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July 31, 2005

Vijay Singh


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Congratulations on winning your third Buick Open. You're the second player to win back to back Buick Opens, fourth victory of the year, and 28th in your career on the PGA TOUR. Some opening comments, a great week for you; you played well all week.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I played well. I wasn't as aggressive today. I wasn't uncomfortable, but I wasn't at ease with what I was doing out there. I felt very much in control but at the same time I didn't want to make any mistakes. Nobody was really making a charge earlier on and I started to get into a rhythm where I was hitting greens and making pars. Towards the end, it got a little exciting, and that's where I picked it up a little bit. It's tough to go out there with a five shot lead, it's nice to have a five shot lead, but I would rather have gone out there and take the golf course on.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You led in putting average this week and you talked awhile about needing to make a few putts here and there, and you were able to convert those birdie putts, and sure enough, you won. Talk about your week on the greens.

VIJAY SINGH: You know, the new putter, I was surprised, I got a new putter and I didn't know whether I was going to take it out and Wednesday it felt good. It just kind of came alive on Thursday, yesterday as well, one of the best putting rounds I've had in a long, long time. And it's a good way to go out and play like that when you know that you have a putt, you have a good chance of making it. Today I wasn't aggressive enough but I didn't really need to be. I'm excited. I'm excited for two weeks from now when the PGA is on and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. At 40, your game has seemed to take a notch up where a lot of guys wind it down. How long do you think you can play at this level? And when you putt well, do you feel you're better than anybody in the game?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know if I'm better than anybody in the game, but I'm, you know, I have a very good chance of winning golf tournaments when I putt well. That goes hand in hand with the way I play. You can putt it as good as you want, if you don't hit the ball as good, you're not going to score well. This week I putted well and hit the ball very well; so those together, you can shoot low.

And about my age, gosh, I feel like I'm still 30. (Laughing). So I've got a long ways to go.

Q. What is it about this course that suits your game and what do you like about playing here at Warwick Hills?

VIJAY SINGH: I think it gives you a lot of opportunities to make birdie. I'm a good I like driving the ball. I like to hit drivers off most fairways, and I take this golf course on as well. I've been driving the ball well every time I came over here. If you drive the ball in the fairways on this golf course, you have a lot of chances for birdies. For some reason, the greens love me here, so I putt well here most of the time when I come here.

Q. You've got a pretty good record as a closer, but does it get any easier?

VIJAY SINGH: It never is easy. I look pretty calm out there but you've got to be in control of what's going on. You cannot lose control of your game and, you know, you cannot make mistakes. The key to playing in front of guys playing well, they can come and catch you, you cannot go backwards. I try to play solid golf and not make mistakes and make birdies when they come.

Today was a very good example. Today I did not make a bogey. I didn't make too many birdies, but I was still ahead. With a five shot lead, that makes it a seven shot lead, so the guys have to make seven birdies or more to catch me.

Q. Were you watching the leaderboards, did you see when your lead was down to four?

VIJAY SINGH: There's a lot of leaderboards around, so I'm not really worried, four shots. I'm pretty capable of handling myself there. Nobody really got inside of three at any point, so I was pretty comfortable.

Q. Talk a little bit about what the PGA Championship means to you, I mean, a great preparation of winning this tournament and you have two weeks to prepare, what are you going to be doing these two weeks to kind of fine tune your game?

VIJAY SINGH: Really, nothing much than what I did this week. Just go out there and try to hit shots, not really practice that much the long game, probably more on the short game. It's going to be 105 degrees in Florida every day, so you cannot be spending that much time outside. You know, work on my putts again. I found some things I've done well this week and I'm going to try to work on those little things and just key shots.

Q. It was here a year ago that you started that incredible stretch. Can you compare the way you're playing right now to then and maybe this can be the start of something big, maybe not six out of eight wins, but maybe something good in the next month or so?

VIJAY SINGH: I feel I'm playing better this year than I did last year. I putted very well toward the end of the season last year. I putted like I did this week. If you putt well and play well, you're going to score well, like I said.

You know, I'm excited. I just hope I can just follow what I did last year. I mean, it's going to be hard, it's one of the hardest things to do is go out there and win golf tournaments, and as many as I won towards the end of last year, it's going to be almost impossible, but I'm going to give it a shot. I feel good, I feel healthy. Just go out there and do it, that's the thing.

Q. How much of that decision to lay back and just play easy was made after the errant tee shot after the first hole? Was that something that led to that decision or had you already decided?

VIJAY SINGH: It wasn't an errant tee shot. I just didn't want to go left. (Laughing). I didn't want a five shot lead to be a three shot lead on the first shot. You can make pars and birdies from the right side, but you cannot make pars and birdies from the other. I played it to the right side of the fairway and I hit a pretty hard shot, just leaked to the right. I was fine with that. It wasn't a decision where I was going to take the fairway on. The first shot of the day, you don't want to be behind the 8 ball already.

You know, like I said, it was difficult once I got going, there wasn't any momentum for me to really charge up. I mean, there was nothing really to go out there and try to make birdies on every hole. I wasn't going to try to go and break the record. My whole goal was to go out there and try to win the golf tournament and that was my first goal of the day.

Q. You sound like you felt very comfortable with your lead today, do you feel pretty much like you won the tournament on Saturday?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you never win the golf tournament on Saturday. You're in a position to win the golf tournament on Saturday. With a five shot lead on a golf course like this, I guess everybody else thought I won the golf tournament, which, to me, it gives me a lot more confidence that way than me feeling that I won the golf tournament. You know, I try not to get complacent. I try to play in the present like I said yesterday, and that's what I did. Golf is a weird game; anything can happen. I was very, you know, very focused out there.

Q. You made history today, back to back victories, you're a three peater here, do you think there should be a bonus? Should you get two Buicks out of this or something?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I'm just happy to get one man. Any time you win a golf tournament, it's a great feeling.

I had not won one since Wachovia and I was getting a little edgy. It was time to win again. Glad to win another one.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with your caddie and what your record with him is? I've heard a lot of wins and not that many appearances out of him. Do you know what that record is?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, but I've won almost every other time I've went out with him. We have a great relationship. He's my best friend and he's my trainer at the same time. You know, he's intense out there and I think he keeps me going as well. I just love him on the bag. I think I'm going to think very strongly about firing my caddie right now; hopefully he's not listening. (Laughter).

No, I've had a great time with him. I think it's good for a change. You know, you break the consistency of having the same caddie all the time. You know, Joey brought the better side out of me today. Once you have Joey on the bag, I'm doing my own yardages most of the time and I'm picking my own clubs. It gives me a lot to think about. When I'm picking a club, I'm more definite, more sure when I pick a club and I have no second thoughts when I pick a club. If I have a regular caddie on the bag, most of the time I go to him, and that's, you know, you kind of become a little double minded sometimes with the club. So, you know, I'm sure if it's the right club or no. This week I was definite and it was my choice, and if I made a mistake with the club, it was my mistake. You can't blame it on the caddie this week; it was all me.

Q. Quick follow up: Who are you going to use at the PGA?

VIJAY SINGH: I think Paul is going to be back. He's my regular caddie and I don't think Joey wants to take on the PGA.

Q. I don't know if it was tongue in cheek on the green, but are you really looking at the real estate market in Michigan?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I was just joking. (Laughter).

Q. What was your biggest advantage over the rest of the professionals out here, is it more physically or mentally?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, I just feel I don't know. I think physically, I think game wise, I was playing so good today and putting well that it kind of, you know, overshadowed every other part of my game.

I'm very comfortable on this golf course. Once I've made a start like this the first day, I feel very much at ease. Like I said, I'm very familiar with the golf course. I know the greens, I know pretty much every break out there, which way they are going to break. My yardage book has all these marks on it, telling me which way the break goes. It's pretty much like a home golf course here. That's really pretty much it.

Q. You were sinking all of those birdie putts yesterday and you made the comment afterwards that your putter had finally woke up. A lot of those same putts were not dropping today, do you feel like the putter had fallen back asleep or was that a reflection of your playing?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I did not want to be too aggressive on the greens. I didn't want to leave myself too many return putts. That's why probably most of my putts were just getting to the hole. Like I said, nobody was putting any pressure on me. If they did, probably they would be a little bit more aggressive. Just don't want to make any mistakes. You turn up at a golf tournament with a five shot lead, if you don't win, gosh, I probably would not want to show my head anywhere for about a month, you know. The deal was go out there and finish the job and the way to do it was not to make mistakes.

Q. This is the second time you've defended successfully, can you talk about that and what goes into that?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you know, I had not defended a title for all of these years until Houston, I think that was the first one. You know, you kind of wonder if you're ever going to defend or not. The feeling is a very fulfilling feeling. You've won it the year before and you come back and defended it. It's a lot of pressure out there when you tee up to go out and defend it successfully. This is the second time I've done it and it feels good, it really does. I'm looking forward to the next one to come. I've got a few more to go and defend and I just hope to do the same.

Q. With this victory, your new momentum, do you feel Player of the Year is still within reach, or do you feel Tiger with two majors is still out in front?

VIJAY SINGH: There's a lot more tournaments to go and probably have to win another five or six more to get Player of the Year like last year. It's too early to count right now. There's a lot more tournaments to go. Tiger is definitely the front-runner right now.

End of FastScripts.

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