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August 14, 2004

Vijay Singh


JULIUS MASON: Vijay Singh, ladies and gentlemen, at 12-under at the 86th PGA Championship.

Some opening thoughts, Vijay.

VIJAY SINGH: It was a lot harder than it looked today. I didn't play as well as yesterday. I didn't drive the ball as good as yesterday. I didn't hit it as close as yesterday, but I managed to score well. Thank God for the little putter of mine; it kept me in play. I guess that's what it takes.

I didn't hit it badly, but I just didn't hit it close where I was comfortable making more, I had more chances for birdie.

But still playing well. Swinging the club well, and stroking the putter really good. So, I'll be excited for tomorrow.

JULIUS MASON: Let's talk about your bogey and your birdies, please.

VIJAY SINGH: I bogeyed the fourth hole. I hit a pretty good drive in the left trap. Hit it fat, short and hit sand wedge just over the green and chipped it stiff.

Sixth hole, I hit a 5-wood, pitching wedge about 20 feet and holed that.

10th hole, I hit a driver, sand wedge about eight feet maybe, maybe less.

13, I hit a 5-wood, sand wedge. It was about 15 foot, I guess.

And 16, I hit driver, 5-wood in the bunker, blasted out about 15 foot and holed that.

Q. Yesterday you mentioned that the majors might not be as important to you as some of the other top players. Can that be an advantage in a situation like tomorrow and keeping it in perspective as just another golf tournament?

VIJAY SINGH: I guess so.

But let me make this clear. Majors are important to me. Probably not as important as the other guys. I strive to win majors. But it's not the end of the world if I don't win a major. I mean, it is important to me, so don't get me wrong. I'm going out there to win a major. I'm not sitting back and saying, hey, I don't want to win a major, it doesn't matter if I win or not. I want to win majors.

It will be tense out there. I'm going to go out and do my hardest. I'm going to try to beat everybody in the field if I can. I'm in the best position right now to do that.

Q. You had those birdie chances on the first three holes, and then including the ones on 2 that you left a little bit short, when you were going aside and hitting the putter against the collar, is that a drill that helps you do anything specific like reminding yourself to get through the ball or something like that?

VIJAY SINGH: No, just to keep my putter square when I strike the ball. I'm surprised you caught that (laughing). I thought nobody was watching. But that's just a practice drill just to make sure the putter is square when I strike the ball.

Q. Was that the problem the first three holes, and did you right yourself the rest of the way?

VIJAY SINGH: No, that's something that I've been working on. I've been doing that all week. But it is a practice drill that I've been doing for a while, but nothing to do with the first three. I just didn't hit the putts hard enough[].

Q. How do you feel you're different now, as both a golfer and a player, than you were even two or three years ago? And secondly, do you feel like you're the No. 1 player in the world right now?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know if I'm any different. I guess I'm winning a lot more tournaments. I'm a lot more confident going out there. I'm playing well enough to feel like every time I tee it up, I can win golf tournaments.

So, that way I'm different. I feel very confident when I go out there and play. I'm very in control of my golf swing when I'm playing well. Obviously this week, I feel really comfortable with that.

Second question, I don't know. I mean, I go over the ranking, and I'm really not bothered about who is No. 1 right now and who is not. I just have to take care of myself. I keep saying this to all of you guys, that my focus two months ago was the wrong thing. I was focusing so hard to get to the No. 1 spot and I started not focusing on my own game.

So every time I tee it up, I didn't want to play bad, and hence, I started to make simple mistakes.

Right now, I am totally focused on what I am doing, my game and not really worried about the rankings, so that's where I stand on that.

Q. That said, Vijay, how badly would you like to be No. 1 in the world?

VIJAY SINGH: (Laughter.) It doesn't bother me at all. I really don't care about that right now.

Q. Do you feel like you've made a significant separation from the field that you can play more you against Justin, or do you feel like you still have to really worry about the guys behind you?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, that putt on the last meant a lot. You know, standing there and being three shots ahead of the pack, Justin obviously was going to be either tied or one back if I missed that. [] But that said, that putt meant a lot, being four ahead of the pack that was -- I don't know how many guys are out there, I think there's five other guys, five guys that are four back now. They have to play one shot better to catch me now. They have one more shot to catch up, and that meant a lot to me.

Justin, I'll have to play with him tomorrow, and I'll take care of that when the time comes. It's a good thing that I only have to -- not only have to worry about Justin, obviously the field is there, but I'm just going to go out there and play my hardest. And they have to play one shot better now, so that meant that was a big putt for me in that instance.

Q. You talked about that's a little putting drill. Over the years, who, if anybody, have you sought outside help to work with on putting?

VIJAY SINGH: I worked with Dave Pelz, gosh, going back a few years. I haven't worked with him for five or six years. I keep taking information from other guys.

I've been working with myself. This change that I've done from the belly putter to conventional, I've actually done it on my own. I have a putting device that I practice on, to make sure the putter goes straight back and through. That's been helping me a lot. I putted for the whole week, maybe two hours a day on that device, and I never really varied off that. I never hit a putt outside of the device, so I made sure that my stroke was always the same and it could repeat itself, and that's probably why I'm putting well now.

Q. If you hold on to win tomorrow for your fifth win of the year, does that make you the leading candidate for Player of the Year? And does that mean anything to you?

VIJAY SINGH: It would be nice to win the Player of the Year if I can. It's still early stage right now. If I win tomorrow, I probably will be in a very strong position to do that. Otherwise, somebody has to go out and win four, five, six events to catch up to me.

If I win tomorrow, I think, you know, it would be a very, very high possibility I would get that, yeah.

Q. Your record as a closer has been very strong the last few years. Are you just very comfortable playing ahead?

VIJAY SINGH: I feel that way. You know, it doesn't really bother me, I guess, when I'm leading a golf tournament and lose the lead in the first three or four holes. Maybe that's why I can just refocus and just play. I keep telling myself, it's an 18-hole event.

I played with John Daly two weeks ago and watched the start he had; if it was anybody else,[] he probably would have lost his mind. I kept going and I kept telling myself, hey, there's 18 holes, and that's pretty much what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm going to go out there and try not to make mistakes early on and see if I can pick up birdies on one or two holes early on and then go on from there.

I feel comfortable with my lead. The way I feel, the person that has the lead, the other guy has to play one shot better to catch me if he's one shot back, and that's the way I feel.

JULIUS MASON: Vijay Singh, folks. Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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