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June 10, 1997

Tiger Woods


LES UNGER: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. The gentleman to my right has been at probably 15 to 20 USGA press conferences during his junior and amateur days, but it's the first time as a professional. We welcome you to the U.S. Open, Tiger.

TIGER WOODS: Thank you.

LES UNGER: If we could start off, I would like to ask you if you might compare for us your preparation for the U.S. Open versus how you prepared for the Masters.

TIGER WOODS: Well, ball-striking, I prepared similarly, but not exactly. I hit a lot more 3-woods than I normally would. A lot more 2-woods in practice trying to get ready because I knew that the golf course was the way it was going to be set up, driving is at a premium; whereas, at Augusta, it was like a driving range, bombs away on the driving. My putting. I worked on my putting the same. Chipping, I didn't work on as much because there's no other place in the world that has rough like this, so, I couldn't really get ready for it that way. Everything else has been pretty much the same.

LES UNGER: So far we've talked to three or four players and it seems like some are saying this is a course you have to use your driver and others are saying that's not so. What's your position so far?

TIGER WOODS: My position is the most I'll ever hit is probably three drivers the entire way around just because a lot of the holes are either doglegged or I don't really need it because they start to bottom back on me a little bit. I'd rather put the ball in play.

LES UNGER: We're going to answer questions, but to repeat, there's a lot of people who are here. There's one in the middle you can line up there and there are two hand-helds and we have a sport reporter here, so, please don't ask a question here until we can record your comments. There will be a printout. I'll entertain questions. There's one right in the middle. Please, wait for a mic.

Q. Tiger Woods, you know the influence you've had on golf all around the world. In New Zealand, for example, there is a young lad calling himself Leopard Lee who's just 13. He's winning tournaments all over the place. He says he wants to meet you and beat you. It's a typical ambition. What would you say to somebody like him and what would you say to his parents?

TIGER WOODS: I think, more importantly, that his parents not push him to play. I hope that he is the type of person that's very self-driven, self-motivated because this is the kind of game you can't really rely on a coach or anyone to do it for you. You have to go out there and push yourself to be the best. And, I'm sure he'll get out here and he'll be kicking my butt.

Q. Tiger, wondering, is it too premature for you to start thinking about winning the Grand Slam and if you do win on Sunday, can the conversation start up and will you start giving it even more serious thought about winning the Grand Slam?

TIGER WOODS: I think the only time I would -- winning the Gland Slam would be if I won all three, the first three legs and then I had a one- or two-shot lead going into the last hole on 18 on Sunday at the PGA, then I would entertain it. But, you have to understand, it's so hard just to win a Tour event, let alone a major. I've only won one major, so it's kind of hard for me to say that.

Q. Tiger, Buck sort of helped in preparation the week before The Masters with the fast greens at Isleworth where you couldn't get him to grow a little chipping rough or something for you. Did he do anything to help you prepare?

TIGER WOODS: No, no, no, because the members would have complained. No, but there was really no place to practice a rough like this. I mean, you just had to actually come here and practice on the golf course.

Q. It would be different kind of grass?

TIGER WOODS: Besides, in Isleworth, we play on Bermuda grass. This is not Bermuda. It's a rye and it really wouldn't matter.

Q. Tiger, The Memorial you were saying you had some trouble with your swing. I remember before The Masters you said you shot a 59 at home. You went into that tournament feeling ready to play. How is your game right now? Have you been able to iron out whatever was wrong with your swing?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I spent last week -- yeah, I spent last week, the early part of last week, I spent three days down there in Houston working with Butch, working on my game and then the last day we were there, we went out and played and I shot 63 with a bogey and I missed a three-footer for birdie. So I'm playing pretty good right now. I'm driving it well, and I know my iron game will come around if I drive it well because that's just what you have to do out here. Put it this way: You can go around this place and not hit your irons well and shoot a good score if you're in the fairway all day.

Q. There was a report at ESPN last night, you used to practice putting on the basketball green at Stanford, and are they as fast.....

TIGER WOODS: No, these greens are not as fast as they were in the past like at Shinnecock or Oakland Hills like I played. I've only played two of them. These greens are a little slower a, lot of poa in them. It's hard to get really quick. They haven't started double-cutting them, lowering them a little bit. They've been rolling them, but there's still a little moisture in the greens because we're hitting mid-irons and they're holing pretty well.

Q. Tiger, 21 years old, here you are in front of about a thousand members of the media. Do you ever sort of step back and say most guys my age are either in college or just graduating? Do you ever step back and look around and say "Wow?"

TIGER WOODS: At times because this week is finals week at Stanford, and that's what I had to go through the last two years, but it -- it's different. There's no doubt about it. My life is different for a 21 year old. There's no doubt about that. But, then again, there are some perks to being who I am. I get to travel all around the world. I get to play golf every day, and doing the things I like to do. And, I wouldn't trade that for the world.

Q. Tiger, your practice rounds that you've played right here, what have you learned about the rough around the greens and how much control do you think you'll have chipping out of there?

TIGER WOODS: The rough is obviously long. In someplaces, there's one patch that I was playing a practice round today with Clarence Rose. I got into a patch that was about 8 or 10 inches long and it's right off the green, and he barely got the ball on the green. So there are patches that are really deep. But, overall, they're right around 4, 6 inches so we have some control, but not total control. Actually, you're better off if the ball sits down, because you don't have that worry about whiffing if the ball sits up on to have -- you have to hit big power flop-shots and hope for the best. Sometimes you can go right over it.

Q. First of all, what do you miss most about what your new life has brought for you from what you used to do just hanging out as a student at Stanford? The second question is: Will you ever go back to Stanford to finish out?

TIGER WOODS: Okay. What do I miss most? I guess playing a practice round in peace, things like that, going out to dinner and people are bugging you. People want an autograph when you have food in your mouth. Where I was raised, that was very rude to bug someone while they eat. In our society now, it is different. Next year I'm going to try -- I'm not going to go back to Stanford, physically, but I'm going to do correspondence classes.

Q. When?

TIGER WOODS: Next year.

Q. '98?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, '98 see if I can actually do some classes. If I can't, I can't because of the time the demands of my time.

Q. Tiger, can you talk a little bit about what it's like to be a role model for so many young people, especially African-Americans?

TIGER WOODS: What it's like to be a role model.... It's an honor. I mean, it really is. I'm in a position where I can help out people in a positive way, and what more do you want? I mean, that's perfect. And, I can influence kids in a good way. And, I try. I try and do my best. My foundation that I've set up trying to help kids in the inner city and then teach them there's another sport out here besides your core sports in America. I think that's so important that you give kids hope. And, I think by being a positive role model, I think you can do that. Because when I was a little boy, I had my father, as well as a couple of other people. And, they were my role models. And, I think if people have positive role models, they'll be positive people.

Q. To what degree have Open courses, the two you've seen before, suit your game or not suit it and how does Congressional fit into that pattern?

TIGER WOODS: Let's see. First one, Shinnecock. I love Shinnecock, because you had to deal with conditions weatherwise, and (2): They had chipping areas which is different at a U.S. Open at Shinnecock where you can play bump-and-run shots, brought chipping back into the equation. At Oakland Hills with that rain we received on Wednesday night - I believe it was last year - my driving became a huge advantage because I hit the ball -- at the time I hit it pretty high, and I could carry the ball so much further when the balls are backing up in the fairways then, and I played pretty well for like 13 holes, 14 holes. And, in the second round, so that was an advantage. And, this year, again, I think my length is a big advantage. Actually any person that's long, because necessarily -- we don't necessarily have to hit driver off of every tee. As I said, I'm only going to hit probably no more than three drivers per round. And my percentage and chances go up when I'm hitting a 3-wood or a 2-iron off the tee.

LES UNGER: Before we take the next question is the governor here? No? Yes. I thought he was going to give us a greeting.

Q. Tiger, about this course you're playing today or will be playing, the 18th hole is a par 3. What are your feelings about finishing a tournament with a par 3 that's surrounded by traps?

TIGER WOODS: It's not the traps you're worried about. It's that H2O stuff. No, today was the first time I've played the hole, and it was in my face. I hit a little 4-iron right over the green. But, overall, I think it's a perfect hole. If you have a lead, let's say, a one-shot lead - because it's not that hard to put an iron on the green - but, let's say if 17 was the finishing hole, which it usually is, I think that would be more difficult. And, then you bring a double in the equation with a bad drive or something like that, you have two shots to mess up. You have a par 3. You have an iron, you can play a safety shot to the right if you want and you have a big green to hit to. I think if you're behind, it's a tough, tough hole to make shots up on.

Q. Tiger, can you describe what this last year of your life has been like for you?

TIGER WOODS: Last year, as in this year or end of last year?

Q. Turning pro and the whirlwind and winning the tournament, winning The Masters, and everything that's changed for you --

TIGER WOODS: The funny thing is I've only been pro for, what, nine months. People think I've been at this for 10, 20 years. It's changed. I felt last year -- the end of last year I didn't think it could get any worse, but you never should think that way. But once I won The Masters, yeah, my life did change. My recognition facewise, people are starting to recognize me when I go into a mall or go out to dinner or hang out in public. You know, that's changed. That's been the biggest adjustment. It was kind of funny, I was at home the other day and I went into Subway just to pick up a sandwich and go home, and my best friend, Jerry, who is my assistant went there in the afternoon after I did, and the whole talk of the shopping center was "Tiger Woods was in Subway." I mean, I've never had to deal with that. I mean, that's different. And, then another thing that's changed dramatically in my life is I guess that the nitpicking of what I do, all the actions that I have that I take is just people look at them and they critique them. And, sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. I do the same, but not to the degree that these people do.

Q. Tiger, if I may, you've got a great USGA record and in any USGA competition, the courses are set up tougher than normal type competitions. With the junior titles with your amateur titles, can you draw on any of that competition in this event and on this course?

TIGER WOODS: No, I can't. My junior victories, my amateur victories are great. But, competitionwise, no, I can't draw upon that experience just because the fact that they were matchplay events. The 72-hole stroke-play event, they're matchplay and you're outlook on the matchplay is totally different. If I was playing a matchplay event here, I would play a lot more drivers because I'm trying to make birdies, trying to get some birdies and get a lead that way. But, that's not the case in a U.S. Open. You have to play every shot out.

Q. Tiger, is the Grand Slam a goal of yours and do you think you can win it in one year?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I think it's -- I'm not going to rule out the possibility of anyone winning the Grand Slam. I think if you look at the record that Mickelson won like four times last year, he won the right four and got the Grand Slam. That's kind of a simple way of looking at it. But, the practicality of someone winning the Grand Slam is very unlikely. There are so many different factors that go into winning even just one of the legs of the Grand Slam, it's so difficult.

Q. Tiger, would you share a little bit about what Michael Jordan and Kevin Costner have said to you a little more specifically about being famous and dealing with it?

TIGER WOODS: You know, those two guys are great guys, and they've helped me out a lot. And, I think Kevin's been there for me and said a lot of nice things. But, I think I can -- I relate better to Mike because he's comparable agewise. He accomplished the same things in a sense. He became MVP when he was like 26 or 27. I mean, that's similar. Plus I think people look at athletes and movie stars in a different way, too. But, nevertheless, they're still famous and they've shared a lot of things. But one of the things that they've both said, they both say, no matter what advice we give you, whether the things we've done wrong, things we've done right and things we say could help you is that you will find your own path that works best for you. And as I go through life, I'm starting to find my own path and I'm starting to see how things are working more smoothly within myself.

Q. Tiger, you've never been in the military yourself. But, clearly that was a very powerful experience in your father's life. What types of lessons did he teach you and how have they helped you as you've had these experiences in your first year?

TIGER WOODS: I think his biggest lesson that he's taught me that's helped me out here is probably the psychological warfare that he had to endure being a Green Beret that he's passed on to me dealing with a lot of adversity and how to go through that. There was a certain way to do that that he was taught and you just kind of get through it. It's this method he's taught me and it's worked pretty good. And, I've had to deal with a lot of things as I've turned pro. And, I've noticed that once I start playing in a tournament, I'm fine. All the things my dad has taught me, it definitely is working.

Q. Tiger, did you play with Joel Kribel today and if you did, was it your first round?

TIGER WOODS: No, I didn't --

Q. Are you going to play with him at all this week?

TIGER WOODS: Probably not.

Q. The other question, how far do you hit your 3-wood off the tee and your 2-iron?

TIGER WOODS: Good question. On average, probably my 3-wood will probably go anywhere between 260 and 280. Depending on the ball flight, and then the roll. And my 2-iron, I can normally hit my 2-iron about 240. That's usually the stable number I usually hit it.

Q. I wonder whether you're concerned about the galleries that are increasingly following you around and their behavior and whether you feel that it's time to say something to them before they become detrimental to the game of golf?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I wish I could. But, if I would say something like that, I might be looked at as a bad guy. And, what we want to do is bring a lot of people into the game. You have to understand, these people are coming into the game, then they don't know. It would be like for me going in watching I guess cricket. I don't know a whole lot about cricket. I might sit there and cheer at the wrong time. I don't really understand the sport, so, I can relate to that. As people go to tournaments and experience them and learn and then also talk to people who do play golf, their behaviors is obviously going to improve and they're going to understand. It's going to take some time though.

Q. I think we'll teach you cricket yet. Tiger, with the number of people that follow you around everywhere you play, do you think that it's a distraction from the crowd and how do you handle that? Again, where are you staying? We would like to know where you're staying?

TIGER WOODS: Where am I staying?

Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: I'm staying in a room. (audience laughter). As far as distractions go, yes, I've learned how to handle. Sometimes it's not easy. I think -- where was it, No. 5 today was kind of funny. You're back in the shade and as I took the club back, there were a whole bunch of people obviously on the right side of the tee box taking pictures. And, all of a sudden, I took the club back. It was like strobe lights, all the flashes going back, it looked like the club was moving in stages. And, that's kind of interesting when you play practice rounds that way. But, when a tournament comes along and it's time to tee it up and the Greg Norman goes off, I'm fine. I'm in a zone, so, distractions really don't bother me.

LES UNGER: Stanford, stand up and take a bow. Just wave at him.

Q. Tiger, with the frenzy that sort of follows you around and crowds rushing to you, when you get out of your car and so on, and also some of the letters you got from racist America, do you ever fear for your safety at all like in you're in a restaurant and people coming to you or arriving at a crowd, do you sort of worry about your welfare?

TIGER WOODS: At times I've gotten some pretty threatening letters as well as other things too. But, you know, that's just, you know, part of being a minority in a sport. It happens. There's nothing more I can say about that. It's just something that I've kind of dealt with and I've gone on, and had to do it.

Q. A little off the subject, but you were mentioning obviously you've only been a pro as we know for a few months. The Ryder Cup is coming. You were nowhere in September. Now, you're leading.


Q. Have you thought much about it or the other tournaments getting in the way?

TIGER WOODS: This is kind of what I've looked at it. The Ryder Cup will be a by-product of my good play. I can take care of business in the present before that can happen, and that's the way I approached it last year. I was kind of jokingly just kidding around with my dad and my mom and I think Butch was there as well. I said, "Wouldn't it be kind of neat if I led the points going into the Ryder Cup?" And I'm here now, and if I can still continue to make points and still have the lead, it would be kind of ironic.

Q. Tiger, as you sit here today, do you expect to win this tournament and if so, why do you expect to win the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I expect to win every tournament that I play because that's what I go there to do. I figure there's no point in going to a tournament if you don't think you can win.

Q. Tiger, along that same lines, with so many people expecting you to win this tournament, are you starting to feel the pressure and also other than yourself, who are the guys that you feel are here to beat this weekend?

TIGER WOODS: Well, one of the things that my parents have taught me is never listen to other people's expectations. You should live your own -- live -- and live up to your own expectations, and those are the only things I really care about it. So what people right or -- what people say has no bearing on what I have to do. I don't live for them. I live for me. And, as far as players that can win, I think you have to look at anyone who is playing hot right now. Obviously, Justin Leonard coming off a win last week, he's driving further. He's a very straight hitter. Guys who hit the ball like that, like Faldo. Greg is playing very well right now. Tom Lehman, Elkington, Colin Montgomerie is a great driver of the ball. You have to look at the guys who can drive the ball, guys who are going to drive the ball in play, those will be the players who will be in contention on Sunday.

Q. Tiger, can you tell us how important Fluff is to you and how important he has been since The Masters and keeping you under control, if he does, on the course?

TIGER WOODS: Well, Fluff has been very instrumental in my wins as well as just playing on the Tour. He's got a lot of knowledge, and it's nice when he shares his pearls of wisdom with me. You know, Fluff is not only a caddie for me, he's also one of my best friends. So, we have a very unique relationship, and I respect what he says. Fluff has the guts to speak up down the stretch in a tournament and not be just a "yes" man. Because a lot of caddies will be just -- whatever you say, pull the club and you hit it. And Fluff will say his piece if I ask him. And, I value that opinion.

Q. Tiger, I had the good fortune last year of playing with your father for two days. How is he doing these days? We know about that surgery earlier.


Q. How is he doing these days?

TIGER WOODS: You know my pop is doing good. Pop's just went -- I think it was a week of -- it was the week before Dallas, a week before Dallas -- actually two weeks before Dallas, my dad went on his book tour. He did like 10 cities in 14 days which is tough for a guy coming off bypass surgery. But my pop is pretty tough. He's pretty stubborn too. That's where I get it from.

Q. He has a great sense of humor, too?


Q. Where was the 63 that --

TIGER WOODS: Lochinvar.

Q. And, also, what can you share with us about the style and size or whatever about the house that you intend to build on the lots you just purchased and, in particular, the hole that I'm told that you're going to build on the back, is it like a par 3?

TIGER WOODS: I'm not going to -- I'm just going to build. I don't know what kind of home I'm going to build yet. I'm just 21. I'm trying to feel out what I want and what I don't want. I really don't have anything to say on it because I really don't know. You can ask me in another two years down the road or so, when I can see more.

Q. And the hole, what do you envision there?

TIGER WOODS: It won't be a hole, no. I just want a practice facility.

Q. Chipping and --

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, something like that.

Q. A practice green, putting green?

TIGER WOODS: Something like that.

Q. Tiger, if you fail to win another major this year - which is highly unlikely - would '97 be a disappointing year for you?

TIGER WOODS: I think '97 would be a great year, whether I win or lose. I have accomplished a lot of my goals already, and, you know, winning a major, I mean, that was something I've always wanted to do my entire life. I was finally able to do it. Now, I have three more chances which is kind of nice. But, just to win one, that's just a dream come true, because that's what you kind of -- I remember being on the golf course, being out there by myself and just hitting balls and saying I've got to hit this shot in there because whoever, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, down the stretch dueling it out, that's what all kids do and it was nice to accomplish that dream.

Q. Tiger, with the Tigermania that has been going on the last nine months, since you've hit the Tour, a lot of your peers have said, you know, there are other golfers on this Tour. Do you feel for them what they're going through because of this Tiger against the rest of the golfing world?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, I do, because I feel for the guys who play in front of me and with me. The group that plays just in front of me, the galleries run from my group and sometimes distract them because they're moving all the time. It gets very difficult. And, then after I putt out sometimes, then the galleries start to move again. And, it's tough for the guys who have to make a crucial par putt or a birdie putt, it gets tough. And, their concentration sometimes is interrupted. But, yes, there are other players out here, a lot of great players. I mean, I just happen to be in a class of a lot of great players. And people understand that. People know that. And, if you look at other galleries, they're also pretty big as well.

Q. Tiger, given your foundation and all the -- and your idea that you need -- that you should be a role model, what you do on the golf course, have you come to a point yet where it struck you that no matter how good you do or what you do or how much you win, that your role, that what you really are is just a billboard to sell things and that there's a lot of kids in that inner city who are not looking to play like Tiger or work like Tiger, but to wear the clothes like Tiger and will do anything to get the money to buy that shoe or that ad -- or that, you know, or whatever?

TIGER WOODS: Right, that does happen. That is a fact of reality. I mean, all kids do that. And, I used to do that as a kid, too. I used to think if I wore -- be like Mike, wear his shoes. I'm not going to jump like Mike. Unfortunately, in reality, you just can't do that, or it won't happen. But, what I'm trying to say to these kids is when I talk to them and the clinics I do is I'm not trying to preach to you that this is a sport for you. I'm saying this is an opportunity for you, and it's an opportunity for you to grow as a person. I think that's what really matters. What I like to harp on is their self-esteem. If their self-esteem is high and if they love themselves, they'll be great people. They'll be role models for other kids as well once they get older. If society could have that, could have kids growing up with high self-esteem, motivated and live their life correctly and if they can care and share, I mean, society would be wonderful and that's why I try to preach within my foundation.

Q. Can you tell me, Tiger, what holes do you hit driver on, and what's the longest approach you have had to any hole and are either of the par 5s on for you?

TIGER WOODS: I can't hit 9. That's just something I can't do. But, let me see. I hit driver on 6, 10 and what's the other par 5 on the back 9, 15? Is that right?

Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: Okay, that's it. I've hit 3-iron to one of the holes. I don't remember. I hit it yesterday.

Q. You said that people critique all your actions and nitpick everything. Does that make you nitpick some of your own actions? Is there anything you've regretted so far?

TIGER WOODS: Is there anything I've regretted so far?

Q. As far as the actions that have been nitpicked?

TIGER WOODS: That have been nitpicked.... Yeah, obviously some are. I'm not going to mention which ones. But, there have been a few occasions where that has happened and I feel that is wrong. If I look back, actually, things I did that were wrong, that's fine. If I look back on last year what I did at the Southern, pulling out of the dinner, that was wrong on my part. But, I feel that I shouldn't have been slaughtered by the media as badly as I did for as long as I did. I made a mistake. I rectified the mistake and I learned and I grew from it. People fail to realize that when you're 21 or when you're young, period, you're going to make mistakes. If you'll look at their lives, when they were that young, they made a lot of mistakes. Unfortunately, I'm going to make some too. I'm not trying to create excuses for myself. But I'm learning. I'm growing. I'm going to make my mistakes. I'm not going to try to make mistakes. Unfortunately, it's going to happen. I'm going to learn from them and grow from them.

Q. I've talked to a number of the top pros that have marveled at your play. Do you ever watch the Greg Normans of the world and Seve and wonder how they do it?

TIGER WOODS: The shots that these guys can hit are absolutely amazing. If you look at Seve can pull out of the trees or around the greens. Greg has got a phenomenal touch, as well as some of the players how well they can hit their irons, how well they can putt. It's a great joy to be out here and learn from them just by watching. If you get lucky enough to talk to them and they share with you, that's even better.

Q. Is there anybody here who could get in touch with to know more about Tiger Foundation, activities and so on?

TIGER WOODS: Here, this week?

Q. This week.

TIGER WOODS: They'll be out here Sunday because we're doing a clinic on Monday.

Q. Okay. And my question for you: There's been a lot of talk about destiny in your road, in your upbringing, in your achievements. Do you feel the chosen one?

TIGER WOODS: What's the question?

Q. Chosen marked by destiny, do you feel that deep down inside, as it were, that here are special problems working for me getting special gifts sending special --

TIGER WOODS: I guess there are two things with that. One is I feel that everything that happens happens for a reason. I've always felt that way, and I still do. And two, I feel that the person up stairs puts each person on this planet and gives them certain -- a limit of things they can handle. And, that person upstairs obviously knows more than we do, and that person up there feels that I can handle a lot so then he gives me a lot. But, it's just some of the things I believe in.

Q. Tiger, obviously black people want you to be black, Asians want you to be Asian, et cetera, et cetera. Were you prepared for these type of pressures and how do you handle them and how do you address these people that want Tiger Woods to be them?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's just going to happen. Because, unfortunately, that's the way our society is right now. We can't look at a person and say, you know, what we're part of the same race, we're part of the human race. Our society is so closed minded that way, we can't look at that. We have to justify each person by their skin color, their genetic code, we can't just say we're all human. And, until that day happens, everyone is going to classify it or want to try and classify another person within a category.

Q. Tiger, this year at Augusta, you had the look of a man that was sort of stepping into the ring and it worked out quite nicely. How much do people underrate your ability to think your way around the golf course. How much does the mental role play in your success?

TIGER WOODS: Everything. It really does. My mind is -- I feel it's the strongest part about me. It's the biggest asset I have is to be able to think myself around the golf course. At Augusta, if you look up -- for example, my first round, shooting 40 and coming back with 30, that's a perfect instance where my game wasn't there, but I rectified it with my mind. People don't see that. They look at the long drives. They look at the birdies, ball spinning back or making long putts. They look at that. But, they don't look at the things that lead up to that. Put it this way: My dad has always preached to me: "Play golf with your mind. Play golf intelligently. Don't beat yourself."

Q. Tiger, not that you need any more incentives, but the fact that this tournament ends on Father's Day, will that make it any more special to you?

TIGER WOODS: If I am lucky enough to win on Father's Day it would be great. It would be a great present for my pop. And, hopefully, I'll be able to do it.

Q. Tiger, how much mail a day are you getting now and how much of it do you personally respond to?

TIGER WOODS: Personally respond to? I sign everything. So, we probably get -- we're kind of backlogged right now. But, I get anywhere between 2 to 4,000 letters per week that I have to sign, and I virtually get to. There are boxes waiting for me at home.

LES UNGER: When you say "Sign," do you have a chance to at least skim through what the questions are or the comments are?

TIGER WOODS: Actually what's nice, either my assistant Jerry goes through it or IMG goes through it and highlights stuff for me. And, I can go ahead and answer a question, too.

Q. Tiger, along the lines about everybody being part of the human race and also being a role model, how do you reconcile playing a place like Lochinvar which excludes people based on their gender?

TIGER WOODS: Well, unfortunately, my pro has been employed there. He has no choice. He has to live and abide by the rules that the board makes up. It's just the way it goes. As I said, when that first popped up, it first popped up at Colonial, when it first happened, and they wanted to know how I felt and why I still did it. And I said, (1): That Butch is my pro, I have to work with Butch and sometimes he can't get out of there and I have to go see him. And (2): I can't be a champion of all causes. And, as much as people would like me to be or sometimes they don't, but a lot of times they do. And the only thing I ask is for me to just be a golfer. All I want to do is play golf.

Q. But symbols are important. Why play there? I mean, I can see going there to have sessions with Butch, but do you have to play there?

TIGER WOODS: I have to play there to test out what we just worked on, so that's why we do it. There's no sense in getting a lesson and not going and testing it.

Q. Tiger, you took some heat awhile back because you said you won a tournament without your A-Game. Is this a course to determine you can win without your 8-iron?

TIGER WOODS: You can win without your 8-iron game. You have to drive the ball very well here this week. You have to be on with your driver or whatever your driving club might be, put the ball in the fairway. But, the greens are so big here you can dump the ball on the green and 2-putt all day. If you feel comfortable enough to hit a good iron in there, then you can. There's plenty of room out there because the greens are large. But, what we will see out there this week is, one, obviously the driving is at a premium. But, two, our lag putting is going to be tested this week. We're going to come over some mounds and some slopes and we've got to judge our speeds very well here. We're going to have a lot of 20-, 40-footers just because of the fact we're hitting long irons to most of these 4s. We can't stuff them all like we can with wedges.

Q. Tiger, you talked about how with the Foundation and everything, you wanted to incorporate and bring young kids into the game, introduce them to the game. Is there a window of opportunity because of who you are and what's happened in this short period of time that is going to close fairly fast and a lot of people will be left behind. Golf is not a game where there's a lot of places to play and there is a short time period, maybe, that all this can happen. Do you worry about that?

TIGER WOODS: You know, there's a lot of public courses around here, around the United States, and there are more facilities being built as we speak. And people fail to realize that all you need is even a Country Club just opening up their doors for some lessons or an afternoon when these kids can be taught and they look forward to that. Like, I remember I used to look forward to basketball practice or basketball camp, you know, stuff like that. They look forward to these days. Unfortunately, as we all know, golf is not cheap, and I know that a lot of these clubs have a lot of extra clubs lying around and they just need to give these kids a chance to try them out and participate.

LES UNGER: Tiger, thanks. Good luck.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks. Perfect.

End of FastScripts.....

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