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May 31, 2001

Tiger Woods


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Tiger Woods for joining us for a few minutes. Kind of a slow start there for you on the front nine, but an awesome back nine. Why don't you share your thoughts with us and then we'll go into some questions.

TIGER WOODS: I got off to a great start. Hit it in the bottle of water on 3 and 5 and was 2-over after five. I made a good save on 5. Wedged it up there to about ten feet and made it for par. I felt like I was swinging the club all right. Not great, but all right, and just tried to hang around, if I get back to even par, or even par for the day. I would be in great shape with conditions as tough as they are out there. I made a nice 3 over on 11. Hit a driver and 3-iron to about 20 feet and made that. Got it going from there and really played well coming in.

Q. Did you have a club selection problem at 3?

TIGER WOODS: The ironic thing is, I hit the shot, and I actually hit it too hard. I knew I hit it too hard. Just prayed it didn't go over the back of the green. It didn't. It came up about ten yards short. I just got a big gust of wind and it came up short. When I hit that shot, I knew I hit it probably to the back edge, if not over the green. I got a big-time gust. The ball kicked up and went right in the water.

Q. What about the other time it went in the water?

TIGER WOODS: I hit it flat. I tried to hit a high 3-iron off the lie there, just try and keep it somewhere on the green. Tried to hit it high, released it early, and released it a little too early.

Q. Have you ever done it twice that close, in the water?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. Uh-huh. I did it back in either '97 or '98. I put two balls in the water on 3, same day here, and I think I made an 8 or 9, 10, something like that. I think I made 9. Made a good putt for 9. (Laughter.)

Q. You were hurrying there, though, raining like crazy, weren't you ready to get out of here?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. The water was evaporating off of me. (Laughter.)

Q. A lot of the guys have been talking today about these greens being the fastest they have ever seen them. You've only been here four times, but are they the fastest?

TIGER WOODS: By far. By far. I've never seen them this fast. For some reason, they have got a great base to them. After he redid some of the greens, I mean, this place is incredible. Some of these pin locations are new because of the fact that the speed of the green is amplified, you can't put the spins on new spots.

Q. Have they sped up since yesterday?

TIGER WOODS: A little bit. It rained overnight a couple nights ago, and they are a little bit faster, without a doubt. Especially this wind blowing, the greens exposed are a lot faster, like 18 is really quick. Steve had a putt there -- it wasn't that bad a putt; almost putted from off the green.

Q. Does the wind swirling make club selection a little more interesting?

TIGER WOODS: It was tough. You had to really commit to a swing, and that wasn't easy, because sometimes it was straight in your face and it would switch and go left-to-right or right-to-left, and you had to really be aware of it and just go ahead and make a good swing with the wind you picked. And whether I hit it off the bat or not, at least you've got to take a moral victory out of just taking a good swing, even though sometimes you may be a little bit in doubt.

Q. You said you wanted to get it back to even or 1-under, considering your start, does it feel like a 65 the way you played the last 13 holes?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was definitely a bonus to be able to end up in the 60s. I mean, I'm just trying to get back to even par or 1-under par, because anything even par or better is going to be a good score under these conditions. And the way I started off, I had to be realistic. You're not going to go out and shoot 63 or 64 from there. I had to just grind my way around the golf course and be patient. If I had an opportunity for birdie, hopefully, I can capitalize on it. If not, just keep putting myself in the position, because I felt like I was rolling the ball pretty good. I just need to give myself chances.

Q. Can you address what the feeling might be over there in the locker room? You already have a large aura on this tour. Guys hear you hit it in the water twice up front and then turn in 38, and yet finish with a 68. Doesn't do anything to detract from, I guess, the fear factor of you out here. Can you just reflect on the message this sends, that you're able to shoot a 68?

TIGER WOODS: I think the message is still the same. I try on every shot. I don't bag it. I've done that before. I've gone out in worse. You've just got to be patient and know that you can turn it around, and then be positive in it. Today it was a great example of that. I went out there and really wasn't hitting the ball great, but I was hitting it good enough and just hang around, just give myself chances, make a couple putts here and there, and next thing you know you might get back to even par, 1-under par and I was very fortunate that I made two eagles on the back nine.

Q. You're not the only guy that had trouble on 3 today. Was it all wind today? Is that what is making the hole play so tough?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, like I said earlier, I thought I hit the ball over the green. The way I made that swing, I hit it to the back edge, easily, and I came up ten yards short of the flag. I got a huge gust there, and ain't nothing you can do about that. The hard part was the next shot. Next one, is it going to blow that hard, is it not going to blow that hard. I made actually a good save for double.

Q. What did you have in there, what club?

TIGER WOODS: I had 141 to the hole -- 142 to the hole and hit 7-iron.

Q. So is that a southeast wind today? Is that unfamiliar out there?

TIGER WOODS: It is different. That hole always plays downwind right-to-left. I don't think I've ever played 18 -- I guess the four times I've played here, I don't think I've ever played it into the wind much. It's always blowing downwind. You can always hit 2-iron, 3-wood off that tee.

Q. Obviously, you study golf courses very closely. Have you started to think at all about a career in design? Is that on your radar screen at all, something you would consider at this point?

TIGER WOODS: I would love to start designing, but my schedule is a little full. (Laughter.) It's fun. I'm sure it is fun to be creative and turn nothing into something. But right now in my life, that's not a priority for me. I'm sure there will come a point in time when I will want to do that and I will cut back on some of my sponsorship obligations and I will get involved with course design. But right now, I like where I'm at right now. I'm sure that will change over time and evolve and I'll probably go into that.

Q. Just give us a taste for what golf courses -- people think of you, they will probably be 7,500 yards, but you are thinking maybe more a short hole is a good hole?

TIGER WOODS: You really don't have to have the hole 470, 480 yards for it to be a challenging hole. One of the things that I'll probably have when I get an opportunity to design courses is I really enjoy playing and seeing the bunkers that they have down in Australia, down in Melbourne, down in the Sand Belt. Those are some of the best bunkering I've ever seen. That's probably how I want my bunkers to look. I don't know how long the golf course is because that's going to be based upon the property that I get to work with, but if I have an opportunity to design bunkers like that, with that look -- I absolutely enjoy that, that look. I've talked to Jack about it, actually, a couple times. Actually, at the PGA ironically enough. We were talking about it at dinner, about the bunkering. It's not really feasible here in the States to pack faces like that here in the States. It costs so much money. It costs just an extra million or two to make the bunkers like that. Lot of times the people who put up the money for the course design or the property don't want to dish out an extra million or two.

Q. Is that phase of your life ten years 15 years down road?

TIGER WOODS: Not sure. It could be next year, ten or 15 years down the road.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Let's go over your card.

TIGER WOODS: 5, I hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit a 3-iron in the green. I hit it fat. Landed on the bank and rolled back in the water. I took a drop and had 91 yards to the hole and made it for bogey. No. 11, I hit a driver off the tee, 3-iron to about 20 feet. This time, I didn't hit it fat and made the 20-footer. No. 12, I hit a pitching wedge from 145. Hit it up there about 18 feet left of the hole and made that. 15, I hit a 3-wood off the tee. I hit a 5-iron up there to about four feet and made that for eagle. 17, a 3-wood off the tee and 9-iron to about 20 feet below the hole, and thank God it hit the hole.

Q. Was there ever a time when you stopped -- you said you played conservatively just to get back to even or 1( -under). When you started going on, was there a time when your attitude changed?

TIGER WOODS: No, I never really played that aggressive. I hit -- if you look at all the shots I hit, they were just middle of the green shots. The only shot I really probably mis-hit, I pulled it a little bit trying to throw the ball back up against the wind that was on 15. Wind was coming down off the left, and I wanted to make sure I didn't lose it way right, especially uphill right. Then I full released it and then it kind of hung in there with the wind. Got lucky.

Q. You said you hit driver on 11. What did you hit last year with the old tee?

TIGER WOODS: Depending on the wind, I either hit 2-iron or 3-wood. A lot of times, I hit, a lot of times I just hit 2-iron off that tee. I only hit 3-wood one day. Today it was straight downwind. Mach 2, straight downwind.

End of FastScripts....

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