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July 27, 2005

Vijay Singh


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our defending champion to the interview area. Vijay, you got a chance to look at the golf course today. Maybe talk a little bit about what it looks like out there as you prepare to defend here.

VIJAY SINGH: Very wet. (Laughing). It's not rolling at all. It's a lot of water on the golf course. The greens are really rolling nice. They are fast. Not much rough out there. So if it stays like this, the wind doesn't blow, it's going to be another low scoring tournament.

I'm fired up. Hopefully I can repeat what I did last year.

Q. Nobody has won back to back here in a long time, nobody won three times; is that at all a motivating thing?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I guess so. I didn't know not too many guys won it twice. I was fortunate last year. I'm not going to think about that. I'm going out there and try to play a solid round of golf tomorrow, and if I can start off like I did last year, I had a great round the first round, and got my momentum going. Hopefully I make putts. I think that's the key to winning this week here at this golf course. You're going to hit a lot of greens, and all you need to do is make putts. If I can do that, I think I have a chance.

Q. Coming back as defending champion, you've had a chance to do that quite a few times. Has that been a little bit maybe of an extra grind this year? I know you play a lot of golf anyway, but being the defending champ at so many places?

VIJAY SINGH: I've only defended three so far. This is the fourth one, and I won one of them, which gives me a lot more energy to come to the next tournament when I'm defending. It's a good feeling being able to win one. And I've not won one in previous years; I've never defended one successfully, so I've done one this year.

I feel good about it. It's a lot more positive energy from what I did last year. I'm not at all nervous or any added pressure. I feel good about it. I'm just going to go out there and play.

Q. With the PGA Championship coming up in a couple of weeks, just curious, when you hear "PGA Championship" or think about it, what thoughts or words come to mind? Is there anything consistent about the PGA Championship or feelings you have from it?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, the golf course is very fair. All the PGA golf courses are right in front of you. There's no trick. They don't trick it up or anything. They are going to play tough.

I played Baltusrol some three, four weeks ago, and they have lengthened it so much. It's all about hitting it long and straight out there. You know, the greens are very undulating, so if you can go out there and play solid, it's going to be a grueling week. You know, it's not going to be a week where you mis hit and you get away with it. You've got to hit good shots there. You've got to bring your game along. I think whoever wins there is going to play really, really well. You know, it not going to be a low scoring tournament, either.

Q. Maybe this is a bit of an anniversary week for you. This week last year, you put the belly putter away.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, that's true.

Q. But you also started the six for eight run; reflection on either of those things?

VIJAY SINGH: Maybe start another one this week. Got a new putter, that's a good start. Yeah, if I can do what I did last year it's going to be unbelievable. I feel like I played better this year than I have done last year to this point, but I just have to finish it off like did last year.

I'm feeling good about it. Hopefully I can pull it off. It's going to be a task, so we'll just start this week and see what happens.

Q. What kind of putter?

VIJAY SINGH: Same, Never Compromise, but a different model. I have my conventional still, yes.

Q. Obviously, you and Tiger do battle in so many of the majors, but the fans really enjoy having an idea of having the No. 1 and No. 2 player here in this field. Is that something you guys feed off a little bit, too, even though the tournament may not be as big as a major?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it's always good for the tournament, all the top players playing. I feel a little bit more excited when I see bigger names in the lead, but my priority right now is to go out there and play. It's good for the crowds, good for the sponsors, which is good. I just hope that more guys play more tournaments. There are some 40 odd events out on the Tour and if guys are only playing 16, 18 tournament, then it's not enough for the Tour, put it this way, the future of the Tour. I like to play and that's the way I've always done it. I play a lot of golf and I just hope the rest of the guys are the same, but I guess they have their own schedules.

Q. You've always seemed to kind of take that responsibility to try to play as many tournaments as you can, is that part of it, too, to make sure everybody enjoys the success that the PGA TOUR is enjoying right now?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it goes hand in hand. I like playing, as well. I love playing. I would rather go out there and play a golf tournament and earn money than stay at home and practice.

I do play close to 25, 26 events, there's still a lot of time off that you get you know, in 52 weeks a year. So I still have a lot of time off at home. I guess it doesn't happen in a row. I play three or four events and take a week off. I have a different schedule than the rest of the guys.

Q. How are you able to maintain your level of play when you practice as much as you do? Do you ever want to back away? How do you keep the high level going?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it's so happened that my career came to the highlight of my career is right now at the age of 42,41. So a lot of guys look at my age and say, "Man, he's been playing for so long." Normally you see a guy that's at the top of his game at age 35, 30, 35 or late 20s and they play a lot of golf and they are at the top of their game. That is what I want to do. I'm playing well, I like to go out there and compete and I'm having fun doing it, so why not do it.

Q. Have you ever thought about or actually tried to adopt the week off before a major strategy?

VIJAY SINGH: I took a week off before the Masters. I took a week off. Before the U.S. Open I played, that was a good golf course, Congressional, so that was a great practice before the major event.

It really depends. On the U.S. Open, like this year was Congressional, last year was Westchester. So if the golf course matches what we play the week after, then I will play. I never go and play a week before the British Open because Loch Lomond does not suit the golf players really, so I don't go and play that. The PGA, normally before the PGA, the golf course is the same kind of style.

I just think that if I need to take a week off and work on something, I will. If I need to practice on one specific shot for the major, I will. But apart from that, I just look at my schedule, look at the golf course and go play.

Q. Do you generally make that decision on the basis of whether or not you like golf courses, rather than any special strategy?

VIJAY SINGH: Right. If I get more out of practicing on the course competitively before the major, I will do that. But if I don't get anything out of it, I won't do it.

Q. 42 years old, how long do you think you can continue playing at an elite level, have you given any thought to that?

VIJAY SINGH: I haven't decided. I haven't thought about it. I'm coming up with a new program for next year, so I'm geared up for some different things for next year. So I'm always looking forward to next year. I'm not looking forward to when I'm going to quit. I think I'm just going to leave it at that. (Laughing).

Q. Why do you think you've hit your stride at this age? Like you said, a lot of guys in their late 20s to mid 30s do it, just the fact that you're at your peak right now in your early 40s as opposed to, you said a lot of guys in their early 30s?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. Probably my golf game wasn't as good when I was starting off in the early 30s, mid 30s. I was practicing a lot but it didn't synchronize the way it is right now. I've become a little bit more smarter the way I think on the golf course, and physically I'm much more stronger now than I was then. I started working out six, seven years ago, and I think it just happened that this is the age where it all came together. Better late than never, right?

JOE CHEMYCZ: Vijay, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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