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March 17, 2000

Tiger Woods


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: All right, we'd like to welcome Tiger Woods to the interview room. He shot 8-under 64, which included two eagles. And he's 11-under for the tournament, 133. Let's quickly go through your eagles, birdies and bogeys.

TIGER WOODS: Okay. No. 1, hit a 3-wood off the tee and an 8-iron just long on the fringe up against the first cut. Used a 60-degree sand wedge chipped it in. Birdied 3. I hit a 2-iron off the tee, a 9-iron in there to about 20 feet right of the hole and made that. No. 4, I hit a driver and a 3-wood, just on the right corner of the green about 25 feet away and made that. Bogeyed 8. Hit a driver in the left bunker. Tried to hit a pitching wedge to the right side of the green and fatted it, dunked it right in the water and dropped from the fairway. Hit a 60-degree sand wedge to about 12 feet below the hole and made that for bogey. Birdied 11. Hit a 2-iron off the tee, then hit an 8-iron to about two feet; made that. No. 12, hit a driver and a 3-wood and made about a 20-footer there for eagle. And I birdied 16. Hit a driver off the tee, a 7-iron in there about pin-high, about 18 feet left of the hole and 2-putted. And on 18, I hit a driver and a 9-iron to about 12 feet and made that.

Q. You were putting well?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I did. I putted very well. I've been putting good all week. It's a nice to actually putt on some greens where they roll again after coming off the West Coast where they are like playing a little bit like Plinko.

Q. Just out of curiosity, what did you to on the other par 5?

TIGER WOODS: 6, I hit a driver and a 3-wood -- no, driver and 2-iron to the front right part of the green, but I was on the -- I was in the first cut of rough and I chipped it down there to about 12 feet and I left it kind of -- half in on the lip, half out. It was just one of those things if I would have hit it just -- just a fraction, maybe eighth of an inch left, it would have gone in.

Q. Tiger, seeing some of the low scores coming in earlier, did it feel like this was something you needed to take advantage of, considering if you were playing well in the afternoon?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt like I could drive the ball, well with the greens being soft because of the overnight rain. I could be aggressive and fire at some of these pins and know that the ball is not going it skip over the back. Even some of the back pins, you can go ahead and fly it pin-high and know it's not going to skip into the back bunker or in the rough. It's going to stay right there. And my whole game plan today was just drive the ball in the fairway, and from there, hopefully I'll have a number where I can be aggressive. And today, the wind really didn't blow all that much; so that a lot of shots I hit in the fairway, I could go ahead and take a cut at some of these pins.

Q. It looks like you might be playing with Mike Weir. Is this the first time you've played with him since the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: I believe so, yeah.

Q. Are you looking forward to that? Have any thoughts on his game?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously, Mike played very well today. 8-under through 11; that usually works. He might be one or two back in Palm Springs, but here, it's still pretty good. Obviously, he's playing great and hitting the ball well and making some putts. If you looked at that board, a lot of guys who are lefties up there -- but, tomorrow I'll enjoy playing with Mike, I always have. We've played, I think, twice together and been two final rounds. I've enjoyed his company both times.

Q. Is this course well-suited to your game, playing the way you want? Is this a fun course for you to attack?

TIGER WOODS: It's a wonderful golf course for a long hitter, if they are driving it well because of the way it's shaped. The par 5s are borderline for most guys. Guys who are long can probably take a go at most of the par 5s. Some of the par 4s, since they are dogleg, longer hitters can cut the corners and shorten it up quite a bit. For anybody that hits the ball long, you've got to love coming here.

Q. Could it tempt a player into being a little bit too aggressive? Is it a tricky course in that way?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think so, because the fairways aren't fast. If the fairways were fast, then it would be a lot more work mentally, trying to decipher what club you want to hit off the tee and what trajectory you want to hit it at. But since the fairways are soft, just hit it out there and it will just kind of plug right there.

Q. This is a time where a lot of players are trying to peak their game in preparation for the Masters. Does it affect -- as you do that, does it affect in any way how you play a tournament?

TIGER WOODS: Probably not. No, I don't think so. I know that when I've been out of contention and at The PLAYERS Championship, I went ahead and tried a few shots that I'll use at Augusta, just because I was so far back that I could do that. But I didn't do it last year because I had a chance on -- like the last 15 -- 13 holes, I had a chance, if I really played well I might get up there, so I didn't try it. But '97 I did, because I was finishing about 80th, something like that. Just made the cut and didn't really do to well. I was just shaping shots getting ready for Augusta.

Q. You said when you're in contention week after week, it can become draining a little bit?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. Mentally, yeah.

Q. What would happen if you were to get into a tight shootout here and win and go to The PLAYERS and win, even though you've got a week off, could that actually hurt your chances at Augusta?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think so. If I played three straight weeks in a row, three consecutive weeks, yeah, I think I'd be a little worn out. But since I had the week off, I could go ahead and lay the clubs down for a couple days and kick it back up and try to get ready.

Q. Are you going to try to win this week?

TIGER WOODS: I think so. Come on, Dougie.

Q. You caught a break, playing at home this week?

TIGER WOODS: You don't know how good that is. It's unbelievable to sleep in your own bed. I've always said this: In golf, we travel more than anybody else. Most professional sports, half their season is at home. They can go ahead and stay at home. For us, we're always traveling all around the world. It's a tough way to go, but it's nice to actually sit down on your couch and you don't have to look at the remote you know what number is there and you know how to get to there what channels are there, what channel is ESPN and everything.

Q. So tonight you'll what watch the basketball game?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah. Stanford plays tonight. So I'll try to get that on satellite.

Q. Do you take it as a good sign for your game when you're able to take a break this year, when you've come back, it seems like you've come back sharp?

TIGER WOODS: I think you come back sharp because of the fact that you get the rest mentally. And two, for me, I've always done better that way because I can go ahead and hit a lot of golf balls and practice and get ready on my game. When you're out here playing in a tournament, you don't have time to go out there and after a round and go ahead and bang balls all day, all evening and come out fresh the next day, mentally. Even physically, you're a little drained. When you're at home and you don't have a tournament going on, you go ahead and bang balls all you want, and know the next day you can do the same thing and not have to go out and score, because scoring takes a lot out of you.

Q. How many balls do you hit on an average tournament day, non-tournament week?

TIGER WOODS: If I'm working on something or I'm just out there just trying to hit balls?

Q. Just out hitting balls?

TIGER WOODS: Just out hitting balls, probably in the neighborhood of probably 300 to 800 balls, somewhere in there. Depends on what type of day it is. If I'm really working on something, then I'll have 2 to 3 sessions throughout the day, or if I already have it --

Q. What's the most you can go at one time?

TIGER WOODS: In Vegas, I was out there hitting balls with Butch -- I don't know, I went for five hours in a row. I don't know how many balls that is.

Q. That's a lot.

TIGER WOODS: It was a lot, I'll tell you that. I was a little sore.

Q. Obviously, long hitters seem to have an advantage here, but short hitters have done well. What is it about this golf course?

TIGER WOODS: I think the years that some of the guys who don't hit the ball quite as long have done well, they usually have been the dry years and the ball is rolling. If the ball is rolling, then anybody can play. But it's a more difficult when the fairways are soft. You have a distinct advantage if you can hit the ball high and long.

Q. Last year, earlier in the year when David was so hot, he said he didn't like to look at it as a streak, but kind of a reward for things he had been working on and he could sustain it for a long period. You've now sustained this level for close to a year; any danger of getting mentally burned out or have you factored that in really well to how you're playing?

TIGER WOODS: I understand. I truly believe that when you're working on a few things and then they finally start coming together, I think you're pretty excited just to get out there and play, and play well. And I think the temptation is to play too much, because you are playing well. But you know, you've got to go get your rest, and I don't think you can ever get burned out if you're playing well.

Q. Did you come over here at all last we week to see how it set up?

TIGER WOODS: No. I figured I've played here enough times.

Q. When do you start preparing for Augusta?


Q. Yeah.


Q. Has this three months all been geared towards it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I'm not the first one to do that. Jack's done it. Seve's done it. So as soon as the new year comes around, he gets ready for Augusta. He's done pretty well. Watson said the sane.

Q. How do that, your schedule?

TIGER WOODS: Schedule, what you're working on, swing and putting, everything coming together, short game. You can feel it getting better, making progress each and every week you go out, and that's what you want to look forward to. And hopefully, it can peak at that one week.

Q. Will you back off on certain things if you feel it's peaking too quickly?

TIGER WOODS: No, not really. Because if anything, on those days, that's when you want to ingrain it. If you're really hitting well, stay out there because you want to ingrain it so that move becomes natural; so you don't have to worry about going out there in competition and you can go out and hit the shot you want because now you've ingrained it.

Q. What was the single best piece of advice you gave Aaron Baddeley in the practice round Wednesday?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know.

Q. Be nice to the media?

TIGER WOODS: Be nice to the media (laughs). I think he does a pretty good job of that already. One thing that I know that we were talking about, going down 9, I said, "Look over there on the left." "What's up," he said. "Oh, those two guys over there on the left with dufflebags full of autograph stuff for you to sign, they are collectors. Just be aware of guys like that, guys with clip boards and stuff like that that come up to you and want a perfectly neat signature, so they can mat it, frame it, sell it and make a profit. Be careful of those things. You'll know who they are, because you'll see flags and stuff from Australian Open that you won. How can they get it over here? They order it send it over here, sign it, frame it, sell it. And you've just got to be careful."

Q. The autographs, you've talked about this quite a bit, have you ever thought about asking for a kid for his name?

TIGER WOODS: I do that a lot.

Q. Even though it will take more time?

TIGER WOODS: I always do that. If you watch me sign, as I'm walking in the practice round, I'll ask, "What's your name," and I'll sign it and usually kind of -- if they say, "Just sign it a few times," then I'll write something that you're probably not supposed to write. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts…

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