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December 16, 2006

Tiger Woods


DAVE SENKO: Tiger, thanks for coming in, and maybe you could just get us started and talk about real quick your day and we'll get some questions.
TIGER WOODS: It was wet (laughter). A touch muddy, a little cool. But over all I got off to just a great start today, birdied the first two right out of the gate. I had trouble making birdies after that. But I'm right there with a shot to win the tournament tomorrow. Geoff is playing great and obviously so is Chris. A bunch of pars is not going to get it done tomorrow, so hopefully I can play a little bit better than I did today and make some birdies.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: I drove it in a good spot there on both of them, and the second shot didn't hit very good second shots. Two of them I hit poor drives, one of them I had a shot at the green, and I made 6 on 16.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I probably hit the wrong club on the second shot. I had 225 front, 253 hole, and it was between 3-iron and 5-wood. I went with just a little 5-wood. The little 5-wood, I knew that it could get past the flag, and I was trying to get past that tree on the left and then pitch back, and in hindsight it probably would have been better to hit 3-iron and played to the front edge.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: It was just sand, but it was sitting kind of down. I didn't know if there was going to be a rock underneath it.
The hard part was if there was a rock underneath there, the ball is going to come out flat, and this thing could bee line and come right back and hit me. I think that was one of the reasons why I kind of sodded it a little bit and just took too much sand and feathered it up there into the bunker.

Q. It was wet, and both Chris and Geoff said that the first few holes were pretty tough; the weather was nasty. Not the course but just getting damp and because of the ball's lack of spin, you couldn't control it as much. Did you find that?
TIGER WOODS: It's true, very true. Plus also you're a lot further back, too. I hit 3-wood and a 3-iron into 4 today. I've been hitting 5-wood and 6-iron and 7-iron in there, so it was playing a lot longer. You know, that's probably when it was coming down the hardest on that hole and the wind kind of kicked up a little bit. Overall it is what it is, you deal with it, you miss the ball in the correct spots you can get up-and-down or you can make birdies.
I was just amazed that Geoff was -- I think he was 5-under through 10, and I think David Howell was like 5-under through 13. I just thought are they playing the same course? David is way up there and Geoff is right in front of me, so obviously they're not playing too different a golf course. It was just amazing to shoot those scores under those conditions. It shows you how good these guys really are.

Q. You mentioned after the first two rounds you weren't happy with your speed on the greens. Thoughts today?
TIGER WOODS: I putted a lot better today. Today was fun. I hit a lot of good putts, made a few, but more importantly, had a lot of kick-ins.

Q. Was there a change?
TIGER WOODS: No, I just felt more comfortable on the greens and with the speed. Maybe the rain had a lot to do with it because I had to focus a little more because the speed did change from yesterday to today, so I had to be aware of it on every putt.

Q. Geoff was talking about nerves of being in the last group, comparing this to a regular Tour event and a major, and he made some comment that if you do win this you still get a bit of an asterisk, it being unofficial. Can you relate to that at all, and what are your feelings playing the last day in this as compared to an official tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's the same feeling. It's the same rush because it's the same guys. Granted, it's a smaller field, but you look at the top of the field, each and every time we play this thing, it's always guys that are some of the world's best. So with that being said, you have to work it out in your head on Sunday if you want to win the tournament.

Q. The pride is there, you're playing the best golfers in the world, you're No. 1, you want to beat them?
TIGER WOODS: There's no doubt about that. I mean, you don't ever want to lose to other top players. Whether it's a small event like the Grand Slam, there's only four of us, but still a lot of pride in that. Or something like that there's only 16 guys, you still enjoy beating them.

Q. What's the maddest you've been in the most insignificant round of golf you've played?
TIGER WOODS: That's a good question. You know, I really don't know. That's a good one. Let me get back to you on that one. I'd have to think about that one.

Q. This passion to win, you said you never go out there without believing you can win. Is this something your dad instilled in you? Did you pick it up at eight years old, ten years old, or was it natural?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I always wanted to beat my dad, plain and simple. I hated losing to anybody. That's the first thing I can remember. He didn't really have to teach that, he actually had to tone it down a little bit because I used to get too fired up. I had the mentality of a football player playing golf, which is probably not a good thing.

Q. Just getting back to the question of nerves that was mentioned earlier, what's the most nervous that you've ever been on a golf course?
TIGER WOODS: Easily it's the Valley Open here when I was 16 years old teeing it up. I thought it was no big deal, a 3-wood down the hill, and I picked up that club and it was like a sledgehammer. I've never felt so nervous in my life. Hit it right down the middle and hit a 3-wood on the green and two-putted and off I went, my first birdie. Then I proceeded to snipe up the next hole.

Q. How would you define pressure? What's your definition of pressure?
TIGER WOODS: You're always feeling pressure, no matter what it is. If you want to do something well, obviously you're going to feel a little bit of pressure. But most of it is internal anyways.

Q. You've had a really good year obviously. Is it at all surprising that Europe has gone since Lawrie at Carnoustie winning a major, and how soon do you sense that drought will end given Stenson or Padraig or Howell or Paul now?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, you would think that along the way -- Monty has been there so many times, but it is quite remarkable that the Europeans haven't won them. But Ollie has been there -- when did he win, '99 at Augusta? But since then, you're right. It's been kind of amazing. But I think it also goes to show you that world golf is improving, as well, that players from all over the world are playing well, and not just from continental -- U.S. and Europe.

Q. We mentioned Carnoustie there. What are your memories of Carnoustie in 1999? You finished reasonably high, Top 10. What are you expecting next year? I know they've made changes to the course.
TIGER WOODS: I made one birdie on the weekend and I finished three shots out of the playoffs. That doesn't normally happen. But that was really weird how that golf course played. You could play it aggressively, try to hit driver on every hole, bomb it down there and hit the ball in the hay and pitch out or play conservative and bump it along the ground, and most of the guys chose to lay way back, and it was really weird because on some of the holes, I remember -- the par 5, No. 6 along the OB, when they added the second bunker down there, all the guys were playing back so you hit like a 2-iron off the tee, you then hit a 5-iron layup and then hit a 2-iron or 3-iron or 3-wood into the green. It made no sense but that's the way it played because it was only 12 yards across and the layup areas were domed with knee-high rough. There was not a whole lot of room to lay up. But each and every day they kept cutting back the rough on that hole. It was really weird, like there was another yard, another yard, another yard because they had so many complaints that you couldn't lay it up. It was just a very weird setup, and you knew that over par was going to win the golf tournament. Normally even the U.S. Opens like at Winged Foot, we'll see someone that really plays well here that you could shoot under par maybe, or Bethpage, it was playing brutal, but if you really play well, somebody might get to under par. Everyone knew no one was going to be under par at Carnoustie, even with good wind conditions. But we got lucky and it didn't howl and the score still was 7 over.
I've played the Scottish Open there twice, and it was fair and guys were shooting 10-, 12-under par. It was really weird to listen to some of the guys talk about the course setup. Everyone knew if you played great for all four days, you weren't going to be under par. Jean played incredible for 71 holes and he was still 4-over par, and he was hitting driver off every hole, piping it down there, making putts from everywhere, and he was still 4-over par, which is hard to believe.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: We'll see what happens. I mean, it's a great golf course. I mean, we got great weather that week, and if would have had the weather the way it happened at Muirfield in 2002 -- I would have called you in. You would have been my sub (laughter).

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