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April 23, 2005

Vijay Singh


TODD BUDNICK: Well, first off, we'd like to congratulate either the full 54-hole leader or co-54-hole leader, depending on what happens to Gavin, for this week's Crestor Charity Challenge. For his efforts, $50,000 will be donated on behalf of Crestor products and the Houston Open to the Golf Association Charities and either $50,000 or $25,000 will be given to the health care charity of your choice. Congratulations, Vijay.

A 2-under 70 in the third round today has you at 11-under and currently the clubhouse leader heading into tomorrow as defending champion. Talk a little bit about that, could be your first defense of your nine titles last year.

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I'm quite happy with my position right now, but the golf course is getting tougher every day. The first day it was nice and soft and got a little bit more difficult yesterday, and today it's a beast out there.

I'm quite happy with the way I finished. I didn't play as good as I wanted to the first nine, but the back nine I made a few back.

Q. At one point you were five back of the leader. Were you aware of that?

VIJAY SINGH: Yes and no. I was aware I was dropping shots, but there's 18 holes out there and you never know what can happen. I knew the golf course was not going to give up too many birdies. The par 5s are playing into the wind. 12 is almost unreachable. 15 you've got to hit two really good shots to get near it. It was a lot different today. The wind was a totally different direction and the guys are not used to that direction, and the greens are getting firm.

Q. Anything in particular just happen there right at the end of the front side and the start of the back? Those two birdies kind of turned it?

VIJAY SINGH: I had a great practice session today and I was hitting the ball really good, so I was not too worried about the way I was playing. I wasn't putting shots together.

The bogey I made on 4 could have been avoided, and the one on 6 I just plugged in the front bunker.

Besides that, I played pretty good. I played very solid golf, drove the ball well and I just have to hang in there. It's not going to get any easier, and that's why I was very patient all day.

Q. You seem to have a much younger audience, the gallery, than previous years. Do you think that it's more your adaptive personality or do you think people are looking for someone, maybe in your case, other than Tiger to root for? You have a large following and a lot of the younger kids are really looking up to you.

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. Maybe because of the way I'm playing. Gosh, I'm only 32 (laughter), so....

I'm sure they come out here to watch golf, good golf, and I'm not -- (inaudible).

Q. Is the wind tricky or is it just blowing?

VIJAY SINGH: It's coming -- it's not consistent what direction it's coming. Like the one on 17, I thought it was left to right totally and then coming into me and then left to right, down, so you've got to be careful where -- you've got to hit the right gust and the right wind direction to hit the perfect shot.

Q. There's a chance you could be paired with Gavin Coles tomorrow. How much does your experience come into play in the final round?

VIJAY SINGH: I've never played with Gavin Coles. I've seen him walk by me (laughter). He's definitely playing good golf, especially today, the way he's hanging in there. I'm looking forward to it. We'll meet tomorrow and hopefully we have a good match.

Q. Will your experience -- you'll draw on your experience, I'm sure?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think he'll be more concerned about me than me with him. He's pretty -- I think he's a very experienced player himself. I mean, he's not experienced on this Tour much, but he's been playing around the world for a while, so I think he'll do okay.

Q. So you'll just go out and play your game?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm not going to worry about him at all, just go out and play solid golf and see if I can pull it off.

Q. What will be the secret tomorrow to staying on top?

VIJAY SINGH: I think I have to drive the ball well. I think the key is to get the ball in the fairway. It's getting harder to keep the ball in the fairways. The ground is pretty hard and firm so it's running out, a lot of shots out there. If I can maintain hitting -- getting the ball in the fairway, I'm going to give myself a lot of chances for birdie, so that's the key tomorrow.

TODD BUDNICK: We'll just go through the card. Looks like No. 4, the bogey, drove it left.

VIJAY SINGH: Drove it left, hit it in the bunker, then hit a poor bunker shot about 25 feet, two-putted.

6, hit a good drive, hit a 9-iron into the front bunker, plugged it, and pitched that about 15 feet.

8th hole I hit a 6-iron about ten feet.

10, I hit a 3-wood, L-wedge I think 12 feet.

12, I hit driver, 3-wood just short, pitched it about a foot.

15, I hit two drivers just short of the green, chipped it about six feet, I think.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Vijay.

End of FastScripts.

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