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October 16, 2003

Vijay Singh


SCOTT CROCKETT: You thoughts on getting through round one?

VIJAY SINGH: It's a great start. I was kind of worried about this match because I knew that Alex was playing quite well, and he drives the ball very straight. He doesn't make too many mistakes but I just told myself that if I go out there and do what I've been doing last few months I should be okay.

I had a great start. I couldn't have asked for a better start, chipping in the first hole and making a 40-foot putt on the second and then he 3-putting the third hole. All of a sudden I was very comfortable with the match. And a three-hole lead, I already said that I'd be okay from here in, and I played well. I didn't make too many mistakes and I made two birdies. It was tough out there. The wind was swirling around. You didn't know which way the wind was coming in from. It was a tough day and I'm glad I got through it.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Conditions made it tough for him to catch up, as well.

VIJAY SINGH: And pin placements were tough. I thought it was the hardest pin placements I had seen in a while. There's no holes where it's right up front and you can't stop the ball no matter what you do. So it's always a 30 -, 40-foot putt coming back. The greens are pretty slick. It was tough making birdies out there, and so far down, it's difficult to pitch out.

Q. Do you know you have the heaviest defeat here?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I'm not going to try to make my record. (Laughter.) I don't know, not really. I haven't thought about that.

Q. Do you feel in the mood to win?

VIJAY SINGH: That's the reason why I came over here the way I've been playing lately I have a good chance of winning if I just do what I know best and play golf. But then match-play is a different format and you can lose by playing great and you can win by playing poorly. So I just take each day at a time and I wasn't even thinking about Shaun tomorrow. I said I would take care of today first, which I did. Now I'm going to go ahead and look at tomorrow's match and see what I need to do.

Q. In the match you lost to O'Meara -- did that hurt?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. If you lose, you lose, you get out of here. If you start thinking about it, he shot 63 or 64 and I shot 73 or 74. You can't win matches if you are playing -- everybody that plays in match-play are great players and they know how to swing the club. That's why they are here. If you get that far down it's very, very difficult to come back and I just tried to play the best I can. It didn't hurt. Two weeks later, I won a golf tournament in the States, I think. So it doesn't bother me if I lose a match over here. It hurts just for a minute maybe.

Q. Were you tempted to play in the States this week with the money list being so close?

VIJAY SINGH: My goal is to win the Money List. I still have three left to play. I have high expectations of playing well in those events. I know the golf courses that I'm going to be playing at and I've played quite well in those tournament, as well.

So I'm just going to go out there and not think about the Money List as much as each tournament at a time. In the States if you win one tournament, it is a big swing and I could win two events and if Tiger wins the last event, because it's a big money event. Every event is almost $1 million over there. That's a big swing from week-to-week.

Q. Was it a big disappointment to you, your finish in Atlanta?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, that was probably my most disappointing last day performance I had because I was playing so well and I let it slip. I thought I lost the golf tournament over there, although Tiger won it. I was playing -- I thought I was playing a better game of golf he than he was at that time. But that's why he's such a great player. He pulls through at the oddest moments.

Q. Was there a turning point --

VIJAY SINGH: I bogeyed 9 and 10 from the middle of the fairway. You can't do it on the last day, especially playing with a great player like Tiger. So I had made pars on those holes, a lot of things could have happened.

Q. Do you think a change in the seeding would have encouraged Tiger and Davis to come?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. That's the way they chose to have it. I don't mind the way they have the qualifications of getting into the tournament. I think it's very fair. If you take away this year in the past, you would have had a great field. It so happened this year that there were four first-time winners and all of the runner-ups were first-timers as well.

But the seedings should have been done, if I was doing it, I would have seeded it according to the World Rankings. You can have whichever qualifications you want. But the seedings, the World Rankings tells you which players plays the best golf at that moment.

So that's the only drawback I think. I didn't want to play today but I don't mind it. You know, if I had a choice I wouldn't be playing.

Q. When did you find out you weren't a seed?

VIJAY SINGH: When they finally picked the whole team, after the PGA, I guess. That's when I knew.

Q. Were you unhappy about it?

VIJAY SINGH: I wasn't unhappy, no. If I had a choice I would have liked to be seeded. It's a long, grueling week, if you play every match, and I'm not that young anymore.

Q. Consistency wise, is this your most satisfying season?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think so. I've played really solid. Before the British Open, as well, I was fairly consistent with my game. I was very disappointed at the U.S. Open and the PGA when I was -- I had two bad rounds and both of them, the last round.

So I've got to learn to deal with those situations and not blow up like the way I did. Apart from that, I think it's a really satisfying season so far. I'd like to finish with a little bit stronger last three tournaments if I can, but that's to be seen. I'm playing well and I'm feeling quite confident.

Q. Is it an accumulation of all you have learned?

VIJAY SINGH: My swing has come around at the right time. I've worked so hard on the same things over the years that I don't really have anything that I work on. I think that it's coming around.

Q. Were would you rank this tournament outside the Majors?

VIJAY SINGH: That's a tough one, there's only 12 players that play in it. You can't really compare the magnitude of this tournament over here is quite big but worldwide, I don't know. If you ask other players, they probably have different feelings. It's a big event. It's a prestigious event. It's been going on for so long and it has a great history behind it. Amongst the other tournaments, I don't think you can rank it, you can't compare it because it's a totally different event. And with 12 players, you can't really -- if you had the first 12 players in the world, that would be a different story but we don't. I can't really answer that question. I just think it's a different event. In my book, it's one of the better events to play in.

Q. Does the money make a difference these days?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I think it does. It does for a lot of players. I'm surprised that Jim Furyk is not here because I did ask him why haven't he playing here and he just said, "I don't know why I'm not playing." That was a strange decision for not coming over here, especially he would have been seeded, I think.

For Tiger and Phil, Davis, I don't know. I can't answer for them. I just think that maybe they weren't scheduled to play from the beginning and I guess they are just stuck to their schedule.

Q. Unfair if you meet Ernie in the semis?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, that's the way it goes, isn't it. I looked at the seedings and knew I would play him. There's in the a lot of room for error. If I was seeded No. 3 it would be a different story but that's not the way it is.

Q. Any memorable head to heads with Ernie?

VIJAY SINGH: I know I played with him last year, third round or second round, I think. But it will be a good match now. I'm playing well and I would love to play him but I've got to get through tomorrow, first. I can't look ahead until I get through tomorrow. I think tomorrow's match is as important as the next match because Shaun is no pushover; he's won the PGA.

Q. Is there one thing in your swing which has turned things around?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I'm not -- I don't think about it so much. I'm not on the range thinking about my golf swing anymore. I'm swinging it and feels good. I've been doing the same things over and over again for years. This year -- and part of last year, it started to feel really good. I still think about one or two things and it just -- it just feels great. I can go out there and hit balls and not worry about which way it's going to go as much. I'm not playing with my swing so much. I'm trying to play the game of golf with a good swing.

There's nothing right now, except for my putting has been letting me down a little bit. It's not the same level as my golf game, and I would like to improve that. If I can raise that part of my game, I think it will be a pretty good game.

Q. You don't close the range any more?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, depending how I feel.

Q. You still want to be World Number One?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, that is my future goal. If you look at my age and say, he's 40 years old, he can't be playing this good forever. I feel like my game right now is as strong as it's been. Equipment has a lot to do with it, but I'm hitting the ball a lot further than I've ever done in my life. I'm feeling stronger. I'm playing with a lot of energy in my game right now and if that continues for another our four or five years, if I play like I'm doing right now for the next two or three years, I'm going to contend for the No. 1 spot. That's my goal right now.

Your goal is one and what you're doing another. I'm just going to play this year and not think about next year.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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