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July 31, 2007

Vijay Singh


VIJAY SINGH: Obviously to do that, I need physical fitness and a good golf game. I have elevated myself this year. I have a new trainer from a month ago, and he's taken me to different levels, and the excitement is back. I'm just beginning to start playing good again, but that's what keeps me going.

Q. There are a few of us here today at Westchester that got ground down by this golf course. Can you tell us a little bit about what your regimen is now physically to stay in great shape?
VIJAY SINGH: Pretty much the same but different routines. My new trainer, he's an ex-NFL coach for the special teams, the quarterback, the wide receivers, and then he did two years with the Jaguars, and he's given me different ideas and new routines that I'm so excited with, and I think this is what I need to get me to where I was a few years ago. The excitement is back in my step, and I feel great again the last two tournaments he's been with me. I had two Top 10s, almost won last week. I'm really looking forward to the remainder of the season and to the season next year.

Q. This golf course you've had a lot of success at. You've won three times here, you've won more money than anybody else in the tournaments played at Westchester Country Club. Why is that would you say?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, I think it's a very tough golf course. It's demanding from the first hole till the end. It's a very challenging golf course and really good par 5s. You need to be a shot-maker to get around Westchester and you need to think your way around, as well. They're very old style greens, undulating greens from back to front and front to back, and I've just played there so many times that it feels like it's my home course. I have so much knowledge about the golf course, and I just know where to miss it and where not to miss it. That's one of the keys of playing Westchester.

Q. The New York crowd really seems to warm up to you when you play, and people will say that maybe sometimes Vijay Singh is not the warmest guy when he's on the golf course, but when you play here in New York that doesn't seem to be the case.
VIJAY SINGH: (Laughing) I don't know, I just love the crowds. They are very enthusiastic to say the least. You either like them or you hate them, and I just feel like the more I've been around the game, you know when to like the crowd and when not to, and I for one, I think the New York crowd is -- that's the way they are. I like the Yankees and I love New York crowds, and I love Westchester. You just have to warm up to them. It took me a long time, but I feel very much at peace there, and they're so into the game that it makes you kind of be with them, as well. I absolutely don't mind the loudness. A lot of golfers mind that. A lot of golfers don't like it too loud like they're going to a ballgame, but that doesn't bother me at all.

Q. With all the success you've had here, how do you feel about the tournament leaving here after this year?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. I mean, it will be strange because Westchester has been part of the PGA TOUR for forever, as long as I know anyway. It's one of the golf courses that the guys want to come to. The hotel is right there, we love the golf course, the driving range, everything that's gone with it. So we just have to get used to the new venue. Also I think it's going to come back to Westchester. I'm a little disappointed that we're going to leave, but we just have to go with the TOUR.
THE MODERATOR: This tournament will stay here next year and then we'll move over to Liberty National and then back here to Westchester after that.

Q. I was just wondering what you think about the format, now that we're in a playoff format as opposed to the regular tournament.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I just found it out last week what's the real points system and how we're going to go about it. It'll be different. I mean, it's still a golf tournament. It should not get carried away with the points as much as what we're there for. I will be there to win the golf tournament, and my main objective is to enter the golf tournament and try to win it.
The points system is going to come. If you play well, you're going to get the points. If you don't, obviously you're not.
But my whole idea will be not to get carried away with the FedExCup points, just trying to win the tournament, and that will be my objective.

Q. I had two things. One, your trainer, what is his name if you could say it clearly and maybe spell his last?
VIJAY SINGH: Jeffrey Fronk. He's of German descent, and he's from Pennsylvania, very enthusiastic and a great guy.

Q. And the second thing is with regard to this FedExCup Series, obviously this is the first year for it. Do you think this is going to work out in the long run and do what Finchem wanted it to be with having the best players showing up at all these tournaments late in the season?
VIJAY SINGH: I hope so. I mean, the problem with that is you have two points systems now. We have the FedExCup points system, and most of us, we are so used to the Money List, and we still look at the Money List, but the TOUR does not want us to look at the Money List as much as the points system. Every week we go to, there's a board right there that shows what the FedExCup points is and all the leaderboards are showing that. So getting used to that is a problem right now, is an issue right now with most of the players.
But I think it's a great thing. You know, it's warming up to a big finale and that's what Finchem wanted, that's what the TOUR wants, that's what the sponsors want, obviously. I think once you start off with the last four events, it's going to heat up I think to a great finale. We just have to wait and see if it is what we all expect it to be, and I'll just have to look forward to the last event.

Q. You've obviously had a lot of success here. How do you play the 7th hole, and does it switch according to the pin placement?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, it's a little different. Last year was the first time I played it from the back tees, so it makes you think a lot more now. You hit a 3-wood down the middle and then decide what you're going to do from there on, and also the wind direction. Most of the longer hitters now have to think twice if they want to take it over the trees. It's almost -- it should be a 100-yard carry to the fairway. Or you play iron short of the trees and play a blind shot over the trees. It has changed through the years, and I just think it's a very tricky hole. You've got to think your way around and you've got to play the wind and you've got to play the pin placement. Now the pin placement isn't as easy as it was before because we could take it over the trees without a problem. And now with the tees going back some 15, 20 yards, you have a lot of other things to worry about.

Q. Can you say what the FedExCup title is the equivalent of? You were Player of the Year in 2004. Is that what this is the equivalent of, or is it bigger than that?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't think it's bigger than Player of the Year. FedExCup, once you start the last four events, everybody is back to square one. Although it'll be a great title if you're the first guy to win the FedExCup if you're the one who wins it, and that will be a title to keep forever. It's pretty much like the Money List. Whoever wins the FedExCup is going to be the No. 1 player on the PGA TOUR, so it'll be pretty much like winning the Money List will be the FedExCup, the $10 million annuity we're going to get from it.

Q. You said last week was the first week you fully understood the points list. It's been difficult for some guys to understand what it's all about.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, pretty much. I just think that with how much points you're going to get is one that we did not understand. I think regardless of who wins -- who's leading the FedExCup points going into Westchester, into the Barclays tournament does not have an advantage that he should have playing the whole year.
I think it's pretty much of a -- I don't think it's a great idea to start everyone off that close. You know, a guy can play 18, 20 events all year and then play their heart out, and at the end of the day lead the FedExCup and be in the lead 100 points or 1,000 points ahead of the next guy. That's pretty unfair, but that's the way they've done it. Most of the guys were talking about that part.

Q. What are your recollections of Southern Hills from 2001, and how do you expect it to play differently in the hands of the PGA maybe as opposed to the USGA?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, for one, everybody remembers the last hole with Stewart Cink missing that little putt and going into a playoff. We all remember that part of it. But the golf course itself, I don't think it's going to change. Maybe with the different tees, they might have lengthened it a little bit from 2001. But the rough will be another issue. If they have it up as much as we had it in '01.
I really have not seen the golf course. I have not heard much about it. So I'm just looking forward to going over there. It's the last major of the year, and I think I'll be all excited to go there and see what it's going to be like. I'm really excited to go back there.

Q. You're involved in the redesign of the Hudson Valley Resort in Ulster County, New York. Why did you pick it for the redesign? Is the goal to make it PGA TOUR caliber?
VIJAY SINGH: I think it needed help, and the guys that are developing it are friends of mine, and associates as well. I went over there and had a look at the ground, a look at the terrain, and there's so much potential of making it a great golf course. They had to really redo the whole resort, not just the golf course but the hotel and the tennis center and the whole thing.
This is my first time designing a golf course in the United States, so I just want to make it a really good one. There's so many good golf courses in the New York area, I just wanted it to be one of the best ones out there, too.

Q. Westchester Country Club opened in 1922, second shortest on the PGA TOUR, why is it that the players don't shoot 20, 25-under at this golf course in that it doesn't have the yardage that now today's golf courses do?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, they have some of the hardest par 4s. You play 11, which is one of the hardest par 4s, and straight away play 12. There's a lot of restricted holes you cannot take a driver on.
You have 7, you can hit a 3-iron and a wedge and a 4-iron and a wedge instead of hitting a driver all the way down, then pitching it up. It's just over 300 yards, but it plays one of the hardest holes out there if you mis-hit a shot.
The same goes to playing No. 2 and No. 3. They're not long holes, but they're just so tricky with really incredible greens. I mean, if you miss the green on the wrong side, you're just going to make a bogey if you don't have a good chip.
It's just a tricky golf course. The length does not matter at Westchester, and you can see from the past winners, really length does not matter. It's one of the best thinking man's golf courses out there, and that's why most of the guys enjoy playing it.
THE MODERATOR: We thank you so much for joining us, and we wish you good luck the next few weeks, and we'll see you here at Westchester come August 24th.

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