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March 18, 2000

Tiger Woods


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to welcome Tiger Woods into the interview room. He's our leader. This is the 14th time he has been in the lead or shared the lead after 54 holes, and he's gone on to victory the last 12. Let's begin with your birdies and bogeys.

TIGER WOODS: Let's see, I bogeyed 2. I hit a 5-iron left of the green, left of the bunker, chipped up and missed about an 18-footer there. Birdied 3. Hit a 2-iron off the tee, an 8-iron to about two and a half feet and made that. I birdied 6. I hit a driver -- and what did I hit in there -- I hit a 6-iron into the right bunker; blasted out to two feet and made that for birdie. Birdied 8. Hit a 3-wood off the tee. Hit a sand wedge in there to about 15 feet below the hole and made that. Birdied 11. Hit a 3-wood off the tee. I hit a little soft 7-iron long, and made about a 30-footer there. Birdied 12. Hit a driver off the tee, had a 4-iron into the right bunker, pin-high, blasted long and made about a 10-footer for birdie. And on 16, hit a driver and a 7-iron just past pin-high. 3-wooded it from there from about 20 feet and made about a two-footer for birdie there.

Q. Your putter really sort of carried you today, not only making birdies but saving par?

TIGER WOODS: I made a lot of saves for par. Hit a lot of good chip shots, but the ones I didn't hit good, I made some good putts. That's what you need to do. You can't always hit the ball great and especially when the wind is out there swirling and it's gusting, it's hard to pull a club, let alone actually hit the golf shot, but it's hard to pull one. Today I found it difficult to pull a club and go ahead and hit the ball the correct distance. I found myself chipping a lot, but I got up-and-down a few times.

Q. Do you have any kind of psychological advantage tomorrow, given the fact that you've beaten Davis so often in the last couple of months?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. You can look at it two different ways, pros and cons. You can say he's due; or the fact that just like you said, there is an advantage, but who knows.

Q. How aware were you of what he was doing when you were out on the course?

TIGER WOODS: I saw that he eagled 12 and birdied 13 when we were on the 11th tee box. The big scoreboard is right there. And then I played the rest of the holes and didn't know he eagled 16 until we got on 15 tee box where I could take a look and then I found myself -- I had a one-shot lead.

Q. What is the key to playing with a lead?

TIGER WOODS: Just go out there and play solid and not to putt yourself under undue stress. You'd like to say that in any round of golf, but more so when you have a lead. I've always been a big believer in the fact that they have got to come get me; and if I go out there and make 18 consecutive pars, then they are going to have to shoot under par to beat me. And that's the philosophy I've always had. The more difficult the golf course, the better that philosophy works.

Q. Even as a junior, did you feel comfortable in the lead?

TIGER WOODS: Always, yeah. You'd rather be in the lead than behind. If you mess up, you're still right there.

Q. Were you checking the leaderboard a lot?

TIGER WOODS: I was looking at the leaderboard out there, just curious what the guys are doing. Under these conditions, I thought it was difficult to shoot a low round, but Davis proved otherwise.

Q. In your last 10 rounds -- 10 tournaments or so, you were either in the lead tied for the lead in almost every tournament. Is there one part of your game that you feel is better than most people on the TOUR, or do you feel every part of your game is sort of as good or a little better than the others on the TOUR?

TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say physically. There are guys out here who hit the ball better than I do or hit the ball more accurate. Some guys out here putt better. But I think overall, my mind has always carried me in the game of golf. I've always been a great competitor. And there's always times when you're out there and you don't feel that good, you're not playing well, but you hang in there with your] mind and somehow you can get through it and gut it out. I've always found that I think that has saved me more than anything else.

Q. How disconcerting was that rain shower on the 18th?

TIGER WOODS: The only thing I had to worry about was catching a flyer because now the grass is wet. I went ahead and played it the way I would have if I was playing under dry conditions, just in case if it -- if it doesn't fly, then I'm playing for a squirter; it's in the water. So I said I'm just going to go ahead and play it normal. If it squirts, that's fine; that's an easy bunker shot. I figured with the rain, it shouldn't bury. So I went ahead and hit it and flew a little bit, flew over the green but had a halfway decent lie. Just hacked it out of there and made a putt.

Q. Given the conditions, how good was Davis's 63?

TIGER WOODS: It was really solid. Considering he made two bogeys, it's even better. Obviously, he drove the ball well and putted well. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. You've got to do that in order to shoot a low number.

Q. It seems like lately there's always been one round there in a tournament where you've been a little bit off, but still managed to putt together a decent score, but scrapped around a little bit. Are these three pretty solid rounds for you so far or is one day bad --

TIGER WOODS: You know, this one and the first round probably are a little more equal. But yesterday I really hit it -- really hit it solid yesterday. I drove the ball beautifully yesterday, controlled every shot, but then again the wind wasn't blowing either. Today the wind is coming out of two different directions, and, you know those two different directions can cause cost you up to 10 yards in distance, and 10 yards is a lot considering where some of the pin locations are. It was hard -- as I said, hard to pull a club and trust it and hit the ball the correct number.

Q. Do you sense the intimidation factor you have over the other players on this tour?


Q. Do you sense the intimidation factor that you have over some of these other players? Davis was in here talking about that, that you have -- until somebody beats you, you're always going to be up here everyone is going to be chasing you?

TIGER WOODS: I think there's always maybe some sense of that if you're playing well, for anybody. Whether me or it was David or before that it was Nick Price. If you go back before that, it was Watson and Norman. There's always somebody who was playing consistently well. Maybe they have earned that right to have that feeling, I don't know. That's something you've got to ask everybody else. I think if you're in that position, I don't think you really sense it that much.

Q. You got a little hot after the second shot on 5 and you saved par there and birdied two of the next three. Do you still use the anger as a motivation or -- you generally play your rounds a little calmer than you used to?

TIGER WOODS: You can use anger as a disrupter or to your advantage, and a lot of times I'll use it to heighten my concentration and get me more focused and get me back to what I need to do. A lot of players don't like to show emotion. I figured that's just my personality. I'm going to show you when I'm happy. I'm going to show you when I'm sad and frustrated. For me, personally, I can't play robotic out there like some golfers can, and I've been guilty of letting my emotions get the better of me at time. But overall, the majority of the time, I've always used it to heighten my concentration.

Q. Is that what happened today?

TIGER WOODS: I knew I needed to make that putt and I didn't want to walk out of it with bogey.

End of FastScripts…

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