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July 29, 2004

Vijay Singh


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Vijay Singh to the interview room. Great round today, 9 under par 63 with a series of eight straight 3s starting at 9. Maybe just talk about that run you got on.

VIJAY SINGH: Gosh, I've never made so many 3s in my life, but on a par 3 golf course. (Laughing) but it felt good. I putted nicely today. I hit a lot of close shots, but I think making those 5 , 6 , 7 footers and occasionally 10 footers, that kept the round going. I was really pleased with my round.

JOE CHEMYCZ: You changed putters and you went to a conventional putter for the first time in a while. Just talk a little bit about the changes.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I was struggling, I won three tournaments; doesn't mean I'm putting badly. I was putting nicely, but then all of a sudden, I just could not make any more putts. Everything was 33, 32, 33 putts, every round I went out and occasionally get it down to 28, 29. But I was relying on more ball striking to keep my scores going. That put a lot of pressure, and then British Open was it, I think I averaged 34 putts there and you can't win golf tournaments doing that. I came back home and decided, hey, I'm going to try it out and worked every day last week at least an hour and a half a day, just putting on it and felt comfortable.

A little disappointed to not come out here and play on Tuesday because I wanted to try it out. I went out yesterday and it felt quite nice.

Got off to a good start today. I think I made a 5 footer on 1, and that just gave me a little boost. Then I made another one of the same length on 2, so that kind of kept me a little upbeat about it and got my confidence going, and you know, went on from there.

Q. Can you talk about how the rain from a couple days ago kept the greens soft and made things easier for everybody today?

VIJAY SINGH: It's still wet out there, the ball is collecting a lot of mud. Going off in the morning, with the greens as soft as they were, the fairways were soft, you could use the driver and the ball didn't run out. That's very important. That's why you see low scoring. But the greens, you could fly whatever you want right at the flag and it stops straightaway. It's easy on the chip shot, the lob shot. All around, quite an easy day to score. There's so many good scores. The conditions are going to get if it doesn't rain anymore it's going to get harder.

Q. Since you won here before, do you always feel that you have a good chance to win when you come to Warwick Hills since you won here?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you always have good feeling when you go to a golf course where you've won before, and I play here almost every year. I feel good about this golf course. You kind of have a lot of knowledge about the golf course when you play tournaments a long, long time.

So, I just feel like, you know, every time I come here, I have a good chance of winning. Doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to win, but that feeling is always there. With a start like today, who knows.

Q. This is about as close as Tiger the rest of the players in the world have been to Tiger as far as that No. 1 ranking. How much incentive is it for you to challenge him for that top spot?

VIJAY SINGH: I kind of got away from that a little bit. I put too much pressure on myself trying to get that spot in the beginning of the year. I just want to go out there and enjoy my game. I'm really not worried about who is No. 1 right now. I just want to go out there and do it myself. The last month and a half, two months, I have not been playing that well and maybe focusing on the wrong things. But it is close, and I think the best chance Ernie has to catch Tiger and he's playing great golf right now.

Q. I know it's a little off subject, but I'm working on a piece about Dan Olsen, a guy you've practiced with in Florida some. Could you talk about him as a player and what it's going to take for him to stay out here beyond this year?

VIJAY SINGH: He's got a lot of talent. I've watched him practice a lot, I've practiced with him quite a bit. A lot of potential. He's a great ball striker. I don't know what's keeping him from not finishing as good as, you know, every week, not finishing well. He's missing cuts and I don't know what kind of pressure he has put on himself, but he's a good enough player to be out there and contending every week.

Q. Do you feel like you're committed to the conventional putter for an extended period, or is it a round by round, tournament by tournament basis you're going to evaluate it?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, after today, I think I'm going to stick to it for a while, but you never know.

I don't feel uncomfortable with it. I won a lot of golf tournaments with it. I won both majors with it. I've changed a little bit of my grip and my stance, so it does feel a lot more comfortable than it did. Maybe using the long putter for that long kind of helped me stroke the ball, release the putter a little better.

So all in all, I think it's a good thing that I've used the belly putter for a while. And going back to the conventional, it doesn't feel so foreign, it feels so comfortable right now.

Q. How long did you use the belly putter?

VIJAY SINGH: About two and a half years.

Q. Obviously you've changed the putter. You mentioned after the British that you were going to re evaluate some things and obviously that was one of the things that you did. Was there anything else that you thought about, because obviously you've been playing great golf, but in the majors you have not been able to quite pull it off the last few years.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, if you look at my stats, gosh, you've got to make putts. Whenever you win tournaments, you've got to make putts. And I'm a great chipper and a good bunker player, but if you keep missing in a round, you miss 3 or 4 footers, 5 footers, that kind of eats into your game. And you put so much pressure into going for the flags that whenever you make a mistake, it's a bogey.

British Open was the end of that. I played good golf, I played great golf the first two days and was only 4 under; I should have been 10 , 11 under, but just missed so many putts. I think I had 35 putts on the second day and shot 1 under. So, if you do that, you cannot win the golf tournament. You cannot contend anymore.

So, you know, came back and thought about it and said, hey, I can't put any worse.

Q. I know you've probably answered this question, walked in late, sorry about that, if you could just talk about today's round a little bit. You always need low scores to win here, and it's always good to get off to a roaring start, don't you think?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I have. I couldn't ask for a better start. You know, the golf course is yielding a lot of birdies so when you get into a round, I think the back nine, you know, if you 10, 12, 13, 14, you need to make birdies there; and I made birdies on all of them and an eagle. So those are the scoring holes on the back nine, and we are looking forward to getting to that stretch of holes where we can make a score.

So, I was fortunate enough to make all 3s through there.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through real quick, you said you made a 5 footer at 1 and a bogey there at 3.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, hit it left, pitched it about four foot. So missed that one.

6, I hit a driver, sand wedge, about three foot.

9, I hit a driver, pitching wedge about the same distance, three, 3 1/2 foot.

10, I hit a driver, pitching wedge about five foot.

12, I hit a driver, sand wedge about six foot, I guess.

13, I hit driver, 3 wood about six foot.

14, I hit driver, pitched it about that was a long putt I made there, about 15 , 18 foot.

15, I hit driver, 8 iron, about ten foot, I guess.

18, I hit a driver, 9 iron, what was that, eight foot.

JOE CHEMYCZ: So the one on 3 is really the only one you missed all day, the 4 footer.

VIJAY SINGH: No. 3 was the only one. And I had chances on a few others. 7, I had a 50 yard shot and 16 I had about the same distance to the pin, but you can't make them all.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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