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An Interview With: Tiger Woods

Q: Can you sum up your week?

Tiger Woods: Done. It was a tough week. I didn't hit the ball as well as I needed to. I putted great all week. Unfortunately, they were all for pars and a few for bogeys. I didn't make any doubles for the week, though, which was good, the only good thing, I guess. I bogeyed one-fourth of the holes this week. That's not good. Didn't make any birdies at all, only had six birdies. It was a tough week. I fought just to shoot bad. That's what was frustrating.

Q: How much of it was you and how much of it was the course, if you miss a couple?

Tiger Woods: If you miss a couple shots here and there, the key is don't miss one foot into the rough, and that's what I did. A lot of times I missed it just barely in the rough, and that's the worst spot to be in. If you miss it in the gallery somewhere or in the trees where you have a shot. If it one-hops in there, you have no shot. You've seen it with a lot of players out here, if it just rolls in, they are hacking it out down the fairway somewhere. But missing it in the trees, you can actually get the ball to the green.

Q: Only six birdies for four rounds, is that shocking to you?

Tiger Woods: Not necessarily shocking. If you look at this golf course, you know it's not playing easy. And on top of that, you're not giving yourself a lot of chances. It's tough. I didn't really hit the ball close enough to give myself chances. Every putt I had inside of ten feet, I pretty much buried, but most of those were pars. Actually I putted great just to make the cut, which is good.

If you drive the ball in play, you can go ahead and shoot a good number. But if you are not getting it in play, it's going to be a tough week.

Q: Next week you are heading to a place where you've won about $3 million .

Tiger Woods: It's awfully nice to go back to a golf course that you feel comfortable on. That's another golf course that's very similar to this golf course, there's no tricks. It's just right in front of you. That's what makes it so much fun to play golf courses like these. They are not tricked up, and it's just old school and it's right in front of you and it will be very difficult.

Q: You said you putted great to make the cut. You are really zeroing in on the all-time record .

Tiger Woods: You know, that's what's interesting, we are playing with no cut and it's sort of misleading a little bit. But then again, I don't know, it's hard to explain because back when Byron was playing, the fields were not as deep, either, so you only had a few guys to beat. But then again, you had to finish to win the money; so therefore, that's what the cut is. The cut is paid/not paid.

So the game has changed and it's become more difficult, and easier at the same time, to get rewarded for playing well and to get into events where there's no cut: Mercedes, NEC, AMEX, TOUR Championship, events like that. But it's still not easy.

Q: Do you remember a tournament where you had to birdie to make the cut?

Tiger Woods: Yeah, San Diego. What did I shoot, 77, the second day? Made birdie on the last hole to make the cut.

Q: What was the hardest major this year?

Tiger Woods: The hardest major? Probably this one. This golf course, as I said earlier, yesterday, this is the hardest, fairest golf course I've ever played.

You know, Carnoustie wasn't set up fairly, the fairways were 12 yards wide in some spots, some holes, and that wasn't exactly a fair test. This is a very fair test. It's right there in front of you. It's just very difficult. It's a lot of fun to play golf courses that are fair and challenging at the same time.

Q: Any consolation getting a birdie on that final hole, considering the week that you've had?

Tiger Woods: I don't know. It's time I got something going and I ran out of holes. (Laughter.)

Q: Was this as difficult as Carnoustie?

Tiger Woods: No, not even close. You've got to go back to Carnoustie, it was the most frustrating. I don't know if you were there or not, but No. 6 fairway the second shot was eight yards wide. They cut it back as the week went on. They moved it back to 12, which is kind of, "thank you." But overall, when you have -- and I shot double-digits over par and I was three shots out of a playoff. That was probably the most difficult and challenging week I've ever seen.

Q: Playing with Aaron Baddeley today?

Tiger Woods: If you get up close to him, you know if it rains, should just fall right off of him, too. I actually heard one of the greatest lines of the whole week out there today. We're going from 13 to 14. Some guy yells, says to his little kid, "It's the Tiger and the Pink Panther."

Q: Do you remember what your mindset was like when you walked away from the PGA in '98 and how would this compare?

Tiger Woods: I don't even know where it was in '98.

Q: Sahalee.

Tiger Woods: Oh, yeah, that was a tough week. I started out good. I was tied for the lead after the first day, and kind of gradually went down the hill from there.

Just one of those years where at the time, I had only won one major. It was not like I had won a whole bunch of majors and had expectations like I have now. It was totally different circumstance and I was really revamping my golf swing. And to me, I felt '98 was a better year than '97. It had more Top-10s and that's what I wanted to do was become more consistent.

In '97, I challenged in one major and I won it. The rest of them, I was completely out of it. In '98, I challenged the field and I was very happy about that, that type of progress.

This year has been frustrating, since I've been there with a chance going into the weekend. Every one except for this one. Just hasn't happened. But that's the way it goes.

Q: What do you look to for the rest of the year now that the majors are over?

Tiger Woods: Try to win the tournaments I'm playing in, simple as that. Keep trying to get a little bit better.

Q: Do you think you still have a chance to win Player of the Year with TOUR Championship, AMEX, NEC left?

Tiger Woods: Well, we all know if Weirsy wins, it's all over, but if he doesn't, it's still up for grabs to anybody. Ernie has two wins, but if he wins two World Golf Championships and a TOUR Championship, how can you not give it to him. So it all depends on the biggest events coming up, but Weirsy has a lot of control today on basically the turnout.

Q: Do you think this championship may be a little more difficult because you have to wait that long?

Tiger Woods: Not at all. Not at all. I think the biggest challenge is once the Florida Swing comes is when you start looking forward to Augusta. But after this week, I mean, you've got so many big events coming up, but once the Florida Swing turns around in springtime -- everyone always says once springtime comes around your mind kind of goes towards Augusta, and it's very apropos.

Q: What do you know about the two leaders?

Tiger Woods: I played with Chad in college. Played with him in junior golf in college. Chad is hitting so well, and obviously Shaun is playing well, too. But I think it's great for both of them actually that they are playing together and they don't have a major championship winner in their group who has the experience. They are both in it together. That's why a lot of times you see it in the Ryder Cup, you see two rookies together. I think it will be a great pairing for both of them. They are both really nice guys, too, so they will probably be chitchatting all the way around.

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