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April 24, 2005

Vijay Singh


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Vijay Singh, congratulations on winning the Shell Houston Open. You started the week being announced that you'll be in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and end the week with your third victory at the Shell Houston Open. You and Curtis Strange are the only players to have done so. If we could start with some opening comments.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it was really good. I mean, it was a tough day for me. The way I started off, not making any birdies and putting myself in the positions to make birdies and never getting any. I'm usually quite pleased with the way I finished. I played really solid and I'm really pleased with the way I hung in there and never gave up. Fortunately for me nobody came out of the pack except for John and kind of made a run at it. It was a good way to finish.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk about the playoff. You played 18 holes with him at the Buick Open in Flint and you came out on the winning end and in a playoff you did as well. Talk about your drive and where you thought it was and how your lie was.

VIJAY SINGH: The lie was fine, it's just an awkward driving hole for me. You can't hit it straight because if I catch one it's going right through, and the 3-wood, I just didn't feel comfortable with a 3-wood over there. But in regulation play, I couldn't have put myself in a better position. Off the tee it was right but the lie was absolutely perfect and straight at the pin. I wasn't going to hit it left in the playoff.

It was fine. I mean, the lie was good, and after John hit it in the water, I just said, put it in the middle of the green somewhere and see what happens.

Q. At any point of the day did you just want to snap your putter over your knee or anything? You had so many chances and just couldn't get any putts to fall.

VIJAY SINGH: I was putting well, the lines were just really difficult to read. I was putting good strokes on it. I don't think there's any point where I felt like I wasn't going to make a putt. Over the ball I felt very comfortable. To make a putt you've got to have the right line, as well. I was under reading it and over-reading it. I made my birdies at the right time, made a good putt on 14. It wasn't long but it was a good putt, and then I birdied 15.

But that's where you have to have patience. I did that very well today.

Q. On the last hole there obviously the crowd very partisan, John Daly kind of the every-man golfer, everyone loves him. You missed the putt, everyone erupts, cheers, they want to see the playoff. Is there any part of you that says, "okay, sorry, crowd," when you win the hole?

VIJAY SINGH: If I was in the crowd I'd probably say the same. Everyone loves John. If I was in there I would have wanted to see a playoff anyway. They were fine. It didn't bother me at all.

Q. Why did you hit driver twice on 18? You hit it right in regulation and went back and hit it right again. Talk about why you hit driver both times on 18.

VIJAY SINGH: That's my game plan. I don't have any reason why not to hit a driver. I drove it really well today. I don't think I missed more than one or two fairways. You know, if you take a 3-wood and hit it right, you have all those trees to deal with. If you hit the driver, you go past the trees, you have absolutely no problem up front there to hit into the green and you're only hitting a wedge anyway. That was a good place for me.

Q. How much frustration did you have to deal with when you weren't making any birdies and how big was finally getting that first birdie there on the back?

VIJAY SINGH: The key was nobody was actually making a run. Everybody was staying 11, 12, 11, 12. Nobody really went away with it except for John. When he did, I made two, as well. That way you're still in the tournament or still in the lead or one back. You don't really feel that much frustrated because you're still leading the golf tournament so how can you feel frustrated? I was very patient.

There was a reason why nobody was making much birdies. It must be difficult to read putts out there. The key was to hang in there and make the birdies when it counts, and I did that.

Q. If I'm not mistaken this puts you No. 1 all time in foreign-born players with victories on TOUR here.

VIJAY SINGH: I have no idea.


Q. Okay, you tied. So you moved into 2nd; not 1st?

VIJAY SINGH: Who was first?


Q. He played in the '20s. He grew up in Dallas?

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: He won 31 times on TOUR.

Q. Gives you another goal, right?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I'm really worried (laughter).

Q. When you saw that the field was kind of stagnant and nobody was really making a run with the exception of John, I was following you and you seemed to be playing more to the center of the greens and maybe not shooting at so many pins. You had a lot of putts and you didn't roll many in.

VIJAY SINGH: On a day like today, you're not making any putts, the only thing that can get you is when you hit one bad shot and short side yourself and come out and make bogey. Then you say, "man, I played well and I missed one shot and I made a bogey." I wasn't going to do that. I played to the pin or just away from the pin where if I did hit a poor shot, I'd have a decent putt at it and it worked.

In the past when you get frustrated and you start going at the flag, that's where you make bogeys and totally put yourself out of contention. I wasn't going to do that.

Q. When you're standing over that birdie putt on 18 to win, were you feeling like the greens owed you one at that point? What were you thinking standing over that putt?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I was just totally focused on the line. I thought I had a good line. I really thought just outside the right edge was the line that I had to hit it, and everything looked that way as well. My caddie rolled it in the practice round and his book did say it was going to go right to left, and it didn't break.

Q. What do you think you're going to look at when you back off of this a little bit? What stands out to you about this victory, this week and the process of getting it?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, the first round obviously was incredible, and I just hung in there. I didn't play extremely well after the first round. I mean, I didn't score well, but the thing good about it was, like today, I made a bunch load of pars. Yesterday when I made the birdie on the 8th hole, it was, what, the 26th hole -- it took me 26 holes to make a birdie. You've got to have patience, and I guess through experience you have to have patience to win golf tournaments, and that's what I achieved this week. You never give up, I guess, just hang in there and see what happens.

I find out that come the last day, nobody really runs away with tournaments nowadays. The pin placements are -- some of the pins were three from the edges, and you can't really -- if you just mis-hit a shot you're going to make bogey, so it was tough.

Q. John talked when he was in here earlier about the fact that last year the Buick Open was real frustrating for him obviously, you beat him the last hole, it came to a shot, he was off the 18th green, it was like "here we go again." He said, I haven't really figured out how to beat him, he always seems to stick it to me. Can golfers have a psychological edge over another guy?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. Maybe he's more psyched up than I am. It's unfortunate that he had to sit out here so long. Maybe if he had been right off the golf course and gone out, he wouldn't have hit a bad shot. It's just unfortunate. Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose, and fortunately for me, it was John.

Q. It's supposed to be the last tournament here on this course, and I'm wondering how you feel about leaving a place that's been pretty good to you?

VIJAY SINGH: I think the whole TOUR loves this, all THE PLAYERS like this golf course. I think it sets up really well. I just hope that the golf course we go to the next year is as good as this. If not there will be a lot of complaints, I know that for a fact. This is a great golf course. I think the crowd likes it. It's crowd-friendly, as well, and you get good results from here anyway.

Q. What makes this a great golf course other than it's been good to you?

VIJAY SINGH: I mean, it shows that you don't really have to be a long hitter. Look at Gavin Coles. I mean, he's not a long hitter, and he managed his game really well. Although it's a long golf course, when it gets hard and fast like it is today, anyone can win. Although it's a long hitters' golf course, you have a advantage if you're long, you still have to hit the fairways. I hit probably 11, 12 drivers every day, and to hit the driver as long as I am and to hit it straight, it's an effort to do that. It's a fair, fair golf course, and if you're playing well you're going to have good results.

Q. This was your second win of last season and you went on to have an awesome 2004. How do you compare the status of your game this year to this time last year?

VIJAY SINGH: I think I'm playing well this year. I think I'm playing better this year than I've done in the past. Last year I had great results obviously, but to me I feel this year I'm more together. My whole game is more together, and if I just start making a few more putts I'll probably win a lot more events.

Comparing to last year, I think I'm playing better golf right now.

Q. Do you think about how close you are to having four wins in the bag already at this point this year? Is that part of your thought process when you think about how well you played this year?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, after I missed the putt on 18, I said, "well, here we go again." Maybe it's just not going to be me again. John made it easy for me, I guess. It does play in your mind.

I had a chance at Honda after missing the putt, the first thing that crossed my mind was, "oh, man, not again." But I guess that I'm lucky.

Q. Does in any sense a win here validate what happened on Wednesday, serve as kind of an exclamation point to that, the Hall of Fame?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. I mean, it's totally two different things. I mean, this is a golf tournament, that's an induction into the Hall of Fame. I think the timing is perfect, though. That's all I can say. It just does not -- they don't go together, but if it happened in another week, I may not have been playing golf, but it so happened it was this week and I won. It does make you feel good though.

Q. Does your psyche change now because you're a Hall of Famer?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really.

Q. Do you look at yourself and walk a little more proudly?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. I mean, obviously it's a great -- it's an amazing feat to be called a Hall of Famer, and I just think that everything is riding so high right now, it's just part of the whole journey, and it's just great to be a Hall of Famer, but that's not my focus right now. Like I say, it has not sunk in. I don't know when it's going to really hit me, but I think it's something just fine right now.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could touch on your two birdies and maybe discuss any good par saves you had out there. 14 and 15.

VIJAY SINGH: I hit driver, wedge to about five feet, and I hit driver 5-wood just off the green, two-putted from 15, 20 feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Any pars that kept your round going.

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, I don't think I put myself into any sort of problem at all. I had a lot of chances but never really got myself in any trouble.

Q. What did you hit on 18 both go-arounds?

VIJAY SINGH: Driver, wedge both times. On the right side -- I'm surprised John did not take a driver and just belt it onto the right side because even if you hit it into the tents, you just drop it right near the cart path and you've got a perfect line in. I don't know what he hit in regulation.

Q. He hit 3-wood. Two days ago he hit one in the tent, right side, made birdie.

VIJAY SINGH: It's a perfect angle, especially where the pin was today. You just blow it into the tent. I was surprised that he didn't pull it.

Q. So that first one at 18, you didn't think that was a high degree of difficulty?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I checked it out at practice rounds and Pro-Am. The rough wasn't very thick. He could get unlucky and go behind one of those small trees. Even then he could roll it onto the green. That's the place to miss it is to the right side.

Q. Was there a most important shot for you today?

VIJAY SINGH: Gosh, I think the birdie on 15 was really the key. I had the same kind of shot on 12 with a 5-wood and I blew it into the right bunker. The second shot, I knew I had to hit a good second shot there. I think the 5-wood there was one of the better ones I hit all week.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Vijay Singh, congratulations.

VIJAY SINGH: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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