I haven't played as well in the summer, obviously, as I did last year.

Q. It was a sense of history that you were going after last year at this point, third straight major eventually on the way to sweeping all of them. Did that fuel you any more, compared to this year? Granted, it is a major and it's important, but not that sense of history on the line?

TIGER WOODS: When you are preparing, getting ready for a major championship, there is already enough on your mind. I tried to eliminate as much as I possibly could from the historical ramifications of winning a major championship last year, third in a row. I just tried to go out there and just play. In the back of my mind, obviously, I knew it, but I tried to put it out of my mind as best as I possibly could so I could just go out and play like I normally would. It is a major championship and you have to think a little bit different than you do during normal tournaments. But if you start saying, "I have to win this championship to win three and a row and tie Ben Hogan," that's going to put a little too much pressure on yourself.

Q. You are known as one of the toughest guys mentally out here. Can you share what it has been like emotionally from years ago when you put your head down at 18 at Medinah, breathe out the exhaustion to run through four straight majors, and now from the Masters to here?

TIGER WOODS: The whole thing?

Q. Probably just 12 months of that time.

TIGER WOODS: You mean when I was winning the major championships?

Q. Yeah. Just what your mindset is coming in here after making a run through those four majors and then getting here.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I was playing really well at the time. You know, after I won those four major championships, yeah, I played well and I got -- I got a lot of lucky breaks, really, and had a lot of good things happen. But, to be honest with you, when you are playing a tournament, you can't look at the past and say, "I've won two of these," and try and win three in a row and then I'm going for four. You've just got to play one shot at a time and one tournament at a time. Whatever is in the past has already been done. I'm trying to do the best that I can in the here and now, and if I started thinking about what I've done in the past, I'll forget about hitting a nice, high, shaping 2-iron up there or hitting a little low, cut six. You can't think that way. You've got to be present when you play.

Q. Southern Hills and Lytham were golf courses where driver in many cases wasn't an option, and this is a golf course, as you say, fairly straight away and gives you opportunities to be aggressive. Do you look forward to having the opportunity to bring out the diver if your swing is where you want it to be?

TIGER WOODS: That's the key. If you're swinging well, any golf course is going to be easier. At Southern Hills, I wasn't playing all that great. The only time I actually drove it good was at Lytham on Sunday. I drove it like did I last year. Unfortunately, I didn't do that the first three days, which I didn't give myself much of a chance because of that. I would not say it's because of the fact it took driver out of my hand. Thank goodness it did. The times I did hit driver, I didn't even come close to hitting the fairway. Was nice to hit 2-irons up there and at least having a chance at putting the ball in play. This week is going to be one of those weeks where you are going to have to pull out drivers quite a bit and you are going to have hit and be committed to your lines and shape your shots accordingly. The great thing is that the fairways are a little soft, which means that the ball is not going to run if you hit it off-line. So if you hit a borderline drive, if it lands in the fairway, it will stay. But then again, if you miss the fairway in the primary rough, it is going to be really, really tough to get the ball on the green in regulation.

Q. I was going to ask, on a scale of 1 to 10, how do you think you played in the last two majors? Where do you think you are now and how hard have you worked since Lytham?

TIGER WOODS: Scale of 1 to 10, somewhere in there. (Laughs). I didn't play all that good. I putted good. Short game was good. I just didn't hit the ball that well. My preparation coming here, I didn't really do much, to be honest with you. I just kind of took it easy and relaxed at home. Practiced here and there. Played a little golf here and there, but I just kind of took it easy, which was nice, because I'm playing the next six out of seven weeks. I'm playing quite a bit. Three of them are in different countries, so I just need a little time off.

Q. If you'll allow me, I have a two-part question for you. I know that surprises you. By virtue of your Masters win, you have already qualified for the PGA Grand Slam, which you've won three consecutive ones. Do you enjoy going back to Poipu and that format and playing against the other winners of the major championships?

TIGER WOODS: If you can qualify, you know you've had a pretty good year because Poipu probably the hardest tournament to qualify for. Only four guys are invited, that's it. It's a tough event to make, and I have been fortunate enough to be there the last four years and winning the last three. You know, it's just nice to be able to go there and it's a nice relaxed environment. We all enjoy just playing, having a good time, and then again, we also enjoy trying to beat each other's brains in, too. I enjoyed it when it was match play a little bit more when than when it was stroke play. Match play was a little more fun, I thought, because it presented a bigger challenge because we play stroke play all the time.

Q. Talk about the threesome you are going to be make in those first two days.

TIGER WOODS: Well, to play with David and Retief, it's going to be a lot of fun. Retief and I don't really know each other all that well. We've played golf, yes, but I don't know him as well as I do David. And David and I have become pretty good buds and it's going to be nice to play with a good friend out there. It is going to be, obviously, an intense environment, being a major championship, but at least we'll have some good company and I'll enjoy talking to David and I'll enjoy talking to Retief.

Q. Two questions. You mentioned traveling countries. How do you combat west-to-east and east-to-west jet-lag? Do you have any special tips or how do you cope with it?

TIGER WOODS: I think being in better shape does help. It helps you get over jet lag a lot faster than people who aren't in as good of shape. I know that that was proven by Gary Player, traveling to and from South Africa and all over the world. He played everywhere and he was in the best shape out of everybody, at that time. He handled it the best because I think when you are physically fit, it's a little bit easier to get adjusted to the time.

Q. You practice sometimes very early. Is that to sometimes try and avoid too many crowds or fans?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm usually an early riser, so it's no biggy to get up early and go play. We weren't the first one off today. Thomas beat us out there, but we played it through.

Q. Do you feel anymore physically or mentally worn down this year at this time than you were last year around the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily -- not necessarily mentally, but physically, a little bit. I wasn't home for a long period of time this year. I was either playing or hanging out and going on vacation, fishing trips and stuff like that. So I was never home, and it was nice to actually go home and hang out the last few weeks. I definitely needed to do that. We, as golfers, we don't have home matches. We play most of our events on the road, and sometimes our commitments outside of playing and competing takes us away from home, as well. I wasn't able to spend enough time at home. So it was nice for me to go home and not have to look at the remote; my fingers already knew where to go. Just hang out on my own couch and have everything dialed in just the way I like it. It was nice to be in that environment where I feel comfortable and felt like I'm ready to play.

Q. Your friend, David Duval, just won the British Open. Obviously, you know that. I was curious if you've seen any differences in him since winning that tournament?

TIGER WOODS: Mm-hmm. David is still the same David. He's a good guy. I think he's going to be a little more confident now in major championships because he knows what it takes to win a major championship. Anyone who wins a major and understands now what it takes, coming down the stretch or what it takes to prepare for a major to win, what kind of mental frame of mind you need to have for the entire week, and what kind of game it takes. And David accomplished all of the above. I think he's going to understand that and use it to his advantage in the future.

Q. Just on your friendship with David Duval, do you think that's based on the fact that you feel that you have a lot in common or because you're different personalities and for that reason, the friendship is born on that?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I think David and I are -- we are a little bit different than each other, but then again, we are also very similar, too. We have very similar interests, very similar perspective on life. I think that's one of the reasons why we've become friends and become buds; I think it is because of that. Put it this way, I've enjoyed getting to know David. I know he doesn't always open up to everybody, which is why he's to himself; that's fine. But if he does know you and he does trust you, then he'll open up quite a bit, and it's been really neat to get to know David.

Q. Back to the emotional thing. You mentioned David and his confidence since he's won at Lytham. Last week, Kenny Perry said for the first five holes he was in a funk, could not get anything done, and all of the sudden this calm overtook his body and he played great the rest of the way. I was wondering, with all your experience, do you have that calm when you tee it up? Do you have the butterflies still? Is there something that you've found that helps you in your game?

TIGER WOODS: You know, the day I'm not nervous when I tee off is the day I quit. Because in my mind, that's the day you don't care anymore. If you have an I-don't-care attitude, then obviously you're not going to go out there and feel anything, because who really cares. But I take great pride in what I do and obviously I'm going to be a little apprehensive and a little nervous and, yeah, have a few butterflies. And I think that's good because it heightens your awareness, it heightens your concentration, and I think that you can play to a higher level because of those things, if you know how to use them correctly. That's how I approach it. I don't know if I can expand on that, but I just go out there and try to play and harness that energy as hard as I possibly can.

Q. This fishing thing, is the appeal: A, that you are away from us --

TIGER WOODS: Yes. (Laughter.)

Q. Is some of it also that you are out in the fresh air and is some of it, also, the technique and the skills required in casting and all of that sort of thing?

TIGER WOODS: No. I think it's just the fact that when you are out there, you're just away from a lot of different things and your mind is free to just basically not think about anything. When you are fishing out there -- Mark and I have fished a lot together, quite a bit. We go on just about every fishing trip together. We just kind of kid each other, "So have you thought about golf?" "No." "You thought about golf?" "Nope." "Thought about any problems?" "Nope." It's nice to be able to have that atmosphere, to be able to enjoy things like that and have those kind of outlets in your life to be able to enjoy. I haven't always had that, and it's been nice to have a friend like Mark show me a few things, such as fishing and I've got other interests as well, which has been nice. It's neat to be able to get away from things for a little bit.

Q. Given what happened last year, I know Bob has had some physical problems and whatnot, but how surprised are you that he has not broken through and moved on from there?

TIGER WOODS: Well, any time you have physical ailments in this game, it's going to be tough to overcome, because we know how tough this game. Every one of us in this room who plays golf knows how tough this is and then you compound that with an injury and you're not able to swing the way you normally can and feel like you can swing properly, it's only going to compound it. It's a tough thing to get through. I've been injured before and I know exactly how tough it is to play through it. Your confidence isn't quite there because you can't perform, you can't make the same moves, you are going to have to rely on your feel, on your hands. Sometimes when that's off, which it can be in this game very quickly, it's a tough thing to get out of.

Q. At Augusta, you were asked if you would bet on yourself. Coming into this week, given what's happened between now and then, do you consider yourself the favorite going in?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm one of them (smiles).

Q. The specter of Bobby Jones has shadowed you a lot in the last year, particularly in April when you were going for the Grand Slam, or your Slam. Do you feel it as much in his hometown, his home course, as much as maybe you have in the last few?

TIGER WOODS: No. I think Augusta is more synonymous with Bobby Jones, as well as East Lake, as well as the whole Atlanta area. Obviously, East Lake is where he grew up and then he went out and created Augusta. If you are going to feel it a little bit more, I think you'll probably feel it more at Augusta National, because of what that club stands for and he's the one that created the whole tournament. I really don't have the same sense here as I would there.

Q. We talked about David taking on a different look, having won the major. He and Phil Mickelson were always considered the two best Americans not to win a major. Now that Phil stands alone, is it fair or unfair for us to concentrate on the fact that Phil has not won a major?

TIGER WOODS: I've always thought it's unfair. It's not that easy to win a major championship. There's only four a year. You have to play well, yes. But you need to have a little luck on your side and a lot of different things have to come together in that one week in order to win a major championship. And don't forget, every time we play a major, it's basically going to be in four different kinds of golf courses and four different types of conditions. That makes it, you know, pretty tough. I think for someone to -- or in general, the general public and even the press to focus on just one individual, or even a few individuals for not winning a major championship, I think is a little bit unfair. Because they have won championships all around the world, they just haven't won a major, yet. I knew David would win one. Phil will win one. It's a matter of time. He's not that old. It's not like he's 50 years old. He's in his early 30s, 31, whatever it is. He's got a lot of years ahead. He will be contending and he'll get a couple lucky breaks and win a major championship, or he'll just flat out outplay everybody. Whatever the scenario is, I'm sure that he will win a major championship in the future.

Q. You were talking about your relationship with David. You are friends, you are buds, but he has proven to be a breakout guy: Once he won his first victory he got on a roll. Theoretically, with this British win he could become your biggest problem. We talk again about this rivalry. How would that affect your relationship with him?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think it will affect it at all, because no matter what you do on the playing field, it doesn't mean that's how you are going to carry your life, nor should it affect your life. David and I have a relationship that is beyond golf, and that's the way it will remain. Once we step on the playing field and we compete, that's all put aside. You've got to go out there and I'm going to try and beat his brains in and he's going to try to beat my brains in. That's the way it should be; we're competitive. Off the golf course, we are friends, and that's the way we will be.

Q. Tiger, reverting to the fishing, when you and Mark go there, do you rough it? Do you stay in a cabin or do you pitch up with a fine hotel?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think we've ever stayed in a fine hotel. The places we've stayed in are definitely not what I would say are prime conditions. Definitely different. There's something over our head and that's about it.

Q. You mentioned you haven't played quite as well for extended periods this year as opposed to last year. How do you compare your confidence level right now to maybe last year and how do you keep your confidence from fluctuating when you are not playing as well as you know that you can play?

TIGER WOODS: The great thing is I've played well before in the past and I know once I achieve that feeling; I know what it feels like, so I just need to get it and keep it, which is good. It's not like I haven't played so bad that I've gone off the map. I was just a little bit off this summer, and when you're playing the courses that I've played, I usually tend to play the harder tournaments and the harder golf courses. And when you are a little bit off on those golf courses, it is going to show, and I really wasn't swinging quite as well. But as I said, I did it in spurts, where I would play five, six, seven holes and I never missed a shot and make a few birdies in that stretch and then I'd go off on a tangent and play two or three bad ones and couldn't find it and I would get back on a roll again. Whenever you have playing the tough golf courses, you cannot afford to play that way. You need to play consistent, plod your way along, and I have not been able to play that way.

Q. Can you break your game down into four different areas: Off the tee, irons, short game, putting. And tell me how you feel about each of those facets. Anything troubling you?

TIGER WOODS: No, I'm very happy with all facets of my game. This summer, I felt like I've chipped and putted great. I just haven't got to the green soon enough. If I can do that, then I'll be all right. I just need to get there a little bit quicker than I have been. I know that I am not that far off and I have been hitting the ball a little bit better, which is nice. Over this stretch of the next seven weeks, hopefully I can continue that through and play some good golf.

Q. Going back to the length of the course, there seems to be two schools of thoughts. One, when you make it this long it plays into the big hitters' hands and reduces the field from 150 to two dozen. Two, being that you laid the course out that it takes the drivers out of your hands, it's not fair to penalize the players who happen to be gifted at hitting the ball long and straight. What are your thoughts on that?

TIGER WOODS: I think you ought to set up a golf course that is fair. If a person wants to use their driver, I think they should be able to use the driver. But if they miss the fairway, yes, you can go ahead and penalize them. The object of this game is to drive the ball straight and in play. But then again, don't narrow it down there like Carnoustie was when it was ten yards across in some of the areas, ten or 15 yards, where a lot of the guys who are a lot longer are going to be hitting their driver. I don't think that was right. Or putting cross-bunkers in where, like the 15th hole at Lytham I think was one of the holes, that bunker on the left side of the fairway for the longer hitters, which we all had to hit 3-wood off that tee, which is fine, but it makes it -- it makes it a long hole. I hit a couple 3-irons into that hole, and I didn't think that was right, because, obviously, I think the person who did that wanted to obviously penalize the longer hitters. But I think penalize by growing the rough in, that's fine, but don't add in a hazard like that.

Q. A lot of your peers have picked Charles Howell as a dark horse candidate to win this week. You faced Charles in the U.S. Amateur a few years ago. Can he win, and what do you like about his game?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, last time I played with Charles was back in '96. Charles hits it a long way. He's got a lot of speed. Hits his irons prodigious distances, that's for sure. He can hit it out there. He's very fundamentally sound. There's no reason why he can't play well every week. He just needs to play a little bit more. He is young and he's just now getting out here on tour, and over the next few years, he'll learn to play a little bit more and learn more shots. I think he's going to contend in a lot different tournaments, not necessarily just regular tournaments but majors, as well.

Q. A lot has been made about courses being lengthened, have you had a chance to meditate on the lengthening being done at Augusta National, and does there come a point where golf courses, integrity of their original intent, is being disturbed?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think by making some of the holes the distances they made at Augusta, I don't necessarily agree with. Especially the 18th hole being 60 yards longer. I mean, I can understand them wanting to make the golf course harder, yes, that's fine. But do it incrementally, which they have done. Every year, we get a memo sent to all of the players who are in the field, the changes they have made. And every year, there's always something a little bit different. It's not even close to the same golf course we used to play, but again they have adapted to the modern technology. But I think they might have stretched it just a little bit too much, making some of the holes 40, 50, 60 yards longer. Some of those holes, like 13, making it longer than it was before, it was already a great hole because of the risk/reward: You could make 3 or 7, based on whether you could draw the ball or not. I think that's the risk and that's the great thing about it. Now they have made it longer where a lot of guys will be laying up, and you're going to see less 7s and less 3s and you'll probably see a lot of 4s and 5s. That's the great thing about that golf course is the risk/reward. You can cut the corner, shape it, get it down there, but if you don't cut the corner and shape it, you're making bogey in a heartbeat, and if not, 6 or 7.

Q. One of the other issues this week is the U.S. Ryder Cup team selection. How much interest will you be taking in that, and do you have an ideal team in your mind?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I do have a good idea of what the team could be. I've talked to Curtis about it. I'm not going to tell all of you. He and I are on the same page on what players he likes, what players that he would like to see make the Top-10 and hopefully free up a couple picks. But this week is a big week for the guys who are towards the bottom who are not quite on the team and a lot of guys could sneak into consideration by playing well in this championship. If not, sneak in and just get on the team out right, so it is a big swing week for a lot of difference players. It's going to be fun to see what happens.

Q. On the Ryder Cup while we are at it, would you talk about what you expect in terms of the competitive tone of the matches, given the events two years ago at Brookline?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I hope that it's played in the way the Ryder Cup was meant to be played. Obviously, there should be some bipartisanship, which is fine, which is great, as part of the event, but I hope it does not get where it was at Brookline. It wasn't necessarily a golf tournament anymore. When you get on guys personally -- I played with Colin and I played against him in that match, and the things that they were saying to him, I mean, that's just downright wrong. In our sport, you just don't do that. In general, you just don't do that. I hope that the atmosphere is not that way. But then again, a lot of it is dependent on the sales of a lot of people's favorite beverages. In the morning matches, it was pretty quiet. It was nice. Later the day went, early evening, things changed. Things got a lot more boisterous and that's when a lot of the things that were said personally to a lot of the players happened were towards the afternoon when guys were starting to become a little bit more relaxed.

Q. In all of your time and experience playing golf, have you ever had anyone that you considered a rival or someone that's pushed you or someone that you absolutely wanted to beat and had to beat every time you played against?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. Totally. Oh, who? Sorry. My pop. My dad. When I was a little boy, he was the one to beat. Granted there are a lot of great players out there, but remembering how badly I really wanted to beat my dad, just like any kid, though. You want to be able to talk down your Pops, and I was able to do that. My dad was a great player; at one point, he was a 1-handicapper. He could shoot 66 at any given time. When I got a little bit longer and a little stronger, he had a tougher time.

Q. People think you need to have a rival for some reason. I think you might be a little bit self-motivated, but do you think it's good that the Duvals of the world are starting to emerge and perhaps create that kind of a rivalry for the sport?

TIGER WOODS: I think there's so many great players now that are young, I don't think you are going to see a rivalry develop like you are going to see just two guys and that's it going head-to-head all of the time because there's too many good players now. I think there's going to be a handful of players, five, six, seven, eight guys that you're going to see some type of combination of those guys in each and every major championship, which you pretty much have. I don't think you're going to see the same guys for a long period of time. We are all either in our 20s or just turned 30. I think over the next 10, 15 years, you're going to see probably the same eight guys, or at least some type of combination of them and hopefully I can be part of a one of those combinations in a lot of championships.

Q. Just going back to your rivalry with your dad, how old were you when you finally beat him and what were the scores?

TIGER WOODS: I finally beat my dad when I was 11. I shot 71 and he shot 72. I birdied two of the last three holes to get him. I made an 8-footer, uphill, right-to-left on the last hole. (Laughter.)

Q. Back to the motivation factor for a second, Tiger. How much of that might come from when you don't win a major and the vulnerability story comes up again, is it a la Michael Jordan comeback where the more people say you shouldn't do it, the stronger it makes him, when you hear people saying, "Well, he's not on his game, maybe he's vulnerable." How much does that motivate you?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, I think a lot of the people who said I was really playing bad earlier in the year didn't really understand that I really wasn't that far off. If you look at the way I've been playing, I really wasn't that far off. Granted, I didn't really play great at the U.S. Open, but I thought in my mind, if I would have made that putt on 12 for birdie on Sunday, I would have only been three or four back of the lead; and if I could have posted another three or four birdies coming in, I might have been able to have a chance, I thought. So even though I was not playing well, I was still kind of there if I made a run. At the British Open, I didn't make birdie. Got off to a great start and didn't make birdie on 7; and if I would have, I would only have been two back of the lead. So again, I was right there, but not really playing good enough -- obviously, I would not probably have beat David that week because he was playing awesome, but I would have had somewhat of a chance. But even though I was not playing great in the last two majors I had a chance to put a little bit of a run together if I really needed it.

Q. When you have picked up the sticks in the last couple of weeks, do you always have a purpose when you go out or sometimes, has it just been go out and hit a few?

TIGER WOODS: If you don't have a purpose in practicing, there's no sense in practicing. You are not going to get anything out of it. Every practice I have, there's always some type of purpose. Sometimes I'm not there that long, I'm there five minutes and I've accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. Some days I'm there 14 hours; I haven't really fixed it yet. It all depends on the day. It's been my thing to go out there and fix what ever I need to fix, accomplish what I need to accomplish and get out and that's it.

Q. With both you and David under the Nike umbrella, have you all discussed any potential business ventures, which seem to be an enormous economic potential with the relationship between the two of you?

TIGER WOODS: No, I don't think we have. The only thing I've probably ever discussed with him in that way is maybe get Nike to make fly rods.

JULIUS MASON: On that note, ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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