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August 18, 1999

Tiger Woods


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate you spending some time with us. Maybe just a couple thoughts about what has transpired the last couple of days, and then we will open it up for questions.

TIGER WOODS: Well, let's see. Monday I got up at 5:00 in the morning to catch a flight out to Aspen to do a little charity thing for Glen Frey. Went to his concert that night - concert and auction. Played golf on Tuesday, which was, I guess, yesterday, in the morning. Flew here, and putted a little bit last night. Got a few hours sleep, and up again early this morning for 7:30 shotgun start off the 10th tee. I have had a lot of rest lately. (laughter)

LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?

Q. Your conscious, very conscious of this sport and its history. Do you measure your standards of success in this sport given, years ago, a guy could have a great year, win 11 tournaments, and how much tougher is the competition now, and how do you evaluate your performance? And does it have to have changed because it is harder to win?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think you have to be more realistic in your expectations in winning golf tournaments at every level. Junior golf, you can win -- I remember when I was 11 years old, I won 30 tournaments in a row. You can't do that out here. It won't happen. As you go up in levels, you win less and less and less, and just because the fields are deeper, players are better, and there will be players that will be beyond you. You have to understand that everyone is going to have their own magical week. But the key is to be consistent enough where, hopefully, you have a few of those throughout the year. It is very difficult to be a multiple winner now on Tour. This year, I have had -- I guess, I have had 5 wins so far this year worldwide, and I have had a very successful year.

Q. How much better are they than 30 years ago when the Nicklauses were --

TIGER WOODS: If you look back when Byron Nelson was winning all those tournaments, and you go up through the Nicklaus era, you notice every era they start winning less per year, or a span, of course, of winning a lot of tournaments. But in one year, they are not winning as much. It's just the fact that the fields are getting deeper. Fields were deeper when Nicklaus was winning versus when Nelson was winning; they are deeper now when I am out there competing versus when Nicklaus was competing in his prime. It is the evolution of the game.

Q. Everybody is talking about the battle that you and Sergio Garcia had at the PGA, how much more interest there is now among people who are nongolf fans. How good was that for golf, and how much fun was it for you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it was -- I don't know how good it was for golf, because I think I am too close to the situation. I was one of the participants, and it is hard for me to get a true perspective on it. You'd have to ask people around me or just people in general to get an understanding of what it really means. From my standpoint, it meant that I had a competitor who was very tough, who was playing very well, and I had to somehow counter him and hold him off. I was able to do that by making some putts and held him off down the stretch.

Q. When Sergio arrived here yesterday, he was treated the way you have been treated the last two or three years. I remember you once saying about David Duval, when he came to the fore, that that relieved a bit of pressure off you. Do you think, now Sergio has emerged, that is going to --

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. No doubt about it. Now, he is getting the galleries and the attention, the media. And he has to go through all the things that will hopefully not detract him from his concentration. When I first came out, it was very tough to focus and tough to put everything in and space it around and budget your time. It is not easy. He is starting to find that out now. David went through it. He started getting adjusted to it now. I have gone through it. Now Sergio is just getting started. It will take him a little bit, but hopefully it won't take him as much time as it took us.

Q. If I may be honest, on Sunday night at the press conference, I don't think I have ever seen a major champion look as subdued as you looked. Is that a fair statement?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I was tired. I was really worn out. I gave it everything I had. When I had put in as much effort as I did on the last few holes, to block out absolutely everything on each and every shot where you don't hear anything. You are over the ball, you don't realize -- I mean, a bomb could be going off, you probably wouldn't even know. That's the focus I had. And to block everything out, I was walking, and to stay in that zone, you can't stay in that zone for 18 holes. It can only do it for a short amount of time. I was able to do it and stay in it. When I was done, I didn't realize how much energy it took out of me. When I finished on 18, knew that it was over, I just fell. All my adrenaline went out of my system, and I was tired.

Q. You were lambasted in the Chicago press on Monday morning. I don't know if you saw it.

TIGER WOODS: Oh, you think? (Laughter). And U.S.A. TODAY.

Q. Yeah, for bringing up the stuff about the hecklers, do you regret having brought that up?

TIGER WOODS: Because I feel it is -- when I was a member of the gallery when I was a kid watching the L.A. Open, if somebody ever yelled out and said something wrong, somebody immediately would say: You can't do that. Because kids were yelling things when I was walking around watching some of the players, and immediately the parents or other adults will tell them: You can't do that out here. Golf is not like that. Now, that is not the case. The golfing public has changed. It has evolved. Now you are getting fans who are new to the game, who don't understand the traditions and the etiquette of the game. That is what I was trying to get across, the fact that I think it is the job of the golf enthusiasts, the people who have played the game, who understand the game, to educate, to teach the people who are new to the game, and to make sure that they understand the traditions of this wonderful game of golf.

Q. Did that criticism hurt you?

TIGER WOODS: It is just unfortunate that some people don't understand what I was trying to say. I explained it just like that, and some people want to stand out. It is good journalism to get their name in lights. I know some of the people have done it to me, and it is just the way it is.

Q. You have just come from Medinah Country Club where, in fact, you were hitting somewhat conservative off the tee. Is it good to get out here in the fresh mountain air rather than where you were at, where it is so muggy in Chicago, and be able to swing away again?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it was nice the first two days of the Championship I was able to use my driver quite a bit because it was so soft. It was actually nice to be able to swing the driver. There aren't a whole lot of tournaments that I play in where I can use driver on a majority of par 4 and 5s. Medinah was one for the first two days; as it firmed up, that was no longer the case, because most of the holes shaped, and I had to hit the ball dog-legs. This week is one of those weeks that I thoroughly enjoy, because you can stretch it out there. You can be aggressive. But more importantly, you have to be aggressive. You have to get birdies and hopefully a few eagles along the way.

Q. You're back here now. Did you use the driver here, in what you can remember, more so here than in most of the tournaments you play in? Is this a good driving course for you?

TIGER WOODS: I think I used -- depends on the wind. I think I used my driver probably about, out of the 14 driving holes, maybe at the most probably 10. That is a lot for me. Usually, it is somewhere between two and four, two and five times a round, that is all I can use my driver. This week I can use it almost double the amount.

Q. You and Sergio both show a lot more emotion than some golfers have in the past. I think that fires up the crowd even more. Makes them more rambunctious. You were talking about when you were a kid in L.A., and the etiquette standards were so high. Do you think once they are lowered they can go back, or is the crowd at a golf tournament just different forever now because --

TIGER WOODS: I think it is different because you are getting fans that have never played the game before or just coming out just to experience the game, and to just come out and, at this point, back a few with their buddies. What I noticed, for instance, at the Western Open, or basically not the Western Open but normally Fridays are probably your worse days, because a lot of the guys get off early with their buddies, go out, have a few, and say some things they probably shouldn't say. Then on Saturday you have usually the wives and as well as the husband or girlfriends come out, and they follow. Then on Sundays, usually the kids, the whole family comes out. So you see more kids than any other time during the week on Sunday. It is just unfortunately, game is changing. But that is also the great thing about it. It is changing. I think it is up to, as I pointed out, for the golfing enthusiasts to explain the etiquette of the game.

Q. You said that you can focus in and even if a bomb goes off behind you. You have always had large, noisy crowds around you. Has it gotten easier over the years, or is it still --

TIGER WOODS: No, it's gotten tougher to focus, and you have had to. Because you get noises that you are not used to. Cameras going off or porterjohns closing, things that you don't normally hear on a golf course, that when you are playing with your weekend buddies. Now you are having more of that. That is one of the great things about the game, it is growing. But it is also more difficult too. Unfortunately, if you get somebody at the right moment, like cost him one shot -- one shot now between first and second is over $200,000. That is a lot of money to lose in one shot.

Q. While you were lining up your first putt on 18 Sunday, somebody in the gallery said: 3-putt. But then you may not have heard it. Bunch of people around him groaned.

TIGER WOODS: I heard that. We had that all day. That is the whole idea right there.

Q. They were trying to say that is not appropriate. I just wasn't sure if you heard that. My question is, and I asked Sergio the same thing, after what you have gone through the last week and winning a major, being tired, can you gear up again tomorrow? I know Vijay followed last year -- Can you do that too? Or do you have enough energy to win and contend here?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. You've just got to. I have been busy, granted, and been doing something nice for charity. I am always happy to do that. I understand I haven't really been that focused either the last couple of days. And I have just been relaxed and having a fun round of golf. Yesterday was a fun round of golf for the guys who put the highest bid for me. And today was a fun round of golf with my playing partners today. It is fun. You don't -- you are not out there grinding and focusing and blocking everything out, so you are just kind of just out there relaxed. It is like a stroll in the park. Because of that, you are rested. Not as well rested if you were just watching TV all day.

Q. But you will be okay?


Q. Swing mechanics. If somebody would give you a compliment on your golf swing today, what would you most like to hear?

TIGER WOODS: Most like to hear? As hard as I have worked on my footwork, hopefully my footwork. But people, they probably don't understand that.

Q. Any specifics that you are thinking about? Butch is working with you on the footwork?

TIGER WOODS: On a number of things. But if they can pick that one thing out, that would be pretty cool. Because we have worked so hard to get that better, as well as other things. But other things were causing the footwork to be bad. But everything else, the footwork will be right where we want it.

Q. When you are out there on the tee today, you and Butch are working on that specifically more than --

TIGER WOODS: No, we are not working on that. That is just a by-product of the other things we are working on in the swing.

Q. What are you guys working on the most right now?

TIGER WOODS: The right arm, going back, the swing plane; make sure left arm planes high enough; the club gets down in front of me; my left wrist at impact; make sure I got full extension on the right arm. Look at the shot from underneath the ball. Just a few things.

Q. Given how long you have been in the game, how much competition you have been in, you might feel a lot older than your actual age. Does it strike you as strange that you are kind of almost considered the old man versus Sergio, I mean, given his age?

TIGER WOODS: It was going to happen. It is bound to happen. You can't be the young guy on the block forever. I welcome that. That is great. Now as I have been out here on Tour I have gotten to know the guys a little bit, have felt more comfortable because of the age difference when you first come out 19, 20 years old, that is versus someone who is 40, or late 30s, that is a big generation gap and your interests aren't always the same. It is nice to have guys who are coming out who have grown up doing the same things I have been doing, seeing the same things, going through the same experiences. It is just -- when guys for instance on Tour sit around to have lunch they are talking about how tough it was to play when -- for the draft in Vietnam, all that stuff - I was just born. It is a big difference in age. Now Sergio and I are talking about video games and what cartoons we watch. See, that, to me, is great when people are coming out who are the same age. Only a few of us who are about the same age, Justin a little bit older than me, so is Phil, David. Darren Clarke and Westwood all about the same thing, they are all about the same age. I am just a little bit younger than them.

Q. From tournament to tournament seems as though there is another rival. Another someone who emerges as the challenger to Tiger Woods more recently it is almost as from day-to-day --

TIGER WOODS: Week-to-week, the press got to figure something out.

Q. Do you find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on your task at hand knowing that on any given hole on the course this rival or someone is being propelled to challenge you for that tournament?

TIGER WOODS: You know it is one of those things if I have thought about it I'd probably get dizzy because every week, well, it was Phil, then it was Ernie, now it is David, now it is Sergio. Before it was Justin as well. There is always somebody. That is great for the game that there are a lot of players who are the same age playing well. I think it is great for the game, but if I actually focused on all that, I'd probably get dizzy. My task at hand when I come to a tournament site is not to worry about what these guys are doing until probably the back nine on Sunday. So whoever is on the top of the leaderboard usually it is probably one of them. But my goal is to try to get myself in contention.

Q. Do you think that Sergio's enthusiasm that he shows on the course is a factor of age; can he continue that kind of enthusiasm and secondly, do you think that if he continues to play well, what advice would you give him as to avoid some of the pitfalls that you had to go through as far as all the media pressure?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that can he play at this same level? I don't know if he can. What I mean by that, I don't know if he can play as emotional day-to-day for twelve months. I am only speaking from my own experiences. Sergio probably could do it from my own experiences; I couldn't. I remember 1997 I was still a very emotional player and by the time I got to just past the U.S. Open I was worn out because I had never played that much golf in my life. I never played week after week after week and as much emotion as I put into it, there is no way I could do it for twelve months so I had to come up with some way where I could last for twelve months. I have found that I am a little more subdued on the golf course now. I am not as -- I don't have the highs and lows like I used to, and hence I can last for twelve months. Sergio probably could do it because most of his emotions are channeled into they look pretty innocent, if not enthusiastic just to be out there. Hopefully that will stay that way. By getting to know him I think it will stay that way, but from my own experiences it is very hard to play that way for twelve months. I am not saying that Sergio can or can't do it. I am just speaking from what I have gone through. As far as what I can tell about the media is always be honest; always be truthful. Sometimes unfortunately the truth will get you burned like we have recently with all the Ryder Cup stuff. But the truth is the truth. And I don't think you can go to bed saying that I lied and he is not that kind of guy that would ever do that either.

Q. What are the intangibles that Lehman and Pate will bring to the team and also looking down the road, are you prepared physically and mentally to compete internationally in team events for the next 10, 20 years if that is necessary?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think by picking Lehman and Steve Pate, I think those two are wonderful picks. Obviously Tom is a proven veteran. Pater has been there. He played well at the Match Play Championship this year. He has had a wonderful year. I think he has 1.4 million this year somewhere around there, I think. So he has had a fabulous year just been kind of where you really didn't know what he was doing, but he has had a very successful year. I think those two guys will add a lot to the team. They are veterans, they have been there before. Pater was playing the best of anybody before the accident, and so got two guys who love Match Play, and more importantly will be wonderful leaders on the team.

Q. It is fun to watch which one of you guys puts it out there the farthest on No. 1. What did you do with your drive today on No. 1?

TIGER WOODS: I hit driver 3-iron right bunker.

Q. Did you exceed the other foursome? How far did you hit it?

TIGER WOODS: Calc was down there in the fairway in front of me baiting me on to hit it because I think it was first par 5 on the back nine is 14?

Q. Yeah.

TIGER WOODS: Calc was trying to bait me to hit it into him, see how far I could hit it. I hit it past him. He was doing the same thing on 1 waiting for me; I let one go a little bit, and got it out there right next to him.

Q. How far did you hit it on 14? You hit 1-over 400 yards last year?

TIGER WOODS: Off of one --

Q. At 14.


Q. Yeah, because you had 9-iron in.

TIGER WOODS: Down the left-hand side. That's back when I was long.

Q. Let me ask you this: What do you recall from last year when you were here and what were the memories that you took from this tournament, the things that happened here for you and why did you decide to come back?

TIGER WOODS: Well, last year was quite an experience. I will go through some of them, I guess. I remember on 10 -- 12, yeah, 12, pin was in the back left-hand part of the green, I put it in the right bunker, I bladed it over the water into the bushes over on the other side. I was on the downslope in some bushes, had some -- decent lie, flopped it out onto the green; made the putt for bogey from about 15 feet; went on the next hole, hit 3-wood and sand wedge in the hole on the fly. So that was a huge swing. Made a hole-in-one on 7 last year with an 8-iron that flew right in the hole again on the fly. I think on Saturday I was either five or six over par through seven holes -- for six holes, 5-over par through six holes, I think. Somehow ended up in the plus column by the end of the day; maintained my position in contention somehow. What else did I do last year that was kind of interesting? That is about it. That is a lot. (laughs).

Q. You like the format?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I do because -- didn't really understand it what the players were saying on TV; granted, when I was watching it, when I was in junior golf and amateur golf by saying that it is nice to get a break from stroke-play because in junior golf and amateur golf we play a lot of match play. So we always -- we have different formats all the time. When I have gotten out here, all we do is play stroke-play four days and sometimes five and always play the same way. It is nice to be able to be more aggressive and take chances and to just be a little different. It is nice to have a week where the guys are -- look at this week, most of the guys are pretty relaxed; especially coming off a major.

Q. Two unrelated questions if I could. First of all, I assume it wasn't 'til after you left the course Sunday night that you saw Sergio's shot around the tree.

TIGER WOODS: No, I saw it during a Golf Channel highlight. I was on the Golf Central that night.

Q. What did you think of that?

TIGER WOODS: It was an impressive shot. Mark and I were -- Mark O'Meara and I were both talking about it, the fact when you pull off a shot that early as early as he did, the miss that you are going to get is usually thin and I saw that root that was sticking out, if he hits it thin, obviously he is going to hit it. I was surprised that he went -- he backed out of it so soon. I understand he was afraid of getting hit, but I was really surprised that he didn't hit it thin because when you backed out it was so early and closed his eyes - I can understand that part - but he didn't get ahead of it and hit it thin. He didn't get the handle ahead and hit it thin right into the right. He actually took a huge divot; was able to get the ball up high enough and cutting.

Q. So you were impressed?

TIGER WOODS: Very impressed, yes.

Q. Obviously because you didn't have this experience in Augusta when you won, do you think you are better off for having survived the challenge in a major and winning? Obviously you have been in contention in majors and not won, but now you have won one that way, do you think that will help you having been through that in your majors to come?

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it. Any time you can win down the stretch and hold off somebody you are going to take some pretty good positive vibes from it. Even though I had a five-shot lead at one point and quickly went down to one, the positive obviously is I had a one-shot lead still. Even though play two holes the way I didn't want to play them, I still had the lead which meant that I had done some pretty good work going into those two holes.

Q. Also upstairs they were saying yesterday one of the hardest things to do is to pull it together after you have lost a few shots like that. You were able to do that.

TIGER WOODS: I was able to do that, yes. I guess I have done that before. If you look at my U.S. Amateurs I have done that, played terrible going out and somehow turned it around and I won against Trip (phonetic), being down a lot, and against Steve Scott shot 77, 65 - those are two different scores. So, yeah, it is-I have done it before, but it is different when you got -- you don't have a break. Now I had 18 holes; then I had a lunch break then had a chance to collect myself and go back out and hopefully turn it around. I was able to do it. But when you are out there; and have to try to turn it around, was a little more difficult. But to add to your point is that the fact that even though I made a bogey and a double, I really didn't hit that many bad shots. They weren't awful shots. It wasn't the fact that I dumped it in the water with a God-awful shot on 13 or hit a terrible shot going into 12 that kicked off the tree, they weren't bad shots. So that meant that I could take that away from it because I didn't really play horrible shots, just I got bad scores out of it. So I wasn't playing terrible just that my scores didn't reflect the shots that I hit.

Q. Chip on 13 you only missed by a couple of feet?

TIGER WOODS: No, the shot into the green I only missed by a few yards.

Q. Right.

TIGER WOODS: If I landed it a few yards shorter it is going to hit the slope and come back right where Sergio was. I got a 15-, 20- footer downhill par; maybe I can luck one in and get a birdie.

Q. Do you have any plans on playing the LVI this year and, two, can you talk about the time that you spend in Las Vegas which Butch Harmon now being out there and some of the other interests that you have there?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I do. I have interest of playing there this year. I don't know if I am going to or not depends on how I feel. But I do have an interest, no doubt about it. I have had some success there obviously. Having Butch out there is wonderful because we get some good work away from everybody; on top of that we can have fun at night and just have a nice relaxing time, so best of both worlds. You can do some great work during the day and then after that go and have a nice relaxing evening.

Q. Can you put a percentage on what the chances of you playing Vegas are?

TIGER WOODS: No, I am getting away from any kind of grading, percentages, or anything.

Q. Tiger, looking ahead to the Ryder Cup matches, if you and Sergio do not have a rivalry per se between now and then, do you foresee the network maybe trying to encourage both captains to put the two of you together in a Match Play situation?

TIGER WOODS: I don't think -- the networks have absolutely no control over what the captains do. They are going to put whoever they see is going to be best for the team and I think that is one of the beauties of it. This is not -- this is a tournament in which the captains do have free rein and they choose where the players go. Ben wants to win as well as Mark James and they are going to put the players where they think that they will have a weak spot or top players against top players and hopefully we can come on top. They are always going to look for that weak spot. It is kind of blind luck really. Maybe we will play, I think we will have a better chance of playing not necessarily singles but in some one of the team formats. Because obviously there is a better likelihood of that ever happening.

Q. Last week on 17 that was where the wheels stopped coming off your machine when you were golfing. How confident were you over that putt and on your read and standing over what was going through your mind going into that because you knew you really had to do that to save from being in a playoff?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt if I could make that putt that would force Sergio to have to make birdie on 18 to tie. So I felt with the hole being downwind, that the hole was playing pretty easy and it wasn't that hard to make a par. So I felt that he had to -- would have to make birdie, so basically came down to that 1-putt, I thought. And I felt very good about the read. I first looked at it and I saw it was on top of the left, Stevie said it was inside the left and when I got over the putt, I stayed committed to inside left. When I felt -- I could feel on my feet that the slope was a little more than we were reading, I changed my read to half in half out. From there I said just stay committed, stay steady, let the blade release. I released the blade. I felt very good how I released. I didn't block it. A lot of putts I have been blocking all week. That one I didn't block, I released it, let it go, and it rolled right in there.

Q. Now that we know how spent you were after winning that tournament, if you had not made that putt at 17, how much juice would you have had left for the playoff, do you think?

TIGER WOODS: Hopefully I would have made 3. Steve and -- my caddie is a wonderful caddie. He was already preparing to make 3. He says, okay --

Q. At 18?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, three wins, he said. Which is true. Because Sergio didn't make two, we didn't hear a roar for a two so obviously whatever he did, it was -- if he made birdie, 3 would win anyways. He was preparing me whether it was to make 3, stay committed, to making good shots and making three or is it just in case we might have need some energy for a playoff. He was saying three wins.

Q. If you end up going in a playoff would you have had enough juice do you think or the adrenaline --

TIGER WOODS: I think that the adrenaline would have been so high because I had a playoff that I would have been all right. But I think I would have been that much more drained after the playoff.

Q. Second question, one of the surprises I thought is that in Chicago where you have been embraced wildly at two Western Opens, that the crowd kind of changed on Sunday. And was more in favor of Sergio than you. I am not sure I understand that. Do you have a feeling or a take on why that happened?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it is great that they were cheering for him. Two things on that point. One is the reason why I said the things that I said during the press conference of what I said earlier during this press conference is that they weren't necessarily saying bad things to not only me, some tough things but they were getting on Mike Weir that day and Mike was trying so hard to just put it together and make a run at it. He has never been there before, and they were saying: Don't choke, and/or I heard one guy say you are a choking dog. That is a shame. That is why I said the things I said. Seeing that the crowds changed and go for Sergio, I think that was -- that was wonderful because then it put a lot of the pressure on Sergio now that the fans were on his side, and they were kind of leaving me alone. Most of the fans rushed up to see Sergio and I was playing with smaller galleries than he was. So he had to deal with more of the distractions, so kind of changed a negative into a positive.

Q. Just going back to Sergio's shot at 16. His gazelle-like performance afterwards, would you agree that was one of the great moments ever seen at a major championship and do you like to see that sort of?

TIGER WOODS: I think it is great. I think it is great for players to show their emotions and show what they are actually feeling, the passion, passion for a shot; whether it is good or bad. And it was great to see. I was on the tee box watching it. I saw him starting to run. I was wondering if he was running that hard, was it headed -- usually when you run that hard it is to see if it is over the green or not. Because with the lie he had, from the tee he swung pretty hard, I was thinking might have caught a flier; he wanted to see if hopefully that ball would get down or hit the grass, or something. As soon as the gallery started cheering I said, well, that is really not over the green, is it?


Q. About that crowd thing, if you are Sergio, and he is you, I think they are going to cheer for the youngster.

TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it.

Q. You always want to go with the underdog.

TIGER WOODS: Always. No doubt about it.

End of FastScripts…

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