March 27, 2003
Q. Just talk about your start.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't get off to the greatest of starts, that's for sure. You know, I wasn't hitting the ball as clean as I had been, hit a couple blocks, couple pulls, just never really got it on track, but I made some good putts just to keep myself in it, some good up and downs, some good saves, and when I did hit a good drive like I did on 7, ripped it down the left side, kicked straight left and ends up on the side of a hill where I had no shot. I've had some funny bounced today and just one of those days where not a lot of things went my way.
TIGER WOODS: Just trying to get to even par would have been a heck of an accomplishment considering the way I was hitting it today with these conditions. I'm very happy to end up where I was.
TIGER WOODS: Easily 77, 78, 79, somewhere in there, easily.
TIGER WOODS: Health is good. I feel a lot better. I need to get my weight back up, which is going to take a while.
Q. How much did you lose?
TIGER WOODS: Six pounds in three days. For me it's impossible to put it back on. That's the problem.
TIGER WOODS: I hit it all right. It wasn't bad. I just didn't hit it very good when I got out there.
TIGER WOODS: Certainly. You can never win the tournament the first day but you definitely can lose it. Today I kept myself in the ballgame. I'm only four shots out of the lead, and the way the conditions are, even par or better today is a good solid round.
TIGER WOODS: I never do, no. I'm going to go find it on the range here.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, 10 was big because I hit a bad tee shot there and then couldn't believe I hit a 7-iron that far into the wind, then hit a decent pitch, wasn't a great pitch, and I knew I needed to bury that putt because if I could get that putt in and then bury the next, all of a sudden I've got getting back to even par, possibly under par for the round, and I buried that one and lipped it out on the high side on 11 for eagle.
TIGER WOODS: That's the way golf is. Everyone knows it's very fickle. You've just got to go out there and play. Today the conditions weren't conducive to the way I was hitting the ball, so that's kind of the problem. I wasn't hitting it as clean and shaping the ball. I was getting stuck on ones steep, the next one I was too shallow and thin. I can never feel the arc of my path today. It makes it worse because you're not shaping the ball and with the wind coming out different directions, if you don't hit it pure, all of a sudden it's accentuated.
TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily. I think it's more so the wind. If the wind doesn't blow, you know these guys will go pretty low. Look at the conditions the way they are now. 4 under par is leading the tournament. If the wind doesn't blow you could easily see someone shooting 70, but the wind is the real factor on this golf course.
TIGER WOODS: I missed it by one yard.
TIGER WOODS: No because the putt in the practice round, I hit that putt in the practice round and I couldn't keep it on the green and I knew I'd miss it on the steeper side of the slope. Where David missed it he could get it close. I thought I couldn't get it close from where I was at. You know, if I missed it where David missed it I wouldn't have a problem with it but I missed it on the steepest part of the slope, and in the practice rounds I couldn't keep it on the green. I didn't want to play that well coming in, get it back to even par then, make a three-putt and end up over par, so that's why I was pretty hot. It wasn't that I had a chance at making birdie. It wasn't because of that. I just didn't want to make a bogey and undo all the hard work I had done.
Q. Of all your shots today which one in particular did you feel was really strong?
TIGER WOODS: 7 and 8. The ball was sitting down. Someone already hit a pitch shot from a practice round and I ended up with one of those spots. I hit a saute out of there and went over to 8 and just hacked it out of that rough. I didn't have a really good lie, I just hacked it out and hit it perfect.
TIGER WOODS: These are a heck of a lot tougher than those easy 65s. Those days things just go your way. You know, you hit shots and are shaping the ball correctly, you're making putts and everything is pretty easy. On a day like today where I didn't really -- I didn't really have it that good today. They ended up being even par. It was a lot of hard work and I'm very happy.
TIGER WOODS: How about that, huh? I hit a bad shot there on 6, so I kind of deserved that one, but the one on 7 the ball landed in the fairway and up on the side of the slope like that where I had virtually no shot.
JOHN DALY: We started on our 3rd hole, the wind started picking up, but I didn't hit a lot of fairways, had a lot of good up and downs, Chris had a lot of good up and downs, and Robert had a great day. Neither one of us made anything. I hung in there, played the hard holes real pretty decent. 9 was kind of a downfall, but other than that I'm real pleased with the way I played.
JOHN DALY: All 18 holes. I mean, I've always struggled off the tee box here because I have a tough time trying to find something to aim at, and I'm never really sure what I'm going to hit day-to-day on each hole here. The wind changes so much and the holes play so different. Like 7 in the practice round I hit driver, L wedge in there. Today I hit driver, 6-iron. The way the wind blows I never get a feeling on the tee box what I need to hit.
JOHN DALY: I think I hit maybe three or four drivers today.
JOHN DALY: Well, there's so many holes you can't hit driver on. The fairways run out, and for me a lot of the fairways narrow up where I'm trying to fly the ball anyway so it's a lot of 3 woods and 2-irons.
JOHN DALY: Well, I know a little bit about them now and Davis knows an awful lot about them. He's learning an awful lot about them, just certain things or bugs you buttons you might need to push, but Davis knows what he needs to do on all of them.
JOHN DALY: I mean, it's a great way to go, especially nowadays. There's so many more fans at golf tournaments now and we get so many traffic jams and the tournament directors have been so great the last two years with me and now with Davis and Bob May and I think Jay Don Blake has one where we can park the buses on the premises with a lot of privacy. It makes the week a lot easier than having to worry about getting there, leaving an hour and a half early, so there's a lot of benefits to having it.
JOHN DALY: I hope so. I've been working real hard at my game. Last week I really thought I hit a ball a lot better. I had a lot of those shots last week. You know, they're just good shots that are just missing a little bit, you know, and that's a good sign, but who knows. I'm pretty much going to be a full schedule from here on out the rest of the year. I haven't played that many. It's only my sixth event. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I can just keep working at it.
JOHN DALY: I think everybody is sick after Sunday's round at Bay Hill, but it seems like the less energy I have it seems like the easier I swing. I put a little Red Bull in me this morning which helped, but hopefully I'll feel a little better as the week goes.
JOHN DALY: Well, the rankings are tough because every time you play good one year and then you go back, like if you win the tournament one year and then you go back and finish second, you not only lose all those points with the win, you -- I played good that stretch but I lose all my points. All my play is gone so I'm sort of starting over, but it's a heck of a lot better being at 120 now than 507 and trying to get points and hopefully get back my top 50 somehow.
JOHN DALY: I mean, I wish it would -- Atlanta is a great course for me. I never come here with confidence. Even when I play good -- playing here I never come with confidence. I think my long irons are a lot better. I feel like I am a little bit more patient with this golf course, but any given hole you could hit a decent shot and walk off with an 8 without even wondering what happened, so it's just nice to finally get off to a decent start here.
JOHN DALY: You know, being there last year I've been working hard on my game and not being there this year, unless some miracle happens -- I hate missing the Masters. I think for every player it's a dream to play there and win there. The more times you go around it the more chances you have to play well there, and I feel like I'm missing out when I'm not there on certain things and changes they may have made to the course or whatever, but it's the most awesome place to play.
JOHN DALY: You just try and do the best you can. This course has always been tough to me. Me and Finchem were having fun yesterday. We were doing a meeting with Mr. Hardy for the Pennsylvania Classic, and he goes: Are you going to play again tomorrow? I said well, I feel like I could beat my average. It's around 80.5 so I think I have a chance of beating that. I've never felt comfortable around the golf course, but I'm doing better. I take for granted some of these holes now. Like 18 I know I didn't hit a very good 2-iron, but at least I was in the fairway. I made bogey but at least I gave myself a chance to hit the green. In the past I'd try and squeeze a driver down there between the water and the last tree and trying to hit a short iron in there and if I miss it I'd make a big number. That's what I'm trying to avoid trying not to make a big number.
JOHN DALY: There's just nothing to worry about no more. I'm like everybody else. I'm more worried about our troops over there. I know we're very close to Baghdad and I'm worried about what's going to happen when they go across that so-called red line that Saddam is supposedly saying. I don't worry about it that much anymore. All I've done now is try like if I have a bad round or a good day, try and figure out what I did good on both those days, and the day that -- and work on the things that aren't going so well and try and figure it out.
SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say so. I think earlier in the year I played better. I was just putting poorly. You know, it was the best I've played in a while, but more than anything -- I still hit some shots that I can't hit, but at least the swing felt a little more compact, a little better. I'll just keep working on it and hopefully we can get it through as fast as possible.
Q. Sergio, what has been the one thing that has kept you playing up to your level this year?
SERGIO GARCIA: I've been changing some things and I've been trying to correct a bit of the back swing, and it's not easy. It feels -- you know, it feels a little different, and when you get that feeling until you get used to it, you know, it's hard, but I've just got to keep working and trust it and see how it goes.
Q. How frustrating has it been for you?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, it's okay. I'm fine, don't worry about me. Thanks God I have -- my life is secure, so you're going to have some bad weeks and unfortunately it happened to me in a little streak, but you've got your ups and downs and you've just got to get through those downs the best you can.
Q. Did you come into this tournament feeling that -- (inaudible) --
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't think I could at the beginning of the week, but it's feeling a little better. I felt today I had a lot of good drives. It's been a while since I hit so many good drives. You know, I feel like it's slowly getting there. You know, I've just got to keep being patient. My putting is coming back a little bit so that's a good sign.
Q. Sergio, was there something that happened that made you -- (inaudible) --
SERGIO GARCIA: I've been thinking about it for a while. I talked to my dad and we started trying to change a little bit right after Carlsbad, and it's been three weeks, so it's pretty quick. That's why I keep hitting some of those loose shots, but when I'm able to make a good swing, it feels really nice.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, more than anything just on the backswing, top of the backswing. Mainly a little bit on the start of the backswing not get -- I used to get the club way outside and lay it off quite a bit and that would make me do the big lag, so we're trying to get a little more in line and a little more towards parallel, trying to get the club aiming more towards the target. That helps me get back in a more -- in an easier plane. I don't need to change as much. You know, it's just been three weeks, so I'm still working quite hard on it.
Q. How much is length a factor on this course?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, today there were some holes where, yes, you want it to be long, probably like a 7 hole or fifth or some of those holes, but if you don't hit it in the fairway it doesn't matter how long you are because you're still going to be hitting -- to some of those holes you're still going to be hitting a 7-iron, and from this rough you need to get really lucky to get a good 7-iron out of there. You know, it is a factor like it is in every course, but not as much because accuracy I think is the main thing.
SERGIO GARCIA: I hit a great 3-wood with a little draw, 197 yards. Hit a great shot from there with a 7-iron downwind. A little unfortunate, hit a little too soft, but it was probably about 12, 15 feet straight in the middle. The opening shot was a little disappointing. Let's leave it at that.
BOB TWAY: Well, I was pleased. Even though I thought it played pretty difficult today with the wind blowing, I think the only thing that kind of saved us is the fairways are soft and pretty receptive and the greens are fairly receptive so you're able to get some shots close to the hole. I was able to capitalize on most of my putts, so I'm just happy I made seven birdies which is a lot of birdies on this golf course.
Q. Did the course play differently today than it has the rest of the week?
BOB TWAY: The wind was pretty much the same, at least when I played it was kind of a northeast wind, so it was kind of similar to my practice rounds. I always enjoy playing with Jay. He's a pretty steady player, fairways and greens, that's what we all strive for. He's such a nice guy, it's always fun to play with him. We play a lot together.
BOB TWAY: I think any time you play better you gain confidence. Playing well at Tucson and playing well at Doral, even though I didn't get the job done I felt like I played okay on Sunday, so I think any time you do that you bounce your confidence level up a little bit more and if I can continue to do that then I think good things will jab.
Q. At a tournament of this caliber does the intensity become greater day by day?
BOB TWAY: I don't think there's any doubt about that, especially on this type of golf course. To play 72 holes around here is very demanding and very tough. There's such a small line between a good shot turning out to be pretty poor, both on the fairways, tee shots in the fairways and the greens. It's a very tough golf course.
BOB TWAY: As I say, it's a little bit softer because of the rain they've had, but the greens are firming up. Maybe the little bit of rain this morning we had this morning for five minutes softened them a little bit, but if we don't get any more rain they'll get harder and harder and by the time Sunday comes around they'll be bluish gray.
BOB TWAY: Well, it was nice that we only had a 30-minute delay as opposed to a couple hours because you go through your routine and you like to get out there on the golf course, so from that standpoint it was okay. Thank you.
FRED COUPLES: I got off to a great start, birdied 10, 11 and 12. I hit some good shots the whole front nine and on 16 made birdie. The first hole hit a big drive with a sand wedge about six feet, made it to go 5 under and I'm sitting there like I like this, and I hit it in the right rough on 2 and made a horrible play, but still had 100 yards from the bunker, and that's not a very easy shot, especially under those circumstances. I hit it a little fat at the front edge, putted off the green, ended up making a 3-putt for six and then three putted the next and turned around and hit some really good shots. I had a month off, which is not what I want to do, and my back has been killing me the last couple weeks. I needed to get playing and that was a good start.
Q. Anything special about coming back here? Obviously you have a lot of good memories.
FRED COUPLES: I really like the place. As you know I've had some horrible rounds here, but when you play well and you can win twice, it's certainly a huge deal in my 20 years on Tour. Yeah, this is a big week. Even though I haven't been played, the last couple times I played I finished 13th and 25th. So tomorrow is a big day just to keep testing my swing and I'm trying to tighten it up. To play here, even if you don't play well as a past champion it's a fun spot to play, but you want to play well.
Q. We're done for the day today obviously, but --
FRED COUPLES: When I'm feeling better it's not that big a deal, but the first thing I asked the official is I've been off, what are we doing. He said we're done for the day. To come in here, sit for an hour and a half and go play four more holes could kill me, so this is good. Once I get in the groove tomorrow, to play 22 holes is nothing physically. I mean, I may not play that well, but I can handle that many holes of golf.
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: It would have been nice to finish but that's the way it goes, but I played solid. I landed the ball pretty well in the fairway and I made a lot of good putts and made a couple good saves here and there, but just played really well.
Q. How many times have you played here at this tournament?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: This is my fifth, I think.
Q. Talk about good or bad, things you've done that have been mostly good.
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: I've had a great deal of success here for some reason. I just have not seemed to play very well. I love the golf course, but I had a great deal of success. I don't know how I've played, but it hasn't been great.
Q. How many holes do you have to play?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: I'm on the green at 17.
Q. So hopefully you'll turn around and tee right off?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: Yeah. We have basically one hole. We're putting out on 17 and then we have one hole, so another 15, 20 minutes I would have been finished.
Q. So it should not affect your rhythm too much tomorrow and won't affect you --
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: I don't think it'll make any difference at all. We're just going to keep going probably.
Q. You're probably playing 28 holes or something?
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: No, basically I'm playing 19 holes so it's not that different from a normal day.
Q. Lots of luck.
KEVIN SUTHERLAND: Thank you.
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