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June 13, 2003

Vijay Singh


RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to be joined in the media center by Vijay Singh. Good rounds of 70, 63 has you tied for the lowest 36-hole score in Open history. The fourth round of 63 in Open history, and only the third time a player shot 29 for nine holes. Very fine round. What was the difference in your game this afternoon?

VIJAY SINGH: I played a lot better. I managed it very well. I didn't hit too many bad shots. I think the only bad one was I think the third hole I had an 8-iron in from the middle of the fairway and plugged it in the trap. I eagled 1, chipped in from about 30 feet away, and birdied the second hole. And went on to birdie the fourth hole. All in all I played really solid all day and made putts. You've got to make putts in any tournament to play well, and I made it today.

RAND JERRIS: Take a moment and walk us through the birdies and bogies on your card.

VIJAY SINGH: First hole I hit driver, 3-wood just short of the green and chipped in from about 30 feet. Second hole I hit a 3-wood, 9-iron about -- probably about 10 feet. I -- the third hole I hit 6-iron, 8-iron into the right trap, it was plugged, pitched out -- just ran over the green, pitched and putted from about two feet. 8-iron about ten feet on the fourth hole. 6th hole I hit a driver, laid up with a 6-iron, pitched it about 15 foot and 3-putted. 10th, I hit a driver, 8-iron about 30 feet and holed that. 11, a driver, 7-iron about 18 feet. 13, I hit a driver, sand wedge about ten feet. 14, I hit a 5-wood, 8-iron about four feet, probably. And 15 an 8-iron about 20, 22 feet and holed that.

Q. First of all, Vijay, congratulations on your round. Do you think that the -- given the undulations of these greens, does the USGA still have some room to speed them up in order to give this course some teeth, without getting controversial, where you're going to have ten-footers that aren't going in, coming back down to guys' feet?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I think the golf course, when you play in the mornings the greens are faster. During the afternoon rounds -- yesterday morning I thought the greens were faster than they were today. And the grass grows. From the time they cut it to the time I played today was a good 8 hours when I came around. So it slows down a little bit. But they cannot make it that much faster. And I'm sure they can stick pins where you're not going to get close to. The undulations -- with the speed of the greens right now you can actually be above the hole and have a good stroke at it and still be able to stop it close to the holes. But I'm sure they're going to roll it up and make it faster by the weekend or tomorrow. The pin placements could go a lot tougher, too. I don't know if they're going to make it any faster, but it's stopping very well, and that's something they can harden the greens overnight. And it's still very cool, so it's not drying out.

Q. Nick Price earlier today said that this was really a shot-makers' course, people could shape the ball off the tee, especially. Does that describe you, do you enjoy that kind of game where you have to be able to shape it into a fairway?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, the thing about this golf course off the tees, there's a lot of bunkers that you can take on. And it restricts you from hitting drivers on most of the holes. But today I was able to -- I felt very comfortable with the driver in my hand and took the bunkers on, and I was able to -- you have to play to the wind a little bit, if it's left-to-right, obviously you have to try to hook it into it, and right-to-left. So I don't know, I played a lot of drivers off the tees. And I don't really -- it was pretty straight on. There's a lot of short holes out there, where you need to move the ball around a little bit. And Jim Furyk moves the ball out pretty good, left-to-right. And everybody on the scoreboard I think does that. So it probably is a shot-makers' golf course. The length, it's not as long as last year, you could say.

Q. Maybe a little different style, too, you could be aggressive and get away with it?

VIJAY SINGH: You can do that, and the bunkers are playable, although they're very deep bunkers. Like the 18th hole I hit a driver to the bunker was 314, and I one-hopped it in the bunker, and I only had a wedge in. So it's not that you're going in with long irons, where you can't get -- you can still fly over a lot of lips out there.

Q. Vijay, you were very obviously heckled today at 14th green. Could you walk us through what happened there, and is that typical of the way some of the fans here are reacting to you and some of the things you've said about Annika Sorenstam?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I hit a good tee shot on 14, I hit an 8-iron, made the putt and went to the next hole. I didn't know there was anything.

Q. As they were taking the guy out you waved your putter at him.

VIJAY SINGH: I was waving to my caddie.

Q. Waving to your caddie?


Q. Thank you. Vijay, would you like to see the conditions of the course get tougher? There seems to be a lot of players in contention, would that separate those with major championship qualities?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know if they can make it any tougher. The rough's long enough. The only thing they can do is make the greens a lot faster than what they are. And I don't know how they're going to do that, because some of the guys were saying they've been trying to get the greens faster. And they can stick the pins in where it's impossible to putt. I don't think they want to do that, and it's the weekend. The next two days it's going to be tougher just playing in it. And I think the golf course plays tougher on the weekends, just because it's a major event and it's a U.S. Open, and there's more pressure about going out there and playing. I don't think the scores are going to be that much lower than you saw the first two days.

Q. Were you aware that the Open record was 63 and was that on your mind coming in?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, Rocco told me on the 17th hole that after I missed the putt he said, well, I wanted to see a 61. I said hopefully you're going to see a 62. He said he wanted to see the 63 broken. I didn't know until he told me on 17.

Q. Two questions. Could you talk about why you changed caddies this week, when you played so well the last six tournaments? And also, you have dealt with some distractions the last few weeks, and you keep playing very well. A lot of guys it would seem to affect. How has it not been able to affect you?

VIJAY SINGH: In regards to my caddie, I just needed a change, although I was playing very well. I just needed somebody different on the golf bag. And it was just a break from having -- I've had the caddie for three years, and I just thought that changing the caddie -- I've had success in the Majors with Dave, so bringing him on the bag I just thought it would do me good. And what was the other one?

Q. You've had all these distractions the last few weeks, and you keep playing very well. A lot of players would be affected by it. How have you been not affected?

VIJAY SINGH: I've focused on what I'm doing, and that's playing the golf course and golf tournaments. And I don't read too much newspapers. I just don't let things like that bother me. So I'm more focused on what I'm doing, and let everything take care of itself.

Q. The other 63 you shot in a major in '93, that was in the British?


Q. Compare this round to the 64 you shot at Southern Hills two years ago, and then that 63 in the PGA. Was this a better round in some respects or were the other rounds --

VIJAY SINGH: The 63 in Inverness, wasn't it? I don't even remember, it was so long ago. I think I wasn't even playing here at that time. What year was that, anyway?

Q. 93.

VIJAY SINGH: 93. That was my first year. So I was a rookie and I didn't know what the hell was going on, I just played and played a good round. But the 63 in Southern Hills, it was the last day and I was way out of it. And I went to the golf tournament a week before and I played really a good practice session out there for the whole week. And I knew the golf course, I was disappointed in the way I was playing during the tournament. So it kind of came together the last day. I think ball-striking wise, this is the best I've played for a while. I've hit a lot of drives off the tees, and got a lot of fairways. And my iron shots were all good and I made a lot of putts, so you can't go wrong with that.

Q. You can always, I guess, point to a few shots you've left out there. But do you feel like the three-putt on 6, and a pretty good chance on 17, even 16, do you feel that this possibly could have been a round for the ages? Shoot a score in a major that no one has ever even approached?

VIJAY SINGH: After the round you can always say that, you know? You come back and say, well, if I'd hit a solid shot on 3, I probably wouldn't have made a bogey. And don't three-putt 6. If I hit the fairway, I'd have made a birdie there. But then again, I made some nice putts out there. I made a good one on 15, that I normally don't make. I made two good ones on 10 and 11 and chipped in on 1. So it kind of evens out. It was disappointing not to make the one on 17. I thought I hit a good putt. But when you're out there, I'm not really thinking about shooting a really low score. I was thinking about making birdies and trying to get as close to Furyk as possible, when I started off. And I finally managed to catch him. So that was my more concern than shooting a low number.

Q. The three-putt on No. 6, did I understand right there was a long delay?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it just took a long time to play the hole. Since I walked on the green and hit my putt it was, gosh, at least seven to ten minutes. And we got on the clock two holes later. I was waiting a lot. I hit my first putt in a hurry and I didn't want to wait any longer, so I went on and finished. It was my mistake. I should have taken a little bit more time and then played my pace. But things happen.

Q. Just a clarification, Dave was on your bag for both The Masters and the PGA?


Q. What's the chemistry there that makes the two of you so good together?

VIJAY SINGH: Nothing, he's Scottish (laughter). I don't know, got along very well with everybody. I just think on the golf course, Dave, I've got a little more calmer effect with Dave being on the bag. He's a lot more positive in club go me. He's a lot more sure, when I'm over the ball what he's going to say. And I think that's very important when you're playing out there, because there's nobody else out there but your caddie to help you out. And I was happy to have him back. He's so sure when you're over the ball, you're more confident in what you're doing, if you have the right club. And with Dave I felt very comfortable.

RAND JERRIS: Thank you for your time, wish you continued luck.

End of FastScripts....

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