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June 20, 2001

Tiger Woods


JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Tiger Woods for joining us for a few minutes. It's been a while since you have been here at the Buick Classic. I know everybody is excited about having you here. You had a chance to play the course. Why don't you make a couple of comments on that, and we will go into some questions.

TIGER WOODS: Since I have been here, of course, since I was last here they put new sand in the bunkers, the bunkers are wonderful. Greens are running nice and true, which they normally do. Fairways are always plush here, and the rough isn't quite as high as what it was back when I played in 1997, but it's still pretty substantial.

Q. What was today like with young Mr. Giuliani?

TIGER WOODS: We had a good time. Andrew and I, we would chit-chat all the way around. It is fun to go out there, just kind of hack around and have some fun. Hopefully, Andrew enjoyed his time out there. I definitely enjoyed his company. It was kind of fun to have someone close to my age (laughter).

Q. How could you evaluate his game; how he is as a player?

TIGER WOODS: Well, he is not afraid to take a cut at it. That's for sure.

Q. Difficult for you to just go out and have fun, being tomorrow is going to be all business?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's the whole idea of playing a Pro-Am. It was semi-serious today a little bit, just because I haven't seen this golf course, so I wanted to make sure I got the lines off the tees and familiarize myself with some of the shots I had to play off the tees. But other than that, I was kind of laughing, joking with the guys all day, giving them a whole bunch of grief. Hopefully, some help occasionally here and there.

Q. When you come into a tournament where you didn't win the prior tournament, does it fuel your desire more, does it rev you up anymore?

TIGER WOODS: Be honest with you, it really doesn't. I go to every tournament with the same intent; that is to win. Just because I didn't win last week doesn't make this week any more important or less important. I am still giving it everything I got.

Q. Were you able to watch Sunday or Monday in the playoff, and what are your thoughts on him coming back after Sunday and winning on Monday?

TIGER WOODS: I thought it was great, the fact that he was able to come back and win. Be honest, but I think he played probably the most steady golf the entire four days in regulation and I don't think he -- besides Stewart and Mark, I don't think you'd have any complaints. The other guys in the field were saying that he was the only person who should have won because, as I said, he played steady all week and led wire-to-wire. He was there from the very get-go. That's not easy to do it in the US Open. He was able to do it even with the mishap, first hole in regulation.

Q. Generally, after a major you will take the week off or even two weeks, shut it down. What was your thought process coming back here? Was it about the course?

TIGER WOODS: I haven't played here in awhile. Since 1997. I wanted to come back and I really enjoy playing here but, I don't like playing, as you guys all know, I don't like playing the week before the U.S. Open. Generally, this tournament is the week prior to the Open. And to me, this golf course with its difficulty, how they like to set it up right before the Open; high rough, fast, hard greens, it's a great preparation, but I think this-- it would wear me out. I'd like to be home and take it easy, but coming off the Open now, afterwards, I really wanted to play.

Q. How big of a concern is it with regard to security before you come into a tournament? Does that factor into your decision making?

TIGER WOODS: No, because the TOUR staff, they do a wonderful job, Joe and the staff, Tom and everybody who I see at the tournaments I play, they do a great job. They work their tail off, not only to give myself, but the rest of the players the room to play. That's what it is all about.

Q. Butch had mentioned something about (inaudible) an injury. Anything to that?

TIGER WOODS: No, only thing injured is my pride.

Q. On the last hole, Stewart did not mark the ball, he put it out, sort of a courtesy and ended up missing the putt, which --(inaudible) Would you have marked in that situation?

TIGER WOODS: If you guys have watched me, I usually mark putts from two feet or so, just habit, I always like to know what kind of lie I have on a green because sometimes you can be in a heal print, spike print. You could have a spike mark in front of the ball, you don't know, you have to vary your strokes depending on what kind of situation you have. I have just gotten into the habit of doing that. So I would have marked it, but I would have finished out just because that is an unwritten rule. I mean, Steve was twelve feet from the hole with a chance to 2-putt for the US Open. Give him the stage, but I would have marked and then went ahead and putted.

Q. Looking at the events'dramatic finishes on Sunday, some the players we have talked to have said that was a good example of why closing out a tournament is one of the toughest things to do. Can you put into words why you think, agree or disagree, why you think the close is something so large?

TIGER WOODS: Closing a Major championship or regular TOUR event?

Q. Well, both.

TIGER WOODS: Regular TOUR events, I think it's a little bit easier just because you know you have got another chance. You only have 4 chances in majors, you can -- I mean, 42 weeks we have tournaments - I believe that's 38 tournaments, you have a chance to make up for it and in a major championship, you only have 4 chances at it. You know if you blow it, it leaves a bigger -- very big bitter taste in your mouth because you had a chance to win a major championship. You don't have that many chances throughout your career and I have been very fortunate to have come out on top down the stretch in majors and I have lost too. I got beat by Payne in 1999 at the Open, just got outplayed down the stretch. And that happens. I think putting yourself there and feeling those emotions is pretty cool. It is just how you handle them. Determines whether you win or not.

Q. Why do you seem to be so good at it? Players say that you have something that maybe some other players don't? How do you prepare?

TIGER WOODS: I just enjoy it, be honest, but I really enjoy putting myself there. That's one of the reasons why I practice. That's one of the reasons why I play this game. I love to compete in the biggest events, and that to me is the thrill of it, to be able to come down the stretch with everything on the line and have to execute a golf shot.

Q. You are known as a tenacious competitor on the course as well as mental toughness. Talk a little bit about the significance of your off-the-course workouts, strengthening and conditioning? A lot of people don't know that (inaudible)--

TIGER WOODS: I think what I have found is, and I have come to the understanding for me personally, that this game that we play is a sport. You have to treat it as such. Traditionally, guys in the past never treated it as a sport. Everybody else, you wouldn't think twice - a football player lifting a whole bunch of weights to get stronger and compete in a sport, basketball player, track and field athlete, baseball, you name it, go right on down the line. I think you have to treat it as such. It is a sport and there are certain parts of the body in which you need to have strong and stable to help you swing the golf club properly and more consistently. I have enjoyed that aspect of improving my physical strength and it has definitely enabled me to get the club in a better position and play more consistent golf because I can be able to get in those positions.

Q. Duval says he really likes playing in New York whether it is the Yankees, Mets, or golf, he feels like the fans are sort of exuberant. Can you talk about playing in New York? Does it do anything special for you?

TIGER WOODS: I have only played -- I have played this tournament twice, once as an amateur, once as a pro. The fans have always been nice, I mean, they have been loud. Yes, I think that is just tradition when it comes to New Yorkers and their support of a sporting event. But when you are out there, I have always played tournaments where they have been a lot louder than they are here. For instance, I guess the sheer volume of them in Phoenix gets pretty loud, whatever 100,000 people out there, whatever it is, I guess it gets pretty loud out there as well.

Q. Mayor Giuliani was speaking earlier about the prospect of some day having a Tour event in New York City. Would you like to see that? How much do you think that would help the process of bringing the game to kids who grow up in the city?

TIGER WOODS: I think that would be great but I don't know. Put a golf course right Downtown. (Laughter)

Q. In the Bronx.

TIGER WOODS: Is there one already or are they building a course?

Q. Building it.

TIGER WOODS: I didn't know that. If the golf course turns out great, then who knows.

Q. Are you ever able to notice the mass of galleries and the large crowds of people that stir from hole to hole in anticipation of you getting to that next hole and so forth?

TIGER WOODS: Am I aware of that?

Q. Yes, during your rounds.

TIGER WOODS: When I am playing good, no. When I am playing bad, oh yeah, I see everybody. (Laughs).

Q. When you say your pride was injured the other day. Are you ticked off? Are you angry? Frustrated?

TIGER WOODS: No, anybody who wants to do their best and is not able to do their best you are going to be disappointed in yourself. If you are not, I don't think you are human. I am no different than anybody else in that regard. I try as hard as I could. I got a lot out of my game that week. I didn't really hit the ball as cleanly as I wanted to but I really scored well to shoot the numbers I shot. But I wish I could have played a little bit better. I was playing well going. I just wasn't able to have my game where I needed to have it in order compete in the Open.

Q. It is a situation like when you do hit like say a low point, try to keep telling yourself, hey, I am supposed to be having fun out here? Is it hard to put the fun aspect in when you are trying to be so serious with what is at stake out there?

TIGER WOODS: It is tough sometimes when -- I guess when you are struggling and not really sure -- I mean, of course the game is great when you are hitting the ball well because it is so easy: Okay, I want it there, you put it there; I want it here, that's easy. When you are not really swinging well, you see a lot more stuff out there, you are going to have to really focus on trying to put your ball where you need to put it. That is the challenge of it when you are not really feeling comfortable is to be able to get the job done somehow. I really wasn't feeling as good as I wanted to on the first two days, but I was able to play all right. The weekend I hit the ball a lot more clean, it is a lot more fun to play that well. But it is a challenge when you are not feeling that comfortable.

Q. Following up, the 1st tee on Thursday, I mean with all the preparation, you were doing, you get yourself I guess mentally challenged to play. Then you come up to the 1st tee you hit it, and the shot doesn't come out the way you envisioned it. What goes through your mind? Do you say what is going on or do you just --

TIGER WOODS: No, you just look at the fact that -- I look at the fact when I played tournaments it is a 72-hole event and I know if I make bogey the first hole, that's okay. Because in the end in the U.S. Open generally if you can stay somewhere around par just a little bit below par, you are going to have a chance. Everyone is going to make bogeys, you can't play 72 holes in the Open without making a bogey. You are going to make mistakes. It's all right to make mistakes, you need to just get back out and play and make par somehow. I knew that the way the golf course was set up and the pin location that's all of us who competed in the field are going to have to make those big par putts. And I was able to do that a lot. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the birdie putts because I didn't have too many of them.

Q. Talk about the mental dynamic of coming off after a major and coming here for example, I mean, what drives you? Is it just that chance to win again? By the time tomorrow comes 12:40 tomorrow comes for you, talk about where you were at the beginning of the week to where you will be tomorrow in terms of getting back up again?

TIGER WOODS: That's a great question. I think because of my experience, been playing tournaments coming off a major Championship that I have played, right after the major that I have played I have found that you have to put -- whatever you have done, put it away and start the whole new week, start all over again. That's what I try and do every week but more so after the completion of a major championship and you have to play the next week. Because there's such a high when you are playing in a major Championship and you got to put that aside and say you know what, there's just a bigger high this week because it's a whole new week. I take great pride in what I do and I am going to go out there and give it everything I have got try and get myself in contention and hopefully to win.

Q. Do you know what you are going to play between now and the British?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I do actually.

Q. What is that?

TIGER WOODS: I will play golf here and there. (Laughter).

Q. Recently I had a meeting with Joe Torre and he said that he met you last year. He said instantly he saw the same thing in your eyes that he sees in Derek Jeter's. That seemed like a wonderful thing. He said Jeter never gives up; I never have to question what he is going to do. Because there was talk earlier in the season about Jeter was sandbagging and he said just like Tiger, it's in their eyes I don't have to say anything...

TIGER WOODS: That's awfully nice that Joe said that. I have met him on a couple of occasions, I believe both of them I have been in Hawaii. He has been out there vacationing when we have our had our Mercedes Championship out there he has been out there were the times I have talked to him. It has been awfully nice just to listen to him and then talk about baseball. I think what Derek does and what I do is that we take great pride in what we do. I do not think I could live with myself if I knew that I dogged it. Just because it would just eat at me because I didn't-I want to know when my career is done how good I really was because I tried it on everything, I give it everything I had so at least I know that's as good as I could have gotten. If I would have dogged it then I really don't know in hindsight how good I really was or how good I could have been.

Q. You were saying before that you don't always have your game; not always hitting the ball as well as you'd like. How often did you win or have you won when you have been in that state where you had to find a way to win?

TIGER WOODS: Majority of the tournaments that we win out here on Tour you are not going to have your best stuff. I guarantee you anybody who has won a tournament hasn't played all four days at the same level everyday. Everyday your body changes a little bit. You may shoot -- like for instance, people thought I was nuts when I shot 63 at The Memorial I think that was last year in the second round and I wasn't happy with it. And to be honest but I didn't really hit the ball very good but I made every putt I looked at and ended up at 63 and I wasn't happy. Next day I go out there I hit the ball beautifully, shot 65. What is the difference? Well this is the way the game is. You are not going to have your best stuff each and everyday even when you win. You are going to have to find a way to get the job done somehow. I think that is what we all do and what we have all learned out here is to play with our misses. Golf is a game of misses. You have got to go out there and miss the ball in the right spots.

Q. The gallery ,the fan presence, is tied to your presence. Maybe viewership at the Open last week seemed to have failed, and some people said because you weren't in it. If you look at it objectively is the game too dependent on your presence? Does there need to be for the good of the game some chief rival to step up and that people can identify with a rival?

TIGER WOODS: I like it the way it is. (Laughter).

Q. You are real close, very close to Connecticut right now. Every year before the GHO which is in its 50th year everybody is saying "is Tiger coming." There's articles ad nauseum about the issue. What goes into your decision-making process when you are deciding at the beginning of the year where you are going to commit; where you are not and do you like to give tournaments enough advance notice so that they can do their planning?

TIGER WOODS: I would love to play GHO. I have had it on my schedule actually twice before and for some reason I just -- I felt like I was playing too much at this time of year. I will be there. I will play. It is just a matter of getting my schedule so that everything flows. I have been one who really doesn't play a whole lot in the summer. For some reason I don't know maybe it's because it is hot or something, I don't know, but I have been a person who plays a lot early in the year and a lot at the end of the year. I really don't play a whole lot in the middle. In the fall I generally play 7 out of eight or nine tournaments in a stretch; beginning the year I pretty much do the same thing but in the middle of the year I really don't play a whole lot. Unfortunately the GHO has falls in that little slot.

Q. Next year it is right after the Open. The Open is on Long Island next year. That's what everybody has been talking about...

TIGER WOODS: Well hopefully it will work out.

Q. Winning four majors in a row did each one get incrementally harder (inaudible) make the British Open easy for you?

TIGER WOODS: Incrementally harder? No. It was harder -- it was hard to begin with. (Laughs) every major you play, I mean, I don't think anyone really appreciates how hard it really is unless you have actually played in one, how hard it is on your body, your mind, I mean it is tough. Dealing with a lot of things. I had to deal with after 1, 2, 3 then eventually 4, a lot of that stuff was resolved just because of one day. Coming here and talk to you guys then I am done with all of you (laughs).

Q. How many times did you hit driver out there today and how many times do you think you will hit drivers on this course the whole week?

TIGER WOODS: Today I hit it four times, I believe.

Q. Is that less than you did four years ago if you remember?

TIGER WOODS: I think it is about the same actually. But I remember four years ago I hit a lot of 2-irons off the tees. I was hitting my 2-iron further than I do now. I hit a lot of 3-woods today to see what my aggressive line would be. In a tournament I probably hit 2-iron but I want to see how far a 3-wood would get down there and what trouble it would present. I played a little more aggressive off the tees just to see where it would end up.

JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: I'd like to thank Tiger Woods for joining us. We will be going through the media center where a special presentation will take place for Buick with Tiger Woods. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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