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February 27, 2000

Tiger Woods


NELSON LUIS: Well, Tiger, thanks for joining us here after your round. Obviously a very tough-fought match. Unfortunately, you came up on the short end. Give us some opening remarks.

TIGER WOODS: Darren, to be honest with you, just flat out outplayed me today. He hit the ball beautifully, made a lot of putts. I think he only missed one fairway today. I'm not sure, but that's what it looked like. He played beautifully today; I just couldn't quite hit the shots the way I wanted to. I only hit one good shot in the afternoon. And I just wasn't able to put a lot of pressure on him.

Q. Tiger, did you find yourself on the backside pressing a little bit with some of the shorter putts or trying to get it close?

TIGER WOODS: I was just trying to find my golf swing, to be honest with you. I was trying to shape the ball in there, and I can't shape it in there. I can't hit my little 2-yard draw or fade or the right ball trajectory. I did a lot of it with smoke and mirrors today, with a lot of my hands and timing it well, and made a lot of putts in the morning, just to keep myself in the ballgame.

Q. Tiger, you talked about your swing, I don't remember, three of the last four tournaments. Is it something that's concerning you, or do you think you played a lot of tournaments?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't swing the club that great last year, but I was managing myself around and making a couple of putts here and there. And it's frustrating when you can't shape the shot the way you want to. You see the shot, it doesn't come off that way.

Q. Tiger, this morning your putts were rolling nicely, you made some birdies. Was there one putt which didn't go in that maybe started a little bit of a domino effect?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the putt on 10, if I could have made the putt on 10 for par. But then again, it wasn't the putt. It was the iron shot going in there. He putts it 40 feet out to the right. It was the perfect opening to knock it on the shelf there. And here I hit it 25 feet. Actually, I was further out than he was. That's frustrating, not to be able to shape that shot in there, a little 9-iron, simple little shot, and not to hit the ball in tight and put a little pressure on him.

Q. Tiger, can you talk about your mindset, the difference between playing as well as you did yesterday and then playing not as well as you would have liked to today?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's just -- the mindset is still the same. Mentally, I'm trying to hit the shot; just physically I couldn't do it. Mentally, the thought process was the same on every shot. I had the correct feeling over the ball, and during the swing it was a different story.

Q. How did you feel during the break, after the morning match?

TIGER WOODS: Not too bad. I worked out a little bit on the range and was able to hit the ball a little more square and shape the shots correctly, but just wasn't able to do it on a consistent basis to be able to hit it time and time again.

Q. Obviously you were longer off the tee. He was hitting first. He put so many shots really birdie range. Did that affect you at all in trying to get it inside him?

TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, no, just because I'm trying to just get the ball somewhere on the correct level. Even the shots -- it all goes back to the drives. Even though he's in the fairway, which is fine, and I'm in the fairway, just fine, but how did I get there is the thing. Did I time it correctly, did I flip it or hold onto it or chase it at the bottom, or just kind of squeak one out there. That's what I was doing all day. And if you look at -- if you stand behind me on one of the golf shots and watch them, every one looked different. That's not the way I usually play when I'm playing well.

Q. At what point on the back 9, did you really feel like this might be serious trouble, that he might be taking control?

TIGER WOODS: When I didn't birdie 14. I had that putt downhill, easy putt. It's a double breaker, but it's not that hard. It's a right edge putt; just get it to the hole. And I was so concerned with the speed, I didn't get it to the hole, and I found myself dormieing.

Q. Did fatigue ever play into the factor there?


Q. Talk about 12.

TIGER WOODS: 12, I was trying to put a little soft little bunker shot in there, and I didn't accelerate the blade properly, didn't release it the way I should have, and came up short. The next shot, I hit kind of halfway decent. And the putt, I just pulled.

Q. Tiger, were you surprised at the way Darren played today and the consistency with which he played?

TIGER WOODS: Was I surprised? No, not at all. Because Darren has played like this all week; he's played beautifully. All you have to go do is look at the stats and see how beautifully he's played. He hit a lot of good, solid shots all week, and he's putting well. That's a tough combination to try to beat when you're not really playing as good as you'd like.

Q. I think he goes to 14th in the world now. Is his potential much, much higher than that?

TIGER WOODS: Darren has the ability to obviously play great golf. It's just dependent on how dedicated he is to his work ethic. And that's something that Butch has been trying to get him to do is work a little bit harder, and he does it at times, and he's able to play great golf.

Q. Going back to No. 12, he laid up, did you think to yourself at that time to maybe hit a 2-iron instead of the 3-wood?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I normally would have hit a 2-iron, but since I can't hit it solid, there's no point. Now, I would have come up in a front bunker or front rough, and that's not the good spot to be in. So why don't I hit a 3-wood and heel skanked it up there somewhere, and might get it on the green. I heel skanked it, and it was on.

Q. I think everybody in this room knows how golf comes and goes, and people who don't, say: "Why don't you win all the time?" You're ranked No. 1, you've been playing well, and yet here's a day things don't go right. Does it give you a new appreciation on the game and how difficult it can be?

TIGER WOODS: I completely understand the way the game is. What I was saying out there today, that's the beauty of golf. You can go out there, and here, I was not playing as good as I'd like to out there. And Darren is playing beautifully. And I still have a chance to win the match. That's the irony of golf. As I said all week in here in the press, is that you can go out there and not play good and still win matches, and the other guy can go out and play beautifully and lose. I had a chance to do that today.

Q. Tiger, you looked like you kept motioning with your body after the poor shots. Was there anything in particular that was -- that mechanically had gone wrong that you could tell?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I got stuck every time. The problem is that there's a number of different ways I can get stuck. And that's the problem, is that it could be a hip, it could be the left arm, it could be the right arm, it could be the speed of the arms on the way down. It could be a lot of different things. And it's just trying to figure out and pinpoint what it is, when you're trying to hit a golf shot in there and put pressure on your opponent.

Q. Do you think that joining the U.S. tour would be a good move for Darren, enabling him to see Butch more often?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. Just because he's obviously from Europe, and he's got a lot of friends over there, and he's based out of London now. And that's his home over there in Europe. If he plays over here, obviously he can benefit from seeing Butch. But then again, the technology nowadays, you can just e-mail somebody on your swings, and there you go.

Q. Tiger, you were asked earlier this week if match play was more suited for your game. You said it was dependent on the player. Is this an example of that?

TIGER WOODS: No. Match play is -- two totally different animals between match play and stroke-play. Match play, as I said this week, is unpredictable. And a stroke-play event, Darren would have run away with it today. He played that much better than I did. But in match play, I was right there. And that's the beauty of it, that you can go out there and struggle and still have a chance to win, or go out there and play beautifully and lose.

Q. How surprised were you finding your swing today considering how well you played yesterday afternoon?

TIGER WOODS: It's just the way golf is sometimes. Am I surprised? Not really. That's the way golf is. You can go out there and play beautifully, and a couple shots later, can't find it.

Q. Did you have any inkling this morning on the range as you warmed up that you were going to have trouble like that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, a little bit. But to be honest with you, I hit the ball worse yesterday on the range. That's just the way it is. But you can never really look at the way you hit the ball on the range as an indication on the way you hit the ball on the golf course. You just try to loosen up.

Q. When you were younger and playing and your game was coming in and out, would you say you were more of a feel player, and now you're more sort of mechanical, because you're looking at different mechanics of your swing and things like that? Is it easier to be a feel player?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I have a better awareness and understanding of my golf swing. I think that's what you see now, and the way I describe my golf swing and my misses and things that I do wrong. I have a better understanding of what I do wrong, personally, in my golf swing than I did when I was a kid. Today was a perfect example of playing a lot by feel. Look at my shots. They were just kind of all over the place, but I just timed them well. The shot I hit this morning on the 14th hole was a great example of that. My right foot slipped underneath me, and I threw it and timed it and hit it perfectly pin on. The mechanical players probably wouldn't have done that, hit it fat left, and hooked it off the map.

Q. When you hit a shot like you did on 11th afternoon, like a foot and a half or something like that, even though it was well into the match, are you thinking: "That's what I'm looking for"? Was that a good swing there?

TIGER WOODS: It was a borderline swing. I could feel myself get a little bit behind me, and I just kind of got over it with my shoulder and timed it just perfect.

Q. Could you talk about the byplay between you two guys? Did you try to stay away from him? I noticed on the first tee this morning, you were on the other side, sort of very serious?

TIGER WOODS: I do that in every match.

Q. Did it stay that way?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we didn't talk to each other. He focused on what he needs to do, and I was focused on what I need to do.

Q. Did you hear him shout over to Butch on the range this morning that he didn't need him, he was hitting it fine?

TIGER WOODS: Huh-uh. I was working on my own thing; I had enough problems.

Q. Tiger, do you think as you looked back on the last three or four years that this was as poorly as you've played in a big-time event in terms of the primetime moment?

TIGER WOODS: I guess. I haven't really played that bad for that long. But I think I guess Sunday at Disney is probably the last time I played that bad with a chance to win. I shot 73 in the last round.

End of FastScripts...

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