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April 6, 2006

Tiger Woods


LARRY PUGH: We welcome Tiger Woods, even par 72 today and you had a good finish on 18. If you can give us a few remarks regarding your play and we'll open up to questions.

TIGER WOODS: Today I thought I played really well actually. I hit a bunch of good golf shots, and I had two bad breaks today. I got a mud ball on 10 and laid up in a divot on 15 and also threw away a couple of shots on my own with two 3 putts.

All in all, I thought I could have got under par today but just didn't happen.

Q. 14 and 15 were pretty much the two exclamation points on those holes, can you take us through the play by play on those?

TIGER WOODS: It was interesting, because 13 played downwind. You get to 14 and it's playing downwind. They are opposite direction and they are both playing downwind. So at the time when I hit, it was a perfect 8 iron and I hit it up in the air and used the wind to get there. It landed soft and somehow found the bottom.

Q. Number?

TIGER WOODS: I had 163.

Q. When you see some red numbers there, are you surprised that there are red numbers on this golf course the way it's set up?

TIGER WOODS: I thought at the beginning of the day, there might be two scores in the 60s today. As of right now I think there's what, three, four? Three. So that's about right. The golf course is playing really difficult. It's fast now. As always, if there's no rain here, the golf course is completely different from Wednesday to Thursday. It somehow just dries out miraculously overnight.

Q. What did you use on 4? I understand you didn't need lumber, and two, did Hootie's ideas take form? In other words, did it get to the purpose of what he wanted out there?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it played hard. (Laughter) I hit 3 iron today on 4. It was down off the left when I hit. But unfortunately when Robert hit, it was in off the right. So, I mean, the wind was just swirling enough where it made it a little bit difficult, but I caught the wind when it was down so I was able to get there.

Q. For the other exclamation point, can you walk us through 15?

TIGER WOODS: I pulled my drive up the left side and had to lay up. I laid up right into a divot. Usually when you hit the ball in the divot, usually you have some type of play, and I actually had no play because I was on the back side of a divot. Somebody took a pretty good divot there. (Laughing) It was starting to go in and it fell in on the back side. One of my options I thought might be just a 7 iron right in the grandstands, just rip it from a hundred yards and just try and pelt the grandstand. (Laughter) That was an option because I couldn't get on the golf ball. I thought, you know what, I've got a hundred yards in, I should be able to get some kind of 60 on it and trap it and fly to the hole, let it skip over the green somewhere, 20, 30 yards over the green and try to get up and down. I hit it and I fatted it.

Q. As shots go, how difficult was the shot at 17 when you're in front of the green right there?

TIGER WOODS: Actually, it wasn't that difficult because I had the uphill lie which helped. There's a tree in my way but still I had an uphill lie which helped a lot. It wasn't so much difficult as embarrassing. Guys are playing up 7 and here I am, "Guys, hold up, let me play my shot again." I didn't like the way we played 7 anyways, so play it again. Just hit a 5 iron up there and left myself just the easiest putt in the world there and I missed it.

Q. With all your experience winning majors, does today's first day feel like a first day as a major should? Are you happy with what you were able to do?

TIGER WOODS: We haven't played it like this in a while where it's been dry like this. Stevie and I were saying that it plays more like a U.S. Open right now than it does a Masters, because lately, the Masters has been playing soft and wet and balls plugging in the fairways and picking up mud. That wasn't the case today. Today it was quick and dry and the greens are picking up speed.

Q. There's a 54 year old man up on the leaderboard there, Ben Crenshaw shot 1 under, can you comment about that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, if you're going to see it, it's going to be from a guy that understands how to play the golf course, which he does. He doesn't hit the ball overly long anymore, but he's one of the greatest players ever lived. I think experience helps a lot on this golf course, where to miss it, how to play it, the angles you need to have, have a good putting day, and you can shoot good numbers here.

Q. Dad give you any advice this morning?

TIGER WOODS: No. I didn't talk to him this morning, no. I had enough to worry about trying to get out there and hit a shot.

Q. Having played a round, are you more sympathetic or less so to the changes in the golf course?

TIGER WOODS: It's just it is what it is. We all have to play them. The golf course, for the first time in years, it's playing fast. We're all curious, just like I'm sure you guys were and players as well, we were all curious to see how it was going to hold up playing fast. Right now there are a handful of guys under par.

Tomorrow with the wind supposed to blow tomorrow 20 miles an hour, it might make things a little more interesting.

Q. I wasn't out there, but the third shot on 15, did that go into the water?


Q. And have you ever had a 2 on a par 4 on this course in competition?


Q. How about a 7?

TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah. (Laughter) And higher.

Q. U.S. Open fields tend to bunch up because the way the course is set up. Is this a bunch up kind of golf course for the four days?

TIGER WOODS: You might, you would probably say yes. But then again with the greens being as undulating as they are, I think that might separate the guys a little bit. The guys who are hitting the ball well, hitting their irons well and just kind of grinding away and making pars are going to be there. But if you hit just marginal shots, just one foot, one hard here or there, you're looking at a potential for making birdie to, you know, what I'm probably going to make bogey here. You get enough of those throughout the day in the course of a tournament that you can put yourself right out of it.

Q. Given how dry it is, were you surprised to get a mud ball on 10?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, shocked, because I hit a low one, but it landed on the bottom. It didn't land on the hill. So I had I hit a 7 iron that carried 204. It started at the left bunker with a cut and ended up left of the green in the air. So it is what it is. I had an opportunity to get up and down and I didn't do it.

Q. What did you hit into 18 and how far was your putt?

TIGER WOODS: I had 186 to the hole and I hit a 6 iron. I had probably about 35 feet.

Q. Leave a little bitter taste in your mouth?

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. Even when I hit a terrible tee shot on 7 sorry, it wasn't 7, it was on 17. But I just felt that I had the easiest putt there and I should have made that putt and then actually to make one on 18 was kind of like a gift.

Q. How long was the miss on 17?

TIGER WOODS: 17 was probably ten feet.

Q. How do you feel about your chances?

TIGER WOODS: Better than I was last year. So I'm in good shape.

Q. Are you surprised that there's a couple of guys 4 and 5 under or do you figure on a day that's so nice, there's going to be one or two that would go low?

TIGER WOODS: There's going to be somebody that is going to shoot a low number, but you don't figure there's going to be a bunch of guys shooting low numbers here. The quality of the field here, you figure somebody is going to shoot a good number. Vijay is one of the best players in the world and Masters Champion, he knows how to play here. No surprise he put together a good round of golf.

Q. With that attritional kind of golf that it was today, did you feel it was quite quiet out there?

TIGER WOODS: You know, overall, yeah, because there were not a whole lot of eagles out there. There were a bunch of bogeys out there, and I know our group was making some bogeys. It just is playing different this year being fast.

You certainly hear a lot more roars when the golf course is soft and the greens are holding and you can get the ball in there close. That's not the case today. It's just picked up enough speed where it feels like the ball is kind of being repelled instead of being accepted.

Q. I wanted you to elaborate on how you felt with your golf swing today.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I felt like I hit the ball well today all day. I feel like I controlled my shots well. I hit one bad tee shot there on 17 and other than that, I feel like I hit the ball really well. I just didn't get a whole lot out of it today. I had two 3 putts, which it is what it is, and I threw away those two shots. Other than that, I felt like probably the way I played should have been under par.

LARRY PUGH: Tiger, thank you for coming down and good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts.

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