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May 5, 2004

Vijay Singh


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Vijay, for joining us a few minutes here in the media center at the Wachovia Championship. Three victories this year and two in a row here. You're playing great. Talk about coming into this week and the course and we'll go into questions.

VIJAY SINGH: Nice weather for a change. The golf course is really nice. This is probably one of the nicest golf courses we play. It's very demanding on your drives. The rough is not as long as last year. I think there are places where you can miss the fairways here and get away with it. I'm playing well. I'm looking forward to it, and if the weather stays like this, we'll have a good time.

Q. (Inaudible)?

VIJAY SINGH: They told me yesterday that the 9th tee box was longer. I didn't realize that, but it obviously was. It doesn't play any different, though. The big change is the 8th hole. It's a very unusual green and very long and you can get some difficult pin placements there. Other than that, the golf course is no different. I'm really impressed with the shape of the golf course.

Q. You said a couple of times that one of your goals is to get to No. 1 in the world. Now you have won three times, you've won two in a row, how would you rate your chances as the season is shaping up?

VIJAY SINGH: I think I have to win another 15 to get to the No. 1 spot. I don't know. I'm playing well. I feel like if I keep playing the way I am, not have any hiccups along the way, I have a good chance. It depends what Tiger does, too. If he starts winning like he normally does, the task will be much harder.

I feel I'm playing well now and I have to keep doing that and win more events and we'll see what happens at the end of the year. I'd like to get to the No. 1 spot before I leave the TOUR. It's going to be a task that I'm going to keep trying to get to and we'll see what happens.

Q. At Buick this year, we were talking a lot about your Top-10 streak and that ended there, as well as the fact that you missed the cut. Did you feel that was added pressure to your game by having to talk about that all the time, and did that missing the cut there kind of re-energize you to start back again?

VIJAY SINGH: Any time anyone misses the cut it's hard to get fired up for the next event. I was disappointed I missed the cut. It got to me in a negative way. We talked about it so much, that my focus was on the Top 10 than winning the golf tournament. When your focus is away from the golf tournament, you have problems. I putted really poorly in those three or four events. No matter how well you strike the ball, if you don't make putts, you're not going to score well. The way I'm playing now -- I'm putting well, if I keep doing this and not have any bad swing thoughts along the way, I feel like right now I should win the golf tournament, if I'm playing the way I'm playing.

Q. Last year a lot of people made a case for you winning Player of the Year, thought that you might. After you did not, did that motivate you at all this year and what would be more special to you, getting the No. 1 World Ranking or winning Player of the Year?

VIJAY SINGH: I think if I get to No. 1, I will win Player of the Year anyway. I think they go hand in hand. I'd like to get to the No. 1 spot. That's been my goal for a long long time. I can see coming through this year, if I play well. I cannot stop where I am now if I keep producing the scores I'm doing. With a few more events I have a good chance of winning Player of the Year. I don't want be disappointed if I don't do that, but getting to No. 1 is my goal right now, and if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, that's what I'm thinking.

Q. You had said at the start of the year you thought it might take a couple of years to close the gap between one and two. Do you feel like you've shortened that a little bit?

VIJAY SINGH: It's closer now than it's ever been. It's not only me, but Ernie is playing well and Phil is playing well. The whole gang is playing good golf. Last week Phil was in the tournament, so the strength of field was strengthened that way. In Houston the strength of the field wasn't that strong. Me winning golf tournaments in an event where the field is not as strong, I don't get as much points as I would get if I won a Major or an event where there are a lot more points. That way I have to win a lot more. This is one event where the field is strong it has been for a while.

Like you said, the gap is much closer now. If there was any chance I was going to get to No. 1, it will probably be this year. It depends on how Tiger plays also.

Q. Tiger was in here earlier and he talked about -- (Inaudible) -- why do you think it is that you don't get the respect that you deserve and does any of that bother you?

VIJAY SINGH: Who am I supposed to get with respect from? I feel like I get enough credit from what I'm doing. I'm not looking for -- I think I get enough respect. If you look at it, I think guys respect me for how I play and it's out there. I don't know what he means by getting more respect. I feel like I'm getting enough credit --

Q. Maybe not respect, but (Inaudible)?

VIJAY SINGH: Phil won the Masters, so there's a lot of attention on him. Obviously Ernie is playing well. Any time there are a group of players playing well, the attention cannot be focused on one player, and I think that's probably why. Tiger is still the No. 1 player in the world and people still pay a lot of attention to him. I don't know, maybe if I win another four or five events this year, maybe I will get a little bit more attention.

Q. World Golf Rankings, to change them, that would in fact benefit someone like yourself who plays more. How much are you aware of those and what are your thoughts about that?

VIJAY SINGH: There is a lot of concern about the World Golf Ranking, but unless somebody comes up with something better, I think we just have to stick by that. There is a lot of talk that a system should be created where you're not penalized for playing a lot more events, like I do. How are you going to figure that out? Somebody should come up with another angle and there's another Golf Ranking called -- what is that -- Sagarin, that puts me at the top. I don't know which is the right way. We all follow the World Ranking at present and that's what we have to abide by, unless, like I said, somebody comes up with something better.

Q. Do you think it's unfair that you actually do get penalized for playing more events?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think I get penalized. I think my average doesn't justify how I play. What it boils down to is, I just have to play, I guess, a little less events, like what Tiger is doing and what Ernie is doing. I like playing golf and I cannot -- what I feel like, the World Ranking is the World Ranking, what I do has nothing to do with what the World Ranking does. I feel I'm playing well now, and if people think I'm the best player in the world right now, that's fine. But we do follow the World Ranking, and it's unfair to guys who play a lot more. We've known that for a long, long time, ever since it was created. That's the system. I cannot go against the system right now.

Q. If you could point to a couple of things about your game that are better now than, say, 2000, when you had already won like your second major, what would they be?

VIJAY SINGH: More consistency. I think my bad shots are not as bad. I feel like I'm driving the ball better now than I've ever done. You would have to look really hard to find me playing a round of golf without missing a fairway. I never used to do that. If you keep driving the ball in the fairways, you're going to have a lot of chances for birdies. That's probably why I'm making more birdies than I have done before.

I'm more consistent with putting, as well. My bad putting days are not so bad. Now it's very consistent and those are two things that I credit myself.

Q. You're obviously swinging very well. I'm curious, when you work on your swing, how much do you do on your own and how important is it to get a second set of eyes to watch what you're doing?

VIJAY SINGH: I've worked on my golf swing probably forever myself. I have a coach that comes and we talk about what I need to be doing, and that's what he does. He's like a video camera watching my golf swing. He's watching my golf swing for a long, long time. And my caddie the same thing, I tell him what I need him to watch and that's all I need him to tell me. It's all feel. I just make sure the movement is the way it's supposed to be and that's how I get more consistent. I don't work on too many different things. I work on the same thing for six, eight months and try to get it as close to perfect as I want it to be, and that's how I work.

Q. Are you surprised you're playing your best golf at age 41?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I'm not. Yes, in a way because of my age, but no, because I feel physically -- physically, I feel I'm stronger now than I probably was when I'm 25, because I never did any physical workout until I got to probably 35 and I started working out physically. Before that, I did not do any physical workout, and all my workouts were hitting balls on the range. Now I feel very strong physically.

A lot of people say you should be taking a rest from golf this week, because I've played two long weeks in a row. I don't feel physically tired, maybe mentally a little bit, but physically I feel very strong and I played a great round of golf today. No, I'm not surprised by playing golf well when I'm 41, and I feel like I can go on. I feel like I'm getting strong, I'm working harder, so there's no telling what I'm going to do what I'm 42.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Vijay for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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