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March 27, 2000

Tiger Woods


NELSON LUIS: Tiger, you had a final round, 71; came in second. Why don't you give us some of your initial thoughts here following your day today.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I guess it is pretty obvious, I am a little disappointed that I didn't win, but at least I made Hal work for it. I wasn't going to have a nice stroll up 18 with no pressure on him. I put a little heat on 16 by making that putt. We had a good battle. It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed each other's company, and it is always nice to go out there and play head-to-head with a good friend.

Q. Can you talk about standing on the tee at 16 knowing what you had to do, seeing Hal hit it into the rough, finally getting the pull for the eagle?

TIGER WOODS: I felt if I could hit the ball on the fairway, I might force Hal to miss his first fairway. Ended up happening, which is no big deal on that hole. (inaudible). I figured you get the ball in the fairway down there far enough where I didn't have a long iron in my hand, I can go ahead and possibly take a run at that flag. And I hit it down there, and that, I was between 5 and 6 with the wind. You could see the wind switch on the water down there on the right, and so I pulled the 5 instead of hitting the 6. Tried to slide a 5 in there, and hold back up against the wind. Worked out pretty good. Had a nice little putt at it. Hal hit an average shot for Hal; spun it back too much, left his putt short. I figured if I could make that putt, it might make his putt a little more interesting, and it went in; buried it. He made his, which he is supposed to do. We went on to 17.

Q. Did you lose the juice from 16 with what happened at 17?

TIGER WOODS: Not really, because 17 was playing so -- it was a wedge, but it is such a difficult hole because the wind kept switching. It was downwind in your face, downwind in your face, downwind in your face, always off the left, but it was switching. I hit the shot because I felt a gust come up straight downwind. It was howling direct downwind. I went ahead, hit that shot; ball gets up. It's in my face, comes up short. Stevie said: You would have hit 10 seconds earlier it would have been over the green in the water in the back. Because, I mean, I caught a pretty good gust downwind right as I am taking the club back. So I went ahead and shortened up my golf swing, played for that wind, and turned out different.

Q. Everybody has talked all year about how tough you are to beat. How tough is Hal Sutton as a competitor?

TIGER WOODS: Hal has always been a great competitor. Even when he wasn't playing his best, he was always trying, and that is what -- the only thing you can ask for is to keep trying, to keep grinding it out, keep fighting. That is the way Hal plays. He drives the ball beautifully. We have always known that. Hits a lot of good iron shots. And this week he rolled the ball well. I think one thing he will probably take away from it, he had beautiful speed on the greens. Every putt was right around the hole.

Q. Did you sense a determination in Hal that perhaps you had not seen in others on the last day?

TIGER WOODS: No. You show up in a final group with a chance to win a tournament, you are going to be determined.

Q. I think this makes 10 out of 11 tournaments in which you finished -- either finished first or second. That may not be 11 straight wins which -- (inaudible). How do you look back and assess that type of consistency?

TIGER WOODS: Well, that is what you are always looking forward to is playing consistent golf and giving yourself chances. That is one of the reasons why I tried to improve my game, trying to get it better, give myself chances. This past, I don't know how many months it has been, but I have given myself a lot of chances to win tournaments. I have won my share and I also lost. But the key is always to keep putting yourself in position. You put yourself in position enough times, you are going to win your share.

Q. Is that a tough way to start the day with that 40-foot putt where you are not sure of the speed of the green?

TIGER WOODS: I was sure of the speed because I spent an extra 15 minutes before putting long putts on the putting green. Trying to make sure I got a feel of the greens, because I knew how important that putt was for pace. Had the perfect pace.

Q. Do you look back at, say, the 17th hole first day and say if "I could have" or "If I had not done that" when you come so close in winning?

TIGER WOODS: I am not, because I hit a halfway decent shot; wasn't that bad. I thought it was in the bunker, just ended up in the water. That is just the way it goes. If you can play the "what if" game on every tournament you play, you go crazy if you did that. Especially if you ever looked at it from the financial side with what a shot meant. You'd go pretty crazy. Like I lost in a playoff to Nick Price in Sun City, one million to 250,000, one shot.

Q. You worry about money?

TIGER WOODS: Want to give me a loan?

Q. How far did you have into 16?

TIGER WOODS: I had 190 exactly to the hole.

Q. Do you feel a sense of relief that other players have that you haven't won again?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know I haven't seen anybody. I have been talking to the media.

Q. As you remind us and as sometimes we have to be reminded you are still young but when you go against a warrior like Sutton that has been around a long time been through the wars, can you take anything away from today? Do you learn anything?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. I was able to hit some shots that I have been working on and trying to arc off my plane correctly and use correct divot pattern, correct loft through impact, I was able to do that. Under the most extreme pressures I was able to hit the shots I wanted to. That is what you always want to see and going into The Masters in two weeks, I am progressing right on schedule. It is nice to see.

Q. Talk about the second shot at 18.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I had 190 to the hole hit little 3-quarter 6 flew over the green. Again that is one of those holes where it is blowing in my face left-to-right then Stevie and I were looking at the water up by the green, it was fluctuating between blowing downwind and in your face. It was always in our face in the fairway but the water was switching. It was changing down there up by the green. It was hard to get a gauge of which one it was going to do. I hit it up there, you could tell it was downwind because the ball just flattened out. I knew it was going to be too much. I was hoping it would hit soft which it did. Unfortunate I flew it too far.

Q. What kind of a shape were you playing?

TIGER WOODS: Straight ball. I just aimed it probably 10 or twelve feet right of the hole, hit it straight and I probably leave myself here -- that far, maybe just a little bit further to the right of the hole where I had a nice little left-to-right putt.

Q. Talk about what you are going to do this week (inaudible) --

TIGER WOODS: I am going to keep working on the things I have been working on. Keep arcing the club off correctly; having the correct divot pattern getting the club down in front of me at the right pace correct loft at impact, same thing as I have been working on for a long time.

Q. Take tomorrow off?

TIGER WOODS: Probably, yeah.

Q. Do you think that you could actually go to Augusta with anymore confidence than you have at the moment?

TIGER WOODS: I think so. It will be nice to win.

Q. Is there anything that you take from this week that will help you at Augusta?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was driving the ball beautifully this week. I drove the ball better than I have in a long time and it is nice to step up there and hit the shots you want. I hit little two-yard cut with my 3-wood; then hit one off the deck nice and low, draw about three yards just the way you want, run around the corner, these are the things that you want to do, I was able to do that this week. Pretty nice to step up there and hit those shots and most important of all, this week I was able to make a lot of putts that I am going to have to face at Augusta little curlers and downhill speed putts. For instance that putt I hit on 17, I said, this is a great putt like at Augusta, it is only about six, seven feet and it is going to be breaking probably I'd play a good eight inches outside left from 6 or seven feet. I said this is an Augusta putt. I have won that I can make this putt. Step up there and drilled it right in the middle.

Q. Because of how nice your game has come together over the -- have you thought less about Augusta during this week than maybe you have in the past three years -- become more of a regular tournament instead of your mind always elsewhere?

TIGER WOODS: In the back of your mind it is always there at the first major. I think the reason why it is -- just because it is such a long period of time between one -- the last major and the first major. Once you play The Masters, quick turnaround after that.

Q. Obviously the delay didn't affect either one of you, but was it a little anxious evening or anything like that or just another learning experience?

TIGER WOODS: I had a great evening I was watching college basketball games all night. Watch my Lakers beating Sacramento which was nice see Shaq make a free throw, I was pretty happy.

Q. 3 out on 12?

TIGER WOODS: I hit first putt, missed the second one, tapped in. (laughter).

Q. How far?

TIGER WOODS: I had about four feet. And just pulled it.

NELSON LUIS: Okay, thank you, Tiger.

TIGER WOODS: You got it.

End of FastScripts...

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