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September 28, 2006

Tiger Woods


JAMES CRAMER: We have Tiger Woods, defending champion in the American Express Championship with us after an 8 under par 63, including an eagle at the last. Before we get started, maybe just a general comment about your play out there today.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit the ball really well today. I birdied the 2nd hole, par 5, and from there I was in position to make quite a few birdies. I hit the ball close enough, and when the greens are this good, if you hit good putts, they're going in.

I made a couple putts and got things rolling and got the momentum on my side and just kept rolling through it. It was nice to post a good number, considering that you're figuring most of the guys are going to shoot some pretty good numbers out here.

Q. Did you feel it was less spectacular by your standards?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the driver was really nice because in order for me to get there I had to not ten the tee shot out, try and keep it below the wind. I hit it perfect. 3 wood, I was just trying to keep it anywhere left of the hole. If it got there, great; if it didn't, at least I had an angle to pitch up.

I hit it really solid and actually surprised it flew that far.

Q. How far was it?

TIGER WOODS: I had 270 to the hole, slightly and kind of in off the left.

Q. You looked really relaxed and comfortable out there in Darren's company at the start.

TIGER WOODS: It's always fun playing with Darren, no matter what. We had a great time playing with and against each other at the Ryder Cup, and any time we play practise rounds or we play in competition, we're always needling each other the entire day, so it was fun.

Q. Would the 3 wood have been your shot of the day?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, certainly, without a doubt.

Q. As sort of defending champion, this is where you want to be right at the start, sort of setting the pace leading? Is that sort of how you look at it?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, especially on a golf course that the guys aren't really familiar with yet. It's always nice to get off to a positive start. From here you figure most of the guys are going to start to get to know the golf course and they'll shoot some better scores. It's always nice to get off to a quick start like that.

Q. It must have been pleasing to set the course record today.


Q. Yeah.

TIGER WOODS: I'll take it (smiling).

Q. Stewart Cink suggested that they name this course after you because it is so set up for you. Do you ever come to courses, particularly new courses, take a look and say, "yeah, this is mine"?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, there's always golf courses that you play that you feel very comfortable on.

You know, certainly one of the first times I ever played St. Andrews, I fell in love with the place. There are a few golf courses that you play for the first time that you say, you know what, I just see the shots around the golf course. Those are the golf courses that even if you're playing poorly going into the event, for some reason things kind of turn around and you play great. In years past, I hadn't been playing very well going into Firestone, and I always seem to play well there.

Q. It must be one of those courses then where you just

TIGER WOODS: I see the shots here, yeah. I feel comfortable with shaping the golf ball around this golf course, yeah.

Q. Not quite a love for you yet? You're not quite in love with this place yet?

TIGER WOODS: A couple more 63s (laughter).

Q. A couple of birdies in which you start walking long before it goes in the hole, does that speak to the trueness of the greens, and does it remind you of Mount Juliet?

TIGER WOODS: Without a doubt. That's one thing I told Stevie when we played yesterday, almost exactly like Mount Juliet.

You're surprised when the greens are this smooth, especially when you come over here to a newly designed golf course. Generally they're not always great. But they're absolutely perfect here.

Q. What do you think if last week had been a regular tournament, where would you have finished? Care to guess?

TIGER WOODS: In a five round event? Probably 15th or better. I only had one bad day, which was Saturday morning. Other than that I actually played pretty darn good.

Q. There's no Ryder Cup hangover or anything like that? You're not having any problem after the disappointment of the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: No, I took Monday off well, kind of. I had a little bit of work I had to do.

But Tuesday I took the whole day off, just worked out. And yesterday I just played a quick 18, real light, didn't really do much. I just tried to be fresh for today.

Q. In terms of the hangover sort of thing, do you feel more determined than the weekend? I mean, you're always determined to win, but does it make you more determined after what happened last week and maybe at the HSBC, as well?

TIGER WOODS: No, because I'm only in control of five points, and I got three of the five. So I did the best I could. There's only one day I didn't really play well, as I said, which was Saturday morning. Other than that, I thought I played pretty darn good for the week.

I could have holed more putts certainly, but overall I thought I played pretty solid. At HSBC I did not. I did not play well. So I had plenty of time to practise to get ready for the hider cup.

Q. You talked about not being able to get the speed right at Wentworth and you've spoken about these greens. What about The K Club? As much as you've played it, do you understand those greens like the course?

TIGER WOODS: Well, any time the greens are always a little bit slow, I've always struggled, and any time the faster the greens get, the better I putt. That's kind of the way I've always been. I always feel comfortable when I go to extremely fast greens.

Q. Is it a sense of relief to get back to a stroke play event from a match play event?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's nice to be guaranteed to be playing four rounds (laughter). You know, at HSBC Shaun played great and put me under a lot of pressure, and I just didn't do it. And the Ryder Cup is a very long week and I played all five. It's a totally different mindset playing stroke play than it is match play. You've just got to revert back to your stroke play mentality, and I was able to do that today.

Q. Just a quick comment on having Judy back?

TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, it's great to see out here. I think she's battled, as everyone knows. But to have her back out here, you know, she's just a genuine person. Anyone who ever talked to Judy, we always smile afterwards. It's great to have her out here, and even better to actually see her walking all 18 holes. I thought she would have been pretty tired, but she said she was just a little tired, which is a very good sign.

Q. You just talked about different mentalities in stroke play. Expand on what. What is the difference?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you're not playing the person, you're playing the golf course. What the person you're playing against does dictates sometimes what you do, and sometimes what I do dictates what they do.

I mean, it's 18 holes and it's it's basically different matches versus stroke play where you're just trying to plod your way along and hopefully be there at the end of 72 holes. It's a sprint versus a marathon.

Q. Given your reputation coming out as a pro, as the great match player for the U.S. Juniors and U.S. Amateur, do you feel like you still have that reputation, or has there been a change coming to the professional level of match play?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think individually I've done well. I guess three time finalist and two time champion at La Costa, not too bad, I guess. I was a finalist at Wentworth one time in '98. My team match play hasn't been very good, my team record, fourball and foursomes. Fourball hasn't been very good, foursomes has been a little bit better.

Q. Are the standards set or are expectations too high, amateur competition to professional?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's different when you're playing one person versus four guys in a group. We rarely ever play that format. The only time I ever really played it was I think playing the Canon Cup, which is AJGA, and the Walker Cup.

Q. Is that where you had Riley?


Q. That explains it.

JAMES CRAMER: Can we just go over your birdies real quick.

TIGER WOODS: Birdied 2, hit a driver and a 5 wood to about 50 feet and two putted.

3, I hit a 3 wood and a 7 iron and made that.

5, I hit a 5 wood and a 9 iron, made about a 15 footer.

7, I hit a 7 iron to about 12 feet, made that.

8, I hit a driver and a 7 iron to about 12 feet again, made that.

9, had a great birdie, hit a driver and hit a 7 iron in there to about four feet.

15, I hit a driver and a 3 wood in the left bunker, blasted out to sorry, just short left of the left bunker, pitched it up there to about six feet and made that.

17, I hit a driver and a pitching wedge over the green, chipped it past about 30 feet and two putted.

And 18, driver and a 3 wood and a putt.

Q. What are you supposed to have in on 9, wedge?


Q. You went out in 29. Did you have thoughts of a 59, 58?

TIGER WOODS: No, sorry (laughter).

JAMES CRAMER: Thank you very much, Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

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