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June 14, 2008

Tiger Woods


Full Audio Interview

RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to welcome Tiger Woods to the media center. Tiger with a round of 1-under par 70. 3-under par for the championship. Tiger, two remarkable shots on 13 and 17. Which was more surprising for you?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I hit two perfect tee shots, right? Is that what you're talking about?


Well, the one on 13 I hit just a terrible drive over to the right and I had a 5-iron from 210 front. I was just trying to put the ball in the back bunker. Just, whatever you do, just put the ball in the back bunker, just can't leave the ball short to that pin. And it landed on top of the green and I was surprised it even stopped. It somehow landed soft enough where it stopped.

And then Robert's ball was, his mark was down there off the right-hand side and Stevie and I read it and we were saying, well, if you hit it just above that, if you die it on the high side of that that should be about right. And I said, well, if I just get speed right I should get inside three feet, if I just die it around his mark. And it went in.

The one on 17, that was again another poor tee shot to the right, hit a 7-iron up there on the left tongue of the bunker there, and the pitch I hit it too hard, came out hot. And one hop and went in.

I mean, realistically, I should have probably had about an 8-footer coming back down the hill, but got away with one down there.

RAND JERRIS: Walk us through 18.

TIGER WOODS: 18, I hit a big cut off the tee, got it in the fairway and actually the second shot was perfect because we we're on the range practicing just a soft little shot for 16, actually. And because when we're warming up the wind was more out of the west. And I didn't think I could get a 3-iron there to 16. We were practicing hitting little soft 5-woods and I just so happened to have 227 to the hole, which is about the number we had on 16 that we were practicing this morning, or this afternoon. And I hit the same shot, carried it to the middle part of the green and made the putt.

Q. Is that status for you to be able to do something like that when obviously you have got some limitations and you never know when you're going to feel that knife jabbing you in the leg to be able to sort of -- you're almost kind of faking it out there at times?

TIGER WOODS: Just trying to get by. I didn't hit the ball well. I didn't warm up well today. I didn't hit the ball well warming up, particularly crisp and clean. I was trying to, even warming up, I had a two-way miss going so I was trying to clean that up where at least he had just a one-way miss, just miss it one way. Whatever that is, miss way left or way right, whatever it is, just miss one way. Went on the golf course and again had a little bit of a two-way miss, but not as bad.

Q. Considering your grimacing, certainly there was one shot in particular, one tee shot where you seemed like it really grabbed you. And your ball striking, are you amazed at how well you've managed to score and how that putt goes in on 18 and you chip in, I mean does it ever get old?

TIGER WOODS: Second part of your question? No.


No. No. I just keep telling myself that if it grabs me and if I get that shooting pain, I get it, but it's always after impact. So go ahead and just make the proper swing if I can.

Again, warming up I didn't warm up particularly well today. I again had a little bit of a two-way miss and tried to organize that throughout the day, tried to miss it one way, try to go if anything, overshoot shots, hit big hooks or big cuts, one way or the other. So I didn't have an opportunity to hit a double cross.

Q. The old line about golf is: It ain't how, it's how many. When you play a round like this do you care about anything except the scoreboard?

TIGER WOODS: No, it's all, that's what it's all about is getting the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. And I was just trying to manage my game, stay in there. It's a U.S. Open. Guys aren't going to go low. And even though I got off to such a poor start again today I just hung around, just get back to even par. I was just trying to get back to even par, either for the tournament or for the day. The day would be great. But even if I finished at even par for the tournament it wouldn't be a bad thing either.

And then all of a sudden things started turning.

Q. Could you also give us the length on the chip-in and the putt. The birdie, the eagle putt?

TIGER WOODS: Chip-in was probably -- pin was on 11, so I guess probably about 30 feet.

The one on 13?

Q. 13 and 18?

TIGER WOODS: Those, that was a bomb. That's all. I'm guessing at least 50, 60 feet.

Then 18 it was probably about 40 feet.

Q. How many times today did you consciously manufacture a swing in anticipation of the knee problems and looking forward, how much of a consideration is that going into the final round?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't really try and manufacture anything today I was just trying to play the proper shot. As I said, the one on 18 tee was just trying to get the ball in play. Because I had hit one left, I hit one right, I was just trying to just somehow squeeze cut one out there in play. And I did that.

But if pain hits, pain hits. So be it. It's just pain.

Q. Are you having Stevie help you read a few more putts this week? It seems like he's doing more?

TIGER WOODS: I am, yeah. Good point. Because normally I don't here. But these greens are at a different speed and they're breaking a little bit more and these slopes are accentuated just a little bit more and I just wanted to make sure on some of these reads that I'm not off.

Q. Did you do anything mentally just to kind of block out the pain and can you get through 18 more holes with that pain?

TIGER WOODS: I'll be fine.

Q. You've been in the press room on Saturday nights at the Buick with a lead going into Sunday. Does this feel any different now that it's June and it's the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: Slightly.


Yeah, it does. It does. This is our national championship. Even though we're, this is the same venue we play the Buick Invitational, it definitely feels very different. Just like it did at Pebble Beach. That's where we play the AT&T and then we played The Open there and it's two totally different feelings, even though it's the same venue.

Q. Kind of a forward-looking question, given the crazy histrionics that you were just pulling and the fact that they quite likely might put the tee up to 277 on 14, could you talk kind of in broad brush strokes about the potential for craziness down the stretch tomorrow? You had two eagles in the last six holes and a chip in birdie and a drivable par-4, which is not the way the U.S. Opens generally play out.

TIGER WOODS: Correct. Mike and the staff has really, they have really mixed it up on us this week. And it's been hard to get kind of a reading of what the scores are going to be for the day. Usually when you go out there it's the kind of thing where you kind of know what the score is going to be at the end of the day. Here they mixed it up. Today we played No. 12 up. 13 was up again. I'm sure that 13 will be back tomorrow. And probably 12 will be back. I don't know if we're going to play number 3 up again. That was kind of a shocker the first day. Hitting just a wedge in there.

Then obviously 14. 14's going to be just a, you got to read how the tournament's going, where the pin is, where they're going to put it, how the wind's blowing, but it's definitely not the USGA that we're kind of accustomed to.

Last year's at Oakmont was they tried to -- well since Winged Foot -- they tried to give that graduated rough and that more of a go this year. And I think that's a pretty neat thing because it baits guys into going for it more than they probably can hit.

Only difference is for this year is that the tees have been mixed up and it's been a really hard to get a feel for what, as I said, what the score's going to be at the end of the day, what you need to get to.

Q. You have to actually think.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's been very different. Usually it's, every other U.S. Open, except for Pinehurst, it's been driver and if you happen to miss it, so be it, just a wedge down there and try and get up-and-down. Or lay up to a number that you feel good about.

Here you're definitely thinking. Do I have this lie, will it jump, will it not jump, where do I place it. It adds a lot to it.

Q. Two part question. I wonder if you could walk us through your deliberations before your drop on 13 and were you tempted to order anything when you walked by the concession stand?

TIGER WOODS: Second part, no.

I was just -- I didn't know it was a concession stand, it was just a white building there. I was looking at -- I had an opportunity to go either side of the tower. Either to the right or left. Went to the right side and the grass wasn't all that great, on top of that I would have to try and carry that barranca on the right-hand side. If I didn't get a good lie I didn't know if I could carry that.

So I went left. And if I happened to draw a poor lie there, at least I know I could wedge out to the fairway, bottom of the hill, and try and make par and move on.

Happened to catch a good lie that I could probably get to the green and maybe somehow steal a 4 out of there.

Q. Can you talk about the crowd reaction after first the eagle putt and then the second one, what that was like, because you were more subdued that time. Were you just protecting your knee there or just, oh, here we go again?

TIGER WOODS: It's all spontaneous. 13 I went nuts and 18 I was just like, "Sweet."


That's it. I can't tell you what's coming. It's just one of those emotional things. Whatever happens, happens. Either way. It just keep going in.

Q. I just have a quick two part question. On the chip in on the 17th it looked like you almost had no weight, that you were putting no weight on your left knee. Was that a result of the pain in your knee or was that a result more of the angle of the shot?

TIGER WOODS: Just the lie. Yeah.

Q. And how does your knee feel today in relation to say yesterday, because visibly you seemed to grimace more, there seemed to be a little difference in your gait today.

TIGER WOODS: It's more sore today.

Q. More treatment tonight?



If I get out of here.

RAND JERRIS: Tiger, thanks for your time.

TIGER WOODS: Perfect. Thank you, guys.

End of FastScripts

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