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May 18, 2003

Vijay Singh


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Contratulations, Vijay, of being the winner of the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Great playing this week. You played well the last couple of weeks. Just talk about the victory and then we'll go into questions.

VIJAY SINGH: I mean I'm so proud of winning because of Byron. He is a great man and a great champion. Just to be in this tournament is a big thing. I'm just disappointed that I didn't play earlier on. I didn't play enough of this event. But I'm just proud to win this tournament. It's a great, big thing for me.


Q. Can you tell me why maybe had you not played well in here in the past?

VIJAY SINGH: Scheduling I didn't like to play two golf courses. Any time I play a tournament, two golf courses, I don't think like that. But they have improved the Cottonwood golf course quite a bit. I just played it for the last few years. I missed the cut last year and I wasn't sure if I was going to come this year but I'm glad I did.

Q. On the back nine Nick took the lead and you were obviously able to get it back what went right for you as you played out the back nine?

VIJAY SINGH: I hit one bad shot all day. Actually two. I hit a long club, No. 2, hit it over the green. Hit a bad drive on No. 10. Apart from that I was playing really solid. I knew there was a lot of birdie opportunities out there if I just played my thing. The key shot was hitting a good drive on No. 12 after a bad drive on No. 10. Then I had a little sand wedge which stuck it close, and I made the long putt on 15. I never made a long putt all week and that was it. That's the one I wanted. I told my caddy this is the time I need a long putt and I made that. And then birdied 16 and that was it.

Q. How was the shot on 17 the way you were aiming?

VIJAY SINGH: Pretty much where I aimed right there. I aimed it a little bit more left than that. I was surprised I hit the 7-iron so far. I had a 6-iron out and I said it could be a little too much club. I totally took the pin away from my mind and aimed for the middle of the greens. If anything it was supposed to drifted toward the flag.

Q. Has winning today changed your plans at all for next week?

VIJAY SINGH: I told my wife last week if I played last week I would take this week off. I won this week, I will take next week off. So since I won this week I'm going to take next week off and also I have to be at McCormack's memorial on Wednesday. I have something on Thursday. So it's a good time to take off I think.

And also the U.S. Open is around the corner which it will be -- I played four in a row now.


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: A couple more questions.

Q. Is your decision not to play next week made easier of the fact that by what some players will say will be a circus next week?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. It was a decision not taken at all this week. It was a two week affair. You know, I said if I won a tournament I would take a week off. It just came at the right time, I guess. Just as well.

Q. Vijay, talk about how there has been so much focus, how you were able to focus on your golf game this week?

VIJAY SINGH: It's Byron's tournament. It's a big affair for all of us players. When we come to a tournament it's a tournament we want to play. When I get to a tournament I totally close out everything that I can. I guess that's why I have been able to play so well all of my career. A lot of things went on in my life and I just focus on what I have to do and golf is what I need to do.

Q. Vijay, Nick said he noticed a lot of difference the way you manage your game over the past couple of years, can you talk about how you manage your game?

VIJAY SINGH: I guess it's persons. You play the golf course so many times. You know the mistakes you've done. You know what not to do. I guess it's a trial and error thing. I've played so many years. Experience makes me do that. But even this week, many a times I needed to hit 3-woods off the tee. I pulled out a driver and I hit it because I was hitting my driver so well. I had so much confidence in my driver. Last week I should have hit a lot of 3-woods which I didn't. That's why I played well on the weekend last week because I changed plans and I took clubs that I needed to hit to get on the fairway. It's just planning your round before you get on the golf course. You play a practice round, and you do what you need to do. And if the conditions get harder, what do you need to do and that's what did I.

Q. You mentioned The Open coming up and you won majors before, you talked about you could have shot 60 the other day if you used the other putter, is this the best you are playing now?

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I'm driving the ball so well and so straight. I never done that before. I'm hitting it the longest I ever hit. I am hitting it so straight as well which is a combination, just make it a whole lot easier to the game. There are holes where I am hitting -- hitting a driver, 8-iron. I'm flicking a sand wedge in there. If you hit the fairways with those clubs it's very, very -- it makes the game so much easier to handle. The U.S. Open coming around the corner, if I can drive the ball like I'm doing, I'm really excited about it.

Q. You are the 6th guy in his 40's to win this tournament, what is it with you old guys?

VIJAY SINGH: I guess we are just teaching the young kids how to play golf now.

I don't know, I think the equipment is helping us a lot. I don't feel like I have lost any distance turning 40. I feel like I gained distance. I think it's good. I don't want them to change the balls anymore. Because it's doing us very good. The golf course that I used to play are no more the same way. I thought when I get older the golf course is going to play longer, it actually is playing shorter. That shows you how much the equipment makes the difference.

Q. You changed putters earlier in the week, I assume this one you will keep a while?

VIJAY SINGH: Yes, I hope so. I have a good feel with it. Especially the short ones. I feel like I can make the short ones without trying too hard. Right now it's done me a lot of good and I am going keep it as long as I can.

Q. (Inaudible)?

VIJAY SINGH: Yes. I have won a tournament playing 4 different putters 4 different days. So it really depends on how you feel with what you are doing. I don't know. It's not the first time.

Q. Which tournament was that?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. It was Europe. I know that for sure. I can't remember right now. Sorry.

Q. Can you talk about the history of your putting because you had times where you putted well, times you didn't putt well, you had times in your career especially early the putter was really holding you back?

VIJAY SINGH: Yes, I putt conventional a long, long time. I won a lot of tournaments playing with a regular size putter. Then I went to the long broom handle thing. I think I had a lot of top-10 finishes but never won a tournament. Then I went back to the short one, cross handed and won The Masters with it. But the way I'm putting now, I think it's the easiest and the most comfortable way to putt. It releases the putter so well. And as you know, a lot of guys are changing to it. Gamez is changing. His golf game is coming around. A lot of golfers will be changing.

Q. (Inaudible)

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I lost a lot of tournaments putting badly.

Q. What putting at Sahalee, what kind of grip?

VIJAY SINGH: Sahalee was cross handed as well.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: A couple more questions.

Q. Having won twice at this point in the season with your recent run, do you feel like this sets up being a big year for you, or it could be?

VIJAY SINGH: I plan for a big year. I prepared very well. I was really prepared the beginning of the season. Then I got hurt and I thought everything was going to go haywire. The golf game has comeback. I'm starting to play like I did the beginning of the season, and I am hitting the ball the way I want to. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to playing the Memorial and the U.S. Open.

Q. Have you had a chance to spend any time with Byron, had a long conversation? And if so anything that he said that kind of stuck with you?

VIJAY SINGH: I have read a lot of his books. The only time I have seen Byron play was when he played against Littler in that Shell Wonderful. I have all of those. I'm a great study of golf swings. I do that in my own time. Byron's golf swing, a unique golf swing. It was good for him. He had a lot of different moving parts in his golf game but it worked for him. Hogan was totally different. All of those great players, they always did something different. I just pick out the good points and see what works for me.

Q. You haven't had a chance to talk to him any of the years you were here?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. I asked him about his ranch today. I said one of these days I must come and see it. When I am back here I probably will makes a visit to him.

Q. I'm doing the golf channel post game show and they were surprised how you handled the controversy and played as well as you did, did you do that because have you a routine, practice, fitness, everything is routine?

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I did not miss any work out at all. I work out twice a day if I can. I did not miss that at all. I think my mind just focuses on the game straightaway. It didn't bother me much, you know, at all what was going on because I don't read papers much. My wife kept telling me what was going on. But I tried not to, you know, get my game distracted or my mind and I just focussed on my game. It's Byron's tournament. I didn't want anything else to interfere with me playing this week in the tournament. That's how I focussed I guess.

And if I start reading and listening to the papers, gosh I shouldn't be here. I probably would have withdrawn.


End of FastScripts....

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