March 21, 2001
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA.
TIGER WOODS: I played all right. I had a couple of good days of practice at home. Came up here and found that the temperature was a little cooler than it was down in O-Town. But it's going to be quite a test this week. I think from what they are saying that they are going to try and play it down tomorrow, and we'll see what happens with that.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, my game -- I think with the conditions the way they are, I think the person who is driving the ball the best and really controlling their irons this week is obviously the person who is going to probably win, because, obviously, the rough is up, the wind is up, and it's just playing extremely difficult. On this golf course, it's really hard to win it when you are not playing well, because there really isn't too many plays where you can bail out, especially around the greens. The greens are so severe now that they have moved in the rough on a lot of the greens. They have taken away a lot of the chipping green that we've had the past few years, and they have made it a lot more difficult around the greens.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I felt pretty good about it. Like I said, two really good days at home of nice, solid work. It was nice to be able to work in peace and solitude and really get some stuff done. I felt pretty good about some stuff I was working on. All I need to do is hit like I did the first three days. All I was trying to do was get the feeling back like I did. I hit the ball pretty good today in the wind. We'll see what happens when we've got to play.
Q. A lot of guys think this is the fifth major, and you've obviously got four. How much would you covet this?
TIGER WOODS: It would be nice to win. Obviously, it's the best field we play, obviously, all throughout the spring. To be able to win on this golf course, especially under these conditions, because the rough is going to be up this week. It's going to be long. The golf course is going to be playing extremely difficult, and to win on a golf course that is extremely demanding, I think any player is going to take some satisfaction out of that.
TIGER WOODS: No. David did not want to play that many holes to begin with. It's cold out here, and the last thing you need to do is go out there and play when you are hurt when it's cold. That's the worst thing to do, because it gets stiff and you can do more damage.
TIGER WOODS: Either a couple clubs longer or shorter. 14 was playing pretty long. I hit a driver and a 3-iron in there, so it played quite a bit longer; but vice versa on 16, I didn't hit that great a drive, but I got out there and I hit just a soft 6-iron. So it depends on the wind, which wind you get. 18 was playing brutally; I hit driver and 3-iron.
Q. When was the last time you played early?
TIGER WOODS: No comment. (Laughs.)
TIGER WOODS: Hating the game -- I love playing golf and I love competing. Dealing with all of the periphery and stuff, yeah, it can get annoying. Obviously, you guys can be a little bit on that side. But a lot of the guys in the media I've become friends with, it's not too bad. But a lot of them also try to make a name for themselves and trying to be more on the sensationalized side of it. I don't think sports are -- especially golf, needs to be that way.
Q. What are your thoughts about moving this tournament from March to May?
TIGER WOODS: I think you are going to have more of a difficult time getting the guys from Europe to come back over. That's when you have some of the three biggest tournaments there. You've got the one in Germany, Deutsche Bank, and Wentworth. I think there's one more big one that they have over there at that time. It will be hard for them to come back over across The Pond. They can go back over here and play their tournament and they come back over and play the U.S. Open. So I think from the standpoint of getting the best field, I think where it is right now is probably the best chance of getting the best field. If it moves to May, I think you still get the same players from the United States and the rest of the world. I think Europe, you are going to have a difficult time.
TIGER WOODS: Feels pretty good. It's only Wednesday. I spent most of my time chipping around the green, trying to get a feel of the greens, how the rough was playing. But the greens, definitely sped up by the time we were coming in. They were a little on the slow side starting out. The wind obviously dried them out, made them a little bit quicker. If it stayed like this all throughout the night, it could be awfully difficult tomorrow, because with no humidity in the air, these greens could get awfully dicey.
TIGER WOODS: I think what you need to do is just go out and drive the ball well. I think -- let the score just kind of take care of itself. But I think more than anything, any player that's skilled is going to be concentrating on getting the ball on the fairway. From there you can either attack or play conservatively. It's just: Have the option. If you hit the ball in the rough, you automatically have to be conservative.
TIGER WOODS: Probably, just because this is one of the best fields in golf that is assembled throughout the year, and played on a very demanding golf course. That's part of -- probably a nice combination to have, and to finish on top that week, that would be very satisfying.
Q. If you're playing well --(inaudible)?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, when you are playing well, I think the best conditions are the most difficult conditions, because the guy who is really playing well can really control his ball flight. Obviously, with the wind being up like this, the guys who are hitting the golf ball best, they are going to be at the top of the leaderboard.
Q. Have you reached the point of frustration after the first two months of this year?
TIGER WOODS: How could you not be frustrated? I hit snap hook after snap hook. I hit some skanks, some quacks, some quales. It was just not fun hitting shots like that. Hitting shots like you, it's just tough. (Laughs).
Q. But beyond just that, putts not going in on the West Coast; Dubai, flyer does not fly, was there frustration overall at that point?
TIGER WOODS: I think any time you don't have the results you want, you are going to be frustrated. You are not going to be happy. That's just part of being human. I'm trying just as hard, and sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes you don't. Last week I got very lucky and I got all of the breaks I needed to get in order to win, and I was lucky enough to end up on top.
Q. Nine wins from last year is a very big standard. At the start of the year, do you just try and wipe that all out of your head?
TIGER WOODS: After the year I had in '99, I won 12 times around the world. I figured, "Just go out there and just try and have a solid year and do a little bit better in the majors." I won three, and I won 13 times around the world. It's just hard to, obviously, keep improving on that and keep winning every time. The thing is I also try to offer myself -- give yourself chances to win. I blew chances in those two years to win tournaments, but also, I factor in a couple of tournaments I shouldn't have won. I think the key is in order to keep winning a lot of tournaments, is to keep putting yourself there. I think so far throughout my career I've done a better job of that, the last couple of years.
Q. Do you forget about last year?
TIGER WOODS: You know, you try -- obviously, it is in the past, but you try and learn from it and apply some of the lessons you learn, both positive and negative, and try and be a better player in the end. I feel that I am -- I understand my game better than I did last year at this point, and that's just because of experience. That's just learning every year I'm going to say that because just of the experience of hitting more golf shots, playing under more conditions and just become a better player.
Q. During the practice round, it looked like you were having a lot of fun out there. You were dancing at one point. Is that a good sign for you going into this tournament?
TIGER WOODS: I'm just having fun out there. I was playing with my good buddy, Marko and Adam Scott, another good buddy of mine, was out there following and we were just out there having fun, trying to make the best out of a Wednesday practice round. Usually it is slow and takes forever, but just out there having fun. A nice relaxed attitude. There's no need to worry or stress yourself because it's Wednesday. If you're hitting the ball terrible, who really cares? It's Wednesday. When it really matters is when it comes game time.
TIGER WOODS: I would not. I would like to go to the Final Four. I probably will. Probably. If we get that far. We're looking pretty good. We've got the -- you guys (Florida), possibly.
Q. Have you been to Augusta recently?
TIGER WOODS: No. Do I have plans to go? Yes, I do have plans to go.
TIGER WOODS: You know, not necessarily. I think it's just becoming a better player. When you are hitting the golf ball well, it is amazing how much better you can finish in a golf tournament.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the weather conditions are -- it's very similar to how it was in 1999 when David won. It's not baked out like it was that year on the weekend. That year it was baked out it was fast. The golf course is soft right now, but the greens, with this much wind, the ball is oscillating on the green, and the ball will move with the wind on putts. You know, that's awfully tough when you get greens that are this severe.
Q. What do you think about 17 and 18?
TIGER WOODS: You know, it depends on the wind, if you get the wind coming downwind or just a little bit downwind, two pretty easy holes. But if you get it like today, obviously, if your face; we are hitting chip 7-irons, even possibly 6-iron on 17. Driver and a 3-iron or something like that into 18. Those are two tough holes.
TIGER WOODS: I chipped a little 7.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there is strategy to a certain extent, but I would not say it's the greatest of holes. I think more than anything, it's a wonderful drama for the spectators, but for us, it's just a pure, great golf hole. I don't think any player who has ever played would say that.
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