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Special Event

Tiger Woods Holds Press Conference at Bay Hill Invitational

Aired March 13, 2001 - 11:06 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we're going to take our viewers live to Orlando, Florida: professional golfer Tiger Woods holding a news conference. We're not exactly sure what he intends to announce. This is before the Bay Hill Invitational -- Tiger probably one of the best-known athletes in the world. Let's go ahead and listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... McCormack Award. Rankings are very significant because they determine eligibility for several tournaments, including next week's Players Championship. You won the award in '98 and '99. And what does it mean to dominate the rankings three years in a row like you have?

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLF PLAYER: Well, I guess it means that I've had a couple of a lucky breaks and made a couple of putts here and there. You know, but to be able to, I guess, be ranked No. 1 in the world consistently and for a substantial time just goes to show you that you just need to be consistent.

And I've worked very hard on my game to get to the point where I am at right now. And I think in order to become the No. 1 player in the world, you have to have an inordinate amount of consistency in your game. And so far, in my career, I've been able to do that. And, hopefully, I will be able to continue to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody have any questions for Mr. Woods about the Mark H. McCormack Award?

WOODS: You know, to be able to qualify for the Players Championship means a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODS: Nice going, Dougie (ph).

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: Is it important?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) how far does Stanford go in the tournament?

WOODS: I think they're going all the way, yes. There's no doubt about it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now let's turn our attention to the Bay Hill Invitational. You're back here to defend title at Bay Hill. You had a chance to play a couple of the holes today. What are you feeling about the week ahead?

WOODS: Well, the golf course is pretty soft right now. The fairways are soft, but the greens are a little bit firm. But that is going to change, obviously, with the rain going on right now. So the golf course, I think, is going to play a little bit longer, which is a little bit different than how it played last year. It played a little bit faster last year.

And, hopefully, this year, the balls won't pick up mud. We will see what happens. I feel like I'm playing -- playing halfway decent. And, you know, hopefully I can get it going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Questions?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: I think this golf course allows you to use your driver a little bit. You know, the fairways are pretty wide open here. And you can go ahead and let it go most of the time. And, you know, it feels good to be able to use your driver more often. I think it's one of the reasons why the longer hitters have done well. There obviously have been some -- some of the shorter hitters have done well. But, consistently, year in and year out, some of the longer hitters are usually at the top of the board.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) play?

WOODS: No.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: No.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: No, I've played here enough. I've seen this golf course a few times.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Well, I think being able to, you know, go to head with Davis in the final round -- and, you know, I didn't make a bogey that Sunday. I really played solid golf. And it was -- it was a lot of fun to play that solid when I really needed to, and to hold off such a fantastic player as Davis Love was -- it was a very good feeling.

QUESTION: Tiger, no one really believes you're any less a golfer than you were last year. (OFF-MIKE) Is it important to you how you handle this stretch as much as it is on the golf?

WOODS: You know, the funny thing is, my stroke average is actually lower right now than is was last this year at this time. I went over my stats the other day. I'm 75 under this year for six tournaments. That's not bad. And I'm pretty proud of the fact that I've played that consistent.

I'm scoring better than I did last year. The only problem is that I just haven't got the right breaks at the right time. And you need to have that in order to win. I got some good breaks last year and was able to win a couple of tournaments. Like, I wasn't really supposed to win Pebble Beach. I had a good run at the end. But I needed some help. And I was able to get some help.

But that's what you need to have happen. And I haven't -- I haven't really had that. Or I have messed up on my own.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: Well, it's only been, what, six tournaments or something like that I haven't won this year, whatever it's been, which is not that long. Six tournaments isn't that many tournaments.

QUESTION: Does it bug you that the media (OFF-MIKE) Have we made it a storyline: My gosh, he's gone six events and he hasn't won. What's wrong with this guy?

WOODS: Well, it's annoying because of the fact that, if you think that way, you really don't understand the game of golf. And, obviously, most of the media...

(LAUGHTER)

WOODS: Some of you.

QUESTION: Tiger (OFF-MIKE) made any (OFF-MIKE) about the intimidation factor (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: I haven't read them. I don't know. I quit reading you guys -- what you guys write.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) intimidation is gone, and that (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: I've lost my share of tournaments. There's no doubt about it. I think I've, what, won 20 percent of my tournaments or something like that -- or 17. So I've lost over 80 percent of my tournaments. That's a lot of losing.

QUESTION: Tiger, as fickle as this game is, how do you remain (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: Right.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: I think it's just an understanding of how to get ready. And that just comes from trial and error. I've been able to do that, I think, pretty well throughout my career, even before I turned pro. There's only -- when I was in junior golf, there was -- when I was a little junior, there was only one big tournament. And that was the Junior World Championship in San Diego. And then there was the Junior -- obviously, the U.S. Junior, then the U.S. Amateur. Those are the only tournaments that really meant a lot. And I was able to peak for them. And it's just learning how to get your mind and body ready for that one week. Out here on tour, you have got to do it four times. And becomes a little more difficult because you're playing under different conditions.

But I think it's just through experience and learning your body and learning what you need to do to get ready to have everything come together.

QUESTION: Are you still learning?

WOODS: Am I still learning? Oh, yes. And I think you are learning in the essence of just trying to read how your body is doing. And I think that's just a continual process of just always trying to learn how to read it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) have you altered the way you do things each of the four or five years since you've been a professional?

WOODS: What do you mean?

QUESTION: I mean, have you (OFF-MIKE) certain shots, or whatever you're doing to try and peak for that week, have you adjusted that at all (OFF-MIKE) all the way through this year? (OFF-MIKE)

WOODS: I think I have. I've found a plan that I like to stick to. It -- you know, obviously, it doesn't always work. But the thing is, you have just got to believe in it. And I've done that. And I put myself there with a chance. And that's all you can ask for: to give yourself a chance on the back nine on Sunday. I've done that.

And I just haven't really captured the moment like I did in '97. And that's just -- that happens.

KAGAN: We've been listening to a news conference with the professional golfer Tiger Woods -- actually just giving you a backstage look at how the sports world works. This is what Tiger usually does before a big golf tournament. He has so much media, he holds his own news conference to answer reporters' question.

This one is before the Bay Hill Invitational in what has now become Tiger's hometown of Orlando, Florida. This is a tournament that, last year, he led from start to finish. Of course, last year was a very different year for Tiger Woods than this year. He had nine PGA Tour titles, $9.2 million in earnings, breaking his own record. Some people have suggested this year Tiger is in a bit of slump.

But, as he was talking about at this news conference, Leon, he was saying things like, for instance, his stroke average is better than last year's.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: It's lower than it was last year.

KAGAN: Yes, actually. And he says he's just not getting the right breaks at the right time.

HARRIS: Yes, I know.

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