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August 13, 2004

Vijay Singh


JULIUS MASON: Vijay Singh, ladies and gentlemen, in the clubhouse at 9-under.

Vijay, some thoughts on your round. We'll go through your card and we'll go to Q&A, please.

VIJAY SINGH: Well, a great day. I enjoyed the day today again, like yesterday. I always enjoy playing with John Daly, and obviously Tiger, he's always -- it's always nice to play in his company. It's pretty intense there.

The wind was blowing when we started off, and, you know, we saw Ernie go to 10-under and so I thought you've got to play some golf to get up there. I didn't want to move away from the lead too much. And then kind of everybody started coming back to us.

But I kept my head and I played well the first nine, kept the ball in play. The wind died, and when the wind dies, the way I was driving the ball today, I felt like I could birdie a lot of holes coming in.

But it was fun. I enjoyed the company, enjoyed the game today and looking forward to the weekend.

JULIUS MASON: Let's go through your birdies.

VIJAY SINGH: First hole I hit a wayward drive on 1. Second shot, it was 45 foot away and 3-putted.

Birdie two with a driver, 5-iron, missed right and putted about eight feet.

4, I hit a driver, sand wedge about, again, eight feet.

5, I hit driver, 3-wood on the green about 20-foot and 2-putted.

10, I hit driver, sand wedge about 15 foot.

14, I hit an 8-iron about 5-foot.

Bogeyed 15. I hit a driver in the bunker, 6-iron just left, chipped up about 20 feet and 2-putted.

16, I hit a driver, 5-iron on the green, 25 foot, 2-putted.

Q. There are so many different types of players on the leaderboard. What does that say about the golf course?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you don't have to be long to play this golf course. You've got to be on the fairways. If you hit the right trajectory of shots, you can get the ball out there. If you hit high shots into the wind, obviously it's not going to go anywhere.

But everybody is capable of playing. Nobody is short anymore. Everybody hits the ball quite a fairly good distance and the greens are running smoothly. If you hit the right shots, you can score around here.

Q. Can you recall whether you've played with Justin a lot, and what's your opinion about Justin and his game?

VIJAY SINGH: Justin is a good player. He's won a lot of good tournaments. He's won the British Open and won THE PLAYERS Championship. He's a big-game player. He's not scared to win. Obviously he's playing really good now.

I haven't played with Justin this year at all, I don't think so, but I'm looking forward to playing with him tomorrow. I'm sure he's playing well and he's also looking forward to tomorrow right now. So he's not a scared player, he can play.

Q. You mentioned that it got fairly intense out there. Obviously you and Tiger both played well; you get to the lead, he gets to the cut. Could you talk a little about Tiger's performance those last few holes[] that he needed to get some birdies?

VIJAY SINGH: You know, when I started off, somebody told me the cut would be around 3- or 4-over. So Tiger was well within that all the time. So I think he got into three, the worst he got.

I wasn't really too concerned about Tiger's scoring out there. I was more focused on what I was doing.

He played well. He putted better than he did yesterday.

Q. To follow that up -- and thank you for coming in for the first time this week. He had to get to 1-over. Were you aware of that? Was he aware of that and did that provide any tension in the group, or is that something you weren't concerned about?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm sure he's going to come in in a few minutes and you can ask him that question.

Q. I'm sure he's not.

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. I was focused on my game, I'm sorry.

Q. You haven't won a major since 2000. How badly do you want this one?

VIJAY SINGH: You want to win a major, as many as you can. But I just have not played -- I've been in position to win majors a lot of times, but I just have not finished the job yet, not because I wasn't playing well. I think my putting was a big factor. I feel like my game is coming around because my putting is improved. I enjoy putting now.

I'm really looking forward. I'm going to try my hardest to win this one. Not winning from 2000, obviously I'm disappointed that I have not won any more majors, but there's always the next one. I always keep telling myself that, and this is another good opportunity right here.

Q. Ernie and Tiger talk so much about the importance of the majors. Has it been a case where you've been trying too hard on the weekend or on Sunday?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. I don't think so. I go out there and try to play the best I can every time. Obviously majors, you have your game at the same time. I don't know what happens. If you're not putting well -- you know, for instance at the British Open, I played a great weekend, but I putted probably the worst I've putted for a long, long time. So you cannot win majors if you don't putt well. That's why I've changed putters, to try to improve that part of my game.

You know, I don't think it's as important to me as Ernie or Tiger. You know, I go out there and I try my hardest, and if I win, that's fine. It's still a game to me.

Q. My question is related to the putting. Obviously you made the putting change a couple of weeks ago and you're doing well this week. Are you at all surprised that the results have been so good so quickly making the change?

VIJAY SINGH: I was two weeks ago. I was very tense when I got out there on the first hole. I was really concerned about how I was going to perform with the conventional putter. But I putted a lot when I was at home[] and I felt comfortable to go out there and perform well.

I'm surprise that I'm putting so well. I worked really hard with my putting, and putting two and a half years with the long putter and changing, I think winning was the biggest surprise one can ever have.

For me, I thought, that was a breakthrough. If I had putted poorly, then who knows what would have happened. I think that gave me a little light, and, you know, I just enjoy putting now. I work every evening, I make sure that I don't lose that touch that I have going now, and I feel like I can[] produce a good stroke every time I'm over the ball.

Q. Are there any kind of special drills or practice routines that you go through with your putting that have helped you with the transition?

VIJAY SINGH: If you come out to the putting green this evening, you will probably see one.

Q. Are Ardena and Qass here with you this week?


Q. Have you found it difficult in any way to concentrate this week with the weather reports back home?

VIJAY SINGH: No. I don't think it's going to affect our side, a little bit, but my house is pretty strong. I don't think I'm too worried about that.

Q. I wanted to ask you, I know that you enjoy cricket. Can you tell me, do you have time to follow it and what is your favorite team?

VIJAY SINGH: Favorite team, I don't really have one. I just Love watching it. I've watched cricket for a long, long time, but in America not too many people follow it. I think you can get it on BBC radio pretty much. I get news film. When I go back to England, I watch it there, and if I'm in Australia, I do watch it there.

It's a disappointing thing for me that I love it so much but I cannot follow it over here. So through the years, I've kind of lost interest because I cannot get results. I love to watch it but I can't do it in America.

Q. I'm intrigued by your suggestion that winning majors is probably more important to Tiger and Ernie and that to you this is only a game. If that's true, why do you practice and devote so much to yourself? Can you elaborate on that?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it does mean something to me. It's not that I don't care about winning a major; I do.

I want to play well. It's my profession. I like to excel in what I do and do for a living, and I love the game. I want to play well. Every time I go out there, I want to hit good shots, and that's probably why I practice. I do not enjoy playing bad golf.

Q. Whether it's a major or not?

VIJAY SINGH: Whether it's a major or not, whether it's a practice round with my friends.

Q. Could you talk about the pin placements today relative to where they were yesterday? And also, did you think your putt on 18 was going in?

VIJAY SINGH: The pin placements today I thought was -- you know, there's not an easy pin out there. With the wind that blows out here and the drop-offs on every hole, it's a pretty daunting task to go out there and hit 3-irons and 4-irons even though the pin is in the middle of the green, to hit a good, solid shot.

I thought the pin placements were very fair. They could go a lot tougher. 18 today was really hard. 7th hole, I hit a 3-iron there. That's one of the hardest shots in golf. You've got the ocean, the lake on one side and the mountains on the other side. I thought it was very fair.

It wasn't easy by no means. My putt on 18, I couldn't even see my caddie on the other side of the hole, it was so far away. I was just lucky to get up-and-down in two.

JULIUS MASON: Vijay Singh, folks. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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