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January 9, 2004

Tiger Woods


Q. Nice start, nice finish, otherwise a hell of a round.

TIGER WOODS: That was pretty, wasn't it? Start off with a duck on 1, end up with a duck on 18.

Q. Otherwise, how was your day?

TIGER WOODS: One of those days again, just like yesterday, I got to keep fighting back. I get off to just a terrible start, three over after two. Kept telling myself, "Ernie did it." He got off to the same start yesterday. Bogeyed one, doubled two. You can definitely get it back.

I should have birdied about six holes in a row on the front side. I missed three putts I should have made. Got it back to even par, which is good. Again, one of those things where I had to keep fighting back for some reason.

Q. You go to the practice tee yesterday and you work, then you come out and you hit bad your very first shot. Does that discourage you at all?

TIGER WOODS: Just one bad shot. I didn't hit any shot like that on the range. That's what's frustrating, you know. It would have been nice if I could have got them all out on the range, but I didn't obviously.

Q. Appleby at 12-under, the way this course is playing, is it a more difficult hill to climb now because of the winds and things like that?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it depends what he does. He can easily end up at 15 or so coming in, so it would make it really tough for all of us to try and get ahold of him.

But the way this golf course is, the greens not being as smooth as they normally are, it's hard to go low, it really is. If you're coming from behind, if you get some putts to go in the hole, which is not easy to do, you can try to make up some ground, but, again, it's very difficult to make up ground because the greens just aren't smooth.

Q. On your two bad shots, what did you do? Too much on the right hand?

TIGER WOODS: One, I just tried to steer it out there instead of just getting up and just letting it go. Slowed down my body, my hands took over, instead of just going ahead and firing at it.

18, I was unsure that I had enough club. I think in the back of my mind, I thought a cut 3 would have probably been better. But I tried to force a 2-iron and tried to roll it up there. I tried to do that, I pulled it left, ended up in the junk.

Q. How good was walking away with par there?

TIGER WOODS: It was a nice way to end it because I guess if I didn't, I think all my clubs would have been in that brink over there.

Q. Seems like you've given up a lot of shots the first two days.


Q. Is that at all helpful going into the weekend knowing if you quit doing that, you might be able to break 70?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I just need to get off to a good start, not put myself in a hole. You know, yesterday I was over par. I had to keep fighting back to try to get back to under par. I was 2-over yesterday. I was 3-over today. It's tough when you got to keep fighting back and the guys that are going ahead, they're making birdies. I got to make birdies just to try to get back to even par. And now I can start getting back in this thing.

It's just too hard to do that to yourself.

Q. You seem really relaxed right now, this week. How are you feeling?

TIGER WOODS: I'm not (laughter). I seem it, yeah, but I'm frustrated because I just haven't put it together, you know. I've wasted too many golf shots, and that's normally not the way I play. I play a lot cleaner rounds of golf than that. It's frustrating when I go out there and make mistakes like that.

Q. You're just really being nice to us to be in a good mood when you talk to us.

TIGER WOODS: You could say that (laughter).

Q. Any chance of finding the ball in the left?

TIGER WOODS: No, no. Just like these weeds right here. You got no chance.

Q. On 1?

TIGER WOODS: The marshals never saw it because they're actually expecting someone to hit the ball a little bit further than that (laughter), so they're up there.

When I hit it like 210 off the tee, diving left, I don't know, it was short. The people in the grandstands saw it. They were trying to help us out, trying to see where it went in. We found about eight or ten balls, but none of them were mine.

Q. I saw you heaving them out.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, controlled (laughter).

Q. Other than that first drive, how do you like the new driver, new ball that you're using?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I feel good. The ball's been great in the wind. I'm hitting it a little bit further, which is great. The driver has given me a little extra distance, as well. The combination of the ball and the driver, I'm starting to get the ball out there, getting it out of my shadow.

Q. About how much farther?

TIGER WOODS: Probably a good 10.

Q. Based on what Stuart is doing right now, the fact that he's pulling away, what do you need to do over the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: Just clean up my round, not make so many mistakes, get off to a positive start, be under par, you know, heading into the first par 5, where I can then get it going. I mean, you should be at least on the front side 3-under par, 4-under par with no problem because you can -- both par 5s you can reach with irons, another par 4 you can drive, and another one on the 3rd hole, I drove it about 30 yards from the front edge of the green. It's really not that difficult to shoot 3-under par, 4-under par.

Q. Because of the quirkiness of this place, even though you won here, do you try to not put too much stock into how you actually play here because you're playing so much shots you're not going to play the rest of the year?

TIGER WOODS: I put a little bit into it because I don't think -- normally, the way I play, I don't make this many mistakes. That to me is frustrating. I understand if I'm struggling with my swing, I'm hitting it all over the lot. That's one thing. But I'm making just silly mistakes, not being decisive enough on certain shots. It's frustrating when you do things like that.

Q. So fundamental things are still important to you?

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. Obviously, this golf course you're going to get some weird bounces, that's just the way it is. The greens not being smooth, it's going to be hard to make a lot of putts. But you still should be able to take care of it and clean up a round of golf.

Q. Wind is a straight Kona. Was it swirling?

TIGER WOODS: It was swirling. It changed. The 1st hole, when we first played it, was more almost straight out of the left, now it's more into. As the day was going on, it was changing.

I've never played 9 like that. I hit 5-iron, 5-iron over the green. I've hit driver, driver there, hit a pitching wedge in there. Plus, they've actually moved the fairway in on 9. They've grown the rough in up the hill probably another, you know, 10 or 15 yards. You can't put the ball down in that flat spot like you used to. You put it in that flat spot, you're in the first cut of rough.

Q. First two rounds, 5-under, could you have done anything better than what you've done? Have you gotten anything out of these two rounds?

TIGER WOODS: God, no. God, no. As I just said, if I just clean up my round of golf, you know, not make so many mistakes, then I would have been up closer to the lead where I have a very viable chance of taking the lead going into Sunday.

But now I got to try and play a great round of golf to try to get myself in contention.

End of FastScripts.

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