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January 28, 2004

Vijay Singh


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Vijay, for spending a few minutes with us here in the media center. Great start to the year, two Top-10s, and you've had ten straight Top-10s in a row and you've come to a place you're pretty comfortable with, with the victory last year. Why don't you make some comments about the changes in the course and how you feel about coming into this week.

VIJAY SINGH: It's always nice to come to a golf course where you've won. I've won twice here. I feel very comfortable. The golf course is a little bit longer this year. It's very wet in the places where you used to get a lot of run. It's going to play long, and then the changes to the holes 6, 9, 14, 15, is playing a lot longer. It's going to give a lot of trouble to some golfers out there. 15 especially, driver, 7-iron, driver, 3-wood, 2-iron, 6-iron. Turned out to be driver, 3-wood, if there's any wind into you, and that's with the water, so I think the golf course is going to play a lot longer and the wind is not going to be as low as you think. But it's good, very challenging, and it's in great shape.

Q. She mentioned your Top-10 streak. Obviously there are an amazing amount of great golfers out there. How incredible is that run, finishing in the Top-10 for ten straight events?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't really think about it when I go out there. I don't think about finishing Top-10 when I tee it up. I'm thinking about winning the golf tournament. It happens. It's just like making a lot of cuts. You don't think about making cuts when you go out there. It's a great streak, but it's not the streak that I want to think about when I go out there, just to make a Top-10. Obviously I've been playing well for a while and hopefully I'll keep that going. I feel like I'm playing well right now and hitting the ball pretty much the same as I did six, eight months ago, so I'm very comfortable with what I'm doing, and hopefully I can pull this one off.

Q. The Top-10 streak is obviously evidence of your consistency right now. Do you feel like you're at the point in your career where you can turn out a Top-10 -- like you said, you're going for No. 1 all the time, but a high finish in almost every tournament you enter?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it really depends on how you're playing. I'm feeling really good every time I tee up. I've been working very hard with my game and my physical condition, so I don't feel like when I teed it up in the last two events, and especially this one, that I'm not going to play well. I feel like I'm going to play well and I feel like I can contend to win. That's a great feeling when you tee it up at any golf tournament. So I just hope I continue with that feel that I have, and we'll see what happens. I'm not going to say I'm going to tee it up and win the golf tournament, but I'm going to give it a good shot.

Q. Is there one thing that stands out in your mind from last year?

VIJAY SINGH: You know, I don't even remember my winning score. What was my winning score last year?

Q. 23-under, 261.

VIJAY SINGH: I don't remember. When somebody asked me that, I think it's 18 or 19, but I think it was the front nine I played really well last year. I almost made every putt I looked at, and I think I shot 6-under on the front nine, so that I remember very distinctly. It's always nice to start off two or three back and have a streak like that on the front side, all of a sudden being two or three back, I'm three in front. That's a great feeling you have at any time. But that was last year, and that's what I'm going to think about when I go out there.

Q. There's always a lot made about the fans here and the atmosphere. Some golfers like it a lot and some don't like it so much. Where do you stand in that?

VIJAY SINGH: I think it's great to have fans like this. I think this is one with the most fans we have all year. I don't mind it at all. 16 has always been pretty noisy, but as long as they are noisy after you strike the ball, it's okay with me. Once they start taking your shots and they're booing you, that's not what we're out there for, but I don't have any problems with the fans. I love the fans out there and I'm just going to enjoy them.

Q. Vijay, having risen to No. 2 in the World Rankings, how driven are you to be No. 1?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, that's my ultimate goal, is to take the No. 1 spot, but there's a guy out there that's not playing too badly, either. Right now I feel I've got to win more tournaments to get to the No. 1 spot. Finishing Top-10 is not going to get me to the No. 1 spot. That's not my goal, but I'm going to go out there and play the best I can and try to win many tournaments. I think that's going to get me up there. I feel good about it. It may not happen this year but it's in my mind.

Q. Have you finished construction on this gym we read about a lot? And how extravagant is this thing at your home, this workout center?

VIJAY SINGH: It's a good gym. It's a large gym and it's finished, but I'm just waiting to get all the equipment in and get going when I go back.

Q. How can you describe the change in your body over the last few years? Have you lost weight, reproportioned weight? What is it?

VIJAY SINGH: I haven't changed my weight. I've always been around 215. A lot of, I guess, body fat, and my size has gone one smaller, so I feel like I've done it in a -- it's been a process. It hasn't been an overnight thing. I don't feel that much change in my body, but I feel good about it. I'm trying to do other things right now to increase some speed in myself, so that's the next process. I feel great.

Q. Does it have a direct correlation to how you play?

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I think that's a big change in my golf swing. I feel stronger, feel like I can hit a ball harder and firmer. My mis-hits are very strong, so if you mis-hit and miss it badly, my bad shots are not so bad. That's because I'm strong right now. If I don't work out a day I feel like I miss something, so it's come to a stage where I feel like I'm going to go out there and work out every day.

Q. How much has working with Dr. Parent helped you?

VIJAY SINGH: Just to talk to him about these things -- I mean, I haven't worked with him for a while, but he's always around, and just to be with him, he kind of reminds me of a lot of things we've talked about earlier on.

Right now I feel like I can go out there and think about the things that we've talked about and just put that to use. He's been a great influence in the mind part of the game and he's got a lot of good ideas and it's helped me a little bit, yes.

Q. Vijay, there's a bunch of guys who do well here it seems like every year. You're one of those guys, and Mark Calcavecchia and Rocco. There's just certain players that continually show up, the usual suspects, so to speak, but with the course changes made, do you think that they're going to allow more players into the hunt, so to speak, or is it actually going to enhance the guys who already do well here, the long driver who can putt guy?

VIJAY SINGH: I think it favors the long hitters now, especially this year when the golf course is not so fast anymore. For instance, the sixth hole, yesterday we played, and Parnevik wasn't able to carry the bunkers and he hit a 3-iron, but I think he hit another 5-iron into the green, and that's to the front pin.

A lot of guys out there are shorter than Parnevik and there's no way they're going to carry those bunkers. 14 is playing so much longer now. Instead of hitting driver, sand wedge, you're hitting driver, 6-iron, 7-iron into that hole, and there's a carry. I think it's going to favor a lot of long hitters. It's going to take away 50 percent of the guys' chances of -- they may play well, but they have to putt well and hit iron shots pretty accurately, and when the greens get fast it's tough to stop the ball on the greens. They have firm greens, and it favors a lot -- this is taking away a lot of shot-hitters' opportunity to win. Everyone who hits it long it going to have a good chance.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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