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August 25, 1996

Tiger Woods


CRAIG SMITH: Tiger, just put it in perspective. One, then two, now three.

TIGER WOODS: How about just asking me questions? (Laughter.)

CRAIG SMITH: This can't be harder than the putt on 9, 10, 11.

Q. Going out, you're five down, going to the first tee in the afternoon, what are your thoughts at that point?

TIGER WOODS: I was feeling very confident.

Q. Really?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah. I worked some stuff out with Butch on the range. Worked on my putting and got back in the groove again, and felt very confident going out. One is in the past. It's over and done with. I've been there before. Instead of being 5 down and 13 to go, I'm 5 down and 18. It was a comfortable feeling.

Q. Did that putt you made on the first hole to get a half there, if you hadn't made that, would that really have changed things for you mentally?

TIGER WOODS: Not really, because I've got to do the same thing. I've still got to make some birdies early. It was kind of a confidence booster the fact that I made the putt, but it was the first putt I made all day, really. From then I had some great iron shots, to 3 and 4.

Q. Tiger, Roger asked you on television are you going to turn pro. Putting it another way, and you said you're going to celebrate, will winning this tournament change any of your plans?

TIGER WOODS: I really don't know. I've got to think about it, because winning three Amateurs in a row is just something else. I will know better next week what's going on. But I just can't tell you how weird a feeling it is. I can't even describe what I'm going to do tomorrow.

Q. Not play golf, probably.

TIGER WOODS: No. It's kind of like a numbing feeling. I don't know what the significance is of this yet. I didn't know what the significance of winning two in a row was. It's going to take me a while, that's for sure.

Q. Tiger, was there any point in the round when you became more comfortable with your stroke, because the first 18 you were having some problems at trying to find the hole?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the practice I did in between rounds, that's when I found my stroke. I found my swing and stroke. Got back in the groove I had all week.

Q. Were you just out of sync a little this morning?

TIGER WOODS: Just bad body position, and we worked it out.

Q. Tiger, in the afternoon round of the playoff, the first green was the only green you missed. You had about a foot short of being a perfect shot, hitting it over the first green.


Q. Yes.

TIGER WOODS: I thought I had a good shot. Had a little cut to hold it against the slope, so when it hit it would hit soft. I was trying to hit it short of the hole and skip it. I was floating too fast. I absolutely flushed it. It was one of those strokes you don't feel at impact, it hits so pure, and I happened to fly it too far.

Q. You've obviously had a lot of good days on golf courses, but to go out and hit 27 out of your last 28 greens, basically just have no mistake under that kind of pressure, is it unmatched for you, just that feeling and the focus that you were able to carry through for such a long time?

TIGER WOODS: Good question. It's hard because I've played better before in my life, but I've never been in this circumstance where I've played this good. Sawgrass I played awfully good. I shot 68 in the afternoon with no bogeys. Today someone told me I shot 65, something like that, with no bogeys again. I think that's the key when you're trying to make a run like I did. I got behind and you can't afford to make bogeys. You've got to have birdies to win holes. And Steve, that's exactly what he did, made a couple of birdies, chipped in and made a couple of putts, and I was saying I've got to make birdies.

Q. What was your reaction, Tiger, when he makes the last shot?

TIGER WOODS: To hole it?

Q. Was it a blow to you at all?

TIGER WOODS: No, I just needed to make my putt. Don't forget, I've still got some par 5s coming up, and I knew that. Being two down is no big deal because I have 8 holes to play. And being two down with three to go is a different story. (Laughter.)

Q. You were?


Q. Tiger, on 18, the front round and the second round you had two shots. The front round, the trap shot, what were you thinking when you hit the shot out of the second round?

TIGER WOODS: 18 the first time around out of the bunker, the lie was all right. It was average. The hard part was I had to clear the lip and also hit it about 190 in the air. That was the hard part.

Q. What did you hit there?

TIGER WOODS: I hit 2. And I hit it absolutely perfect, but it knuckled on me. Caught some sand in my grooves and it squirted left. That was the only shot I had. I had no other shot. I couldn't putt it because the drain was in my way. If I hit it shorter than that, say like with a 5-iron, the slope was so severe that I'm afraid it might come back to me. So I figured just carry it up on top with a little spin, go past the hole if you miss it, then if it goes all the way to the green, you've got a better chance than leaving it short.

Q. What loft wedge?

TIGER WOODS: Just my regular sand wedge.

Q. What did you hit between the trees at 11 in the afternoon?

TIGER WOODS: 5-iron.

Q. How far did you have to the green, do you figure?

TIGER WOODS: 198 to the hole.

Q. Did you find any undue pressure? There's pressure every time you go out and play golf and you want to perform. And you said you were focused and we're all writing about three in a row, but going out there today was there anything more that you were so close and there's this huge crowd, et cetera, et cetera?

TIGER WOODS: No, there wasn't. My plan this morning, I was out of sync, it wasn't because I was going for three in a row. It wasn't any of that. I just didn't have it. It was just one of those things that happens. Unfortunately it happened, but the fortunate part is I had 36 holes.

Q. Tiger, your second shot on 17 coming in, you looked really disappointed after you hit it, leaving it out there to the right. And to make the putt, obviously you have to make a good putt, but then you feel like it's out of your hands and almost like a gift that that putt does go in at that time, that long of a putt?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the putt wasn't that hard, actually. It was one of those things that it's going to funnel. You see it on the slope, it's just going to funnel down. And no matter what speed I hit it it was still going to break about the same. It was kind of a comforting feeling, because I could gun it or die it and it was going to break just about the same. So I just hit it with normal pace. As I said, I played it five inches outside left and I just hit it. And it broke early, just like I thought. And from there on it took the funnel and it was funneled right along.

Q. What do you figure about 30 feet?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know, I have no idea.

Q. Talk us through the eagle on 11, if you would a little bit. Hit the 5-iron and how did that putt break?

TIGER WOODS: I have no idea how much it broke. I just felt it. And I had to play it this high. I don't pick spots.

Q. It broke to the right?

TIGER WOODS: It broke to the right. I played it -- I can't tell you exactly where I played it, I just got up to the ball and just felt it. And I had the exact same putt two times, actually, but opposite direction. When I played a 36 hole day I had a putt in the morning -- actually with the pin was I was putting to the back of the green to where I was. I knew exactly how it broke, it was kind of nice. And it was just a matter of hitting that spot and feel it down there with the right pace. And I knew it was going to break hard at the end, which it did.

Q. Could you talk us through the last hole? You hit a really good iron shot obviously off the tee there, what, about 6 feet or so?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I had 208, I think, 204 or 208, one of those two, to the hole. And I hit a 6-iron. And it's a club I've been hitting all week that hole, basically. And I was a little downwind. I needed to make a smooth pass at it and I hit a little fader up there. And it worked out perfect.

Q. Tough putt coming down the hill?

TIGER WOODS: I can't take a run at that. It's not one of those putts -- it's like 18. I can't take a run to try to make it. I've got to play -- putt it so defensively. So I'm figuring no big deal, if I miss, he might miss, I might have to make this to win, no big deal, that's why I have a par 5 on the next hole coming up.

Q. Your mental toughness obviously carries you through, and I read the stories and how your dad prepared you. Do you ever get down on yourself?


Q. Down, yes.

TIGER WOODS: What do you mean down?

Q. Disappointed?

TIGER WOODS: Disappointed?

Q. You were disappointed after 18?

TIGER WOODS: I was not disappointed, I was very pissed. (Laughter.) Butch I says I was hot. And I guess you could call that disappointed, I don't know. But I was pretty angry at myself over the way I played because I knew what I had to do, I just didn't have it. And I was just trying to figure it out with my golf swing, but it just wasn't there. And thank God Butch saw some things and I went out there and played well in the afternoon.

Q. Was it in the swing or the alignment?

TIGER WOODS: Just body positioning.

Q. Tiger, you talked about breaking players down with persistence and pressure. Did you feel you broke Steve down or he just had to play better than you did?

TIGER WOODS: Steve hit a couple of loose shots on the back nine. But then again he chipped in and he got up-and-down every time. It goes to show you even though he hit the loose shots, his nerves were still good. And also you could see with his putting stroke, every putt was not going in dying, it was center cut, firm. So obviously he's got his nerves under control. And you've got to make birdies in order to win holes.

Q. You were waiting for mistakes?

TIGER WOODS: I had to force him to make mistakes by making birdies, and executing properly.

Q. Tiger, what club did you hit into 16 this afternoon?

TIGER WOODS: Sand wedge.

Q. You were about four feet?

TIGER WOODS: Eight feet.

Q. What did you hit into 17?

TIGER WOODS: 7-iron.

CRAIG SMITH: When you went back out to 9 did you watch Steve's putt for birdie after you had missed yours and did you think he was going to make that.

TIGER WOODS: I thought he might the way he was putting, because it's not a putt you can be scared of. It's uphill, breaking left and right, no big deal, he's been putting well all day. But it's one of those putts where my putt held its line, didn't break at all, and his putt slid. And it was just one of those fortunate things for me that his putt slid because he was a little more up the slope. And if he doesn't hit his putt firm enough it's going to slide, which it did.

Q. For our purposes, we've got the story that you've accepted a berth on the World Cup Amateur team, so at this point your plan it to go back to Stanford in the fall?


Q. Of all the matches you've played in your career, does the back and forth, this one, the emotional up-and-downs, top most of your experience? Steve said -- called it one of the greatest amateur matches ever?

TIGER WOODS: I don't understand the question.

Q. Pardon?

TIGER WOODS: What was the question?

Q. In your match play experience, did this one have more emotional up-and-downs or back and fourths?

TIGER WOODS: For as long a match as it is, yes. But Waverly was probably one of those ones where it was about the same, but more of a condensed version, because only a 18 hole match, but the same kind of feeling. This one was drawn out, it's 36 holes.

Q. Does your mother get that excited all the time? She looked like she was really excited when the match ended?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, she was. That's my mom.

Q. Does she get that way when you win?

TIGER WOODS: Yes. Not usually, no. Only when I win the big ones.

Q. Tiger, you talked about that you had been in this situation before. You're talking about Sawgrass and Trip Kuehne. That was a conscious lunchtime thought that I was in a hole there and 36 holes I was able it to get out of it?

TIGER WOODS: I was 5 down with 13 to go in that match. This time I had 18, I have five extra holes to get back, which I did. I got down to two, and there's five holes left, those extra five holes.

Q. You were 6 down with 14 to play or --


Q. Against Trip?

TIGER WOODS: I was 5 down with 13 to go.

Q. What about the match at Waverly?

TIGER WOODS: Two down with two to go.

Q. Birdie, birdie?

TIGER WOODS: Birdie, birdie.

Q. Each of them you hit knowing if you missed it it was over?

TIGER WOODS: Uh-huh. I made them both.

Q. On a 36 hole match obviously the physical aspect of it has a tendency to change a golfer's swing. Is there anything that you think of consciously as far as mechanics goes or the mental side of your game to keep that consistency, because when you're playing the longer matches and they get tighter you seem to be able to put yourself in a frame of mind that allows you to focus and slow everything down. Do you do anything consciously to affect that?

TIGER WOODS: No, all I do is stay in my same routine. Even though I have certain putts that are bigger than others, but you never see me out of rhythm, I always stay the same pace, do everything the same. So what I did the first hole today and the last hole today is exactly the same. So there's no change. I think that's probably one of the biggest keys. That's what Nicklaus was so good at. You could time him. Every routine he had was exactly the same.

Q. That's what happened to Norman in The Masters?

TIGER WOODS: It can happen.

End of FastScripts....

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