February 25, 1999
JAMES CRAMER: We have No. 1 seed Tiger Woods with us; defeated Bob Tway 1-up. Tiger, why don't we get started with a general comment about your round today.
TIGER WOODS: Today was one of those matches where it was: We weren't going to back off, and we both made our share of mistakes on the front 9. I made some bogeys. He made some bogeys as well. But on the back 9, we pretty much played flawless golf. We hit a lot of great shots in there, gave ourselves some putts, and fortunately for me, I was able to make a couple.
Q. I know you guys said all along that anything can happen in Match Play. But are you surprised that you are one of the Top-10 left?
TIGER WOODS: Am I really?
TIGER WOODS: Wow. No, that doesn't surprise me. The fact that -- I mean, the field is so deep here. People have failed to realize that. And then you are given 18 holes, anything can happen in 18 holes. You can get off to a quick start and boom, you are done; you can't recover. These guys out here all capable of making a lot of birdies, and that is what seems to be the recipe in order to win.
Q. If you would have been told that after two days you would have every seed gone except you, would you be a little surprised?
TIGER WOODS: Maybe a little. But then again, the guys who are on the bottom are veteran players. You wouldn't say Paul Azinger is a chop player. You wouldn't say that. He is a major championship winner. He has won numerous tournaments, and him defeating Ernie Els or Steve Pate defeating Davis, that is not really upsets. These guys are all capable of doing that and all capable of playing some great golf.
Q. No matter who they are playing, they are capable of the same thing?
TIGER WOODS: No doubt about it.
Q. This is week 5 in a row for you. You haven't done this before. Is it starting to wear on you a little bit?
TIGER WOODS: No, I feel great. I won't say great -- after this match, I am a little spent mentally. Physically, I am great. I am probably in the best shape of my life right now, strength-wise, endurance-wise, and it feels great.
Q. Did you think Tway's putt was in there on 18?
TIGER WOODS: Looked like it was in, but if you look closely, the pin is sitting actually right on top of a knob. Anything left is going to go left and anything right is going to go right. His speed looked like it should hold the line, but it didn't. Kind of wiggled left on him. The putt I had thought he made for sure was on 16. Putt hanging half the ball over the lip; that looked like it was dead center, but it didn't go in.
Q. You said you were relieved yesterday. Is it even a greater feeling of relief today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah. No doubt about it. To be able to survive a match like this and to get through to the next round, I am relieved, no doubt about it.
Q. What is the difference between going through the draw as an amateur, as opposed to trying to go through the draw at this level?
TIGER WOODS: One, I think if you -- one is a 36-hole qualifier; you are going to get the guys who are playing the best. You know that. Also, as well, as the experience level, too, is not exactly the same. Obviously not the same. You can get guys who are 16, 17 years old versus a veteran who is 40 or 50 years old. Out here we are all pretty much evenly-matched. We have been out here a while in order to make the Top-64, and I think that experience level is kind of thrown out the door; whereas, in the Amateur, you can intimidate a little kid who is just out there for the first time.
Q. Do you have to prepare yourself mentally for tomorrow, knowing that if you win in the morning, you will be playing another mentally-draining match in the afternoon?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you take it one match at a time. You can't look forward to the afternoon. You got to go out there and give it everything you have in the morning, and hopefully come on top. Because if you don't, you probably won't come out on top.
Q. Will you talk a little bit about the back 9? Was there much give-and-take? Was the match in jeopardy from your standpoint at any time?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I thought that -- let's see, we both parred 10 and 11. And on 12, I mean, Bob hit a great putt up there up over the knob, and it looked like it was going to go in, but it just missed on the right edge. I figured that was my chance; hopefully, I can square this match. I was able to do that. I birdied that putt. But then on the next hole is where I thought he would pick up a shot on me. I thought I would go 1-down there because he had a great birdie opportunity for ten feet and he didn't make it. I stuffed it on the next hole, so did he. And I was -- he missed and I was -- just crawled it over the front lip for birdie there to take it 1-up. I figured, just hit fairways and greens on every hole and you should be all right.
Q. How far was the putt for you on 12?
TIGER WOODS: About 12 feet.
Q. What about 14?
TIGER WOODS: Same.
Q. What did you hit your second shot on 12?
TIGER WOODS: 7-iron.
JAMES CRAMER: Why don't we go over your holes now since that is where the questions seems to be moving.
TIGER WOODS: Parred 1. 2, I hit a driver down there and hit a weak 5-iron just over the water; stayed up; he hit driver and fairway wood up there about 20 feet. I chipped it up about three feet. He made his for eagle. Next hole, he gave it to me with a bogey. And No. 4, I hit a 9-iron, went over the green; chipped it down there off the shelf and missed it from about 20 feet. And I gave his putt from about 12 feet. Went to No. 6, I hit a 3-wood off the tee and hit a 6-iron to about foot and a half. I made that to go even in the match. And then on 7, Bob hit a ball in the bunker from the middle of the fairway. Blasted up to about six feet. I hit my wedge shot to the right about 20 feet away, and ran it by past his ball; and I made mine and he didn't make his. On 7, I hit my ball in the front bunker. I blasted to about eight feet behind the hole. He lagged his put down there from about 18 feet and I proceeded to miss mine. On 8, we both made birdies from about 15 feet right below the hole. On 9, I hit a 6-iron in there for my third shot and hit it left of the green. He hit a wedge shot in there about ten feet below the hole. I'd chipped up to about eight feet; again, missed it and he 2-putted. Then the back 9, I think I have already gone through.
Q. If I remember correctly, only one of the Top-10 still left after two rounds. You pointed out, of course, that seeding doesn't mean much, but a lot of good golfers have been eliminated in two days.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the quality of the field people doesn't -- can't really fathom of the quality of field. The players here who are ranked 64, 63, they are quality players, and to get into the Top 64 in the world, you have to have won some tournaments. You have had to have played some good golf, and I was fortunate enough to squeak by in today's match to make it to the third round.
Q. Are you having a good time? I mean, obviously, the guys who lose, it is tough, but, boy, there has been some great matches out there, particularly today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you know, I have had a good time, but it is draining. Match Play is very draining versus stroke-play. Stroke-play is play your own game; you don't have to worry about anything until Sunday. Here, it is a different story. You have got to worry about your opponent, worry about what you are doing, what he does, sometimes you have to respond, or you can force him to hit a bad shot. It just goes -- the ebb and flow of Match Play is amazing. Especially in our match where I think we only had two or three holes on the front 9.
Q. You said 7-iron at 12?
TIGER WOODS: Yes.
TIGER WOODS: 188. Blowing dead downwind.
Q. Do you feel the mental exhaustion out there or do you feel it when you walk off?
TIGER WOODS: I don't feel it while I am out there because I have so much adrenaline in my system as well as -- I know what I have to do, so I focus on that. But as soon as you let down, it is over, then you feel: I really did expend a lot of energy out there.
Q. What about your third shot on 18, did you have a bad lie?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it was weirdest deal because it was into the green, kind of muddy sandy -- muddy and sandy and I tried to just pick it, and I wasn't able to do. That I released it too much with my right hand and actually I caught the ball and the grass at the same time, but since it's against the grain, that doesn't work. You have to catch ball first. But I was trying to put a little height to it because it was straight downhill. It didn't work out.
JAMES CRAMER: Anymore questions?
TIGER WOODS: Great, thank you.
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