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August 1, 2004

Vijay Singh


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Vijay, congratulations on your second Buick Open title, your fourth win of the season and 19th of your career. If we could start with some opening comments. Congratulations.

VIJAY SINGH: Thank you. Wow, what a day. John kind of put a lot of pressure on me in the early stages, and that was a good battle. I mean, it was really I've never had that kind of battle with anybody for a long time. He played really well. I must give him a lot of credit. Just thankful that I managed to pull through at the end.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: John mentioned, you didn't seem very fazed after he came out with three birdies and an eagle in the first four holes. Maybe talk about your state of mind after four holes.

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I lucky enough, I had a two shot lead going into today, and when he started off birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, I put in two birdies as well, so he was only one ahead. With 13, 14 holes to go, I wasn't worried at all. I knew there was a lot of holes out there that you could catch up for make a move.

I was just playing my game and I was patient. I'm trying to hit good shots and was rolling the putter really nicely, that was good. I wasn't too worried out there.

Q. With your win today, you join Tony Lima and Julius Boros as the only two time winners in this event. What does it mean to you to win this event twice?

VIJAY SINGH: I didn't know that until they told me on 18. It's a good group to join. Those guys are legendary and they have been great golfers for a long, long time. If that's a club, I'm really happy to be in that club.

Q. What was it like out there playing with John in a big crowd? Were you talking during the round, any banter going on, anything like that?

VIJAY SINGH: No. You know, it was serious, but we're good friends. We play a lot of practice rounds. I like John a lot. I mean, he's a great guy. Once we're out there, as good of friends as we are, we try to focus on our own game. He did really well. And we do have small talk here and there, but the intense atmosphere out there, we just tried to focus on our own game.

The crowd kept us going, too. I've never seen crowds like that, unless John was playing in his backyard. I asked him if he paid the crowd to be so noisy, I don't know. (Laughing). But it was good. I enjoyed it. I kind of fed off the crowd, and the more noise they made, it seems like the more calmer I became. I think my caddie was a little bit more worried than I was when I told him just calm down and everything's cool. (Laughing).

Q. When you two got off to the quick start and Tiger and Carlos did not make a huge move, did it almost feel like match play at the end?

VIJAY SINGH: No. This golf course, the back nine yields a lot of birdies. You can make a whole load of birdies on the back nine, and eagles, as well. So at no point I felt that it was a match play until the last, the very last hole when Tiger and Carlos finished 21, I think.

You know, it was a tough day. The conditions were really perfect for scoring. There was a lot of low scores on the board and I just there's birdies everywhere. Birdies were coming out of everywhere. And when you're in the last group, you want to make birdies. At the same time, you don't want to make any mistakes. I think at the end, we finally made mistakes but it was good mistakes.

I had a chance to make par on the last but, you know, we both did. It was a shame that somebody had to miss a putt there. I felt so bad for John, and you know, he played really well and he was really focused and he wanted to win so bad; so did I. I told him, you know, I'm sorry that somebody had to win.

Q. You play a lot with John in practice rounds and competition, as an objective member, since you can't be on the Ryder Cup team, what do you think about his, what would he add to a USA Ryder Cup team?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you know, I played with John many a times. Gosh, he hits the ball and he chipped and putted and his iron shots; I don't think anyone else could have played any better than that. He missed a lot of putts out there that cut on the lips. I think he hit two or three bad drives to the right but not as bad as what he used to hit it. Hal will really have to look at his performance today and the last few weeks and really consider that. I don't know what the golf course they are playing is like, but the way John was hitting the driver, gosh, it was not only long but pretty straight, too, and he's rolling his ball. He should be considered. I don't know if he's going to be picked. There's a good chance I think.

Q. John was just sitting here saying: I don't care what Vijay says, I was striking it better than he was today.

VIJAY SINGH: Sorry? He was?

Q. He said he was striking the ball better than you today.

VIJAY SINGH: I think he did. Bottom line is, you know, I still beat him. (Laughter.) So I'm waiting to see him again sometime.

Take nothing away from me, he did hit the ball really good. He drove the ball unbelievably on the front nine. I thought, gosh, I'm in for a big day here. The way he started I thought he was going to close it off in the first nine. But, that's golf. There's a lot of holes, there are 18 holes and I just hung in there.

Q. You said that you've been struggling, confidence, the putter, all that over the past month, month and a half. How important is it for you to come out here, post a low number on Thursday and win this tournament wire to wire?

VIJAY SINGH: I mean, it was important for me because it's the first time I came out with a short putter; a conventional putter, put it that way.

You know, I don't know if it's coincidence or what, but you don't normally come out the first day with a new putter and putt like I did and play like I did. But, gosh, I'm taking a lot away from this week. I'm really proud of the way I hung in there with the putter and it worked really well.

And I spent a lot of hours, even after the first day, after the great round I had, I was out there for an hour and a half trying to just make sure I'm comfortable with the putter.

I didn't putt very well the second day well, I did putt, but I didn't make as many. But I was still very comfortable then. I've taken a lot away. I've got a week to practice next week and I'm going to obviously putt a lot again and try to be ready for the PGA. I think I should be ready for the PGA the way I'm feeling right now.

Q. After 36 holes of play, 34 golfers were within five shots. After Saturday's play, just six golfers within five shots, a couple more within six. That separation left a pretty small cast that had a chance today to win. How much confidence did you go in with knowing that there were really only a few players out there that really had a chance to get you today?

VIJAY SINGH: I was comfortable, I was pretty confident with the way I was playing. You know, the game is so unique in that way, you may be playing great one day and come out the next day and not function as good.

I was very aware of who was up there, who could post a good score. And from how far back could one post a good, 8 , 9 under and actually catch us.

Then again, I told myself this morning, I said go out there and just play the game. There's a lot of birdie opportunity and if you just shoot 4 , 5 , 6 under, you should be able to win, and that's what happened. You know, the guys John was two back. If I shoot 4 under or 5 under, he has to shoot 7 under to beat me and that was the theory behind it.

You don't have a plan when you go out there and play. The plan doesn't always come true. So, I was just happy that I played solid golf today and I putted nicely which is a big part of my game.

Q. Your caddie this week was Joey, who is also your trainer. Talk about that relationship. Was he going to beat you up in the gym if you didn't play well?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I go 1 up on him now. We didn't vary off our routine. After hours on the range and driving range and putting green, we still went out and did our normal workout. We did workouts in the morning. It was good. It was all business, and even his job was business, you know. He was out there, he was carrying bag and doing the job like any other caddie would do. I'm just proud to give him a win and it's going to happen again. I don't know when, but it's going to happen again.

Q. Is the reason you're not playing next week at The INTERNATIONAL just to get ready for the PGA; because that's an event you normally play in, isn't it?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, and also the altitude. I think a week before a major going up in the high altitude and playing, it just doesn't fit. It's not a good practice, not a good preparation for a big major event. And if it was a week before, week after, I probably would have played; or two weeks before, rather.

And also, I just want to go and practice and make sure that I'm ready when I arrive there. It's the last major of the year and I just want to do well in it.

Q. Going into PGA will possible Player of the Year award and possible Money Title be on your mind?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm not too worried about that right now. If I win the PGA, then that's a big consideration, if I should be or not. Right now my thoughts are really playing the game and then trying to do the best week in, week out.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could touch on your round and we'll take one final question. You mentioned you birdied two of the first four holes, starting the first hole the par 5.

VIJAY SINGH: I was very uncomfortable all week. I teed it up the first day, the first week saw inaudible hit two OBs and just kind of stuck in my head. Although I hit good drivers the first and second day, I was trying to get on to the 10th fairway. Yesterday I didn't quite make it, but hit a good driver and 3 wood onto the green and 2 putted from 60 foot.

4, I hit a driver, sand wedge maybe six feet. Holed that.

7, I hit driver, 5 wood just right of the green and chipped it about five feet and holed that.

12, I hit a driver, sand wedge probably about 15 foot.

14, I hit a driver in the bunker. Blasted out about eight foot and holed that.

16, I hit driver, 3 wood to the back edge about 40 feet probably and then 2 putted.

Then bogeyed 18. Hit driver into the right trees. Tried to chip out and then hit a 7 iron about eight feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Only two bogeys on the week. Maybe if you could just comment on that, and we'll take one final question.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, the bogey I made on the first day was on the third hole, 5 iron left. I think it's all to do with making those 6 , 8 footers. If you make 6 , 8 foot putts for pars, you're not going to make too many bogeys and you're going to hold your score.

I think that's what happened this week. I putted well in eight feet, ten feet in and that's what wins golf tournaments.

Q. The sign here in the media center says it's seven straight times you've gone into the final round with a lead and won. Can you talk about that kind of consistency, and was this one maybe the toughest because of the way that Daly played?

VIJAY SINGH: I think it was. You know, I wasn't aware of that until they told me yesterday and I said, "Oh, man, stats, got another thing to worry about today." (Laughing).

Once you're out there, you're not worried about that. Daly, like I said, it was tough trying to win today. Daly played extremely well and the other guys behind played well. It was a tough one and can't wait for the next one.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Vijay, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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