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June 17, 2001

Tiger Woods


Q. Tiger, watching you go out there, even when you're not playing your best, there seems to be a calmness in your demeanor that I didn't perceive at Medinah. Sometimes it seems like you're kind of beating yourself up. Do you feel that, do you feel that it's a sign of maturation?

TIGER WOODS: Wow, I was 23 and I'm 25 now. I think that's just a natural evolution of any person. And when you play a golf course this difficult, you just need to hang in there and just keep your emotions intact as best you can. It's not easy out there. I really hit some good shots and just ended up in some places that were pretty tough to play from. You've got to keep hanging in there and keep grinding it out. Everyone has to go through it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Well, you look at that drive I hit down 16 today. It was a perfect drive I hit down there, high fade, hits in the fairway, kicks straight left and I'm in the rough and blocked out by a tree. What can you do about that? It's just the way it is sometimes. And you've got to keep hanging in there and keep grinding it out. And I was able to do that all week.

Q. There's an old adage that you can learn more about yourself through your victories than through your defeats. Can you take anything out of this, learn anything out of this week as you move forward?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you I played as hard as I could. I tried on every shot, and there's no regrets. There's nothing wrong with the way I played. I got a few bad bounces, yes. Did I execute the shots I wanted to, no. But I tried on every shot. I had the right mindset to every shot. That was the key to playing this golf course well and playing any major championship well is to step up and be committed to every shot. I did that. But I wasn't able to hit the ball where I wanted to each and every time.

Q. How tough is it to make up ground on this golf course?

TIGER WOODS: If you're playing well, this golf course, you can get to some of these pins with the slopes. You're not going to hit it tight on every hole, because of the way the pins are, but you can -- if you can actually use the slopes to your advantage, if you're swinging well and playing well. But the way this wind is blowing, it's coming out of different directions. I was on 12 today and I backed off four times, because it went downwind in my face, downwind, back in my face. And all of a sudden I got it downwind so I hit real quick. I saw the ball get out there, playing downwind, and then it came straight out of the left and knocked my ball straight down. And it ended up being on the green okay. But the wind is all over the place out there. It's tough to find out where it's coming from.

Q. Is that why it's so difficult? It seems like it's difficult for any of the guys to get on a birdie run.

TIGER WOODS: Where these pins are, they're hard to find. With shots into the greens. They're really tough to get to. As I said, if you're swinging well, you can use the slopes to your advantage and get it in there probably to about a handful of pins and hopefully you can convert on those putts.

Q. Was 9 the killer or did you think on 12 when you had that birdie putt, that I can birdie 12 and 13, and still have a chance?

TIGER WOODS: I figured if I could birdie 12 and possibly give myself an eagle chance on 13 it would be nice. I might be able to get under par and see what happens. The way this wind is blowing, it's not exactly easy out there. And you can see by the leaderboard the guys are having a tough time out there. If I could have just got a few more it would have been nice.

Q. What about the theory that some people said this course doesn't suit your game, anything to that or is that just theory?

TIGER WOODS: I played all right. I didn't hit the ball as well as I needed to early on in the week. The weekend I played pretty good. And subsequently I shot 2-under par on the weekend. I didn't really hit the ball as good as I wanted to on Thursday, especially when the wind was howling. I wasn't able to control my trajectory the way I needed to and that hurt. I don't think this golf course, you can -- I don't think you can really say that it doesn't suit me, because I didn't really hit the ball the way I did on the weekend. If I would have done that at the beginning of the week, I might have given myself a better chance of winning.

Q. What can you take away from these four days?

TIGER WOODS: Played hard. That's all you can do, and I'm proud of the way I hung in there and I grinded my way around. I made a lot of par putts this week. If you guys were out there watching. I made a lot of putts from 10 feet and in for par. It could have been a lot harder this week, but I hung in there.

Q. Now that the streak is over, how hard is it going to get to be refocused like playing next week at a regular TOUR event?

TIGER WOODS: Not that hard. That's the great thing about our game, once your week is over, it's done. And you can start all over again. That's what I'm going to do next week, and hopefully I can give myself a chance on the back 9 on Sunday.

Q. Were you surprised at the leaderboard, who's up there?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I was surprised at the fact that the guys were able to shoot as low as they were able to go, a handful of guys. You figure there would be more guys that are able to do that. The separation at the end of the three days, going from 3-under back down to even, you don't see that very often. So there's only a handful of guys playing really well. Am I surprised at the guys who are on top of the board? No, I'm not, because those guys can play. Anybody in this field can really play. And those guys on top of the board control their emotions really well. And they're driving it well and putting well.

Q. How much fun was the streak now that it's over, when you look back on it?

TIGER WOODS: It's really hard to say. For some reason it's hard for me to say it was a streak, just because it covered so much time, you know. But it was fun to win four in a row, four majors in a row, there's no doubt about that. And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed, more than anything, giving myself a chance on the back 9 on Sunday. That's where you want to be. And this week, unfortunately, I'm not out there with the chance to win. And that is frustrating, but I've had my share and hopefully I can have my share in the future.

Q. Getting beat by a decent margin at a major is that something you needed for extra motivation or drive?

TIGER WOODS: No. It's one of those things, man. This golf course is not easy, and if you're out there watching and you see where those pins are, and see how difficult the conditions are, it's not that hard to shoot over par here.

Q. Tiger, you spoke of not being able to get to the range Thursday, before your round on Friday. How might things have turned out differently if it hadn't of rained?

TIGER WOODS: The way I was playing on Thursday, it could have been a lot worse. I wasn't swinging well. It was nice to get that break. But then again I wish I could have practiced. But, hey, it was nice actually to quit, too, and shut it down and think about what I needed to do coming back out. And I was thinking if I could come back out, make that putt on 10, which I was able to do and play well in the morning and can carry it on in the afternoon. It's one of those things, if you really play well, you can keep it going, and give yourself momentum. And that's what I was hoping for and wasn't quite able to do that.

Q. Do you think Goosen is benefiting from that, because he was able to do that?

TIGER WOODS: If you're playing well, you want to keep going. You want to have those 36 hole days or 27 hole days. You want to have those days where you can keep playing, if you're playing well. If you're not playing well, that makes for a very long day.

Q. Did it seem weird today, because it's been a while now since you've made that back 9 walk on Sunday (inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: The hard part was missing the putt at 12. If I could have made that putt and given myself an eagle chance at 13, if I had 2-putted there, knocked it on on 2, and birdied there, I would have been even par. And those guys are getting started with their round, and if I got three or four more coming in from there, that's kind of how I was thinking. And I hit a good putt, it broke a little too much. And never got it going from there. Once I realized that there really wasn't a chance to win, you've still got to fight. You can't bag it. You can't dog it coming in. You've got to keep fighting and get your pars. But what really frosted me was missing that putt on 17. I really wanted to make that par and hopefully go birdie 18.

Q. Tiger, you said that earlier in the week you struggled with your trajectory a little bit from the technical swing standpoint, what was going on there?

TIGER WOODS: You don't want to know (laughter.) I could tell you a lot of different things.

Q. One of those things where you make a swing and you weren't sure what it was? Sometimes you say that happens, you're not even sure if --

TIGER WOODS: Well, when you're -- let me put it this way: Not controlling your spin right and your trajectory, you're going to struggle when the wind blows. And that's what I was struggling with on the first day. And I was fortunate enough I only played ten and three quarter holes -- or nine and three quarter holes.

Q. Tiger, what was it about the 9th hole?

TIGER WOODS: Just the way it is. I hit a good shot today, I had 124 yards and ripped a 9-iron in there. It's hard to believe the ball flies only 116 yards with a rip 9-iron, I don't do that very often. I tried and somehow that hole just got me a few times.

Q. Tiger, coming in as you were the overwhelming favorite, is this the most disappointed you've been after a major in a long time?

TIGER WOODS: Considering I won the last four, yes (laughter.)

Q. Tiger, hitting a driver off the first hole instead of iron, was that a conscious effort to try to go more aggressive today?

TIGER WOODS: I haven't hit that fairway all week, I shanked a couple over to the right, one in the bunker, one to the gallery, hit a good shot one day, it landed in the first cut, hopped in the second cut on the left. So I figured at least I'll be able to take the bunker out of play. But if I'm in the fairway, great, I can spin a little 60 degree sand wedge in there. I wasn't able to do that. If I drive the ball in the rough I was figuring play long, chip back uphill and play long and move on. That's exactly what happened anyways.

Q. Tiger, do people understand how hard it is to win, because they assume you're going to keep winning like this?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think -- I don't think people really understand how difficult it is on you to keep putting yourself there, and the stress it puts on you coming down the back 9 on Sunday with a chance to win. More times than not it wears you out. And ask anybody who's going to be finished with this week, if you're mentally tired or not. You're going to find a lot of yeses, that's just because it's stressful out there.

Q. Is there any good reason to explain the 9th hole, you played it 4-over for the whole tournament, is there a common thread on that hole?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't hit good shots and I hit good shots, just, unfortunately, I wasn't able to play the hole the way I wanted to. That's the way it is sometimes.

Q. Is there any sense of relief that you kind of get a fresh start?

TIGER WOODS: The relief is the fact that the week is over, and it was a long, draining week for everybody, players, all four days. It's a tough week. And the relief is it's done, now I can start up preparing for next week, and hopefully get myself in contention.

Q. Tiger, golf is still fun for you?

TIGER WOODS: You know, if it wasn't fun I'd give it up. It's one of those things where if you're not having fun and enjoying what you're doing out here, there's really no sense in doing it. I thoroughly love playing. I love competing. And I love to try and find some way to get better. That's the joy of any golfer who plays this game, wants to try to get better somehow. I'm no different, I'm trying to find any little thing to get better, and that to me is fun.

End of FastScripts....

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