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September 7, 2005

Vijay Singh


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Vijay, for joining us for a few minutes at the Bell Canadian Open media center. I guess you're feeling better. You missed last week with the back injury, and maybe you can address that, and also maybe address the course, you had an opportunity to play it today.

VIJAY SINGH: Well, the back is fine. I mean, it's not great, but it's not bad. It's no worse than it was during the PGA or during the NEC. It's a little stiff but I had some back spasms at home, it was yeah, it could have happened me sleeping. It just happened at the wrong time and had an MRI done, there may be a slight herniated disk, but at my age, the guy says everybody has that. It was just a process of playing too many tournaments and doing too many exercises and doing some wrong kind of activities. It so happened that it started spasming on me. But it's fine now. I took a week off and practiced for three days before coming here. Everything's fine and I am ready to play.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You're here to defend your title, and talk about the course.

VIJAY SINGH: It's probably one of the best golf courses we're going to play all year, we've played all year. It's very demanding off the tees, small greens, it's incredible the conditions it's in. If the greens get firm and fast, it will be just like it will be a tough test of golf. Par is a good score over here on every hole. If you make par, you're not disappointed no matter how short or how long the golf course is or a hole is. It brings par in play now, and I don't see any reason why everybody playing over here will not enjoy playing this golf course. I'm just glad that I'm here to play this thing.

Q. Other than obviously winning, can you share with us what you remember about your reflections on Sunday last year at Glen Abbey, perhaps the crowd and the atmosphere surrounding Mike and the playoff and everything?

VIJAY SINGH: I think I remember the crowd was on Mike Weir's side. I think they kind of made him more nervous than anything. If they had just watched golf and cheered like normal, like a normal day, I think he would have played a lot better. I think they got to him towards the end, and instead of being in his favor it kind of turned around and was against him psychologically because it was too much pressure on him.

Apart from that, everybody, they are a very fair crowd. Obviously they had to cheer for Mike but they were very fair. They cheered for good golf, and that was good to see.

Q. The people that think that shorter, tighter golf courses like this are the way to go with golf now, seem to blame the long hitters for taking advantage of length and being able to knock it out of rough closer to the greens and so on. What's your take on long hitters, period, your own game, and why it seems to be a bit of a stigma now to be a long hitter that may not care so much whether he hits it in the fairway or in the rough?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, this is not a short golf course by any means. Everybody get their facts right. This is a long golf course. It's got a lot of long holes, and it's very tight.

You know, I'm not trying to say that it's a disadvantage for a long hitter to play a short golf course or a tight golf course. You know, being a long hitter is a given talent. You don't just become a long hitter. You have that and it's an advantage to be a long hitter. It's exciting for the golf fans to see long hitting. John Daly, for instance, he didn't become famous just by winning the PGA. Everybody just loves to see him whack it 340 yards. When you hit it that long, to keep it straight is pretty difficult, like driving a fast car on a narrow lane. If you drive it too fast, you lose control, it's the same thing.

You know, sure, if you hit it 340 yards and the hole is only 440, you're only going to have 100 yards to the hole. That's an advantage for the longer hitters. It's an advantage that you're not going to be able to control the ball from the rough. It goes hand and hand.

Sure, Fred Funk is a great driver of the ball, but I mean, would you rather watch Fred Funk for John Daly play, you know? Fred is a great player. But that's the big difference in golf nowadays, and I think it's I'd take it any day for hitting it long, reasonably straight is fine, but I don't think it's unfair. I think the game is made to play the way you want to play. If you hit it long and crooked, that's fine. I don't think there's any disadvantage or advantage in setting up the golf courses.

Q. You were outspoken when you were here three months ago about No. 11 and a lot of players have talked about that. Is it the toughest hole on the course playing as a par 4, and what might they have done differently, just lengthened it and left it as a par 5?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, they could have done that, yeah, or also took two trees in the conner out. I told the guys it would be a good thing to do. The only time it's going to be very difficult or closer to an unfair hole is if it starts to blow into the wind strong; then if you're going in with a long iron, a 5 wood or even some guys are hitting 3 woods. Today I hit a really good drive and hit a 6 iron pretty comfortable to the middle of green. That's not a big deal, but I'm a medium to long hitter. The shorter guys, shorter hitters are maybe going to be hitting a 5 iron, maybe a 4 iron to hole. But 5 is not a bad score. Who says 5 is a crime to make on a hole? There may be more 5s made there than 4s. You still have to hit a straight ball off the tee and shape the shot a little bit. You're hitting 2 iron, 3 iron, on a par 4 that's what we used to do before. Now when they set up a golf hole where you have to hit a 4 , 5 iron, everybody starts panicking.

Q. Just to follow up the early one, do you think it's an unfair characterization of you that you just hit it as far as you can and you'll take whatever you find when you get to the ball; that you'll gladly hit it out of the rough as long as it's 340 yards down the field?

VIJAY SINGH: When was the last time you walked on the golf course with me?

Q. No, no, I'm asking you

VIJAY SINGH: That's what I'm saying. Maybe you should come and watch me play, and then you assess my game then. Sure, I'm trying my best to hit the fairways. I don't just stand there and just whack it. I'd be probably a longer hitter if I tried to do that. I can hit it a lot further than I do right now, but I'm trying to control my ball and hit it as long as I can, but, you know, to a point straight, as well.

Q. You've played around the world and you've played in a lot of places, you've seen a lot of hometown heroes get a lot of backing, would anything rival what you got last year, maybe Ernie that year in South Africa in the Presidents Cup in the head to head match?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I guess so. Ernie, he's a South African hero, like Mike Weir is over here. It doesn't have to be individual. I think whoever plays, it's like playing the Ryder Cup in America or playing the Ryder Cup in Europe; the fans are always going to be for the home team.

Sure, Mike is a big time player and in Canada, obviously he's going to be the hero. Everybody talks about golf in Canada is Mike Weir. There's nothing wrong with the crowd being on his side as much as they were last year. I think it's good. I would be happy to have it than against me.

Q. Mr. Singh, in your arsenal, you use the fade very effectively. Is there anything from Hogan you've taken to help you in that?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, I didn't follow Hogan when I was growing up and I really did not watch his golf swing as much, but I like the ethic that he put on in the golf game. He worked hard and that's kind of something that I followed and that kind of was my model as well.

Q. Talking again about last year, you said the fans were good to you last year, do you think that perhaps this year you might be viewed as a villain at all for having beaten Mike on home soil by some people here this year?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think so. It won't bother me at all. Coming down the stretch, if I'm playing with Mike Weir and I win again, it won't bother me at all again. (Laughing).

I think the fans love to watch good golf. Whoever wins must be playing good golf. I would be least affected if they were cheering more for Mike or more for any Canadian than me, as long as they don't cheer against me, that's fine.

Q. Obviously you haven't had as many wins as you did a year ago, but do you feel that your game was as good as it was a year ago, and how would you assess your overall year?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I'm playing really good and I'm hitting the ball very well off the tees. The only part of my game that is not as strong as last year is probably my putting. It's kind of gone down some, but I had a lot of chances. I threw away a lot of golf tournaments this year, missed a short putt at Honda; I hit it in the water at Bay Hill; had a chance at a few other events that I didn't capitalize.

The scoring part of it is not as sharp as last year, maybe I've played too much golf, I don't know. Some say I may have played too much, but those tournaments, if I had gone ahead and win, then it would have been fine. I'm looking forward to this week and the next four events that I'm going to play and I'm going to try to win as many as I can. I'm going to look forward now.

Q. A couple of questions, was it difficult for you to take a week and a half off, and do you wonder how long you're going to be able to keep up this schedule where you're playing 29, 30 tournaments, how long your body will be able to support that kind of schedule?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, as long as I'm fit, I guess as long as I want to play, as long as I enjoy the game. It's only now that everybody is looking at golf tournaments and saying, man, if he plays 30 events, it's a lot of events. Go back, 10, 15 years, everybody was playing 30 events. Everybody was traveling in commercial airlines and going by car to each tournament.

Right now, we fly private, we don't even have to check luggage. We fly in real luxury and we're really spoiled. So why shouldn't you go out there and play 30 events? I get to spend two days at home the off day of every tournament. When I get out there Tuesday mornings every week, I'm ready to play. I take Mondays off every week and playing 30 events, you still have 22 weeks off. That's pretty good, isn't it? (Laughter).

I don't think that's a problem. I enjoy playing. If I get tired of playing, I won't play. Taking a week and a half off, the only disappointing part was I did not defend last week. I would have loved to go back to Boston and defend the title. Besides that, it did not affect me at all.

Q. We know about your work ethic and beating the balls in the dirt and all the rest of that, what did you do for that week and a half when you really were not able to swing your golf club, were you keeping busy inaudible?

VIJAY SINGH: A few acupunctures, I kept my back as loose as possible. Watched some tennis on TV. Sat on my butt and did nothing, really.

Q. When Stephen Ames is promoting his country, he brings a team of players from Trinidad and Tobago to an did a and they play to promote golf in his country. Could you share what you might be doing promoting golf in Fiji?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm designing a golf course in Fiji and I'm starting a golf school there, as well. You know, Fiji is just not a drive away. Fiji is a long ways away. For me to go back and do things over there, it takes it takes two days to travel to Fiji.

Right now, I'm at the peak of my career and I've got to focus on my golf right now. That part of life has to happen probably after I'm done playing my best golf. Right now, I have to focus on what I'm doing. I'm doing a few things in Fiji that are just starting up right now, but my primary objective is to focus on my game, and that's the way I'm going to be.

Q. Did you hear from Gary Player, and did he suggest maybe more rest?


Q. You didn't hear from him?

VIJAY SINGH: If he had said something, I would have hold him, what I felt. (Laughter).


End of FastScripts.

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