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September 4, 2004

Vijay Singh


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Vijay, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center.

Great day out there and an excellent start, holing it from out in the fairway for an eagle, and then birdie right after that. Why don't you just talk about your round? It was very good day, very consistent and a lot of birdies.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, what a start. With a start like that, I guess you can be very aggressive. I was feeling pretty good out there when I started off. I knew I was going to -- I played well yesterday, so I good feeling about my swing.

After a start like that you can be very aggressive and attack the golf course. I felt being 5-, or 6-under after three holes, I had the green light to go ahead and hit drivers and go at the pins, and I did and I played well all day.

Q. Do you like this course for that reason; it allows you to attack and hit the driver?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I mean, it's a lot better than last year. It's more softer, not firmness-wise, but the whole terrain around the greens and the fairways. They have taken away a lot of the undulations. It plays pretty good now. If you hit good shots, you'll be rewarded.

The way I'm hitting my driver, it sets up. If you hit a good drive on the holes, some of the holes out there, you set yourself up you can attack for the pin. I've been driving the ball well so far. I keep doing that, you know, my chances are good.

Q. It seems like week after week after week, you're right up there, are like all facets of your game about where you want them or is one higher than the rest?

VIJAY SINGH: In the last, gosh, four weeks, five weeks my putting has come around. Ever since the move to the conversional putter, I have a lot more confidence in my putts. I'm putting well and that's giving me a lot of freedom to attack the pins and be aggressive on my chip shots, too. I used to be pretty worried from six feet in, but now I'm pretty confident that I can make those putts.

When you have a feeling like that with the putter, you know, the whole game frees up. And that's a good feeling to have, when you go out there, and you know even if you hit a bad shot you can get up-and-down.

Q. How along ago did you switch putters and make the change?

VIJAY SINGH: Oh, gosh, where have you been? (Laughing). Buick, Flint, that was my first week, after about two and a half years. I've putted well since.

Q. Do you play the course differently if you start in the morning, as opposed to the afternoon?

VIJAY SINGH: I think the greens are a little bit more receptive in the morning. The firmness of the greens, depending what time you play, I think they are still pretty new. They redid most of greens, and there are patches on greens that are really firm and you have to be aware of all that. I think it's an advantage if you can play in the morning. It's much more receptive.

Q. Tomorrow, with the talk about the No. 1 ranking, do you get caught up in that or does it affect you in any way at all?

VIJAY SINGH: Everybody keeps talking about it, they keep writing about it, I keep reading about it. (Laughter.) And you keep asking the same questions.

So, yeah, I mean, I'm aware of it, but I'm not concerned about it. It's not going to affect me one way or the other if I overtake him or not. Yeah, if I win this tournament, I'll be No. 1; fine. But what would that change for me? I'm to go out there next week and do it all over again.

So it would be a great achievement for me to hit that spot, but it's not going to be the end of the world. I'm just going to go out there to play again next week. Yeah, you know, it would be nice to do that, to get that spot. But there's still many more tournaments till the end of the year and that's my focus right now.

Q. I know you talked early in the year about wanting to work towards that, so how satisfying is it to be that close and possibly do it?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it has been my goal. It was my goal beginning of last year and beginning this year, as well. But it kind of interfered with my play. I was too concerned about that and I wasn't focused on what I was supposed to do.

So I totally refocused myself and said, well, let's not worry about the World Ranking. If I play well, win tournaments, it will happen. That's my attitude and that's the way I feel.

Q. Talk about the Target World Challenge, after the year you've had, playing in a tournament like that?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I have committed and that's as far as I can talk about it. I'm not sure if I am going to show up. I think I'll be out of the country for four weeks before that, and so depending on how tired I am or if I play that event, I'm going to have two weeks before the schedule starts again for next year.

So I have committed and it's a great tournament. I love to play it, but if I've had enough playing for the year, I'm done.

Q. The way you're playing now, do you feel like there's no way anyone could catch you?

VIJAY SINGH: I wish that was true. (Laughter.) No, I'm playing well. I can't deny that. I've hit the ball really well the first two days. I think I missed one green yesterday, and, you know, probably two today. If I keep doing that and start making a few more putts from 15, 20 foot, I had a lot of chances today and yesterday.

So, I don't know. I can just control what I do out there and each day is different, as well. I can go out there and play pretty ordinary tomorrow and guys can overtake me pretty comfortable. When I'm playing well, I feel comfortable with what I'm doing, and that's as far as I can help myself go out there and play well tomorrow.

Q. We know you love to hit balls, now after a round like this, are you going to go to the range now? And if so, why?

VIJAY SINGH: I always like to wind down. Go and hit a few drives, a few long irons just to wind down the golf swing. It's very important to wind down. It's very important, you wind down, hit a few putts and you leave. That's been my routine forever and I'm not going to change.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Let's go through your round.

VIJAY SINGH: 1, I hit 3-wood, sand wedge.

Then I hit a driver, laid up with a pitching wedge and I hit a sand wedge about six-foot.

4, I hit a driver, pitching wedge about four feet.

7, I hit a driver, 3-wood about ten feet and 2-putted.

8, I hit a 5-iron about 25, 30 foot and 3-putted. Second putt was about 5-foot.

10, I hit a driver, 9-iron about 15, 20 feet.

12, I hit a driver, pitching wedge about 15, 20 feet.

15, I hit a driver, pitching wedge about a foot.

16, I hit a 6-iron, it was at least 30 foot way. I had 5-foot of fringe to go over, and I putted from there and it went in.

17, I hit driver, pitching wedge, went over the green just on the fringe. Putted down to about four feet and missed it.

18, I hit driver, 6-iron, 15 foot maybe and 2-putted.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thanks, Vijay, for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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