October 2005




TIGER WOODS:: It's unbelievable how much they've changed the golf course," Woods said. "It used to be kind of a basically clover field out here. The greens are unbelievably smooth, and it's just hard to believe what they've done here.


TIGER WOODS: Pins. They've done a wonderful job of setting up the golf course. The rough is up, but the fairways are fast and they're hard to hit. But then again, the pin locations are really tough. And you hide them on firm greens like this, it's tough to get the ball close.


TIGER WOODS: Exactly. If you shoot a round under par here, you feel like you've done something. It's fun. It's fun to play tournaments like that. Many of the majors are like that now, and maybe a couple others, but usually it's just a birdie fest. It's rare we have the opportunity to play a golf course where the ball is springing on the greens, you've got to shape shots off the tees to try and keep the ball in play.




Q. Does it feel like you're on a muni?

JOHN DALY: No, this doesn't feel like a muni at all.

Q. Everybody has been incredibly enthusiastic, you, Tiger, Sergio, Colin, about this golf course and the city. Did you guys have any idea of what you were getting into? Did anybody play this before? Did anybody talk about it and say, hey, it's good, or was this completely blind walking in?

JOHN DALY: This is a hidden secret. We were at Olympic Club at the Open and I had never heard of Harding Park, I really hadn't until I got here. It's just amazing. What I was telling some other guys, you know, there's so many great public golf courses that we need to find. The older, the better, because they just seem to be more friendly towards driving and anyway you want to play a shot. Torrey Pines is well noted one of the greatest golf courses in the world and it's public. St. Andrews. I mean, I think every player that's playing in this field this week loves this golf course.

Q. What would you say if they told you this course was a parking lot for the 1998 U.S. Open, which it was? They used it to park cars?

JOHN DALY: Well, they need to park cars at Olympic Club and play here (laughter).




Q. How are the greens conditions here at Harding Park?

Colin Montgomerie: They're so true, really. They're a fantastic surface. I wish all greens were like this. They're not too quick, and sometimes you come over to the States and find the greens extremely quick. They're firm, a really good surface. I didn't have too much trouble reading the greens.





Q. Comparing it to Olympic and San Francisco Golf Club, all three of the courses are golden age designs. Do you see a lot of similarities in the shot values or are they entirely different courses?

PHIL MICKELSON: I think all three are comparable. I love playing all three. I fly up for the day just to play Olympic, just to play Cypress Point, just to play San Francisco Golf Club. Harding Park is very similar, same bunkering, same green complexes. The only difference is the greens are a straight bent rather than a poa annua. That's the only difference, otherwise they all seem to play very comparable to each other.

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's a tough golf course and the little bit of wind that's there affects the ball, it's such a thick air. The golf course is holding up very well. It's a great setup, a very fair test. It's not tricked up at all, and it just shows that the layout and the course itself is a good challenge for us.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I thought it was set up very well. The fairways would hold. They were firm but they would hold shots. The greens were very fair. They weren't easy to get it close, but they were somewhat receptive. I thought it was a great, great setup.

PHIL MICKELSON: It's just a tough setup. It's a very fair, fun test of golf. I love it. I think everybody here loves playing here. It's really well done.

PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's certainly great for golf and great for the city to have anybody come out and play such a great test, one of the best that we have in the country.

Q. This being a municipal golf course close to the city, do you find yourself thinking about Balboa Park in San Diego and imagine if they ever did the same type of restoration at a place like that?

PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think about what they did at Torrey Pines. I wish that it had turned out more like Harding Park did, but it's still for me a place that everybody can go play to have it be such a fun, difficult challenge, so I think a lot about Torrey Pines. But I think Harding Park turned out just tremendous. I mean, this golf course could hold any championship that it wanted to and be a tremendous venue.



Q. How well does this course favor your game? You said it doesn't favor the big hitters, so it would seem like it fits very well.

CHRIS DiMARCO: What it comes down to every week, which is putting. If you look at the stats, I don't know how long it's been that somebody outside, say the top 20 in putting for the week has won. It just doesn't happen. As long as you can putt well here, you can score well here. The greens are at a great speed. They're rolling very true. The course is right in front of you. There's no tricks, it's right there.

Q. You guys go from one course to another every other week. What is it like coming to a municipal course? Is that a non factor for you guys, or is it a special thing for a guy like you who grew up playing public courses?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't know how many private courses are as good as this one, if this is a municipal course. This course is pretty darn good. I don't know if that has a bearing on it at all, as far as if it's public or private. This is one of the best courses we've played all year.

Q. You talked about putting being a big factor week in and week out. Does that mean if the greens aren't so good, if they're bumpy or soggy or stepped on, is that something that goes into your mindset as one of the reasons you would stay away from a course?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, that's part of the reason why I do not play Pebble Beach, is because it's normally soggy and you get a lot of footprints out there and the greens aren't as fast as we're normally putting. I like really fast greens. And when I play slow greens, I don't necessarily putt as good as I do on fast greens.

Once you've been out here 10 or 11 years, you know the courses you play well at, you know the ones that suit your game, and you pick and choose. There's 40 tournaments out here, you should be able to find 25.

Q. Would you believe someone if they told you that on this course there are 75,000 rounds a year?

CHRIS DiMARCO: 75,000? I don't think that's possible.

Q. 71,200 last fiscal year.

CHRIS DiMARCO: My goodness. That is a lot of rounds of golf. Geez, I don't even know where to start. That's a lot of golf. But you can't tell now. I guarantee they haven't played in the last month. It's been shut down for a month. I can promise you that.



Q. How are the greens?

DAVID TOMS: They're good, pretty receptive to the middle, but we're not going to see any more pins in the middles of the greens, so I think it's going to be a little bit more challenging than the first couple of days that we were here.

Q. Can you compare the greens here compared to some of the others you've seen on the West Coast, i.e., Pebble

DAVID TOMS: Well, these are much better than any of those just because you don't have any poa annua in them. See how a true putting surface is going to hold up when you're talking only 68 players or 71 players are playing. They should hold up nicely rather than having a full field of 150 players, so you're we'll probably have good green conditions the whole week.



Q. What are your impressions of this golf course?

VIJAY SINGH: Very good. You can score very low here. Well, you think you can score very low here, but the greens are so hard to read. They're really tough.