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October 31, 2002

Vijay Singh


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Vijay Singh, co-leader at 5-under 65. This is your 17th consecutive round at par or better. You've been playing well lately.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I've been hitting the ball really good. So I'm very comfortable with what I'm doing. It's coming towards the end of the season, so I'm looking forward to it, one more week. Trying to get another win before I finish. Maybe this week.

TODD BUDNICK: One of just two birdies on 18, that's not an easy shot I'm told.

VIJAY SINGH: I was just trying to hit the middle of the green. The pin was in the middle of the green and I just hit it straight at the pin. I didn't know how far I finished, but I was glad to see it was a foot away when I got to the green.

TODD BUDNICK: The course conditions, has it dried up at all?

VIJAY SINGH: We're still going to play the ball up for probably another two more days, definitely. There's a lot of mud on the balls. You just don't want to miss the fairway because the ball is going to fly with mud on it. To hit the fairways and clean the balls, it's a big relief.

Q. I kept watching you on the scoreboard, and little by little, you just kept sort of working your way up, crawling up, if you'll forgive me. Was the key strategy today patience? And I have one other question for you.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it's really a 72-hole event. There's no cut. You really just pace yourself for Sunday and Sunday afternoon.

I wasn't really looking at the leaderboard much. I just wanted to play a good, solid round of golf, which I did.

Q. If I may, what was the key to that super round?

VIJAY SINGH: I think hitting a lot of greens. I didn't miss too many greens. I think I missed three or four greens on the whole, and I hit a lot of fairways, so you could actually get the ball in hand and clean it and hit a good shot to it.

I think I missed the first four or five fairways, and I was fortunate, only one of them had a lot of mud on it, and then I got away with that. Then I started hitting a lot of fairways and made it a lot easier.

Q. Under these conditions, how does this compare to the 63 you had in 2000?

VIJAY SINGH: It's much easier to hit the fairway when it's wet. The ball doesn't roll off. I think it was a better round when I played a few years ago.

The conditions now, it's still a really good round. If you would have given me a 68 before I started it, I would have taken it. I'm really glad to shoot that, and hopefully I will continue playing the way I did.

Q. You've grown to like this golf course; would you be happier that this thing is going to become a regular thing here after next year?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I have had a lot of good rounds here, a lot of good finishes here, but I haven't won here. So I don't know if that's a good thing or not. There's a lot of positive that I've had so many good rounds here.

I think it's great that we're coming back to a golf course like this. It's unfortunate that it rained so much, that it cannot play to it's potential. But I'm sure in the next few years we're going to have it again as good as it can get.

Q. You've got some golf courses that you seem to always play well at, Westchester and here. Is this course, something about it that suits your game or is it a case where you're playing well, it doesn't really matter where you are?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you've got good memories coming over here. You have good vibes about what you did before. The putts you make on the greens means a lot. I stood on a few putts here and I said, well, I know how this one breaks and I've made this one before. Those things all help when you are playing.

And also I just play well when I come over here for some reason. I'm just very patient. I just take this tournament differently than any other. Maybe I should play it like this all the time. Just think it's a 72-hole event and just grind it out there, and that's what I did.

Q. It's been a long time since you did not make the field in this tournament. How much do you pride yourself on consistency during your career? That seems to be something that you've been able to do?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, everybody has been saying, how he works so hard, how he works so hard, but that pays off. I've never come across a guy that works as hard and it doesn't payoff. I like to work on all aspects of the game, and that's the way you can see the results in the end.

That's my game. I like to be consistent. It upsets me to hit bad shots. If I don't win golf tournaments, it doesn't really matter, as long as I'm happy with the way I strike the ball. That's what I've been doing this year mostly is striking the ball a lot better. It's been improving.

Q. You and Charles Howell are the only ones that had a bogey-free round and the only ones that birdied 18. I know you knew him when he was in college and playing as an amateur at some of these events. What can you say about the way he's playing?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, he's only, what, 22, 21? He's got the whole world in front of him.

I played with him at the U.S. Open this year. All I know, he's got a great golf swing and a great future. He's got a lot of confidence riding right now. He just had his first win.

He's going to be a dangerous guy out there because he hits the ball so long as well. Apart from all that, he's a really nice guy.

Q. As well as you did play here in 1998 and 2000 and not win, do you feel like this course, this tournament owes you one here?

VIJAY SINGH: It owed me one in 1998. It took me a while to get over that one. Especially the shot I hit on 18. If I had to hit it over again, I'd do the same thing, and the ball went over the green.

You know, I would like to win this. I would like to win this event, especially, and on this golf course, because I've had so many good finishes, or two good finishes. You never know. We'll see on Sunday what happens.

Q. This is a little premature, but if you had to rank your season this year so far, before coming into this week's event, what would you say it ranks among some of your seasons over the last five or ten years?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I've had better ones. The only good thing about this season, I played better last year but I didn't win a golf tournament. This year, I didn't play as good, but I won a golf tournament.

Apart from all that, I missed two cuts in big events, the British Open and my home course. I'm happy with the way -- if you look at the Money List, I've done well, but kind of a little bit disappointed that I didn't do well in the majors. I'm really gearing up for next year and now I'm really looking forward to the first event next year.

End of FastScripts....

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