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March 2, 2006

Tiger Woods


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Tiger Woods to the interview area, 8 under 64. Tiger, great round today, just talk about your play.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit the ball well today. I hit a lot of good golf shots, and it's always nice to get back on smooth greens again. Made a few putts, too, today, so that helps.

Q. You played mostly out of the fairway today.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I drove the ball really well today. Some of the things that I've been working on are starting to come together. I played like this at La Costa. Only difference is today I made putts.

Q. I'm sure we'll get to birdies and bogeys, but saw you almost hole that shot on No. 4, what did you hit there?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a 4 iron, a full 4 iron. I knew that I wasn't trying to hit it over there, though. I was just trying to putt the ball in the middle of the green and it kind of started a little further right than I wanted to, but ended up okay. (Smiling).

Q. At 12, you went for it again today?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit it up the right side of the fairway, I had 270 front down off the right, and just a full 3 wood and try to hopefully carry that bunker and it somehow carried.

Q. Did you notice changes after last year with the trees?

TIGER WOODS: Ya think? They haven't changed the hole at all, same with 13. They didn't change the hole at all and it looks completely different. It's really weird because not changing the hole itself, you would think that it should look the same, but it looks totally different.

Q. I know it's Thursday and you're probably not going to give us a very good answer here, but did you happen to look at the leaderboard at all, and any fun at all, with what transpired last year, to almost see it carry on this year?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't see Phil on the board until he got to 7( under.) I think he was 7 under through 15 or 16, somewhere around there. That's the only time I saw his name on the board.

The times I looked at the board, neither one of us were up there. We weren't leading. So I knew 7 was leading, so try to get to there somehow.

Q. You've never been a guy that loves the tournaments where you have to shoot 65 just to stay in the race, but yet this is second time in a row here it looks like you've got it figured out.

TIGER WOODS: Well, hey, any time you get receptive greens and smooth greens, and this morning absolutely no wind, this afternoon it blew a little bit, but it wasn't that bad, the guys are going to go low. I mean, we're hitting like that 4 iron I hit there on 4, it rolled a foot. That's normally not how this golf course plays. Usually you're trying to somehow fit a ball in there to some of these corners.

Today you're just throwing it right at it and it's going to plug and no big deal. You know with these greens being this smooth, good putts go in.

Q. What were you thinking walking to 11 after having not birdied 8 and then not birdieing 10?

TIGER WOODS: I was saying a few things to myself. (Laughter) explaining to myself that my intelligence was not where it needed to be. (Laughter).

Q. Stanford stuff there.


Q. What can you expect tomorrow going out in the morning?

TIGER WOODS: Well, tomorrow more than likely we'll probably get the same conditions the guys got this morning and no wind. Hopefully I can go out and post another good number, because you have to, or else if you shoot even par, you're going to get run over here.

I looked on the board there on 18, the guys ahead of me, I think it was might have been Tim or somebody ahead of me, was even par and was 98th. You'd better make some birdies.

Q. What's the wind, like three or four shots around here, if it's up a little, dries out, all that stuff?

TIGER WOODS: If it dries out. But it's not going to dry out. The greens are soft, even if they put no water on the greens, it's still going to be pretty receptive.

Q. Because you seem to like the harder layouts, you talk about 70 being a good score, in a strange way, is a tournament like this harder for you to win than on a place

TIGER WOODS: Well, any time you get a golf course that allows a bunch of birdies, it allows more guys to come into the tournament with a chance to win.

When you have golf courses where you really have to grind out a round to shoot something around 70 or 69, it's quality ball striking and guys who can shape shots correctly and know how to manage their game. Those guys come to the forefront.

Q. Having said that, was it a little odd last year that you went so low and with so many birdies, but if you looked at the leaderboard, you and Phil had separated yourself and all of the top players were in the Top 10 it seemed like, so was that odd?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's just, you know, Phil and I separate ourselves because we were I think basically pushing each other on Sunday because we were paired together. Once we got off to a great start birdieing the first couple of holes, you know, we knew that you had to keep making birdies in order to win the tournament. So we kept looking at each other trying to make birdies.

But this golf course, I think over the years, if you look at it, boy, there's been a lot of great players that have been up there in contention, either in contention or winning the tournament. Just looking at that list of champions, it's pretty impressive.

Q. Best ball striking round of the year, maybe? Maybe best all around round of the year with putting, everything factored in?

TIGER WOODS: I played similar to this at for ten holes, at La Costa. (Laughter).

Q. What you just said a minute ago, you sound like you have a great deal of admiration for this golf course.

TIGER WOODS: I do. Especially since the re design and got it back to how it's supposed to be played, I think it's a wonderful golf course. I would just like to see it hard and fast. It makes it a lot more challenging to try and keep the ball in the fairway and try and keep the ball on the greens. A lot of these greens got little run offs on the edges on these little fingers and put the pins over there. I've seen guys putt off the green. So that's not going to be the case this year, though.

Q. A couple of guys have said it's sometimes hard when you're in the afternoon and you see somebody already post a 7, to stay patient, do you find that difficult at all?

TIGER WOODS: Early in my career, or not career, my amateur career when I played out here, yeah. I've played in a number of tournaments as an amateur where 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 under par was leading. As an amateur, I'm thinking, there's no way, how do you do that.

Just playing out here with experience, you look at it and you flip it around and you say, you know what, if he can do it, I can do it. So it can be had if somebody is going low, and you look at the board, how many guys are going low, there must be something to it, the golf course must be playing easy.

Q. If you don't get off to a good start, and you start wondering what you're doing wrong, is it important or helpful to do what you did this afternoon?

TIGER WOODS: You have plenty of holes to turn it around. Even if you're over par through four, five, six holes, if the guys have gone low, there must be a reason. You've just got to go ahead and turn the ship around and once you get that going in the right direction, it's amazing how things can just roll.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Birdie at 1?

TIGER WOODS: 1, yeah, I hit a driver and a 3 iron up there to, oh, about 40, 50 feet and 2 putted.

12, I hit a driver and a 60 degree sand wedge to about ten feet and made it.

11, I hit a driver and a sand wedge to about four feet.

12, a driver and a 3 wood to 50, 60 feet.

14, a driver and a little 9 iron to about 12 feet.

15, 7 iron around the green and chipped in from about 25 feet.

16, hit a driver and a 60 degree sand wedge to about six, seven feet.

Q. And what would that put you on the year, chips in?

TIGER WOODS: One every tournament.

Q. You're not keeping track, are you?

TIGER WOODS: No, I'm not. (Laughter)

End of FastScripts.

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