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Tiger Woods Sunday Masters Press Confernece Transcript

TIGER WOODS: Well, it was a long day, I tell you that. It was awfully fun to go out there and compete, and know that you have to hit the best shots and make some putts, and just hang in there. The wind conditions early -- which made it really tough starting out; to see David up there and play as solid as he did on the front nine and know that's probably going to continue that on the back nine; Phil right there in my group making birdies. I made some big putts in the middle stretch there to keep myself in the ball game, and it was just a weird feeling, to make that putt on the last hole -- I was telling the guys out here -- that I was reading the putt. I kept telling myself, I said, 'Well my good buddy, Marco made it. Why can't I make it?' I just started thinking about that, and I think by doing it, it just made me feel a little more at ease, a little more relaxed. I went up there, rolled it down there, had good speed, and it just went right down in the bottom.
Q. It looked like you had your face in your -- a hand in your face, what was that gesture about, over to the side -- you had your cap over your face....
TIGER WOODS: I did. I started losing it a little bit, yeah.
Q. What were you thinking, feeling at that point?
TIGER WOODS: I think when I made the putt -- yeah, it was a great putt; it went in, but so be it. I walked over to the side and I -- and I kept thinking -- I was in such a zone today, working on, you know, every shot, working so hard on every shot. Then I walked over to the side and I just started thinking, you know, I don't have anymore shots to play. I'm done - 'I won the Masters.' You know, it was just a weird feeling, because, you know, when you are focused so hard on each and every shot, you kind of forget everything else. When I didn't have anymore shots to play, that's when I started to realize what I had done; I won the tournament, and I started getting a little emotional, and trying to pull it together. That's why I put the cap over my face, to pull it together, so that when Phil made his putt, I was able to shake his hand.
Q. Now that the week is over, can you talk about the pressures of the week? Were you feeling it more this week than in other majors, because of what was at stake?
TIGER WOODS: To be honest with you, you're not going to believe this, but you probably think I'm lying, but I kid you not, I actually felt more relaxed this week, just because I had -- I kept reminding myself this as the week went on, you know, people were asking me questions about what I could accomplish, yeah, but I had won this tournament already, which meant that no matter what happens this week, I'm going to get invited back. (Laughter.) So, just thinking that way kind of made myself -- made me just relax and enjoy a little bit more, and to stay a little more in tune with what I had to do, instead of thinking about what could possibly happen.
Q. Now that you have won it, though, maybe we can ask you a bit about what it means to you. You've set other records, made history before. What does it mean to you to do something no golfer has ever done?
TIGER WOODS: It is special. It really is. When I won in '97, I had not been a pro a full year yet. I guess I was a little young, a little naive, and didn't understand what I accomplished, for at least a year or two after that event. This year, I understand. I've been around the block. I've witnessed a lot of things since that year. You know, I have better appreciation for winning a major championship, and to win it -- to win four of them in succession, it's just -- it's hard to believe, really, because there's so many things that go into winning a major championship. For that matter, any tournament, but more so majors, because you've got to have your game peak at the right time, and on top of that, you've got to have some luck. You've got to get some good breaks, and you've just got to have everything kind of go right. And to have it happen four straight times, that's awfully nice. Some of the golfing gods are looking down on me the right way.
Q. How long can this streak go on?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. We'll find out in June. (Smiles).
Q. When Pete Rose got his record-breaking hit, he looked in the sky and said he thought he saw his father. Was there any part of your life when you thought of when you got emotional on the green, any moment of gravity for you?
TIGER WOODS: No. (Laughter.)
Q. Can you ever remember being emotional on a golf course like that? Was that the first time you ever let your guard down?
TIGER WOODS: I've done it before I've cried after wins. I've cried after defeats. But I've never had that feeling before, because I was , I guess, so attuned to each and every shot, that I focused so hard on just that one golf shot and that's it, that I finally realized, I had no more to play. That's it. I'm done. It was -- for some reason, my emotions started coming out and I started experiencing and reflecting on some of the shots I had hit, some of the big putts, and, I don't know, a lot of different images came by, came through my head real quick, like the leaderboard, watching David, hearing the roars, watching Phil make putts. A lot of different things went through my head at that moment.
Q. Would you say that today, because of what happened with Phil and David, that this was even more -- more so than what happened at Valhalla?
TIGER WOODS: The beginning part of that?
Q. (Inaudible) said that last year was the toughest mentally, competing (inaudible) --
TIGER WOODS: Okay. Well, I think last PGA, I think it was tough because, well, one, we went extra holes. We played 21 holes. But I think, two, is because we both knew we had to go low. We had to shoot a low number that day, just because the conditions were soft and benign, and we got it going on the back nine. But this one, this one was tough knowing the fact that you could not make a mistake. That's a little bit different. That golf course at Valhalla was more benign than it is here. Here, you just hit one simple shot that catches a slope one foot away from being a good shot, next thing you know, you are looking at probably making bogey or double. The penalties here are a lot more severe. I think that's what wears on you, knowing the fact that you cannot put it in certain places. For instance, I had probably one of the easiest bunker shots there is on 12. It was a flat lie, it was sitting up, it was perfect, and you're looking at it and you're saying, if I land this ball on the green with the wrong spin it's in the water. I played safe, say, little chunk and run, plop it on the green, let it run on. But just knowing that you hit a good shot, if it's marginal, it gets away, you can probably lose the tournament.
Q. As a kid, did you ever dream this big?
Q. Four in a row?
TIGER WOODS: No, I don't think we -- as kids, ever think of doing things like that. I think we think of winning major championships and competing against the best players in the world, and enjoying that and doing that. I don't think I've ever thought about winning, you know, four consecutive majors. I've thought about winning majors, yes, but I don't think four ever entered, because you need to win one in order to win four.
Q. Are you amazed?
TIGER WOODS: Am I amazed? I'm amazed at the fact I was able to play as well as I was able to play when I needed to. I think that's where a lot of the hard work goes into it, the hours that you spend by yourself on the range, the putting green, chipping green, out on the golf course late in the evening, just getting things -- making yourself work that extra bit, because you're probably going to need it. I think from that standpoint, I am amazed, yeah.
Q. Did I hear you say outside that you cannot imagine accomplishing something greater than this?
TIGER WOODS: No. The question was whether -- put it this way. I answered it in the fact that I have not accomplished anything this great. I guess the question was: Have you ever done anything this good before, whatever it was. The answer is: No, I've won a lot of tournaments. I've had some very special things happen to me. I guess winning six straight USGA events isn't too bad, but I guess to win four consecutive majors is -- if you look at my career, I don't think I've ever accomplished anything this great.
Q. You talked about how much you had to focus on each shot. What did the putt on 15 do to you in terms of your focus?
TIGER WOODS: It was just a bad putt. I blocked it. It's not -- not exactly what I needed to have happen at that moment. But I knew that if I could make one more birdie coming in -- I still had a one-shot lead and I kept reminding myself of that, going to 16 tee. That's the only reason why I kept my head down the entire time I was walking to the tee. I kept saying, 'Forget that hole. You have three holes to play. You have a one-shot lead. Let's go ahead and make one more birdie coming in. Let's try and make one birdie,' because I didn't hear any roars on 16 when David was playing it, which meant the best that he could do was get to 16.
Q. You keep saying, 'I'm done.' Do you consider this the conclusion of something special, or just the beginning of something special?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I don't know, I never really looked at it that way. I look at it -- the fact that the tournament is done. It's really hard for me to answer that question right now, and hopefully it is the start, but it might be the end; I don't know.
Q. Is there either a word or a sentence you could use to describe each of the four majors in succession, when you reflect on them, starting with the U.S. Open?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know if I can use four -- four sentences, but I can tell you this: The first two that I won, probably could not have happened on two better sites than those two for those two events. It's not too often you get to play Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. Pebble Beach is probably the greatest golf course we have over here and St. Andrews is probably the greatest course in the world. And to win at Valhalla under those conditions, having to make birdie after birdie after birdie, just to hang in there, that was tough. And then to do it here, which is probably one of the -- again, one of the most historic sites in all of the world, it's pretty neat. To win three of the four, and probably the three sites that you would probably ever pick to win championships on.
Q. What's the best shot that you hit today, in your opinion?
TIGER WOODS: The best shot? By far, the tee shot on 13. It's a shot I've been practicing for the last couple months, knowing the fact that I'm probably going to need that shot either on 13 or 14, just a high sweeper to get it down there. I've been practicing arcing off my plane, using the loft, making sure I have it right. I've practiced on the range all week just in case I might need it. The first three days -- one of the days, I hit it over in the right trees, but the next two days I hit it just around the corner with a slight draw, because I didn't really need to make eagle. With the way things were going, I was probably going to need to have a chance at making 3. I said, 'I had to pull it out.' I had to step up there and aim another 15 yards further right, and hit the big -- big slinger around the corner, to give myself a chance. Phil hit a great high fade around the corner and was in great position. I had to answer it and I was able to answer it.
Q. What was the most crucial putt?
TIGER WOODS: By far the putt on 10. 10 was a big putt. That was not an easy putt. That fast, straight downhill and grain is coming off the left, to be able to make that putt was big.
Q. At both Bay Hill and the PLAYERS, you told us you were practicing shots specifically for Augusta, and that sounds like that is one of them. How many of them did you end up needing or using?
TIGER WOODS: I used them all. (Smiles).
Q. What's your jacket size?
TIGER WOODS: About this big. (Laughs).
Q. The same as '97 or bigger?
TIGER WOODS: The same. I got a little bit big in '97 because a lot of the guys say they get a little larger as they get older (Laughter.)
Q. Despite the scale of your achievement today, I figure you to be the least surprising Masters winner I've ever seen. Even before a ball was struck on Thursday, did you have a feeling of pre-destiny about this?
TIGER WOODS: I felt relaxed, and as I said earlier on, I felt so relaxed about -- no matter what happened this week, I was going to come back. It wasn't like if I didn't play well, I'm not exempt to come back. I'm going to keep coming back here for a while. So I guess I looked at it that way. I didn't look at it at the fact that I had a chance to win four successive majors. I never looked at it that way. I think I did that purposely, and I guess subconsciously, to try and make myself feel more at ease. And I guess that's one of the reasons why I am, I guess, as relaxed as I am right now, just because of my mindset all week, and even leading up into this event.
Q. If you were to meet Bobby Jones in the clubhouse tonight, what would you say to him?
TIGER WOODS: Wow. Well, how did he come back is what I want to know. If I go out, I want to know how I can come back. (Laughter.) Wow. That's a weird question. First question, I'd probably ask him: 'What the heck are you doing here?' And then probably ask him if he'd want to sit down and have a beer.
Q. Now that you have done it, what do you want to call it?
TIGER WOODS: What do I want to call it? I'll let you guys -- you guys are very creative.
Q. Is it a Grand Slam in your eyes?
TIGER WOODS: I've won four.
Q. Did you realize today that Steve Williams became the first caddy to caddy for a Grand Slam?
TIGER WOODS: The funny thing is, he was telling me, we're on the 17th fairway, yesterday afternoon, and all of a sudden he just -- you know, Stevie is a pretty mellow guy, but we're just standing there, it's just all quiet. All of the sudden he says to me: 'I've made the cut in every single Masters appearances here.' 16 straight appearances he's made the cut every time. I said: 'How many jackets do you own?' He said: 'All right. I know what I need to do. Now we've finally got one.'
Q. Can you talk about his input into this win?
TIGER WOODS: Invaluable. We work wonderful as a team. We've made a couple mistakes this week, but the decisions we made correctly far outweigh those bad decisions we made. For instance, read the wind, like we did on 13 and 15, that was big, because the wind was all over the place on 13, and that's one of the reasons why I played so quickly on that shot. I don't normally play that fast because the wind all of the sudden went straight downwind. Phil played into the wind; so I had to go quick in case the wind might switch. I hit 8-iron. Not too often you hit 8-iron on that hole.
Q. What did you know about David's work on 18 and when did you know it?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't know how short of a putt it was until someone told me. I knew that he stuffed it, obviously, with the roar as I was walking to my third shot on 17. I could hear the roar that he hit it close, which meant that I was tied for the lead and he made birdie so I had to get my up-and-down if not hole it. I almost holed and I didn't hear a huge roar on 18, which meant that he missed. Therefore, had a made that tee shot on 18 a little bit easier, just knowing the fact that I made four.
Q. (Inaudible.)
TIGER WOODS: If he would have made 3, you would have known.
Q. You said yesterday you would look forward to the fun, the challenge, the excitement of the leaderboard. Did you enjoy yourself at all, or was it a tremendous amount of work? Were you so focused that you didn't realize until the end of the round how much enjoyment it was?
TIGER WOODS: The enjoyment is going out there and working for it, and grinding it out and going toe-to-toe with two of the best players in the world. David and Phil, playing really well, to go toe-to-toe with them. That is work, but that's what it's all about. That's the fun of it. And to have that challenge, whether you win or not, that's why we play, to be able to experience that. That, to me, is one of the -- is the reason why I practice, to have that feeling, coming down the stretch knowing that you have to hit golf shots against the best players and somehow be able to do it.
Q. Because of your concentration this week and your mindset this week, how long after you made the putt did you actually think about the four in a row?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't really think about it. I just -- for the longest time, even now, I'm not even really thinking about it. I'm just thinking about the fact that I won the Masters. That's a pretty cool feeling. Now I can think about the fact that I won four, I guess, when things die down a little bit and I've had a little more time to appreciate it, and, I guess, watch it on TV, listen to the Augusta music, the Masters' music is pretty cool, so I guess when I watch it on TV I'll be able to experience it a little bit better. When you're out there playing and focusing and grinding it out, you don't really realize the periphery and how all of you journalists can really set things up.
Q. You talk about the challenges of getting here. Can you talk about the satisfaction you feel to kick the door in, which you've been planning to do for a long time?
TIGER WOODS: It feels pretty good. It feels pretty good. You've been on me about that, and finally I was able to do it. It was a lot of work out there today, as I've said before. It was fun. It was arduous, but extremely rewarding to be able to beat two of the best players, and one of them is a good buddy of mine, David, to be able to go toe-to-toe with him, that was a lot of fun.
Q. You talked about the tee ball on 13 maybe being your best shot of the day. Would the tee ball on 18 be on the short list? The camera stayed with you, and the way you held your finish, that was obviously an important shot, but looked like you were pretty satisfied with the tee ball on 18?
TIGER WOODS: I absolutely bombed that tee shot. It was a high bleeder. When I got it -- when I hit it, I knew I had started the ball on the line with the right -- the right trajectory, and the shape. But once that ball got up there, you could see the wind just hit it, and kicked it further right. I was -- I honestly didn't know if I had cleared the tree. I had gone around the tree and we kept asking the camera guy who was on the tee box, is it in the fairway or in the trees, because we don't know. The entire time going down the hill, we don't know where it's at. We have no clue. We could not hear the murmur or the groans or the clapping up there in the fairway because the people on the tee were going nuts. So we can't hear it, what had happened to the ball. We're walking up the hill and I saw a ball on the right. I didn't know if that was Phil's ball -- because Phil had pulled it and I didn't know if it had hit the tree and gone back further in the trees or gone back down so I didn't know if that was his ball or my ball. Finally another camera guy and I said: 'Is it in the fairway or not?' He said: 'Yeah, it's in the fairway.' That's when Stevie and I gave a little low five.
Q. A couple of your peers felt compelled to stand around 18 and watch you putt out, because they wanted to be part of that history. What does that mean to capture even their awe?
TIGER WOODS: I guess it's -- it's, one, I saw Calcavecchia there. He was one of the first ones to come up and congratulate me. He's been a great bud and a wonderful friend. He actually came out, ironically enough at the British Open and watched the last couple holes, and followed me in, because he wanted to see that. That's special. It's special when you see other players, but more importantly when you see friends out there following you and rooting you on, that's when -- you know, this sport is a little bit different, because in most sports, that wouldn't be the case.
Q. Exactly where will the four trophies sit until June?
TIGER WOODS: Well, from what I've been told, I have to give back my U.S. Open trophy pretty soon.
Q. Will there be a moment when they will all be together, though?
Q. When?
TIGER WOODS: Tomorrow.
Q. Where exactly?
TIGER WOODS: I've said this before. You haven't been paying attention? (Laughs) On my coffee table.
Q. Are you going to do anything cool with them?
TIGER WOODS: What do you want me to do with them? I know what your mind would do with them. (Laughter.)
Q. People are bound to compare this now, particularly in bars and so on. With the other great sportsman of our era, like Ali and Michael Jordan, can you give us an idea when you were growing up and as an observer sports, who were the greats and what were the landmarks you felt --
TIGER WOODS: I think some of the biggest accomplishments I've ever been privy to have usually been on videotape. I haven't been on this planet long enough to have seen the greatest athletes of all time do some of their stuff, and I have never even seen Ali fight live or won a round. Some of the stuff Michael Jordan has done has been absolutely amazing. Carl Lewis, to be able to, I guess, compete in what, four or five Olympics consecutively. That's incredible. I guess in our sport, I was -- my first recollections of this tournament was when Jack won in 1986. I was ten years old at the time, but I do remember the shots he hit. I do remember -- the funny thing how my mind works, but the only shot I really vividly recall him hitting was the putt on 18, up the shelf, left-to-right and left it about six inches short right in the middle of the hole. I don't remember any of the putts he made prior to that, but that one putt.
BILLY PAYNE: As we finish a long day, could you please briefly go over your score card.
TIGER WOODS: Well, No. 1, I jerked it left off the tee. I had to try to play a little punch shot underneath the trees out of the rough. I carried it on the green and it came out hot and had no chance of stopping. Went back and almost against the gallery, played a semi-good shot and kept it on the green. Hit a really good putt from about 15 feet. Just missed on the low side. Tapped in for 5. Second hole I absolutely blistered a tee shot down there. Wind was coming off the right and I started the ball in the middle of the bunker and shaved it down the hill and hit a 4-iron down there, pin-high, right, and just 2-putted from probably about 20 feet. I was up off the green, though. 7, I hit a driver off the tee on 7. I had 45 yards to the hole. I hit it about eight feet right behind the hole and made that. No. 8, I hit a drive down the right side of the fairway. I hit a 3-wood right of -- right of the green in the rough. Played a flopshot down there to about ten feet and made that. No. 11, hit a drive down the right-hand side. I had 145 to the hole and hit a -- just a little chip 8(-iron) to about a foot. Made that. 12 - 12 was an interesting one. It was just an 8-iron shot, and I knew it was a perfect 8-iron, just 150-yard 8-iron. As soon as I made contact with the ball, I could feel the wind on my -- on the back of my neck and I said, 'Just please don't affect the ball,' and you could see it just push the ball a little bit, which made it go in the back bunker. Phil hit not too long after that, and his shot was into the wind. You could see his ball actually kick up. It goes into the wind and his stayed on the green. As I said, I just chunked my bunker shot up there and pulled my putt from about six feet. 13, I hit a 3-wood and 8-iron up there about 30 feet short of the hole. Left it right in the middle of the hole. Tapped it for 4. 15, hit a driver and a 7-iron. 18, just a driver and a six-degree sand wedge. I had 75 yard to the hole and just chipped it up there and hit it right of the hole and made about a 15-footer.
Q. What about the par saves on 9 and 10?
TIGER WOODS: 9, I hit a good drive down the fairway. I just tried to hit that sand wedge in the air with a high, soft spinner. I just didn't hit it hard enough. I kind of came up on it, trying to hit the ball up in the air; and like most amateurs, trying to help it up in the air a little bit and just hit it weak. It landed on the slope. Spun it back down the hill. But the good thing is, it didn't spin back all the way down the slope. It stayed where I could almost see the bottom of the flag. It wasn't as hard of a shot as it had been in the past, but it still was hard. Played a little skip-and-spinner in there. Just missed the hole and rolled by to about six feet and buried that one. On 10, hit a good 3-wood off the tee. Unfortunately, I had some mud on my ball and it was on the front right part of the ball and I was thinking, well, if I hit it on the front right part of the ball, which usually makes it go a little bit left. And I tried to hit a cut shot to hold it, but it took off and it tumbled it was like catching a flyer out in the fairway, and it just went. Had to putt over the green, and had a putt about 40 feet and left it about ten feet short and was able to make that.