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March 24, 2007

Tiger Woods


LAURA NEAL: Tiger, I know you're in a hurry. Why don't we open it up for questions and get this going.

Q. Just like to hear general comments on your day. Are you surprised to have a four-shot lead?
TIGER WOODS: Probably yes, considering that, you know, some of the pins were pretty accessible today. They are in the front and pretty benign spots. If you got it going -- I saw Paul Casey shot 6 (under) so obviously it could be had out there if you put all the pieces together.

Q. Can you just talk about starting off with an eagle and obviously there are worse ways to begin the day when you're at the top of the leaderboard.
TIGER WOODS: That was an ideal start. I hit a good drive down there, I hit a 4-iron up there about ten feet and knocked it in.
So couldn't ask for a better start.

Q. What do you know about Brett; you're playing with him tomorrow, what did you know about him before Akron and the dinner and what did you learn about him?
TIGER WOODS: Not a whole lot. (Laughter) I think that was the whole idea of having the dinner with the rookies there, was to get to know everyone.
But you know, Brett's a great guy. We got to know him during the Ryder Cup. He was just a lot of fun to be around, and he's got just an unbelievable amount of power. He hits it pretty hard.

Q. Have you played with him outside of that 12-some that you guys had?
TIGER WOODS: I think we played another practice round at the Ryder Cup as well, but other than that, I don't think I have.

Q. I know you were saying on TV, with regard to having a lead and your record, which we all know, you're obviously playing well, but is there a certain comfort level that you have -- obviously you have game -- (Laughter)
TIGER WOODS: Thanks, Mark.

Q. You know what I mean. Is there a certain comfort level playing with the lead that you have? Obviously the record is pretty good.
TIGER WOODS: I've said this numerous times, is, the greatest thing about having the lead is that if you make a couple of mistakes, you can still win the golf tournament. When you're coming from behind, you're chasing and you make a couple mistakes, you can put yourself right out of a chance to win the golf tournament. I always think it's more comforting being in the lead.

Q. You spoke earlier this week as we went back to the '97 Masters about, if I don't make bogey, if I take care of the par 5s, someone has to shoot, whatever. When you're in a position like this or any other tournament, do you think that way, too, going into the last day?

Q. What's your thought before tomorrow; if I don't, what? Or if I do, what?
TIGER WOODS: I just handle my business, and play clean, and make birdies when I possibly can. Some of the pins are going to be a little more difficult tomorrow, so it will be a little bit more difficult to shoot a low round.

Q. Are you still planning to go see Roger Federer tonight?

Q. How will you get over there, driving?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm driving over there.

Q. Do you consider both of you members of some exclusive club that maybe you can only talk to him about certain things?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think we can understand each other for what we go through. You know, the difference between myself and Jordan and myself and Roger, is that Roger and I play individual sports. So there's common ground there that I didn't have with Jordan.
So it's still phenomenal to watch. It's neat and intriguing for me to talk to him, and see what he thinks on certain situations, and we pick each other's brain a little bit.

Q. Like what, like not asking for State secrets, but when you say you pick each other's brain; about competition, about winning?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just the dedication it takes off; people don't realize how hard you have to work off the court and off the course to achieve the levels that we've been able to achieve.
It's a lot harder than people think.

Q. And he has the same thoughts I guess?

Q. You seem more demonstrative as you go about your business; do you have the same sort of competitive fire?
TIGER WOODS: Once he's on the court, yeah. He's a lot more mellow than I am leading into the event. I'm pretty fired up and ready to go. I can't wait to get out there and mix it up with the guys. He's just a little more low-key. I remember at the U.S. Open that he's -- I think it was like 15 minutes or something like that before he goes on the court, and he has not had his ankles taped yet. He's just talking to me. I'm like, "Hey, go." I pushed him out the door and just said, "Go." He's really mellow and low-key, but once he gets on the court though it's a totally different deal.

Q. With a four-shot lead standing on 18, is that the only time that hole feels comfortable?
TIGER WOODS: I still wasn't, no.

Q. Why?
TIGER WOODS: Why? Because this ain't Sunday. If I make double there, I put it in the water and make double like Ernie did all of a sudden it's a two-shot lead going into tomorrow. Whole new ball game for the rest of the guys and the momentum switches.

Q. I think Laura's got the sheet in front of her, I haven't looked, but you have one bogey in two days, does that sound right?

Q. What does that say about ball-striking in a 30-mile-an-hour wind?
TIGER WOODS: I've controlled it well today, yesterday and for most of the first day. I think it's just -- I've put in some good work Monday, Tuesday, at home, away from everybody. As I said, I took a look at some of the things I was doing wrong last week, not only from the mental side but also from the physical side. Physical side, I can fix at home on Monday and Tuesday.

Q. There was an incident today where Sergio missed a short putt and spit into the cup in disgust. You've been criticized on TV -- I probably shouldn't be asking this question myself.
TIGER WOODS: Considering you're a dipper?

Q. For spitting on the golf course. Are you ever conscious about where you let it go? (Laughter)
TIGER WOODS: Why is everybody looking at me for the answer? (Laughter)
Well, I can understand, hey, unfortunately I say things I probably shouldn't say and do things I probably shouldn't do. A lot of it's just anger.

Q. I was just talking about the actual spitting. This thing went into the cup.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I haven't done that, no.

Q. Wetterich was asked earlier who was longer between you two and he said depends on who is more mad at that moment.
TIGER WOODS: Probably right.

Q. Can you talk just about his game in general?
TIGER WOODS: I think we are about the same with the driver. He's certainly longer with a 3-wood than I am. He hits it further than I do. I think him and Stenson are ridiculous how far they can hit 3-woods.
Brett hits pretty much kind of a low cut, and he goes at it no holds barred and makes a bunch of birdies. Once he gets it rolling, he does get it rolling pretty good. That's one of the reasons why we put him out there in the best-ball in the Ryder Cup because he just makes a ton of birdies.

Q. Do you remember anything about him from the Ryder Cup, how he sang the fight song, any anecdotal stories about how he handled the situation?
TIGER WOODS: I wasn't down there. I was out fishing at the time. I wanted to catch a few fish, so unfortunately I missed that part.

Q. Did you hang with him?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, yeah, we hung out, talked quite a bit, had dinner together, tipped back a couple when it was over. He's just a great guy, he really is. Brett is a fun guy to be around, and hopefully he can get on more teams and we can hang out again.

Q. Could you talk about the bounce-back on 7 and taking on that pin?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I hit a little 3-wood down there and I had a 9-iron, and to be honest with you, I hit it right of where I was aiming. I was trying to hit kind of a holding 9-iron, a little bit of a cut and I kind of shoved it over there. I was trying to hit the ball left of the flag, not right of the flag. So got away with it. It was nice to make that putt because it was a weird putt, because the putt went a little right-to-left, but the grain was going up the hill left-to-right, I said just trust it, it's going to be straighter than it looks, and it was.
LAURA NEAL: Thank you, Tiger. Have a good night.

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