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January 18, 2006

Vijay Singh


SCOTT CROCKETT: Vijay, thanks as always for coming in. Happy New Year to you. Welcome to Abu Dhabi. You must be looking forward to adding another golfing destination to your golfing C.V.

VIJAY SINGH: It's a long trip but finally made it. Hopefully have some good since I lugged my clubs all the way over. The area, it's developed since the last time I was over here in 90 two, '93, but I was in Dubai. This is unbelievable.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Looking forward to the event, good field, looks like it's going it be a good tournament.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I haven't played the golf course yet but so far it looks really incredible. Can't wait to go out there and try it out and see what it's like. It's windy out there, so quite comfortable with the wind the last two weeks I played. We need to go out there and see what my body feels like.

Q. How did you get here?

VIJAY SINGH: From Hawaii to San Francisco to London to here. It's a long one. The flying time wasn't that bad. I think five to San Francisco, I think ten and a half to London and then I think six or seven hours to here. But that seven hour layoff in San Francisco was the worst one.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Did your luggage survive?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I it managed to get here with me.

Q. Seeing Abu Dhabi on the schedule, when did you decide to play it?

VIJAY SINGH: You make plans at the end of last year. I'm doing a course in Dubai, so it's a good option to come over here at the same time. Thought I might as well come over here for two weeks. If I wasn't playing in Phoenix, I would probably have played three, but I'm still looking forward to it.

Q. Will you get in touch and how see the re design is going?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm going to on Monday. Looking forward to it. I want to make sure I take a lot of interest in what I do, and I just want it to be a name out there. I want to make sure that I like what I'm doing and it will be a good opportunity to go out there.

Q. You are expected to win here, do you expect any surprises?

VIJAY SINGH: I expect to play well. I don't know if I'm going to win, but I didn't come all the way here to finish second.

So I'm going to try my hardest to win the golf tournament, but, you know, I cannot predict how the other players are going to play. I can only do what I can do best, and that's go out there and try my hardest. But I'm looking forward to it. I feel good. I had a good two weeks in Hawaii. A little disappointed not to win, but hopefully I can start that over here.

Q. Any particular problems when you were a nightclub bouncer?

VIJAY SINGH: Well you know what these Scottish guys are like when they get a drink in them.

Q. Did any of them get the better of you?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. I had a lot of support behind me.

Q. Any comparisons between this and the Dubai course?

VIJAY SINGH: I was talking to Tim, he said they are looking forward to putting a TPC course in Dubai, so hopefully mine will be the one, but I can't really say if it is going to be, you know. That's why when I go out there that I want to make sure that it's done the right way. It's a pretty difficult golf course, too. Challenging, put it this way; not difficult.

But if it is, I want to make sure it's going to be the right one. But it's g it will be good to see a TPC golf course out in this part of the world. Maybe they will put a golf tournament here as well, the U.S. Tour in conjunction with the other tours, they are looking at Dubai. So I don't know if that's going to be the destination or no.

Q. Do you expect a season again where you win nine times and win in excesse of $10 million?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, why not? If one plays well enough, he should be able to. I mean, I felt like last year could I have done it if yeah, the way I started and the way I I didn't finish the way I wanted to, but I'm in line to play as good or even better than I did in '04.

But it so happened I kind of wiped out towards the end. I don't know why, maybe I was getting tired but the way I started out, I felt I could have finished second very early twice; Honda, and then the week after that in Bay Hill, I could have won both of them.

Yeah, sure. Why not? It's been done before, and I think that it's out there if you just play enough consistent golf and not make too many mistakes, you should be able to.

Q. Do you feel strong?

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. Right now I feel really good about my health, my golf game. If I don't do these trips too often, I think I'll be okay. Going back from here, I have to go straight into Phoenix and AT&T, and I like those golf courses, if I'm physically recovered after this trip. I don't know how I'm going to do over here but I feel good. But two weeks out here and then flying back will be the telling point.

Q. After Abu Dhabi?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm going to Qatar. Hopefully they will come out and watch. I'll be more focused on my game to worry about the spectators, but I hope them come and watch golf. There's a lot of good players over here to keep people entertained. I see John Daly is here and DiMarco and Sergio and Colin. I hope they can come out here and watch some good golf blades. It's very rare you get a bunch of guys in the same tournament. Hopefully they are out here. I don't think it's going to affect my game though.

Q. There are a lot of expats in the sub-continent, do you think a lot will take up the game when they see the likes of you playing here?

VIJAY SINGH: There's a lot of golf courses coming up so, that's going to cause a lot of people to play. There's golf on TV almost every week, not only from Europe, but from the States. I just think seeing us play and the amount of golf that's played, hopefully that will encourage young kids to play. But you need golf schools, you need golf foundations out here, you need just like they have in the States and I think that's what they are looking here, or in most parts of the world anyway.

Q. When you started in Fiji, how was it?

VIJAY SINGH: When I started, it was pretty difficult. I went back last May and looked at the golf course that I started and I just couldn't believe that I played golf there. But when you don't have anything else and that's all you've got, that's all I had. Never was expecting any more just because of the way I started off. You go there and that's all you've got, you're hitting balls and no matter where you do it, you're still making contact with the golf ball. So just the greens and the fairways are a little different than what I'm used to right now.

Q. Do you think that made you a better player?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. I left pretty early. I left when I was 18 or 17 to go and play in Australia. I kind of got comfortable with the greens very early in my career but 15, 16, it was like playing on rocks every day, putting on fairways.

Q. You and Tiger, when will you two guys be going head to head?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think our first meeting will be the World Match Play in La Costa. So, you know, I don't know how he's playing but I know I'm ready, playing hard this winter and worked hard on my golf game, the and the physical, so I'm looking forward to the season, I really am.

Q. Do you think you will ever go head to head in this region?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think he's playing in Qatar or here. I hope so, if the schedule permits, we can play together somewhere.

Q. What attracts you to play here and to build your course in Dubai?

VIJAY SINGH: Opportunity, I guess. I've been given the opportunity to come play here, and in Qatar, as well. I was going to make a trip over here regardless of whether I was going to play a golf tournament or not for the design part. So kill two birds with one stone is a great idea. It turned out good for everybody and that's why I'm here.

Q. In 2004, you said that you finally found the way you wanted to play golf - do you still feel that way?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I think it's a comfort level that you reach, go out there and feel like nothing can get inside your little world that you're in. Last year and the year before, I felt the same thing.

But it also has to do a lot with your mind. If you don't let any other interference in your mind, then you've got to play well. Last year towards the end of the year I felt a little uncomfortable, I don't know why, maybe I was trying too hard to stay where I was instead of just letting it happen. I kind of let it slip. The more pressure you put on yourself or upon yourself, it's probably more damaging to your golf game. It creates tension and you don't need that.

When I was playing well, everything was just flowing, and I feel like I've regained that a little bit. Just go out there and not worry about the results and just worry about the next shot and just go just go play it.

I'm just looking forward to shooting a good score when you go out there instead of trying to maintain whatever you are and I think that's what happened last year.

Q. Paul Casey was in here yesterday and he said he lost confidence. As a good player, a player as good as Casey and as good as you, do you lose confidence how do you lose confidence?

VIJAY SINGH: You lose sight of where you are, actually. Your expectations kind of when you're playing well, there's no expectations. You just go out there and do it. When you are not playing well, you feel like you're expected to play well.

I just feel like when I was playing like now I feel like I can go out there and just play and not worry about you're worrying about the final results, not worrying about day to day scoring. I mean, you know, end of the week, that's when the results really matter. Come Sunday is when you really look up and say, okay, do you have a chance to win the golf tournament or not.

You don't go out there the first day and feel like you need to play well to win the golf tournament. When you're not playing well, that's what happens. So you have to pace yourself. It's a four day race and when you're playing well, it doesn't matter which position you are in; you feel like you can catch the leader whoever it is out there.

Q. Is it because you know there is a 65 in there?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, that's what I mean, you're not really worried about your position. As long as you are in touching distance of the lead, you're capable of doing that. You're not worried the guys that are up top are not going to be worried about you coming up, that's the good thing about it.

Q. Last year we were talking about the Big Four and the Big Five, but Tiger seems to have pulled away from you all again a little bit, is that frustrating?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, he's played so well last year and we didn't play as good as we expected to. But surely it will take a lot to catch Tiger now. But it's a long season, there's a lot of tournaments and you just have to go out there and take care of business the way you know you can.

With so many young talents out there right now the name Bubba Watson, keep that name in mind; that guy hits the ball 350 yards in the air. He made a fool out of everybody last week. Guys like that and the guy that won the Q School, Holmes, they hit the ball so far nowadays. We keep work worrying about Tiger and Ernie and Phil. These guys are going to come up. It's incredible to see the young kids coming up. Just have to go out there and play your own game and not worry about who is up there, just have to take care of business.

Q. Do the younger players help keep you on your toes?

VIJAY SINGH: It should because they are 20 odd years younger than I am. It kind of makes you wonder how long you're going to maintain this level of play, so you kind of work twice as hard or even harder than that, and how long can you sustain that; there's another thing.

Q. We hear about the younger players on the PGA Tour, but none seem to come through to challenge you guys?

VIJAY SINGH: You need extraordinary ability to come out there. The level of players that are coming out of colleges now are pretty high but not extraordinary. I saw this guy, Watson play last week and the other guys. You kind of shake your head, if you had his kind of ability to hit the ball far, what you can do. He's pretty straight.

You're not going to get guys like Tiger Woods coming up every year. But I'm sure this guy is going to be something. And there are other guys out there, too, that can play pretty good golf. But it's hard to find a phenomenal guy that's going to come out and take over. He needs a lot of ability. They have a lot of ability but not extraordinary ability.

Q. How much do you think you have to raise the level of your game this year?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't need to raise the level. I need to be more consistent. I need to start winning again. I'm not going to worry about trying to catch Tiger. I'm just going to go out there and try and win as many tournaments as I can. It's hard to do because I have to play a lot better than did I last year to do that. I think I'm capable of doing it

Q. But do you feel that with the era that we're in of Tiger that inaudible?

VIJAY SINGH: No matter which area you're in, you reach that level like I did two years ago, or beginning of last year, that is incredible. You're the best player in the world, best player in anything is pretty big. So, yeah, I feel pretty good.

Q. Are you striving to get there again?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think so, I feel I can do it. But you only have the spread is so much right now, that I have to win a lot, as well. And I'm going to do that, I'm going to play a lot this year and hopefully I'll win a lot, so have to wait and see.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Vijay, thank you very much. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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