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Tiger Woods Interview Transcript

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LORRAINE: This is Talk Asia, I'm Lorraine Hahn. This week a sports legend who took the fairways by storm before the age of 25. Tiger Woods has made golf his obsession since he was barely as tall as a seven iron. His intensity took him to a grand slam victory, all four major golf tournaments just four years after turning pro. I got a chance to catch up with Tiger during his recent visit to Mission Hill, Shenzhen, China. I'll be sharing some of our conversation with you this half hour. Now Tiger has a fair amount of Asian blood in him, his mother is half Thai, and his father is one quarter Chinese so naturally I asked him how it felt to be back in Asia.

WOODS: Well it's awfully nice coming back to Asia, obviously my mum's, its the kind of household I grew up in so it is pretty neat always coming back to Asia but particularly China, I've never been to China. This is my first time and I'm really excited about it.

LORRAINE: You have some Chinese blood in you, you have some Thai blood, just how Asian is Tiger Woods?

WOODS: Predominantly Asian actually. The majority of my blood is Asian.

LORRAINE: So you feel Asia?

WOODS: I do and when I come back here I feel, I feel at peace because this is the culture I was raised under really. My mum was basically the one I saw at home all the time and that's the discipline I received.

LORRAINE: Just out of curiosity, how much Thai did your mum speak to you when you were growing up?

WOODS: There was a lot of sorting out and then I had a tough time learning the language so she quit and spoke English

LORRAINE: Can you speak any words of Thai?

WOODS: A little bit, not much.

LORRAINE: What is the relationship with your father these days?

WOODS: You know we're still great friends, still father-son but we don't get much time to spend with each other because I'm so busy traveling round the world playing doing my own thing, he's doing his thing but when we do get together it's like there's never any time lost. We're still the same, which is pretty neat.

LORRAINE: Michael Jordan is a buddy of yours, why are you guys so close?

WOODS: I think we have a mutual understanding of what it takes and what we've had to go through to get to what we're at now in our sport and in life in general and I think that's one of the reasons we seem to have, I guess, a natural bond.

LORRAINE: Like a brotherly sort of communication?

WOODS: Yeah well without even having to speak because we know, we've both been there. I'm living it, he's living it, he's living it now, he's back into it now so I think it's that natural bond of knowing what it takes.

LORRAINE: What as the best advice Michael Jordan ever gave you?

WOODS: He's given me a lot of different advice on a lot of different things. I can't say that one really stands out because we've had so many conversations and some things are pretty pertinent to how my life, especially getting accustomed to whole new lifestyle, leaving college then turning pro.

LORRIANE: Did you give him any advice on his comeback?

WOODS: I really wanted to make sure he was in the right place mentally. Physically he's going to be the best judge of that but mentally you're making a commitment to go ahead and see this through. If you don't you're making the wrong decision because at such a late age, 38, coming back, you have to make that mental commitment to achieve what your body can give you and it's not going to be easy. And to make sure he was in the right place mentally was what I kept harping on and he kept reassuring me that he was ready to do it.

LORRAINE: Talk Asia is an interactive show and we would like to take viewer e-mails. This one e-mail is from Pagio in Manila: "What was the most important thing your parents taught you when you were growing up?

WOODS: Ermm, so many things you know? So many things that I do naturally and so many things that I say that they've always said. I think, one thing that I've really come to appreciate about my parents as I've got older is you know, how wise they really were. As a kid when I was growing up, as any kid, you think you know every thing and I was no different to that. I had different opinions on a lot of different things then them but the way they raised me, in hindsight, they were right.

LORRAINE: On a more serious note, how did the events of September the eleventh affect your life?

WOODS: It changed it petty dramatically, not in the sense, I didn't loose any friends or anything like that I think it's just a shame that it takes a tragedy like that to wake people up, to understand there's more to life then the little petty things we get upset at, and the things that frustrate us, the things that we think are important and it really is a shame that it takes such an event like that to wake us all up. You know, I was on a golf course in Saint Louis when I found out about the news and played the entire back line with information coming in and what it really was and it was a tough thing to go through for all of us.

LORRAINE: Tiger's first impression of September 11th. Now Tiger has another legacy of besides his parent's heritage. His famous nickname "Tiger" comes from a South Vietnamese soldier. Tiger's father got very close to him as an army colonel in Vietnam. Here's how Earl Woods described his friend in a CNN interview:

EARL WOODS (Tiger's Father): He was very very good in combat. So much so that I nicknamed him Tiger. And when "Nam" fell I didn't know if he got out. And I lost touch with him and I said if I have another child I'll nickname him Tiger. If it had been a girl, she would have been Tiger too.

LORRAINE: When we come back I'll share a little more of my conversation with Tiger Woods and a little later we'll meet some young people who are finding inspiration and maybe a life direction from Tiger's example.


LORRAINE: Welcome back to Talk Asia. I want to share with you some more of my conversation with golf legend Tiger woods. Besides being a great golfer Tiger's also a pretty good teacher. One of the reasons Tiger came to China this time around was to hold clinics to teach people about the fundamentals of golf. Giving them skills and self-esteem is at the heart of the foundation Tiger launched five years ago. Well I asked Tiger about that foundation and why working with kids was so important to him.

WOODS: I just wanted to inspire them, not necessarily from a golf standpoint, we're not here as a foundation to produce better golfers, we're here to produce better citizens and better kids who will become better citizens in the end and that's what we are here to do and we just think that golf is a vehicle that they can do a lot of things from if they chose to do it but you that's their choice. We want to provide them an opportunity to go ahead and use golf as a vehicle but that's, ultimately it's their decision we just want them provide them with a chance to go ahead and participate.

LORRAINE: Do you have any plans for these clinics in Asia?

WOODS: Not yet, no we're definitely trying to get things kicked off, in like a year or two coming to Asia and doing a big clinic.

LORRAINE: Considering your passion for kids, any plans to have children?

WOODS: Oh I would love to, I would love to have kids one day.

LORRAINE: Timeframe?

WOODS: I really don't know, whenever the time's right. I've always wanted to have a family and look forward to the day when it does happen.

QUESTION: Are you anywhere close to the date, are you dating?

WOODS: Yeah I am. It's just one of those things, when the time's right

LORRAINE: Now a lot of ladies have asked me to ask you this question so I'm going to do that. Is Tiger a romantic?

WOODS: I really don't think so, you know, I enjoy doing things that are so called romantic but I just enjoy just hanging out and enjoying their company and when it clicks it's great and I think that's ultimately what you want to have

LORRAINE: Here's another e-mail question, this time from Walter in Hong Kong, "What advice do you have for little Asian Tigers and their parents?"

WOODS: Well I think one of the things as far as golf, one of the things my dad kept instilling in me was the joy of the game. He made it fun for me. A lot of the times I see a lot of the kids, they don't enjoy being out there and that's a shame, you're supposed to enjoy the game, it's a game ultimately and the kids go out there and enjoy it while you're doing it. I think that's one of the things I've learnt from my father and what I try to instill in all my clinics is yes go out there and give it all you have but more importantly enjoy what you're doing because it is something that, it is a game for everybody.

LORRAINE: And now the email question from Asghari in Malaysia, "How do you stay so calm?"

WOODS: That's a great question because that's who I am, I'm not a person who ranges in emotions from high to low, I've always been more or less pretty mellow. I've always had that knack for staying pretty even keel and the more the situation gets tense the more I see things clearly and I think that's just a knack that I've always had.

LORRAINE: Are you a spiritual person?

WOODS: Not necessarily. I've just kind of, I know what works best for me, lets put it that way. I know that balance that I need to have in my life.

QUESTION: How's your back feeling?

WOODS: It's all right now.

LORRAINE: How did you do it?

WOODS: How did I hurt it? I hurt it in the trailer trying to get my hips worked on and something happened.

LORRAINE: Playing so much golf as a kid how much did you miss out?

WOODS: You know, I pretty much did everything, that's the thing. I got in trouble just like anybody else did. I've done just about everything that a kid could do but just that I love playing golf.

LORRAINE: If you could never play golf again, touch wood, what would you be doing?

WOODS: I'd have to be doing something within the arena of golf, whether it was business wise or whether it was teaching, no matter what is was involved in it would have to be in the golfing arena.

LORRAINE: How would you like to be remembered as?

WOODS: Be remembered, I think Carol Whipkin says it all, just being remembered is enough.

LORRIANE: And Tiger is definitely remembered by the young people who get a chance to meet him. We'll talk to some of them and see what they thought of the master when Talk Asia returns.


LORRAINE: Your watching Talk Asia and we're talking about golf superstar, Tiger Woods and his following in Asia. In just a moment we'll be talking to 3 young people who were lucky enough to get some personal coaching form Tiger during his recent visit to China. But first, John Raidler has this report from Thailand where Tiger's family roots make him especially popular:

RAIDLER: Not a bad drive, especially for a four and a half year old. Ameron is one of thousands of Thai kids caught up in a golf craze inspired by one man. " I want to be like Tiger", he says. When we ask him why he answers, "Because he drives very long". And so does Ameron, for his age. He competed in his first competition for golf tots last month and won. His father says, when Ameron is not playing golf, he is watching it. American born Tony Maichi runs golf schools in Thailand and encounters "Tigermania" everyday. "It makes my job so much easier when I say, "Ok, anyone know Tiger Woods? Boom. Anyone want to be Tiger Woods? Boom". Pound for pound the best golfer in Tony's school might be Urin, 2 years and 11 months. They say he has a natural swing and when he hits the ball it strays hit. We ask him what he knows about Tiger, " He hits" he tell us. "He hits a pig" and to Urin, that's a great joke. 8 Year old Pom Prepan works on his short game. He too, inspired by one man, "Tiger Woods". All these Thai tykes practicing to be the next Tiger. John Raidler, CNN, Bangkok.

LORRAINE: Joining us now are three aspiring golfers who Tiger coached during his first clinic during his visit to Mission Hills golf resort in Shen Zhun, China. They are Lennord Chung, Michael Troy and Akshay Berrai, we'd like to welcome them all to the show. Thank you very much for coming on Talk Asia, appreciate it. Now tell me, Lennord, let me start with you, what did you think of Tiger?

LENNORD: Well he is the best golfer I've ever seen. He's just so amazing that it seems effortless how he hits the ball.

LORRAINE: Michael, what did you think? Was he everything you thought he would be?

MICHAEL: Yeah, and more.

LORRAINE: Akshay what about you?

AKSHAY: Erm, I liked they way he did tricks with his wooden iron. He's the best golfer I've ever seen

LORRAINE: Now he taught you right, he gave you a personal show. In fact you've got the picture on your lap. What did he teach you about you swing?

AKSHAY: He was holding my head and telling me not to go so far back. And my dad taught me not to bend my legs

LORRAINE: And you've been practicing that all, since then, since you met Tiger?


LORRAINE: Has your game improved? Have you hit further?

AKSHAY: I've only practiced when I was only five.

LORRAINE: But after you met Tigerr did you practice what he taught you?


LORRAINE: Was it better? Your game is better?

AKSHAY: Um hum!

LORRAINE: Michael, did he teach you anything special?

MICHAEL: Yeah, he worked on my alignment so I could hi the ball like at my specific target instead of just hitting at a wild target.

LORRAINE: And you've been practicing that? That's helped you?


LORRAINE: What about you Lennord?

LENNORD: He went through his, how he practices before tournaments like he goes through his golf clubs, they go through odds numbers all the way up for his irons to his woods and comes wall the way back down and finishes with the club he's about to tee off with on the first hole. So I thought that was quite good strategy and I'll try to use that.

LORRAINE: Now you parents play golf, right? Akshay?


LORRAINE: Michael?


LORRAINE: Lennord?


LORRAINE: After the game with Tiger do you think you could beat your parents?


LORRAINE: Not yet? Do you guys want to compete when you get a bit older?

LENNORD: Well, but probably I'm not looking at Golf as a career until I get older and I start playing with my boss.

LORRAINE: And beat him, right?

LENNORD: No! You don't do that!

LORRAINE: Oh, politically correct. Very smart Lennord. How did you hear about he clinic?

LENNORD: I kind of read on the paper. It said something about Tiger coming to China into Mission Hills. And one day my instructor, Joanne Hardwick for the Hong Kong Golf Club called me and told me you're invited to, yeah, to meet Tiger.

LORRAINE: You must have been excited.

LENNORD: Yeah, I was.

LORRAINE: Did you get an autograph off him at all?


LORRAINE: He didn't give autographs to you all?

LENNORD: I guess one of the problems is he's afraid of people mass-producing his autograph.

LORRAINE: That's true. Michael, how did you get to know about the clinic?

MICHAEL: My dad told me about it and he got me to go.

LORRAINE: And were you very excited? To go?


LORRAINE: How about you Ashkay?

ASHKAY: My dad also told me.

LORRAINE: Did you want to go or were you forced to go?

ASHKAY: Forced.

LORRAINE: Forced? How did he force you? Tell me?

ASHKAY: He shouted at me. He said "why don't you go to Tiger Wood's clinic?"

LORRAINE: And what did you say? Did you cry?

ASHKAY: No. I said "OK"

LORRAINE: How often do you guys play?

ASHKAY: Once a week

MICHAEL: Yeah probably once a week in Hong Kong. In the Summer when I'm in the U.S. I play it as much as I can.

LORRAINE: In the United States right?


ASHKAY: Me too.

LORRAINE: What about you Lennord?

LENNORD: I would play more in the Summer but during school it's jus, Hong Kong is such an isolated place away from all the golf courses so it's hard to find the opportunity when you have enough time to go and play because it takes four hours just to play 18 holes.

LORRAINE: Ok, just a quick question to you guys. Who wants to be Tiger Woods when he grows up?

LENNORD: That would be nice!

LORRAINE: Ok, all three of you. I wish you luck. Listen, I know you guys were at the clinic but also had just a wee bit of time wit him as well to show me a few things. Want to take a look?


LORRAINE: Ok, let's have a look. It's on the telly.

(Shows video of Lorraine practicing her swing and getting tips from Tiger)

TIGER: A little flat but hat's ok.

LORRAINE: ok, ok, ok. I can still play right?

TIGER: Oh without a doubt, without a doubt.

LORRAINE: What sort of tip would you give me?

TIGER: First of all I think you need to get your left arm, playing up a little higher, a little mo0re upright. It's a little flat. It wrapped around you and that's one of the reasons you hit flat. You need to get your arms up a little higher.

LORRAINE: Now I've got this seven iron here. What about my grip? Am I alright?

TIGER: Yeah, your grips fine.

LORRAINE: It's good right?

TIGER: Yeah. You want to strengthen that left hand a little bit.

LORRAINE: Ok, there we go. I appreciate it, thank you very much.

TIGER: You got it. Enjoyed it, thank you.

(End of video)

LORRAINE: Alright guys, what do you think? Not bad?

ASHKAY: Not that bad.

LORRAINE: Not that bad? What was wrong with it? What was good?

ASHKAY: The follow through

LORRAINE: Ok Michael, what did you think?

MICHAEL: Pretty good

LORRAINE: Pretty good hey, for a girl. Lennord, what do you think?

LENNORD: How long have you played?

LORRAINE: I'm no telling you that! A few years.

LENNORD: I'd say very graceful

LORRAINE: Thank you. That's very sweet of you. So maybe we can have a game one time, what do you think?

LENNORD: Anytime.

LORRAINE: Ok, it's on television, you promised me! Ok thanks guys I appreciate your time. Lennord, thank you very much, Michael, thank you and Ashkay, thank you very much. Save that picture huh? Well thank you all very much we've been talking with three aspiring golfers in the studio and, of course, you heard earlier our interview with Tiger Woods. Next week Pakistani poop group, Junoon so lets talk again, next week.

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