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May 10, 2000

Tiger Woods


Q. Talk about your short game?

TIGER WOODS: Short game, a little rusty. I was a little rusty, haven't been practicing in this kind of grass in a while. I've been practicing in bermudagrass; it's weird playing rye. Balls comes out a little different. You have to get used to it.

Q. What happens to you in these four-week legs you take and then the first tournament you're on fire? What happens to you in that month?

TIGER WOODS: I think you just get rejuvenized. You come back with a clear mind. You're able to practice and work on things you want to work on. When you're out here playing every week, it's hard to come out after each and every round and go out there and hit balls for four or five hours. You just can't do it, unless you're Vijay. For normal people, we'd wear ourselves out and if you play four, five, six weeks in a row, do that every day, you burn yourself out. So it's nice to be able it do that at home in the comfort of your own golf course. No one really bothers you out there practicing and working on things you want to work on.

Q. So we can assume you feel fresh for the Byron?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. Ready to go.

Q. Is that a reason why you played well last year and you went to the Memorial and that really started your run there?

TIGER WOODS: I think it happened the week before I got here, I finally figured out what I was doing for the past year and a half with my golf swing, trying to get it really sound and my swing plane better. And I finally hit one shot, turned it around, and from then on, I won the very next week in Germany then went to Memorial and won that. For some reason, just kept it going.

Q. How much did you practice during your time off?

TIGER WOODS: Not that much. Just this past week. The first three weeks, I touched club one time because I had to for a Cadillac shoot. Other than that, I didn't touch a club.

Q. What kind of thoughts do you have of Byron Nelson?

TIGER WOODS: Well, he's Lord Nelson. He's the man. And it's nice to be able to be a part of his tournament and support his tournament, the causes that he's associated with. This tournament gives more to charity than any other tournament on the PGA TOUR, and that's nice to be part of that. You're raising money for a wonderful cause.

Q. What about Nelson, the golfer, as a competitor?

TIGER WOODS: Well, his records I don't think will ever be surpassed. 11 in a row nowadays would be pretty tough to do. Back in his day, it wasn't easy, either, but the competition has gotten a little bit deeper. Guys are stronger, hit it further, and it's becoming hard to win out here on TOUR. And to win 11 in a row in the length of span that he won it in one year, that's pretty incredible.

Q. Do you think you started a streak of guys repeating, more than one tournament a year, there were no repeat winners and then here you go?

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. There were a lot of repeat winners that never won five, six, seven times a year. A lot of players won two, and when I first came out, I won two one year; so I was just part of that bunch. But it's not easy to win out here. It's very hard, and I think that's what you see out here, why it's difficult to win a lot of tournaments, that you need to have a few lucky breaks to go your way.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think this tournament, as I said raises more money for charity than any other tournament on TOUR and gives it all back, and I think that's a great cause. That's why a lot of players play here, because they want to be associated, to give it back, being part of that giving process. On top of that, being associated with Mr. Nelson that's, what you want to do. He's a true gentleman. He's lived his life the way you're supposed to live it, and he is one of the greatest ambassadors, not only to live in the great game of golf, but in life, period.

Q. Have you ever tried to put yourself in an amateur's shoes, what a thrill it is to play?

TIGER WOODS: Well, yeah, I've been in that position. I played here as an amateur with Billy Ray Brown when I first played and Billy Ray and I had a great time. And I was pretty nervous when I teed off. I remember hitting driver of the 1st hole -- I don't know what I was doing hitting driver, now. But back then, hitting driver back then about 60 yards in front of the green. Made par, but just it's part of the excitement of it, getting a chance to play with a professional.

Q. What do you think of the fact (inaudible) that it seems if Tiger is not playing it's not an important tournament?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think that's the case. Any player who is playing in the field knows it's an important tournament. Granted, now the fans may look at it differently. The media may look at it differently. That's their choice. But we as player know how important it is each and every tournament we tee it up in. We can't control other people's opinions and their views. All we can control is our own. I know everyone who plays in a tournament is out here to grind it out and try and win a tournament. You know, as I said, for some reason, sometimes people may view it that way. It's unfortunate, because it's not the truth, but that's their opinion.

Q. How are the changes at TPC?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously, the biggest change is on 10. It's a completely different look. I think the hardest part about that hole now is there's a lot of sand in those bunkers. We had a guy almost bury a ball today in the bunker from a driver. That's not easy to do. Obviously, there's too much sand; they didn't pack it down. You hit the ball in the bunker, it is a true penalty. It's going to be almost impossible to get the ball to the green. And then you hit the ball into the green-side bunkers, it's going to bury, for sure, because of how much sand they put in.

Q. Tournament security has been an issue in the past --

TIGER WOODS: Everywhere you have security. Tournament sites, it's nice to have, but generally, if I just walk around by myself, it's usually when I can blend in the best because people don't expect it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I've had a few, but that's just part of being out here.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: They are great guys they have been here since -- I've worked with them since '97, and they have always been an extremely great help, walking me around and making sure everything is cleared. You know, for us, it's nice to be able to walk and not have to put your elbows out. But they have done a wonderful job and they will continue to do a wonderful job.

Q. Any memorable security incidents?

TIGER WOODS: I think a few times been knocked down. One kid sprained his wrist pretty good. Adults just knocked him over and he sprained it pretty good. But there have been some pretty crazy incidents.

Q. How much does it add to your excitement to get back to playing, how solid the field is this weekend?

TIGER WOODS: It's nice. It's a wonderful field and it's nice to just be able to play. I don't care if it's a great field or not, it's just nice to be able to get out here, and hey, I haven't played a tournament in four weeks. That's a long time for me. But to get out here and get going again, feel the nerves, I'm pretty excited about getting out there tomorrow. It's nice to be able to have to control that and hit a shot that really matters. You're at home playing with your boys, you hit a bad shot, no big deal, pick it up go on to the next. This is a little different.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Just get away from everybody. You guys. (Laughs).

Q. What did you do?

TIGER WOODS: I went fishing with Mark O'Meara. Had a great time fishing down in Utah, just fishing, get away from everybody. He needs it to, as much as I do, and he was kind enough to take me out.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: I think it's going to play about the same. It's not going to play that much harder. According to the weather predictions, I guess you could say it's not supposed to be that windy, supposed to be just hot. If that's the case, that's no big deal out here.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you have to play well at Cottonwood. It's just like playing at San Diego. You have to play well on the North Course in order to score and get yourself in the tournament, and if you don't play well at the North Course, you're going to get left behind. Same here, you go out there and shoot 70 at the Cottonwood, you're putting yourself behind the 8-Ball pretty good.

Q. The impact that you have on the tournaments you play in, don't play in, when in contention on Sunday, ratings, those kind of things, do you sense a burden carrying so much of the load, so much of the peripheral fandom? How do you come to grips with that?

TIGER WOODS: I just play, to be honest with you. I just play. I can't control the ratings. I can't control what people are interested in. All I can control is the tournaments I play in and my effort level at a tournament. People want to tune in and watch it, that's wonderful. But I really can't control that. But it is nice to know that I have a positive effect on the PGA TOUR, and that's what any player wants to have, because if we can grow this Tour and get more people excited and interested in the game, that's what we want to do.

Q. Is it awkward for you, I know you can't control it, but the different perceptions, there's Tiger and kind of like the supporting cast, which happens to be everybody else in the tournament every week?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think so, because there's so many great players in the great game of golf right now that -- who have played wonderful right now and will continue to play great golf. It's just that I've been lucky enough to win enough tournaments where I've gotten the media attention and the fanfare. Granted, there are a lot of other players who are doing the same thing before me and while I was playing well. David received a lot of attention when he won all those tournaments in that one stretch, and that's just the way it is. If you're hot, people want to get to know you and talk to you, and if you're not playing well, well, they don't come knocking.

Q. Will you play Colonial next week?

TIGER WOODS: No. I'm playing Germany.

Q. You're playing three in a row. Tough decision to go to Germany, I'm thinking of jet lag?

TIGER WOODS: No. Because I played exactly the same schedule last year. I played Byron, went to Germany, won that, and came back and played Memorial and won that. So I kind of liked it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Two weeks. They have added another week in -- no, because four is a week off and I lost at the Masters. It's always something. You always have a little something.

Q. Is it tough to travel from Germany and come back to Columbus?

TIGER WOODS: No. It's easy. It's easier coming back than it is going over there. Going over to Germany is going to be the hard part because it's so far ahead of your body clock.

Q. Looking forward to going to Memorial, being defending champion?

TIGER WOODS: That is a long way. I'm not thinking about the Memorial. I'm thinking about the Byron Nelson and getting myself ready for this week.

Q. What kind of things do you do (inaudible) when you practice?

TIGER WOODS: I think the quality of practices. And the people out there can bang let's say 500 balls with no purpose, then obviously you're going to get your golf muscles loosened up, but you're not going to have any repetoire of shots coming out. But when I practice I have a purpose behind my practices. I'm going out there and -- to work on my drive, work on my drive; to work on my arm position, work on my arm position until it's right and then I leave. So I've always had something that I believe in; all of my practices are quality practices. I don't just go out there just fool around. I go out there to work.

Q. When you take, say, three weeks without touching a club, is that hard? Is there a temptation?

TIGER WOODS: I'll be honest with you, I didn't want to touch a club, because I played a stretch where on the West Coast I had one day off and I think it was 31 days that I came back to the East Coast and then I had one day off and then 32 days. That's a long stretch to only have two days off. And I was hitting balls and practicing or playing every day or competing. For me, that's a lot of golf. For most people, they would wear themselves out, but that's what we do for a living, and even I do that for a living and I was worn out. It was nice to shut it down and get rejuvenized and get set to go.

Q. After the Masters, how long did it take almost to get over it, sort of like this, okay, that's behind me? I know you put a lot into it.

TIGER WOODS: Monday. Yeah, Monday I was looking forward to my vacation. Once that tournament was over, I knew I had four weeks off and I was ready to go and didn't have to deal with a lot of the things I had to deal with leading up into the Masters.

Q. Where did you go fishing?

TIGER WOODS: Mark and I went fishing. Just had a great time, relaxing, getting away from things.

Q. Have you sort of learned not to dwell on disappointments or have you always been like that?

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. I wasn't always like that. I looked at Masters as a positive, actually, because if you take away my two holes I had on Thursday, I had a pretty good tournament. And to come back after that little stretch there to get myself back in the tournament with a chance to win on Sunday on the back nine, I'm pretty proud of that, because the conditions, obviously, weren't easy, and I knew I had to shoot a good number, and I was able to go out and do it on the weekend. Shot the lowest score on the weekend, and that's what you want to do. And in a major championship that usually wins, but I put myself behind the 8-Ball on Thursday.

Q. Are you a superstitious guy?

TIGER WOODS: Not really.

Q. Maybe the biggest guy you played with (inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: I don't pay much attention to what they are doing, to be honest with you.

Q. Is it as remarkable to you as it is to everybody else, you've won probably as much as you've ever won?

TIGER WOODS: As I told all of you here in '98, that's what I was working on. You said I was in a slump, wasn't playing well, and a lot of you guys were bashing me in the press for not playing well and in that proverbial slump. And I said I'm working on things, things are getting better. I'm more consistent, a better player now than I was in '97. No one really believed me. And I hope you guys believe me now.

Q. Are you pretty confident where your winning swing is now that you won't have to go through a period like that again?

TIGER WOODS: I probably will go through periods like that, but it won't be as dramatic of a change because I'm doing these minor tweaks here and there. What we're doing now, we don't have to do that major reconstruction overhaul on my swing which we were able to do over a year and a half period.

Q. What are you working on right now?

TIGER WOODS: Just to get, as usual, trying to get my arms down in front of me, not get the club stuck, something I've been trying to do since I came was -- came out of the comb.

Q. You talked about a shot that you'll start working on for Augusta in January, February. Is there anything that's required at Pebble in June? Maybe driver?

TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily, because the fairways will be too fast. And just pitch in the fairways, ball will run off, and you're going to have to deal with curving the ball both ways and land the ball on half of the fairway in order to keep it in. For instance on 9 and 10, you get a straight ball down the middle of the fairway getting it up in the rough, and so you're going to have curve the ball pretty good and be able to control that curve and put it, I guess, in a 10-yard wide area.

Q. Supposedly they are going to level off the rough at three inches.

TIGER WOODS: Three inches, I heard that.

Q. That seems like a trend that the USGA is going toward not the chop-out rough, but penalizing -- do you like that philosophy?

TIGER WOODS: I do. I do. Because it makes chipping part of the game again. Granted, you know, I don't mind having the rough high around the fairways, but I don't like to see six-inch rough, just off the green two paces off the green. That's just not the way golf was designed to be played. It's not designed to automatically miss a green and pull up lob-wedge each and every time you miss a green.

Q. Also, is there a particular mystique that goes with Pebble that's also associated with Augusta, not the same kind of mystique, but just the fact that it has one, why is that for a for a place that's only held three majors?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's a probably one of the prettier sites, if you've ever visited. But you have to realize, too, we see it every year on TV at all -- the Bing Crosby and now the AT&T. So you since you see it every year, and most of the time you see it, most of the people back East are still in the snow. So they are obviously watching it and have been enthralled by the beauty of it; how can we be playing short sleeves and they are up to their knees in snow.

Q. How much do you think your shot on 15 and the comeback in general contributed to kind of the allure of Pebble, even though it wasn't a major?

TIGER WOODS: I'd have to say it helped out maybe a little bit, but I think it's -- I'm still more impressed with my 3-wood in '97. That was a better shot.

Q. How important is the Salesmanship Club the money they raise for kids, talk about how important children are, especially to what this tournament stands for?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously, our children are our future. A lot of times you see these kids being told they can't achieve anything or they don't have the opportunity to achieve much, just because of where they grow up, and that's not right. Every one of these kids who lives on this planet should have a chance. Now, unfortunately that's not given and afforded to every child and the people here in Dallas, especially the Salesmanship Club have done an extremely -- probably one of the best jobs on Tour of getting involved in their community and making kids -- or giving them a chance to make something of themselves. That's what you want to see and that's what you want to be able to do, and this tournament allows them to do that, and they have done one of the greatest jobs on Tour.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's too much for anybody who it's had long and who can control -- I guess be creative. John doesn't get enough credit for how creative he is. He's got a wonderful touch, and that's what you need on links golf course. You're not going to hit every green. You are going to hit some weird putts, especially at St. Andrews. You're going to make some weird putts out there. You have to be able to be creative and have a wonderful touch.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: It does help, but it also all depends on the wind, the wind direction. I remember playing there in the Dunhill Cup, and each and every time I played, I found new bunkers because they came into play because of the various wind conditions. And for instance, on No. 2, that left bunker never comes into play and it's downwind off the left. You blow right on top of that and think nothing of it. It comes in your face; it's a different story, and you're thinking well, should I take it a little more right now, a lot of different things that go through your head just because the wind switches.

Q. Do you feel that for winning the British Open, St. Andrews is your best chance?

TIGER WOODS: Not really. I enjoy every one of them. I've always loved playing over there and enjoy that type of golf. I think that's how golf should be played, with creativity. Over here and most places around the world, there's a lot of target golf, where you have a certain target you've got to fly at that number, that's it. And you don't have a chance to run the ball up and have a chance to be creative and hit 5-irons from 115 yards. You just try to keep the ball down because it's howling so hard. We don't get a chance to do that because there's water, there's railroad ties, there are bunkers that are 100 feet deep. Unfortunately, that's just part of playing over here.

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