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July 21, 2006

Tiger Woods


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods today, 65, for a total of 12 under par.

Tiger, how do you see things going from now on?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the golf course played a little bit different today, a little different wind. We played 1 through, I guess it would be 6 tee shot with one wind and then it switched on the 6th fairway and came out of the completely opposite direction. And that's the way it's been the rest of the day.

The golf course is playing a little bit quick and some difficult pins out there today. There were a couple of times when you're thinking about you could possibly putt the ball off the green. They did a pretty good job setting up the pins and making them a little more testy than they did yesterday.

Q. Was there a hole or stretch of holes anywhere that you feel are even more crucial or more dangerous or more scorable that you either have to get past or have to score on than anywhere else?

TIGER WOODS: 1 through 18 (laughter). If I take care of those holes, I'll be all right.

You've got to look at the fact that there's four par 5s and you can hit an iron on every one after a good tee shot and a few short holes and obviously some difficult ones mixed in there. It all depends on the wind. If we play in the wind today for the first six and a half holes, that's one wind, and then it comes the complete opposite direction. Each hole plays so differently when there are different winds.

Q. You talked about having trouble with the pace on the greens. It seems like you're putting particularly well these two days. What's better about your putting? How have you managed to get back to where you wanted to be?

TIGER WOODS: I felt like I did some good work at Chicago and I made some putts the last three days and consequently I almost won the tournament. I felt that my speed wasn't quite right the first day in Chicago and then the last three days it was pretty good and then it's been pretty good here.

Q. Obviously The R&A has a completely different philosophy in setting up the course than the USGA. If you're going to shoot 20 under, go ahead and shoot 20 under. Do you like that compared to the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's just different. Here, if you set up like U.S. Open site, which Carnoustie was, and if it blows, that's what's going to happen. You're going to see everyone shoot really high scores. But I think that when you come over here you play you know the golf course is always going to be fair, and it's just a matter of the weather. If we get brutal days like it was at Muirfield on Saturday, that's what's going to happen. Or you get great days, like it's been here all week, you can shoot some good numbers.

But it's all dependent on weather here. I think that's what The R&A allows for. Each day they adjust the pins based upon weather, and it's kind of nice to see.

Q. That shot, can you just take us through what you were thinking over it, what you were trying to do, 14?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know what I had to the hole; I had 194 to the front. And I was trying to lay the ball on the front edge and let it chase on wherever it chases on, and I had a 4 iron on there.

On 12 I had 190 and hit a nice little 4 iron up on the green, and I was basically hitting the same shot, just trying to hold the ball in the wind. And I really hit it flush and held it nicely. And I hit it on my line, I was looking at the left edge of the TV tower, and if the wind blows it over, that's fine, it blows it over, but it if it doesn't I'll be at the flag or left of the flag, and it depends on the bounce. But I was just trying to land the ball on the front edge and let it chase on there and get my 4 and go on. It happened to go in.

Q. You didn't see it?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't see the top of the flag. I didn't see anything, I was too far back.

Q. The bunkers here are so much more penal than we see back in the States. Can you describe from yesterday how you played those two bunker shots when you were in the trap and played your shots out?

TIGER WOODS: Well, on the first one I had at 10 was plugged. I tried to hit it as hard as I possibly could to try to somehow get it out. It caught the top of the lip, came back down. The next one was right up against the face, then again hit it as hard as I can just to try to get it out. I wasn't trying to hit the ball close, I was just trying to hit the ball out of the bunker. It wasn't a shot I could judge, I was just trying to hit the ball over the lip and move on and hopefully I have a putt for par, which I was able to have about a six footer there and I made it.

Q. What do you think the loft of the club is by the time you've got it all the way open?

TIGER WOODS: A lot, and sometimes not enough.

Q. The reaction when your shot went in, a little different than it would have been say at Bethpage or something. Did you know for sure?

TIGER WOODS: No, didn't know. We didn't know if it went in or hit the flag and ended up just right next to it. I asked one of the TV guys there and they said it was in, and that's when I knew it was in. Otherwise I couldn't tell by the reaction because it was one of those where it could have gone in or maybe it just hit the flag and everybody was oohing and aahing.

Q. Could you talk about your iron play and your decisions off the tee, which is leaving yourself 30 yards?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it all depends what I feel the golf course gives me. I feel like if I can fly those bunkers, then I can and I will. And if I feel like I can't, I'll lay short of them and go ahead and just hit my 3 , 4 , 5 iron into the green and move on.

Q. Is this as well as you've hit them, those 3's, 4's and 5s?

TIGER WOODS: Yes, because I usually don't have too many of them on par 4s. It's just the way the golf course is playing. You have shots that you have 190 yards and I'm just chipping a little 4 , 5 iron down there. And sometimes you get it going dead downwind, I hit just a soft 9 iron. So it all depends on the wind. But it's kind of nice to have the that gives you the option of creating whatever shot you want to go to the greens.

Q. A lot of people in this room now believe this golf tournament is over. Do you believe it's over, and if not, why not?

TIGER WOODS: Because I'm not here with the Jug (laughter). We've got 36 more holes to go. Unless there's some kind of a rain storm coming in and it's canceled after two days, we have a long way to go.

Q. I've watched golf over the years and if I said that I thought that was the greatest demonstration of mid and long iron play I'd ever seen, modesty aside, would you agree with me (laughter)?

TIGER WOODS: Okay. I felt like to be honest with you, I really felt like I controlled my flight. I hit I really felt like I was able to shape the ball both ways and really control my traj. Sometimes it was higher than others, sometimes really low. But I was able to hit the golf ball on the flight that I really wanted to.

And when you're doing that, if you look at most of my shots, they were around pin high. It's awfully nice to do that on a links golf course. It's not easy to do on a links course. It's easy to do when it's plugging up there. But when you have to control the bounce on the greens and fairways, yeah, I really felt like I was in control of my flight today.

Q. Have you ever done it better?


Q. When?

TIGER WOODS: I did a pretty good job at Pebble Beach in 2000, I think.

Q. Have you had more of a conservative game plan in a major, as far as just not really challenging the bunkers, hitting irons, playing underneath and so forth?

TIGER WOODS: I'd probably say no because we've never played a golf course like this before, either. That's the only reason I say that is because we don't get a chance this golf course plays longer than its yardage, or it can play really short, depends on what you want to do. If you feel like you can skirt those bunkers and get right through them with no problem, then the golf course is going to play really short. But if you decide to lay back like I have and most of the guys this week, then it's going to play a lot longer than its yardage.

Q. You're very much in the business of winning this week. How would you feel if you were going out at 2:00 with Phil Mickelson at 12 under and you were 3 under? How would you feel if the tables were turned?

TIGER WOODS: I'd still have the same opportunity. Still have the same 18 holes. Chris and I both shot low rounds today and there's no reason why if you're going out in the afternoon you can't do the same. I went out yesterday and shot 5 under par, so it can be done.

Q. I was wondering at what point you noticed Chris moving up the leaderboard and how nice it is to see him back in form a little bit, not only because you guys have a good respect and are friends with each other, but for Ryder Cup purposes, as well?

TIGER WOODS: We could care less about the Ryder Cup. It's about as dealing with his mom coming back after the death of his mom and even playing in a golf tournament. It's not about the Ryder Cup, it's not about the British Open, it's about for me, I just went through it myself. I don't mean that in a negative way about any golf tournament, but family means a lot more than any golf tournament. And for him to lose his mom so suddenly like that, it's been hard on him, there's no doubt about that.

But it's nice to see him out here. He played last week and it's nice to see him out here playing well again, because it certainly is not easy to get over, especially when you lose them like that.

Q. Have you offered him any words

TIGER WOODS: I haven't seen him at all this week. I wish I could see him and say hello and just talk to him a little bit. If anyone knows, it's probably me because I just went through it myself.

Q. Is your conservative play off the tee dictated at all by the fact that you've got some scorable par 5s on the back nine and you certainly can find your birdies that way?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I said earlier every par 5 you hit a good drive you're probably going to have an iron into it. Yeah, so those are obviously four holes you feel like you should be able to pick up some shots. And you also have some shorter ones, as well. You feel like you should at least give yourself a couple of those intermixed here and there. There are plenty of opportunities out there. It's just a matter of I think getting off to a good start. 1 and 2 are the two greens that are probably the most difficult, and they're the first two holes. It's just a matter of getting by those holes and getting it going from there.

Q. You've touched on this already, but if somebody, when this tournament is over and you go home, asked you what distinguishes Hoylake from the other courses of The Open Championship, what would you say?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's probably the fact that it's you have so many ways of playing the golf course. It's not just one way. You have the option of playing the way I am. You have the option of playing how John Daly is playing. You have plenty of options. Or somewhere in between and try to roll the ball between the bunkers. You have so many options here, and it's just a fun way to play golf, because you don't get a chance to play golf like this, where you have so many options. Usually it's target golf and you play to some target and hit another target island somewhere.

This week it's so different. You've got to be creative and you've got to really understand how to control your ball.

Q. Given your position and how well you are controlling the ball, how tough would it be, in your estimation, to catch you this weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know how to answer that one. I just know that I have my own things I need to take care of out there. I'm just going to play one shot at a time, and I'm sure the rest of the guys are going to do the same thing.

Q. I come from another country and I come from another sport. I come from Italy, and I come from tennis, and a few minutes ago Nick Faldo talked about yourself and Bjorn Borg. He said you are able to control your emotions in many situations like Bjorn Borg. What do you know about Bjorn Borg? What do you know about tennis? And what do you know about Italy, if you can?

TIGER WOODS: Where do I start with this one?

Tennis, I'm an avid tennis fan. I watch tennis all the time. I was a huge Sampras fan and now obviously I'm a huge Federer fan, just love watching them play. And anytime I get a chance to watch them play, I do.

I do follow tennis quite a bit, but as far as any comparison to Bjorn Borg, he's one of the greatest ever to play the sport. I guess any comparison with somebody that's played their sport and been considered one of the greatest of all times is awfully flattering because he did it on different surfaces and he was able to control his emotions and played in different generations. What he was able to do has been truly remarkable, especially going from obviously from the French to Wimbledon and making that transition, not everybody can do that.

Italy, lots of garlic. I've never been to Italy. I've always wanted to go, I just haven't gotten a chance. My wife has been there a bunch of times and she loves it there and I just wish I could get there and hopefully someday I will.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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